If people don’t notice your advertisement, your chance of success is exactly zero. Your advertisement absolutely must get attention within the media it appears in.
So you have a great ad ready to go. Does it stand out on the newspaper or phonebook page? Your ad must get attention within the media it appears in. Paste it in your newspaper, and look at the results.
Professional ads work because of many different factors – but getting attention is definitely where it starts. It is fundamental to your success. You start with attention, or you won’t start at all.
Stand Up And Scream?
Are we telling you to stand up and scream? Maybe. Screaming often works to get attention. And although you may consider this crude, there is a direct line between how much attention your ad gets, and how many customers you get.
Visually conservative advertising often goes unseen, and thus is much more expensive to use. As the odds of being seen decrease, the number of times you have to run your ad increases, and the cost goes up.
But if everybody is screaming, and a conservative ad would contrast sharply with the group, you may want to do it. That is one reason why your designer needs to study [and understand] the actual media you will be advertising in.
You want your ad to stand out from the pack – it must visually contrast with the other ads on the page. You need your ad to be seen and read first.
And there is a good reason why. Statistically, you will get a much higher response to your ad if it is read first. In the yellow pages, for example, the first ad noticed is the first ad called over 50% of the time. Your attention-getting advertisement will get 1/2 of all of the calls. Follow that with excellent phone skills, and you just kicked the competition’s butt. And that is what Professional Advertising is all about.
How will you actually get attention with your ad? You can read a lot about this in the Elements of Advertising Design chapter. We want you to know good advertising when you see it.
Conservative Advertising: How Many Customers Do You Really Need?
This question may seem odd coming from us, but we are serious. This is about maximizing your advertising dollar. How many customers do you need? Do you really need to reach and convert every customer everywhere?
At advertising agencies, it is often said that the best work ends up on the cutting room floor. Businesses often want their ads to be on the conservative side. They don’t want to miss or insult anybody. Not too loud, not too risky. Strong visual ads, racy, humorous, different, or risk taking ads are cut. But there is a trade-off made with this decision.
Conservative ads don’t get attention. They are conservative. They will in the long run make your business look highly professional and very traditional. But the conservative strategy of advertising is about the most expensive kind you can choose. Costs will be exponentially high.
And do you really need to be thought of as conservative? Even IBM has dress-down Fridays. Dell computer used teenage spokespersons. Merryl Lynch used a bull in a china shop.
Maybe, [maybe], if you are a bank, a hospital, a non-profit, or a funeral home, conservative is the way to go. But conservative ads don’t get attention, and are not memorable. And you need attention, and you need people to remember you.
We are not endorsing risky advertising here, and we never will. We are recommending visually impressive, eye-catching ads. If a loud / happy / funny / sexy / strange / bright / weird / geometric / purple and pink ad gets the attention of half the people out there, maybe leaving a few of the more conservative people behind is ok. In fact, no matter what you do, you will always leave some of the people behind.
By getting attention first, you will maximize your advertising dollar. Don’t go crazy, and always keep your target market in mind, but stretch to get attention. Use big pictures of pretty people. Ask provocative questions. Use a weird illustration. Do something cool. S-T-R-E-T-C-H to get attention. Please read The Elements of Advertising Design for some specific attention getting ideas.