Having been running businesses for close to 40 years of which 33 were in the advertising industry, I thought I would write an article on how to get the most from your advertising. To put it very simply, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative” – a quote from David Ogilvy. We have to be creative with our advertising message whether we are putting the message on a billboard, on a website, social media or promoting ourselves at a networking event. 

We need to be creative about our businesses at all times. We need an attention grabbing headline. This is the only way people will read on. It needs to be big and bold and take up somewhere near to a third of the advertising space. Your contact details go at the bottom of the advert. No one cares what your name is, all they care about is how you can help them. It could be a question but make it powerful and make it a question that your target market will relate to, but understand however you are advertising, the only people who are going to be interested in the product or service you are selling are those who are looking for that product or service at that particular time. This is why you need a really powerful message. 

I have been networking with other business owners for over 30 years and so often I hear the same message again and again and we all switch off when people do this. Change the message, make it powerful. Start with an attention grabbing headline or a question that most – if not all – the people in the room will relate to. You can finish with your name and business name and contact details. Treat your 60 second pitch as an advertising message and make it creative. 

If you know your target market, then make sure the message is aimed at this market and not everyone who hears or reads your advertising message. Narrow it down. If your target market at a networking event is – for example – accountants, then mention this to everyone in the room as they will all have an accountant. You may also want to mention what you have done over the last week or a conversation you had with someone that people could relate to. 

We all need to think harder about our messages and  if we are not getting the responses we want, don’t comment that networking doesn’t work – it is probably because you are not working it well enough. We need to think about what we are saying and to whom. We need to be accepting that the blame lies with us – and I am talking to myself as I write this article. So don’t stop advertising your business to save money as it is like stopping a watch to save time.

Advertising – in any format – works. The response is going to be purely based on how creative the message is. Think about it next time you post an advert or do a 60 second pitch. Be different. Make sure you stand out from the crowd. Do not just have one 60 second pitch as people will switch off. You want to grab their attention for the full 60 seconds you are speaking. 

If you need any help with your advertising message, drop an email to

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 27/09/2021