Advertorials: Direct Response Marketing at its Best












Advertorials: Direct Response Marketing at its Best

By Y. Miller




Copyright © 2016 We Write About Money


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. 


Publish or Perish!


Haven’t you read or heard that philosophy to the point of complete exhaustion over the last few years?


This mantra is having such an impact on marketing departments all over the world that billions of pages of gibberish are being published to the internet every day. No one can ever read the amount of content that’s being published to the internet.


And, no one really wants to.


It’s     no     surprise    that people   love    social    media sites. It’s not just because we are a social species.  It’s also because   people want   to get away from advertisers. Advertisers remind us of our jobs, our dwindling satisfaction  with   life, and of all the things we want, but no we don’t need.


We   go   to   social   media sites to connect with other people and shed the stench of corporate influence.


Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image says, “…the same consumers that are inundated with advertising are now being inundated with content. That’s  a lot  of messaging… it’s critical  that we,  the  marketers, take  one step  back and  ask  ourselves: ‘Are  we  asking  too  much  of our consumers?’… Kill the content. You heard me.  Kill the  content. Step  away  from the publish button and  take a breather.”


Internet  marketing  hype has  hi-jacked common sense and good business   practices. The  media   coverage  of  a few success stories has created zombies who  blindly hunger for what  they’ve  seen other  companies, solopreneurs, and children in basements accomplish online.


Some  of those  success stories were those of early adopters. There are always going  to be those who profit from recognizing a trend  before the rest of the flock. The first sheep  on  a grassy  knoll  will gorge himself until the rest of  the  herd   finds  out  about his great  find. Then, the herd comes and devours their share  and thins out the feast.


The herd has come stampeding and the freedom of operating online has become restricted.  The novelty of the internet has long since worn off. In normal economic situations, the market will correct  itself and weed out those who are cluttering up  the market and leave it to the real players.


Unfortunately,   because the     internet   is    open     to anyone with  a computing device,    it   will   take   much longer  than normal for the market to clear out  the rubbish. The competitors for audience attention will   continue   to pile on pages and pages of content.   Your generic content  will get buried deeper  and   deeper  into   a black  hole  of hyperlinks. All while  you  are  forgetting the golden rule  of business. You have to keep making sales.


Unless  your  goal is to publish content, I am assuming   that you’re    really trying to  sell  more  products and  services.  Publishing content can become  a distraction.  Yes, of course,   content can   generate   leads. However,  publishing as a marketing strategy has gotten out of hand.


Publish smarter instead of publishing to assuage your fear of not doing what everyone else is doing.


The Boring Tax Accountant


Eight   years   ago,   I advised a  tax  accountant to drop her  plans  to publish an ebook and to blog.  She wanted to get  more  clients.  Instead, I  advised her  to  drop the blogging  idea  and  publish one piece of great content that was strictly  designed to sell. I also advised her that if she wasn’t willing to put in the time, money and effort to publish a series of eBooks, then one eBook was a waste of time.


She  fought me  on  the advice.  She  even  threatened to   take   her   business elsewhere. The expensive consultant she hired  had suggested a “publish or perish” strategy. I challenged  her.   I  offered to produce the content she wanted (which  my team and I  call  junk content) as  well  as  the  one piece  of content that  I advised her to produce.


Her first consultant’s philosophy:

In  order to  get  more  clients the  accountant must  build  a brand. In order to build  a brand, she  must  use  the internet   to    let    as    many people as possible  know  that she was an expert in tax accounting. To do that, she had to become a full-time or part-time publisher.


Our  philosophy: Branding  is a great  concept. It is the very concept that allows you to charge   a  higher  price   than your  closest  competitor. It is the    very    thing    that sometimes makes  a customer choose  you  over  a no  name company. The misconception of branding is that it is something  that   your company  does   alone.   It   is not.  You  may  set  the  stage with  a well-crafted message, eye-popping  packaging  and a few innovations that everyone else  hasn’t   caught on  to  yet,  but  your  brand is largely  controlled by your customers. They are the ones who are going to determine whether you  have  lived  up to   the   promises   that    you have   made   or  not.  Most  of what  creates  thriving brands happens after the sale.


Our  tax accountant needed to  sell  her   services   first   in order for consumers to determine if  she  was  living up  to  her  brand promise. It doesn’t take 100 blog posts  to do   that.   Proving  her expertise  to   paying customers  is  what   gets people to refer her to others.


