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Six Easy Steps to Creating a Killer Ad Campaign.

If your small business needs to get to get the word out, but is short on marketing money, this article will help you optimize your advertising dollars by creating ad campaigns that get noticed, remembered, and acted upon.

So you think your company may need to do some advertising to drum up business in this down economy?

Smart idea.

But before you hire an ad agency, or do it yourself, I’d like to arm you with some information that will make your job easier, and your ads more effective.

Keep it simple.
A cluttered ad screams “small-time.”  Savvy advertisers know that people don’t remember a complicated message.  If you give them more than one main point, or throw a bunch of graphics and copy into the mix, chances are pretty good they will either skip it, or quit before you get a chance to ask for the sale.  Keep your message, your headline, and your visual clean, simple, and singular.

Exude brand personality.
All brands develop personality, whether you want them to or not.  Which is why smart marketers make sure their brands reflect the personality they specifically craft.  What is your brand personality?  Your ads – and all your advertising and marketing materials – should always reflect your brand personality so that your  target audience will have constant reinforcement of your well-crafted, deliberately thought out brand.

Cut through the clutter.
The average American is exposed to hundreds of commercial messages every day – some experts say as many as 3,000!  So you want to do everything you can to make sure your ad is the one that gets noticed.  Do this by having a great offer, keeping your ad simple with lots of white space, and having a memorable and creative concept that exudes your brand personality.

Keep it strategic.
There are basically two kinds of ads:  1) ads that have a specific offer, and 2) image-building ads.  Both types of ads are important and should be used in conjunction with each other.  While the first type of ad is designed to have fairly immediate benefits (such as sales or attendance to an event), the second type of ad is designed to give you long-term benefits by creating top-of-mind awareness so when your target has need of your service or product, you’re the first company they think of.  My advice is to use both as part of your overall strategic marketing plan.

Look professional.
Very few things hurt your brand like an amateurish ad.  People viewing the ad will perceive your company as being second-rate.  So I strongly  encourage you to  think very carefully before doing the ad yourself, or letting the newspaper design it for you.  Think seriously about hiring a professional to create an ad campaign for you with a look and feel that will last for at least a year.  Consider having them develop four different ads that you can easily have resized for different publications and rotate throughout the year.  Also, think about having a “template” ad developed that can work for special sales or invitations to events.

Give them a reason to buy.
Whether you’re creating an offer ad or an image ad, be sure you give your target a great reason to chose your company, product, or service over your competitors.

Now more than ever, advertising is a smart idea.  Use these tips and you will create ad campaigns that cut costs…and the clutter.

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Donna Williams is the founder and creator of - a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential.  She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer.  Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses.  To read more of her articles, or to sign up for her free e-newsletter, visit her website at

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