Right out of college I joined a marketing agency based out of Dallas Texas. There I learned a great formula for reeling in leads. Unfortunately, many marketers know this formula, but choose to break message continuity in favor of creativity. If you can follow this formula, and keep message continuity – you will hit home run after home run.

Here is the formula:

  • Interrupt
  • Engage
  • Educate
  • Offer

Interrupt. People say sex sells. They are wrong, It definitely interrupts. But if you are not selling sex, and you use it to interrupt – you won’t get much done. This is the point where most agencies and creative types like to go to work. They use a mix of words and imagery to create in invoking reason to continue on. This is not to say you can’t use creativity, but if the creative is not relative, it won’t help you win the war.

Here is a bad example of interrupting:

This is a bad example because while it does get your attention – it has nothing to with the actual product or why people buy that product. Its funny for the sake of being funny.

Engage. Once you have the attention of your desired audience (key there is desired audience), you want to let them know they were not fooled into looking at your ad, and that they can find what they came looking for.

The following ad does a poor job of standing out or interrupting. But for those who do see the ad – they have done a great job of tapping into what people really want out of a great fitness program.

Educate. The age old question. Do I use a lot of text or very little? The answer is, it depends. It depends on how much education your audience needs to move on to the next step. If I am buying lunch, hardly any education at all. Show me a picture of something delicious and the price and I am good to go. Selecting a wedding planner for my only child’s wedding? A lot more is on the line.

This Facebook ad for razors does a great job of educating men that high quality razors don’t need to be expensive. It is also very engaging as well. In fact, this ad demonstrates that sometimes you can combine the a few of the steps into one. This ad does engage and educate at the same time.

Offer. If you don’t invite to do something, guess what? They won’t do anything. Every ad, every email, every communication needs a call to action. A few years ago I got sucked into a well crafted campaign by Graze. These are the emails I get. Very tempting for me to respond. In fact, I get these emails because I responded, but did not follow through because the free offer was subject to purchase. So let that be a lesson to you. Your offer needs to be unconditional. Otherwise you limit yourself to winning people who are likely to complain that you deceived them. No wonder Graze is not one of the top 10 meal delivery services.

So there you have it. Go create better marketing.