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Drawing Up An Advert (part 1). by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

When drawing up an advert from scratch, there are all sorts of factors to consider, hence a "3 part" look at the subject, starting with Part 1!

LOOK AT YOURSELF

The first thing to do is to take a good look at the products and service you have to offer. Taking a good look means talking to the company that provides your stocks and supplies. Find out about the quality of your products, the workmanship that went into making them, their sales success with the products.

LOOK AT YOUR COMPETITION

Then look at what competitor printers have to offer. Look at the differences, both good and bad. Find out how other printers go about marketing their service too. Look at the adverts that are placed in papers. If it's within your budget, you and anyone else that wishes to lend a hand could place an order, for say personal stationery, at competitor printers and see what comes out at the other end. What sales methods were used? How are the goods packaged, priced and what was the turn-around? Did you have to pick goods up yourself or were they delivered? How were you asked to pay? What in-stock choice was there? And so on.

You have probably come to know your target audience by now. So this is one way of getting to know your competitors! You have probably a good idea of what you want to achieve by your advertisement.

Stick to specific objectives. Is this a short term ad or does it form part of a long term plan? Does the advert concern say promotional goods, or stationery, a promotion or your business image? What do you want the reader to remember most? What do you want to achieve for your business with this advert? Maybe you want to get rid of surplus stock by way of a promotion. Maybe you want to draw more customers into your store. Maybe you want to boost your business image and reaffirm your place in the community. Maybe you want to announce a new product range or service idea. Maybe you want to package your products and service in a new light.

THE FRAMEWORK

Once you know what you want to get across, write it all down. Your piece of paper should include your target audience and your specific objectives. Is it to establish, maintain or change potential customer's attitude about your business, or are you wanting to change the image of your products or service? What is going to be the USP (unique selling proposition -see "Advertising Philosophies")? What benefits are you offering the customer? Can you prove it? What other peripheral but necessary information are you going to include?

THE CONCEPT

While looking at the above piece of paper with all the basic information on it, think about a concept for putting this information across. It's a unifying idea through which your message can be put across. Maybe it could be based on your particular service and what it offers. So the unifying idea could be the luxury of door-to-door. It could be based on the benefits of having and using a product that you offer. For instance you could be offering printed "mouse pads" and aiming at computer buffs who communicate with computer buffs!! It can focus on printing needs and your proximity (i.e. the need that businesses have for printed matter and your ability to deliver). It can be based on an association between the product and a desirable state of being (e.g. a woman of substance has her own personal printed stationery, visiting cards etc). Whatever it is, you need a concept to work around.

THE APPROACH

Think about how you want the reader to react to your advert and this will help you to decide upon the type of approach. Do you want to make them jump to their feet and call you? Do you want to make them giggle by using humour to aid memory retention about your business? Do you want to inform them about something new that they're bound to be interested in? Do you want to jog their curiosity in a persuasive kind of way?

So, decide upon either an "entertaining" approach, or an "'informative" approach, or a "persuasive" approach, or a mixture. This sets the tone and style of the advert.

An informative approach more likely than not requires a factual tone, whereby you simply state the facts neat and simple. This may be the best approach to use for messages of obvious consumer benefit such as a free offer or price slashing promotion.

A persuasive approach could have an emotional tone, whereby the advert pulls at the reader's heartstrings. Maybe you are donating part of your profits to, say a children's charity, for the next two months, this might very well persuade custom to your door from an emotional angle rather than from pure need for printed goods.

An entertaining approach can use a humorous tone. It's more often used to create interest in a business, rather than to offer specific information.

THE GIMMICK

You can also include a gimmick in your ad. A gimmick is used to draw attention rather than to impart information, which is left to the body-copy. A gimmick can be, printing part' of the text in a foreign language for instance, or part of it could take the form of a poem, or maybe part of it could be doodled in a child's writing. It helps to create interest to read on further.

It must be something that is immediately interesting to the reader, that is easy to read and memorable.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "'Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Drawing Up An Advert (part 2). by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

More musings about drawing up an advert in Part 2 (of 3 parts).

Before you begin to write a rough draft, place a piece of paper next to you that describes in one sentence what it is that you want to say in this advert. Keep glancing at it to make sure that your design thoughts stay on the right track.

Four rules of thumb: - describe the benefits of the product -give complete specific information - keep language simple - say to the reader, "BUY NOW!"

The benefits are what the buyer gets from using the product, rather than describing the product itself. For instance, it is better to say that "the soft leather key fobs you buy from us will give your company a prestigious image over that of your competitor", rather than "we sell soft leather key fobs".

What is meant by complete specific information is that nothing should be left out if you are informing someone about a product in the hope that they pick up the phone and place an order. The full facts must be given. Anything left out decreases the reader's interest and drive to contact you. So if you simply want to rid yourself of surplus stationery stock for instance, give full details of package offered, size, paper colours, print colours, typeface choices, layout styles, price (+ TAX, + postage), turnaround and everything they need to know to make that order run smoothly for all concerned. It might be easier to suggest a choice of "set" packages in this instance, to avoid the confusion of choice that printers and their customers come up against! Just as long as it's all in there, is the point to be made here.

Using simple language means just that. There is no need to embellish, or use affected language or to exaggerate claims and so on. Be descriptive, yes, but write the way you talk. This is more persuasive than anything too flowery. Avoid pretentious garb too!

Telling whoever to "Buy Now!", "Call in now!", "Call us now!" etc, has remarkable results. Response is enhanced. People like to do as they are told (according to psychologists). I prefer to think that we like to be invited to act!

**** So, back to the drawing board, you have a good idea about what you want to say.
Brainstorm it all out onto a sheet of paper or onto your computer and take a good look at what you've got. There is no particular order that things have to take. You could come up with the headline last for instance. After you have come up with a first draft of what you want to say, take a look at it. Here are more helpful considerations. Most flyer adverts have a headline, a slogan or sub-heading, maybe an illustration, the body copy, and your business details.

Make sure that: - the headline, illustration and layout command attention - the subheading and opening copy keep the reader's interest - the first part of the main copy creates the desire -the second half of the main copy creates a conviction in the reader to carry on reading - the business name, address and telephone number and action words such as "Call Now!" do instigate action.

HEADLINES
Many people never bother to read the body copy of an advert, even if the headline grabs the attention. Therefore make sure that you have the most appropriate headline possible to communicate your message. Of course the best headline is one that is going to both grab attention and entice the reader to read on.

