Macy's Memorial Day sale 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Small business owners that hire a talented graphic designer usually get a
beautiful advertisement. And that’s a bad thing. Clever ads can attract
attention and win Madison Avenue’s most prestigious awards, but the bottom line
is: have they generated new business for the business owner? Unless you're a
company like Nike, Coca Cola, Apple Computer or Audi, you probably don’t need to
actually engage in “brand advertising.” Larger companies engage in such
advertising because the goal of the ads they plaster all over is not to make you
go out and buy sneakers, a Coke, an iPad or a car right now.
is to tattoo their logo in your brain. They want you so “logo aware” of their
brand that if you were woken at 3 a.m. and told “Quick! Tell me what company
this logo belongs to and I’ll let you go back to sleep!” you’d be able to rattle
off the name without having to wake up.
It’s a great thing to have that
kind of brand recognition, but for most of us, the budget and branding
proposition offered by that kind of advertising is out of reach. You simply have
to reach too many millions of people to make such a campaign
Your goal is to create an ad that markets: that makes the
reader take a specific action to reach out to you. Whether it is a one-step ad
(like “lunch special”) or multistep (“contact us today for a free brochure”),
there is a concerted effort to gently prod and agitate the prospect into taking
a step closer toward putting money into your pocket.Fonts
I often have
disagreements with graphic designers over text sizes and the look and feel of
Reverse type, which means that the background is
dark and the words are in a lighter color, looks quite elegant – but it is hard
for the reader to read. If a graphic designer gets free reign of how to design
your ad, expect to see lots of white space, an elegant and modern design and
probably some small sans serif text in some shade of gray.
fonts (sans means without) are fonts that are elegant and modern, as opposed to
serif fonts, such as the font this column is written in. Serifs are the little
feet on the different letters. The reason that virtually all professional
magazines and newspapers use these fonts is because they are easier for the
reader to absorb.
The only time you should have a sans serif font or
reverse text in your advertisements is in the headline. Because headlines are
short, the human eye can process them without tiring. But preparing an ad with
heavy reverse type or serif fonts is a major disservice to the readers of your
promotion and by extension, hurtful to your own business – not to mention
people’s eyes! Captions
Let your readers know who or what is in your photos. Put
a caption on every picture in your advertisement. It’s a simple suggestion, but
one that will make your ad work better.
While you may think, “It’s
obvious that that is a picture of me, the owner!” (and that may in fact be
true), the human eye looks for a caption. Your readers don’t want to work hard
to piece things together from what they might have just read to decipher a photo
too.Call to action
The most important item in any advertisement is your
call to action, or what you want your reader to do after they read your ad. This
means that whatever that call is, it should be simple and obvious. Your readers
should know exactly what step they should take after reading the
You’ve gotten them to look at your article, drawn them in with your
“hook,” so they are finding out more about something they are obviously
interested in.Designers vs marketers
Many entrepreneurs and graphic
designers don’t realize that if you have gone through all this work and spent
the money to make the ad happen, you don’t want to leave them hanging and
wondering what to do next. Make the next step easy to understand, in a large
font, with a big phone number and contact information.Contact me
your readers at least two alternate ways to contact you will generate more
responses than having just one contact.
Different people like different
mediums of communication, so by giving both a phone number and an e-mail address
you will capture different market segments.
Ultimately the most important
question you should be asking yourself is: What is more important to your goals,
an elegant ad that wins awards for creativity and style... or an ad that
generates new business for you and your company? When you can answer that
question head on, it may be a bitter pill for the graphic designers with visions
of awards dancing in their eyes, but the resulting ad will be much more musical
to the entrepreneur’s ears.
Show this column to your graphic designer.
While their future ads might be a little less pretty, understanding and applying
these concepts will ultimately give them clients who get better responses – and
more money to spend on using them for more work in the
firstname.lastname@example.org Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman,
public speaker and marketer. He travels extensively between New York and
Jerusalem and has been published in more than 30 national business publications,
including Inc. Magazine, which honored him with its Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the