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Copywriting Tips for Display Advertisements

by Lynette Palmen AM

If you have a good look at any advertisement that grabs your attention you'll soon realise it follows the basic laws of consumer attraction.

If you have found yourself saying, "I advertised and got nothing in return" you need to change what you are doing and follow the rules of the big advertising agencies. 

Don't make the mistake of wasting your advertising dollars by not arranging the components and wording of your advertising correctly.

Even the smallest of businesses with next to no budget can get results from their advertising with some simple and thoughtful planning.

The 5 basic elements that must be included into your advertising communications:

The Headline... This is your only opportunity to get the reader's attention and encourage them to read on. Readers need to identify with the headline. Ask yourself what is it in advertisements you respond to, that gets your attention? It's the headlines! If you know your target markets 'hot buttons', then this is the place to use them.

The Guarantee... Often called risk reversal. Think about how you can minimise the risk for the buyer to make the decision to buy your product or service.

The Offer... This gives the reader incentive to purchase. Advertisers usually think in term of discounting their product's price such as a 10% discount. However, another great options is to ‘value add’ to your product or service by packaging your main product with a low cost item that the reader perceives as high value or a must-have item.

Call To Action... Tell readers what to do and how to go about doing it. This is where you would put a deadline for a promotion and remember, deadlines will help generate action. However, you need to make it easy for readers to respond. Ensure that whatever contact details you ask the reader to use, eg the phone/fax, will actually be answered and that the web site and links listed in your advertisements are working.

WIIFM Words and Phrases... The ‘What's In It For Me’ benefit statements. One of the most common mistakes advertisers make is to think that their advertisement is all about them. Hear this loud and clear. It is all about the reader. Forget the words We, Our and Us and start thinking You and Your. Tell the reader how you are going to solve their problem, not how great you think you are.

Here's some additional TIPS to maximising results when advertising:

Font and Layout - Fonts such as Arial or Tahoma might 'look' nice, however, there is research to prove that the use of a 'serif font' (with feet) such as Times New Roman is easier to read and also results in better retention and comprehension. So consider using Arial or Tahoma for your headings or sub-headings and use Times New Roman for the body text. Research also indicates that text Left Aligned (which leaves the jagged right hand side) is easier to read and aids continuity for readers. Knowing this, you still have a choice to either use 'what works' or use what 'looks pretty'. But if you want the maximum results the choice is clear.

Don't Confuse The Client - There may be many aspects of your business that you wish to tell readers about, but in the end, the message becomes so confusing that the reader just finds it all too hard. You need to condense down into a very short and sharp message what your business offers. Remember, your advertisement is not your company profile. Get a business associate to read your advertisement and ask them to honestly appraise it. Ask them if your communication is clear and how does it rate against the 5 points above.

Target Your Market and Grab Their Attention - Whilst we would all like to get thousands of clients instantly, the best results will come from well researched and targeted marketing. When you know who your client is and what their 'hot buttons' are, you can build this into your communication pieces. Your advertisement needs to cut through the clutter and display your point of difference in the market place. To achieve powerful marketing results your advertisements needs to grab the reader’s attention.

Okay, so now you are ready and armed with the necessary information and tips to start organising the components required to advertise your small business effectively. And remember let go of your ego... YOUR logo needs to go at the bottom on your advertisement not the top. Why? Well consumers need to identify and see themselves in the headline - not YOU!

If you would like to discuss your advertisement copy further or would like some feedback on what you are currently working on, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

The team at Women’s Network Australia is happy to assist you in achieving maximum return on your advertising dollar. T: 1800 052 476.

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