Your ad will fail to sell every time, unless you follow three simple rules.
How do I know? It’s my job!
I was recently handed an ad that was to be placed all over town in an effort to put butts in seats at an upcoming guest speaker event. It took me about ten seconds of studying the image and copy in front of me to realize that what I was looking at would never achieve the desired outcome.
The first thing that stood out was the absence of a strong CTA, or call to action. Every ad, flyer, pamphlet, or business card needs to act as a map that the viewer should follow in order to complete the next step in a process. In this case, the desired result was getting as many people to attend an event as possible.
A great CTA will direct a prospect to take action!
Call a number, download a report, send an email, or secure a seat. The best way to ensure that action is taken, is to tell the reader exactly what you want them to do.
“Call this number”, “Email us at”, “Click here”, or “Download now!”
The second thing that I noticed was a lackluster image. When you design an ad that includes an image, you need to ensure that the image itself conveys a message. A great image will depict a feeling that an individual might have experienced and has directed them to seek out your services, product, or event.
I often talk about defining a group’s “pain point”. By pain point, I am referring to the problem that needs solving, or a broken system that needs to be fixed.
In the example of the ad I was asked to review, the feeling was frustration. The speaker would be discussing specific scenarios in the work place that could lead to lack of communication, and overall failure to meet a common goal.
The image depicted in this ad was way off the mark! If you choose to use an image in your advertising, you are really taking the viewers attention away from the text, so that picture better fill in the blanks! If it doesn’t…the ad FAILS!
Now the third mistake in this ad was huge! The copy, or text, didn’t really explain what the event was about. It laid out a vague description, but unless you were part of the planning committee, you would be left scratching your head, thinking to yourself “What exactly is this?”
It’s imperative that when you sit down to write an ad, you look through the eyes of the prospect or customer. Even though you may think what you just wrote sounds awesome, it may actually only makes sense to you! Have 4 or 5 other sets of eyes read the ad, and then ask them to explain to you, in their own words, what the event, product, or service is about, and the problem it solves.
If they can’t do it accurately, and within 30 seconds, you need to hit the backspace button, and start from the beginning. I always say to write your ads like you were conveying a message to your mother. If she can understand it, you just might be on to something! Then try it on your friend’s mother, because your mom just might hang the ad on the fridge…good or bad! Love you mom!
While there are several elements that make up an awesome piece of advertising, I wanted to keep this post short, and convey the three I feel are most important.
Now my call to action is as follows:
I want you to print or cut this bad boy out!
Next, tape it to the right side of your computer monitor
Every time you start the task of ad design, take a quick peek at my suggestions, and make sure they apply to your final product.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, if the information I provided in this post helped you in any way. Remember to think outside the box. Normal is never recognized!
Andy Sokolovich is the owner of small business marketing firm Bent Business Marketing. He can be reached at andy@BentBusinessMarketing.com.