We sometimes see an ad that really catches our eye or ear and think, “Why can’t I come up with something like that?” You can, if you follow some time-honored points in advertising creative strategy.

The five points for better creative advertising are:

  • Know your audience
  • Talk about the product
  • Make a promise
  • Tell why the audience should buy it
  • Describe the character of your business

If you follow these points, your creative effort will definitely produce a fresh appeal to your customers so they will want to come in and shop.

The first point is knowing your audience. Many small business owners say everyone is their customer. That simply is not true. While business owners may have a wide array of people visiting their shops, the customers they really want to reach repeatedly are the ones who buy most frequently from them. As a business owner, you need to be able to describe your customers in terms of demographics, shopping habits, lifestyle, etc. This will help you think of words, scenes and other elements that will appeal to them in your ads that show targeted products in use.

Then comes the product(s) you want to push in the ad. Since you know what your best customers are like, you have the task of putting your product into their life in your ad. If they can see it in a setting to which they can relate very comfortably, there is an increased chance they will come in and look at it or call you about the service you offer. The key here is putting your product or service into their lives.

The third item for stronger creative advertising calls for making a promise to your readers or listeners. This promise is part of your competitive advantage — it is something you do better than your competitors. Maybe it is price, service or guarantees. You want to make sure to tell your potential customers in your ad what that is. This is one of the most important parts of your creative advertising because it tells people what you do best.

Fourth, after you have told customers your promise, you then back it up with a statement or example of how the product or service delivers on that promise. For example, if your promise is to have the lowest prices in town, you would state you will not be undersold. If your promise is to have the most unique inventory, tell where you obtained your inventory to show that it did not come from around the corner.

The final part of strong creative advertising involves describing the character of your business. This is where you get to tell potential customers what to expect when they come to see you. You could say you are a place like no other, or come in to see the wonderful world of charms, trinkets and baubles. You are setting your visitors up for the experience they will receive when they walk in. This is very important because everyone can remember when they walked into a business establishment only to be disappointed.

Working on these five tips for better creative advertising will certainly help you drive traffic, but remember that the purpose of advertising is to draw in potential customers. You still must sell them once they are there.

If you have questions about advertising or any small business topic, your area Missouri SBDC can help answer questions, offers training and one-on-one appointments; reach out to a location near you.

The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.