The print industry isn’t dead — not yet. Advertising in select, specific mediums can still hook prospective clients looking for your products or services. Creating a print ad isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s difficult to NOT want to put as much about “X” in your ad space. After all, you do want the prospect to know everything there is to know about your product or service, right?

I’ve been a graphic designer since 1997. I’ve done freelance and worked at both a newspaper and a magazine. In school I was taught to “let ads breathe”; white space (absence of any image or text) is a good thing. Marketing is critical to a business’s survival, but, filling up every possible pixel space and square inch with verbiage makes adverts look and feel crowded, stuffed. Overstuffed, like a suitcase that you can’t close because it’s too full and ready to pop!

According to an article written in 2017 by Forbes addressing marketing to Millennials and Gen Zers, the average attention span of a millennial is 12 seconds, while Gen Zers only have 8 seconds. That’s not as much time as you might think. This means prospects have to be able to read your ad quickly (scan it, really) and understand what the main point is.

Time and time again, I see advertisements from companies, REALTORS®, and business owners — no matter the industry they represent — stuffed so full of text it’s impossible to focus on the message and call-to-action (CTA). The thought is, “If we don’t tell them everything and they don’t call or visit our website, they’ll buy from someone else.” This is a handicapping thought process.

The reality: if they can’t focus on your ad or read it, your prospects will buy from someone else.

Take a look at the image below and see which line is the easiest to read.

Visibly Media, can you comfortably read this line

All three lines are the same font and size. If you chose the top line, you’re right! This text is the easiest to read because there’s a measure of space between each letter. The middle line isn’t too bad, honestly, but starting to feel a bit uncomfortable. The last line, though, is very squished together – and I’ve seen worse.

In marketing, sometimes what you leave out can be more important (or detrimental) to your ad. If your goal is to have the reader call you and your ad is stuffed with text, how can they find your phone number? Are you sure you put the right phone number on the advert? (Yes, that’s happened before!)

For that matter, how can they read what it is you’re selling?

Author of “Start With Why and TedX speaker Simon Sinek stated, “Start with the end in mind.” As you think about your target market, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they really want more stuff to read?
  • What do they like to read?
  • How much and how often do they read?
  • Is my audience calm and detail-oriented or always in a hurry and impatient?
  • Does my advertising serve my audience or myself?
  • Is my call-to-action clear?
  • What are my goals for advertising and marketing, and how am I measuring success?

As marketers and business owners, we sometimes get caught up in our own ideas of what people want to read. We think that readers will read everything in the ad because we’re the expert and we wrote it. If we answer the questions above, we can streamline the reader’s experience, give them enough text to get the message across and leave enough to the imagination to trigger a call or email for more details or to place an order. Improving your messaging on your advertisements will help your marketing cycle come full circle.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

One of our core services is professional graphic design. We can create an ad to showcase your business and format it for printing or viewing online. Let’s schedule a time to talk about your design project and how you want it to look.

Author Details
Lisa Raymond is the owner and creative genius of Visibly Media. She has been in graphic and website design for over 20 consecutive years, social media management & marketing since 2007, married 30 years, 4 children, 3 grandbabies, and Queen in her organized realm of chaos!