How to Create an Effective Print Ad
4 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Advertising for Your Business
Your business's print advertisements need to give readers a reason to be interested in your business; they must be clear, succinct, informative, and inviting. Your print ad has just a split second to attract attention and quickly explain why your product or service has some lasting benefit to those who read about it. This procedure can help you create an eye-catching print ad:
Hammer out your headline.
In nearly all cases, the headline is the single most-important element of a print ad. Strive to be clear and concise in your headlines. Avoid the temptation to become so creative that your meaning is lost or obscured.
Where the headline is placed within the ad is as important as what the headline says. You need to make sure that the headline dominates the ad so it can be quickly understood. Too often, the headline, which includes the most important information within an ad, is lost in a muddle of too many type fonts, graphics, and other elements.
Shape your subheads.
In addition to the main headline, a subhead can impart secondary information. The headline must grab readers, but the subhead can explain the deal further. Not all ads require a subhead, but this element, generally set in smaller type, is there to give the reader additional information without cluttering up your ad.
Build your body copy.
The body copy, also known as the sell copy, is where you can explain your offer in detail. But, like everything else in a good print ad, you need to keep the body copy brief — and possibly not include it at all.
Generate your graphics.
The graphic element of your ad is there to attract the readers’ eyes and interest them enough to read your body copy. The graphic element usually calls attention to, or complements, the headline — the two elements work together to create the overall ambience of the ad.
Make sure your ad's graphic element is relevant to what you’re selling. A photo of a girl in a bikini isn’t the best way to sell anything except bikinis. Health and fitness spas are always using bathing suit babes as their central graphic. (Are people really dumb enough to believe that those women are actually members?)
Decide on a final layout.
The design and layout of an ad is everything. This figure illustrates a sample layout for a magazine ad. If you stick to this kind of layout, you can’t go wrong.