What Watching Peter Pan Taught Me About Advertising

Small Business Advertising with Peter Pan

As a smart micro business owner, you know how crucial it is to ensure your advertising is efficient and effective.

After all, you don’t want to throw away valuable time, money and effort.

As such, I’m always on the lookout for marketing that works to figure out how I can use it to promote SpinLessPlates.

Now last weekend I was watching Peter Pan with my little gems Isabella and Jemima. And I saw a great piece of advertising in action that I’d like to share with you.

My business brain was on red alert when the “Elegant Captain Hook” scene started up and the poor Lost Boys were subjected to a highly persuasive pitch by the dastardly Hook to join his pirate crew.

Hook’s approach is highly effective, and in just a few short minutes you’ll see a number of proven advertising techniques in action. So read on to discover exactly how Captain Hook tries to - well - “hook” his captive audience...

Sung by Captain Hook:

“As a special offer for today,
I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
All those who sign without delay,
Will get a free tattoo!

Why it’s like money in the bank
Come on join up and I’ll be frank,
Unless you do you’ll walk the plank!
The choice is up to you.”

Sung by Hook’s Crew:

“You’ll love the life of a thief,
You’ll relish the life of a crook.
There’s barrels of fun for everyone,
And you’ll get treasures by the tonne!
So come and sign the book.
Join up with Captain Hook!”

How to “Hook” your customers - Captain Hook style.

1. Always lead with your best headline

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline whilst only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your content.

Which means if your headline fails to attract attention, the rest of your content is wasted. Hook’s is very simple:

“A special offer for today...”

This approach evokes curiosity (just what is the offer?) and is time limited. The headline has successfully got the Lost Boys interested and now the rest of his pitch can do the selling.

Action: How can you increase the impact and effectiveness of your headlines?

2. Focus on benefits, NOT features

Your customers are only interested in WIIFM (that’s What’s In It For Me).

It’s unusual for product / service features to initiate emotion and get your buyer excited, but benefits do. Again take Hook. He makes the pirate life sound exciting. You can expect “barrels of fun” and lots of wealth. In fact, it’s so great you’ll “relish” and “love” it.

This is far more powerful than outlining the features of the job (e.g. cleaning the deck, putting your life at risk, sleeping in a hammock etc).

Action: What’s in it for your customer? Turn your features into benefits and promote these in your advertising.

3. Entice with an offer

Offers are great as an enticement to encourage a customer to act now. Hook promises the Lost Boys they’ll get a free tattoo.

To succeed with offers you need to make sure they stand out. Avoid the boring 10% off and other vanilla, predictable temptations. In comparison, think of something that will help you make money. For example:

  • Offer a free eBook or download (make it good though)
  • Create bundles or packages as they encourage customers to buy more

Action: What offers could you explore to attract customers and make more sales?

4. Include consequences if your audience fails to act now

Hook makes it clear. If you turn down his offer he’ll make you walk the plank! And it works. As Hook’s pitch finishes, the Lost Boys are pictured rushing toward the sign-up desk, eager to join up and stating reasons such as:

“But Captain Hook is very insistent”
“He says we’ll walk the plank if we don’t”.

Now I’m not suggesting for one second you threaten your customers, but what is interesting is how Hook makes it clear there are real consequences for turning him down.

Action: How can you persuade potential customers they’ll lose out from NOT buying now?

5. Support your premise with testimonials

Hook pitches first, but his crew seal the deal.

You see, nothing you say will ever be as effective or believable as hearing it from a 3rd party who are vouching for your expertise. Always collect testimonials or case studies and use them to boost your business’ credibility.

Action: How can you incorporate testimonials into your advertising?

6. Sign off with a call to action

It’s crucial your customers know what they are expected to do next if they want to buy your product / service. This is your call to action and it must include specific details of how to access what you’re offering - including contact details. And the more specific you are, the better.

Hook “invites” the Lost Boys to “come and sign the book”. In addition, his crew line up to form a walkway which subtly directs the Boys to subscribe.

Action: Is your call to action clear, specific and encouraging customers to contact you now?

Over to you...

How can you put these principles into practice? Please tell me in the comments below.

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