Is Your Brochure Working? Tips For Improving Your Ad Efforts

Posted by:

The Intrigue of the Unfinished

Sometimes less is more.  Take the title of this article as a case in point.  It hints at useful information without providing an immediate answer.  It is left incomplete, unfinished.  You have to read the article to obtain the answers.  This is the “power of the unfinished” at work, and it can become a useful marketing tool for you.

Every time I write an article for my website I’m challenged to come up with a good title.  I have only a few words to work with and those words need to pique my reader’s interest quickly or they’ll move on to something else.  Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t.  But I know that one of my most powerful marketing tools each and every week is the title.  If it doesn’t engage a reader then they won’t read the article.

The title I chose today is simple, direct and speaks with a certain level of authority that suggests I have specific content you’ll want to know about.  In addition, it asks a question about a topic many people in our profession can relate to.  This, in turn, produces an emotional reaction and response.  If you have a brochure that you’re not happy with then the title might persuade you to look further.  In addition, I chose to reference a specific piece of advertising.  I could have said, “Is Your Advertising Working?” but I thought that might be too general and too much of a cliché.  I thought that referencing a specific piece of advertising would be something people could relate to on a deeper level.  Did I succeed?  Only you know the answer to that!

Overall, when I write an article one of my goals is to create a title that compels a reader to click on the “Read More” link.

At its most basic level, this is what you hope to accomplish no matter what form of advertising you choose to use.  You want your audience to “Read More” and “Do More”.

Let’s look at a mental health example to further clarify the power of this influential technique.  Suppose I choose to advertise a new workshop that is designed to empower people to create richer and more meaningful lives for themselves.  I might post a statement on my website or as a printed advertisement.  If I use the “unfinished” technique effectively then my marketing message might look something like this:

“Do you find yourself stuck in a rut where life seems to lack meaning and fulfillment?  There are seven key steps to enriching your life in ways you may not have imagined.  Are you utilizing all of these principles?”

Or it might look like this:

“Are you finding yourself feeling down on a daily basis?  Do you wake up in the morning dreading the day to come?  There are powerful solutions, and they can be employed now to produce immediate results.  To find out more about these solutions contact Joe Smith at 777-7777.”

Both of these are examples of advertising copy that engages an audience and encourages them to take action so they might learn more.

Teaser Campaigns

There is a hospital in my local area that is doing an amazing job of using “The Intrigue of the Unfinished” concept as a marketing tool for a billboard advertising campaign.  They chose to engage people using what is called a “teaser campaign” meaning they initially post an advertisement with no branding and very little information.  It’s designed to build interest and action by “teasing” the viewer with just enough information that he/she is compelled to take notice and act.

The company’s initial billboards consisted of a simple question, “They Knew, Did You?” They had different images of families, couples and individuals on the billboard.  Below that was a website address:  You didn’t know who the company was or what they were talking about.  But you could take action and go to the website to find out.  Those that were curious enough to do so were rewarded with information about the company and they were presented with compelling statements like these.

If you were to click on the “Did you?” links on their website you would be taken to real stories from people in the community along with the powerful tagline, “Now You Know.”

The hospital, East Cooper Regional Medical Center, ran this billboard for one month.  After that they ran a second series of billboards.   This time the billboards were clearly branded with the hospital logo.  In addition, they began answering the initial question that was raised in the first set of billboards.  One example was, “East Cooper Regional Medical Center. We Know Women.”

This is compelling advertising at its finest.

The message from this campaign can be transferred to your own personal marketing efforts.  You don’t need to adopt a traditional teaser campaign to improve your advertising.  But if you think about the “teaser elements” (e.g., build curiosity, reach people on an emotional level, be genuine and show you know your stuff, keep your message simple and thought provoking) and incorporate them into your marketing messages you will begin to see dramatic results.



  1. Martie Adams  September 8, 2009

    Very thought provoking! I must admit that I saw the “they knew did you?” ads and thought about looking up the website, but didn’t. I wasn’t curious enough, I suppose.

    Thanks for your articles, David!

# #