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


Your newspaper ad has ZERO (zip, nada, no) chance of succeeding IF your prospect doesn't read it. And to read it, s/he first has to notice it.

To get your ad noticed in a sea of newspaper ads can sometimes be a real challenge. But there are a few "tricks" (graphic and placement techniques) you can use to draw the reader's eye directly to your ad ... even when surrounded by a full page of attention-seeking competitive ads.

Here are just a few ...

1. Surround your ad with white space. For example, if you are running a 4 x 6 inch ad, purchase a 6 x 8 inch space and center it in the middle ... leaving an inch or so of nothing but white space around it. On a page full of ads, the reader's eye will be drawn directly to your.

2. Use a distinctive border or frame around your ad. There are any number of unique borders/frames you can try ... with any thickness variation you want. The idea is to have it be noticeably different. Of course, you want to make sure that the border doesn't get so wild that it detracts from your message. 

3. Angle your ad. Where all ads are set straight up and down, have the main section of your ad tilted 10 to 20 degrees. I sometimes do this via a "memo type" note set angled on a base ad. But you can simply angle the entire ad just a little.

4. Large headlines or photos/illustrations can work ... if they are large enough to stand out when compared to the other ads with which they are competing. Also, if you use a photo, you might angle it within the ad.  Often, I'll take a single word out of the headline ... or use a single "action" word that leads directly into the headline ... and enlarge it for attention.

5. Ad size. The larger the ad, the more it will be noticed. However, the extra readership may not pay for the extra cost of the large ad.

6. Unusual shapes/bursts/reverses. Any shape which "looks" different is likely to draw the reader's eye. A reverse (white print on a black background) can do it if there aren't a lot of other reverses on the page. A burst of some sort (a many pointed "star-like" illustration usually with copy set in the center) will work if there aren't many others used on the page.  

7. Stay out of the gutter. The "gutter" is that section of the paper where the innermost columns abut the center fold of each page. Why don't you want your ad in that area? Because studies show it gets noticed less than any other part of the page.

8. Ask for ad placement next to editorial material. Ads that come in contact with editorial stories get noticed more readily than ads surrounded with other ads. And the more "important" the story, the more they get noticed.

9. If you offer something FREE (evaluation, consultation, x-rays, transportation, etc.) ... be sure that word is highlighted and stands out.  Yes, I know some dentists find the word "free" distasteful and prefer NO CHARGE ... but "free" has more pulling power than "no charge." So if YOU can mentally handle it, use it.

10. Take the ad you have created -- or the ad you intend to use -- and overlay it on the various pages of the newspaper where you intend to run it. Then ask yourself, "does this stand out ... does it attract the eye?"  If it looks like all the others (size, layout, type style, etc.), make some changes. Be bold. Be different. Be successful. 

There are many more attention-getting techniques and tactics which I'll touch on in future issues. But the use of one or more of these should help you make your ad stand out. Of course, once you get the reader to notice your ad, it must deliver a message with which the reader can relate. More on that in future issues also.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. I'll either try to answer them directly -- or -- try to work them into a future issue.

Best ...


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