Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why Reading is so Vital to Marketing, Part One

It's an age-old debate, long copy vs. short copy? I view long copy used in print advertising and on the internet very differently than most people.

The Big Question!
Right up front, let's look at a more important question. Why put any copy in your ad at all?* Some people honestly do believe, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Then, why the text?

I hope our unanimous answer is; to maximize sales, leads or sign ups, etc.

To understand my strange vantage point, I must tell you a story from a past life.

"Way Back in 1966...!
I was 30 years old. I was in the carpentry business with two brothers... one 28 and the other 24. We framed and trimmed new homes in our hometown, Muncie, Indiana as sub-contractors.

We decided to go "big-time" and build a spec home, as general contractors. So we joined the local chapter of the National Home Builders Association, and built a home to be shown in their upcoming event, the "Parade of Homes."

There were eight new homes built simultaneously, all adjacent to/or across the street from one another by eight different home building firms.

Ten Thousand People?!
Following an extensive advertising campaign, they would all be shown, jointly over a two week, three week-end period, in an Open House, termed the "Parade of Homes."

Ten thousand people would attend the event and view all of the homes.

On the Friday evening before the formal opening, we did a "dress rehearsal" inviting town VIP's, real estate agents, mortgage people, our sub-contractors, our employees and families, etc.

"What's a Buyer Look Like?"!
We set up a Hospitality Area in one of the garages. As that Friday evening was winding down, all the builders gathered. I remember walking up to the senior builder of the bunch, Joe Haltemen, and asking him,,,

"Papa Joe (we all called him that;-), ten thousand people are going to go through these homes in the next two weeks,,, how in the world do you tell the serious buyers from the people who are just looking for decorating ideas?"

I was not prepared for an answer,,, it had just been small talk.

Then he said, "Wayne, I like you and your brothers. You've put together a mighty nice home here. And you fellows are an asset to the whole show.

"I'm going to tell you something I've never told anyone except my own son.

"You're artsy, aren't you, Wayne?"!
I nodded.

"Get yourself a big piece of poster board and an easel. Draw a rendering of the front of your home at the top and put the price underneath it." I was all ears.

Look for part two of this article on this blog... very soon.


* There is a reason not to put much copy in an advertisment, , , but that's a subject for another day. So stick with me on this blog, and I'll share it with you and it won't cost you a dime.

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