Have you been considering placing an advertisement in your local newspaper in hopes of drumming up some new business?

Wait! Before you whip out your wallet, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the following four "rules of the road" to help you improve your chances of getting the response you're seeking.

Rule #1: You've Got to Choose the RIGHT Publication.

For example, if you're targeting affluent clients and offering a high-end service (such as in-home personal training, massage, dog walking, etc), don't make the mistake of wasting your advertising dollars by placing an ad in the bargain news. Do your homework and find out what your target market is actually READING (you never know, maybe they ARE reading the bargain news!), and then apply your marketing dollars where there is the greatest opportunity.

The success of any advertising or direct mail campaign can very often be attributed to the following:

  • 50% of your "success" at advertising will depend on targeting the right publication;
  • 25% of your "success" at advertising will depend on the copy in the ad; and
  • 25% of your "success" at advertising will depend on the actual offer.

Rule #2: Get Yourself a Traffic-Stopping HEADLINE!

Your headline must quickly tap into the reader's problem, need or desire, and instantly prompt them to read further. Take your time with the headline. It needs to quickly create interest and intrigue in your reader. In fact, when I'm writing ads for clients, I'll spend 75% of my time on the headline alone! (If they don't read the headline, the rest of the ad is useless!)

Rule #3: Don't Ever Forget, the Ad is NOT about YOU.

How many times have you seen the "all about me" ads from other professionals in your industry? You know the ones I'm referring to -- the business owner's name takes up 50% of the ad, while the other half is filled with a laundry list of credentials and other self-centered copy. (This is the biggest mistake I see professionals make.) I'm not saying this information

shouldn't be included, it just shouldn't take up the "prime marketing real estate" section in your advertisement.

Remember, your objective is to tap into your prospects' problem or need, and get an immediate response -- right then and there -- before recycling day comes around and your expensive ad takes a one-way trip to the dump.

How do you do this? By offering them what they want. (For example, a f.ree trial session or consultation, a report or article containing tips on how to solve their particular challenge, a no-appointment-necessary policy, etc.) Essentially, use this advertisement as a way to generate hot leads for your services. Plan on running your ad at least 7-10 times before getting a regular stream of calls from it.

Rule #4: Understand the Power of Your Words.

Pay close attention to the WORDS you select for your ad. (Here's where knowing your target market inside and out really comes in handy!) While ad writing is a skill that takes time to master, you can jump-start the learning process by closely studying other ads that move YOU to take action, or you can simply hire someone to write a compelling ad for you. Here's a simple formula I use to keep me on track when I'm writing for my clients:


  • Get their ATTENTION Quickly
  • Maintain INTEREST
  • Create a Burning DESIRE for What You're OFFERING
  • Finally, the ad should move your reader to TAKE A SPECIFIC ACTION!

About The Author

Connie Scholl of ConnieCoach.com provides self- employed service professionals with simple, effective and low-cost marketing solutions designed to quickly jump-start sales and consistently generate new clients. Get free marketing tips and "how-to-articles" at http://www.conniecoach.com. (c) Connie Scholl 2006