A blog on logos, corporate identity and branding.

So you have got a great medium to reach your audience. Your ad has all the graphics spiffed up to attract attention and you have a great eye-catching photo. You know people are looking at it. But no one is responding. What’s going on?

Your copy is falling flat, that’s what. You need to use active language, and powerful words that get and keep attention. Here’s how.

Use your headline. Headlines are the most important copy-related parts of print ads. If you have a dull headline, like the name of your business, you’re wasting precious space and money. That space could be used as a call to action or to give a benefit of your product. Keep your business address, phone number and other boring, but important, information in smaller font and towards the bottom of your ad. By using the space to brag about your largest, most impacting benefit, you could increase response by 300 percent.

Focus on the customer. Use “you” rather “we” or “I.” People want to know how you can help them, not about your great employees. Of course if your business is a service that employees provide, then yes, tout your employees. But tout what they can do for your customer, and what they’ve done in the past for similar customers. Show the customer that you have something that they need that will benefit their lives.

Include a call to action. People won’t visit your store if you don’t ask them to. They won’t be motivated to visit your Web site unless you tell them you have one and give them the Web address to get there. Word your call to action as a command: “Visit our Web site today.” “Call today.”

Use power words. Use sexy words that will stay with readers. Words that evoke movement and excitement work best. Concrete words will also give you a leg up. Use “erase wrinkles” instead of “get rid of wrinkles.” Use persuasive words such as “give,” “hurry” and “invite.” Use words that evoke trust: “tested” and “proven.” Use words that flatter the reader like “wise” and “special” when describing them.

Avoid overused words. Don’t use words that people have heard over and over again in advertising. Generally these words have only held false promises in the past. People remember words that burned them before. A few to avoid are “quality,” “value,” “service,” “caring” and “integrity.”

Do not waste your budget on commercial printing materials that are boring and that aren’t going to work for you. Spend more time and money on creating your message upfront, perhaps even hiring a freelance marketing writer or a consultant that can help you create a powerful message before you choose your color scheme or photo.

Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer and follower of developments in branding, logo design and commercial color printing industry and how these improvements can benefit small to medium-scale business.

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