The anatomy of an effective print ad

Developing effective advertising is not easy. In fact, there are millions of books, blogs and websites dedicated to explaining effective advertising. Advertising and marketing professionals spend years honing their skills to marry the art and science of advertising to create ads that attract attention, draw in the reader, then compel them to take action. Here are just five of one hundred tips from professionals to help you evaluate your advertising.

1. A picture says more than a thousand words

Good visual support is essential for your advertisement. Make sure your chosen image is unique and surprising, and visually reinforces your message. And avoid the temptation to include an image of your building (unless it’s for sale), your team (unless they are for sale) or yourself (unless you are George Clooney or Charlize Theron).

2. Think of a goldfish

According to a study by Microsoft, the human attention span is now about eight seconds, close to that of a goldfish. Even if that is a few seconds off, the point is clear – if your ad requires a lot of time to read and understand, it will get passed by. 

3. Focus on your target group

Make sure your message is not about you, but instead helps your audience to understand how and why you can meet their needs. People don’t think “I need to buy an insurance policy” but they may think “I am getting older and want to make sure my kids are looked after.” What problem does your customer want solved?

4. Include a call to action

Create a sense of urgency when potential customers see your ad. Use a clear call to action (CTA) – should they call, email, visit your site, or what about text? It doesn’t matter what you prefer, it matters what they will do, so include all points of contact in your ad.

5. White space is your friend

The more cluttered the advertisement is, the less likely it is to be read. Avoid the temptation to list everything you do in one ad. Think of your ad like a wall – just because there is space doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Your Picasso will stand out more with space around it. 

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