Don’t Make This HUGE Advertising Mistake

According to, print advertising spending in the United States is expected to reach $15.1 billion in 2016.* That’s a lot of ink and paper!



If you are going to invest that much dough into print advertising, make sure you are doing everything possible to make the biggest impact on both your business and ROI. Unfortunately, I see BIG advertising mistakes all the time.


Don’t Waste Money on Advertising Gone Wrong

I was recently on a five-hour flight and decided to browse through the magazine in the seat pocket in front of me—not the now-bankrupt SkyMall, but another airline-specific magazine. As I was flipping through, I noticed something curious: 99.99% of the ads had no call-to-action or offer. What?! I went back and looked at each and every ad again to make sure I wasn’t missing something; sadly there were no offers.

So—you brainstorm advertising ideas, write content, design the ad, pay for the magazine ad space, and you make no offer? That’s like investing in a stock for only five days—you can’t expect to get any real return, particularly for small businesses.


The Problem with Awareness Ads

The biggest problem with awareness ads is that they don’t, well, inspire action. For our purposes, I’m referring to an awareness ad as one that has NO offer or call to action.

Sure, awareness ads have their place if:

  1. You have a large budget, and
  2. You are trying to “brand” your company.

But even if someone is interested in your product or service while they peruse your ad in a local or national magazine and you don’t ask them to take an action, you’ve missed the opportunity.

And even if your prospect has the best intention of looking you up online, the probability of them actually doing so is very low. Have you ever looked at an ad and planned to revisit it? And what happened? (Don’t worry, I’ll wait…)

Think about it. With no offer, what exactly do you want the prospect to do? Take the magazine with them and dog-ear your ad for future review?

Typically, if they ever do buy the magazine, it will get placed on the preverbal pile of “I’ll get to those when I have more free time” magazines. Don’t let this happen to you.

Let’s try something different.


Tips to Give More Punch to Your Ads

By golly, MAKE AN OFFER!

And try to make an offer that’s so juicy, anyone would be crazy not to take you up on it. Below are a few of the ads I saw on the airplane and the possible offers and call-to-actions they could have used. And on a side note, making an offer in an ad doesn’t “cheapen” your ad or brand. It’s just smart business.

Product: A destination location on Key West
How About This: Offer a free sample trip itinerary or a free Key West brochure

Product: High-end jewelry
How About This: Offer a free jewelry catalog, or ring fitting

Product: Hard Rock Café
How About This: Offer a 25% off dining experience for two, so you have two chances to make a great impression.

Product: Bose Sound System
How About This: Offer a free surround system Q&A phone consultation

Whether you’re selling liquor, watches, luggage, cameras, clothing, or personal match-making services, make an offer and add a QR code so the offer can be redeemed immediately!


Go from No-Step to Multiple-Step

It’s been said that people need to see your offer at least 5–7 times before they take an action! So hoping that someone will do anything with your ad that has no offer or call-to-action is wishful thinking. When you give your sales pitch, you need to close the deal with an action on the prospect’s part—which means you need to ASK them to do something.


Make an offer = inspire action = gain a lead or a sale

Here are a few offers to get people to DO something. Offer a:

  1. Free report
  2. Free tips sheet
  3. Free checklist
  4. 25% off (or some other amount)
  5. Free consultation
  6. Free newsletter sign-up
  7. Free report
  8. Free video
  9. Free eBook
  10. Free demo

Wrapping Up

There you have it. Don’t make this huge advertising mistake that can cost you tons of money and lost opportunity.


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