If they’re not on the TV, they’re on the radio; if they’re not on the radio they are in magazines; if the magazines don’t get you the billboards might; be wary of supermarkets too and the internet is teeming with them; and if all of these fail then you always have the pile on your doormat when you get home from work to look forward to…

…Adverts! They really are ubiquitous!  We are subjected to hundreds of marketing messages a day, most of which we have become oblivious to, and it is for this reason that I ask myself the following question when compiling an advert;  “how will I make my advert stand out from the crowd and especially my competitors”?

There are a few main factors that you need to consider when deciding on the content of an advert and you should know the first one off by heart now, I say it often enough.

Know your audience

This is an extremely powerful starting off point as knowing your audience will give you ideas for many factors of your advert including the design, the offer, the call to action and where you are going to place your advert.

Be clear of your objective

If you give your intended audience too much information with too many messages, how will they know what you want them to do? Only tell them what they need to know and what can be retained in a short space of time.  With the best intention in the world and weeks of careful planning, you might think your advert is going out in a national publication which will be purchased, taken home and given precedence on the coffee table, but in reality your advert may merely get a glance from a guy waiting for the number 52 at the bus station or the morning shift having a fag in the smoking room at tea time.  The point is, you need to make your advert memorable even if it is only seen for a few seconds so keep focus on making it easy for the customer to understand.

Bolster your words with imagery

Of course eye catching images will do just that, catch the eye, and hopefully create a sense of desire by allowing the viewer to imagine him or herself in a certain situation.  So you shouldn’t be scared to be different as often the adverts that create the biggest talking points have silly, funny or evocative accompanying images.  Images do say a thousand words but you need to be 100% clear about what you’re offering and how a reader or viewer can get it and that’s why images are often used to support words.

Size isn’t everything

Being able to place a full back page advert every time would be great but it is just not always possible.  When you are thinking about your advert you need to consider location as well as size.  Does your chosen publication have specific sections that relate to your business or industry?  What other types of adverts can you expect to be next to?  Is something planned for the overleaf of your advert that requires being cut out?  Are you going to advertise electronically and if so is there a particular time that is likely to yield a greater viewership?

What do you want me to do?

Your advert must drive consumers to do something, something you stipulate, otherwise known as the ‘call to action’.  Basically, tell them what they are going to get and how they can get it.  You will likely need clear and concise imagery to convey your product coupled with a clear price or promotion.  And of course you need to give customers an action to complete, be it visit your webpage, follow a link, sign up for a trial or pick up the phone to order, it needs to be clear.

Now, getting people to do things can sometimes be tricky so you may want to incentivise them.  This is often seen in the form of bogof offers or free gifts.

Give something extra

This ‘give’ doesn’t require anything on your part other than a little bit of consideration. Give your audience something extra by making them enjoy their experience with a memorable advert.  Humour is a tried and tested way of doing this (that and pictures of cute puppies) after all, if a customer is not going to act on your advert, at least let them remember it in a positive way.

The last thing I will tell you to think about would be a purchase you have made because of an advert and then think what it was about the advert that made you want the product.  I could have said that in the first place but I don’t think a blog of two lines would cut the mustard!

Next week I will give you ten things you can do in one day to increase awareness of your company.

How to Create an Effective Advert

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