A good headline talks directly to its target audience. If you are aiming at housewives with a new range of 'stationery for men" for instance and Father's Day is coming up, the headline could simply be "Put Your Husband's Name in Print this Father's Day?" (I'm sure you could think of better but time is short around here!) If it can at least summarise the selling message and identify your business you have succeeded some way. If it offers a benefit appropriate to your target audience too, then all the better.

ILLUSTRATIONS
Illustrations work a treat. It should be immediately recognisable. If you can use an illustration to identify your business, product or service, as appropriate, this takes that responsibility off the text headline title.

If stuck for a headline, here's more food for thought. A headline can make a claim, give a command, identify a product, offer a challenge, present the news, offer advice, and inspire curiosity.

SLOGANS
You might want to use a slogan somewhere in the advert. This is a motto or catch phrase, often adopted by businesses to advertise themselves or used - as an immediately recognisable "symbol" - to advertise brand goods. TV adverts for drinks, detergents, cars etc, are renowned for using short, punchy slogans. In some, the product is not even mentioned (in all but the small print). The slogan does all the work. The general public have had it pushed in front of them over so many years they immediately know what the ad is advertising. If you can work out a short and simple (is best) slogan then this could be good for business, also in terms of a professional image. For the hot foil printer ideas such as the unique nature of the business, or the quality of the finished product could be good angles to go for. Otherwise there are the door-to-door or personal service type angles. Or maybe you're a "short-order guru!" Whatever tickles your fancy, but nothing smutty. You don't want to embarrass or offend any potential customer.

You'll probably find a few weaknesses in the copy of your first draft so revise and revise until you hone it down to perfection. For instance, look at every word used and ask yourself:

- is this the best word that 1 could use here? - do 1 really need to say this, or could I delete it and keep it for a face to face situation? - have I included everything that 1 want to say and does it reflect the first sentence that 1 wrote down in front on me? (the note to remind me of what I want this advert to say).

Maybe you can think of more questions to ask yourself. It could take quite a while, but better to spend a few days in thought and come up with a "good 'un". Finally, check all punctuation and spelling, word for word. It is so easy to miss something obvious if every word is not spelled out letter for letter.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Drawing Up An Advert (part 3). by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

More on layout, headlines, illustrations, typeface considerations, white space, colour and everything "design". Layout is all to do with how the contents of the advert will be arranged. As with your choice of words and illustration, the layout too must aim to grab and hold attention. It must also help to point the way through the advert, i.e. to steer the reader's eye down through the whole advert. The layout should also reflect the contents of the advert and what it is saying to the reader. It is the same principle as with designing any piece of piece of printed matter, only with advertising concepts coming in to play as well.

Every advert layout needs a form of headline, an illustration (optional), body copy, a chosen typeface(s), white space, a border and some eye-catching reference to your business in the form of name, address, logo, maybe slogan and telephone number. Colour also comes into it!

It should be laid out so as to look "balanced", e.g., not top heavy or bottom heavy. The main theme should dominate, be it in the form of an illustration or headline, although not so much as to become unbalanced e.g. huge pic and tiny body copy.

Proportions of typefaces for headlines and body copy and between text and illustration, should be balanced. As the same time, each element of the content should be sized in proportion to its importance.

ILLUSTRATIONS
People like to "see" what you're talking about too. And the bigger the better. An illustration can have a strong visual impact. Textbooks conclude that adverts where illustrations take up 50% + grab more attention than those with smaller pics. 1 know I prefer to see photos on adverts and also to use recipe books that include photos of the finished dishes (just thought I'd plonk that one in!), so perhaps they're right!

Anyway, if you can illustrate your ad with an appropriate photograph, drawing, cartoon or whatever, then there is more chance of drawing consumer interest and enjoyment in the browsing of it. Choose one that is directly related to the whole point of the advert, in particular the headline (which should tie all things together anyway). It could even be a picture of a happy customer if that is the point of the advert!

Although artwork is more easily utilised in terms of creating a given mood for an advert, people do tend to prefer photographic "evidence":) People can identify with the "real" much more easily than with a drawing. However, a photograph may not always be appropriate for your particular needs, which can be a blessing in terms of cost.

If you want to take your own product shot photograph, choose whether to show the product alone, in a setting or in use. If you opt for taking a pic of a product "in use" make sure it is "in use" (being read eagerly for instance) and that people are not just standing around looking pretty. If taking a pic of something in a "setting", here are some examples: keys with keyfob attached, on a kitchen table by a wallet, coffee steaming alongside; coaster on a businessman's desk along with personal printed calendar, diary and such like; lady sat at writing desk using pen and ink and writing a personal letter to an old friend, using personal hot foil printed stationery. Shooting the product alone is normally reserved for when you want to get across a product range, together with prices, code nos., colours and so on. Any new products can be stressed and in fact this is a good way of introducing people to anything new in your range. Incidentally, if you have a well established and profitable in-stock line for printing it's a good idea to have a poster reproduced and put up on the wall where you meet with your customers, just so they have immediate access to what you have to offer.

NB: if using a photo, make sure to get any necessary permission from all relevant parties, before using it.

If you wish to use an illustration toward recognition of your business rather than to a particular product at the time, it is a good idea if you can decide upon an illustration style at the outset. A consistent illustration style can become another powerful advertising tool if used over a period of time. Like a logo or popular slogan, an immediately recognisable illustration means instant recognition of your business.

If using photographs, it's a good idea to have a caption. A caption is read much more of ten than body copy, so make sure it says a lot!

TYPEFACE
The same design rules apply here as with any print job. Choose appropriate type styles according to the image you want to get across. Choose either one typeface or complementary typefaces (in both size and design) and the number to a minimum - unless you have the knack of using various styles to great effect. Most importantly, make sure that it is easy to read. As said in the article "Design's Influence on the Speed of Reading", body copy set in all caps or in all italics is tiring to read. More on this ... sans serif typefaces in small sizes are more difficult to read than serif faces of the same, so sans serif faces are more suited to headlines rather than the smaller body copy text.

If you have a list to include, use numerals rather than stars or bullets or dashes, because numerals are easier to read, and help to lead the reader down the page.

As for punctuation, avoid too many exclamation marks or tricky punctuation that might mislead or puzzle the reader. Keep it simple.

