Effective Direct Response, Print Display Products & Services Advertising
Direct response advertising is about generating a response from consumers who view your ad. The goal of a direct response advertisement is to encourage action, usually a request for additional information that leads to a purchase.
Following are some considerations for designing an ad that captures attention and elicits response:
One of the most important elements in your ad is the headline. The headline doesn’t necessarily need to be at the top of the ad but should contain a powerful message that stands out. It should elicit an emotional response, desire or need from the reader, that creates motivation because of what they see as a benefit of your product or service. Ask yourself what is the biggest, best benefit you provide your customers or clients and use that as your starting point. The benefit could be a solution to a common problem, a cost savings, an easy way to earn money, a unique place to vacation, an opportunity to learn from an expert, a way to look better, a way to work less, etc. “How To” statements can also elicit interest. Some examples:
- Don’t Clean the Litter Box for a Year
- A Bicycle Seat as Comfortable as Your Sofa
- Save 20 Cents a Gallon by Answering a Few Questions
- The 2 Minute Hair Dryer
- How to Regain Your Spouse’s Total Adoration
If you are targeting a segment of people, consider drawing them in with a question or attention statement such as “Are Your Kids Ready for College but the Savings are Gone?” “Attention: New Mothers Seeking Professional At-Home Careers.”
Whatever your headline states, be sure that it is a clear message, elicits emotion and leaves the reader wanting to know more.
Create impact with graphics and color
In most cases, the photo is the first thing a reader will notice in your ad. The larger the photo, the more it is likely to gain attention. The ad photo must match the main advertising message. You do not want to risk a disconnect with your potential client or customer or they are unlikely to read the entire ad copy. They need to be clear on what you are promoting and how it benefits them. Take advantage of color options whenever available. They add impact and grab attention.
Use the body copy to further explain the benefits of your product or service. Consider the following points when writing your copy.
Guarantees and endorsements: If you offer a money-back guarantee, free shipping, have customer endorsements or survey data to support your product or service, consider sharing it. It adds credibility and comfort to the buying decision.
Speak in the present tense: Use “you” as often as you can. This personalizes the message and helps the reader connect the benefit of the product or service to themselves.
Create urgency: Depending on your product or service, you may want to promote a special offer with a time limit or state that only a limited number of people can buy, participate, etc. “The first 50 people to call will receive…”
Why your product or service?: If you are in a highly competitive industry or sell a product people can buy elsewhere, state why and how your products or services are different or superior.
Call to action
Tell your customers to call you, email you, visit your social media page or website, sign up for your newsletter. You decide on the next step and send readers there.
Contact information should be highly visible in the ad. Make it easy for the reader to respond immediately by providing multiple contact options. Consider the addition of a QR code to direct the consumer to your website, a video or audio file that further describes or illustrates your product or service.
Don’t go too small
Do not try to fit an elephant in a closet. Your advertising message and graphics need room to breathe and enough space to be attractive and effective. Trying to place too much information in too small of a space can lead to an ad with text so small that no one will read it and / or an image so small that the reader scans right over it.
Measure your results
Advertising is an investment. You are investing money to make money. In order to know where your best response is coming from, you must track response. Consider a special phone extension that is only listed in a specific ad in a specific publication. Do not let anyone answer your phone(s) without asking where the caller heard about you and capture this information. Create landing pages on your website that you drive traffic to with an address only used in your ad, then you can analyze the statistics. Consider leading readers to a free offer on your website that first requires them to provide their contact information and how they heard of you. QR codes are also a great way to measure how many people wanted to learn more about your ad.
Be willing to change
If you do not receive the response you are hoping for from your ad, change it! A simple headline or image change can greatly impact your advertising success.
Consistency is key. Not everyone buys the first time they are exposed to a product or service of interest. Consistent advertising keeps you top-of-mind when that buying decision takes place. If you aren’t there when it happens, someone else will be!
Contact our advertising specialists today and let us help you create an eye-catching ad that will send potential customers right to your doorstep!