Know your primary objective.
Are you featuring a new product or service? Promoting brand awareness? Driving traffic to your website? Looking for a response to an offer? This will dictate all factors of target audience, message, and timing.
Get your message across.
You have about 5 seconds to get the attention of your reader. Headlines and captions are often all a casual reader will see — your headline and image should draw them into reading further.
Understand your medium and competitors.
Review the content of the magazine in which you are advertising, check competitors websites and brochures. Avoid generic corporate adverts - focus your advertisement on the right product with the right message for this particular reader. If possible, talk to a prospective buyer.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience.
Appeal to their tastes, needs and perspective. Your prospects want to know what's in it for them. Outline the overall benefit of your product or service before describing its features.
Draft your text.
Talk to the sales team - they know the questions they are asked, and the features customers ask about. Be clear and use an appropriate tone and language. Keep jargon to a minimum. Where appropriate, use bulleted lists, indents and call-out boxes.
Pick one image or focal point.
Cluttered design weakens your ad. Your primary image should depict a benefit from the customer's perspective. Limit your use of fonts, icons and gratuitous stock photographs. Colour ads are usually more memorable.
Your call to action should be crystal clear.
Prospects should know precisely how to obtain the product or service. Give contact information, a website address or a link. Make sure your logo is displayed in high quality and your company name is clear.
Proof and proof again.
There is nothing more embarrassing than a typo. And nothing loses a sale faster than a wrong phone number or e-mail address!
Rally the support of your sales team.
Make sure they know what you're advertising, and have a method to track which advertisements are working for you!
If your advert is online, measure performance.
Use website performance analytics to see which banner adverts drove visitors to your website. Google ads are a fast and inexpensive way to assess what customers click on. Track which ads work with which audiences in which media. And be patient. An ad campaign for large, expensive items can take months to see a return.