Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Five Steps to Profitable Advertising

This page is published in conjunction with Footwear and Fashion Extras magazine and expands on the Five Steps to: Profitable Advertising feature that appeared in a recent edition.


The first thing to remember about advertising is that it is an excellent marketing medium when done correctly .. but that often it fails because a few simple rules are ignored.  Observe these rules and your adverts will become far more profitable.   Most of these rules are fairly obvious when you think about them; but so many people get them wrong.


Rule 1

Decide what response you want from your advertising? It might be to attend your sale, buy online, send for catalogue, etc.

 Small shops can’t use advertising purely to “build the brand”.  This works for multinational brands but is far too expensive for smaller businesses.

 So you need to have an advertising objective.  It could be to attend your sale; in which case make sure the advert makes it clear that you have a sale, what you are offering at the sale (perhaps a discount on normal lines, items bought in purely for the sale, discounts on end of lines or whatever).  

 Your adverts could focus on an online offer rather than a sale.  In both cases these are sales adverts and can work reasonably well provided people are in the mood to buy. 

 Another approach is to use an advert to capture the contact details of potential customers. Instead of trying to sell to them give them something.  It might be access to Top Tips on Choosing Footwear for a particular event or some Fashion Accessory Tips.  Your tips could be sent as an attachment to an email, given over the counter if people call in or event posted to them.  The thing is only people interested in your offer are going to respond and you give you tips in return for the prospects contact details.  So you form a database of potential buyers that you can send more tips AND offers to.



Provide relevant information.  Established since 1937 is less important than product range, colour, price, benefits, location, contact details etc. 

 People reading adverts tend to skim through them.  You are lucky if they spend more than a few seconds on your advert before moving on .. UNLESS you grab their attention.   So if you put your business name and details at the top of the advert they will probably skim on to the next advert before reading your offer.  It is far more effective if you put your sales message first; e.g. “25% Discount on Sale Items” and put your business details at the bottom where people will read them if your sales message is compelling.


Rule 3

A good picture is worth a thousand words, especially when advertising in quality magazines and online.

 Good photos sell well when printed well. A good picture and a dozen good words is worth two or even three thousand words!   Photos tend to reproduce very well in quality magazines and online but can look blurred and indistinct in newspapers where different print processes and lower quality paper is used.  Professionally produced photos that have been digitally enhanced are nearly always superior.

 Don’t worry about the cost of employing a professional photographer.  Often the manufacturer will be able to supply top quality photos to help you sell their product.  Ensure they agree to free photos when you agree to stock their lines.    


Rule 4

Tell your reader what they need to do; attend sale, email, phone, visit

 Some adverts are so generic and vague the reader isn’t sure what to do when they finish reading it.  If you want them to come to your sale you have to make it obvious and tell them when it starts and how long it runs.  If you want them to phone for your free Fashion Accessory Tips tell them to do that.    

 So many times these vital, but obvious points are missed out and that brings me to Rule 5.



Rule 5

Provide some location/contact details and opening hours: your location, phone, email, web address.  Advertisers often forget this essential. 

 It is amazing how many people fail to put their contact details in  an advert.  You might now your shop is in the High Street but don’t assume everyone else does!  

 On a recent holiday in Portugal I saw an advert for a museum in the local paper.  I never got there as other than knowing it is in Faro I’ve no idea where it is.  I asked a couple of people in the street one day but they didn’t know.  I would have tried the tourism office, but it was a holiday and they were closed! 

So an expensive advert just frustrated a potential customer. 

 If you want someone to visit, phone or go to your online store provide your physical address, phone number or your web address.  Simple really .. but so often forgotten!



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