4 Common Print Advertising Mistakes

BusinessMarketing & Advertising

  • Author Rivka R Meyer
  • Published July 15, 2021
  • Word count 690

There’s more to advertising than just letting people know you’re offering a product or service and there are right and wrong ways of creating print ads. Advert design matters. If you want your newspaper or magazine advertisements to be effective, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Too much text

I responded to a survey from a magazine I read. Despite reading the whole issue, when they presented me with a picture of an advert from inside, I didn’t even recognise it! I had obviously turned that page so quickly that it didn’t register at all. I went back and compared it with the adverts I had noticed to see the difference. The main difference was the amount of text on the page.

Too much text on the page is off-putting, especially if it’s all the same size and colour. It makes the content look boring. No matter how exciting the writing, if the first glance isn’t inviting, nobody will read it.

Keep your text to a minimum – stick to the basics and include details of where people can find out more.

If you have to include a lot of text, break it up with text boxes and vary the font size, style and colour.

  1. Clutter

A cluttered-looking page can be overwhelming. It also looks unprofessional and gives the impression that you’re trying too hard.

A lot of empty space helps display the picture and text so it catches the eye. A large page with a single photograph accompanied by a few lines of text (plus contact details) is most inviting.

Avoid the temptation to save money by cramming everything into the smallest possible advert size, and limit the number of products you feature in a single advert. You can always direct people to your website with a ‘For more products like this, visit…’ at the bottom.

  1. Buried contact information

If the contact information isn’t clear, you can’t expect anyone to contact you. I proofread an advert for an online event that ended with ‘for more information, call…’ The number was apparently the booking line, but the advert didn’t say that. The number was also very small, and was situated just above their counselling helpline number, which was in much bigger, bolder writing. To prove my point that it needed changing, I ran it past one of their target audience, who said she couldn’t tell how to book and would have simply turned the page and given the event a miss.

Avoid confusion. Make it as clear as possible how to contact you and make sure the contact details stand out. If you want the sale, you need to do the work. Unless your product is super special, you can’t expect your potential customers to take the time to find you.

  1. Product only

I see a lot of adverts which have an attractive picture and great product benefits listed, but the company name is barely noticeable and/or not very memorable. For example, I know there are riser recliner chairs because I’ve seen them advertised regularly in a magazine. But if you asked me where to buy them, I wouldn’t have a clue. The company name on the advert has never registered with me.

People don’t always buy something immediately, especially if it’s an expensive item or something they don’t need at the time. By the time they want to purchase, they will remember the product exists, but your advert will be in the bin. If your company name isn’t obvious and memorable, the risk is that someone will search online for the product, not the company, and likely end up buying it from your competitor.

Make sure readers remember both the product and your company name. Your company name should be prominently featured in the advert. It helps if it has a memorable and recognisable look. That’s where a logo can be helpful. Even if readers don’t recall the company name, if they see it appear in an online search, they’ll recognise it from the advert they saw.

I do editing and copywriting and I can't decide which I love more. I'm available for SEO article writing and can be contacted via my website at www.abetterword.co.uk. Read more of my blog articles at https://www.abetterword.co.uk/blog-2/.

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