9 Steps to Create Effective Ads

By: Joyce Hayne

1. Set a Primary Objective for Your Campaign

  • You should have one main objective for each campaign that you run.
  • Although everyone would like to increase sales immediately, you can’t jump to a buying objective if you haven’t achieved awareness, so be sure you’re working through these Steps to a Sale in order.
  • Steps to a Sale: Awareness, Contemplating, Purchasing, Building Loyalty

2. Highlight Your Key Competitive Advantage

  • Focus on your key competitive advantage.
  • Be sure to tailor the benefit to the market you’re targeting. What is their key pain point? Why do they want to use your service?
  • What do you do that’s different from your competition?

3. Keep it Short

  • An ad is not a brochure, so do not list every feature of your product.
  • Highlight a maximum of 3 short advantages in an ad and less if it’s a small ad.

4. Generate Interest with the Headline

  • The headline is the most important aspect of your ad and draws you in to read more.
  • 5 times more people will read your headline than your body copy.
  • Does your headline grab the attention of your target market?
  • Studies show 93% of those reading your ad will read only the headline.
  • A question can make a good headline as people want to read the answer.
  • Your logo is not a headline.

5. Use Compelling Photos & Graphics

  • A vivid photo or graphic will also grab people’s attention.
  • A photo and testimonial from a client are a great way to prove your advantage.
  • Bright and contrasting colours will also make your ad stand out.

6. Choose Space Wisely

  • Size does matter when it comes to getting readers’ attention.
  • As a rule of thumb, a full page will double the amount of attention of a ¼ page ad, and a ½ page will generate 1.5 times the attention of a ¼ page ad.
  • However, don’t expect success with one ad. You will have a more profitable campaign if you spread your budget over a year and run smaller ads more frequently than if you put it all in one ad, as you need frequency to achieve success in a campaign.

7. White Space is Good

  • Be sure to use enough white space so that your ad copy stands out.
  • If you cram too much information in your ad, it will be too difficult to read.

8. Make An Offer

  • An offer does not have be a discount, unless you are competing on price, which is not a great playing field.
  • What added value can you offer?
  • Relevant information can help educate a prospect about your product or service while building awareness and credibility for your company.

9. Call To Action

  • Go back to your objective and be sure to ask the reader to take specific action towards that goal.
  • Always ask the reader to act NOW.
  • Examples: 1. Call today for a free demo. 2. Download our white paper on____. 3. Visit 4. Sign up for ____ 5. Order now at
  • The first action most prospects take is to go to your website, so be sure to direct them to a specific page tailored to the audience you’re targeting with each ad.
  • Make it easy for people to contact you by including your phone number, email, and website.