My Queue

Your Queue is empty

Click on the next to articles to add them to your Queue


Eliminate some of your ad's excesses, and it can garner more attention.

Kathy Eldridge, founder of Spar-Clean Services LLC, a carpet-cleaning business in Muskego, Wisconsin, expressed her frustration over the ad she'd been running in local publications and directories. Her biggest worry is that the ad lacks a clear focus. Well, she's right. It's a rumpus room of an ad, a bit too helter-skelter to invite the eye. So, here are some suggestions to make her ad leaner, meaner and more focused:

First, let's hoist one of the strongest elements, the warning message, to the top. Humankind's two most powerful motivators are fear and greed, so here's a case where we need to push the fear button. My recommended headline is, "Avoid These...6 Carpet Cleaning No-No's!" The subhead provides potential customers with a number to call for a taped message of those errors. Remember to stay away from headlines like the one in Eldridge's current effort. A "we" message is basically self-congratulatory and chest-pounding. The prospect wants a "you" message, direct or inferred, because it relates to them, not you.

Eldridge also needs to siphon out the third-party logos in the ad and collapse some of the copy to reduce overcrowding and sharpen the focus on a single message. I'd keep the creepy dust mite, though. The temptation is great to cram every possible benefit into a small ad. But providing some breathing room allows the important elements to stand out and have much more impact on the browsing reader.

Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter in the San Francisco Bay area and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising (available through Bookmasters, 800-247-6553). If you'd like Jerry to consider your materials for a makeover in this column, write to him c/o Entrepreneur or e-mail him at

Contact Source

  • Spar-Clean Services LLC, (888)679-9691, fax: (262)679-3320

This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »