Should Ads Have Headlines? Every ad is a mini opportunity for storytelling.

It is surprising how often I see ads that forget the basics, like the address, website or phone number. Too bad because an ad is an opportunity to tell a very mini-story and move your audience to buy!

If you think of every ad you do as a story to tell – crucial things like where you are located or how to get in touch with you become part of your message

Here is a tip sheet of 10 things to consider as you craft your next ad.

1. Yes you should have a bold headline! And that headline is about what you are selling. Every headline should be short, have an action verb (like come, buy, eat, enjoy, love …) and tell the viewer exactly why they should continue to get “the rest of the story”.

2. Focus on the benefit to the customer not to you. And use straight talk language, no jargon!

3. Have an offer (Macy’s and nearly every restaurant uses this to distraction and it works!)

4. A couple of times a year have a big or fun offer! The goal is to get the customer to know you better, to visit your website, store or speak to one of your representatives. (Think PBS – their annual fundraisers have worked for decades!)

5. Track results (even as basic as website visits or how often the phone rang)

6. When you receive a call or visit, ask them what brought them to you? Then send a thank you back if and when possible. This is another way of building your all-essential customer contact lists.

7. Do you have testimonials? If you do, then use them where it feels natural. If you don’t start today by writing down what your customers are saying – this is far easier than you may think.

8. Don’t be funny, unless that is part of your corporate culture. If you are known as ‘wild and crazy’ then go for it, if not stick to a straightforward message.

9. Ask yourself what do you want your customer to do? Come to your store at a special time, buy a specific item? Then be certain you say that – it is your call to action and the entire reason for the ad.

10. Most important – is your company name, address or website, contact phone number on the ad?

I am often asked about image vs. sales ads. For most companies image ads are nice, but only when you are trying to reshape an image (think: This is not your father’s car). Otherwise make the ad pay for itself multiple times over and SELL.

Here’s to storybook results!

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