We   created  a  publication for  her,  a mock magazine, that looks like the type of publication her average prospect was used  to reading in    their    spare    time.    The format itself lent a little credibility to the content author.


It lowered  the  barriers that  traditional advertising puts   between the  advertiser and   the   consumer. 


For all intents and purposes, it was the type of publication that inbound marketing enthusiasts (those who have proclaimed the death of advertising and who promote a passive approach to sales) glorify. The difference is that I made the content purposeful. I did the unthinkable. I asked the prospect for the sale immediately after delivering useful information instead of waiting to send them seven to ten email follow-ups. Not after 1000 blog posts, not to subscribe, not to like, but for what the accountant needed to generate business… a sale.


In all actuality, it truly was just an advertorial.


Advertorials are a proven and    tested  advertising model. All we  did  was  stick to sound sales  fundamentals and  brought them  into the online  world. Advertorials satisfy   the   “publish  or perish”  evangelists  while still keeping your  focus on increasing  sales.   Currently, our tax accountant client is taking on speaking engagements.   We    publish two   of  these   advertorials  a year  for  her.  (Now,   we  are trying to convince  her to publish books. Go figure. But it’s  the  next logical   step    in   her   career path.)


She rarely still works  directly  with customers anymore since she has   amassed  a  small   staff. She’s not set to knock  off Bill Gates  or Warren Buffet from any  wealth lists,  but  she  is light years  removed from the frantic,   nervous wreck   who expected to lose everything a few years ago.


Use the Tools;

Don’t Get Used by the Tools


The internet is a monster that will keep  eating  as long as   you   feed   it.   It’ll never reach a critical mass.  As long as ISPs continue to make money from it, they’ll just install more servers. That’s what makes it so much easier to get caught up in publishing, social media and all the other hype surrounding the internet.


There’s   only   one   way   to use the Internet to do that. Stay focused on increasing sales and providing value. Once you get the sale, then provide the value you’ve promised.  Referrers are those who’ve experienced your value proposition. Referrals and Word-Of- Mouth build strong brands.


Publishing content in an advertorial style is effective in:

p<>{color:#000;}. Explaining complicated processes in  a  way  that traditional ads cannot.

p<>{color:#000;}. Gives  the  customer information  to  think about.

p<>{color:#000;}. Is  less   intimidating,  so that  the customer  isn’t already on the  defensive and  is more  receptive to the sales pitch.

p<>{color:#000;}. Builds your  credibility in the industry and establishes     your expertise on  the  subject matter.

p<>{color:#000;}. Expresses your  brand philosophy and   identity without shoving it down the customer’s throat.

p<>{color:#000;}. Turns   a  prospect into  a referrer if  he  himself   is not ready to buy now.


Your prospect is no fool. They know you’re in business to make money.


They’re not going to be offended if you’ve proven your unique selling proposition, then asked them to do business with them. It’s more honest. It lets them know that if they are not ready now, they’ll know where to go when they are ready.


Johanna Schlossberg, associate  media   director at Clive,   Davis   &  Mann   and Gwen  Canter VP, media director  at  Sidler   & Hennessey have  researched the  effectiveness  of advertorials thoroughly. Their research reveals  that “…advertorials  were  shown to be more effective than branded ads in terms  of generating    interest, providing valuable information, and provoking follow-up discussions.”


The other option, publishing ridiculous amounts of tripe, might have the opposite effect from what you expected. You may become the source of FREE information and it never occurs to the prospect to do business with you. He acquires knowledge from you to take elsewhere to make a business deal. This is not how content marketing worked for early adopters of digital platforms. They didn’t have the same type of competition in the market. Today, you have tons of competition (and not just within your own industry).


The Digital Power of a Print Concept


We get caught up in doing  things that  others are doing because they have been done that way for so long, or because  so many people are doing it that it must  be the best way.


In all forms of cognitive evolution, it  takes   a  certain level  of awareness to realize that  the  status quo  isn’t always the  best  way  or even an effective way to do things. This  is  what   has  happened with  Internet marketing and advertising.


You’ve   probably discovered  (if  you’re   using the right metrics) that most suggested internet marketing doesn’t really  amount to much.     But    it’s    too    late. You’re  trapped in  a  vicious cycle  and   you   don’t   know how   to  get  out.   You  don’t want  to  stop  bumping your head   against  the   wall because   you  have   managed to   chip   off  a  piece   of  the brick. It’s almost  intoxicating for so little a result.


