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10 years Ago By / AJ Ross Staff

Cut The Clutter In Your Print Ads

I always hear the same thing.

People don’t hate advertising. They hate bad advertising. What’s more: they decide in three seconds, studies show if they are going to be interested in your message.

We’ve all seen bad ads: so cluttered and confusing you don’t know where to look, or so poorly designed the ad has little impact.

When I follow up on these ads I often find the business owner’s son, sibling, or secretary has taken a design course or two in college, or knows Microsoft Publisher, and has thus been delegated the obviously underrated task of ad-building.

Advertising is simply too important – and too expensive – an aspect of your business to leave it in the hands of a wanna be designer or copywriter. It needs professional service. Don’t trust it to someone who has another whole job to do; it’s too essential a factor in a successful marketing campaign. It’s your first impression to your customers, and serves to reinforce your message to existing customers.

The goals of any Print ad are: to stand out from the others next to it on a page, to grab the attention of the target audience, to let the reader know who you are and what you offer, and – most importantly, for the reader to take action.

Here are some suggestions:

Brand your ad . Most important – but too often left to the end – is to ensure your logo is situated properly and visibly, yet unobtrusively. It’s your mark, your Nike swoosh. It’s who you are.

Have a single message . The more information you throw in, the less likely your customer will act. Ads compete; so does too much information. Your message is simple. To get your potential customer to buy or to hire your services.

Write for the eye . Don’t clog your ad. White space is good. Think catchy headline first, to grab the reader’s attention. Omit all needless words. You can tell them everything else they need to know when they call you.

Copy writing : It’s an ad, not an autobiography. What are you offering? What’s in it for the customer? Focus on them. What need of theirs do you solve? Less copy is better. The more direct your message, the more they will remember.

Skin-deep sells . Use a well-considered, attractive image to support the headline. It may be beloved Uncle Ernie behind the cash register, but nevertheless, unattractive or poor quality images just for the sake of having images will ruin your ad. Never settle for a quick snap shot on the family or a co-workers camera to represent the quality of your work. Words and visuals should work together, and as shallow as it seems? Looks matter.

Call to action : It’s the entire reason for the ad, the payoff. Direct readers how to buy, how to get in touch, how to get more information. It turns readers into prospects, and prospects into customers.

While sons, siblings and secretaries often have talent, they lack the years of training in marketing, Branding, and a wealth of other experience and expertise a design firm or advertising marketing agency brings to your business.

If you’re not satisfied with your advertising results, consider an agency, and if you are satisfied – consider an agency anyway. You might just be delighted at how much better the results can be.

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