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6 steps to great advertising text

Written by Lamese Larney on Mar 6, 2014 1:36:00 PM 0 Comment

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Bartercard provides its members with an abundance of advertising opportunities.  Over the past 3-4 years, via Bartercard alone, we've been offered billboards, radio spots, and magazine and newspaper advertisements.  Most of these advertising options require us to provide content, either via finished artwork or text and logo files. One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make is adding too much text in their advertisements, using the wrong font, displaying the wrong contact details for the context etc. So how much text is enough?

Even if we outsource the design, the least we need to do is provide text.  Untangling our complex, all-encompassing thoughts about our businesses then distilling them as a few neat words sounds like an experience to avoid!

The following six questions can provide you with a checklist to get you one step on your way to creating advertising content.

1. Who are you?

This answer is usually covered by your business name and logo.
If your brand is strong then borrow styles from your logo and repeat these styles over the advertisement. This will assist to direct the look of your advertisement.  Doing this reinforces your identity and stretches your brand over the whole surface of the advertisement.

2. What do you do?

If time to read an advertisement and space is limited, your tagline could assist here.
For example, 'Watertight plumbing for the Illawarra,' could be used on a billboard or vehicle.  The audience is moving so they have little time to digest the message.
If you have more space available you could spread out your explanation.
For example, in a larger advertisement, you could answer what you do with a brief list of your services. In a brochure, you can include an explanation of your products and services.

3. Who do you sell to?

This tells your audience if your business is applicable to them. It can be about geography, industry, age, lifestyle interest etc. Most of the time advising who you sell to is combined with other answers or implied.
For example, including your location in your contact details could suggest your services are offered within your area. Or you can be specific.  If your advertisement is going in a trade publication or you'd like to narrow your target, you can state that you service particularly industries.

4. What do you want them to know?

Other than introducing your business, products and services do you have a main message?
For example, you may be promoting a special or new product. You may be running a competition. Or you may have some information to help your customers choose you.

5. What do you want them to do now?

If you don't ask your customers to contact you, they might not. Adding a call to action effectively tells them what is going to happen next and can also make them feel more comfortable.
You could ask for one action like filling out a registration form, instructions for a competition etc. Or it could be a sentence inviting customers to make contact.  For example, 'Email us to arrange a meeting,' or, 'Ring us for a sample pack.'

6. How do you want them to make contact?

a. Display your preferred methods of contact.
If you don't check email regularly but love to chat on the phone it is best not to display your email address.  However, you could put your number at the top of the list.
b. Keep your audience's situation in mind.
If your audience is driving, your contact details should be easy to remember.  A web address works better than a phone number in this instance.
If your audience has been given a document, like a flier or brochure, your details don't need to be remembered so you can include all the methods of contact you like.
c. Keep your brand in mind.
If you are developing a brand that feels like a large organisation, it’s not appropriate to display your personal mobile number.  A landline works better.
If you are developing a brand that feels like it will be around a long time, displaying an email address at yahoo, gmail, bigpond, hotmail etc doesn't promote longevity.  A business domain name works better.

Include these answers within your next advertisement and you'll at least have the basics covered.  However, writing content is a creative activity, so all rules are general. They are meant to be broken, when it is appropriate and fun to do so.

The aim of most advertisements is to prompt a customer to contact the business.  What information do your customers need to be comfortable enough to enquire?

Written by Lamese Larney
Words And Pictures
02 4322 1667
e: lamese@wordsandpictures.com.au
w: wordsandpictures.com.au
f: wordsandpics

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Topics: Advertising help, Great advertising content, Advertising tips, copy writing

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