Strategic Communications can aid you creating effective paid advertising, and a quick Internet search is bound to produce a multitude of advertising best practices.
Appearing below are just a few ideas, regardless of the platform (online, in-print, outdoor).
- Before you pursue an advertisement, be sure you have a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish, why a paid advertisement is the (or at least "a") right option for you, and how you will be able to assess whether or not the advertisement proves to be a worthwhile investment. In addition, do you have a clear idea of the needs you are trying to fulfill among your target audiences, and not just your own promotional goals?
- Do you know about and understand the university's overall positioning goals, and how your advertisement can and should indirectly support that aspirational market position? And more concretely, will your advertisement complement other university communications in its language and appearance?
- Consistency and frequency is of paramount importance. "Hit and run" advertising, i.e. a large, one-time placement, is substantially less effective than an ad campaign over time with a repetitive message.
- Beyond repetition, another key guideline is to select the right venue, website or publication (and the right days and right placement, as applicable) to be most effectively exposed to your target audiences.
- A pithy and truly innovative text lead-in or headline, accompanied by relevant, engaging and creative imagery, will help gain your audience's attention. Another way of thinking about this is, "How you are going to compensate your target audience for their attention?" Humor? Richness of design? Valuable information or creation of desire? Compelling call to action or a way to fulfill a need? (see below)
- Conclude the ad with a call to action -- a clear pathway for what the audience to act on what is being asked of them.
- The university's logo should appear in the ad, most likely at the conclusion, and conform to the standards governing use of the visual identity system.