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Honing In On Your Message (Or How NOT To Waste Your Advertising Dollars)

September 28, 2010

In today’s economic climate, we are finding that our client’s largest concern is how to maximize their gains with reduced budgets, limited resources, and fewer personnel. Given the social media tools we have available today, it is possible to forward an effective marketing campaign on a shoestring budget.

But how is that done?

While this is probably a subject for several posts, we wanted to focus on one main factor that any business should do as a first step in any advertising or marketing campaign. Before you waste your limited funds on literature, brochures, billboards, signs, or even websites, you should focus on this point: Honing in on your message.

What does this mean?

It is common knowledge to experienced advertising agencies and savvy designers, that you have only a few seconds to grab your reader or audience’s attention and get them interested enough to explore your services or products. In those few seconds, you need to accomplish getting your message across in as few words as possible and with maximum impact. An advertising rule of thumb for billboards, for instance, is no more than eight words.

Narrowing down the verbiage into a concise message coordinated with a unique business identity graphic is precisely the kind of thing we at SkyHawk Studios find to be one of the major obstacles for businesses to overcome. Let’s take this a bit further by way of example.

Let’s say you own a health clinic that offers a variety of services. You have a nutritionist, an acupuncturist, massage therapist and a naturopath. We’ve found that the first instinct of such a clinic might be to start off their literature, websites, signs, etc, by trying to promote everything they do, with bullet point lists, multiple boxes, or lengthy subheads. Why is this not the best of ideas?

Simply, it is too much for someone to take in all at once. It can be confusing to the public. Let’s expand on what we mean.

In our example above of the health clinic, let’s break it down to “what is it that someone looking for a health clinic needs or wants?”. By survey, you find, let’s say, that people want to “feel good” or “feel better”. Now we have something that we can craft into a few words to deliver your message. We could develop an ad campaign around “feeling better” or “feeling good”.

In advertising lingo, there is something called “USP” or Unique Selling Proposition; what do you offer that others don’t or that makes you unique, or where do you excel? And how do you say it in just a few choice words?

If you can boil it down to one image, one graphic, and a few words that say exactly what your biz is about, you will be able to get the public interested in what it is you have to offer. THEN you can describe the various services and/or products you have available. Otherwise, you lose your audience to too much information, too much trivia and too many tiny details.

Simply, your main benefit needs to be expressed in a few words.

With the correct message, concise and simply put, along with a graphic/image that communicates that message, those precious few advertising dollars you have, will be put to the best use and you will have a message that will carry you through all of your marketing ventures.

If we can assist you in developing your own unique business message, give us a call. 503-235-0062

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