The problems with your ad (plus the simple fixes)

OK, you’re here because you want to see the problems with your ad, AND how to fix them.

Below are the 5 most common problems I see local businesses make with their print ads. Keep reading to see:

  • what they are,
  • how to spot them in your old ad, and
  • how the simple fixes that can transform your ad into a pipeline of new customers & clients.

Problem #1: Not tracking your results

Your ad might be generating business, but without tracking where you get new customers & clients, you don’t know which ads or ad placements (e.g., publications, websites, billboards, etc.) have the highest ROI.

Tracking for online ads is built-in with any ad platform–whether it’s Google Adwords, Facebook ads, etc.

But offline ads & marketing, tracking your results requires a bit more creativity and know-how.

By tracking where new customers & clients come from, you might be able to eliminate 30%, 50%, or even up to 80% of advertising costs you spend on ads that don’t bring you business.

Fix it:

There are a few ways to track your results, and how you do it will depend on how many ads you have, whether you’re running them online or offline, and other factors.


  • If you want people to call you, track the calls from each ad.
  • If you want people to go to your website, have a different link for each ad, then you can see the traffic you get to each link.
  • If you want people to email you, have a different email for each ad, and track the number of emails for each ad.

Problem #2: No call-to-action

In advertising & marketing parlance, a “call-to-action” is simply the behavior you want people to take. Do you want them to call you, email you, download something, purchase a product, etc.?

Without a call-to-action in your ad, you dramatically reduce your ad’s results.

And the whole point of spending money on advertising & marketing is to get new business, right?

So why not do everything you can–including time-tested strategies & tactics–that produce the best results?

Fix it:

A call-to-action is simply a suggestion or instruction for what you want prospective customers to do. And it’s best to feature it prominently in your ad, so that people can’t miss or ignore it.

For example:

  • “Call today to book your free session (no obligation)”
  • “Click here to email us now”
  • “Visit to see if you qualify”

Problem #3: Asking prospects to buy something high-priced

When your first contact with prospects is asking them to buy something high-priced, you turn people off.

Selling is a bit like dating. You can’t show up at your first date with someone on bent knee proposing marriage–that’s just creepy.

What works better is to let them get to know & trust you before asking for something big.

Fix it:

Even if your main products/services really have high price points, there are still things you can offer to initially engage prospective customers.

For example, even if you’re selling million-dollar jet engines, you could start by offering smaller things, like: a service/maintenance checkup, accessories, an evaluation of their existing engines & systems, etc. Then, when you get the initial small sale, you can up-sell & cross-sell to bigger-ticket products & services.

Problem #4: People don’t know what you offer and/or for whom

If people have to decode what you do & who you do it for, they’ll move on. And you’ll lose potential customers.

Your ad needs to be clear enough that someone can look at it, and within 3 seconds, know what you do and if you could help them.

Being clever with your ad, or trying to say everything you do (see the next mistake below) often clouds your message & turns potential customers away.

Be simple, direct, and specific.

Fix it:

There are a few easy ways to fix this problem:

  • Include pictures of people in your ad who look like your ideal customer.
  • Clearly state what you do–specifically. For example, instead of “couture level care”, try “eco-friendly leather cleaning”–with a photo of someone who’d look like your ideal customer wearing a high-end leather coat.

Problem #5: Saying EVERYTHING you do

This problem is related to #4 above. Most businesses mistakenly think that telling people EVERYTHING they do–or could help with–will increase sales.

But the truth is, appealing to everyone for everything means that no one will think you can help them with anything.

Yes, you probably have lots of products & services that help different kinds of customers & clients. The key is targeting different customer types with different messages & offers.

Fix it:

First, identify your highest-value customer types and the most common and/or highest-value things they buy from you.

Then, tweak your ad so it appeals to a specific customer type for the problem they want solved or benefit they want. You’ll have an easier time getting those people to identify with the ad & what you offer.

Want more help?

It’s OK–your expertise is in your products & services, not advertising. It only makes sense that you could use a hand with marketing.

We can help.

Ask us:

  • Either email us to chat, or
  • Call us for a quick chat (no obligation) at 505.349.8811
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