WHITE SPACE
An advert that looks cluttered does not make for easy reading; therefore it is likely to be ignored. The need for plenty of space is an important argument for keeping things as simple as possible, for including only the most essential aspects of what you want to communicate - the less, the more. White space gives the advert an air of quality and strength in its simplicity.

If you have a lot to say (although you are still keeping it to the absolute minimum!), it is easier to read if the body copy is split into short paragraphs, preferably indented as this increases the white space within the body copy.

Introduce white space between lines if possible, rather than having any copy typeset tightly; unless you have too many elements of copy that need to be introduced. Then use the white space between the different elements to further separate and distinguish them.

COLOUR
Research has shown that by touching up a black and white advert with only one colour, greatly increases readership. If this is going to add too much to the cost though, maybe using an eye-catching paper is a good alternative.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Making an Advert Easy To Read. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

Many factors affect how quickly a reader can absorb the content of an advert, from the size and style of typeface used, to the layout and colour choices of print and the selection of paper, card or board. How important it is for a print to be read with ease, depends on the job. But at the end of the day, it would be nice to know that, whatever the job is, it is communicating its purpose:)

Let's start with typefaces. Choosing the size and font styles that go together well can be left to taste, but it is better to follow certain guidelines. The Association book offers lots of help in this area.

Whether it's a leaflet or "flyer", invitation, letterhead or business card, it is best to use only a few faces for the text. Too many different styles make the print look clumsy. Some of the best designs have only one or two f aces. For every printed message, there's a suitable type style for it. Here are some examples of what different type styles can reflect:

bulletOld style Roman - dignity, classic, antique
bulletFormal script - invitations, handwriting, announcements, personality
bulletModern Roman craftsmanship, mechanical perfection
bulletSans Serif simplicity, the contemporary

Your customer may have already decided upon the content and may have an idea as to the kind of paper to be used too. Typeface style is often left to the printer. Collaborate with your customer (unless your customer would prefer you to do all the decision-making!) to choose the most suitable design to put across the message to be printed.

NB: Check that your customer knows his or her potential audience. If the job is to be read by senior citizens or young children, the text could do to be larger than if it were for what you might term a "general" audience.

We'll take an advertising leaflet or "flyer" as the example from now on. An advert's headline typeface is normally, larger, bolder and more decorative than the body of the copy. This type is often called display type. There are many more display typefaces than there are typefaces for body copy so it's a good idea to get the customer's ideas on this. You could suggest the customer opt for a typeface and paper that is most appropriate for the message intended and / or the business being advertised, and that will encourage reading. Display types are normally 14 point or larger. However short the title, choose a typeface that doesn't leave the reader quizzing on a letter of any word. Legibility is important!

The advert's body copy must be easy to read too, so choose a type to suit. Type set in all capitals over a large area is harder to read than type set in lowercase. Check it out for yourself. Also, readers tend to prefer roman to italic type when there's a lot of it. Note that roman typefaces (as oppose to italic styles) are less tiring to the eye.

Use italic type for emphasising certain areas of the text, (or for reflecting "speed") as you see fit. Other means of emphasising important parts of the message are

bulletBoldface
bulletUnderscore
bulletSize Repetition
bulletDifferent style
bulletSimple borders - around what is being emphasised
bulletCapitals
bulletColour - use a different colour
bulletIsolation - have one word set way apart from the rest of the text
bulletExtra space - around the most important part of the message
bulletExtra letter space - use wide spacing between the letters of the important word.

Of course emphasising too many different parts of a message and using too many different ways of emphasis simply negates the whole process. To draw and keep the reader's attention, keep it simple.

As for the size of the body copy in relation to the headline, this is much a matter of eye judgement. And because the actual size of a piece of type can differ from another typeface of the same point size, there can be no set guidelines here. Make sure it is of an easy size to read and "balanced" with the size of the headline - not too small, not too large.

How the body of the advert's text is actually laid out also affects how much of it is read. White space around the copy can only be good. In fact, the more space the better. The leaflet will look cleaner and its content more accessible to the eye. Very long or very short lines of text are difficult to read. If you need to use very small letters, choose a typeface with a large x-height. X-height is the height of the body of the lowercase letters. Otherwise 1 have seen all capitals used at 6point size with success, for instance to add a bottom line of information to a business card.

Another little tip found over here along the way ... type printed in reverse, with the lettering in white on a black background say, tends to slow down reading. This may be fine for a business card - indeed gold on a gloss black card is one very popular option - but it's not a good choice for a flyer or leaflet where ease of reading is of the utmost importance. Again, taking the glossy business card as an example, the high gloss may interfere with readability. However, this is more than cancelled out when the quality look of the card is taken into consideration and having to look twice at that name and number can only be a good thing!

Where paragraphs are involved:

bulletDon't indent the first line of the first paragraph following a headline. It is fine to indent the remaining paragraphs however.
bulletVary the length of paragraphs. This sustains the reader's interest.
bulletKeep in mind that if you need to print onto illustrated or other coloured areas, this can reduce legibility. Keep the most important message clear of these.
bulletAvoid hyphenating any word.

Finally, there are only ideas and no cut and dried rules for design. Design is all about trying out new ideas. If you have some spare time, why not try out a few. But whatever the job, make sure that it is readable!

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Advertising Successfully. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

There are many theories on what is good and bad advertising. One thing's for sure, you're not gonna get those sales if people don't know about you. So where do you start? Whether you're at the beginning of your business road, or established and about to embark on a campaign to advertise a new product, or set to expanding into a completely new area of business... whatever it is, there are many ways of putting your message across.

After your "business image" has been established, the two most important considerations are "need" and the "target audience". Before you even begin to invest hard-earned cash into anything you must have some idea of the people and businesses you wish to target and then establish that there is definitely a need for the goods or service about to be offered. If you have been in business for a while, you are most likely fully aware of what and who are around you.

You'll probably know your competition and what they are offering. You'll probably know what goods or services are lacking and where you can "hook your anchor" so to speak. You must first decide whether such new avenues are worth chasing, both in monetary and time-and energy terms, at the end of the day. Every branch of a business must pay its own way and not detract from the profit or smooth working of any other part in the long run.

Anyway, back to the theme of advertising successfully ... once a need and a target audience have been sought out and proven, then you will no doubt have a few handles to hold on to with regard to how you are about to approach this need from the advertising angle. Take a good look at the people you want to do business with. You may need to split your advertising strategy in order to target split audiences accurately, for instance, if you need to "speak to" both the general public and local businesses.

