How to Get the Most from a Print Ad

How to get the most from a print adEven though all the hype has been around social media and digital marketing for the last few years, print advertising is still effective and an important part of most B2B and B2C marketing campaigns.

If you’re planning a campaign in a trade publication this summer or fall, here are a few tips to increase your response rates and results.

8 Steps to Get the Most from a Print Ad

1.  Make sure the ad has a strong headline and call-to-action. What’s the one thing you want to convey and what do you want prospects to do next?  Make sure these two elements are strong and clear.

2.  Stir up some emotion. The most powerful buying triggers are emotional benefits.  Success and admiration can be strong motivators for business buyers.  So is fear — fear of failure, being beaten by the competition, etc.  Your messaging should focus on emotional benefits and how your product delivers them.  To achieve this goal, you really need to know your audience.

3.  Speak to your audience. Going beyond #2, design your entire ad to grab attention and appeal to your target audience.  Consider your headline, copy, photography, typeface and layout.  If your target audience is C-levels, your ad should be eye-catching and communicate the benefit in the headline or image – a C-level cares about results and is less likely to read the rest of the ad than, say, an IT manager or technician who will need some degree of detail before responding.

Also, if your product or service is new to a particular audience, pay special attention not to use jargon or industry lingo.

4.  Building on #3, don’t dump all the information about your product or service into your ad. Usually this isn’t the time to list all of your features & benefits.  Give prospects just enough information to grab attention, feel pain and identify with the problem, then contact you for your solution.

5.  Treat the other ads as competitors. The average American is exposed to 1,000+ messages per day.  And the print publication is probably full of ads and articles that are competing for the attention of your prospects.  How large are other ads?  Full color or spot color?  Photography or heavy copy?  Size up the competition and make sure your ad stands out.

6.  Make it easy for prospects to contact you and get the exact information they want. If you only provide a phone number or a generic URL, you’re going to lose valuable prospects – not everyone will be ready to pick up the phone, and it can be tough to find specific answers from your home page.  Instead, provide a URL to a unique landing page that focuses on converting prospects for this particular campaign.  Use a phone number to a specific sales rep or a group that can help on the spot.  And include an email address to a spam-protected email address.

7.  Be scrupulous with your proof. A typo or poor grammar can damage your credibility and wash your investment down the drain.  And pay special attention to your contact information – it should be large, legible and correct.  Dial the phone number directly off your ad proof – do it several times to make sure it’s correct.  Do the same with the email and URL.  A mistake here will ruin your response.

8.  Make sure your offer will generate qualified leads. You don’t want to artificially create a lot of sales appointments that will inundate the sales force with unqualified leads.  Remember, it’s not necessarily the response rate that matters – it’s the return on your investment.  Focus on driving profitable revenue, not just a long list of names for your database.

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