Are there any established rules or guidelines for creating a successful advertisement?
So you’re creating an advertisement to promote your goods or services. How should you go about it?
The first thing to do is think about any ads that have impressed you in the past. What made them effective for you? One fundamental thing common to any and all of these is in the way they attract our interest and then keep it. If an ad doesn’t at least do this, we can say, with some confidence, that it has been nothing more that a waste of money. It’s a bit like the theatre show playing to a near empty auditorium. While there may well have been an audience out there for the performance, its members are off doing something else.
So that’s the first fundamental rule. Identify your audience by asking ‘who?’ and ‘where?’ Once these are nailed, there’s a chance of creating a campaign that’s going to work. When creating that campaign, it’s important not to try and be too clever, or too subtle. Ads that leave the potential consumer wondering ‘what was that an ad for?’ have, in my opinion, failed. ‘Give ’em what they want’ is a good adage. This then, is the next fundamental rule.
Understanding where the audience is and who is in it, is only the first part. It is also very important to know as much about this audience as we can. This is the value of the quantitative and qualitative market research carried out by agencies, but which is often beyond the limits of smaller budgets. Broadly speaking, qualitative research is big picture stuff – gathering information about what motivates potential buyers and trying to get beneath perceived trends. Quantitative research is about hard data, surveys and number-crunching. While many of these methodologies may be beyond the scope and budget of the smaller business, some kind of work in this area is still essential because we must understand how our target market responds.
So now you have your detailed market information and you are in the process of creating your ad. Foremost in your thinking now must be what you want your audience to do. Ideally, how would you like them to respond to the ad? In almost all cases, making it just about raising awareness and nothing else really is missing a trick. You should always think about telling people, in an appropriately compelling way, what you want them to do, whether that’s to respond to an offer using contact information provided, or something else.
Once the ad has been created we need to think about its deployment. How often will people see it, where will they see it and in how many channels will they see it. Does it need modifying to suit a particular outlet? Then, once the ad has been posted, we need to be able to gauge its effectiveness. However rudimentary your evaluation processes are, you should aim to gather enough information to determine the relative success of the ad. This is what will inform subsequent campaigns.
So, to recap:
- Identify and find the target audience
- Thoroughly research the target audience
- Grab audience interest, create desire
- Design the most effective call to action
- Evaluate effectiveness
Are you in the process of designing an ad campaign? Call or email if you’d like any advice or assistance – or any clarification on any of the points raised here.