Previous articles have touched upon the subject of design. Design is a powerful tool when it comes to advertising and needs to be used to the fullest. Here's where your personal business image can be linked up with the ideas you have for your chosen target audience. What does your target audience want to see in order to be persuaded into contacting you?

Taking flyers for an example, if you market your business as an up beat, go-getting, contemporary set up, you can use up-beat, contemporary typefaces (sans serif, italic to reflect " speed" for an appropriate word as necessary etc). If approaching a well-established company stick to your image, logo and so on but lay the flyer out in a formal manner. If targeting working people, again keep repeating your letterhead logo style, but it can be laid out informally, with maybe clip-art, angled text, colour, "razz and pzazz", to appeal to that up-beat husband, working mum and young exec!

The content takes some thinking through too. Too much is always TOO MUCH when talking about advertising. "The less, the more" is the way to go. And always keep a treat or two of additional persuasive information against your chest, for use when you have reeled one or two potential customers onto your premises! Again, start with your target audience. What do they want to know in order to be persuaded into making that call, or popping by your printshop?

There are many theories banded about, about whether it is a wise move to include prices in an advert. Once you've mentioned a price - the theory goes - you have let the cat out of the bag and people are only going to be ringing around comparing prices with your competitors. Price becomes the be all and end all, never mind your superior turn-around or your door-to-door service, friendly smile or whatever. I'd say, on ly use price as a persuader, if you are absolutely sure that you are the cheapest in town for this particular promotion. It's a good way of pulling new custom although you can't expect a majority to come back for repeat orders ... something to bare in mind, although it might just work fine and dandy for you.

Proximity is always a good persuader. People don't like the idea of travelling too far to get what they want. I know I would rather pay a few bucks more and save a trip out (time and petrol costs) for my printing needs. This is the way small communities are kept ALIVE (now maybe that's a good advertising angle! Or maybe not, maybe a little too desperate). It just takes thought and a lot of it, to work out how to approach your chosen audience.

Once you have your "communication" ready, the next consideration is ... how are you going to get this message to your chosen audience. With large companies it's best to find out the name of the person in charge of printing needs for that company. A simple phone call can establish that ... even better if you can get to speak to the person in charge and ask whether it is OK to send your flyer. He or she might request further details to be sent too, such as a price list of your products and details of the service that you offer. This can be sent along with a short covering letter, preferably on the same day as the telephone call. The call can be followed up a week later. With this second call you can make sure that the details arrived safely, ask whether there is anything else that they need to know and - if at all possible - further establish the printing needs of that company. People can be very responsive if treated in the courteous manner that they deserve.

For the general public, there are many places to plonk that ad. A reduced version can be put in the local paper. Shops, post offices, schools and colleges for instance, have pinboards for display purposes. Or you could find out about having your flyer included with the paperboy's run. Doing all of these things together can only be of benefit, because in advertising REPETITION is a powerful tool that must be used.

With every communication, whether an order is placed or not, get their name and address and add it to your mailing list. Interest has been shown so it can only be helpful for them and of potential benefit to you, to inform them of any future special offers and developments that you might wish to share.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Advertising Philosophies. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

Books have been written on what makes an advert work and what doesn't. At the end of the day it's very much a matter of "what works for you"! Sometimes a brilliantly conceived advert with all the best intentions behind it can be a complete f lop. At other times, something slapped together willy-nilly can have that "Je ne sais pas" about it that draws the attention and bags a winner. However, it is always best that you go by as many tried and tested guidelines as possible until you find your niche. Anyway, this has led to a great many creative philosophies on the subject, some of which are now pondered upon.

1) Some people say that advertising is a replacement for the "salesperson". This is saying that, at the end of the day, the salesperson in person, is the one who sells the product. This says a lot for the idea that, no matter how good a printer you may be, how lovely a person you may be etc, if you do not have the talent to sell then it's going to be a long uphill slog from now on. So if you see this trait in yourself, this philosophy suggests that you employ or use someone who can sell, pretty darn quick!

2) Other people say that, despite the fact that you have a. sales message to get across, nowadays it has been found that the more original and memorable an advert is, the more influence that advert has on an audience's awareness and response to you as a business. So an advert must surprise people into remembering your business. Advertising apart, this idea bears well too for the importance of having a strong business image, an original logo (mind-bending if you so must!) and letterhead. It begs that all reflections of your company - from sign to stationery - be consistent and reliable to a fault.

3) Here's another... reflect on the idea that each of your businesses, with its products and services, has it's own "drama'.' about it, a "news slant", something sensational that people will be interested to hear about. When creating an advert for your business, think about how you can make it appealing enough visually, in order that people are in some way emotionally rewarded. OK you may think this type of philosophy is more pertinent for a television car advertising campaign for instance, but having such a notion behind a simple flyer can only help (yes it can!).

4) Anyone with any connections in advertising will have heard of USP. It stands for "Unique Selling Proposition", was the concept of Rosser Reeves, the Chairman of the advertising agency Ted Bates and Company in the 1940's. It bade that company very well indeed. By utilising the USP theory the company increased its income from $4,000,000 to $150,000,000. USP is a concept in three parts:

bulleta) An advert must make a PROPOSITION to its audience. When a person looks at the advert it must say to them that if they buy this particular product/service, they will get this specific benefit.
b) The proposition must be UNIQUE. Either your competition must not be able to provide that particular brand item or your competition does not or is not able to offer that particular brand, type of service/guarantee or whatever.
c) The proposition and uniqueness must be IMPORTANT TO THE TARGET AUDIENCE. If you can make it appealing to as many people as possible all the better. Maybe this should have come first in this list. Knowing your target audience wants, needs and interests is the primary consideration and a basic that will prevent you from barking up the wrong tree and creating a wonderful advertising campaign that no one wants, needs or could care tuppence about.

5) Philosophy number 5... An advert is propped up all around by the marketing strategies of that business that go to make up the "business image", and these strategies should be in the form of a long-term plan for the business. The long-term plan should be influencing the nature and content of the advert just as it is influencing a consistent image for the business itself. A successful company offers consistent advertising over a period of many years.

Also, people must be clear about your business image or "personality" over the long term. Do not be frightened of dismissing certain audiences in favour of promoting to the preferred target audience. Trying to please everyone just waters down the concept. Its the business with the clearest personality that gets the orders.

