In working with 30+ local businesses who advertise in East Fishkill Living and its sister publications, I am often asked for advice on what are the elements of a great print ad. Print advertising is a strong choice for brand promotion and exposure for your business. But, as with many parts of brand strategy, it requires a formula.
Ideally, your print ad will capture your audience’s attention, project your brand image and act as a catalyst for the desired action. It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds, and if you learn to master this formula, you could have a very powerful response. Here’s how to use the most important components of a print ad to your utmost benefit:
What’s Your Headline?
Feature your most impactful point or message about your brand, service or product. Don’t make it too clever to try and encourage viewers to read more deeply. Keep it direct.
Shout out what you are great at doing or what you are promising, not what you are helping solve. Example: Reach new levels of personal fitness instead of Stop making unhealthy choices.
Use Powerful Words
According to Branding for Dummies, some of the most effective words are free, new, save, better, how, now, easy, guarantee, health, love, safety, and, most importantly: you! After all, it is all about them, the reader, and how your product or service benefits them.
Lure the reader in with an enticing first sentence. With each consecutive sentence — that is, if you even need any other copy! — build more interest and credibility by speaking directly to what you know best: your products, your services and how
you can help your consumers solve a singular problem. Don’t be afraid to use wit and humor, which is certainly attention getting!
For example, we recently put together a series of cute and witty ads for Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group. Each month, we’ll show an animal or group of animals will a cute and funny thought bubble and expression from the pet. We believe this will garner attention, as readers enjoy and look forward to seeing the new ad each month, and deepen brand retention.
Simplicity resigns supreme when it comes to artwork on your ad. If readers are paging through a publication, they will likely stop and look at the ads that catch their eye: clean, striking visuals with few elements.
- The photo or illustration should relate indirectly to your brand message. Portray what consumers will experience with your product or service.
- Size your ad accordingly. If your message is that you are a big deal and people should know about you, scale your ad to meet that size expectation.
- Don’t forget to the border. Many forget that in print, your ad needs to be anchored to the page. Plus well-designed borders deliver even more visual appeal.
Bottom line, as one of my favorite designers always reminds me, it takes a strong image and a strong headline working together to get your message seen and understood. But don’t stress. This creative process is a lot of fun!
For more ad and content ideas, contact us.
Jeanne partners with Best Version Media (BVM), one of the fastest-growing private publishing companies in North America, to produce East Fishkill Living, her hometown monthly magazine, and works with colleagues on a number of similar glossy publications around the Hudson Valley and beyond. To learn more about our marketing opportunities, contact us. Thanks to BVM for portions of this content.