The fundamentals of advertising can help you create eye catching advertisements that encourage people to buy from your business. Ignoring the fundamentals can chase them away. The most important thing to learn is the difference between marketing and advertising.

Marketing vs. Advertising

The word marketing refers to any activity involving the promotion and/or sales of products or services. Marketing includes both market research and advertising.

Advertising refers to the act or profession of creating advertisements for products or services for various media, including newspaper, magazine, radio, direct mail, email and online properties. You’ll need to conduct your market research, plan your marketing and advertising strategies before jumping into designing your ads.

Core Principles of Advertising

Despite the addition in the past twenty years of many new ad media, the fundamentals of advertising remained the same. You can whittle it down to five principles to use.


  • Fulfill the tenets of AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. You do that by creating a compelling advertisement that grabs the viewer’s attention with a meaningful graphic and headlines. It captures interest by providing useful copy that avoids buzzwords, clichés, jargon and slang. Each ad should create desire by describing factual benefits of the product or service that solve a problem for the viewer. Finally, each ad features a call to action to phone, come in, click a link, or buy now.

product research

  • Conduct meticulous product research. Ad man David Ogilvy of the agency of the same name, trained his people to carefully research each product to unveil the one astounding fact about it that a campaign could be built around. Always use hard facts in ads.
  • Use the KISS method. In ads, KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. It reminds the copywriter to write clean, clear text that communicates at about an eighth grade reading level. It also refers to the simplicity of the design. In modern designs, short, pithy headlines paired with minimal copy work best. Long ads overwhelm today’s readers. Use exclusive right photos in advertisements to differentiate your ads from others.
  • Make your business and product stand out. Use color, graphics and typography to design ads that pop.
  • Define and research your target audience. Who you want to buy your product or service and who wants to buy your product or service should dovetail. Market to those who actually would buy your product. You can forecast that by researching who purchases similar products from competitors. Run the ads in publications and on other media that your target audience reads. Run them as often as you can afford.
  • Study your results. The sales data from the opening of the ad campaign to present provides the data that helps you craft more successful campaigns. Analyze the data and apply what you learned to the next campaign.

Developing the Ads

You probably specialize in an area besides writing ads. You make widgets or offer a service completely unrelated to writing ad copy. You can obtain help from an advertising firm or publicist, but if you’re going it alone at first, you can use many Internet tools to help you develop your message. These include the SEO suite ultimate tool from MageWorx and other WordPress addons the firm offers. Combining these tools with a Google AdWords strategy can move more people to your website. Getting them there lets you enter them into your sales funnel.

Once you capture a lead into your sales funnel, you need to move them through it. Most people don’t buy on the first contact with your product. You need to re-contact them.

Set up cookies on the website that recognize return visitors. Serve ads to the return visitors that offer new insight to the product that adds to what they already know. This motivates your customer to buy.

You may need multiple visits to move them through your sales funnel. This could require an email trickle campaign, a postcard campaign or another method that involves repeated contacts.

Finally, create advertisements that don’t look or feel like advertisements. Create from the heart, partnering with talented professionals who can help craft print, radio and video ads that reach out to your audience.

You can easily master the core principles of advertising. Once you have them down, you can apply them in campaign after campaign to successfully increase your sales.

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