Print Still Works (if you do it right)

Entertainng Cat

May 2017—

“There is no such thing as a lack of attention span, only the lack of being entertained.”

— Jerry Seinfeld


I always keep Mr. Seinfeld’s insight in mind when it comes to marketing my mattress stores and coaching business. His wisdom should be what you have in mind, too, when marketing your store.

Ask yourself why is Kim Kardashian worth millions? When you include brand equity and name recognition, she’s likely worth hundreds of millions. Yet, what exactly does she do? You may snicker and say nothing, and you’d be dead wrong. She entertains, and for that people pay her very well. Now, of course, her type of entertainment is fleeting and it requires many, many things to remain within the cross hairs of Hollywood’s paparazzi. From sex tapes, to outrageous marriages, risqué photos, family drama, oddly named offspring—you name it she’s done it to perpetuate the entertainment empire she’s created. All of it has meaning, all of it points to entertainment which keeps every one of her fans engaged and paying and wanting more.

All that said, none of her antics are what I would call marketing assets. Think about it this way: As each day goes by the asset that is Kim Kardashian gets one day older, one day less cool—all while someone else is coming up right behind her, even her own family, with even more over-the-top entertaining antics.

There are no true marketing assets in the Kim Kardashian empire. Someday the perfume deals will end along with the appearance fees and endorsement deals.

So how can you create assets in your business that endure? How entertaining are you in your advertising? Do you consider your advertising a valuable scalable asset that guarantees you a payoff? If I’m being honest with you and you’re being honest with yourself—you don’t. In fact, most advertising is boring and certainly not scalable year after year.

Most of the print advertising that finds its way across my desk these days reeks of desperation with the same old tactics since the days of cavemen selling chiseled rocks as chairs to one another.

This is the advertising recipe that’s been sinking our collective ship for decades now.

  1. Find a reason—any reason—for a sale
  2. Create a reference or MSRP price (Did you know in most European countries this reference price must be charged within about three weeks of the day you run your advertising! Imagine if that happened here!)
  3. Offer a first discount, typically 40 to 60 percent off
  4. Take another 5 to 20 percent off citing some other reason for the additional discount—store card, loyalty card, friends & family, etc.
  5. Add pictures of the product

There are very few attempts to actually entertain anymore, let alone take the time to educate the reader on why your store, above all other available choices, is the undeniable choice to buy from.

This is a learned skill. It’s called copywriting. You should know that while I can’t possibly distill my study of the great copywriters, nor do this skill justice here, I’m happy to show you a different, more profitable way to advertise that will create an asset that’s scalable across different media.

When I approach writing copy—from here on out, let’s call it selling-in-print because that sounds a lot better doesn’t it?—I focus on these five things first, and in this order:

  1. The Offer
  2. The Headline
  3. The Message, the actual selling in print
  4. The Call to Action
  5. The Deadline

If you want the ad to do the selling for you, it has to have these five components.

I start with the offer first because ultimately that frames my headline. Frankly the offer is the easiest part to come up with. There’s always a good offer to put out there but it’s the headline and subsequent message and selling-in-print that makes the offer compelling and one that will swing the door and ring the phone.

We have a two-page advertorial we’ve been using for years (and I re-purposed the copy on our website here While it’s copy heavy, it’s a true marketing asset. This ad has been so successful for us I’m making it the key piece in a direct-mail campaign to a targeted list of natural- and organic-minded consumers.

It’s compelling—it starts with a four-question quiz that lets the customer find out if their mattress is causing them pain. The article goes on to explain what’s in a typical mattress, discusses natural alternatives, offers a brief Q & A and then we seal the deal with free gifts for readers who bring the coupon in to our store, Gardner’s Mattress & More.

I would say that about 85 people a month take us up on the offer. We offer four gifts, and though the perceived value is high, our cost is low. And even if it wasn’t, I would happily lose a bit on the front-end so I could get a customer for the long run.

