Last week we spoke about the horror of trendy Halloween costumes, tsunamis and the cancellation of TV’s beloved Veronica Mars. Oh yeah, and what NOT to do when creating newspaper ads.
Here are five TREATS to make your newspaper ads ridiculously effective:
TREAT #1: Make Your Ad Trackable
Investing in any kind of advertisement is a big deal, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses. If you hand over a good chunk of your ad spend, you better make sure you have a way to track whether that particular ad and distribution channel gives you a return.
For real tracking success, make sure your ad has a specific purpose, such as a discount or free giveaway, and then a means to track responses, such as a dedicated URL address, QR code or phone extension.
At one time, so the theory goes, human beings had long attention spans, no doubt from waiting weeks to receive a “Dear John” message delivered by a game bird. Nowadays, thanks to messages delivered in 140 characters and six second videos, our attention spans are minimal at best. The point here is, you have about two seconds to grab a prospect’s attention and get them to read your entire ad. What’s the best way to grab their attention? With a big, bold headline, that’s how.
In order to write a great headline you’ve got to know who your target audience is and what their needs are. Assuming your product or service meets these needs, you’ll be able to tailor your headline to engage your audience and communicate your solution.
TREAT #3: Make Your Ad Readable
I’ve never understood the appeal of candy apples. To me, candy apples are just too darn hard to eat. If I see a candy apple, I ignore it.
Make sure your ad can be easily read by your prospects. If you find yourself having to use 6 or 7 point type size just to fit all your copy, you know you’ve got too much copy. The minimum point type you should employ is 8 or 9, so keep your message short and to the point.
TREAT #4: Limit Your Fonts
While your children may squeal with delight at the sheer variety of candy they score after an evening of trick-or-treating, variety isn’t always welcome. Using too many fonts in your ad makes for a busy and unattractive message. Using no more than three fonts will make your ad look professional and draw the reader’s eye.
TREAT #5: Test, Test, and Test Some More
Effective ads are those that have been scrutinized and repeatedly tested using the A/B or “split testing” method. Split testing is a way to test two components of an ad side-by-side to see which yields the best result. Guessing what works won’t generally increase your leads and sales, but rigorous analytical testing generally will.
What components should you test in your ad? All of ‘em. Test your headline, your main offer, your copy, and the images. You’ll also want to test which section of the paper your ad appears in and which days it runs. When split testing, follow the three golden rules:
Test One Component at a Time
When putting ad variations up side-by-side, they have to be equivalent. In other words, if you put your original ad (ad A) up against a new version of your ad (ad B), ad B should only have one change – for instance the headline; it shouldn’t have the headline and the image and the font changed. Make sure to always measure the impact of one change at a time so you’ll know what to credit (or blame) for increased (or decreased) performance.
Test with Similar Audiences
You can’t show ad A to a group of teenagers and then ad B to a group of senior citizens. Always show both versions to a similar demographic. Ideally, you should take your target market and split it up evenly to view and rate the ad.
Your 8-year-old doesn’t go to two houses on Halloween and then quit. She goes to every single house in the neighborhood and exhausts all her possible avenues of sugar.
Testing is a game of patience, but that patience will literally pay off with cold, hard sales. Take your time and test all the components of your ad before you launch as well as after.
Creating newspaper ads doesn’t have to be a spooky situation. By following these five tips you’ll create effective ads that will help your business reach its campaign objectives.