How to Design an Ad for Your Equine Business
By Elisa Crees, Canadian Horse Journal Design Manager
Throughout my graphic design career I’ve reviewed thousands of ads from clients ranging from small businesses to international media agencies, and from impressive, elegant creations to hodgepodge design with blurry images.
Regardless of the size of your horse business or advertising space booked, the same basic advertising criteria have proved essential to a successful campaign. As the saying goes, a bad product is more likely to be bought with a good advertisement; but a good product won’t be bought with a bad advertisement.
Think of advertising as your opportunity to “meet and greet” your target audience. Your ad should make a favourable first impression, or reinforce the positive image you have worked hard to develop, or both. Your ad’s job is to provide key information about your product or service, improve brand awareness, and leave a favourable impression with the consumer. Your ad’s job is not to do the entire sales process from start to finish.
Use a great headline. Don’t just reiterate what the picture shows, say what the picture doesn’t show. Your business name is not a headline. What your business DOES is a headline.
The best headlines offer solutions to problems (Flies won’t bite when you use XXX on your horse”) or grab attention (“Warning!”, “Don’t Miss Out!”).
Over the years I have seen a good number of advertisements that would benefit from the “less is more” school of thought. Advertising is more likely to catch the attention of the reader and leave them wanting more if the ad is as uncluttered and as focused as possible. While not quite an understatement, your ad should be a simple statement which expresses the larger concept.
Keep it simple – focus on your best asset, one thing that you do better than others.
Catch their interest – your ad should make the reader want more information, not tell the whole story. Entice them to reach out to you, visit your website, give you a call, drop by...
It’s an advertising research fact that readers spend 65% of their time concentrating on images—photos and illustrations, while the remaining 35% is spent browsing your text. Start by using the best photo/image possible. When submitting a photo to be used in your ad, send the original image, not the small web version, and I guarantee you’ll be much happier with the printed result. If you are photographing your own product use good lighting, and a background that doesn’t detract. Take a few moments to tidy up a horse before having it model your product.
Your ad should include the basics of headline, image, slogan, key features, contact information, and direct readers to your website for all the details. Use your print ad in tandem with your digital marketing. Promote the video of your product in action on your website. Mention your weekly Facebook page specials, or the great information and photos on your website.
Don’t let your ad become stagnant. Some advertisers provide new information each issue, but others are happy to leave their ad looking the same year after year. Even if your product has remained the same, it is always a good idea to occasionally freshen up your ad – new photo, new slogan, or even just a fresh design of the same image and information.
Main Article Photo: Just Chaos/Flickr