Why Advertisers Should Sweat The Small Stuff

BusinessMarketing & Advertising

  • Author Rivka R Meyer
  • Published August 22, 2021
  • Word count 585

'Don’t sweat the small stuff' is good advice in many instances, but not necessarily in marketing. Keeping your focus on the small things frequently makes your advertising more effective. This is especially the case if you are marketing to individuals. That’s because marketing needs to be personal, relatable and specific if you want to influence your audience.

Imagine you own a business selling energy-saving lighting products. You could run an advert which reads “Our products keep the country’s carbon footprint down.” A very worthy consideration but, apart from a few idealists, it isn’t likely to attract customers.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, everyone wants to know ‘what’s in it for me?’ Our overriding interest is in our own welfare. The average consumer might agree the country should reduce its carbon footprint, but if you really want to catch their attention, you need to make your advertising about them.

Your advert needs to be personal.

“Our energy-saving light bulbs will save you money” is much better. It tells people that there’s an individual benefit to them.

We’re not finished yet though. It also has to be relatable. A promise of saving money is a bit too vague. We need something more specific if we want it to be real to the reader. A shampoo advert doesn’t say the shampoo will make your hair ‘better’. It gives specifics. The shampoo will make your hair shinier, thicker, easier to control.

Being specific makes the benefit more relatable and thus more attractive.

“Our energy-saving light bulbs can save you £50 a year” gives a specific sum. There’s now a concrete benefit, not a vague benefit.

But we can go one better and make it even more relatable by showing what difference that money saving will make to the consumer. Your audience needs to know how it can make a difference.

Charities are great at doing this. They don’t run adverts saying, “95% of children in XXXX live below the poverty line.” That would generate plenty of tsks from readers, but it would probably stop there. There’s nothing to grip the imagination, and most people would assume only a millionaire could help anyway. It’s too big. Instead, charities will use lines such as “7-year-old Burhaan hasn’t been to school for a year because he has no shoes to wear.” By stressing the small stuff – the individual – it makes it personal and relatable. Not only is it more effective at garnering sympathy, it also shows how even a small donation can make a difference, prompting more people to donate.

Back to our £50 saving then and how to show our readers that it can make enough difference to their lives to make it worth switching to your product.

Good writers and public speakers know to convert hard-to-imagine things into familiar objects or ideas. For example, describing the size of a new battleship in terms of how many football pitches or Olympic swimming pools would fit on it. Charities often tell you what can be purchased for specific sums of money. “£XXX will provide one village in XXX with clean water for a year.” For my own use, I usually convert cost savings into bars of chocolate. Not everyone shares my dedication to chocolate though. What we need here is a widespread expense which frequently worries people, where £50 would make a significant difference.

“Our energy-saving light bulbs let you put away an extra £50 a year for your Christmas shopping.”

Personal, relatable and specific.

Rivka R Meyer is a copywriter and editor. You can see more of her blog articles at www.abetterword.co.uk.

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