What Makes An Effective Advertisement?

An effective advertisement uses creativity to grab the viewers’ attention and make a brand immediately memorable and identifiable.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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What Are the Qualities of a Effective Advertisement?

A company that invests in effective advertising has the ability to attract new customers by letting them know about products and services. The goal if for advertising to gain the attention of potential customers and encourage them to buy whatever product or service the company sells. Whatever method is preferred, a company’s advertising must be consistent and clear in its message, reflecting the unique qualities of the business and its values.

Advertising is a form of communication that is meant to educate, notify, remind, and convince customers to buy a product or otherwise interact with a business. Advertising should be used in tandem with other business strategies and marketing tools to be effective. Advertising should be distracting, in a good way! It should encourage the consumer to stop scrolling through Instagram or leafing through the paper or listening to the radio to pay attention to a company’s ad for their product or service. Advertising also needs to be unique, legitimate, and memorable for it to work in the way it is intended. As with all smart marketing strategies, a good advertisement needs to be the result of a considered marketing strategy. Whatever kind of advertising campaign a business is considering, it should plan to spend enough money to frequently put out the ad; the more an individual sees an ad, the more likely they are to remember it.

There is also verbal advertising, which has been an effective form of marketing long before Instagram and Facebook came onto the scene. Verbal advertising is generally believed to be one of the most effective kinds of marketing. It not only has legitimacy, but audiences are more likely to listen to it and grant it a friendly reception. This kind of marketing promotes open conversation, allowing for questions and answers concerning the product, as well as incentives to buy, memorability, and frequency. Such advertising transfers information about a product or service to many possible customers (perhaps including a free sample or trial) at little cost to the company. Businesses should therefore strongly consider using verbal advertising when they can.

When creating a good advertisement, avoid using boring words. For example: Business attorney in San Diego often seeks to highlight the attorney’s expertise in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, contract negotiations, and other relevant legal services, aiming to attract clients in need of strategic legal counsel for their enterprises. Yes, this is boring and not memorable.

In a way, traditional media advertising, such as McDonald’s ‘I’m lovin it’ ads, act as the tinder that promotes verbal advertising and boosted sales. Effective advertising will result in a lot more verbal endorsements than can be achieved through paid media presentations of ads.

What Are Tips for Creating Good Advertising Campaigns?

The following concepts can help a business owner create memorable advertising campaigns for his or her business:

Make Sure that Ads Are Strategic

If a business has a strong positioning strategy, then it can be sure of identifying the proper target audience for its marketing. This includes a list of primary benefits and features of the product or service. It can also offer reasons why the good or service is better than other similar ones, as well as providing an advertising character, or personality.

Offer a Single, Simple Message

When it comes to advertising, simple is best. For print ads, it is best to have a short, to-the-point headline. The ad itself should be focused on a single message, be it selection, price, quality, or another simple, straightforward concept. By giving people too much to think about, a business owner risks confusing them and losing their attention.

Pick a Style that is Likeable

The best ads have style and personality that resonates with customers. Think about the cute Pillsbury Doughboy, or Captain Crunch and Tony the Tiger. A business would do well to think of a fun, enjoyable style that it can stick to for a year or longer. It is not a good idea to change ad styles too often, because this can confuse potential customers. It also makes a company less memorable. What if Frosted Flakes had switched its mascot to a sloth? People would be confused as to where Tony the Tiger went, and if other aspects of the beloved brand had also changed.

Have Credibility

If a business argues that its value or quality is the best in the industry, but it clearly is not true, then advertising will only make the business fail faster. It is also not a good idea to pointedly insult the competition, because customers who are used to a competitor may only become more loyal to that brand and be less willing to switch to a perceived hostile competitor.

Encourage Sales

Through ads, a business owner should invite customers to visit their shop, ask for more info, or place orders online. There should be clearly readable information in the advertisement related to where customers may make purchases: location, store hours, telephone number, credit cards accepted, and so on.

Make the Ad Competitive

It is important that a business owner does their research when crafting an ad. He or she should study competitor’s advertisements in the media that he or she is hoping to advertise their business in. It is important that the ad stand out from the others. To see if this is the case, a business owner can rely on personal judgement, run the ad by test buyers from the target market, or run more expensive forms of quantitative tests. Ads should be compared based on memorability, uniqueness, credibility, and motivation to buy.