The  hard work,  time  and money you’ve  already invested makes  you  want  to squeeze something more  out of  it.  Even  though 99.5% of your     sales    are    generated from offline referrals,  that 0.5% has really  kept  you  awake at night.  If only  you  could  get more  traffic  to  your   site,  to Facebook,  or to Twitter, your online  conversion rate  could creep  up  to a full 1%. You in turn  dedicate more  and  more of     your      marketing    and advertising budget to getting that extra boost of traffic. Increasing      web        traffic doesn’t      always     increase sales.   “It’s   not   just   about getting    more     traffic.     It’s about   getting  more    traffic that    gives    a    shit!”    says, marketing   consultant   and author, Jay Baer.


Publisher’s  sell information.   You    sell products or services. Erase  that  “publish or perish” mantra from  your mind. Think sales. Thinking sales forces you to be more focused with your online content. You narrow efforts down to the  bare  essentials. You re-discover what is truly important.   You    remember the power of the sales call.


No matter how many bits, 1’s, and 0’s there  are, a living breathing human being  still makes  the purchase decision. The elements of a good sales call     are     still     important. Would you inundate your prospect   with    superfluous information       during       a traditional sales  call?  No,  it could  cost you the sale.


You’d empathize with the customer, explain how  you can help, establish your credibility, and answer all their  questions. Once you’ve covered all basis, you ask for the sale.


Most online content never asks  for the  sale. It traps  the consumer   into    an   endless loop   of   hyperlinks  to nowhere you’re  truly interested in them  going. You’ve  managed to  increase the time spent  on your site (as the gurus say you  must),  but you’ve   lost  the   sale  in  the end.  Research has also shown that the  more  a consumer clicks,  the  less likely he is to buy.


The worst of the online content asks   for   too   many calls   to   action.   


The advertorial approach does everything you’d already do on  a normal sales  call. Plus, it does   the very   thing   that most online content does not, it  asks   for  a  sale.   Capture emails later.  For now, you’re trying to make  a sale.


“The    idea    is   no    longer about  brands  pushing content and  trying to get conversations  going;   it’s about real-time content,” argues  Lexie   Kier,   a   New York  City-based digital   and social strategist.


When  people want  to buy something or need  a service, they will come looking for sellers and  providers.  This is when  it becomes  imperative to have  a happy medium between sales and  content. They’re not going to come looking for pop-up ads or commercials.


People go online to find answers. Text has proven to work better than other avenues. For some reason, when    it   comes    down   to serious decision making, reading what an expert  says is seen  as  more  trustworthy than   any   other   information delivery method. There is a study published in the Journal of Marketing ads. Via telephone interviews, researchers surveyed and confirmed that more consumers prefer to read advertising  articles than email  offers,  sponsored links or straight up brand ads. The Adfusion study shows   that “more than  two  thirds (67%) of those  between the  ages  of 18 and  24 and  56% of those making at  least  $75,000  per year  say  they  are  “very likely”  or “somewhat likely” to read  and  act upon article- based  advertising.”


Article-based advertising (advertorials) addresses the consumers need  to feel in control of the purchasing decision.  They click links to find answers.

Advertorials give  them  answers. Advertorials also give an immediate,   direct    solution that they’d otherwise have to click away  to find.

The advertorial approach makes the conversation (the inbounders love to promote) straight-forward and simple.


“The first step is being simple… Good marketing requires a simple call to action that compels your customers and prospects to do something.”- Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer at Kenshoo.


Several  years  ago  a chiropractor expressed his excitement in having helped his  sales  over  night  by ditching  his  PPC  campaign for print classifieds. He was doing so well, he wanted to package his strategy into a course  and sell it.


The   only    problem   was that he didn’t understand why his print strategy had worked  while   his  PPC  ads had  failed.  You can’t teach a person to replicate a system without the  clear understanding of the fundamentals that  make  it work.


His  print classified strategy worked because:

p<>{color:#000;}. It still had an  interactive component to it (which is part of what’s praised by internet marketers)

p<>{color:#000;}. It met     his     customer where they were instead of  waiting  for  them   to come to him.

p<>{color:#000;}. There was only room for one call to action.

p<>{color:#000;}. He’d simplified     the process  for   his customers.  It  made making   a    buying decision  infinitely easier.


