When writing any piece of copy, especially an advertisement, it’s important to consider a variety of factors that might affect your target audience. One of the most critical is to understand the mind frame your target audience will have when it reads your ad.
If you place your piece in a newspaper or magazine – though magazines typically have a more focused audience – you will need to persuade a reader who is not currently looking for your product or service. If you put it in the Yellow Pages, you already have a reader looking for what you’re selling.
If you’re writing a catalog, you already have a reader who is considering a purchase. If you’re writing for a website, you have an audience that appreciates easy navigation and is likely in search of information.
Here are some things to consider about your audience:
– When they read your piece, are they already looking for your product, or will you have to turn their attention away from something else (such as a feature article)?
– How much time will your readers have when they run across your piece? If they’re quickly thumbing through a magazine, a long form sales letter probably isn’t the best option.
– Is your goal to sell straight from the page, to develop leads, or just inform your audience about your product and your brand? If you are really trying to make money from the ad alone without any additional points of contact, there are better formats than a glossy magazine ad. This might be a better situation for that long form sales letter.
Remember, you are trying to influence your audience and call it to action. Always put yourself in the reader’s position, and then decide the format that will work best for the goals you are trying to accomplish. It’s different from, say, a painter, who is more consumed with the painting itself than how it is received.
As former Ogilvy & Mather copywriter Lou Redmond said, “Advertising is one of the minor arts, so don’t be intimidated by it.”
Make Your Print Ads Interesting. Here Are Some Tips That Can Help:
– Find out what your audience needs or what motivates your readers, and speak to that subject.
– People love stories. Give them a narrative about your product to which they can attach themselves.
– Use a friendly, personable tone to develop trust with your readers.
– Give answers to the questions that your audience typically asks.
– Everyone likes “free” things.
– And if you want your copy to be interesting, talk about interesting subjects.