Once you have chosen where you are going to advertise and the medium you will use, you can then tailor your advertisement to suit the medium and costs, and develop an advertising campaign. If your budget is large enough, you can hire an advertising agency to put together your entire advertising campaign, including creative services.
If you can’t afford an advertising agency or don’t feel you need one, you can hire freelance copywriters and graphic artists to help you develop a solid creative campaign.
An important part of your creative campaign will be developing a memorable slogan or jingle. Ads in a campaign should tie together so that each time someone sees or hears them, they remember your product.
You want to design ads that work effectively in a variety of formats. In your copy, stress your business’ strong points. You need a strong headline or opening and the body copy should expand on the premise in the headline. End the ad with a “call for action” and encourage your audience to try your product/services.
How to create an ad
To put together an effective advertisement, you first have to analyse how you want to portray your business and the type of customers you want the ad to appeal to. Here are some guidelines that will help you create strong ads:
Create a sense of immediacy: Because response diminishes over time, advertising relies on urging people to act immediately. Most people like to be led, particularly when in unfamiliar territory. Tell your audience what response you want. At different points throughout the ad, and especially at the conclusion, ask for a response: “Act quickly,” “Limited-time offer,” “Call now,” etc.
Repetition sells: Keep weaving in the same sales pitch throughout the ad, each time adding a slightly new slant to the significant features and benefits of your products or service. Repetition sells because the more times someone hears or reads something the more believable it becomes. Repetition is particularly important in advertising because you normally don’t have the full attention of your audience.
Hit the “buttons”: Different people will be drawn to different things about your service. One person may admire quality, while another might like the convenience or assistance you provide. Decide what is different and exciting about your products or service and tell your audience how and why they need what you provide.
Sell the sizzle, not the steak: This is an old advertising adage. It means sell the benefits of using your business, not just the service/product you offer. There’s nothing wrong with talking about the features of your product/service, but unless you spell out how the customers will directly benefit, your ad won’t be as effective as it could be. To excite your audience you should display and/or describe your service in a captivating way.
Evaluate other ads: Collect all kinds of ads and study them. It is certainly essential to put your own imagination to use, but learn to emulate the strengths of others who are successful with their advertising. Don’t however, copy ads exactly as this may infringe copyright.
Look to the visuals
For print ads and television, the next element you’ll need to include is the visual art. The visuals for television advertising will consist of a series of images that tell a story. A good television commercial should be able to convey your advertising message without ad copy.
It should be entertaining and memorable. Use people, colours, animals or anything that will create images with emotional appeal and sell your products or service at the same time.
If you can afford photography in print ads, use it. Photographs are generally more believable than illustrations, and they’re more professional looking and easier to remember.
Another way to get attention for small-space advertising involves the layout. Because of the natural tendency of most small businesses to say everything they possibly can in an advertisement, typical small-space advertising is very crowded and very busy.
You’re better off sticking with one typeface throughout the ad and staying away from a variety of type sizes. The headline should be in one type size and the body copy in another.
One effective way to increase readership of small-space advertising is to use a reverse. That’s when the type appears in white and the background is in black. You’d be amazed at the amount of reader interest such ads generate – but be careful. Sometimes too much reverse body text is hard to read. You might also try using colour advertising if the surrounding advertising is black and white – this makes your ad stand out.
Another effective way to draw attention to your ad in a newspaper or magazine is to use a border. Borders will set your ad apart from others quite dramatically, but you need to make sure that the border is not the most interesting thing for people to look at.
Designing good, simple layouts
Here are some hints and tips that will help you design simple and effective layouts for your advertising and promotional material.
Start with the headline. Headlines make ads work.
Use type big enough and bold enough to stand out.
Upper and lower case letters are easier to read.
Use lots of white space.
Use a big picture. Photographs are best and attract attention especially if they are unusual or thought-provoking.
Small print captions under the pictures are well read.
Set lines of long copy eight or nine words wide.
Don’t print black type over grey shading. Don’t overprint type on pictures.
Reverse body copy text is hard to read.