You have less than a second to grab the reader’s attention as they browse the page, so how go you make sure your advert stands out from the crowd?
1. Write an attention winning headline
Tell the reader what is in it for them. It doesn’t need to be long or particularly clever or catchy, so if you offer “exclusive, bespoke, eco-friendly stationery” use that as your headline.
The one thing you shouldn’t use as your headline is your business name – nobody cares what you are called and unless you are a VERY well known brand it isn’t going to attract anyone.
2. Pictures are important but are not everything
A great photo will help tell your story and increase the desire of the reader to find out more. It should be relevant, clear and top quality. Print it out at the size it will appear in the magazine to check for clarity.
But pictures alone won’t be enough to make you stand out – chances are all your competitors will have great pictures too. And no photo at all is better than a poor photo.
A couple of examples I’ve seen of poor use of pictures: a bride relaxing on a chaise longue for a stationery supplier, sweets for a destinations wedding planner.
3. Make them want more
Copywriters will tell you that long copy gets a better response than short copy so don’t be afraid of including text in your advert. This is where you can explain your product or service in a little more detail and get the reader wanting to find out more. Don’t write an essay and don’t try to cover everything you do, but let them know a little more than your headline can say. Then add your “call to action” – your website or phone number where they can find out more.
Some publications have advertorial style sections where all the adverts have a similar format of heading, picture and text. It is worth testing these against standard adverts to see if you get a better response.
4. Make it easy to read
Black text on a white background is easiest to read. White type on a black or coloured background may stand out better but is harder to read – fine for headlines, but be wary of using this for blocks of text.
Always print out your advert in actual size to ensure everything is large enough to read clearly and in a legible font.
5. Get the layout right
Your headline should be the most prominent part of the advert and it should be placed just above the middle – this is the part that catches the eye first.
Your name and contact details don’t have to be prominent, just clear and legible. If you have caught the attention and interest of the reader, they will take the few seconds necessary to find them.
6. Tell your customers what to do next
Including a “call to action” will encourage those interested to take the next step – make it as easy as possible for them. For example “Telephone to arrange a consultation”, “Visit to view our full range of designs”.
The above is based on the AIDA formula – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. If you want to know more, a quick google of “aida marketing” will find lots of articles. I’ve taken the principles and applied them to suit the typical wedding professional’s advertising needs.
In the final instalment we look at measuring your results.