Researchers for a study in the Journal of Marketing discovered that  the  strength of radio  advertising was  still effective even though the majority of advertisers had run  to  television more   than 50 years ago. Researchers believe  “This  may  be  partly due  to… the  direct  response nature of the commercials themselves, which  tended to emphasize one product.”


The effect of one call to action  per medium cannot be overlooked.   The   more choices you ad, the more confusion  you   ad.  The problem with  “publish or perish” is that you start focusing  on  list  building, or likes,  or followers instead of sales.


Even      your      marketing team  gets  confused on  what your  call to action  should be. Imagine what  it does  for the consumer. They  don’t  know whether to email  you,  friend you  on  Facebook,   call  your sales  staff  or  make   a purchase. Clicking away  is easier.


Marketing Consultant Brendan Cournoyer says, “While different content marketing  strategies  may vary      in     purpose     (lead generation, brand awareness, thinking of your  audience of readers versus trying to push your  information out… A lot of ads tend to be more like brochures. Advertorials are more   welcoming  to  the readers if they’re  done properly.”


Are you focused on sales or becoming the next great New York publishing house?


Here is an easy way to tell. Count the number of clicks between your customer and your sales staff. If it’s 3 or more, you need to rethink your strategy.


Howard Sholkin, director of corporate communication for International Data Group, “If done well, it forces marketers to be more outside in, meaning you’re thinking of your audience of readers versus trying to push your information out… A lot of ad brochures. Advertorials are more welcoming to the readers if they’re done properly.”


Advertorials are not a marketing strategy that will replace your need to connect with your customers. At worst, they are a lead generation strategy. At best, they are a powerful sales tool. They do what you hope a cold call will do. They do some of your prospecting, but with fewer man hours. They soften the customer up and turns that cold call into a warm lead. It transforms your salesman’s job from prospecting to qualifying the customer.


Best Regard.


Are You Managing Your Marketing or is it Managing You?


Do you want to simplify your content marketing strategy?


Have you built an effective lead funnel?


Let’s talk about getting you more clients and fitting this method into your existing business model?


p={color:#000;}. Connect with me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yashevemiller


Why Work With Me


I am backed by a small team of copywriting enthusiasts.


We are comprehensive in our approach. Not only do we create the content, we devise the strategy to market the content. That means, we also create the content to draw prospects to your pillar content, then we create the methods for following up with the leads that you do generate. We believe in doing what works, not just getting your money.


It’s better to have you refer us to others than getting your one-time payment.


We are published, therefore vetted by traditional media publishers – magazines, journals, etc


We simplify the content marketing process for you


A combined 40 years of sales experience (highly unusual for content creators)


Knowledge of both financial industry and financial products.


Advertorials: Direct Response Marketing at its Best

Publishing content in an advertorial style is effective in: • Explaining complicated processes in a way that traditional ads cannot. • Gives the customer information to think about. • Is less intimidating, so that the customer isn’t already on the defensive and is more receptive to the sales pitch. • Builds your credibility in the industry and establishes your expertise on the subject matter. • Expresses your brand philosophy and identity without shoving it down the customer’s throat. • Turns a prospect into a referrer if he himself is not ready to buy now. Your prospect is no fool. They know you’re in business to make money. They’re not going to be offended if you’ve proven your unique selling proposition, then asked them to do business with them. It’s more honest. It lets them know that if they are not ready now, they’ll know where to go when they are ready. Johanna Schlossberg, associate media director at Clive, Davis & Mann and Gwen Canter VP, media director at Sidler & Hennessey have researched the effectiveness of advertorials thoroughly. Their research reveals that “…advertorials were shown to be more effective than branded ads in terms of generating interest, providing valuable information, and provoking follow-up discussions.” The other option, publishing ridiculous amounts of tripe, might have the opposite effect from what you expected. You may become the source of FREE information and it never occurs to the prospect to do business with you. He acquires knowledge from you to take elsewhere to make a business deal. This is not how content marketing worked for early adopters of digital platforms. They didn’t have the same type of competition in the market. Today, you have tons of competition (and not just within your own industry). Advertorials are an amazing content strategy that puts you in the driving seat.

  • Author: Y Miller
  • Published: 2016-05-15 20:20:07
  • Words: 3057
Advertorials: Direct Response Marketing at its Best Advertorials: Direct Response Marketing at its Best