Follow these 4 Guidelines to make your customers notice you!

I love print advertisements!  Maybe it’s because I’m in the industry.  Maybe it’s because I am inspired by visually appealing things (hence my background in interior design). Maybe I’m just a nerd.  No matter the reason, I can’t help but pick up magazines at the checkout counter and flip through to select my favorite ad.  It’s not uncommon to find me staring in admiration at well done signage in stores.  On a road trip, you will always find Kyle and I playing “Name that Font” – A made-up game in which we quiz each other on the font type used on billboards.  Suffice it to say, a well done print ad puts a smile on my face!

It’s no secret that a thoughtfully crafted and well executed print advertisement can increase your business’s credibility, connect with your potential clients on a personal or emotional level, and result in increased revenue for your company.

The guidelines outlined below are tips you have certainly heard before.  I am not re-inventing the wheel, or formulating new “genius” techniques.  I am simply compiling common, well-known strategies that are proven to work, in hopes that a quick memory refresher will inspire you to analyze your approach to print advertising.

These strategies are clearly implemented by large companies with professional and highly-paid marketing teams, but are often overlooked by small businesses, who would find greater success in their own companies by following suit.  Take advantage of the market research and studies that others have paid big bucks for and apply it to your own business for FREE.

1) Less is MORE.

This is perhaps the most difficult message to convey to small business owners.  The purpose of a print ad is to attract the attention of your potential customers.  Once you have their attention, then proceed to inform them of all of your products or services utilizing your website, face to face interactions, or a menu listing all of your products or services.

Imagine each of these ads placed in a publication with other business ads and/or articles next to it.  Which would capture your attention?

Scratch Cafe Combined

*This is a fictitious business with ads quickly created for use in this blog.

2) Don’t underestimate the value of WHITE SPACE.

There is an expression or quote that I don’t remember word for word, but it’s something along the lines of… “All your advertising return on investment is made in the white space of your ad”.  This rule is utilized by large companies consistently, but is very difficult for small business owners to follow, as they tend to see blank space on the ad and want to put more information so they are “getting their money’s worth” out of every inch of the ad.  Take a look at these examples of print ads placed by large companies:

White Space Examples

BTW: “White Space” doesn’t have to be the color white, it simply indicates blank space with no pictures or content.

3) Consistency is key.

It may take many views of your ad before a potential customer will take notice.  There are many published statistics about how many views it takes.  Some sources say three times, some say seven.  In my experience, there is not a magical number of views, as it can vary drastically depending upon your industry.  A restaurant who places an ad with a coupon discounting their food may begin to receive redemptions immediately, whereas a flooring, roofing, or other high-ticket item may take much longer to get a single phone call.

I would strongly encourage any business to commit to at least 12 months with a single print campaign. Select a product and ad size that you are comfortable paying for the entire year.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate response!  If you have a well-designed ad, a reputable company and are consistently making your potential customers aware of your business, the ad will work.

4) Put your BEST offer out there.

You do not have to offer a coupon or discount for a print advertisement to be successful.  However, if you do, make it a good one!

• Providing a coupon or discount can be very useful in tracking the success of your campaign.  Plus, let’s face it, everyone likes to get a deal! If you’re going to use that valuable ad space on a coupon, make sure it’s something that will appeal to the general public.

• Use real $ OFF, not % OFF – if you can.  Giving someone $ OFF translates to actual dollars in their pocket, whereas giving a % OFF translates to “I have to spend a lot to get a good discount.”

• Keep your offer consistent in all print ads you run.  If your offer is better in one publication than another, you will not get a fair reading on the success rate of each publication.

When you’re tracking your redemptions, just remember:  Not all customers will use the coupon – maybe their minimum order wasn’t high enough, or the buy one get one free lunch wasn’t suitable for their solo dining experience that day.  Don’t discount the value of the advertising itself.  Seeing your ad and your logo over and over made that customer visit you, but may never be track-able.

Which coupon would you rather use as a consumer?

Scratch Coup Combined

Try using these 4 guidelines in your print advertising campaign.  If you are in the Central Florida area, practice these tips by placing an ad in Look Local today!

Author: Crystal Scribner

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