Considering Ad Content

Hi there, it’s Lizz again, the voice of the Art Department at Golden Mailer. This week, I’m going to make a few suggestions that you might want to keep in mind when you’re deciding what information to include on your ad.
I understand it’s hard to choose, and can be overwhelming when you’re deciding what you want to put on your ad. When you’re working with Golden Mailer, you only have an 8″ x 3″ space to work in; about a third of a page. You’re spending your hard-earned money on that advertising space, and you want to get the most bang for your buck.. the temptation might be to put as much info on there as you can!

I really want to discourage you from cramming your ad full of text and pictures and logos and web addresses and social media logos and license numbers and offers and…

You have about 3 seconds to make an impression on a potential customer when they’re flipping through ads. Look at this one for about that long (No cheating! :))

1…2…3…

What can you tell me about this company?

  • What do they do?
  • What is their field of expertise?
  • What’s their offer?

You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with information… you want to give them just enough to want to call you! Let them ask questions so they have to call to get the answers! Once you’ve got them on the phone, your excellent customer service skills will close the sale. The objective of the ad is to get them to call. You can’t rely on a piece of paper to close the sale! That’s up to you.

Some of the things that concern me on this ad:

  • There’s no real information in the title; that’s the first thing someone will read, so you want to tell them what service you provide, or at least give them the information so they’ll come to the right conclusion. (Like a restaurant; the title: “Hungry?” is clearly going to be a food establishment.)
  • Their expertise: Interior AND exterior, residentail AND commercial. That covers pretty much everything. You can’t specialize in everything. Choose one and specialize in that.
  • Those bursts and exclamation points! When! you! emphasize! everything! you! emphasize! nothing! I’m not opposed to bursts and ovals and such, just use them sparingly; if you find yourself wanting to add more burst-text to your ad, take a moment to question why… is it not relevant to the other information that’s there? Is it extra-important?
  • The photos: I love using photos on an ad. They are, after all, worth a thousand words! I’m a photographer… pictures make me happy. On this ad, however, they’re just providing more visual clutter. Two photos is not necessarily better than one. One larger photo will provide better impact and draw your reader in better than several tiny ones.
  • The logo: You put all that effort into creating a great logo, but it’s just jammed in as an afterthought, and in the process, it makes it all but impossible to even tell the name of the company that wants the business!
  • The contact information: Take a moment and consider how people will get in touch with you. On the first ad, we have 2 phone numbers, a fax number, an email address and a website. How urgent is it that someone be able to reach you on your cell at all hours? If you’re a plumber who offers emergency service, that’s one thing. But I don’t know of anyone who needs a room painted quickly enough that they can’t leave a message at your office and get a call back! The fax number… why would a prospective customer need to fax you? I’m betting that the people who are sending faxes have spoken to you on the phone; you can give the fax number then, instead of on the ad. The website AND email addresses; I assume that someone will have a way to email them on their website, so it’s redundant to provide both. Also, by sending people to your website first, it gives you the opportunity to give them a little more information about you, and to fit in another tidbit of marketing.
  • The offer: It’s complicated, and doesn’t make the benefit to the consumer obvious right away. Three bedroom or four, plus it shows the regular price AND the amount saved. The disclaimer is a LOT of small text, and can turn someone off from reading any further… if they stop reading, they aren’t thinking about your company any more, and won’t be calling you.

Taking all of this into consideration, I’ve recreated this ad to be more effective; for me, as a graphic designer, having more space to work with allows me more space to be creative and really make something look great, instead of just trying to crowbar all of the information into a limited space.

See the difference?

If you aren’t sure what information you should or shouldn’t include, don’t hesitate to ask your sales executive; they want you to succeed, for your ad to be a homerun, and for you to be thrilled with your results! I’d also love to hear your comments on what you think does and doesn’t work when designing an ad.

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