When you sit down to create your next piece of advertising, consider this: Rather than just telling prospects how they'll benefit as your customer or client, why not give them an actual dose of that benefit before they buy?
In other words, educate them. Ingratiate yourself by generously and unselfishly sharing some of your secrets or expertise on the subject at hand before asking them for money. The prospect will see you as someone who obviously knows your stuff and whose advice, service or product seems worth paying for.
Offering just such an "ad-ucation" is my suggestion to Marlow Wootton, executive director at Walla Walla Community Hospice in Washington. While a hospice is not an entrepreneurial enterprise in the typical sense, it shares the same advertising challenges of any small business. Wootton sent me some of the ads the hospice runs; for a makeover, I picked the one I thought was the best of the lot.
Since I've always been a pulpit-pounding advocate of testimonial advertising, especially in an area as emotion-provoking as this one, this particular ad emphasizing customer comments is a good start. I like the headline "Dear Hospice" because it's unexpected and thus draws me in. But because Wootton is not satisified with the response from the ads the hospice is running, I'm going to suggest one that incorporates the testimonials but adds "ad-ucational" elements.
Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter and welcomes submissions to this column. He is also author of the manual Creating Successful Small Business Advertising. For more information, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope in care of "Advertising Workshop," Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92714. Or contact Jerry via CompuServe at 73150,132 or America Online at Jerry 228.