6) Here's a good one ... every human mind is a battleground. We are bombarded with information from all quarters these days. The mind sifts and generally keeps in mind only those things that it feels comfortable with. If the mind is not comfortable with a new advertising concept or idea it just rejects it, no matter how brilliantly the information is presented. So if in your area you have one huge printshop, that printshop is the one that will hold the prime position in the mind of your audience. You could try to dislodge this position but that would be an immense task. It would be better to advertise yourself as in some way "related to"' this printshop. It may not be directly, but you may offer similar products along with a more personal service for instance.

7) When devising an advert you can be creative and not get the message across, or you can stick to the letter of the message in such a boring way that no one bothers to read it. So how to avoid either of these scenarios ... a) know your audience and b) decide what memory you want them to have of your business (not too complicated, and relevant to his/her needs). A good advert draws attention, and implies that it both knows where its audience is "coming from" and that it can satisfy its needs. This draws attention and registers in memory.

Personal notes taken while .reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout" Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Newspaper Advertising. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

A newspaper is a good advertising medium because it allows a frequency of repetition, it is easily accessible to everyone and it is a convenient way to put your message across to the public. So, here are a few thoughts about advertising in newspapers and trade mags.

Repetition is a powerful advertising tool when it comes to the likelihood that an advert has to increase orders. However, it depends on how convincing the ad is in the first place.

A newspaper advert is a flexible way to communicate. As hot foil printing can cover a variety of print jobs and as printing is a rather competitive game to be in, it's a good idea to go for a medium that can be adapted and changed as necessary to suit current trends, your promotions and so on. A newspaper advert is just such that. It is easy to add or delete information and colour, increase or decrease, size and shape etc. An ad can use a space anything from 1 cm deep to a whole centrefold or more in size. It is up to you and your budget.

Many adverts do little to increase orders or to spark interest, because they have not had enough thought put into them. So how do you make your advert stand out from the crowd?

The usual rules apply as regards layout, choice of typeface, a striking headline, white space, keeping it simple etc. (see the "Drawing Up An Advert" articles). Also, don't forget to include an inviting "CALL IN NOW!" or such like. This is useful in drumming up action.

Some other considerations: if you need to quote a price in the advert, qualify it, i.e. say why the price is either "low" or "high". For example, is it an end of line promotion or are these goods that you are offering all handmade in the finest quality leather? Be convincing.

If you can cash in on a brand name then do so. There is no harm in advertising your supplier's goods after they have Put a large portion of their turnover into promoting the goods themselves. For example, use the words "Conqueror" writing paper (if that's what you offer)!

Keep related items together in an advert. For example, talk about all your promotional items, or include all your ranges of stationery or a business "package" that you can offer, maybe including printed pens and so forth, along with business cards, visiting cards, letterheads, envelopes and labels.

If you want to advertise your business in general, or one particular branch of your business, or even one particular product, decide what is the most significant fact about that product. That is, you have to ask yourself what fact about that product is the most interesting to the potential purchaser. If talking to the general public, you have to decide what fact about the product is of interest to the most number of people. If you want to talk to one sector of society then, likewise, decide what it is about that product or service that they are going to be interested in most.

Once you've decided on the content of your ad, make sure that you have not left anything important out. For instance, it may be important to state that you offer gift-wrapping if it's coming up to Christmas. If you are situated in a busy traffic area, it might be important to indicate where parking is available.

If you want to promote your business service, it's a good idea to include the following information. What kind of service do you offer? How much experience do you have? How well trained are you (and your employees are)? What guarantees do you offer? How available are you, e.g. are you open on Sundays? What follow-up services do you offer? What are your hours? Are you insured? What are your prices (give a few e.g.'s)?

Classified adverts are also part of newspaper advertising, but they are those couple of line spaces where a cleverly constructed sentence or two can say a "thousand words" or so we hope. Layout is obviously not important here, more the skills of a writer.

A few thoughts here... the idea with a classified advertisement is to inform, rather than entertain. The skill is to use all your key words, in order of importance, in as simple a fashion as possible. Above all, it must be able to be understood without question. If an advert can be taken "two ways", or if too much abbreviation or unfamiliar language is used, then there is less chance of it creating response.

As for Business Publications, if you are wanting to work with other printers a lot, it's a good idea to put your advertisement into a business publication, or trade magazine that specifically deals with your own kind. If you want to aim your goods and services at a specific niche of industry, again it's a good idea to target them via one of their well thumbed publications, be it industrial, institutional, professional or whatever.

The advertisements that seem to work well in this medium are:

bulletcase histories (written in the third person, "it")
bullettestimonials (written in the first person, "I")
bulletdemonstrations
bulletbefore and after comparisons
bulletproblem solution formulas

The content and layout of these adverts can be similar if not the same as one for a general newspaper. However, if you scan a variety of business publications, you'll see that they do tend to differ in a few ways, as follows:

bulletlong, specific copy
bullettechnical terminology
bulletgraphs, diagrams
bulletdrawings
bulletspot colour rather than full colour
bulletcut-out coupons (to ask for further info)

When devising such an advert, it should relate to the potential (or known) problem that you believe that you can "cure" for your customer. Be friendly and personal in a "formal-type" manner. Stick to the facts and name the benefits loudly. Keep it uncluttered and informative.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Yellow Pages. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

Did you know that the first commercial telephone directory had only 50 names? It came out just after the first telephone exchange opened in 1878. It didn't have any numbers then, just names, but it served an advertising purpose ... to let people know where products and services could be found.

It wasn't long before the now well famous yellow paper came into use. In 1890 it was used to separate the classified directory from the homeowners' alphabetical listings.

The Yellow Pages differs from other advertising mediums in that it serves as more of a guide rather than as a persuader. It reaches a mass audience, from all walks of life, local, national, even worldwide these days. It reaches people who have already decided to buy and points them in the direction of products and services available in any area throughout one particular year.

One downside to this is that it is indeed published only once a year, so once an advert is placed there, it cannot be altered. However, there is no bad form of advertising really. The more you can advertise your presence, the more mediums you can use to do so, the better.

If you decide to use the Yellow Pages, you can choose under what listing to advertise. You can of course choose to list yourself under a variety of headings too. Decide whether you want a line advert or a display advert. The display ads receive more visual attention. You could do both.