Make the Ad Look Professional

If a business has the talent available as well as the time, then it should invest in computer design and publishing software, which can offer professional templates to create attractive print ads. A business owner should think about getting artistic, writing, and graphics assistance from local talent or art studios. These places have professionals and expensive creative software available for hire. Hiring a professional could save money and time in the grand scheme of things, and offer better results than if one had tried to do the ad on their own. In fact, electronic ads, such as those found on TV, radio, and the internet, are best when they are professionally-produced. In return, these professionals generally receive 15% of the media dollars a company spends.

Be Honest

No matter the advertising medium a company chooses to market its product or service, it is essential to be honest with the consumer base. There are tough laws regarding deceit in advertising.

Take Advantage of Cheap and Free Advertising

There are many options for business owners when it comes to doing cheap and even free promotion, advertising, and publicity. When a business is able to afford more complex ad techniques, a business owner can look back at how successful these methods were in allowing the company to grow. The main issue is at is whether the advertising does what it is supposed to do: make more customers buy the product or service from the business.

Encourage Referral Business

Great marketing does not have to cost an arm and a leg, assuming a business owner is careful with how they spend their money. As noted above, verbal advertising is a time-tested form of marketing, and it is one of the most successful. To encourage such advertising, a business owner should be sure to ask for referrals all the time. While it will depend on the type of business, if possible, a business owner should keep in contact with his or her customers. By staying at the forefront of their mind, customers will be more likely to recommend the business to others.

For instance, certain personal services professionals, like real estate agents and accountants, send holiday and birthday cards to clients. Businesses like hair salons might offer discounted products or a certificate to clients who offer a referral that earns a new customer.

Another example is that commercial litigation attorney in Los Angeles referral program facilitates connections between law firms and clients in need of specialized commercial litigation services, ensuring that clients receive appropriate legal representation while attorneys gain new cases and opportunities for their practice.

Use Business Cards

A business owner should create informative and attractive business cards that show a company’s logo, which they can give out at every opportunity. Perhaps the card can be used as a discount certificate. Another idea is to have the cards include a magnetic back so that they can be stuck on a customer’s refrigerator for easy reference.

It would also be wise to print out gift certificates. These allow customers to introduce the business to other new customers. Because the company gets paid up front for the service or product, this is a cash-friendly option.

Brochures Are a Great Way to Inform Customers

Brochures provide the means to educate customers on a good or service that a company is selling. A business owner can purchase basic three-fold brochure stock paper from mail order suppliers. This kind of paper comes in different colors and cuts that can fit a business’ style. There is also template software available which can be used to craft professional brochures for cheap. Also, many mail suppliers will offer templates for use.

When creating a brochure, a business owner should make it simple and attractive, so that people will notice it. The headline should stand out, and graphics should be eye-catching. It is important to give the customer as much information about the business, product, or service as one can fit into the brochure. The brochure should be kept updated and personalized – perhaps some cute handwritten notes in the margins or underlined sections.

Flyers Are a Great Cheap Advertising Option

One of the advantages of using flyers as an advertising tool is how they can be produced cheaply on a business owner’s personal computer. Alternatively, a print shop can also create them. A business owner may use either a color printer or traditional colored paper stock. These flyers should be crammed full of useful information about the business, its products, and services. They should be posted on bulletin boards all over the local community. They are easy to give out in large numbers, and they are even portable enough to be used as bag stuffers or as inserts that can be provided with monthly billings. Indeed, a business owner should not mail any material without including some form of sales information. After all, he or she is already paying for the postage – why not take advantage of that? While it is acceptable to place flyers in office lobbies and to put them on car windshields, this practice can turn off a segment of the population.

