Unless you have the dollars to get your message to your target audience repeatedly, don't waste your dollars on advertising. Advertising is a commitment where you run the same ad, in the same media, over and over again to attract the attention of your potential audience. Rarely does an audience get called to action when they've only read an ad once. It's through repetition where the consumer begins to take action.
Before you begin to write an ad, decide what you want to accomplish through your ad. What product or service are you representing? Who is your target market - be specific? Who are your competitors? What is your unique selling proposition? How is your product or service different from your competitors? What do you want the reader to gain from the ad? What do you want the reader to do after reading the ad?
When designing an ad, keep in mind the ad's appearance is critical. People will form an immediate opinion based upon the format of your ad. Certainly the larger size ads tend to draw more attention. Get the largest size ad you can afford and run it regularly. The secret to successful advertising in newspapers and magazines is repetition. Rather than spending the money to do a full page ad once or twice, it is far better to run the same ad consistently 10, 12 even 15 times. Find the publications that your target market is reading. Advertise in sections of the paper, or in specialty newspapers or magazines that your target market tends to read. Make your ad visually stimulating. It should have a lot of excitement and visual thrill.
When writing a newspaper ad, have a headline. If your headline doesn't attract their attention, chances are they won't read the ad either. Always look for a way to give them something for free. Use a photo of yourself or your product in action. Give the reader some type of an offer.
Graphic designers have told me that it works best to put borders around your ads, or if you can afford it, to use some color for your ad. I always recommend test marketing your ad and running it in many publications until you discover what works. However, remembering that repetition is key, don't get tired of your ad too quickly. Keep it running. When writing an ad, it is okay to use more copy than less. Give a lot of information about your product or service and use a story or testimonial that will appeal to your potential consumers. Be sure to have the phone number and way to contact you listed several times throughout your ad.
When writing an ad, pay special attention to your headline. Your headline should attract the reader instantly. Free offers are great headline grabbers. So are success stories. How about instructions such as why you should, how to do, or a top 10. A testimonial headline works well in addition. Also, try to create a sense of urgency within your headline. A headline such as "The Top 10 Things You Can Do To Add Profitability To Your Business" will probably be effective. It's a good headline, and if I could combine that with some type of a free offer and a way to inspire action, perhaps a deadline, call by X date to receive a free booklet, or if I'm even able to incorporate a coupon within the ad, or a cutout within the ad, chances are I will get the action that I am seeking.