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How to Plan and Design Effective Advertising

1. Where do I start in planning and designing an ad?

Your first challenge is to determine the objective of your ad. Do you want to sell new merchandise to the baby boomer generation or sell your business services to teenagers? Once you identify your audience, you and your sales rep will be able to determine what message will best reach them.

2. How big should my ad be and how often should it run?

Once you determine your annual advertising budget and how much of that budget should be spent in each period, you can determine how big each specific ad should be. Your advertising representative can assist you in completing this exercise to enable you to get a handle on your advertising budget.

3. What do I include in my ad?

As you identify your audience, you should plan on advertising items that appeal mostly to that specific audience. You probably wouldnʼt advertise video games to attract senior citizens. Advertise items that appeal to your desired audience. Advertise items that appeal to the most people in that audience. Grocery stores advertise milk, but not lactose free substitutes, even though they sell them. Tire stores advertise car tires, but not lawn mower tires, even though they sell them. Make sure that your ad includes several vital elements, including 3-6 dominating items, your storeʼs name, phone number, address, hours and web site address.

4. How do I design a good ad?

Keep in mind that the goal of your ad is to sell your products and your services. Your ad needs to get noticed. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Eye-catching artwork is essential to most ads. You want to make your customers curious and want to learn more when they see your photo or artwork. It could be a photo of someone counting money, sunbathing at the beach, someone with a strange look on his face. Remember that 70% of the readers are drawn in by the artwork. Your advertising rep and our graphic arts department can locate interest-generating artwork for your ad. The adʼs caption is also important. It is one of the first things that readers will look at after the artwork. In fact, 30% of the readers will actually look at your caption first. Your caption should point out a benefit to the reader. For instance, it could say “feel better fast” or “pay less for your fuel” or “weʼve got fun for your entire family.” The copy of your text should back up your caption. Keep it clear and concise but make your point. Too much text in your ad can hurt its effectiveness. Your advertising representative and graphic artist can help arrange your adʼs elements in the most dynamic fashion. In fact, they can provide you with a variety of spec ads, showing examples of your elements in different layouts.

5. A few helpful tips.

Avoid clutter in your ad. Donʼt try to cram too much information in your space. Your customer may not read a cluttered ad, but will pay much more attention to what you have to offer if your ad is packaged in effective white space. Color can have a big impact on ad readership. Adding full process color to your ad is very affordable and can increase the readership of your ad by as much as 71%. Your sales rep and graphic artist can show you how your ad will look in full process color before it appears in print. Placement is not as critical as most people believe. However there is additional readership benefit to placement on the front and back of a publication since those pages are normally always exposed to the reader. Take steps to make your ad reader friendly. If you include coupons on your ad, coupons should be placed at the bottom of the ad or against the outside borders of your ad. You should request that your advertising representative place your coupon ad at the bottom or outside cut page of the publication for easy reader access.

Create an Effective Ad Campaign

1. How much should I budget for my annual advertising programs?

On a national basis, businesses compute their advertising budgets according to their annual sales. They utilize a percentage of annual sales and allocate that amount to an advertising budget. For instance, on a national average, shoe stores invest 2.3% of their annual stores sales on advertising. Womenʼs clothing stores invest 3.7% of their annual sales revenue on their advertising campaigns.

The sales staff at the Bond and Fayette County Shopper can provide you with information about your business and how your peers invest in their respective advertising campaigns.

2. When do I promote my business?

Most large retailers recognize that they cannot change shopping patterns of the general public by holding a large sale in the off-season. Most large retailers allocate their advertising budgets in alignment with their annual sales figures. For instance, if a furniture store generates 20% of its annual revenue during the month of December, that store should allocate 20% of its annual advertising budget to promote December sales.

If youʼre interested in learning how your business sales are tracked on a national average, the sales reps at the Bond and Fayette County Shopper can be of assistance to you. They can help you determine how to get the most from your advertising budget.

3. How long should an advertising campaign last?

In most cases, if you do not advertise on a regular basis, you will need to get your message in front of your customers three times in order to push them to a buying decision. Usually running an ad one time will do little to generate business for you unless youʼve got some truly unbelievable prices. If your business advertises on a regular basis, you can run a special sale or event and expect to get results since customers are accustomed to seeing your message and are familiar with your business and what it has to offer. If your business is seldom advertised, you should consider starting to promote your special sale or event three weeks in advance. This will help build the anticipation and get your customer used to seeing your name and your business. It puts your business “Top of Mind” with the customer, which is where you want to be when he decides to purchase goods that you have to offer. When planning your series of advertisements, try to follow a consistent theme, whether it is “Grand Opening Celebration” or “Anniversary Days.”

4. Does it make sense to advertise every week?

In most cases, the answer is “yes.” The big companies, like McDonaldʼs, Ford, Walgreenʼs, Wal-Mart understand the benefit of advertising on a consistent basis. It builds credibility and comfort with your customers. Keeping your name in front of your potential customers is vital to your business. Keeping your name in front of potential customers in a medium that enables you to change your advertising message frequently or seasonally is also vitally important to you. Many successful businesses run on-going advertising campaigns, but then gear up for their special events or sales at certain times throughout the year.

Your Bond and Fayette County Shopper advertising representative can evaluate your type of business to determine what type of advertising campaign would work best for you. Your rep has access to much advertising material that will be extremely helpful to you in planning your advertising budget and advertising campaign.