As for designing a display ad, the general layout rules for a small advert apply. Most importantly, use every immediately recognisable symbol you have - logo, slogan, brand name goods etc. Make sure that any illustration is right on the mark as regards being relevant to your business and the headline that you choose to use (if any).

There should be plenty of white space, only the essential information and -last but not least - an invitation to "Call us Now!" or suchlike. As regards what COPY to include. Remember that space is at a premium and that your advert will be sitting right next to adverts of your competitors. So be brief and precise to save space for white space. And secondly, advertise something unique about your business that makes it stand out from your competitors. May 1 suggest that hot foil printing is an unusual service in itself and so well worth a mention, but this "something special" should also be of interest your readership and something that could be of benefit to them. So think, what is it about your products and service that beat those of the competition? Maybe it is what you can offer in terms of quality and uniqueness of product and something that the competitors do not stock. Maybe it is what you can offer in terms of personal service. Or is it a quick turnaround? Or are your opening hours long (and unusual)? Still, at the end of the day the potential customer but benefit from your special products and service, so think hard.

Back to what to include in the body copy, if you can repeat the product or printing business identification in the copy as well as the title and/or logo illustration then all the better, but watch out not to make it cluttered.

It's the Yellow Pages so make the telephone number stand out. If you want to reach customers from further afield, include the code. Ask about how to have a toll free number if appropriate for your business needs now.

To make your display advert convincing, include ALL other necessary information in order that someone be convinced enough of your credibility. This makes it most likely that they will call. Avoid false promises. Include such things as your location, parking, opening hours, payment methods accepted and so on. And don't forget that invitation to "Call Us Now!"

Personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Advertising On The Radio. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

This sounds easier than it actually is. On the radio, there is no opportunity for using illustrations or colour. But with a good script in the hands of a convincing radio voice, a radio advert can be very successful.

Radio is very flexible in that you can choose when you want your business message to be broadcast. It doesn't have to wait until the papers hit the stands. You can also choose which commercial station you want to use, in what area or use many stations at once.

A radio is also very accessible in its own way. Although a radio has to be switched on to be heard, once it is switched on it can be heard "anywhere", or wherever the listener is - be it a car, on a boat, in a park for instance.

Another benefit of using the radio medium for your advert, lies in its selectivity. You can tailor an advert to suit the needs of a certain audience and then have it broadcast over a station most likely to be accessed by that particular audience. For the jobbing printer the most popular local commercial radio station is probably the best bet.

Local businesses over here love to use the local Country radio station called KIX FM to deliver their store message. They know that most of the town will be listening, especially in the morning, because this station broadcasts daily school information such as what's for lunch, school closures due to inclement weather or unscheduled early dismissals and so on. Of ten the advert is stated by the DJ, and simply says "today's news comes to you courtesy of (store name), located on West Business 50", so the store name and location are mentioned. The more expensive adverts go into more detail about what the business offers, opening times, specials and suchlike.

It is important to catch your intended audience at the right time, i.e. at the time that you know they will most likely be listening. This could be early in the morning, as it is for many advertisers here who are appealing to the local farming community as well as to commuters and the homemaker with children going to school. Others prefer to advertise between 4.30 and 6pm, when people are driving home from work and could well call in to the business or store on their way home.

If there are a few stations to choose from, have a good listen to the commentator or DJ and his ability to sell you a product, an idea or indeed his personality. Most DJ's are great at selling themselves. But you may prefer to use your own voice, or that of a colleague, friend, or even hire a suitable voice. Choose a station or stations and a "voice" that you feel comfortable with. Remember to choose a station that you know your intended audience will be listening to too.

So now you have chosen your channel, it's time to put the whole thing together. Seeing as you are using the medium of sound, take advantage of that. Music has great pulling power. Strange or unique sounds in themselves make the listener prick up the ol' ears and take notice. A simple bell ringing is one idea. Using a quirky introductory voice is another. Or there is the option to make up and use your own "jingle". That could be a fun project! Again, ask yourself, "whom am 1 talking to here?" and choose something to suit.

Repetition is the name of the game when using radio. After all, you don't have a complementary logo, or illustration or slogan to qualify the blurb. You have to repeat the blurb over and over to get the message well drummed home. Your message could be all to do with who you are, the name of your business, and what your service offers -most importantly the special points about your service. The location and opening hours can also be repeated for effect.

The whole point of the advert should be precise, preferably dealing with only one point. "Speaking" in the present tense, speaking only ever positively and asking the listener to take action to find out more about you, all help towards a successful radio advert. Also, be creative and spark the imagination of the listener.

Just as for most advertising blurb, the best written work is written in an informal but respectful conversational manner, most effectively when written as if speaking to one person, i.e. the listener who is listening "and 1 mean YOU!" etc. Take into account the "type" of people that you are hoping to attract too, and write alike. Despite the audience, sentences should be short and simple. Words should be short and simple too. This aids retention, which is what the listener wants ... i.e. the listener should feel that he or she has learnt something from the advert, even if that something is only having remembered a phone number or the location for instance.

As regards giving your location ... it is much easier for a listener to remember the general vicinity of your printshop than it is to remember an exact address, so explain where it is rather than spouting an address. As for the telephone number, if you can recite it as a rhyme that helps, otherwise split it into easy to remember sections, or choose a new phone number that is easy to remember such as 123 1234 for example.

Select a certain mood for your advert. Are you going for something relaxed or up-beat for example (NB who are you talking to?) From beginning to end the commercial should stick to that mood. It gives consistency.

Finally, a radio advert should be credible from beginning to end. It should not be rude or pretentious. It should not be ',stretching points". Neither should it be overly repetitive as this is not only boring but can detract from credibility. Don't forget to repeat the major points and to ask for some action from their end either!

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Outdoor Advertising. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

By outdoor advertising we mean here the type of advertising seen on massive billboards. These are all long the sides of highways and city roads over here in the USA, so many as to be distracting as a matter of fact. Outdoor advertising almost goes without saying.

An interesting piece of information to note ... outdoor advertising is the oldest kind of advertising known, dating back to 3000BC. Back then I suppose it was "each to his own" when it came to design, layout etc, and there were probably no set down rules or guidelines as to what was appropriate and what was not - but we shall never know for certain.

The proprietors of local businesses and small shop concerns where I live all have, their own billboard, often situated on a road close to the "city limit". Everyone driving,' into town sees each billboard. People use this method because it is about the most.:,, cost-effective . method 1 of getting your business known.