Door Hangers Are an Effective Choice

For companies in the fast food, home delivery, and service industries, door hangers are still an effective option. If a business decides to use this medium of advertisement, it is important to invest in quality paper stock that will not blow off doorknobs. A business owner should consider adding a coupon or other incentive to the hanger, or make the hanger itself a coupon. Firms like FedEx Office offers templates for door hangers and can take care of the printing. Door hangers are an excellent method of focusing on a particular target market, because they can be placed in strategic neighborhoods and communities. For example, if a business caters to families, then the door hangers can be placed in a neighborhood nearby a school. Or if a company caters to seniors, then it can place hangers in a retirement community or 55 and up neighborhood.

Make Use of Telephone Numbers

Even as the internet and smartphones take over the economy, the traditional method of telephone advertising continues to be effective. According to a 2011 Local Search Association survey, 78% of those surveyed had referred to yellow page directories in the past twelve months. When this included internet searches of ‘yellow pages,’ 84% answered that they had consulted a yellow page directory. This means that even as Twitter and Facebook grow in influence and popularity, and websites are always important as advertising tools, advertising in phone directories remains an important form of marketing one’s business.

That said, directory advertising is not a cheap option. The publishers of yellow page directories are strict when it comes to publishing ads, which means that it is hard to make one’s ad unique compared to competitors in the face of tough requirements. If a business decides to invest in this kind of ad, then it is wise to look into whether households in the community receive directories published by more than one firm. Advertising costs vary by company, so it is important to pick one that targets potential customers at a reasonable cost. It would be bad if a small business threw away money on ads for a phonebook that did not even deliver to their community.

It is important to get all directory companies’ prices and ask their representatives for advice and information. (Just be wary not to fall for a sales pitch when asking for unbiased information.) A business owner should be cautious when choosing a listing category. If a business sells pizza, does it want to market itself as ‘pizza’, ‘restaurant’, or ‘carryout’? Even though it is more expensive, it is worth paying for the bold-type listing, especially if one can only stretch their budget to cover a single line listing. If possible financially, it is worth paying for a display ad that runs year after year. Also, it is a good idea to employ heavy black borders to draw attention to the ad. A business owner should not hesitate to use a lot of copy, as well as pictures and color if their budget allows.

A business owner should use the ad to make their company seem experienced, reliable, and legitimate. Depending on the company, it may make sense to mention that it is insured or has been in business for a long period of time. It is important to list every category of product or service offered, as well as hours and location. The directory’s publisher will provide advice and examples of what can be done, but a business owner should do their best to give a unique flair wherever possible.

Look Into All Print Media Choices

One great way to reach potential customers is through classified and small display ads in newspapers and magazines. It is important to remember that even traditional classifieds reach a large quantity of people, especially on the weekends when people are at home browsing the paper with a cup of coffee and their morning cereal. There is a good reason these pages of the paper are filled with property agents and auto dealers. If a business puts a classified ad in the correct category and runs it consistently over a period of time, then it will probably generate a strong response – or at least enough to cover the ad cost.

When it comes to small display ads, the same applies. It should be easy for potential customers to understand what a business is selling. For clarity, it may be wise to put a border around the ad to make it stand out. The ad should be run in an appropriate newspaper or magazine. It would not make sense for a bar to advertise its mojitos in a youth sports publication, for example. It should also be easy for customers to respond to the offer by providing an address, phone number, and location, space allowing.

It would also be wise to gather media kits from the community’s publications, as well as any preferred publications. A business owner should study what they offer, and their prices. A media kit provides the publication’s geographic and demographic reach in addition to information about rates.

A Business Can Issue Its Own Newsletter

Depending on the company in question, it may be a good idea to create a newsletter to get in touch with customers. This newsletter can be a combination of information and advertising that keeps customers familiar with one’s logo and purpose, as well as provides a method of maintaining contact. A business can save on postage costs by maintaining a customer email list or posting the newsletter on its website. It is important to keep one’s image consistent wherever it is viewed in print, as well as to have it in view as often as possible.

Signs Can Convey a Business’ Identity

One of the best ways of creating and maintaining an identity as a business is using signage. Some forms of signage are often cost-prohibitive for small businesses: billboards, search lights, blimps, and skywriting for example. It is a better idea to focus on less exotic forms of signage that do not cost a pretty penny. One of the traditional forms of signage was putting a company’s logo on matchbooks, but with smoking on the way out, it may be a better idea to put the logo on a box of toothpicks rather than matches. This kind of substitution has worked very well in the restaurant world. There are also keychains, calendars, and pencils and pens. If these options work for one’s business, then they are well worth the investment. This is because people actually use these items, so they will actually see the business logo and name all the time.

