There’s an art to building small ads for small businesses and if you master it you can create effective ads that are kind to your budget.
While I would never refer to my readers as “stupid,” the above acronym applies to designing ads, so let’s just say it stands for “Keep It Simple Sweetheart.” And if I were to continue in cliché mode, I could use the old “Rules 2-5, refer to rule 1,” routine, because this is the most important rule and all the others really come from it.
Space is limited so non-essential copy and images just have to go. A good rule to remember is every element you ad to a design detracts from the impact of all the other elements in the design. You’ve got a very short time to get your potential customer’s attention and give them your sales pitch, skip the small talk.
Go with the Flow
A reader’s eyes have been trained to read from left to right, top to bottom. Keep this in mind when laying out the ad. A good design will help the reader navigate your message.
What’s in a Name
Your business name is important, so is your logo and it should be prominent in your design. However, and this is a BIG however, it shouldn’t be at the top and it shouldn’t be the largest element. Unless you’re a household name, you’re much better off leading with a great headline. It’s your sales pitch, your chance to voice your unique selling position, what differentiates you from your competitors and why customers should choose you. In eight words or less.
Readers are trained to look for your name in information in the lower right quarter of the ad. Don’t make it hard for them, don’t give them an excuse to go on to the next ad.
Bite the Bullet
Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Bob says, “Brevity is the soul of a good ad.” You’ve got their attention now, tell them what you have to offer, but remember you have to hold their attention, so no rambling on in paragraphs of precious prose. Repeat after me: “Bullet Points.”
Organize your information and lay it out so they can scan it quickly to find out if you’re offering what they’re looking for. Again don’t give them a chance to miss your message. Four to six concise bullet points in order of importance. Do your designer a favor and keep the point about the same length and an even number of points is also helpful. But the message is what’s important.
A Picture is Worth…
A lot. I don’t know about 10,000 words, but let’s say it’s 5,000. You’re still getting a good bang for your buck. You don’t want to waste all that power. Here is one incredibly simple rule that will increase the effectiveness of your ad probably more than anything else on this page. Your image must be of happy people enjoying the benefits of your product or service. Not your truck. Not your office. Not your dog. And in most cases not you. Happy people enjoying the benefits of your product or service. Not some guy in distress because his basement is flooding. Same guy, dry basement, big smile. You get the picture.