What Makes An Effective Print Ad? (Part 2)

By Senior Living

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Know as much about your audience as possible before writing or designing anything.

This is elementary marketing, but it's easy to lose sight of it in the day-to-day management of your business priorities. If you're targeting the youth market, your approach and design elements will be vastly different than if you're after the 50+ crowd. And if your product is aimed at the business segment, you'll use different techniques than if you're selling to the consumer market.  Effective advertising begins with a clear definition of the client's target audience. Once you know your audience,

  • Appeal to readers' needs and interests
  • Write a good headline with a compelling visual
  • Sell benefits - hopefully with urgency

Does your ad get the job done?

Many people judge good ad design on the 'look and feel' of the ad. The truth is, it doesn't matter how good your ad looks if it doesn't do the job you want it to, which is make money for the business. This doesn't mean your ad cannot look good. But your number one objective is to get the sale. Never forsake this goal for creating a good-looking ad!

Keep it simple

Twenty-five words are worth five hundred words. A picture is worth a thousand words.  In other words, less copy is usually more effective, but if you can use a picture, you'll gain even more from your advertising dollars.

Use white space

Because you want to get the most out of your advertising dollars, it's tempting to squeeze as much information as possible into as small a space as possible. However, a sea of text won't get read. In fact, white space can be more useful than all the words in the world because it can lead your reader to the important information quicker and more effectively.

Use large photos

Research shows that ads with large photos or illustrations of merchandise get higher readership than ads with small illustrations or no art. More people will be initially attracted by your visual than by your copy, so make your photograph or illustration at least HALF YOUR AD whenever possible."

Know how your readers read, and plan your ad accordingly

Most people skim ads in a sort of reversed "S" -- they start at the left top margin, and work down to the right bottom margin.

Avoid headlines set in all capital letters

Our eyes and brains are conditioned to identify lower case letters and words easier than all caps. We also read words by the shape of the word, not by reading individual letters.  Ascenders and descenders give distinctive shapes to words; all caps make most words look the same.

Create consistency

People want sign posts. They expect to see certain objects in certain places. Most readers must be exposed to an ad several times before they notice it or take action on it. If nothing stays the same in an ad from week to week or month to month, consumers don't know what to look for.  In an ad campaign there should be consistency in:
* Logo
* Color
* Typography
* Margins and borders
* Layout
* Spacing
* Photographs and captions

The essentials of every ad

Every ad should contain the Unique Selling Point (USP). It should clearly identify the main attraction or offer. It should contain the necessary time, date, phone number or address.

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