Writing ads and getting the word out about your business can be a daunting task for any small business owner. There is an awful lot of pressure involved when you start thinking about how to write ads that best represent yourself. Also, how do you know what you write is going to grab a customer’s attention and bring them in the door? When you boil it down, writing an effective ad is all about clarity.
Flyers can be a great way to hone your ad-writing skills and test out your local classifieds message before bringing to a more expensive media. Not only can they be produced at low-cost, usually in-house, and on nearly no notice at all, flyers are among the easiest ads to target. Especially in small towns or neighborhoods in a city, you’ll often have a good idea of exactly which audience you’re reaching when you hand out or hang up flyers at any particular location. In general, any small business owner who can put together a clear and concise flyer is ready to take on a larger project the next time the need for advertising pops up.
One of the first ways to create an effective flyer is to make sure the headline is the focal point, and that it grabs the attention of readers. Key words are crucial. Make sure that your headline contains a catchy and interesting statement that nicely sums up your current sale or event. For example, if you own a used car dealership having a summer sale, make sure the term “used car sale” is in your headline. A good way to do this as well as gain some attention is by asking the reader a question. This provokes your target audience, identifies with their needs, and convinces them to keep reading.
Now that you’ve hooked your potential customer and gotten their attention it’s time to outline your services in the information section. When writing an ad, a lot of small business owners tend to make their information area long or over crowded. Make sure you are succinct and clear when describing your business and cut out unnecessary information. If need be, cut out fluff words like “if” or “a”, since these can draw attention away from your overall message. If you can, use some of your key words again in order to really nail down your purpose.
So now that your audience is convinced they need your services, provide your contact information. Make sure this section is clearly written. Focus on making sure that you’ve clearly stated the location of your business and hours of operation. You want to make sure that your potential clients remember your number, or can read it properly. With flyers, it can be convenient to include tear-off tabs with your contact information. If you’re located in a confusing part of town consider adding some reference information or local landmarks. This can be anything from “located above the Chinese restaurant on 1st street” to a small mini map in the corner to make sure people can find you.
To really get people to use your services a call-to-action is always required in all types of ads, even flyers. This will convince people to drop what they’re doing and visit your small business. Think about your target audience when you write this. Is your business family oriented? Or geared towards a specific age group? Make sure the terms you use are familiar to the customers you want to attract. One of the things a lot of small business owners listen over and over again when they learn about how to write ads is to end on a call-to-action. Call-to-actions should be simple and direct, like ‘Give Us A Call! ‘ or ‘Come In Today! ‘
While flyers might not have the same prestige as a local TV spot or a recognizable radio ad they are an important building block in teaching you how to write ads. After designing a few flyers for your business’ sales or events you’ll be primed and ready to take on the yellow pages and direct mailings, and you might even be surprised at how many of the same basic skills carry over to signage, television, and radio.