You know that in order for your advertising to be effective, you need to think of your ads as an army of tiny salesmen that work on straight commission. In order for this to work though, your ads have to be properly structured – from a selling standpoint – to get the biggest impact. When you go to write an ad, you probably ask yourself, “What should I talk about? What selling points should I bring out, given my time or space restraints, and the competition I’ve identified?” The answer is – as much as you can – to build a case for your product or service.
Think about your marketing and advertising strategy this way: Your product or service is on trial. The consumer is the jury. You’re the attorney, and you must prove to the jury that they should buy from you – and it’s a life-or-death sentence. Your job is to come up with all the proof and evidence needed and then present it in a way that the jury believes you.
But if you look at the way most businesses advertise, they build no case at all. Instead, they just carelessly spout off the same old stuff that all of their competitors are saying. Here’s an example of ad for a franchised auto repair facility – it says,
WE DO IT ALL,
OUR HOURS ARE DESIGNED AROUND YOUR HOURS,
WE USE HIGH QUALITY PARTS,
WE HAVE FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL TECHNICIANS,
AND WE GIVE FREE ESTIMATES.
Does that build a case? If you were in the market for auto repair, has their mail piece convinced you that you’d be an absolute fool to take your car anyplace else? There’s no claim, no proof that they’re any different or any better than any other place. Just the same old meaningless advertising babble. No argument, no evidence, no proof … no nothing.
Just Imagine what it’d be like if an attorney did as poor a job arguing a court case as most advertisers do in their marketing. I know it’s been awhile, but remember the OJ Simpson murder trial? What if OJ’s attorneys had said, “Come on…he couldn’t have done that! He’s OJ! The Juice! He runs through airports! He’s the 2,000 yard Buffalo Bill! He’s an actor! Everyone loves him! There’s no way he did it!” As ridiculous as that sounds, that’s about as good of a case as most advertisers ever prepare to defend and sell their product or service. “It’s better, we’re cheaper, we’re professional, we’ve got better service,” and so forth. Remember what OJ’s attorneys DID do? They researched and prepared all kinds of forensic reports, alibis, and expert witnesses…everything they needed to prove he couldn’t possibly have done it.
So here’s what you do in terms of your advertising strategy: Determine what points your case is going to be built on, then follow the three-step method for building confidence in prospects and customers: Step 1, find out what they want, step 2, give it to them, step 3, say it in a believable way. If you’re going to build a case, you need to know what points the case is built upon. Just like when an attorney begins a trial and he or she, addressing the jury, says, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in this trial, I will prove to you that so-and-so committed such-and-such crime. I am going to prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that this occurred, and I’m going to do it based on the following evidence, 1, 2, 3, and 4. I am going to bring out three witnesses that all concur that it happened in this fashion. I will present 2 expert witnesses that will testify that these things happened this way. When you have seen this evidence, you will have no option but to conclude that he is indeed, guilty.”
Keep in mind the comparison. Your customers are the jury, your product or service is on trial, you are the attorney, and it’s a life-or-death sentence. So how do you find out what your customers need to know when doing business with you? How do you know what points your case should be built upon? Here’s how: Imagine one of your best friends is considering buying one of what you sell, and they’re asking you for advice on how to evaluate their various options. What kinds of things would your friend need to know to make the best possible purchasing decision? What things would you tell your friend to look out for? What specific pieces of information would your friend need to possess to make a fully-informed buying decision?
Whatever these things are…those are the points for your case. For example, I needed my fence rebuilt in my backyard. And I didn’t know a thing about fences, so the only thing I knew to do was go on the internet and call around using the usual ridiculous process – asking for bids. I got bids from 4 different companies, and the prices varied from about $2,500 to $3,300. So who would you go with? The lowest price, right? Well, that depends.
I called back one of the contractors – the lowest priced one – to ask about their time schedule, and told them that I had gotten bids from 4 companies, and that I was strongly considering using them. The contractor then proceeded to give me a short but thorough education about what I needed to know about building a fence. The contractor said, make sure when comparing bids that the price includes pressure treated rails and posts, that the rails are 2 by 4’s instead of the standard 2 by 3’s, and that the gates have 4 hinges each instead of just 2 or 3. So I called back each of the other 3 companies and found that none of them had quoted me on pressure treated rails or posts, 2 by 4 rails, or 4 hinges per gate. They all wanted an extra $300 to $400 for those “upgrades.” Guess who I bought the fence from?
The company that has the ability to delineate what things are important when buying, is the one that gets the business. Or in other words, the company that builds a case. Unfortunately, the fence contractor had not communicated this in any of their advertisements. They had to wait until a second phone call from a prospect to educate him. So you’ve got to figure out what’s important for your customers to know when evaluating their options. Once you determine what the important points are, the next thing to do is SAY IT WELL
So think about your advertising strategy: What kinds of evidence can you produce that would give credibility to your case and make people want to buy? Once you have evidence, which pieces should you use, and when? In advertising, you always use your biggest piece first. If you have the murder weapon, the smoking gun, so to speak, pull it out immediately. This would be your main selling advantage. Whatever your individual points are, just remember to BUILD A CASE!