Marketing Strategy: Crafting Print Ads That Make It Happen

Before you create a print ad, it’s important to know who your target market is and how you want to reach your audience. Monica Brubaker shares five essential ways to make an ad work every time.

You may hear someone say they don’t get results from print ads. Maybe you feel the same way.

Before you resign yourself to this position, consider there may have been a reason behind those results (or lack thereof). Not all print ads are created with the essential components that get desired results.

Whether you are doing your own marketing and advertising or working with an ad agency, make sure there is a clear understanding of the target market you desire to reach. Do you understand the target market? Are you limiting yourself to specific demographics? If so, ask yourself why.

Only after you’ve done careful research and have a clear understanding of the target market, and the desired results, can you proceed with creating your print ad.

Regardless of whether you are selling a product/service or creating an educational venue for your business, the basic components will remain the same.

1. The Header

This is one of the most important elements of your print ad. You need to catch your potential customer/client’s attention with a headline they can relate to. The header often determines whether someone will keep reading what’s below.

2. Graphics

It’s true that “a picture speaks a thousand words.” Use this when considering your graphics presentation. Color, position, photography and illustration are especially important components that will help to sell your idea, service or product. Keep the header of the ad consistent with your image to establish visual impact that drives home the message before you even get to the body section/layout of the ad.

3. Body/Layout

We read left to right. Your layout should be well organized and have a simple structure. Bullets or sub-headings can establish the message clearly and concisely. White space is good, because it helps the potential customer/client to absorb the message within seconds.

4. Logo, Tagline, Website and Phone Number

Advertisers have gotten away from inserting their phone number in print ads. Driving a potential customer/client to your website might seem ideal, but studies show that one of the biggest deterrents of doing business with a company has to do with a lack of customer service. Make sure that your potential customer/client can speak with someone in real time.

If you put a phone number in your ad – and I recommend you do – make sure it directs to a person in less than a minute. If you want to lose a potential new customer/client, the easiest way is to appear inaccessible.

5. Call to Action

Create an urgency with a message that clearly benefits the potential customer/client. Give them a reason to act “Now,” “Today,” “Before Offer Expires,” and promise them a special benefit over those who wait.

Remember, your ad represents why someone wants to do business with you and how your product or service is exceptional. Make it count!

Monica Brubaker is the principal of Eloquent Media Communications, an advertising and marketing firm. Monica previously was President of New Life Printing & SERVICES.

She spent more than two decades in the printing, advertising, marketing and publishing business. Monica headed up the Business Connector Radio Talk Show, authored thousands of articles for several magazines and for a decade hosted The Business Connector Magazine business symposium and networking events.

A former critical care nurse with vast experience in health care marketing, she has assisted clients in many industries in connecting with their target markets and increasing their bottom line. Contact Monica at mlbemc[at]