What do I need to know about creating an ad for my small business?

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Answered by: Jennifer, An Expert in the How to Create Ads Category
If you're creating an ad for your business, there are several things you need to ask yourself when crafting the message and design, and deciding where to place the ad.

Ask yourself the following:

1) What am I advertising?

2) Who is the audience?

3) What is my call to action?

4) What is the goal of this ad?

5) How much do I want to spend?

An advertisement must gain attention quickly, so you first need to identify what, exactly, you want to advertise. You have mere seconds to grab the reader's attention, so keep focused. Stick to one or two products, or deliver your brand message, in concise, short language, getting right to the heart of what you want to convey to your audience.

You also need to know your audience and tailor your message to their interests. For example, are you placing an ad in a publication geared toward other businesses, or consumers? What they care about will be very different. If you're advertising cleaning supplies, a working mom will be more interested in how well it works and how quickly, while an independent business owner may be more focused on price. Keep your audience in mind when delivering the message.

When creating an ad, one of the most vital components is a call to action. Without one, the advertiser can't measure the ROI or have any idea whether the advertisement worked. A call to action is some reaction you want your reader to take. Examples of calls to action are redeeming a coupon, going to a page on your website, sending in a form, or purchasing a specific product using a code. The best actions are measurable, so the advertiser can immediately determine the success of the ad.

Tied to the call of action is your goal for the ad. When creating an ad, it's important to record your goal. What do you want to achieve with this advertisement? Do you have a specific sales percentage increase in mind? Do you want a certain number of clicks on your website? Is your goal to generate more fans for your social media page? Set your goals in writing to determine how well the advertisement achieved them.

Finally, you'll want to decide how much you'll spend when creating an ad for your business. Reputable publications, whether online or print, will supply advertising rates upon request. In print publications, the smaller the ad placed, the lower the cost. Placement on the page and whether the ad is in color or black and white also affect pricing. Online, the size of the ad, page placement, how long and when it is displayed, and number of clicks may be used to determine cost. Ask for statistics on subscribers or page views to help determine whether placing the ad is worthwhile. Smaller size ads are less expensive, but if no one sees it, it's a waste of money.

Once you have these core questions answered, you're ready to start creating an ad! Work with a seasoned graphic artist to tailor a design to suit your business image and incorporate the message you've already determined. The artist can work with the publication to ensure the advertisement follows the publication's specifications.

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