So what types of information. are to be seen on, these boards? Often the owner simply wants to declare the businesses existence, advertise an image for the business and indicate location. Other times a billboard can be. advertising the whole range of services that a business has to offer, in a way so as to include both an immediate campaign and the more long term marketing strategy of the company (logo, slogan, commitment etc).

A billboard is seen by nine out of ten who pass it over a month (according to a survey) and each of these sees it every day. So your audience is coming to you rather than visa versa. Its size is a boon when it comes to design, as there's enough scope to design big and bold, colourful and memorable, and to include plenty of information too. Because it is there to be seen repetitively every day, a tremendous impact can be made.

So what has this got to do with hot foil printers in the UK? Relate billboards and the psychology behind them, to the sign of your printshop, a sign on your vehicle, or a sign that you make yourself, to display outside your printshop (perhaps with the month's promotion on for instance). All offer some degree of permanency, repetition and cost effectiveness that cannot be equaled by any advert in a newspaper or other publication.

For content, the first rule is to make sure that the product and service is immediately recognisable from a distance to someone in motion. This is why using the symbols of pictures, logos, slogans, a specific typeface and so on, is so useful. So illustrations are great for the centre piece. Bright, contrasting colours are better than either pastels or similar colours such as red and orange. A good picture could cancel the need for much of the copy.

As for text and typeface the main concern is the headline, rather than any body copy. The same rules apply as with most advertising layout. For example, avoid "all capitals" unless there are only two or three words to read, as capitals are more difficult to read than a lower case mix. The typeface should be easy to read from both close by and a distance. Keep it simple with plenty of white space. Detail always merges when seen from a distance, unless there is plenty of space between the elements.

So, whether it's on your vehicle, on a billboard by your premises or the title of your company adorning the shop front, simplicity and immediate recognition are what you're going for. Too much information tends to blend into itself. People will be driving past or you will be driving past them. If too much information is given in the time allowed to read it, the point is missed.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Direct Mail. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

Another way of getting across your business to a whole bunch of folk, is to use what is called direct mail. Direct is the word, for you can reach exactly the people that you want to reach. Maybe you are looking to increase your market's awareness of you within your local area, or maybe you want to "push" your business gift printing service to a certain segment of industry. Using direct mall you can approach people directly and hopefully - receive a response from them. So how do you put the kit together?

If you have been in business for a while, you will probably have your own handy mailing list of customers and enquirers. If this is not the list you need, you can purchase mailing lists from mailing list companies, which offer all manner of lists tailored to your needs. Prices vary depending on various factors including what type of labels you want it printed onto. There are ways of ordering mailing lists too. You might find that you will be getting a list that is targeted to the right person by asking for the list to be addressed to "titles" rather than to a person by name. Of course though, if you know the name of the person that you wish to make contact with, using the personal name is the best option.

The main problem with direct mail is that it is what is termed "unsolicited" material, i.e. unwanted and not asked for. Therefore it can often be simply dropped into a waste bin without another thought. If you opt to try this method of advertising, make sure that you make your "package" look as appealing as possible. Then, once opened, make it as easy as possible for the reader to respond, by including some form of response card or brochure inside. In this way, you can also use it for market research.

As for cost, this ranges from perhaps a little more than posting out your annual Christmas cards, into 1000's, depending on how "glossy" you want to get, how large the mailing list is and how much information is going to be posted at one time.

From the outset, keep in mind that you are aiming to sell the "benefits" of your goods and service rather than the service itself - the "sound" rather than the "guitar" so to speak. Also, bare in mind that because you are not going to be there in person to give credibility to all the information contained in the direct mailing, the information must sound believable and convincing. So the letter copy should sound conversational, be grammatically correct and pretty down to earth. Direct mail is one place you can afford to "go for the throat" and ask for an order. And not just that - tell them how to place an order. Include all the order forms, prices, pre-paid envelope or business reply card, even a toll free phone number for further information.

So, back to basics, how to go about drawing up a good direct mail package?

First of all, find out just what you want to achieve by this direct mail. The reason should be something a little more specific than just to increase sales. If it is only to increase sales, then make sure that you are aiming for sales that will glean a higher profit than previous.

When deciding what type of direct mail package to offer, look at the context of the promotion. What is it advertising? Choose a personality for the package to suit the personality of what it is that you are promoting. For instance, if you want to promote a clean, swift, no nonsense service, then keep your direct mail uncluttered, clean (lots of white space) and no nonsense and follow up the mailing as soon as possible after your reader has received it (hence the swift aspect).

Make it simple for your reader to respond to you. Have business reply cards printed up, preferably post-paid, upon which to place orders, ask for further information, offer business information and so on. You need to design these tailored to your own needs. Also you must allow enough space for the reader to write, so stick to the most important questions. These could be name, address, business phone, then either space to place orders with quantities, stock items etc. If your mailing is more for market research, have space for that company to fill in its printing needs, how filled at present and so forth.

One gimmick that works toward getting response is to offer some sort of free gift or service. Everyone loves to think that they are getting something for free. If it's a special offer . you are promoting, it's a good idea to give a deadline or a limit to the offer. "While stocks last" is a good one. This helps to incite immediate action.

In terms of being a credible business to your reader, offer a guarantee or money-back option. After compiling your letter of information, reply paid cards, price lists, special free offer ticket and anything else you would like to include, there still remains the question of the envelope.

The envelope is the first thing that your reader is going to see. Think carefully - considering your chosen audience - how you would like the envelope to look. What colour is it going to be? What typeface are you going to use on your mailing list labels? Will the postage be "real" stamps or machined. If you are not using mailing list labels, decide whether the envelopes should be hand written or printed. If you have a company slogan or logo, you might want to consider including this somewhere on the envelope too. The more interesting and appropriate it is to the receiver, the more likely it is to be opened and. read.

Again, as with all advertising, repetition is very important. You are not likely to receive a rave response with only one mailing. Some businesses using this method do a mail-out every month. And don't rest once you have your first mailing "formula" together either. Test new ideas and techniques. Maybe your timing needs a little adjustment. But back to repetition, the more you repeat, the more the message finally gets through to readers and many more contacts can be made.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Promotional Products. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

Promotional products (otherwise termed Business gifts or advertising gifts) tend to be used to boost general advertising. They serve as an easily accessible reminder to customers - real and potential - of a business image and where it can be contacted.

