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7 Ways to Get Your Print Ads to Convert

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 01:23 PM |


How often do you spend money on print campaigns only to have them give you less than stellar results? You’re not alone, many marketers are investing more and more ad spend and simply not getting the results they desire. This causes some to throw in the towel and put all of their budget and effort into digital channels, and that’s a shame, because print is still one of the most effective channels to engage consumers and drive action.

The following are 7 ways you can get your print ads to convert so your overall campaigns deliver bigger and better results.

Grab Attention with a Benefits-Driven Headline

You only have seconds to get your reader’s attention. If they skim your headline and it doesn’t make them want to read your entire offer, you’ve lost them for good. Therefore, your headline must offer the reader your key benefits. In other words, “What’s in it for them?” Why should they care what you’re offering, and why should they even want to read the rest of your ad? Will they save a lot of money? Have whiter teeth in just 5 days? Have more energy and sleep better at night? Lead with your main benefits and make sure the headline text stands out from the rest of your ad by using big, bold type.


Don't make readers read your adsDon’t Make the Readers Read Your Ad

Today’s readers aren’t really readers, they’re skimmers. Their eyes easily glide over printed pages until something jumps out at them. Your headline has captured their attention – that’s great. Don’t lose their attention now by forcing them to read a chunky paragraph of tiny text. They’ll give up before they even begin.

Instead, make your ad skimmer-friendly by using bullet points to list out the rest of your offer’s benefits. Also, make sure you are not writing past an 8th grade level. Keep it simple and easy to digest.


Include a Clear Call-to-Action

One of the biggest mistakes we see our clients make is to not include a call-to-action (CTA) within every print ad. Your call-to-action is what is going to drive response. It’s not enough to list your offer’s benefits and then hope the reader will take action – you’ve got to tell them exactly what they need to do. Do you want them to call a specific 1-800 number for more information or visit your website? Maybe you want them to clip out a coupon and bring it into your store for 20% off. The most effective CTAs are the ones that include a sense of urgency, so make sure that coupon has an expiration date!


Give People Options

A Direct Marketing Association study found that ads that offered prospects an option of how to respond (say calling a phone number OR visiting a web address), got a higher response rate than those ads that only offered a single option. People like choices so give them some.


Track, Test and OptimizeTrack, Test, and Optimize

Print advertising is direct response advertising. You’re not trying to build brand awareness with the ad in your local newspaper, you’re trying to make more sales – period. When it comes to direct response ads, the biggest mistake you can make is to not track, test and optimize. You’ve got to track your ads to see if they’re effective at all, test different things (headlines, benefits, images) to see if you can do better, and optimize (AKA make any necessary changes) them for the biggest ROI.


BONUS TIP - Build a List and Nurture It

Numerous studies have shown that consumers don’t generally convert the first time they see an ad but will eventually after they have been exposed to an offer repeatedly. While running the same ad in your Sunday paper will eventually get a lot of people to convert – why leave any sales on the table?

Consider sending traffic to a landing page and give them something of value for free in exchange for their email address. It could be a free report, free recipes, anything that supports your brand and offer. Nurture these prospects with valuable information and routine offers via an email newsletter and you will increase the ROI from your initial print ad.


Maybe after reading this post you’ve realized you’re doing most everything on this list except using a CTA or putting your benefits front and center in your headlines. Making even the smallest adjustment to your print campaigns can make a huge difference in their performance.

 Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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