How To Get Print Ads That Work

How To Get Print Ads That Work

by Kevin Nunley

Print ads are among your best choices for effective marketing. Here are 5 ways to turn your ads into real money-makers.

Smart business owners have relied on print ads for generations. While customers often do other things while they watch TV or listen to the radio, they usually put their full concentration into reading print.

You can’t drive a car or talk to your spouse while you read ads. Broadcasters may say that is a disadvantage, but it is a big head start for any business shooting for advertising results.

1. Use A Headline

Your headline gets attention. That is the first step in effective advertising. Until you get your prospect’s attention, you can’t sell them anything. Your headline is large-print words usually at the top of the ad. Its main purpose is to pull eyes toward your ad.

Here are some good ways to write effective headlines:

* Announce a new development. An exciting new product or inventive feature will grab attention.

* Ask a question. A question like “Do you work too much?” encourages the reader to mentally answer your ad. This gets the reader involved. The more your prospect is involved with your ad, the better it sells.

* Offer big savings. People often jump for a discount of 40% or more. This works so well some advertisers keep their prices high just so they can slash them in ads.

* Point out your best benefit. What is the one thing about your product or service that really HELPS customers. Announce that benefit briefly in your headline. Then your ad copy can explain the benefit further.

2. Use A Subhead

For larger ads, always use a subhead. This is an optional additional headline in print that is not quite as large as the headline’s.

The subhead provides additional information and can be longer than the headline.

For example, our headline “Do You Work Too Much?” could be followed by a subhead that reads “You could be one of 50 million Americans who are putting their health in danger from overwork.” If I’m not feeling well after a long week at work, this combination of headline and subhead will grab my attention and get me reading.

3. Your Body Copy

This is the main part of your ad. It explains your offer, lays out the most attractive features of your product or service, and connects those features to exciting benefits the customer will receive.

Most publications feature 10 point type. Designers tell us Helvetica and Century are the most readable types, although they may not be the most exciting. If your readers are under the age of 40, you can get away with a smaller type size. You will get results with folks over 40 if you use a slightly larger type.

People read lower case letters faster than they read capitals. STAY AWAY FROM LONG SENTENCES IN ALL CAPITALS (like this one).

Your body copy can tell a story. It can paint a picture of the prospect’s life or a particular challenge your product or service can solve. For our ad about working too much, the body could read “You pull out of the office parking lot and realize you’re falling a sleep on your way home.

“When your child asks for help on her Math homework, you simply don’t have the patience or energy to help her. We understand and have worked to developed the Smith System to organize your life so you have time for the really important things.”

In classified ad copy, sentences can be short. Two and three word sentences are fine. Start each sentence with an action word.

4. Provide A Visual

For thousands of years people all over the world have learned by looking at pictures. A visual is simply the quickest and easiest way to get your message across to the maximum number of prospects.

Graphics also get attention. One rock musician built a big audience by putting up fliers that featured a picture of him jumping off a building. That simple ad got attention and produced big results over time. Use a graphic that compliments your headline. The graphic and headline should work together to deliver a richer message.

5. Include Instructions On How To Buy.

This last point may seem too commonsensical to mention. But I’m surprised at how many ads, TV commercials, and web sites grab my interest but never tell me how to buy. Your ad should include several ways to contact you and order your product or service. Include your phone, email, physical location, even your fax number as space allows.


Kevin Nunley worked 20 years in radio and TV before becoming one of the first to start an Internet business.

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About the author

Pretium lorem primis senectus habitasse lectus donec ultricies tortor adipiscing fusce morbi volutpat pellentesque consectetur risus molestie curae malesuada. Dignissim lacus convallis massa mauris enim mattis magnis senectus montes mollis phasellus.

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