How to Plan Winning Ads

An on-target headline. Reach the right audience. Be sure your customers know you’re talking to them.
A benefit or news headline. Give the reader at least one good reason to buy.
Product benefits. Make the reader feel that your merchandise will do things for him or her.
Complete and specific copy. A reader should have all the details: make, size, color, etc.
Related items. Promote related products and services. Save your customers time and effort.
Crisp, direct language. Use short sentences and simple words. Read your copy aloud and hear how it sounds.
Clear, visible prices. Newspaper readers are interested in prices when they shop the ads.
Vital information. Include your phone number, address and even a small map in your ad.
Claims that make sense. Go easy on superlatives. “The best deal ever” cannot happen every week.
A call for action. Every ad should urge the reader to act now.

Effective Ad Layout Should Include

A simple layout. The reader’s eye should move from headline to art to body copy to logo.
A well-organized, easy-to-follow ad. For example, a multi-item ad with an overall headline is highly effective.
A clean, uncluttered look. The first impression of a store is often its advertising.
White space. Properly used, white space can help your ad stand out on the newspaper page.
Artwork. Show a benefit or the merchandise in use. This helps the reader visualize using your products.
Dominant art. Ads with larger art get higher readership than ads with little or no art.

Using Logos And Building A Recognizable Format

Try to develop a distinctive, recognizable format that distinguishes your ad from other ads. A consistent illustration style is one of the most important elements in building a format.
A prominent name. Make sure your name and logo are easy to find and read.

Selecting A Typeface

The rule of thumb is to limit each composition to two typefaces, one for headlines and subheads, one for body copy. For extra emphasis, boldface and italics can be used within the two basic faces.
Body copy type should be set in a clear, easy-to-read face. Body copy should not be set in reverse or surprinted over artwork.

Using Color

Color can be incorporated into an ad making it much more attractive. In one study, ads that utilized color outsold the same ads in black and white by 43%.

How To Write Clear Concise Copy That Sells

Describe Your Merchandise in Terms Of Benefits For The Reader.
For example, how many benefits does this sentence have: “This jacket is made of windproof leather, snugly lined with lambswool.” The answer is: none. This is product information, not benefits. Customer-oriented copy should read: “The jacket keeps you warm even in a gale at 20 below.” This is a benefit, because it states what the jacket can do for the customer. The product information can be listed after you get the reader’s eye and attention with a benefit.

Give Your Customer Complete, Specific Information.
Partial or incomplete copy only annoys the reader. Include all styles, colors and sizes in your ad. Give good ordering information as well. This includes: phone numbers, the department where the item can be found, store hours and which stores have the merchandise. (If your ad applies to certain branches, this should be spelled out.)

Use Simple, Me-To-You Language.
Copy does not have to be fancy. In fact, it shouldn’t be. For example, here is easy-to-read copy from an ad for a golf and tennis tour to the Bahamas: “This is the story. Round-trip air fare from San Francisco to Freeport. Luxurious rooms and delicious meals at the Kings Inn and Golf Club. Unlimited greens fees at two golf courses. Tipping and all taxes included.” This is copy that is easy to understand. It uses simple, direct words in short, punchy sentences.

Tell The Reader To Buy Now.
When you end your ad with a call for action, such as: “Call now,” or “Come in today,” you are increasing the ad’s selling power. And, if it is true, you can add ad element of urgency to your advertising by stating a time limit. For example: “While quantities last,” “For two days only,” “Sold on a first-come, first-serve basis only.” Even Neiman-Marcus, famous for its upscale merchandise, included a phone number in an ad for a $195,000 diamond ring. Why? Because, like every good merchant, Neiman-Marcus wanted to close the sale.

Co-Op: More Dollars For Your Ad Budget

It’s Your Money
How can you stretch your ad budget? The secret is the co-op ad dollars available from your product manufacturers. This is your money-money you’ve earned by stocking your suppliers’ merchandise. If you don’t use it, you lose it!

It Can Help You Grow
If you are a small retailer, co-op can be a key factor in helping you grow. Co-op can more than double your advertising linage at a typical cost of less than 30%. It can maximize your advertising impact by allowing you to run ads more often. It gives you the opportunity to promote a wide assortment of merchandise over an extended period of time.

It Lets You Build On Famous Names
Promoting name brand merchandise, which often offers co-op, lets your customers know that you are the local source for these products.

It’s Easy To Tap Into Co-Op
You do not have to be a big retailer to use co-op successfully. These dollars are available to any merchant willing to work with his or her suppliers. In fact, this year, manufacturers and wholesalers in the United States will offer more than $15.5 billion in co-op funds to stores like yours. The County Journal co-op sales professionals can make co-op easy for you. They will help you find, use and claim it-all at no cost to you.

Step By Step Co-Op Action Plan

List Your Top 25 Suppliers
They produce most of your business and will probably provide most of the co-op money available to you. And because you already advertise their products, their co-op money will fit your ad budget most conveniently.

Allocate Co-Op Money
Divide each product’s co-op dollars on a month-by-month basis consistent with monthly sales trends for the product category.

Integrate Co-Op Into Your Ad Plans
This will allow you to plan for larger ads, or more frequent ads, for your most popular products in their best-selling seasons.

Create Co-Op Ads That Pull
A co-op ad should move merchandise, promote your image and meet the requirements of your supplier. Your County Journal team member can help you prepare this type of ad at no cost to you.

Collect The Co-Op Money Due You
The faster you submit your claim package, the faster you will be repaid by your supplier.

Elements of a Good Classified Ad

Make your ad easy to understand
Classified listings, which are distinctive and specific, usually enjoy a higher readership than run-of-the-mill ads. In every newspaper, there are companies whose classified results surpass others and there are many reasons why.

Use a prominent benefit headline
Choose the main benefit of your merchandise and feature it in a compelling headline. Amplify this message in your general copy. Avoid generalized quality claims.

Make your copy complete
Know what is important to readers shopping in your classified category. Complete sentences are easier to read than a series of phrases and random words.

State a price or range of prices
Quote a price, even if it’s high or low. If your price is high, explain why it represents good value. If it’s low, support it with facts that make it believable (for example: special purchase, quick sale). No price leaves the reader to suspect that it may be to overpriced to advertise.

Specify branded merchandise
If you are offering a name brand, be sure to state this fact in your classified ad copy.

Include related items
Make two sales instead of one by offering related items along with a featured one. For example, list your used tires and mention that the rims are also available for only $XXX.

Use a simple layout
Classified listings should not be a crossword puzzle. A good ad layout carries the reader’s eye through the entire copy including the price, advertisers name and phone number.

Urge the reader to act now
Every ad should include a strong bid for action. Stimulate prompt action by using such phrases as: “12-Hour Sale” or “This Week Only” or “First Come, First Served”.

Want some professional help? Ask our Design department!

Contact the design department here: contact us