Some “Silly” – But True! – Advertising Rules You Shouldn’t Overlook!

The field of advertising is traditionally known as a haven for “creative types.” And those types often come up with some pretty creative “rules” for doing business. Some of the rules may seem pretty silly, but they work. And there’s nothing silly about that. For instance:

  • If you’ve included a list of things in your copy, you should use an odd number – 3,5,7, etc., Just as when arranging pictures on a wall, asymmetry attracts the eye.
  • Certain colors are more effective – or have a certain kind of impact – on customers. Red suggests action and immediacy. Yellow can have the same effect. Blue and green are “calm” colors – effective in a company brochure where you want to establish an image, not so effective when you’re looking for action or response.
  • When pricing your products, don’t round the numbers. Studies continue to show that consumers respond better to a price like $19.98, for instance, than they would to $20.00.
  • Always include a “P.S.” in a sales-letter, even an email blast. Why? Next to the headline/subject line, it’s the most-read and an opportunity to re-state your offer in clear, compelling terms.
  • Include three options on any response vehicle – “yes,” “no,” and “maybe.” Or some variation thereof. “Maybe” responses help you identify future prospects. In addition, the multiple options have been shown to increase orders.
  • If you print a picture, include a caption. A picture may be “worth 1000 words,” but it helps to add ten to twenty of your own! Tie the caption to your sales message.
  • A large, or irregularly shaped, direct mail piece will get results. It stands out from the rest of the mail and cries out to be “looked at.” Even better, a three-dimensional, bulky mailer. Prospects can’t help but open a package that obviously has “something in it.”
  • Be careful about asking questions in your headlines/subject lines. If the customer can answer the question “no,” they’re not likely to keep reading. For instance, “Wouldn’t you like to learn about 150 ways to make a meatloaf?” A customer could easily respond, “no,” and throw your piece in the circular – or junk mail – file.

Those are just a few. What “silly rules” have you found to really matter with your marketing efforts?

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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