Sure, it would be nice to have a huge advertising budget to spread around a bunch of hot publications. But this isn't always possible. Sometimes you have to count your pennies and rely on smaller ads to get the job done.
My advice? Don't lose heart. Small-sized ads can do very well if you understand how to use them. Here are some practical tips you can use if you need to save money on your media budget.
1. Don't be afraid of going to a fractional-page size ad. My experience proves that you can get extremely good results with fractional ads. An excellent study published by the highly-regarded research firm, Starch INRA Hooper came to the same conclusion.
A while ago Starch completed a study of 535 fractional ads and found that they can be used very effectively indeed. Starch's findings? That the scores of the various fractional ads do not correspond directly to the relative sizes of the ads.
That is to say, half-page and two-third page ads do not earn "Noted Scores" that are half or two-thirds of one-page ads. In fact, fractionals score considerably higher than their correlated size!
2. Use short, punchy headlines. Remember, you don't have the space for War and Peace, so get right to the point with two-, three-, or four-word headlines. When you keep the character-count short you can come up in type size and have your headline pop. This is very important!
Official Levison-approved words for inclusion in short headlines: "Free", "Now", "New", "At last," "Finally", "Guaranteed", "No Obligation," "No Risk."
3. Boil the body copy down so it's lean and tight. One of my favorite short ads was written by Ernest Shackleton, the great polar explorer. The ad, which attempted to recruit volunteers for a trip to the South Pole, ran in London newspapers in 1900. Here it is . . .
Did the ad pull volunteers? Shackleton later wrote, "It seemed as though all the men in Great Britain were determined to accompany me, the response was so overwhelming."
What was the tremendous appeal of the ad? The promise of adventure and recognition, of course. But I think its real power derives from all that is not spelled out. It's a true masterpiece of British understatement and fabulous, intuitive copywriting.
4. Use small ads for lead generation only. Let's face it. It's hard enough to sell off the page when you have a lot of space. When you have only a small space to work with all you can hope to do is get prospects to raise their hands and show their interest. But that's doing a lot!
This means you can offer free White Papers, Executive Reports, Information Kits, an online demo, you name it. Once you've got their names in your database, you can follow up with telemarketing, attractive fulfillment materials, etc.
5. Spice up your ad with a little visual impact. A small photo or spot illustration can add a lot of impact and draw the eye to your message. Don't forget that you can add a hashmark/dotted line around your ad or a portion of it. This is a powerful graphic technique that you ought to try some time. The dotted line communicates the unspoken message that there is hot information being offered and that you must act immediately.
Need help with your ad (large or small) or any other copywriting project? Get in touch. How about having me punch up your home page or landing pages? Or writing emails that get more click-throughs? Whatever you need written, give me a call at (415) 461-0672 and let's talk. Or send me an email.
Let's go to work!