How to create an effective advert

You’ve spent time and effort producing a new product or service. It ticks all the boxes and you’re sure that it will be popular with your customers. So now its time to tell the world with an advertising campaign.

But creating an advert is a complex project. So how do you start? Focusing on print adverts, this guide takes you step-by-step through the fundamentals of writing ad copy, for words that will sell your product or service.

Five simple steps to get you started

Step 1 – First, you need to clarify what results you want. This could be to increase the percentage of sales, raise awareness of an event or to increase membership. A clear objective will focus your message.

Step 2 – Next, you need to determine who is most likely to purchase what you are selling. If the product is already launched, you can gather market research information from this. If it’s a new product you need to analyse who you are targeting. Your advert must be appropriate for the types of customers you want to reach, to attract their attention and produce the result you want. Also keep in mind whether the audience you are targeting is the end user, decision-maker or buyer. For example, staff – the user – may want more training, but you have to convince the managers – the decision makers – that this is a worthwhile investment, while Human Resources (HR) – the buyers – make the purchase. So it’s important to decide who your advert will target.

Step 3 – Perhaps the most important step – how will the product benefit your consumer. This is what they are mostly interested in. If they cannot see the benefits to them immediately, there is little chance of converting these into a sale.

Step 4 – What is your Unique Selling Point or USP? If you don’t know then you will have a tough job convincing a consumer. Focus on one compelling reason that makes you different from the competition otherwise you will confuse your reader. This is also sometimes referred to as the brand positioning, and you can show the USP in a hard-hitting headline or image.

Step 5 – Engage the customer with motivating wording. Words such as ‘free, extra, best, new and now’ are popular terms which work. To try and encourage a quick response, words such as ‘call now’ and ‘last chance’ work well too. But keep it relevant, do not clutter the message you are trying to convey.

Writing good copy

There is no set rule about the length of your copy. Short and concise is usually best. But it really depends on the type of product you are promoting. Clinical medical adverts for example, use detailed factual copy because doctors need this to make their decisions. But selling a chocolate bar is more of an impulse purchase, so you can have relatively little copy in comparison. Plus the cost to advertise in print is determined by the size of the space you can afford, such as half a page or quarter page – so this will affect your copy length too.

Be aware any rules or regulations and stick to them. It’s essential to comply with the law and with the specific rules for your industry, such as advertising alcohol, health and beauty, or advertising to children.

Images are vital

Depending on where you are using your advert, an image is usually a necessity. A picture is worth a thousand words and when used correctly can work wonders. But if you choose the wrong image, it can ruin the whole message. So choose with care.

Where to place your advert

In terms of print advertising, think about the publications your target audience read. Then, request a media kit from the publications you are reviewing. These will give you full details of rates, readership, demographics and circulation figures which will allow you to compare the facts before deciding the best publication to advertise in.

Last words

Have confidence in your advert and your product. Make sure that you convey these points:

  • How your product meets a real customer need – the benefits
  • What makes your product and brand different and better than the competition – your USP
  • Contact details such as a website address, phone number, stockists or reply coupon so potential customers know what to do next – the call to action.

At the end of the day, anyone can strive to write good copy. But advertising space is expensive so it’s worth getting expert support with ad copy and design. Just get in touch with the professionals at Marketing Zone. We can help.