How to Advertise… and what to avoid

So you want to run some print advertising, either in the newspaper or by means of flyers from your favourite printer…

So often the business owner gives the advertising department or local printer a few details and leaves it up to them to come up with a “pretty” advert or design. My best advice to you is… DON’T DO THAT… because the result is usually a waste of your money in terms of getting results! There are media and printers who do know how to produce good advertising, but if you don’t want to use a professional, then unless you do your homework on your local printers you risk ending up with ineffective (hence expensive) advertising.

So what are some of the DON’Ts you should avoid?

Unless your business is a household name, DON’T make your business name the principal feature of your ad – if your copy is of sufficient interest to the reader they will look for your name. Instead, use that space for compelling words such as a targeted headline or strong body copy.

DON’T assume the reader knows your business or what it can do for them. If you employed a salesperson who only grunted a handful of words at each customer I suspect you would be less than happy with them. Make your adverts sell like a competent salesperson.

DON’T use technical or specialist jargon unless you specifically target buyers who immediately know what they are reading about. Prime offenders are car sales and computer sales…Granny wants a computer to surf a little and email friends… all the specifications you list mean squat to her!

DON’T make the reader guess what to do next. Tell them what you expect them to do… visit, phone, email, send in a coupon… because if you don’t tell them chances are they will do… you guessed it… NOTHING!

DON’T neglect to give the reader as many options as possible to be able to contact you… and make sure there is someone knowledgeable available to be contacted! Balance their needs and skills with the best options for you… a phone number or two, street address if appropriate, fax number, email address, website address… make it as convenient as you can for your customer.

DON’T forget to build into your advert an opportunity to build on any initial interest by encouraging the reader to provide you with their contact details. So if the time is not right for them to purchase right now you can contact them! Perhaps a time limited offer based on the registration of their interest… then you can contact them at a later date. You may provide a free sample or special information in exchange for their contact details.

DON’T fall for the old “lots of white space” hoax… tell your story on the page and give enough detail so that the reader knows what, how, where, when, and who can meet their needs.

Do it well and reap the rewards…


Copyright © 2010-2011 Bernie Gilmour