“It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement, and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look, and read.” – David Ogilvy
I always appreciate the business owner who “gets it” when it comes to marketing. Especially a local business owner, who’s in the game every day, trying to get attention, get response, get results.
This past week, I was perusing the local paper and came across this pretty decent example of an advertorial (click to see larger version).
In case you are not familiar with advertorials, they are advertisements designed to look like articles in the publication, with the intent of catching the readers’ eyes by not looking like every other add in the publication.
Advertorials have been around for decades and I’ve put together a mini advertorial swipe file of a few examples I’ve collected over the years. You can download it here. If you peruse through these examples, you’ll see a few strategies you should use when creating your own advertorials, including:
- Making it look like a news item or article
- Setting headline like a newspaper headline
- Setting the copy in newspaper type
- Creating it in same style as the publication
- No logos or blatant images that screen “this is an ad!”
- Having a clear call to action
Let’s go back to the Buckley’s Pest Service ad and let me point out several smart things they did in this advertorial (I am then going to ask you to find the one area they could instantly improve this advertorial).
- Good article-style headline in a big, bold font
- Decent use of a photo and caption, however given the context of this article, they probably could have used a more dramatic photo – maybe of termites eating through a house or something like that. But they still get a B for use of a photo and caption.
- Nice use of a “pull quote.” This is a copy cosmetic technique where you “pull” an important key phrase, sentence or quote found in the body copy and make it stand out.
- “Sounds like an article.” The copy is written in such a way that it sounds like a third-party article.
- As with most advertorials, the publication requires the “ADVERTISEMENT” signification to make sure readers are aware it’s an ad.
Overall, a very good example of a local business owner using a time-tested marketing strategy to get attention and get response.
However, there is one weak area that stands out dramatically in my opinion. Something that could easily be fixed in a few seconds and I guarantee response would increase. Do you know what it is? Leave your ideas below and the first person and the fifth person to get the right answer will a digital copy of my Response Boosting Profit Secrets book where I show smart strategies like advertorials and much more for creating stand out marketing.
UPDATE: We have our winners!
Congratulations to Michael Singer and Chris Dysart who were the first and fifth person to get the answer I was looking for (as did many others). Overall, I was impressed with the different insights in the comments below, but the one thing I was looking for was improving the call-to-action. The advertorial above does a good job of getting attention and it reads well, but the call-to-action is weak. It sounds like any other pest control company and doesn’t give me any real reason or urgency to contact them now. This stumbling at the one-yard line is very typical and something we ALL must avoid. Create strong, compelling reasons for somebody to take action – NOW.
Compare the advertorial above to this one here and see the difference in the call-to-action. Click on the image to bring up a larger version.