Much of what we need to know about effective advertising is
summarised in a time-tested, commonly taught acronym: AIDA
A is for Attention
The first thing to get right about an ad is to make sure
it gets noticed. Furthermore, you particularly want to make
sure it gets noticed by the right sort of people - your target
This is mostly about your visual awareness. The following
factors all contribute to the Attention factor:
Size of ad
Positioning of ad on the page
Use of colour
Size of catchline
Wording of catchline
Choice of typeface
Graphic style (picture, logo or overall design)
I is for Interest
Having got their attention, the next trick is to create some
interest in what you’re selling. This means using wording
and imagery that immediately implies that your product is
relevant to the reader.
D is for Desire
You then have to spark desire. Something in your ad must
convince the reader that there is a benefit
or advantage to be had by responding to your ad.
A is for Action
Give your prospects a clear command as to how to proceed
in response to your ad.
“Guitar lessons - get some today!” ... is too
“Call Nick on 01273 555659 to arrange your first lesson”
... is a clear instruction as to how to proceed and what to
YOUR AD ACTS AS A FILTER
Everything about your ad from the choice of words and images
to the cleverness of design; from the choice of publication
to the section of the publication in which it appears; will
act as a filter.
Simply put, a filter lets some thing through, but keeps other
If you use the words: ‘Cheap’, ‘Bargain’,
‘Inexpensive’ you will allow through those for
whom cost is a major issue in their choice
of a teacher. But you will probably block those for whom quality
and value are more important.
If you have a picture of an electric guitar on your ad you
will encourage more electric players, but put off some of
those people who are dedicated acoustic players (even though
you may include ‘Acoustic Guitar’ in your wording).
If your ad shows an image of a child being taught - it will
undoubtedly encourage parents to respond, but adult clients
will be less likely to answer an ad like this.
To what degree you deliberately use your ad to filter prospects
is up to you, but I warn against filtering out too many potential
customers this early on. It depends somewhat on your confidence
in your communication ability over the phone, but I prefer
to do the filtering at the sales stage. For this reason I
design my ads to be pretty inclusive - that is to allow as
many people through as possible.