By Beth Borrego / Published May 2020
Editor’s Note: Part One was published in the April issue of Cleaner Times. It can be read at www.cleanertimes.com/magazine/cleaner-times-articles-2/chapter-three-part-one-advertising.
Other lesser-known ads: Paper placemats in restaurants, sports posters for your local high school, and shopping cart ads in the grocery store are just a few examples of the less-popular ads that are available for you to try. However, if you have a limited budget and do not see other companies that you compete with using these types of ads, it should not be the first route you try, as it is the road less traveled.
Newsletters and smaller directories: Church bulletins, neighborhood newsletters, and smaller directories provided to specific groups of people are also avenues to consider. They are less expensive but also reach fewer consumers.
The little extra things: Magnets, pens, coasters, coffee mugs, and other giveaway paraphernalia are still possibilities you need to think about. Customers do use and hold onto them, so make sure you have the best look and the right information on them. Simple basics like the company name, the phone number, and website address should always be present.
Any of these various ads that you decide to use should match your brand image as we discussed in chapter two. Remember to keep that in mind as you review ads that are created for you, and remember to provide examples of your brand image and other advertisements to the companies that are creating your ads. This not only helps them to create an ad that is consistent, but it will minimize the number of changes and revisions you’ll need to see before approving the ad copy. And, of course, the consistent presentation of your brand so that it is easily recognized is of paramount importance.
Brand recognition is achieved by serving consistent messages in measureable numbers of impressions via various media and results in what is called top of mind. When a consumer thinks of your company, knows its name, and what you do without ever having spoken to you or having purchased your services, that is top-of-mind brand awareness, and it is absolutely priceless. When potential customers who call your company can’t tell you where they heard about your company when asked, the chances are good that it was due to top-of-mind awareness.
Print ads all share several things in common, and they are the ingredients needed to create an ad that will generate leads for your company when used in a focused campaign. We all know that if you leave a key ingredient out of a recipe, it simply doesn’t taste the same. You might even be less likely to eat it or to prepare it again. This metaphor may sound simple, but it’s true. Print ads all have between five and seven components that are present in the ad if they are to be successful. These ad components are the ingredients necessary to create a successful campaign.
Headline: The first thing your target audience will see is your headline. The approach you take and the words selected to phrase the headline are perhaps the most important part of the ad and should be carefully considered. The headline grabs the reader, and the remainder of the ad must match the headline in theme.
Sub-headline: If you use a sub-headline, it should support and expand on your headline. The job of the sub-headline is to draw the reader in even further and compel them to want to learn even more.
White space: Have you ever looked at an ad and felt that it was too crowded or cluttered, that it perhaps had no balance? Ads without enough white space often feel that way to the reader, which means the visual appeal is quickly lost, and the reader will move on to another ad. White space is very important. This is not to say that you want a large, empty ad, but you do want to have balance and the appearance of a clean and clutter-free ad while delivering your message.
Images: A study by Texas State University has shown that more attention is paid to photos than to words, and that human models get the most attention in magazine ads. Using models that match or appeal to your target audience creates an immediate connection between your service and your potential customer. This is not to suggest that you never use before and after shots in an ad; those work beautifully, too. Remember that both company logos and photos count as images. Some ads will contain one, and some will have both. What you choose to display in the ad will depend on the message and the feeling you are trying to create with the ad. For example, you could have a headline that says, “Why give up your family time?” with a sub-headline of “Let us take care of your exterior maintenance,” and your photo could then go in different directions. One example might be a family on a soccer field or on a picnic; another example might be before and after photos of your work. Both will have an appeal; both will draw results.
Body copy: In many cases, the body copy of an ad needs to be concise and to the point and may be best delivered as bullet points for your services.
Call to action: The call to action tells the reader that they need to do something now. Some common call to action statements are “Call today for a free estimate,” or “We’re booking services now,” or perhaps, “Visit our website to view our special offers.”
Contact information: Never leave the reader wondering who you are. Your company name, logo, tagline, phone number, and website address should all be listed in the advertisement.
What else should I consider? Well, hands down, full-color printing wins each and every time, if you can afford it, and is by far the best and most professional-looking choice to represent your company and to present your services or products to potential new customers. But there are options, such as two-color printing, which may be appropriate in some applications. Yard signs can be one or two colors, for example, and are seen less frequently as full-color ads.
Another important point to remember is that using too many fonts can make even the best ad look cluttered or busy. Your best bet would be to use the same font in all of your advertising and on your website and to limit the number of fonts used overall. Remember, easy and attractive reading is critical. You have only seconds to capture the reader’s attention before something else gets their thoughts.
Now then, as an exercise, pick up a magazine and look at the ads. Look at what catches your eye naturally, and make some notes about it. As you look at ads, remember also that we learn to read from left to right, and that still applies here. Think about this chapter, and you’ll soon discover that you are on your way to understanding advertisements and the kind of visual appeal that can make your phone ring.
Social Media: Today, social media platforms like Facebook and paid ads on Google are also important avenues to make impressions and impact your brand and your sales. Don’t forget to share images of your postcards and other promotional images on social media. Remember, you want prospective clients to see you in more than one place. Chapters six, seven, and eight will address the internet and social media in greater detail.