Profaizer: In Advertising, The Message is Critical
Linda Profaizer, a Colorado resident and immediate past-president of ARVC, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Having stepped away from her association duties at the end of 2010, she welcomes input on topics of importance to campground owners for upcoming columns. This column appears in the December issue of Woodall’s Campground Management.
On a recent trip to northern Georgia, I picked up several local tourism information guides. And, as usual, found many poorly conceived and written ads. Why are there so many ads without any kind of contact information or any mention of a reason that I might want to visit their location? Maybe locals know where or what a particular location is or provides, but visitors to the area might not.
I know we are in a time when people use the Internet and their smart phones, but what a waste to advertise without any contact information – no phone number, no address. Just “ya’ll come” – but where?
It is apparent today that many people cannot – or choose not to – read. They cannot – or choose not to – write, and they absolutely cannot spell.
From what I’m seeing, I’m not even sure these skills are taught in the schools anymore.
A recent USA Today article headlined “Modern ads at a loss for words” talked about the “old” advertising model where the art of explaining the virtues of a product or service and making it seem exceptional and therefore creating desire for it was significantly less important than streamlining how a customer completes a transaction. Or, as one head of a large ad agency put it, “We do not do story. We facilitate the handshake between buyer and seller.”
In the end, the job of an ad is to “sell” your park and get people to stay there. Part of the problem is that advertising doesn’t work as well as it used to. People just do not look at advertising, respond to it or believe it as much as we once did. Customers are more disengaged.
Part of the issue is the amount of advertising we are exposed to every day – over 4,000 messages.
One way to maintain our sanity is to disengage from all those bombardments.
Then there is the ability to write and to write appropriate copy for the medium you are using to promote your park.
Don’t get me wrong; pictures are important, but if you have your website linked to an RV park website, you have to capture people’s attention for your park instead of one of the many other facilities using that medium. The same is true for directory advertising or travel guides. Words can make the difference. You need to stand out. It takes an offer, a benefit and photos, plus a call to action.
Some basic principles of advertising still stand:
- Always include a way that you can be contacted – a complete address, phone number, e-mail address, website and QR code if, you use those.
- A benefit headline that appeals to your target audience such as, “Do you want a fun family vacation?” Then, support that statement.
- A “kicker” which is a line of copy above the headline like, “We cater to kids” or “In the heart of Orlando.”
- Supporting copy. Bullet points are fine.
- Supporting photo or photos showing the family having fun at your park.
- Testimonials are always great – let someone else say good things about your park.
- Call to action: “Make a reservation now and receive the 3rd day at 20% off.”
- If you have a logo, use it everywhere to help establish recognition and awareness.
Overall, the more you get someone to read about your park, the more the reader is engaged by what you are saying and selling. And it does not matter the medium used – words supported by pictures are still so important to the success of your promotions.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Pictures are easy. Words are hard.” I don’t think anyone could argue with the success of the promotion of Apple products.