Effective ads are those that get attention and lead to new customers. You can write effective ads if you follow a few simple steps.
- Grab your reader's attention. Choose a great headline to get your reader's attention. Study adverts that industry experts deem highly successful, making note of similar industries to your own. You can look towards magazines, websites, and even newspapers for headline ideas. Write down 10 or 15 headlines for the advert you will be placing. Let them "rest" overnight, come back the next day and pick the one that pulls most at your attention.
- Create Interest. - After you've created a headline that will capture attention, you will have to get your prospects interested in what you are offering. One rule of thumb often used is "what's in it for me?" If your reader cannot easily tell how they tie into the advert, they will pass it by. There are many ways to do this--state a fact, a quote, a solution to a problem.
- Create Desire. Once you have obtained and retained the attention of your prospect, you have created a relationship between your reader and the ad that will cause them to desire more information. By creating an emotional attachment in this scenario, you not only create desire for more information, your reader may desire your product and/or services. The desire you have created could be to save money, have better relationships, move ahead in a job -- any tangible feeling or emotion that your readers would have a connection to.
- Call to Action! Now is the the time to pounce! Tell them what Action you want them to take to obtain the desired product/service. It could be make a phone call, click on a website link, buy a product, or obtain a free offer. Be specific, not misleading here.
- Contact me! Include all pertinent information in your ads--company name, product or service offered, all contact info--website, phone, fax, address, logo.
- Finalize your advert for errors. Look over your advert one final time, possibly get other colleagues involved for their input. Successful ads typically have simple fonts with lots of white space that are easy to read, with vivid graphics or pictures. Proofreading for spelling and grammar errors is a must. Get feedback on your ad from coworkers, friends, even strangers. Keep your brand identity consistent in all ads, using a style guide (if published) for all out-of-office communications. If your company logo is blue & green, an orange and purple ad is confusing.
- TEST! Test your ad! Don't commit to a year's worth of advertising space until you know your advert does get attention and create clients. Measure ROI (return on investment) for all of your marketing activities.
- If an advert does work for you, keep it running consistently -- same media, same frequency, same page-- as your budget allows. The rule of thumb is that it takes at least 6 adverts in a single publication before it gets noticed.
- Use bold colors, no one gets noticed by being a flower on the wall!
- Don't expect advertising to lead to instant sales. It will bring prospects to you, but usually not in droves. You need someone to sell once to these "ready to buy" customers.
- Persuasive language and exaggeration is key.
- Many people who sell advertising know very little about effective adverts. They will offer to create your ads for "free". This is usually not a great deal. These are sales reps who make money by selling, not writing. Occasionally, you may find a fantastic writer who also sells adverts. But, it's not very likely. Make sure they follow the above guidelines and create ads that will work before you sign the contract!