Writing Effective Ad Copy

When it comes to print advertising, you have to get to the point - fast.
You're vying for the attention of consumers who are bombarded each day with advertisements from countless companies-some being your competitors. Don't waste any time getting your message across.

Define as clearly and as simply as possible, what the copy shall say and how it shall say it.
Shall it be extensive or brief? What tone shall it take? Shall it be breezy and light, or formal? What message shall it try to convey? What is the rationale behind the approach?

Talk directly to the person.
Use as much "you, your" as you can and use "us, we, I" as little as you can. The reader is not interested in knowing all that your product or service can do. He or she wants to know what your product or service can do for him or her. Focus on the reader, not on your product.

Your headlines should grab attention.
They should motivate readers to want to read on to learn more about your product, price and offer. Get ideas about what headlines to use by scanning different types of ad copy, particularly those from the competition. Effective headlines address a pressing customer need or desire. You should stay away from using your company name as a headline, a common mistake made by many business owners. The reality is that people care more about themselves - and what you can do for them - than your business. You'll get a much higher response rate when your headline quickly answers the question, "What's in it for me?" So, craft a headline that gives your audience a compelling answer. When David Ogilvy was told that copy should be short and terse, because nobody reads more than a few words of an ad, he wrote the classic, "At 60 miles an hour the only sound you hear is the clock." It was a full page of text, describing the features of the Rolls Royce. It sold a lot of cars.

Certain words are attention grabbers.
They continue to work on people even though they may appear to be "done to death" like SALE. SAVE is a good one. NEW.  BEST. FREE  Words and phrases like "money," "immediate benefit," "save $150," "protect your child," "find love now," and "lose weight in two weeks" sell like hot cakes. They promise you a tangible result. They give a clear picture of what your copy intends to convey.

Certain words create an emotional response.
In a magical way, words sway people simply by the way they look and sound. Copy can appeal to the intellect and reason, it can appeal to the emotions, or it can do both. To create positive (or negative) moods or feelings that will motivate buyers, choose words wisely.
For instance:

  • Words that convey quality and care are: hand-woven, workmanship, craft, smooth.
  • Exotic words are: lush, mist, golden, lemon.
  • Upbeat words include: child, light, extraordinary, squealing, flower.
  • Safe words are: family, church, blanket, warm, and apple.
  • Serious words are: war, work, immediately, financial.

Text should spring from the headline and deliver on the promise it offers.
It should explain and clarify the facts and claims. It should be a logical progression of ideas, covering all of the points you mean to cover, even if it's done only with an illustration.


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Showing 1 to 1 of 1 comments.

I`d like help, running an effective jewelry sales ad in a local paper. I`ve been forced to quit designing, due to the state of the economy. I ran an ad last week with little response. That`s costly too. Got any ideas ? Open to any good advice, A.S.A.P. Thank You Muchly.

Posted by Dan Armstrong | May 29, 2009 Report Violation

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