How to write an advert - checklist

Typing on a computer to create an advert

The right words in your advertising can help you attract new customers, build a strong brand identity and raise your profile. Use this checklist to help you write an effective advert, from making your message clear to grabbing attention and prompting a response.

  • Clarify the objective of your advert. For example, this could be to build awareness of your business, or to prompt an action such as an enquiry or sale.
  • Think about your target audience - which problems can you solve for them? How are they likely to want to get in touch?
  • Look at competing advertisements for businesses similar to yours. Think about what works well, and consider how you can make your advertisement stand out from the crowd.
  • Include one or two key benefits or USPs which set you apart from your rivals. These could include product features, service levels or price.
  • Decide whether to write the advertisement yourself, or whether to use a copywriter or advertising agency.
  • Write a short, attention-grabbing headline, for example, highlighting the key benefit of your product or service or asking an interesting question that makes readers want to find out more.
  • Research the best keywords and phrases so that your online advertising attracts the right customers who are interested in the sort of product or service you offer.
  • Use high-quality images to attract attention and reinforce your message.
  • Build on the headline with the main body copy. Make sure your copy backs up your claims with facts, reflects your brand identity and reinforces your USPs.
  • Address your customers directly using 'you'.
  • Use simple, clear and concise language, with paragraphs broken into easily readable points. Avoid jargon, clichés, empty claims and weak jokes.
  • Include a call to action to prompt a response; give full contact details including your website URL, social media handles, postal address and phone number.
  • Check that your advertisement grabs attention, maintains interest, stimulates desire and prompts action: AIDA.
  • Test your advert by showing it to existing customers and asking for feedback. Test different approaches online to find the wording that gets the highest response.

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