Improving Online Ad Response: Bigger is not always better
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Improving Online Ad Response: Bigger is not always better

Did you know that the average time a visitor spends on a single web advertisement is less than 2.4 minutes? You might ask, so what?

What it means is that you have less than 2.4 minutes to explain a) who you are; b) what you do; c) why should they join you; and d) what the requirements are for becoming your franchisee--and still leave them time to fill out the application. Needless to say, your window of opportunity is rather small. This means that you must optimize your advertisement to be as efficient as possible. Let's examine the steps to maximize performance.

Step 1: Copywriting

Size of the ad: Recent studies conducted at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University show that the average college student in the United States can read between 250 and 350 words per minute. Taking into consideration that it would take between 15 and 30 seconds to fill out the lead application, you would be left with a window of 250 to 500 words to explain your business.

Getting your message across in 250 to 500 words is quite a feat. To do this we must look at the process a user will take to learn about your brand's history, examine the benefits of becoming a franchisee, view the financial requirements of operating a successful franchise, and build trust in your brand. Let's break this down into sections.

Section 1: The Company History

This is where you explain your company's background. It should contain where and when the company was formed, how long it's been in business, how many franchise locations are currently open, and provide any accolades that the franchise has earned. This will give the user a sense of stability and visible trend of success.

Section 2: The Sales Pitch

In this section you must explain the benefits of being a franchisee. Give the user an accurate portrayal of the day-to-day life of a franchisee. This is the section where it is important to get the visitor excited about your opportunity. Convince the visitor that by becoming franchisee their life will drastically improve.

Section 3: Financials and Requirements

This section is designed to specify what it takes to become a successful franchisee. You should outline the financial requirements and the areas in which you are looking to expand. Paint a clear picture of exactly who you are looking for. You may want to use a bulleted list or simply a tabled chart to show your requirements.

Section 4: Testimonials

The last content block should be the closer. Testimonials often help improve the perceived trustworthiness of a brand. Whenever you can, it is good to list one or two short testimonials, including the city, state, and name of the franchisee. This helps close the deal and urges users to make that final push to take the first step.

Step 2: Visual Appeal

The content is only the first step of what makes a successful ad. The second part is visual attractiveness. By adding colored headlines, photographs, and charts to an advertisement, you can drastically improve its success. However this is a double-edged sword. Each image you place also pulls attention away from the content, reducing the amount of time you have to sell your brand. For best results use no more than two or three images.

Step 3: Pitfalls To Avoid

There are a few things that you should try to avoid when creating an advertisement to sell your franchise.

Sell Your Concept, Not Your Product.

While products are important to your franchise, they are not essential for spurring interest in your concept. Keep in mind that you're not selling them a cup of coffee, you're selling them the store that sells the coffee.

Avoid Overuse of Text Formatting.

Try to use colors and text formatting sparingly. Overuse can cause readers to lose interest or even worse leave the page altogether. Try limiting your ad to two colors, and no more than 50 words in bold text.

Overuse of Images.

While having a few images can add to your web advertisement's appeal, the overuse of images can ruin your message. Another factor to consider is the time it takes for your web page to completely load. Too many images will slow down your ad to the point that could turn away users before it has even loaded.

In closing, when you sit down to plan your web advertisement, keep in mind that the user will be visiting for only 2.4 minutes per page, and that you have to land the deal in that short time frame. Keep it short, simple, and clear.

Published: December 28th, 2005

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