7 Big Things You Should Never Do on a Small Advertising Budget. (Online Or Offline.)

Top Marketing Expert Reveals…

My name is Linwood Austin. I’m known as one of America’s top advertising copywriters. Having spent many years in the toughest marketing arena around, (direct marketing) perhaps I can help. Years ago, direct marketing was mostly used in direct mail and newspaper or magazine ads. Now you can use direct marketing techniques online too.  Allow me to give you 7 things you should never do with your advertising and your internet marketing. Tested. Proven. Measured. Accountable.

1.    Never run an ad online or offline that neglects to SERVE the reader.

Quite often the ads that fail to get results are ads that are SELF-SERVING. The difference is in the world “you” and “your” vs. “we” and “us.” The self-serving advertiser runs ads like this: “We’re the best.” or “Often imitated but never duplicated” and “Why go anywhere else?” Think about it- do these phrases make buyers throw money at your feet? Do they turn heads? Hardly. If you want your advertising to pay off… you’ve got to run ads and direct mail that SERVES the reader with information that is interesting and helpful. You cannot BORE your prospect into buying from you. You must tell him all he’s going to get for his money.

You must tell him how he will benefit from your offer. You must help him envision the pleasures of ownership. Your advertising must SERVE the buyer with the right kind of information and enough of it. Some of the most successful advertising I have ever created were ads that contained over 1,000 words or mailing packages and web sites which contained over 5,000 words. Did people read it? NO! NO! NO! But “prospects” did. Prospects are HUNGRY for information. Why? Because I was addressing their specific needs. I was hitting specific hot buttons which caused prospects to become satisfied BUYERS. I SERVED them with information they wanted to know.

2. Never trust the opinion of your barber or your uncle regarding your advertising.

For that matter, there are very few advertising people who you should trust either. Advertising people (especially graphic web designers) are more apt to be personable and gregarious than studious. More apt to be extroverts than introverts. More apt to rely on hunch and intuition than on an academic approach. This is one reason why advertising waste enormous… even online advertising. This is why many ads waste a good “selling” opportunity.

It is also why a great many decent business owners honestly believe ad creators are largely phonies – members of a “cult” of parasites who waste more money than they use intelligently. Contrary to popular opinion, advertising is a science. There are proven ways to increase response. If you ignore what has be tested and proven to work, you are only wasting good money. It’s surprising how few ad agencies know of this body of tested research. Ask your ad person who wrote the book Scientific Advertising. If they don’t know… FIRE THEM. The famous David Ogilvy once said that no one should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book (Scientific Advertising) seven times. Having read it about once a year, for the page 20 years, I’d have to agree.

 3. Never try to be clever.

You can’t afford it. People don’t buy from clowns. Spending money is serious business. You can’t afford to gamble on whether or not they will get your pun. People are busy. If your ad doesn’t communicate clearly and immediately to your target audience you’re wasting your money and their time. It’s clever and memorable to put a gorilla in a tutu (sp?) but will it really sell your product or service? Clever ads may win advertising awards. But historically it’s rare for an award-winning ad to also be a highly profitable ad.

4. Don’t surround you ad with large amounts of white space. Or your website with fancy splash graphics.

White space and splash sells nothing. It’s only what you say within that space that sells your product. Only the right words used with the right illustration at the right price and the right time will get them on their feet and bring them to your door. Check in hand. Mind you, all of the tips I’m giving you here are the results of split-run, head-to-head advertising tests for the best results.

 5. Don’t be dishonest!

If you’re selling half-rotten apples… say so. No one will fault you. There’s always someone out there who wants to make a big batch of vinegar. If you’re selling your what-cha-ma-call-it as “state of the art” and it’s not… word will get around. People will buy a defective product only one time. They won’t buy from you a second time. The market will clean itself. Don’t be dishonest. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put your best foot forward. You should. Your advertising should sing the praises of your product or service. A good adman can make your product sound so desirable you’d be tempted to buy it yourself. A good adman can turn your faults into desirable selling features.

 6. Don’t forget to promise big benefits.

People don’t buy just for the heck of it. They buy to enjoy the benefits-longer life, easier listening, envy of friends, more money, greater sex, greater comfort, bigger cash flow, safety, economy, etc. If you don’t tell what BENEFITS your product will deliver, chances are, they won’t sit around trying to figure out what the benefits might be. Sure, your gizmo has blinking red lights and a 30-foot long thing-a-ma-gig… but what does this mean to your prospective buyer? How will they benefit from it? 

I often see ads and websites that promise no benefits at all. At best, they may list many “features” but they do not translate those features into any real REASON WHY the buyer should part with his money. We’ve found that the right application of this concept could mean the difference in 19 times the response over and above an ad which did not clearly promise BENEFITS. Could this concept, rightly applied, boost your business profits? You bet it can.

 7. And, for the love of Pete, never leave them hanging.

If you’re going to all the trouble to catch their attention, present them with helpful service-rendering copy, and show them that they will benefit from your product or service-then what? Help them respond before they forget. Offer them something special if they respond RIGHT NOW. A booklet! A discount! A sample! An ethical bribe for promptness! If you leave them hanging, your competitor may come along and pick up where you left off. All your hard work will benefit your competitor. That’s a shame.

With all that said and done, let’s assume you’ve read this far because you’re looking for help with your advertising and marketing. Maybe I can help…Maybe not

Just thinking.

OK… Now that your head is swimming with information…Allow me to make this proposal: Stop what you’re doing and pick up the phone and call me. I’ll create a new marketing campaign for you and your company based on the scientific ideas you’ve just gleaned. I’ve created ads and mailings and web marketing that have skyrocketed profits for clients in all kinds of industries. Information products. Service businesses. Retail stores. Wholesale firms. Professional services. You name it. My ads and marketing concepts have shown up in major magazines and newspapers. The Wall Street Journal. USA Today. Investors Business Daily. Millions upon millions of mail boxes. Web sites galore.

I’ve created ads that won huge response. And I’ve created ads that failed. But the failure was small because we tested small. And made changes. We tested headlines and price points and media and lists. We have even tested seasons. Testing is vital to getting the right combination of Response-Triggers. If you want an explosive new growth in sales and profits…And you want it NOW…I’ll create your new ad, direct mail letter or web marketing at a reasonable creative fee. Turn your marketing from an expense into a profit-generating asset. If you know anything about marketing, you know it’s the lifeblood of your business.

Linwood Austin

Phone: 801-895-9598

You can also find me on LinkedIn here: