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Summary: How to write adverts that get the response you want

Effective advertising

Much of what we need to know about effective advertising is summarised in a time-tested, commonly taught acronym: AIDA

A is for Attention

The first thing to get right about an ad is to make sure it gets noticed. Furthermore, you particularly want to make sure it gets noticed by the right sort of people - your target marketing group.

This is mostly about your visual awareness. The following factors all contribute to the Attention factor:

Size of ad
Positioning of ad on the page
Use of colour
Size of catchline
Wording of catchline
Choice of typeface
Graphic style (picture, logo or overall design)

I is for Interest

Having got their attention, the next trick is to create some interest in what you’re selling. This means using wording and imagery that immediately implies that your product is relevant to the reader.

D is for Desire

You then have to spark desire. Something in your ad must convince the reader that there is a benefit or advantage to be had by responding to your ad.

A is for Action

Give your prospects a clear command as to how to proceed in response to your ad.

“Guitar lessons - get some today!” ... is too vague.

“Call Nick on 01273 555659 to arrange your first lesson” ... is a clear instruction as to how to proceed and what to expect.


Everything about your ad from the choice of words and images to the cleverness of design; from the choice of publication to the section of the publication in which it appears; will act as a filter.

Simply put, a filter lets some thing through, but keeps other things out.

If you use the words: ‘Cheap’, ‘Bargain’, ‘Inexpensive’ you will allow through those for whom cost is a major issue in their choice of a teacher. But you will probably block those for whom quality and value are more important.

If you have a picture of an electric guitar on your ad you will encourage more electric players, but put off some of those people who are dedicated acoustic players (even though you may include ‘Acoustic Guitar’ in your wording).

If your ad shows an image of a child being taught - it will undoubtedly encourage parents to respond, but adult clients will be less likely to answer an ad like this.

To what degree you deliberately use your ad to filter prospects is up to you, but I warn against filtering out too many potential customers this early on. It depends somewhat on your confidence in your communication ability over the phone, but I prefer to do the filtering at the sales stage. For this reason I design my ads to be pretty inclusive - that is to allow as many people through as possible.

Related pages
- Marketing Tips
- How to Build a Client Base
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