You only have about five seconds (or less) to attract someone’s attention to your print ad. Using the following seven tips can help you create effective print ads and improve response rates.
1. Determine one objective.
Before you begin working on your print ad, determine the one thing you want your reader to do after he or she reads it. Perhaps it’s to call for a free retirement planning guide or to visit your Web site to calculate their life insurance needs. Avoid the urge to offer more than one thing or everything. If you focus on your one communications objective, your audience will, too.
2. Define your target audience.
Who do you want to read your message? Is it retirees? Pre-retirees? Business owners? Women? Defining your target audience will help you choose language and visuals that speak directly to them and their specific needs.
3. Choose attention-getting visuals.
Effective print ads are typically comprised of a visual, a headline, body copy, and a signature (in that order). If you have the space to include a visual, consider using a realistic photograph that mirrors your target audience. Research shows that about 70% of people notice visuals in print ads, so make your photo or illustration the most prominent and interesting part of your message (at least half of your ad space). (More: 5 design tips for direct mail pieces)
4. Create a strong, short headline.
The second most-noticed portion of a print ad is your headline. About 30% of people read print ad headlines. Effective headlines are relatable and evoke emotions. Make your readers curious. Tickle their funny bone. Get them thinking. And do it in 15 words or less.