Secrets to Success


Advertise for action

Last in a series of eight

The other day I was watching a tape of "CSI." As I was fast-forwarding through some commercials, a beautiful scene in one of the ads caught my eye.

Was it entertaining? Yes. Visually stimulating? Sure, if you like the Rocky Mountains. But does any of that motivate you as the viewer to take action right then and there while you're emotionally charged? Most likely not.

Maybe a big Fortune 500 company with tens of millions of dollars in their advertising budget can afford that sort of creative license and not get any direct response. But I would guess that you can't afford that luxury. This brings us to the 11th principle of this series.

Principle 11

Direct response advertising is the only advertising you want to invest in.

Every ad, sales letter, commercial, promotion and news release you produce should be geared to getting your prospects or clients to respond in some way. They must take action. What that action is will depend on what you're trying to achieve.

If your goal is to generate leads, you'll want a prospect to call to make an appointment for a consultation. Maybe you want an interested party to e-mail you to request information. If your product or service lends itself to single-step selling, you'll want them to place an order. If it's publicity you're after, you'll want to time your press releases with media coverage of a challenging situation -- a challenging situation your product or service can solve.

You must always remember that you are looking for a prospect to take some sort of action right then and there. There are two important reasons why you would demand this of your advertising.

Reason No. 1 is because action that can be directly attributed to one of your advertising pieces is the only way you will be able to determine the effectiveness of each area of your marketing campaign.

Reason No. 2 is more obvious, but equally as important. It's because you want to build relationships with your clients, or would-be clients. You want to learn more about their needs, develop trust, build rapport and prove to them you have their best interest at heart. How can you do that if you never communicate with them?

Principle 12

A slight edge is all it takes to increase your profits.

I saved this principle for last in this series because it reinforces all the others. Most clients who participate in our courses are under the misconception that they need to overhaul their entire marketing operation to produce powerful results. Most often that isn't necessary.

All you need to outperform your previous efforts, and your competition, is a slight edge. I've seen explosive results from simply changing a headline or restructuring a guarantee. The copy, design and medium of delivery remained exactly the same -- but the advertising pulled three, six or even eight times the previous way.

If you can increase the number of clients you serve by 8 percent, increase your average sales amount by 10 or 20 dollars, and make just two additional repeat sales to each of your clients every year, you can realize profit increases of 35 percent or more.

And better yet, you can do it with very little effort, and almost no additional expense. Just remember the RPM Law Of Compounded Business Growth: small, prioritized gains carried out with consistency over a period of years will grow your business to astounding levels.

So leave the flashy, wildly creative, costly and "cutting edge" advertising campaigns that produce little or no action to the "big boys" with "big budgets" whose focus is more on winning awards than on winning clients. You can be content knowing you're on your way to making big profits, not a big impression.

John-Paul Micek is a small business strategist and chief operating officer at RPM Success Group. Reach him at or (888) 334-8151.

John-Paul Micek is a small business strategist
and chief operating officer at RPM Success Group.
Reach him at
or toll-free at (888) 334-8151.

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