Make your marketing much more effective

effective marketingBy Jim Augustus Armstrong Effective marketing can be divided into two broad categories: direct response and branding. Direct response aims to get an immediate response from potential customers by giving them a strong call to action. Branding, also known as “ delayed response, ” is where you list your business name repeatedly to build brand awareness over time.

The challenge with branding is that it is very expensive and takes a long time to generate results. That’s why I’m teaching dealers the science behind instant response. When done correctly, it is possible to post a promotion online, for example via email, and get responses in minutes. A fortunate added benefit is that you build brand awareness over time.

Let’s break down the different elements of a strong direct response message:


Every ad, website, or landing page should have an eye-catching, benefit-laden headline. The headline is the ‘ad for the ad’. It makes potential customers stop and read more of your message. A big mistake I see dealers make is using their company name as the headline. If someone is looking for a flooring store online, they probably don’t know what your business name is. They seek an answer to their unspoken question, “Why should I do business with you instead of your competitor?” Make sure your headline answers that question.


These create a path with duplicate readers. Some people are readers; some are skimmers. Subtitles give skimmers all the important benefits of your business or your offer.

Social proof

Add anything to build credibility like awards, experience, certifications, etc. Explain why having these things will benefit the potential customer. Show “before” and “after” photos of your work. Use photos of satisfied customers. Testimonials are the most powerful form of social proof. What others say about you is 100 times more powerful than what you say about yourself – even if you are 100 times more eloquent.

Be personal

You should write the way you talk. Prospects must see that you are a real person. Do not use ‘advertising’. Example: We at Boring Flooring strive to be No. 1 in customer satisfaction, superior service, etc. That’s advertising. Nobody talks like that in real life, so don’t do it in your marketing.


Breaking down $ 3,000 – $ 10,000 or more for flooring is a big purchase. Prospects fear they will choose the wrong floor, get ripped off, end up with sloppy craftsmanship or that the floor will fall apart in two years. Strong guarantees that these things won’t happen act as a risk reversal for your potential customers and give them the confidence to buy from you.


I generally steer dealers away from direct price discounts. Other options can be a “freemium” if they buy a minimum amount (rug, vacuum cleaner, dinner for two, movie tickets, etc.) or “limited availability” for a specific product.

Deadline / call to action

Be specific. “Call or visit before July 20th to get the special.” If there is no deadline, your offer is usually incomplete. This is for people going to the end of the post.

Note: Not every web page or ad will need or have space for every element. I consider the most important elements to be: 1) headline; 2) testimonials; and 3) offer with deadline.

Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, drive higher margins and work on their chosen hours. For information, visit

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