Basic Principles of Advertising

It’s no secret that advertising has gotten more complicated over the past two decades. With new mediums such as online, social, mobile and email, there’s no shortage of ways to get your message across. Add to this to traditional mediums like print, radio, direct mail and television, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by just the prospect of advertising.

The good news is that the fundamental rules of good advertising haven’t changed. Here are several of them so you can put the basics to work for your next ad campaign.

Remember AIDA

Every ad should strive to satisfy the AIDA principal, an acronym that stands for:

  • Attention - Be compelling enough to grab the prospect’s attention. Use interesting headlines and eye-catching design.
  • Interest - Frame content in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading. Avoid clichés, jargon and meaningless buzzwords.
  • Desire - Outline benefits of your product or service that make people want to buy. Don’t just use a laundry list of features. Tell them "what's in it for them."
  • Action - Include a call to action, whether it’s asking prospects to call, click or come in. Don’t leave any doubt about how you want them to act—now.

Keep It Simple

Make sure the design of your ad is clean and uncomplicated. Use short, powerful headlines and minimal copy. Don’t make the mistake of trying to put too much in your ad – it will only overwhelm readers and cause them to pass you by.

If you’re using photography, especially stock, choose images that look genuine and not cliché or cheesy. If you can swing it, pay more for exclusive rights and stay away from royalty free. This will reduce the chances that your image might appear in some other business’ ad that features the same photo.

Differentiate Your Business and Product

The last thing you want your ad to do is blend in with all the others. Use every means at your disposal to stand out – from typography to color and imagery – so that your ad doesn’t get overlooked.

Many businesses are afraid to take risks with their ads, which leads to ones that are bland or invisible. Since you’re paying a fair amount to run your ad in the first place, be sure your ad stands out by being unique.

Know Your Target

Place your ads where your audience will see them, and run them as long as you can afford to make an impression. This is referred to “reach” and “frequency.” The more you have of each, the more likely your ad will get noticed. If you need help deciding where to advertise, a media planner can assist you by suggesting tactics that match your audience.

If you’re using several tactics, make sure that your ads are integrated around a similar theme or creative concept. Each should reinforce the other so that the total impression is strong.

While the advertising landscape is complicated, the basics of good advertising haven’t changed. Follow them and you’ll be successful no matter how and where you advertise.

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