current customer sales

How to Create Ads That Sell

Whether you use print or digital marketing, the goal of your advertising goes beyond awareness.  As a small business, you must create ads that sell. In other words, they must compel them to act — call, visit, click — in order to generate new or recurring sales.

So if you want to get more from your print or online advertising efforts, apply the AIDA system to create ads that sell.

What is AIDA?

AIDA is the acronym used by marketers to describe the four ‘events’ that must occur when a customer views your advertising.  It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.


Your ad must first attract the attention of your target market so they will start to read it.  Nothing happens until they do.  This is typically done with a good headline, picture or both.  While there are a lot of headline possibilities, some of the most common and effective headlines include words such as Free, YOU, How You Can, How To, 7 Reasons Why or 5 Ways To.

When it comes to headlines, remember one thing.  Your company name and logo are not a headline.  It does nothing to get prospects attention.  Put them at the end with your contact information and replace it with a compelling headline.


Once you get their attention, you need to raise customer interest so they continue to read on.  The best way to do this is by focusing on advantages or benefits. The things that solve one or more of their common problems.  Many small business ads focus on features, often the same ones everyone else claims.  Customers want and buy benefits so use them instead.

As you use your copy to build interest, keep one thing in mind.  Behavior studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful as gains.  In other words, loss or risk aversion are strong motivators that you should consider and use to build interest.


This is where you convince customers that they want and need YOUR product or services. That YOU have the ability to satisfy their needs.  Think believability and uniqueness.   Why should they choose you over others?


What does the customer need to do next?  Don’t assume they know.  Whether you want them to call to schedule an appointment, visit your store or restaurant or click to make a purchase, a clear call to action is a must.

This 4-step system helps you target more effectively and works like a screening process. A certain percentage of readers will fall off along the way.  It’s expected.  You don’t want everyone. You just want those who want and need what you are offering.

As you plan your advertising each year, take a look at your current or past print, social media, and digital ads. Review the reports where available. Are they producing the results and ROI you want?  Do they follow the AIDA system or can improvements be made?  Why not make some changes and test them out?

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Target customers

Substance Before Style – For Advertising That Get Results

When it comes to your company’s advertising, are you more concerned about how it looks or what it says? While design and style are important, all the glitz is worthless if there is no real substance to your message. Whether you use print ads, direct mail, email, digital or social media, the copy is king!

So the next time you sit down to prepare a new marketing campaign, give a little more thought to your copy.

6 Steps To Make Marketing Easier and More Effective

Step 1: Define Your Ideal Customer

The best marketing starts with a clear ‘audience’ in mind! Write a one-page description of your most ideal client/customer. Describe in detail all about them. For consumers, this might include age, marital status, the car they drive, the number of children, income range, personality type, common problems or challenges. For businesses, this might include size, industry, the number of employees, decision maker title, hobbies, personality type, goals, and common problems. This answers the question “Who” is your ideal client (not your target market – your IDEAL “A” class customer)

Step 2: What Would They Buy?

“What” would your ideal customers buy from you? Most businesses offer more than one product or service for their ideal customers, so identify all of them.

Step 3: Why Would They Buy?

This is important and is two-fold. Why would they buy from you instead of your competition and what are the benefits they receive when they make the purchase? Your Unique Value Proposition is important here so you don’t compete on price alone!

Step 4: Headlines That Speak to Ideal Customers

Whether you are creating a landing page on your website, an email marketing campaign or direct mail piece, a powerful headline is a must to get attention and encourage ideal customers to read more. Brainstorm and write down 10 headlines that speak to your ‘who’ and grab the attention of your ideal customers. Here are a few headline starters to get you thinking:

    • Here’s How You Can …
    • 7 Ways to Increase Your…
    • 5 Reasons to Try (or Call)
    • For Less Than $5 a Week…
Step 5: Outlandish Offers

Offers are a must for small businesses to get people to take action – call, visit your website, come into location, sign up for an event, etc. So based on “What” they would buy – come up with 3-5 outlandish, over-the-top kind of offers.

Step 6: WIIFM

Develop benefit-oriented copy based on the answer to the ‘why’ above. Remember the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) — How can your products or services solve their problems, ease their fears or make their life better, simpler or more profitable.

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For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.