Print advertising is one of the oldest forms of advertising, and one of the most effective. Despite the nature of digital advertising and social media ads these days, there will always be a target audience of those who prefer to pick up a newspaper or magazine.
Every time you pick up a brochure, clip a coupon out of the newspaper, take someone’s business card or skim through the supermarket’s weekly flier, you are the target of someone’s effort to reach you through print advertising. By understanding the different elements of print advertising, you can make it work for you.
Before you start, you need to know to whom you are speaking. An ad that sells laundry detergent to a homeowner contains much different information than an ad selling a boat to a recreational fisherman. You should identify the demographic that you are trying to sell to and know something about them before committing anything to print.
The average consumer is bombarded with endless marketing messages in many different media, including print, radio, television and internet. Your job is to find a way to make your business stand out to your potential customers. You need a catchy phrase — otherwise known as a header — that points out a key benefit to the consumer, such as a sale or discount.
The body section is the component of print media that gives the reader the information they need to decide whether your product or service is what they need. You enticed them to get this far, so make sure the elements of the copy highlight all the details of your product or service. Keep it short and remember that consumers do not have long attention spans. Bullet points, subheadings and short paragraphs, as well as conversational text, can deliver lots of information quickly.
While text is the major element of print copy, pictures, colorful graphics and other visual elements are important components of print media that catch the eye faster than any text. Enhance your ad with colorful photos of people enjoying your product, informational graphs and other illustrations. Consumers are drawn to familiarity, and if your business has a well-known logo, it should be a major component of your print media. There is no mistaking the red and white logo of Coca-Cola, the orange and yellow clamshell for Shell gasoline or the swoosh of Nike.
This call to action is critical in print advertising. It guides the reader to do something — buy your product or service. Phrases such as “Call Now!” or “Supplies are Limited. Act Fast!” are messages to the consumer that if they do not do something right away, they will miss out.
What good is a catchy call to action or picture if a potential customer can not get in touch with you? Your contact information should be a major component of print advertising. At the least, give a phone number. Earn bonus points for an email address, physical address, website URL or social media page.
The way your ad is laid out is extremely important. Just as a book flows from beginning to end, elements of print copy should be placed to give flow to your ad. The header and logo typically go at the top of the ad, followed by the text and graphic elements. Even white space can be used to dramatic effect. Contact information and the call to action should be prominently placed, often within a starburst or other dramatic graphic element to attract attention.