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Marketing Tips for Dentists
Published by Galen Stilson
Direct Response Copywriter/Consultant
Dental Marketing a specialty

More Tips For Creating More
Effective Newspaper Ads

TIP: Some words have more drawing power that others. Here are just a few "HOT" words you might add to your headline to boost response: Free ... New ... Finally ... How to ... Instantly ... The truth about ... Last chance ... Now ... Introducing ... Quick ... Never before ... Like magic ... Startling ... Compare ... Easy ... Hurry ... Secrets of ... Rare ... Dramatic ... Guaranteed.

TIP: If you have two proven headlines for the same ad, try rotating them in every other issue of the newspaper in which you are running them. It could keep your ad pulling more and lasting longer than if you just stuck with one headline until it "tires." But note I said "try" it. See if it works before committing to it.

TIP: If you're using a large ad, you might want to test smaller ads. Here are some statistics compiled from a variety of research data suggesting that this test is worthwhile. These tests were run in magazines. But the principle is the same. 

Everything being as equal as possible (same offer, location, etc.) ... A half-page ad will usually pull about 70% the response of a full-page ad ... and a quarter-page ad will pull about 50% the response of a full-page ad. Based on those results, a smaller ad would likely be more cost-effective (lower cost per response). However, the larger ad will pull more total response.

TIP: Does you ad "look" easy to read? The easier it looks to read, the more likely it is to get read. Compare it to other ads for ease of readability.

TIP: If you use a nice, neat, perfectly symmetrical ad layout, test one that's busier, less neat and not so proportionally laid out. In one test, the busy layout outpulled the neat layout by nearly 15%. (This tip does not conflict with "ease of readability.")

TIP: Be sure to include some attention-grabbing, eye-attracting focal point in your ad. If the reader is not drawn to your ad, regardless of how persuasive your copy and offer are, you're not going to get a response ... no matter what. A large headline or photo/illustration can make a good focal point (if your headline is too long to enlarge all of it for the ad size, then just enlarge the first couple of words -- or a couple of the key words). Other techniques include the judicious use of a second color ... or screening ... or typestyle ... or boxes ... or starbursts ... or call-outs ... or unique photos ... or eye-directional devices ... etc.

TIP: Copy is king, but don't try to squeeze too much into too little  space. If you have to drop down to a 6 or 7 point typesize to fit copy into your available ad space, then you either need to cut copy or increase ad size. 8 or 9 point type is an absolute minimum ... and the older the prospect to whom you're directing your ad, the bigger the typesize should be.

TIP: Here are "Seven Principles of Stopping Power" as put forth by Young & Rubicam in their book "The Young & Rubicam Traveling Creative Workshop."

Your ad should ... 

1--Attract the defined audience, plus an audience beyond. 
2--Demand participation. 
3--Force an emotional response by touching on a basic human want or need. 
4--Create a desire to know more.
5--Surprise the reader. 
6--Expose expected information in an unexpected way. 
7--Break with the personality and rules of the service category.

TIP: Before placing your ad, paste it into the publication in which it will be run. See how it looks. Does it stand out ... positively ... or negatively ... or not at all? Would a different border draw more attention? Does it need a bigger focal point to attract attention? What can you do to draw more attention to it quickly? 

TIP: Don't stop or change an ad just because you're tired of it. If it's making money, keep running it. In most cases, you'll get tired of an ad before it tires. The only time you should drop an ad is when response and profits dictate. Of course, you should be testing new ads regularly ... and if they prove to be more profitable then a switch should be made.

TIP: What should you test in your ads? Test your headlines. Test your offer. Test your copy theme. Test your body copy. Test ad size. Test your photos/illustrations. Test seasonality. Test different sections within a paper. Test different days. (In a future issue, I'll explain how to conduct your tests so that they are statistically valid.)

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Copyright 2006 by Galen Stilson. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.