Promotional products generally do not offer an area large enough for printing much information. Therefore, in order to print something immediately recognisable, either for a customer or for yourself, the general idea is to use a business logo, slogan, or immediately identifying illustration.

Whatever you are about to work out, it's a matter of deciding first what you want to accomplish by the exercise. Is it to advertise a business image, a new product or to celebrate a memorable occasion such as a business anniversary for instance?

Then look at all the promotional product possibilities. There are thousands of course, but such a product is an advertising "gift". The term "gift" in itself dictates that something appropriate for the "receiver" must be chosen. Keyfobs to car companies is one obvious idea. Drip mats have universal appeal for every business. Bookmatches for pubs is another. By choosing something appropriate, the "gift" is automatically easily accessible to the readership, as the product you choose is being used by them (you hope)!

Maybe what you hold in stock does not offer the best solution. For example, maybe a baseball hat or a plastic tumbler is required, rather than a keyfob. However there's nothing to say that you can't take on the job anyway and then farm it out to "someone who can". All printers work together. They have to. There is no way every printer can copy with the multi-various methods of printing.

Say that you can do the job inshop ... next, look at the customer's desired image and at the target audience or desired recipient for the product. Decide upon a convincing and appropriate design. Are the readership homeowners or the presidents of companies? Is formality, friendly formality or complete informality required?

A customer may already have a logo and/or slogan and the job is simply to reproduce that. If an additional message needs to be added to that, then it must sit well with the original design. Much depends on a customer's personal taste, need, preference and so on. If stuck, looking at the general rules for good layout and design can only but help.

bulletAlways return to the purpose of the product. What are the product and its message supposed to accomplish? And after that is the product suitable for its target?
bulletis the design right for its audience (including colour, layout, text, and illus.)?
bulletdoes it reflect the business image well (is it immediately recognisable)?
bulletis the message hitting home?

You may have to struggle with too much information at times. Promotional products of ten do not allow space for printing more than immediate business details. In which case, consider the many other marketing and promotional options available to putting across what remains to be aired.

This article is part personal experience and part personal notes taken while reading "Fundamentals of Copy & Layout", Everything You Need To Know To Prepare Better Ads, by Albert C Book and C Dennis Schick (c) 1990, 1984, published by NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), lllinois 60646-1975 USA.

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Repetition. by Alison Fleming BA., MAssHFP.

A thought that makes the mind boggle?!? No one likes to be stuck in a corner with any old body that likes the sound of his or her own voice. No one can stick a bore for long - you know - the type that just cannot stop talking about the same subject for ever and ever. So it doesn't come naturally to the average, likeable person, to have to plug and plug the same information over and over until the message sticks home and people start responding to it in the correct way. Well, that is what promoting yourself is all about. Maybe it just has to be that you drive the next person so crazy they co-operate with your rantings just to shut you up.

Be a child. Nag and nag. Keep on at them until they place that order. It doesn't really matter if they're quite mad with you at the time, as long as they are pleading for more at the end of it! Meaning - do the best job at the best price and you cannot go far wrong.

For promotion's sake, the name of the game is Repetition.

There are financial and time considerations of course, so it's best not to go throwing money around. repeating yourself to any old bod. It's wise do a lot of basic groundwork first, by way of. research into potential customers among them? Then take a nosy at the businesses on your doorstep. Look in the telephone directories, local papers (including parish magazines), library sources, shop windows. Mention your business to every new person you meet. Make a point of listening carefully for clues that they may indeed need a printer for their purposes. Make a written note of anyone who shows interest. You could compile one of those small box files of "possibles". All the "new start-ups" need to compile a target audience of first potential customers. The "well and truly one their ways" want to continue adding to this list, as do the long established companies.

No potential customer should be deleted from your file until you have exhausted an extensive and varied program of repetitious promotion and at the "end" of it have received absolutely NO response. And it doesn't stop there. Then, it would be a good idea to attempt to find out why. A quick telephone call would do. Maybe you've done something to offend arid haven't realised it. Otherwise you may unveil useful information as to your competition, or at lease learn something from the communication to help to avoid negative responses in future.

The local school system here in Missouri really has got it sussed. Never before have so may written requests been made of a mother! The schools are always repeating themselves sometimes up to five times before an event. And this is to promote occasions that cost little but time for those who attend. The first communication may be in the form of a calendar of events. The second advertises each event in turn. In between times another calendar of events comes home (just in case the other one is mislaid). The third communication describes the up and coming event in more detail and includes response forms to fill in and return. For the school, this would be requests for donations of food for refreshments, gifts to add to a craft stall or to be auctioned, and volunteers to help on the day three separate forms. A deadline for response is always given. Words are chosen carefully. Parents are "invited" as "guests" of the school. The end of the communication encourages a positive attitude, such as "Help us all have a fun time together". We are of ten thanked for "lending the school such wonderful children"! Novel ways of making the receiver feel special. The fourth communication is the actual invitation, along with the original request-help forms attached, to grab any stragglers. And so in turn the desire to help is mustered!?!

To repeat, the above scenario is to encourage parents to attend and help at (if they want to) a fund raising or non-fund raising school event that costs little to the parents but their time and loose change. The repeated communication is necessary because of basic human nature - lack of motivation, lethargy, lack of association with the communicator, the "what do 1 get out of it" mentality, to name a few phenomena. These feelings and facts contribute to disinterest. Also, because many families have both parents working full time, or only one responsibility parent, both time and energy are at a premium in this respect.

So what has all this to do with printing you may ask? The idea of repetitive communications is to nurture a relationship between sender and receiver.

As the communications are repeated, any negative thoughts transform into positive thoughts or at least feelings that a response needs to be made. The receiver begins to feel an association with the communicator, enough to be at least in touch in some way (it may not be what you were wanting but every response is a good one because it means that you have done your job well)! At most you have drawn the sheep to the fold to taste the grass.

In the business world money talks, but it's "who you know" that gets you there. Establishing firm business relationships with steady, repetitive and informative communications is the best bet for steady orders.

Saying that, after you've got'em it's keeping them that becomes the order of the day! This is when you need your wits about you. Quality of job, price, turnaround and keeping an eye out for the competition are all daily concerns. But this is not the subject of the discussion at present. REPETITION is the name of the promotions game. Sorry, am 1 repeating myself too much - well, just trying to drive a few thoughts home!

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