Two seconds. That’s the accepted amount of time you have for your ad to catch your audience’s eye before they turn the page. Your print ad needs to stand out and grab the reader’s attention so as to be effective. So how can that be done? Here are our top tips for designing an ad for your business that will pull in the crowds.
1. Define your target audience
Before you even begin to put pen to paper to write your ad, think about who it’s supposed to be targeting. The Local Directory is hand-delivered to more than 77,000 homes across Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and will be read by all kinds of people. If you want your ad to be noticed by a specific audience, then you should think long and hard about its content. The better your knowledge of your market, the more relevant the ad will be and the better it will perform.
2. What’s the main element of focus?
Decide on the one thing you want your customers to notice about your ad: is it the headline, a photo, or a catchy slogan? This should be what you believe is the most important element so that’s where the focus of your ad should be. If you try to give equal weight to several elements at once then readers won’t be able to work out what you’re communicating and will turn the page.
3. Consider the size of your ad
The content and detail in your ad will vary depending on the size of advertising space you’re booking. Obviously, the bigger the ad, the more detail you can fit in. The tougher challenge is getting the same impact from a smaller ad. So before you hammer out that long copy to tell the world your life story, think about the size and space it needs to fit into.
4. Create a bold headline
The headline is usually the first thing your customers will see. Your audience is five times more likely to read the headline than any other part of the ad, so it needs to be clear, concise and catchy. Placement is also crucial, since the headline needs to be quickly understood and so should dominate every other element. In a single sentence or phrase, you need to give your readers an unambiguous idea of what you’re offering. As a rule of thumb, you should spend more time composing your headline than creating the rest of the ad.
5. Have a ‘Call To Action’ (CTA)
Don’t leave your readers hanging, tell them what you want them to do. This can be as simple as “Call us” but it can also ask them to visit your website for more information, ask for a quote, or read your testimonials. Never underestimate the power of a strong CTA to convert mere browsers into lifelong customers.
6. Co-ordinate all the graphical elements
This can include the colour palette, the font, the logo or the imagery. Your ad’s graphic design should reinforce the key message you want to convey, and these elements need to work together, otherwise your readers will get confused about what you’re telling them. You can use colours to make your ad stand out on the page, and your logo and typography should be consistent with those you use in other parts of your business. However there’s no rule that says you must have a photo or image in your ad. In fact many of our most successful advertisers don’t use images at all. But if you do use an image make sure that it’s an integral part of the message you want to get across, and not an after-thought.
7. Test, test, and test again!
If you’re new to print advertising the best way to find out what works for you is to try out different styles over several months and publications . It will take time, patience and persistence, but eventually discovering your “killer” headline, offer or call to action will be worth its weight in gold in time saved later on and customers through your door.
Our team is on hand to help you create the perfect ad for your business and we’ll walk you through all the options. Your success is our success so it’s in both our interests to help you get it right. Give us a call today or drop us a line.