Kevin Jordan, a small business marketing consultant, writes for Duct Tape Marketing on the five ways you can ruin a small business ad. Jordan looked at the good ol’ yellow pages to seek inspiration for some terrible small business advertising. Avoid these mistakes next time you create an ad for your business.

Five mistakes of every terrible ad:

  1. Irrelevant Headlines: A good headline will determine whether or not people will look at your ad; an ad that doesn’t communicate anything about your target audience or what of service your are offering, is a bad advertising move. When creating a headline mention your target audience, what you do, your value proposition, and some kind of hook.
  2. Avoid bullet points: More often than not, you’re offering the same services and products as your competition. Instead of using bullet points, pin point what your company does that the competition does not.
  3. Impossible and Overused Promises: Don’t use cliched promises in your ad. Use testimonials from customers instead where they mention your low prices, great service, and excellent quality.
  4. Meaningless Trust Symbol or Endorsement: Terrible ads often use clip art to portray something about their company (i.e, using a shield icon with a lock to indicate security). If you use “trust symbols” in your ads, do so with symbols that actually are associated with your brand and your target audience.
  5. Lack of Tracking Method: If you’re going to invest in advertising, you want to know where you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Are you getting clients through a coupon offer? Online ad? You want to be able to track where your advertising budget is going. This mistake Jordan says is the most common. Make sure you have a way of tracking where your new clients are coming from.
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