How do you create an effective newspaper ad?

Follow our Ad Builder checklist and get better results

  1. Describe the ad’s intended image:
  2. The imageof the ad should reflect the self-image of the intended reader as well as the look and feel of the business.Examples:Customers: frugal bargain hunters; store: A treasure hunt, crowded with deals in narrow aisles; store looks cluttered. Or…Customers: Young professional couples who drive BMW’s, Audi’s, dress trendy; Store: Clean, ultra modern; merchandise is expensive and merchandising is open, lots of space between items.

  3. Write an irresistible offer – feature it in the headline:
  4. The offerin the headline is the primary attracting ingredient in the ad. In fact, the offer is the ad’s only purpose. The offer needs to appeal directly to the target audience; it needs to hit the prospects emotional hot button and it needs to be “irresistible"-at this time. If it’s not irresistible, keep strategizing until you find an offer that is.Examples:Beautiful European Kitchens Install in 3 days, Only $4,500 – Guaranteed for Life; Or, Your house sold in 30 days or I’ll buy it for top dollar; Or, If you owe the IRS money we’ll get them off your back in less than 24 hours; Or, Free Lobster with any bottle of wine; Or, The Most Thorough Carpet Cleaning You’ve Ever Had or it’s FREE.

  5. Describe the feature visual (Picture that Illustrates offer made in headline):
  6. The feature visualis the first visual element in the ad that reader’s see. To be effective, the feature visual or visuals (like “before” and “after” photos) should be engaging and INTERESTING. The job of the feature visual is to draw the reader’s eye into the ad and illustrate or illuminate the offer being presented in the headline.

  7. Describe the minor visuals (Picture that Illustrate products or how a service is performed):
  8. The minor visualsare (in most cases) are individual product photos; in some cases they may illustrate a procedure or how a service is performed, or show a picture of a doctor or a work team, etc.

  9. Write subheads that communicate the important details of the offer:
  10. Subheads(if they’re enticing) pull readers through the ad, before they even know they’re reading. The best subheads amplify the essential points of the offer.Examples:- The “Reason Why"… “70% off all stereo equipment because of our recent fire"- Financing-Terms…- Testimonials…"Peter true to his promise got me an IRS refund of $875. That’s amazing”.- Guarantee (to remove perceived “risk”)…"Try it free for 120 days; if it breaks, bring it back and we’ll replace it absolutely free-no questions asked."- Bundle the main offer with a free gift…Buy any truck this week and get a free trip for 2 to Mexico- Better price with product “bundles"…"Buy any 2 windows, get 1 free-Buy 6 and get 3 free"- Scarcity…"We only have 4 units remaining at this price."- Summary of the offer…"Order your cabinets today by 5PM and you get the free Global knife set, the 22" aluminum sink and the Grohe kitchen faucet.”

  11. Write copy text to place under subheads:
  12. Copy textin an ad varies in length depending on the information sought by the prospect. If you’re adverting an expensive luxury yacht or European sports car, or complex investment opportunities or health related services you need MORE text than you would if you’re advertising a sale at a women’s shoe store.

  13. Write a “Call to action phrase” and include a “reward” for responding:
  14. Call to action phrasesare a key ingredient in making “DIRECT RESPONSE” ads work. In other words, they’re the key “response trigger” that most helps generate immediate action. By linking a reward to your Call to action phrase and you’ll help increase calls or visits.Examples:“Call Marty at 888-555-3456 to arrange a tour of the facilities. The first 25 callers will receive free passes for 4 to SeaWorld.” Or, “Test drive a Prius this week and receive a $50 gas card”. Or “Be one of the first 100 people in our store on Friday and receive a free Dell Inspiron 1526 Laptop Computer including case.”

  15. Design a layout that draws the reader’s eye to the top of the ad; and leads them to the bottom
  16. Layoutsthat work pull the reader to the top of the ad and cause their eye to follow the sequence of the offer to the bottom. The purpose of the layout is to communicate the ads offer fast and effectively-not to draw attention to graphic elements.How to create the layout:Determine all the ad elements, and rank them in their importance to the prospect. Generally, the best layout sequence follows this order:1. Place feature visuals at top right or top center of ad.2. Place the headline under or subordinate to feature visual.3. Put minor visuals under headline; put largest visuals over smaller visuals.4. Place the subheads in columns or over product categories.5. Place body copy under subheads.6. Put the “Call to action” phrase above logo.7. Put the logo or business name at bottom center or right of center.8. Put physical address, hours, credit cards, etc. under logo.9. Choose a typeface that reflects the image of the business and projects the right “voice tone”.