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.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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  • Amanda Stephens

    Excellent information!