When creating successful print and online advertising, less is definitely more. Too often, entrepreneurs stuff ads full of elements that can actually torpedo their chances of success. With virtually every advertising environment cluttered with ads all screaming for attention, today’s cheek-by-jowl marketing environment mandates a clean, clear approach to content.
Even readers who are truly engaged are scanning quickly. Which ads get skipped over? The ones with these flaws produce the poorest results:
- Competing visuals can make a small magazine or Internet ad confusing and cluttered and fail to communicate a central message.
- Too much information will turn readers off. Don’t expect them to slog through paragraphs of copy. Even readers of trade publications, who tend to look for new product and service information, will be turned off by copy that goes beyond giving a quick presentation of your product or service’s core benefit and key features.
- Busy designs and fancy fonts make ads hard to read. Keep it simple yet eye-catching by using attention-grabbing colours or employing contrast.
The art of success
So what makes one ad succeed where others fail? Ads that consistently produce results have at least three elements in common:
1. A clear, benefit-laden headline
Readers of your ad will have one question in mind: ”What’s in it for me?” An effective headline must state a compelling benefit. Identify what your customers want most from your product or service and find a creative way to put that promise front and centre in your headline. Detail critical features in a crisp, succinct style in the ad’s body copy and close with a call to action that tells readers what they must do to realise the benefit you promise.
2. A strong visual focal point
A great eye-catching visual provides the focus essential for a successful ad. Your visual can show a member of the target audience, depict a stylised version of the product, or create a visual that relates directly to your ad’s promise, such as a depiction of the positive outcome of using your product or service.
3. A good fit with the chosen medium
One of the make-or-break elements of an ad is whether it meets the visual and editorial requirements of the media in which it will run. Advertising environments in print and Internet media vary widely.
To achieve maximum results, fit your design and copy style to the needs of the users of the media you choose. And create an integrated media campaign so that small-space ads in one medium send qualified customers to another, such as a website, where they can get further information.