In the past few years I have been reading a lot about direct marketing in the martial arts industry. Being that a martial arts school is a small business (even the franchised ones) they have a common thread. They are rooted in a community and hindered by geographical restraint. Enrollment heavily depends on proximity. Most schools service a radius of approx 10-30 miles. City or rural areas have different average short trip times, people in cities often use public transportation where rural schools will be more likely to be accustomed to driving longer distances to get to school.
Some people would disagree with my stance here as much as I think copy and headlines are super important, as are calls to action, and should work well with the design or even dictate the concept of it. In an era where we are bombarded with ads, visuals, commercials, billboards, youtube and a million other things an average ad will not be effective enough to cut through the noise, grab and hold attention.
Honestly if your ad isn’t attractive, action and design driven, plus conceptually sound, people will not take notice of what is says or is selling long enough to delve in. The cohesion of concept and visuals is the first and possibly last contact a person has with you. You aren’t just competing with other schools locally but with ALL other business in the area and outside of it. You are competing for customers attention, and that attention span is shrinking each year. It is a shark tank!So as not to let you be bait, I want to go over 3 tips that will help you get people to notice your ads.
Make sure everything you do visually abides by good design standards. What is good design standards you ask? That could be 20 blog posts and I still wouldn’t cover it all. To sum it up check out this site. http://startupsthisishowdesignworks.com/ (thanks http://triciamusto.com/ for putting me on to this to this site)
Design is the marriage between form and function. Every tool, lamp, book, and stove has design behind it. In great design the form enhances the function. Ipod. In poor design it disjoints the functions possibly even disables it. Windows ME or Vista edition. The function of an ad is to make someone act on your message and do what you tell them. The form is how it is presented, how the images mix with the layout, copy, space and call to action. Connect the 2 you have something special. Seperate them you have a recipe for lackluster results.
It makes no sense to spend money on advertising if the ad isn’t something that catches people’s attention. It is a waste of money. Make sure you have a proffesional take care of your needs. If you got sick you would goto the doctor not an electrician. This is NOT a place to cut corners as if this part of your marketing strategy is weak, the remaining parts of it will be as weak. If you are not a designer hire one. There are tons of sites to find great designers one of them is http://www.dojomuscle.com. You can also check out http://freelanceswitch.com.The amount of bad design and bad graphics people think is passable is adding to the pollution of the visual real estate.
You want to step with your best foot forward, you would wear your best suit and shoes if you were going to a wedding, or job interview. First impressions are everything as cliche as that may be, make sure yours is a memorable one. Don’t hire an electrician to do plumbing work, and certainly don’t try to do it yourself, the money you think you are saving, you will spend in time, and it will show through lack of results.
The commercials that get stuck in your head are usually witty, simple and creative. Where I live there is this awful car dealership commercial that is now on the 4th or 5th version.
It goes something like this a pudgey hyper caffienated dealership manager talks real fast with horrible squinting sun in his eyes, and raises his arms and yells whooo hooooooo. That’s the premise of this commercial. It is so bad.
You would think. But it get’s results, and it really makes you hear it in your head over and over through out the day. This is what your headline is supposed to do. Get creative, but not abstract. Don’t “try” to be clever, rather be clever by being prepared. Study your clients needs. Wrap your headline around a desire they are seeking and you half half the battle covered.
You heard the cliche, closed mouths don’t get fed right? After you catch their attention with design and headline, you MUST close the deal. This is a common mistake and one that is easily corrected. You have to direct a person on what to do next. If you leave it up to default you severely inhibit your chances of action. Even if it is small like a simple URL or something bigger like “Call Us NOW and get your FREE trial!” If you don’t direct an interested person what to do next and how they can cash in on the amazing offer you have, chances are you won’t be able to turn them into a student. Use verbs to point out actions you want them to take.
It is similar to engaging people in a conversation, most of the times the more you cater to a persons needs the more they will be acclimated to like you and accept your offer. At a cocktail party people love to talk and when you give them the chance they take it. Same goes for marketing, people want to know they are being catered to and will get results. Show them how you are going to give it to them is half the battle.
Or any business for that matter.
Most people miss it entirely.