Tips for effective advertising

What you say and how you say it in words, sounds or pictures can be vital to your advertising success. Aim for your advertising to:

  • be noticed
  • be understood
  • stimulate action (such as an enquiry or visit to your store)
  • achieve an outcome (such as a sale).

The following tips will help you to meet these goals.

General tips

  • Create a distinctive and recognisable format for your advertisements. Be consistent in using this style.
  • Feature your branding prominently.
  • Ensure that your advertisement is well organised and easy to follow.
  • Always include relevant information your potential customers may want to know (e.g. opening hours or your shop address).
  • Make it easy for customers to contact you – do you want them to visit your website, phone or email you, or come into your store?
  • If you include your prices, make sure they are easy to find and remember.
  • Ensure that all contact details, product information and prices are up to date and accurate.
  • Use simple and direct language with everyday words that are easy to understand.
  • Tell your customers how you can help them with their needs or wants.
  • Make your unique selling proposition clear.
  • Tailor your message, style and format to your target audience.

Newspapers, magazines, directories, direct mail and billboards

  • Use a headline with powerful wording or a memorable graphic to capture attention.
  • Make sure graphics are high quality so they look good both in colour and black and white.
  • Do not include too much text, as most readers will only scan your advertisement for the key information.


  • Show the idea on the screen and back it up with more information (e.g. a print advertisement or brochure delivered directly to the viewer's home).
  • Don't try to cram every product onto the screen – aim for an advertisement that is memorable, not overwhelming.
  • Use professional actors (or acting students) or voice over artists instead of family and friends.


  • Keep it simple and don't try to communicate too many ideas in a 30-second spot – one central idea is more likely to be remembered.
  • Repeat the benefits of a product, the price and the name of your business so listeners will not forget it.
  • Use a professional voice-over artist (or student) rather than trying to do it yourself.


  • Think about what will work best online – don't just take a print advertisement and upload it. You may just want a headline and a hyperlink to your website.
  • As reading onscreen is not as easy as in print, make sure your advertisement is clean and uncluttered.
  • Use the language of your target audience to keep them engaged.

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