You might say the headline—Is Your Mattress the Problem?—is garbage and very simple, but that’s the beauty of knowing your target audience and media. This advertorial runs in a natural and organic-focused publication. These readers are searching for the problems in their daily lives affecting their health, yet they’ve never considered their mattress could be the culprit. That headline’s not so simple after all, now is it?

The great copywriters, I mean sellers-in-print, spend exponentially more time on the headline than on anything else. The headline is what snaps the neck, rings the alarm and delivers that first moment of entertainment value I wrote about earlier. The headline is what grabs the reader and invites them to the threshold of your store.

Now let’s look at the message that sells in print. Stellar selling-in-print is what gets the reader, your customer, to cross the divide between their casual interest and being in your store. So many in the industry think they’re doing this with the tried-and-true recipe I laid out above but everyone is actually short-cutting this whole process. They short-cut this because they believe the reader has no attention span, when in fact most are not nearly entertaining enough.

Our message is shocking and leaves the reader with the realization that all the pills, potions, meditation, diet and exercise they’re doing to better their health is likely being undone every night while they sleep.

I urge you to take this next paragraph to heart, and truly internalize it. Re-read it if you have to.

What possible picture can you paint that’s on par with the selling in print exhibited here by simply showing a picture and price? Most all Main Street furniture and mattress store advertising is only meeting the customer where we think they want to arrive by showcasing product and lifestyle images. Most never actually advertise and promote with the goal of meeting the customer where THEY ARE in THEIR moment. Few, if any, ever then take the time to paint the journey with words of what the customer’s eventual purchase will be like and what it will do for them.

Figure this one out, and you have the keys to the kingdom.

Now for the call to action. Always tell your reader what you want them to do, don’t assume anything. Candidly, I have begun writing everything I produce with my nine-year-old son Aidan in mind.

When I want him to do a chore around the house I tell him all the steps he must do. Then I have him repeat the steps back to me. How many of your ads have gone without clear directives as to how to get to your store, directional reminders and even images of maps? It must be clearly communicated how you want them to respond.

Deadlines can be difficult because truthfully, we all know when it comes to furniture and mattresses, there’s no reason why someone needs what we have right now, right this minute. After all, even during Christmas when Grandma comes to town she could sleep on the couch if she had to! Christmas dinner could be held in the living room on paper plates if need be. Clothing can be stored in tote bins as opposed to dressers and chests. So the old way of writing ad copy using “this weekend only” or “ends this month” doesn’t make sense.

I myself use the old reliable tactic of “ends this month” but I clearly spell out and reiterate my offer. ‘Your FREE gifts expire on . This creates urgency in the reader’s mind. Further when it comes to deadlines you also must always consider the shelf life of the media. In this case, this advertorial runs in a monthly print magazine so I have to use the “ends this month” technique. But when it comes to Facebook you have far more ceiling room to get creative.

I do hope this article fired you up a bit, because that’s exactly what it was intended to do. The marketing of your store is your top priority.

Marketing assets like this one can skyrocket your sales like no vendor, salesperson or cost control can do. The only reliably profitable way to scale a business is with marketing, with selling in print.

Please play nice with this example advertorial. Use this a study guide and inspiration. I share all that I share to inspire not to do free work for others. Copyright laws exist and apply to this article and advertorial, and I do police and enforce. Should you be interested in using this asset in your business feel free to contact me and we’ll see if there’s a fit that can be found. If you would like to hear the math and sales numbers behind this article feel free to send me an email and we can set up a time to discuss the success of this piece and how I make it all happen.

About the Author

Jeff Giagnocavo
Jeff Giagnocavo is owner of Gardner’s Mattress and More in Lancaster, Pa., a multi-unit destination boutique mattress store. He also co-wrote the book Mega Mattress Margins and Retail is Dead and created the industry’s only turn-key, done-for-you, sales-and-marketing machine called Automated Mattress Profits that creates, captures and converts prospects into paying customers.