Designing An Ad that Sells

1.The Illustration
The best result-producing ads have an eye-catching illustration that takes up approximately a third of the ad space, preferably poking out of the border in some way which again increases results. The reason for such a large illustration is that people react far more to a company's "personality" than to what they offer. As an advertiser, you have to present a strong personality, then stick to it throughout your advertising, so choosing an illustration is very important. You personally will have the best source of possible illustrations - through catalogues, magazines etc. For Real Estate Agents, Financial Services, etc.,you may prefer to use a personal photo, but again - keep it over-sized. Your company logo is not a good illustration, although I'm sure many of you will insist that your logo is the biggest part of the ad. That's equivalent to thinking a friend's name is more important than "who" they are. Your name is incidental information. Who you ARE is far more important. (Illustrations also instantly tell a reader what the ad is about, and if his car just broke down for example, any ads to do with car repair, sales, etc. will pop right out at him because he has his car on his mind.) As a business person, you also must realize that you are not alone in the world. You have competitors and although every business person believes their particular store is the "best" in the city, if people only reacted to price for example, no mid or high-end (as opposed to "bargain") stores would exist. People choosing where to buy, react to a variety of factors which make up the "personality" of each choice, which is why the over-sized personality-producing illustration is so important. (If possible, try to also choose a "fun" illustration. Humor sells!) It's also interesting to note that people who go to restaurants - generally are NOT bargain hunters. Bargain hunters would rather save money by cooking at home, so the audience you're REALLY reaching are people looking for mid to high-end stores who prefer service and quality merchandise over a "bargain price".

2. Heading
What you sell should be stated in five words or less. This can also be a teaser heading such as "Have you tried all nine positions?" (an ad for Futons). Keep it simple, and try to use words a seven-year-old would understand immediately. Don't use the company name as your heading unless your store is announcing a move to another location. Remember, a store's name is incidental information - where to get what you want to buy. The ad itself has to concentrate on what you're offering.

Usually in point-form, the sub-heads give more information about what is being offered. If the heading is "Silk Shirts for summer", for example, the sub-heads might be what sizes are available, long or short sleeve, style characteristics, colours available, etc.

4.Added Information
This area is used for the "Satisfaction Guaranteed", "Sale Ends April 25th!", " FREE Estimates", "Open Sundays 10-5", etc. or a special offer: "Bring in this ad for a 20% discount on silk ties - offer expires June 30/ 2001." Note: Do NOT use the word "coupon" when referring to an offer. Since your readership is made of mostly "A" and "B" type customers, the word "coupon" means being "cheap". "A" customers don't care about cost and are turned off by "too big discounts" which makes them suspect the merchandise might be poor quality anyways and is not worth looking at. Your "B" type customers will only sometimes react to a discount offer, so if you're trying to count coupons to check the responses, you'll be disappointed. It is better to use Coffee News to promote quality and service, then use regular newspapers to promote discounts and sales. "A" buyers - those who NEVER shop around for sales, and want quality, service, easy parking - "in-and-out-5 minutes" type shoppers. "B" buyers - those who need to "keep up with the Jones's" with the motto "the man with the most toys before he dies - wins!" "C" buyers - those who ONLY buy on deep discount. To buy anything at "full price" is to them - a complete waste of good money.

5.Business Name
Use your logo whenever possible, but if not, have your company name typeset using a bold but "friendly-looking" serif typestyle, that's EASY to read.

6.Your address and phone number
Or just phone number if you have a home business. This is incidental information and should be in small print, with the phone number slightly larger for people phoning from the ad.