A big part of our job at the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is to promote businesses in the area, especially those that seek to reach visitors from outside of Springfield. Ads are important in our marketing efforts. Ads from our local partners showcase many of our unique attractions and area entertainment, shopping and dining options. Read on to get some ideas on how to catch the attention of potential customers by using effective print and web ads.

It’s Not an Ad If No One Sees It

Think about all of the times you’ve scrolled through a website or flipped through a magazine and hardly even noticed all of the advertisements. Ads have become so ingrained in all forms of media that we hardly even see them anymore. But we do see some. The ones we notice are those that manage to pass beyond our eyes and into that subconscious part of our brain that says “Oooh, that looks interesting!” The trick is to figure out what will trigger that interest. It could be an eye-catching photo of food, people enjoying a fun activity or an engaging headline. Not everyone will have the same reaction. A lot of it will depend on personal interests and emotions. Having a good ad means you are really only targeting the people who would have an interest in your product. Everyone else will scan past it.

Keep It Simple

The common mistake is to try to show or tell the would-be customer everything there is to know about a business in one ad. An effective ad is the first part of what is known as the marketing funnel, awareness. Awareness leads to interest, which generates desire and hopefully leads to action. If your ad achieves awareness, it is successful. Repeated views will often bring your target audience down the funnel.

Think in layers. Start with a great image. Again, don’t try to show every product you sell, just something that best visualizes what it is that makes your business unique. Pair that up with a catchy (but simple) title. 

In a larger ad you can include more information. Add a few interesting smaller photos, a short description of your business or products and possibly a special offer. 

Finally, be sure to have a call to action. For a web ad, this could be the words “click for details.” On print ads, you can include an address, phone number and website. QR codes are also an effective way to convert interest into action. Just be sure to include a message near the QR code telling the reader what will happen if they point their phone’s camera at the code. Something like “scan this QR with your smartphone to visit our website” is good. No one is likely to just click on a random QR code.

Size Matters

The bigger the ad, the more likely it is to be seen. But bigger is also more expensive. Those with smaller budgets can still run effective ads. They just need to be thought of like billboards. When you’re cruising along at 70 mph down the interstate, you don’t have time to read a wordy sign. A nice photo of a tasty looking burger, the name of the restaurant and “next exit” could do the trick. A good web ad isn’t much different. Just substitute “click here” for “next exit.” 

Below are examples of website banner ads. 

Sample Ads

The first ad is a good example of trying to include too much information. The second ad is simple, eye-catching and much more likely to get clicked on. Remember, your goal is to get the ad noticed. The second ad has a catchy and engaging call to action. That makes it more likely to get clicked. As long as the site you link it to has all the information a potential customer needs, it doesn’t have to be in the ad.

So put a little more thought into creating ads with a clean look, basic messaging and a catchy image or message and get the most bang for your advertising buck.