Dec 152011

How to make your adverts really work for you

Regardless of where your ad is – newspaper, magazine, website – they say you have about 3-5 seconds to make an impact on the reader before they move on to something else.  There are lots of ways to attract a reader’s attention (through the use of color, photos etc) but the thing that will grab their attention and keep it is your advert headline.  Here are a few ideas you should keep in mind when you’re advertising your business with an advert.


I’ve already given you the first one and it worked because you’re reading this article.  Using the magical number 7 in the headline attracts people.  Other odd numbers also do this but not as well; even numbers have little power of attraction.  Why?  No-one really knows, it just does so go with the flow.  Phrases such as ‘7 reasons’ or ‘7 ways’ will raise the curiosity and get people reading.

Here’s how…  here’s why

These two phrases also raise the curiosity level and  make the reader feel they’re about to learn something.  Equally, it makes you think carefully about the rest of the ad to ensure that you fulfill the promise.  The offer you make needs to be of interest to your target reader but not so wild that it will immediately be dismissed as rubbish.

How you can ….  How to

Similar sort of thing to the example above; it captures the attention by promising a benefit to the reader.  Again, make it credible and make sure that the content of the ad is sufficient to make the want to continue to learn more by going to your website or coming into your store.


Sounds hackneyed but it still works.  Consumers are a savvy bunch these days but the free word still has power.  You do need to be careful with the ad content though.  If the offer doesn’t live up to the title you will positively discourage people from contacting you.  The best way to use the free word is to find something with a high perceived value but low cost to you and then package it up with the product you really want to sell.

Don’t do it!

This is another powerful word when it comes to attracting attention.  Most ads are trying to get you to actively do something but using ‘don’t’ is advising people not to and that grabs the attention.  Titles using the don’t word are usually along the lines of ‘don’t buy your new car until you’ve read this report’, or ‘don’t make these common mistakes when starting a small business’.

And that’s it – some tried and tested ad headlines that will improve your advertising and bring more people though the door of your business.  And why have I only included 5 ideas here rather than the promised 7?  Well, if this was an ad then I could say you need to contact me to get the other two (which, by the way, are the best ones of the lot…!).