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

MORE TIPS FOR IMPROVING
YOUR NEWSPAPER AD RESPONSE

These tips fall into the rule-of-thumb category ... meaning they are true in most cases.

1.  Because the headline is about 70% responsible for the success or failure of an ad, you should spend much -- if not most -- of your ad creation time developing headlines..  And then testing those headlines you think will work best.

2.  The most effective headlines usually deliver a benefit promise to the reader ... either expressed or implied.  What's a benefit promise? YOU'LL LOOK YOUNGER & MORE BEAUTIFUL is a good example of a benefit promise.

3.  Because space is limited, use telegraphic language to get secondary points across.  Be concise, precise, specific and write for immediate prospect understanding.  In fact, you might want to use a bulleted laundry list:

Evening hours
All work guaranteed
State-of-the-art sterilization equipment
Friendly staff
Free coffee
Modem hook-up in waiting room

4.  Busy layouts often work better than clean, well balanced layouts.  The reason?  Probably because they stand out.

5.  Usually, one large photo draws more attention than multiple smaller photos.  If you're using more than one photo or illustration, it's usually best to make one larger than the others (or do a collage so that they make up one large photo).

6.  Always use captions under photos or illustrations.  Reason?  They have a very high readership rate.  And be sure those captions are dealing with a user benefit.  They're like extra headlines.

7.  A conspicuously displayed offer will almost always outpull a hidden offer.  If you're offering a free consultation, don't hide it in 8-point type in the lower left-hand corner of the ad.  Put that puppy out there so people can see it, admire it, and respond to it.

8.  Fire your biggest gun first.  Don't create an ad the way you would a novel.  Don't build up to the climax.  Don't plan out a complex plot.  Tell the reader quickly and convincingly what the plot is.  This ties in directly with number 7 above.

9.  Two-color ads will usually outpull one-color ads ... but often not by enough to justify the cost.  However ... they're worth testing.

10.  When seeking a phone response, it sometimes pays to include a coupon looking device in your ad.  Reason?  A dash ----------- bordered coupon with a phone number (or address inside of it) is a visual prompt to respond.  It's a reminder that a response is expected.

11.  Use benefit subheads.  Newspaper readers usually spend precious few seconds scanning an ad to see if it's of interest.  Subheads give you an opportunity to capture the interest and draw the reader into the ad.

12.  Use attention-getting devices to draw the reader to key points.  Those devices can include bolding, large type, boxed off copy, reverse type, handwriting, white space, pointing devices, underlining, etc.

That's it for this issue. 

Best ...

Galen

If you have any questions or comments regarding this issue, don't hesitate to e-mail me.

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