From the October 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

Bridal-show promoter Carol Boucher of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, recently wrote to say that her enterprise, The Bridal Event, is "drowning in a sea of competition." She hoped some help with her company's ad would turn things around.

My first step was to surf this business category on the Web to see what Boucher was up against--and wow, was she right about the river of rivalry. So what can be done to turn the tide in her favor? My approach would be to solicit attendees of her previous shows for the answer and include their responses in the ad. I've been on a testimonial-as-ad-theme jag lately, and it's for one good reason: Nothing you can say about yourself is as powerful or persuasive as what others say about you.

I used a big wedding-vow headline, "I DO . . ." to pull the browsing reader into the ad. There they'll find that each testimonial plays off the headline with the lead-in line, "I DO prefer The Bridal Event because . . ." followed by the favorable comment. The commentary in the mock-up ad is, of course, made up, and the brides are fictitious. Boucher would need to aggressively solicit actual comments or fish out those she may already have on file. But the important thing to remember is that satisfied customers provide your best ad copy--and they do it for free. How can you beat that? So find your most satisfied customers, introduce them, put them in the spotlight--then stand aside and let them do the talking.

Before:

This is a routine "me, too" ad that needs to break away from other similar bridal-show ads.

1. The hotly competitive field of bridal shows demands an ad with more than a nameplate for a headline.

2. These bullet points are fine, but they don't distinguish this show from all the others.



After:

This ad will stand apart from its competitors because of its unexpected-but certainly germane-headline.

1. This curiosity-arousing, oversized headline yanks in the bride-to-be and makes her want to read further.

2. The bullet points play nicely off the headline, with the "I DOs" leading into testimonials from previous attendees.





Jerry Fisher is an advertising copywriter, consultant and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising ($39.95), available by calling (800) 247-6553. If you'd like Jerry to consider your materials for a makeover in this column, send them to "Ad Workshop" in care of Entrepreneur, or e-mail him at Jerry228@aol.com.

Contact Source

Carol Boucher Productions, (610) 889-0707