CREATING A GOOD PRINT AD
Your business's print advertisements need to give readers a reason to be interested in your business; they must be clear, succinct, informative, and inviting. Your print ad has just a split second to attract attention and quickly explain why your product or service has some lasting benefit to those who read about it.
1) KNOW YOUR COMPETITION & SHOW WHY YOU ARE DIFFERENT
2) TARGET YOUR AD AT YOUR BEST CUSTOMER
3) HAVE A GOOD HEADLINE
4) ALWAYS INCLUDE A CALL TO ACTION
WHO IS YOUR COMPETITION
RESEARCH to see who your real competition is. (Google your top 5 keywords). Why are you different?
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Know more about your target audience than they do. Nothing will allow you to create better print ads than understanding what your audience is all about. Target your ad to your best customer. Ultimately a good print advertisement should get people to buy your product or service right away, but that’s not always the case.
Note: For new products or services, print advertisements are used to increase brand awareness, and may take about 6 or 7 times of viewing before a consumer tries a new product or service. However, the more you understand your target market, the more you can design a print ad that sells.
When creating print advertising, it’s important to decide what’s going to be the HEADLINE that’s going to make someone stop and look at your ad.
- Do not give equal weight to several elements because it tends to scramble the brain. The brain likes clear directions.
- Do not get too creative so that your meaning is lost or obscured. Be clear and concise.
- Use font that is easy to read and relates to the type of business you are. (Font style is very important!)
- Headlines are usually one of these: (a) a benefit to the consumer; (b) news to share; (c) curiousity.
In addition to the main headline, a SUBHEADING can impart secondary information. The headline must grab readers, but the subheading can explain the deal further. Not all ads require a subheading, but this element, generally set in smaller type, is there to give the reader additional information without cluttering up your ad.
The majority of print ads generally focus on the HEADLINE or the GRAPHIC, but there is a chance that you may want to explain more about your product to customers and if you have a large ad space you can use it to explain it further.
- FOCUS ON THE BENEFITS of your products or services, do not just list your features.
- Be BRIEF — and possibly not include details.
- The first line should be a continuation of the headline and should state the most important benefit.
- It’s also important to write your body in the way that your target audience speaks. Do not use industry jargon.
- TESTIMONIALS add credibility (or quotes from other trade publications or authoritative figures).
- Always include your CONTACT INFO such as address, telephone number and website. Customers refer to your ad when trying to call you about a product or service (frustrating not to find it).
The graphic element of your ad is there to attract the readers’ eyes and interest them enough to read your body copy. The graphic element usually calls attention to, or complements, the headline — the two elements work together to create the overall ambience of the ad.
- Avoid too many elements in the visual to focus on.
- Make sure your ad's graphic element is relevant to what you’re selling. A photo of a girl in a bikini doesn’t relate to a massage therapist.
- Avoid low resolution or poor quality graphics.
WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT
Now that you know who the competition is, create an ad that shows the difference and makes you stand out. What are you providing that is better than your competitors?
- If you are the brand, then include a professional headshot of yourself.
- If you don’t have a logo, invest in one. You will use it for years to come and it will make your business legitimate, give you a standard font and colour for all things to follow.
- Hire a graphic designer for your first ad.
CALL TO ACTION
Ads need a call to action that gives your readers an incentive to take action and understanding of what the next step should be. You can say the standard “CALL TODAY,” but if you really want to step it up a notch, consider a more creative alternative.
HOW IS YOUR AD DOING
Your ad may be complete, but it might not work. Often, the ad copy you thought would win out ends up losing. There’s no way to know what will work until you try something out.
- Try different colors, fonts, images, layouts and copy to find the sweet spot for your audience but stay true to your brand or you will confuse them.
WAYS TO TRACK HOW YOUR AD IS DOING:
- Use a coupon that must be presented at time of redemption.
- Ask customer to “mention this ad” for a discount or special offer.
- Make a specific Landing Page on your website and direct customers to it so you can track visitors.
- Ask new customers how they heard about you.
- Display your ads and draw attention to them to see if your customers give feedback.
The design and layout of an ad is everything. If you stick to this kind of layout, you can’t go wrong.
- Ogilvy Layout
Research indicates that readers typically look at Visual, Caption, Headline, Copy, and Signature (Advertisers name, contact information) in that order. Following this basic arrangement in an ad is called the Ogilvy after advertising expert David Ogilvy who used this layout formula for some of his most successful ads.
Stick to your brand so it is recognizable immediately by always using your logo, font and colour scheme.