Fire Starters

Pumping Up The Pitch

Bowers' centerpiece of salesmanship in the ad is a graphic "burst" with the savings range in it ("Save 20%-75%"). There's no argument that this is a major button to push. But the argument needs more flourish, garnish and relish.

My recommended headline is: "Get just as fit for half the money!" And I'd make it dominate the ad because it is the purest rationale and motivation for jogging into Fitness Trading when you're ready to take the plunge and buy a major piece of exercise equipment. My subhead would read: "Accomplish your goal with previously owned equipment, and save 50% or more. Full warranties available."

As for Bowers' concern that he can't seem to shoehorn all the relevant information into the ad, my suggestion is not to try. Pique their interest with a pithy headline and brief supporting copy and then get them to visit or at least call for elaboration. And since Bowers also does business as an equipment trader--meaning he operates not just as a seller but as a buyer, trader and consignee of fitness equipment--I highlight that information in the ad as well.

Another of Bowers' challenges is that there's a seasonal lull in sales during the summer months when everybody is getting their exercise outdoors. So selling such gear is probably akin to trying to peddle Christmas ornaments in July. What to do? What kind of sales event can the trusty "Advertising Workshop" sale-naming computer come up with to solve the problem? Its response: A contrarian "Who Buys Fitness Equipment in Summer?" Sale. This would be followed by the subhead "Astute shoppers who know they get the steepest discounts off-season!"

Bowers' advertising efforts--and sales--should benefit from a few of these ideas.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Fire Starters.

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