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The Recipe for a Great Ad


– 30% your offering
– 50% your wording/imagery
– 20% your call-to-action

Great ads are hard to come by. Everybody wants to gel with the crowd and take a riskless route of provoking no true emotional reaction… from anybody. Playing it safe and presenting another replica of the most common ad formula can work. However this method is usually only successful if you have a large advertising budget to pay for a lot of traffic over short bursts of time, aiming at the lowest common denominator and relying on a tiny % to convert to business.

As an advertiser, most people’s introduction to your brand, will be your ad.

Step 1: Think carefully about the Who, What, Why, When & Where.

  • Who are you advertising to?

If you don’t have a basic idea of your targeted demographic, it’s unlikely you’ll craft an ad with any true resonance to any one group of people.

Who you advertise to defines what advertising language you need to speak.

image1(Image source)

  • What are you advertising?

Sounds like a silly question, but consciously pay a little more attention to the next salesman or spokesperson of a business you speak to when shopping around or trying to forge a new business relationship. You’ll probably notice that a lot of people don’t really understand what they are selling. If you don’t understand exactly what you are offering, you can never speak (or write, or advertise) about it with passion, conviction and authority.

If you’re not passionate about what you sell, don’t expect anybody else to be!


  • Why are you advertising?

Just to gain a profit? To sway opinions? Prove a point? Show the world how great X Y Z can be, when done correctly?

There’s about a billion (okay, maybe not quite that many) questions all embedded within the why, but it’s an absolutely crucial point to come to grips with.

Knowing why you do what you do defines how you feel about it, how you present it and, ultimately, how it will come across, in one form or another, to your market.

  • When are you advertising?

Is it that time of the year, aka Christmas? It’s nearly here! Well I wish it could be Christmas every day… Oh, sorry.

Do you know the seasonal trends of your market? Intending to advertise on the upside, on a downside and get your foot in the door for cheap? Or, no idea? If not, find out!


  • Where are you advertising?

Very important. Advertising on a billboard on the side of the road is a world apart from interrupting somebody as they’re about to post their next Facebook status, or trying to convince somebody you have what they’re looking for when searching on Google, or Bing. Let’s be honest… just Google.

Step 2: Gear everything towards the above.

Once you are truly clear about the 500 actual steps within ‘Step 1’, the value of what you offer and who would be interested in that increase. This allows you to write, phrase and present exactly in line with what you know.

For example, are you advertising to introverted, independent people with a need to feel ahead of the curve. Then every sentence of your ad and the style (if any) of your images can fit this agenda, avoiding the pitfalls of a ‘one size fits all’, generic ad.

Step 3: Hammer your point home and clearly define the action you want your demographic to take.

Many advertisers are shy and generic with the action they ask of people within their ads; not that we don’t all see ‘Call Now’ or ‘Buy Now’ on almost every ad ever. However, these are calls-to-action that don’t really speak to a specific demographic in the right way.

It’s almost like starting a conversation with a likeminded person you’ve just met – you’re light, laughing and speaking in similar terms, then you abruptly end the conversion with “Have a fantastic afternoon!” or “Contact me any time!”. It would fall flat, and seem weird.

You probably wouldn’t get a call, or have that person contact you any time.

Whereas, if you ended the conversation with “See you later, gimmie a buzz in the week”, maybe you would. Unless you’re just an unlikable person, in which case you need to work on your ad copy.

It’s fine to use something like ‘Enquire Today’ if the rest your ad has been very stern and professional, most businesses do even when in markets that don’t call for it, such as selling trendy clothing or tattooing. The demographics of these sectors are less likely to engage with such generic, corporate wording. Let your call-to-action follow suit with the style that preceded it, using quirky language and imagery.


With all of that said: CALL US NOW!

By Nick Sullivan

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