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Marketing Tips for Dentists
Published by Galen Stilson
Direct Response Copywriter/Consultant
Dental Marketing a specialty

To Boost Response & Profit From Your
Dental Ads

The following represents a potpourri of ideas typical of some of the information I'll be sharing with over the next few months in "Successful Dentist Advertising." If you have questions, drop me an e-mail note.

>> The HEADLINE is 60% to 80% responsible for the success or failure of an ad. 

Thus, it pays to spend a proportionate amount of your ad creation time trying to come up with a "great" headline. I'll cover what it  takes to create a great headline in an upcoming issue.

>> What causes consumers to believe or disbelieve an ad?

According to a Roper survey, 60% of consumers believe ads that promise a money-back guarantee. (You should be giving a money-back guarantee. I'll cover this more in an upcoming issue.) 57% believe ads which say the product or service is approved by some health or medical group like the American Dental Association (third party endorsements). And 46% believe ads making claims based upon user survey results.

>> Advertorials (editorial style ads) generally enjoy a higher readership than regular display ads.

Assuming the higher readership represents real prospects, this type of advertising is worth testing. According to advertising guru, David Ogilvy, editorial style ads will boost readership by about 50% over standard-looking ads. And in a split-run test conducted in Reader's Digest years ago, an editorial style ad boosted response by 80% over the standard response ad layout.

Of course, high readership doesn't mean anything if it doesn't represent people interested in your offer. So the creation of response advertorials requires a different approach and different skills than creating a display ad. I'll also be covering this topic in more depth in upcoming issues.

>> If you are currently using larger ads, here's a test for you to try ...

Let's say you are currently running a 3 column by 8 inch ad. Break it down into two ads ... one an advertorial and one a regular display ad. You could do a 1 column by 8 inch advertorial and 2 column by 8 inch display ad. Be sure to run them beside each other ... but make them appear separate.

Of course, the advertorial needs to look like typical editorial copy. This combination takes advantage of both the added readership potential of editorial ads ... and the selling power of typical response ads.

>> Keep your ad out of the gutter. 

I mentioned this last issue: Numerous studies have shown that ads located in the gutter of a publication (the columns abutting the center fold of a page) get noticed and responded to less (by up to 50% according to one test) than other ad placement locations. Therefore, if you're running fractional ads, especially one column ads, try to get a commitment from the publication that your ad will not adjoin the gutter.

>> Usually a one-color ad will be more cost-effective than two color.  Two-color ads tend to pull more, but seldom by enough to justify the added expense.

>> If you do use a two-color ad, be sure to use the second color to highlight only a few key points.

Reason: A second color, particularly a bright color like red, attracts the eye like a magnet. Thus, it give you an opportunity to attract a reader to the key selling points (benefits) in your ad. But when you overuse color and try to make too much stand out, you dilute it's value. In fact, I've seen ads where so much of the second color was used that the black stood out as different and thus the reader's eye was attracted to the copy printed in black.

Remember, the more things you try to make look important ... the less important each one will be perceived. Be selective with what you choose to highlight.

>> When you use a large photo or illustration in your ad ...

Be sure to put the main headline/copy below the photo. Reason: The reader's eye goes to the photo/illustration first (usually the largest one if there are more than one) ... then tends to drop down (it follows the Law of Reading Gravity) and not go back up. Thus, if the headline/copy is placed above above the photo, some people will not go back up to read it. 

Questions? Let me know.

'Til next issue, best regards ...


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Copyright 2006 by Galen Stilson. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.