Image advertising is all over the place. In today’s media environment, most people think this is what advertising is. Look in any magazine, the newspaper, try the yellow pages… wall to wall image advertising.
Here’s the gist of it. “You have to run your ad for at least three months so the readers get used to seeing your ad and you build up name recognition. Once you get some name recognition people will start calling you.”
If you’ve been in business more than a month you will have heard this line of reasoning.
If you buy into it, you will start doing all kinds of goofy things. Like, buying huge, expensive display ads with a mugshot of your face, smiling ear to ear. Possibly you talk about how inspired you are to help people, that you play the cello when you’re feeling blue, and you crochet on weekends. Oh, and you have a cute little daschund named Buffy. And in huge bold letters at the bottom of the ad is your name, and your phone number.
If this is how you advertise then you are doing image advertising, and good luck, because a buck and all of your image ads will buy you a hot dog. Maybe the hot dog vendor will give you some chili sauce if he takes pity on you.
The thing is, even if people do recognize you in the street from your ad, you can’t deposit that recognition in the bank.
This is the fundamental flaw of general (image) advertising. Image ads draw attention to themselves. They are focused on you, and unless someone is already using your product or service, people are not thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves.
As far as selling effectiveness goes, image ads are virtually useless.
The proof of this is you can have a hot target market, a compelling offer, great copy, a good product or service, and you can sell as much as you want, make as much money as you want, and have no image whatsoever.
That’s the beauty of direct response marketing. You can get people to buy stuff when they have never heard of you, never seen you, haven’t spoken to you, have never seen the product or service, can’t touch it, can’t feel it. Yet they still buy and give you money.
So the whole big fuss about image and getting your name out there is overrated. It doesn’t hurt you to have an image, but it definitely doesn’t help you. It’s a big myth that advertising agencies and media outlets try to sell you.
If you really want to build up some serious name recognition, then start using direct response marketing to promote a really hot product or service to a hot target market. You can build up as much name recognition as you want when your name is attached to the benefits of a compelling offer for a great product to a hot target market. In a hot target market, every eyeball that reads your offer is intensely interested in that topic. You make money as you go along, but the image you build from doing this is a “by-product”.
The best example of this is the fact that you are reading this right now. You didn’t start reading this article because of my name, my image. I didn’t knock on your door, invite myself in, thrust my card in your hand and start beating on you to read this. You responded to an attention getting headline, you read copy that compelled you to read more because you wanted to receive the benefits this insider knowledge of direct marketing will give you.
And that’s the reality. You, like everyone else on the planet, responds to direct marketing.
You see, I’m not concerned if people like me or don’t like me, I’m just interested in succeeding, helping my customers, and making money.
And the key to making money is having marketing that is accountable.
In fact, all marketing and advertising expenses must be accountable, trackable, profitable.
Everything you do has got to be tracked and has got to be profitable. Tracking lets you know what ads are actually making you money, but just as important, it reveals what ads are making you nothing. Over time you can virtually eliminate all advertising that is not making you money.
This is why focusing on your image in useless for marketing purposes. An ad rep might say to you, Well, at least you’re getting your name out there. You’re getting your name in front of people.’
The thing I never understood about that is how getting your name in front of people puts money in your bank account.
See, I want to put marketing in front of people who give me their credit card number. That’s what I want to put in front of people.
When you understand what kind of advertising actually produces money, you wonder how anyone could run an image ad… ever. The reality is, it’s what makes advertising agencies and media outlets money, so it’s the kind of advertising they try and make you run.
Avoid image advertising of any kind. Focus on mastering direct response marketing, and your business will always be generating profits.