There are also the benefits of ad specialty signage, such as bumper stickers, decals, buttons, and balloons. One can use packaging and plastic or paper bags as a way to save money on what are effectively billboards. A business owner can print his or her company’s logo, name, and message on whatever they can – anything that will catch the customer’s eye. Mailing labels are also a great way to get a company’s word out. Everyone who touches the business’ mail will see the ad, and there is no cost to the business itself.

It may also be worth branding the company vehicles, essentially treating them as mobile billboards. It is easy to find a supplier of magnetic signs who can create a flexible sign to attach to the company’s car or truck, or even the business owner’s personal vehicle. When the car or truck is not in use for the company, the sign can be easily removed. T-shirts are another great way of involving one’s identity and logo in every aspect of the business. Not only can a business owner wear his or her t-shirt around as a form of mobile advertising, but he or she can give them to customers as well.

One should also take into account all signs, which should be lighted, as with neon, to ensure they are visible from afar. It may also be a good idea to use reader boards, which are portable and can be changed according to the day. With these, it is important to avoid misspellings.

One should be aware that when creating banners and posters, using capital letters can reduce readability. Also, it is critical to check for grammar and spelling errors, which can impact professionalism.

The Importance of Point-of-Purchase Display

Point of purchase displays are extremely important to small businesses. Believe it nor not, impulse buying makes up a massive amount of product sales. Service companies can also make use of POP strategies, such as offering add-ons to regular services: offer to wax the car while doing an oil change, or add a foot massage onto the traditional pedicure. This type of last-minute advertisement can boost sales.

Usually, manufacturers are the ones who cover the cost of point of purchase advertising. It serves them well to provide a retailer with an attractive display, because it can encourage customers to buy the product on impulse and become acquainted with it.

Point of purchase can take many forms: danglers, banners, signs, posters, special lighting, or televisions with promotional videos cycling all day. There is even a point of purchase magazine called Shopper Marketing, as well as a number of websites, such as In-Store Marketing Institute. All retailers would benefit from studying the benefits of point of purchase offers.

Telemarketing and Catalog Can Encourage Sales

Sometimes nothing beats tradition. In this sense, an old-fashioned phone call can make a customer connection. There are a number of forms of telemarketing. Telephone contact should be viewed as a way of providing information or maintaining contact with valued customers. It should not be thought of as a one-time method of closing a sale. The benefit of telemarketing is that it allows for personal contact with a customer. However, it can risk being an intrusion. Small businesses should consider calling people they have been referred to by networking contacts or clients, since these people may be more receptive to a phone call from the company. It may also be a good idea to contact existing customers and let them know about new products or services. This is a great way of staying engaged with one’s customer base.

Whatever form of electronic marketing a small business chooses to employ, it is important for a business owner to monitor results and adjust strategies accordingly to make the best return on their investment.

Trade Shows and Tie-Ins Provide Advertising Opportunities

Trade shows are critical opportunities for some times of manufacturing companies, including businesses that offer services and goods directly to other companies. Companies that go to trade shows focus on making an attractive booth design, as well as picking a great location at the show. An owner of a small business interested in this form of advertisement would be well-advised to contact the trade or professional association for their industry for insight and information.

There is also the opportunity to do tie-ins with other businesses, including co-op ad reimbursements from suppliers whose products the small business sells. Nowadays, frequent buyer clubs are also becoming more common. It is also becoming more common for businesses to accept competitor’s coupons. Offering to meet competitor’s discounts is a great way of keeping customers without needing to promote a major d campaign to compete with similar businesses.

Consider More Expensive Advertising Options

Naturally, if a business can afford it, it can hire a professional ad agency. These agencies can save a company money in good media buys, which may make up for their commission. A business owner should be sure to interview a number of firms before settling on one. Because personalities are a big part of advertising, it is a good idea to make sure one can work with their ad agency partner. This individual can also design informercials if applicable, or place an ad on home shopping networks.

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