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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

How to Create a Print Ad that Gets Results - Part II

Last week, FEI marketing whiz Marka gave Zoot and Numo some tips on creating effective print ads. This week, Marka teaches them more best practices for print ads. Remember, fire = print.

The FEI tribe had gathered in the conference room. Zoot leapt from his seat, aiming to grab a grogaccino from down the hall before the meeting started.

“Zoot, would you be so kind as to possibly get me some of that same beverage that you’re currently drinking?” Numo asked.

Zoot shook his head in confusion. “What did you just say?”

“Please get me a grogaccino,” Numo clarified.

“You should’ve just said that the first time,” Zoot said. “Making a clear, direct—but polite—command is how you get someone to do something.”

“Zoot, you’ve touched on one of today’s key points,” Marka interjected.

“I thought we were going to talk about creating a print ad that will sell more torches,” Zoot said.

“We are,” Marka replied. “An important element in any print ad is the call to action. An effective call to action—as you mentioned—should be simple and straightforward. Let me tell you more.” [Marka began writing on the whiteboard.]

Tip #4 for creating an excellent print ad – Include a clear, undeniable call to action.

“Our ad’s goal is to get readers to do something,” Marka explained. “The call to action nudges them toward taking an intended action: calling a toll-free number, scanning a QR code, emailing us, visiting our O-site, or something else.”

“Good calls to action usually have a few things in common,” Marka added, then started writing again.
  • Urgency—Give readers a reason to take action now, not in a few weeks.
    * Example: “Call 1-800-FEI-FIRE to take advantage of our ‘Torches for Restaurants’ promotion. This promotion ends on 8/15, so call today!”
  • Simple and Clear Language—Be clear about what’s being offered, why readers should want it, and how they can get it. Do all that in a few simple, compelling words.
    * Example: “Call 1-800-FEI-FIRE and get your free sample of our new, time-saving ZX Torch.” 
  • Benefit-driven Message—Make sure your call to action answers this vital question: What’s in it for the reader?
    * Example: “Scan the QR code to discover how FEI’s oven-lighting solutions can help your restaurant cook its food 20 precent faster.”

[Marka returned to writing on the whiteboard.]

Tip #5 for Creating an Excellent Print Ad – Incorporate QR codes.

“I question the value of QR codes as a marketing tool,” Zoot objected. “Some of our customers are tired of them. They often scan a code only to be disappointed by what they find.”

“QR codes are versatile tools with the power to bridge our print and O-web promotional activities,” Marka asserted. “The problem isn’t with QR codes themselves, but how many businesses use them.

“If our ad’s QR code just sends people to our O-site homepage, that’s a weak attempt at customer engagement. If our ad’s QR code leads to something our customer values—or continues the selling process in a logical, non-disruptive way—then it will drive customer engagement, and better sales.”

“Here are some examples of offers that will get people to scan our QR code,” Marka added as she began scribbling on the whiteboard again.
  • Free pack of matches giveaway
  • Two-for-one torches coupon
  • Entry in a contest – “Free Matches for a Year!”
  • Special report on the fire industry
  • Exclusive content: videos, whitepaper, free download of a “Torch Optimizer” app, etc.

“If our ad’s goal was to strengthen customer relationships by giving them free, helpful content, this would be a good approach,” Marka noted. “But remember, our ad’s goal is to drive torch sales. Our QR code must continue the selling process started by the ad. How? We use the QR code to drive traffic to a landing page, one that is customized for the ad’s readers, of course.

“A few logistical considerations to keep in mind when using QR codes are…” Marka said as she returned to the whiteboard one more time.
  • Best practices dictate that your code should be at least 1x1˝ and larger if people will view the ad from at least a few feet away.
  • Be sure to leave sufficient white space around the code.
  • If the QR code links to your O-site, the site must be mobile-optimized.

“That last one almost goes without saying, because anyone scanning a QR code is by definition using a mobile device. Few things yank interested prospects off the hook like sending them to an O-site that’s visually confusing, awkward to navigate, or even impossible to view because it isn’t optimized for mobile devices,” Marka explained.

“Good tips, Marka,” Numo said. “But Zoot, you never got our grogaccinos.”

Zoot sighed. “Ah, I’m so comfortable in my upholstered chair. Why don’t you get them? I’ll give you five drachmas.”

“Now that’s a compelling call to action,” Marka chuckled.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Two more tips for creating print ads that get results: include a clear, undeniable call to action that has urgency, uses simple and clear language, and offers a benefit-driven message; and incorporate QR codes that link to something customers value.

FIRE! in Action: L’Oreal Gets Creative with QR Codes and Print Marketing
During New York Fashion Week, the cosmetics company put QR codes in taxis that linked to a series of helpful videos. The codes led to a 7 precent overall purchase conversion rate, and downloads of the company’d app increased by more than 80 percent during the campaign.

Next week: Marka gives the tribe some tips for measuring the effectiveness of print ads.

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