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Advertising is simply the process of letting others know about your product or service. Image advertising is the type of marketing most companies, large and small, use most often.

While this type of advertising can alert the market to the fact that a product exists, it does very little to create a desire in the minds of the buying public to own the product, or at least inquire for more information concerning the product.

A better, more effective and more cost-effective form of advertising, is called direct-response advertising.

The idea behind this type of marketing is to get the potential customer to take some specific action. Either make a call, fill out a form, or pay a visit to where the product or service can be seen or purchased.

Image advertising or image marketing is fine if all you want to do is promote the image of your company, your products, or the services you offer.

But, when you consider the fact that your client or prospect couldn’t care less about your company or the fact that you want to sell them something, it adds up to a big waste of your money… money that could be better utilized elsewhere.

It’s true that image advertising can help build brand-awareness. And that’s okay for large corporations that have multi-million dollar advertising budgets. But most small or medium size businesses simply cannot afford to spend their advertising dollars that way.

Most image advertising is not customer-focused. Instead, it promotes how great the company paying for the ad is. And since there is no call to action, at best, the results this kind of advertising produces are deferred results.

For the most part, people don’t care about how great your company is. They really care more about what a particular product or service can do for them.

They have their own wants and needs that they want to satisfy, and they will only buy what you are offering if you can show them how your product or service will satisfy those wants and needs.

That’s where direct-response advertising comes in. This type of marketing shows the potential customer the advantages your product or service can provide, and let’s them know exactly what steps they must take to either get the product or service, or to get more information about it.

It’s designed to present enough information to give a compelling and immediate reason for the prospect to take some specific action.

Direct-response marketing will bring in more response, more inquiries and more dollars than any other type of advertising or marketing.

And the results will be accountable, trackable and measurable. That is, you will be able to quantify exactly how many dollars you pay out for your marketing efforts, where your results come from and how many dollars you bring in as a result.

Direct-response advertising is simply the most effective type of marketing for most businesses, and effectively used, can bring immediate profits to your bottom line.

This article is one is a series of The 20 Most Common Marketing Mistakes.