When I first started teaching Taekwon-Do full-time, I thought all I needed to do was some advertising around town, maybe the paper, some smaller local publications and the yellow pages (yes, the yellow pages were still being used back then).
I figured enough people would see my name, my logo and start flocking to my school. It didn’t take long before there was more money going out than coming in I realized that I had no idea how to do effective advertising.
You can break advertising down into two main categories – institutional advertising and direct response advertising.
Institutional advertising is mostly what an ad agency would sell you, or any other media representative. This is what you mostly see on television commercials, billboards, and sponsorships. The focus is on getting your name out there and recognized by the masses. Take college bowl games for example. Every year people are cracking jokes about the seemingly absurd names of the bowl games. There’s the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, the Discover Orange Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the AT&T Cotton Bowl and I could go on and on. There’s even the Godaddy.com Bowl.
These companies have no illusions that after the game everyone in the stands and everyone watching on television are going to go out and buy new insurance from Allstate, a Vizio television, get a Discover card, buy a new domain name from GoDaddy or switch their plan to AT&T. And it’s a good thing they don’t because that obviously doesn’t happen.
What they are doing is spending millions of dollars on advertising that they can’t track, hoping that you’ll associate the fuzzy feelings you have for your team with that company who has their name plastered everywhere during the game.
Big companies can afford to do this, but the small entrepreneur (or Taekwon-Do school owner) generally can’t afford that kind of advertising. The small entrepreneur is looking for a way to invest $1 in marketing today and get it back with profit right away so he can cover the check he wrote for the ad in the first place!
That can never happen with institutional advertising. It can only happen with direct response advertising.
With direct response advertising there is always accountability and tracking. For every dollar you invest, there is a direct, usually fast and always measurable return of that dollar plus some profit.
After learning this, direct response advertising is the only advertising I do.
Today I’m going to share with you my cheat sheet that I use for creating direct response ads that produce results.
1. Headline with a Hook-
The headline must speak directly to your target market, getting their attention. It can be a question, it can be outrageous, or even worrisome. The bottom line is that it must be directed towards the specific person you want to attract and address something that they are dealing with.
The sub-headline is there to keep them reading. You want the copy to flow with one sentence leading to the next, keeping the reader interested and pulling them through the copy in your ad.
3. Keep it Simple-
Focus on the benefits of Taekwon-Do and those specific to your business. Some people focus on the features rather than the benefits. The features are the great things about what you do and offer. The benefits are what it means to the client. It’s great if you have (features) padded floors, internationally certified instructors, and kids and adult classes, but your client wants to know what that means to them. So you want to list them as benefits such as floors that will keep you and your family safe, instructors that are on the cutting edge the latest teaching methods making classes fun and exciting, and separate kids and adult classes so that you will be able to train with the speed and intensity appropriate for your age level. See the difference?
4. Use Graphics and Images Wisely-
There is always a pull to use fancy graphics and cool images, but you must make sure that they only add to the message you are sending in your ad. If the ad is for kids classes and the graphic is two adults fighting with one getting blasted in the head, it doesn’t make sense and confuses your prospect. Confused prospects don’t respond to ads and don’t buy.
5. Break it up-
Have some white space. If your ad looks too cluttered, if it’s hard on the eyes or if it has pictures or content that appears irrelevant your prospect will move on.
6. Make an Offer-
There must always be an offer, and not just any offer, but an enticing one! When you see the Goodyear blimp over a stadium, you just see the logo. There’s no offer letting you know that, “right now you can get four tires for the price of three if you call this number before the end of the game!” There has to be something there for them to take advantage of.
7. Include a Call-To-Action-
This is one that most people miss when creating their ad. There must be a very specific, step-by-step call to action. You must tell them exactly what you want them to do in order to take advantage of the offer. If you want them to call you, then tell them to pull their phone out of their pocket right now, dial 555-555-5555 and when the person on the other end of the line answers, say, “I want to take advantage of the _____ offer!”
8. Create Urgency-
Your prospects need a reason to act. There needs to be a limited quantity of what you are offering or a deadline to act. If you don’t include a reason for your prospects to act, they won’t.
9. Include a Promo Code for Tracking
There are many ways you can use this. You must have ways to track your response rates and there are many ways that range from the very sophisticated to the very simple. It doesn’t matter what you use, as long as you use something. You can use separate domain names to attach to different offers, you can have people call and say something specific and unique, or you can send them somewhere on line and give them a promo code to enter when they purchase to get a discount.
10. Contact Information-
You must have a way to gather their contact information. As part of your offer, there should be components that allow you to ask for their contact information. For example if you send them a free gift then it would make complete sense to ask them for their name, number, and address. The more information you collect, the better. It allows you continue to follow up with prospects who don’t buy with many different media in many different ways.
Use these 10 shortcuts as a checklist to reference before sending out any marketing or advertising you do for your Taekwon-Do School. When you effectively put all of these components together, you can dramatically increase the response rate of your advertising. As you can see, you’ll want to stop and take the time to do this well. If you have someone else doing it for you, then be sure that all of these components are included in what ever they create for you.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do winning numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org