A few weeks ago I had a customer, who had purchased the Small Business Marketing Bible, email me to tell me that they were having trouble attracting new customers to their insurance agency. I asked what they were doing in their marketing to attract clients and she replied that they did a lot of advertising. I then asked her if she had read chapter 13 in the Marketing Bible titled, \"13 Elements of a Winning Small Business Advertisement.\" She admitted that she hadn\'t paid much attention to that chapter. Well, I don\'t normally do much one-to-one consulting anymore, but I told her to send me her ad and I would take a look at it. The \"Business Card\" Ad When I received the ad I chuckled because it was so typical of nearly every small business advertisement that comes across my desk. The ad looked like an oversized business card. Most small business advertisements are simply a glorified version of their own business card. It had their company name, a little about what they did, the owners name, and their address and phone number. What a colossal waste of ad dollars! The Number One Advertising Design Mistake The very first thing you should do when designing your ad is..... ...Determine Your Primary Objective. This is the biggest mistake I come across when I do ad critiques. You see, once you determine what your objective is, then you simply design everything in your ad to meet that objective. It doesn\'t matter if you\'re designing an ad for a newspaper, magazine, the radio, or the internet. The first thing you should do is decide what you want your reader to do. What Is Your Objective? Is the objective of your ad to... 1. Get a phone call? 2. Drive prospects to your physical location? 3. Drive visitors to your website? 4. Get prospects to fax back a form? 5. Create a memorable image in your prospects mind? Each of these objectives would require a unique and different ad design. The Before and After Picture I promised you something very valuable at the beginning of this article. Normally, I charge around $1,700 for an ad design. Today you\'ll get the benefit of seeing my redesigned ad for free. If you click the link below you\'ll see the \"before\" and \"after\" picture of the ad that was sent to me and the redesigned ad that I did for my customer. When you look at these before and after ads ask yourself if you can see the importance of knowing the primary objective of your ad. Ad-Before-After I hope this example helps you in designing your next successful small business advertisement.