6 Tips for Writing a Successful Print Ad

August 11, 2017
The following tips will help you formulate ad copy that piques consumers’ interest in your small business.

Even in the increasingly digital landscape of the advertising world, print ads are still a dynamic force. Not only should today’s ads be eye-catching; the copy must also be cleverly crafted. Just because they ought to be short and sweet does not mean print ads are easy to write. For a print ad to be successful, its copy must be concise and evocative. Besides working with a professional ad agency copywriter, freelance copywriter, or creative director, the following tips will help you formulate ad copy that piques consumers’ interest in your small business.

No. 1: Come up with a strong headline. In your print ads, the headline is going to be the first line of copy a consumer encounters. For your headline to be effective, imagine it as a hook meant to draw in your audience. The rhetorical statement (or question) ought to introduce the solution your business offers, prompting people to find out more about your brand’s products/services. Some examples of successful headlines include:

  • How will it move you? -- Wii Fit
  • Help Make Bedtime Worry Free -- GoodNites Sleep Pants
  • Power is Nothing Without Control -- Pirelli Tires
  • It's time to say no to fake food -- Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise

 

No. 2: Consider if your ad needs a subhead. Even though you won’t see a subhead in all print ads, they can do the extra work of drawing in your audience even further. The subhead’s function is to answer the headline’s question or clarify a particularly cryptic headline. The following subheads reveal more about their brands:

  • Enfamil
  • Headline: For nine months, you protected him like no one else could.
  • Subhead: Now we're here to help.

 

  • The Saturn SKY
  • Headline: All New
  • Subhead: When was the last time you heard that, and was it actually true?

 

  • Lunchables
  • Headline: Feed Their Wonder
  • Subhead: Introducing Lunchables Wrapz!

 

  • La-Z-Boy
  • Headline: The La-Z-Boy Home Theater Collection.
  • Subhead: Because customizing your home theater should also extend to your backside.

No. 3: Use white space to your ad’s advantage. Even if your small business is spending a pretty penny on a print ad, don’t be afraid to use white space. Inundating the entire ad space with text and images might make your audience feel overwhelmed, and thus drive them away. On the other hand, white space that is used effectively can draw consumers into your brand’s ad. For your ad to truly resonate, its visual and textual components will need to be in sync with each element working to derive the same feeling from your audience.

No. 4: Use body copy to tell your brand’s story. Huge brands like Nike and Coke can get away with using their signature logos and catchphrases on their ads, but your small business’ brand has a story to tell. Even though you don’t want to overwrite the body of your ad, it is your small business’ opportunity to share the narrative, lifestyle, and ethos it embodies and sells. Every word in the body copy should count, and jargon should be avoided. Instead, focus on what your small business is offering to the consumer and why the consumer should choose your brand. Body copy should be kept brief with the consideration that your brand is competing amongst all other advertisers in that space or publication.

No. 5: Determine your ad’s call to action. For your print ad’s copy to generate leads and revenue for your small business, it will need to present a clear action for its audience to take. This can include but is definitely not limited to calling your business, visiting your business’ website, receiving a discount for ordering before a certain date, getting a free trial or offer with an order, and etc. Your guiding question should be: what should the customer do now? However explicit or implicit, your brand’s call-to-action must be embedded in your print ad’s copy.

No. 6: Don’t forget to include your business’ up-to-date contact information. Even though your contact information ought to include your business’ website, you will want to include other means such as an address and phone number. You don’t want to make any assumptions about your audience’s resources, so give them options. Knowing how to write ad copy for your small business will aid you in crafting clever ad campaigns that captivate new and returning buyers.

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