A Primer on Ads

Don’t Overlook the Basics for Your Marketing Initiatives

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

As a periodical publisher, I’ve run ads for my customers. As a marketer, I’ve created and run ads for myself in various publications and on websites. And as a buyer, I’ve reacted to ads.

These experiences provide me with a 360-degree view, able to see ads from a provider, seller, and buyer perspective.

Whether it’s print ads or online, there are two challenges. The first is finding the right publication or platform that addresses your target audience. The second is designing an effective ad.

Author and blogger Peter Lyle DeHaan

The Right Medium

When considering a publication or online platform to promote your message, consider their target audience. This is the foremost concern. Even when secondary issues align, if you’re talking to the wrong audience, your message will fail to resonate with them and generate the outcome you seek.

Quite simply, do the people you want to reach read the publication or visit the website you’re considering? If not, don’t pursue it, no matter how attractive the rates or reach.

Only after you find a provider that can successfully reach your target audience should you consider the cost of the ad, the number of people who will see your message, and if it reaches true decision makers.

The Right Ad

Once you’ve found the perfect advertising medium, you need to design your ad. Some providers will offer to produce an ad for you at no cost, but resist taking them up on their tempting offer. Though they may know how to create ads, they may not know your industry or your business. They may be experts in what they do, but they’re not experts in what you do.

If you don’t have the skills yourself or in-house support to design a professional ad, outsource the task to a third party who can work with you to produce a compelling message.

This is one time when you shouldn’t go with “good enough” or “let’s throw this up and see what happens.” Strive to get your ad exactly right. This includes the ad copy and the artwork.

Use white space in your ad to your advantage, applying it to call attention to your essential message. Avoid having too much text, which makes your ad hard to read and drives readers away.

Also, be sure to give contact information and include a call to action.

If you fail to produce a compelling ad, your ad will fail to produce the results you seek. At this point, the cost of the ad or its reach doesn’t matter.

Ad Outcomes

If your ad doesn’t produce the results you want, either you’ve picked the wrong medium or run the wrong ad. Herein is the painful reality of advertising: the right advertising makes things happen; wrong advertising does nothing—except cost you money.

Marketing Tactics Success Tip Successful advertising relies on two elements: the ideal medium and the perfect ad. If either area is lacking, so too will your results.

Read more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s Sticky Series books, including Sticky Customer ServiceSticky Sales and Marketing, and Sticky Leadership and Management featuring his compelling story-driven insights and tips.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an entrepreneur and businessman who has managed, owned, and started multiple businesses over his career. Common themes at every turn have included customer service, sales and marketing, and leadership and management.

He shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights through his books to encourage, inspire, and occasionally entertain.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.