In my last article, I introduced the reader to Joe McNeill of Bob Davidson Ford in Baltimore and how a simple postcard they send out every month is generating over $500,000 in gross sales per year.
Part of wanted I wanted to point out with that article was showing you how sometimes marketing that “isn’t pretty” can often out-perform professionally designed “pretty” marketing.
In this advertorial article, I want to show you another example of a marketing asset that flies-in-the-face of much of what you see today – it’s plain-looking and almost 100% text – yet it consistently produces over $20,000 in gross sales each and every month it’s run with only a $1,000 ad spend.
Jeff Giagnocavo and Ben McClure, owners of Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, PA, have created an exceptionally profitable marketing asset for their retail business with this two-page advertorial-style advertisement they have been running in a local publication for the past 18 months (click to enlarge).
This organic bedding advertorial, which they had professionally written by copywriter Kevin Donlin, does a lot of things right (including some great copy) and is worthy of your study. If you are not familiar with advertorials, you can read this previous article and this one, where I go into more detail about this unique style of advertisement.
There are two important points I want to make with this ad.
The first is Jeff and Ben’s willingness to give away four valuable gifts for simply visiting their store. This is classic lead-generation advertising and since Jeff and Ben know their math and what an average organic mattress sale is worth to them, they are more than happy to give away something on the front-end to get the right prospect in their store. Depending on what you sell, you might want to do something similar.
The second BIG point is that this advertorial is a great example of Dan Kennedy’s Message-Market-Media triangle, made famous in his Magnetic Marketing training. According to Dan, there are three big building blocks:
- A truly compelling, preferably irresistible marketing Message.
- Knowledge, access to information and skills to choose, define and target the best possible Markets. Delivering your message ONLY to those most likely to respond.
- The most appropriate, effective combination of Media (methods of delivering the Message to the Market.)
Many business’ marketing messages are “wimpy.” They basically enlarge the business card. They say the same things everybody else in that niche is saying. They make vague, image-building statements. They end without a call to action.
Not the advertorial from Gardner’s.
It has a powerful Message – the copy includes meaningful specifics, several promises and an irresistible offer with a deadline to visit their store.
Jeff and Ben know their exact target Market – the healthy lifestyle-oriented person interested in natural and organic products.
Focused Media – they only run this ad in a publication called Natural Awakenings, which is designed for these types of consumers. You can click here to see an online version of a Natural Awakenings issue, including two different advertising examples from Gardner’s Mattress & More.
The whole point of this article and the previous one is to remind you to be careful with your marketing and advertising and the siren’s call of well-intentioned, but clueless to what actually sells, graphic designers and ad-reps. If you were to study many of the great ad-men and copywriters, like I have, you will understand what truly motivates action is putting the right Message in front of the right Market with the right Media. Often this does not require slick design or high-priced agency-style marketing.