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Thursday, September 03, 2009

What is right about this ad?

Jesse Kirchhoff at Handyman Solutions ( in Jefferson City, MO, posted this ad on the forum and received more than his share of criticisms. But he has the perfect response.

It works!

Jesse R. Kirchhoff, Founder/CEO of Handyman Solutions in Jefferson City, Missouri posted it on the forums, and sought out critiques from his contractors. Some took pot shots at it, saying it failed the basic tests for good advertising, including a lack of a clear call to action and the fact that the trucks in the image look less-than-clean.

Consider these two rather forceful comments:
This ad sucks! Stop Me-Me advertising!! Look at the ad? Half the ad is your logo and pictures at the best part of the real estate!

The top of the ad should be a "headline stopper" that sucks you into the ad. Then a sub headline to keep you pulled in and you have no call to action or bribe?

Stop Paying Outrageous Prices For Handy Man Services Today!

Are You Crazy? Don't Pay Contractor Prices When All You Need Is A Handy Man!
and a second criticism:
I'll be a bit easier on you than Carport King since no one needs their bubble burst too hard here. He is right from one respect; you have taken up valuable real estate with 1 van that is dirty and one that doesn't have the decals that the other two have. You don't need, or want, to have people looking at your trucks. They assume you have some way to get to their house.

What you want them to see immediately is what you can do for them. How can you solve a problem they have. How you can help them make their life easier, safer, cleaner, whatever. I don't see a real clear 'call to action' there. I've always been a big proponent of keeping ads like this simple and that comes from a consumer, not an advertiser.

No more than four points on a flier:
  • Who you are (including where)
  • How you help them (hot-button issues and get them wanting more info)
  • What you do (targeted services rather than 100 things)
  • How they contact you (as part of the call to action
But Jesse has the best answer to any of these questions. The ad is effective. His initial response:
We are the highest priced. ME ME advertising as you call it is what built this Brand recognition and top of mind awareness in our niche market that we currently enjoy.

This cheesy little checklist that the advertising vendors said was a mistake (for many of the same reasons that you just mentioned) were wrong. This thing has been a gold mine for us and kept us going and growing through the recession. No bribes, fake discounts or other gimmicks required. We are a professional service not a commodity.
(He says yes the trucks aren't as clean as they should be; this is a last-minute production issue for the current ad. In fact, he writes elsewhere: "You cant tell by the pic but I pay a guy to come out every two weeks and hand wash and dry all five vans + Shelly's ForeRunner. It's $120 a month well spent.")

Other posters suggest some useful ideas, including special phone numbers, small incentives, and most importantly, testing the ads against variables to see if the existing ads can be improved.

I'm going to give Jesse the last word on this blog posting, and leave the type face different, to allow you to think more carefully about his words.
What I have learned from this simple checklist (forget the rest of the ad for a moment) There is something about the written word that acts as a trigger.

I am not talking about the usual run of the mill “call to action”…….. but something much more subtle – sometimes just seeing “that” service that "they" need/or want completed at “that” particular time, actually written down on a list of our most requested projects compels them to call.

People hate calling and asking “Do you do this or this or that?” - probably because of the coarse nature of the stereotypical contractors they have always dealt with.

We have broke through that stereotype giving our clients a great “experience” from the very first look at our marketing all the way through to the last clean up and thank yous. Just like Disney World we are striving to provide that outstanding "experience" not just another great “service”.

In the book "Change to Strange" the author states "You need your workforce to impress customers deeply and profoundly if you want to build a great organization" That gives me goose bumps right there.

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