“If you focus on results you will never change. If you focus on change you WILL get results.”

I’ve learnt lots over the past 12 months, as I always do, and one of the most important lessons is the power of focus and persistence. No matter what industry you’re in, what your turnover is or what you’re goals are, if you have a clear focus and market consistently in line with that focus then you will grow your business effectively.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; how often in life do you look for something generic or for a generalist?

If you’re ill do you want a specialist or just a GP to treat you?

If you are learning a language do you want someone who knows a little bit of lots of languages or someone who focuses on helping people learn one language well?

If you are having a mural painted on your child’s wall, do you want your local handyman to do it or an artist who specialises in murals?

There are a million examples.

How many times have you sat and thought ‘Oh I’m going to scan the advert section of this magazine and just see what pops up’? Usually you are looking for something specific or you are reading the magazine and flicking past the adverts when one appears in your view that is selling exactly what you’re looking for. Only then do you take notice and take action.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you sell only one thing. This can of course work very well but most businesses do lots of things and that’s just fine. There is a but here though; if you are trying to promote everything you sell in one advert then you are missing a trick for your business.

Look at it this way. Let’s say you’re a 40 year old woman and you’re looking for a new haircut. You have a budget of around £80 for it and you’re looking for somewhere that will have you feeling pampered. You’re flipping through a magazine and you find 2 competing businesses with the same sized advert, on the same page.

One says ‘we do all styles of hair cut for all ages’ and has a photo of a woman with a funky hair cut and their web address and telephone number.

The other has a main image of a woman with an in-fashion hairstyle and also has a smaller image of the inside of the salon and it looks lovely. It has a headline: “Treat yourself to a new style this season”, then has a small piece of text telling you about how you’ll be welcomed in, given a drink and can enjoy the experience and leave feeling like a new woman. It then has a strong call to action telling you to call now for an appointment listing the telephone number clearly and an offer of ‘get a free hair product when you use a reference code to book’.

Which one do you choose?

It’s pretty obvious isn’t it! But how often do you see adverts in magazines that tell the reader nothing about the experience and have no WIFM factor: That’s the ‘What’s In It For Me’.

In my years as a graphic designer I have done my fair share of ‘pretty’ adverts. They look great but they don’t say a lot. In the early days because I didn’t know any better and more recently because clients very often feel scared to go specific or feel a more generic approach will work best for them.

Sure the advert looks nice, is consistent with their branding and is a lovely one to have in the portfolio from a style perspective, but when you actually look at the whole reason behind the advert and the investment in it, really it’s purely a brand awareness exercise that most likely is not going to bring in the ROI (Return On Investment) that you are hoping for and is better suited to enormous companies that have money to burn on their marketing.

What can you do to stand out this year?

Get more focused of course! I’d love for you to explore getting more specific with your branding and your promotions this year. Try your hand at creating a plan that focuses on a specific subject area each month and then create a marketing strategy to work for that.

Perhaps you’ll choose one product to promote each month, or maybe you have enough of a team around you that each of you can focus on a different area? Either way start looking at how you can get in front of the people that want what you’re selling and say the things they need to hear to get them taking action and buying from you.

Get inside your Ideal Client’s head for that product or service and only place your advertising where they will be. Use words that will resonate with them and make sure you have a strong call to action on every advert you do that tells your reader what you want them to do next.

If you implement these tips you will see a difference in the response from your promotions. You’ll start to see what works best where and you can then tweak your marketing to ensure that the places that get the most return are the places you spend the majority of your money and effort. The ones that are not performing get changed or ditched if they’re not doing what you want.


Remember, I love to know how this might have helped you and all the good stuff happens when you get talking about your lightbulb moments so do join in the conversation and share your thoughts below…


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