Barbara Bean-Mellinger reports:
"Before you can begin to write an ad to attract business, you have to know who you're trying to attract and who else wants to attract them, too. Decide if you're looking for owners of condos, mansions or something in between; whether you have a preference for interior or exterior painting; whether you'll do partial jobs such as single rooms or ceilings; or whether you focus on homes or big commercial projects. It's just as important to know your competition. Though there most likely are many other painters in your area, your direct competitors are those who do the same type of work and size of jobs as you...Provide examples of what you do especially well. In addition to painting professionally, starting and finishing a job on time and on budget is important to customers. It's a plus if the company owner works on jobs, or supervises them. Let people know...if you specialize in any techniques. If you've been in business for a number of years, talk about having many satisfied customers. Conversely, if your business is new, make that a positive by talking about fresh, new ideas and your experience in the industry...How you get your message across is just as important as what you say in your ad. Help your audience imagine what it would be like to work with you by painting a picture -- telling a story -- for them. If you have the space, use customer testimonials that glowingly report what a beautiful job you do, what a pleasure you are to work with and how pleased they are that they hired you. If space is limited, use powerful, descriptive words such as efficient, professional, pleasure and transform. Turn the most important idea into your headline. It shouldn't tell the whole story; just get their attention so they'll read on. If you can, offer a discount or other one-time deal...Small businesses are held to the same standards as multinational corporations when it comes to advertising. According to the Federal Trade Commission Act, everything stated in your ad must be truthful, not deceptive or misleading. You must be able to...back up your claims with facts or proof...The FTC considers the entire ad and the meaning it conveys when deciding if it is misleading, so omitting something that could make a difference to the consumer is as critical as being untruthful."
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