Steps to Writing Print Ads that Sell

Buying a Refurbished Brand Name Photocopier Can Knock 15% Off Your Supply Costs – Before You Even Turn It On.

The next line of copy might read something like,

Consumer reports show that a refurbished brand name copier operates with 15% more efficiency than most other refurbished products. The reason? The brand name photocopier’s allows for blah, blah, blah…and the copy goes on to expand on the benefit offered in the headline. Obviously, I’m using this example to illustrate a point but the idea is to use the features and benefits your product offers to help the reader understand where the benefit you’re offering comes from.

Use a clean layout that’s easy to follow

All the elements of an effective ad such as the headline, body copy, graphics, the logo and the contact information should work together. This is the key to getting the ad read. How you plan to present these components must be considered before an effective layout can be developed. Some factors that can increase readership of the ad include:

  • A headline set in large, bold type.
  • Clean, readable type for body copy.  
  • Use subheads to help the reader through the ad.
  • Use short paragraphs.
  • Make sure the first paragraph or lines of copy are short.
  • If you use a graphic, just use one and make it simple.

Present the selling points in a logical order

Remember, you’re telling a story. People are used to reading stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. Your ad is telling your sales story and should follow this formula. Your most important sales point is covered in the headline while the body copy leads the reader through additional major benefits and on to the lesser benefits your product or service offers.

Move the reader to take the next step

Imagine that your body copy is taking the reader by the hand and persuading them to take the next step in the buying process. Where the headline gets attention and the lead paragraph develops interest, the role of the body copy is to persuade the reader to dial your number for additional information or to place an order.

Make your copy interesting

If you bore your reader, you’re dead. It’s that simple. Flip through any magazine and you’ll see how boring some ads can be. Phrases like ‘a full range of products’ or ‘many colours to choose from’ is the result of lazy copywriting.

Suppose you offer a product that comes in a variety of colours. How many colors do you offer? How many colours do most of your competitors offer? Don’t know? Then find out. Suppose you have 47 colours and everyone else has between 15 and 20. Inform the reader of this important buying information and use it to your advantage. Interesting facts and information creates interest in your product. Some other tips for interesting copy include focusing your copy on what the reader is likely to be interested in or answering questions your reader may have.

Ask the reader to take action

Like face-to-face selling, your copy needs to ask the reader to take the next step in the buying process. That could be to send you an order, try your product, phone for more information or other things. Some tips on how to increase response:

  • Toll free numbers
  • A variety of payment options.
  • A street address as opposed to a PO box to create an impression of a well-established company.
  • A coupon may boost response.

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