Want to create print ads that get results? Below are three
keys to get you started.
1. Write for the eye. Print ads are visual. Therefore, craft ads
with the eye in mind.
Eyes are kind of picky, though. So, here's a checklist of what
eyes like and don't like:
* A catchy headline that encourages them read more.
* Art, such as photos, illustrations, clip art, shapes, etc. Eyes
like art. When you create the ad, create words AND the
visual at the same time. Words and visuals should work
* Designed in an interesting, intriguing, attention-getting
manner. Eyes like that. Remember, graphic designers are
your friends. If you don't have training in graphic design, I
strongly urge you to hire a graphic designer to create your
ad. The results will be well worth it.
* White space (blank space in the ad). Eyes like white
space. Eyes don't like print ads stuffed with words and/or
art. Those ads look way too difficult to read and
comprehend. So eyes will skip over those ads and find
other open, clean ads to look at. (And if they do, you might
as well have never bought the ad in the first place.)
2. Write for the busy eye. Nobody is reading a newspaper
because they want to see your ad. (Okay, your mother is the
exception.) People are reading the paper because they want
information. Reading your ad is an afterthought. So, they
aren't going to spend a whole heck of a lot of time on it.
A common mistake is asking print ads to do too much. To
be successful, print ads must:
* Capture the attention of your potential customers,
* Encourage those potential customers to remember what
you want them to do,
* Then persuade them to actually do it.
That's a lot to ask for one little print ad.
Print ads should have one message and one message
only. The more "extras" about your business you start
throwing into the ad, the more convoluted the ad is going to
become, and the less likely your potential customers will act
upon your ad.
Now at this point you may be thinking "Okay. We need one
message. That message should be to get my potential
customers to buy something, hire my services, donate
money, become a volunteer, etc. Right?"
For one thing, that's a pretty big leap for your potential
customers. Getting potential customers to buy without first
developing a relationship with them is, again, asking an
awful lot for one little print ad. You might be better off inviting
potential customers to take one small step in the buying
process. For instance, stopping in the store for a free gift,
logging on to your Web site to enter a contest, putting their
names on your mailing list, trying a demo version of your
product, etc. Let them get to know you.
3. Keep your target market in mind. Your message should
be focused on your customers' needs, not your own. Getting
customers to buy your products and services is YOUR need.
How your products or services solve your customers'
problems is THEIR needs. See the difference?
That's why so many retail stores have sales. They're
effective because they're solving a need (saving customers
money). But saving money is not the only need. There are
You should also think about ways to add value without
bargaining on price (this position can backfire). Contests,
free gifts, free reports, free food -- stuff like that. Think
outside the box. And use that value as a way to set yourself
Creativity Exercises -- Learn by example
One of the best ways to learn how to craft successful print
ads is to study what's out there.
Get out a newspaper or a magazine and open it. See where
your eyes go. What ads attract your eyes? What ads drive
Which ads have headlines that intrigue you? Graphics that
capture your attention? Copy that encourages you to find out
Now look at ads that do nothing for you. Why don't you like
them? Are they too cluttered? Too difficult to understand?
Have a headline that makes you yawn?
Sometimes you can learn as much, if not more, from bad
examples as you can from good ones.
Michele Pariza Wacek owns Creative Concepts and
Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency. She
offers two free e-newsletters that help subscribers combine
their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting
principles to become more successful at attracting new
clients, selling products and services and boosting
business. She can be reached at
http://www.writingusa.com. Copyright 2004 Michele Pariza Wacek.