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How to Create Ads with Impact

#ad-design #belocal Jun 05, 2024
Ads for BeLocal Newcomer Guides

Not all ads are created equal. Some print ads grab the eye of every reader and leave them with a positive, memorable impression. Not-so-great ads can be seen but forgotten. I want BeLocal readers to notice and appreciate your ads. 

Unlike some of the "spray and pray" methods of marketing which blast out to a lot of uninterested people (aka a lot of waste), you know your ads are seen by BeLocal readers because our content is so intimate, local, and relevant to them. In other words, it's even more important that your ad makes an impression since the right people are actually seeing it.

Maybe you’ve already got the perfect ad that tells your story and shows you’re a reputable business. When the need arises, readers are already aware of you as a community supporter and a local company they can trust. Kudos! 

If you think your ad leaves something to be desired, I want to share some great tips from April. She works in the ad design team at BeLocal. Remember, a perk of this advertising program is the ability to update your ad, so please reach out to me if any of these ideas spark inspiration.

It’s helpful to first remember the true purpose of an ad, and I love the way April puts it: “An advertisement's job is not to provide all possible information about the client, but rather, it first needs to grab the reader's attention. This can be done with less ‘clutter’ in the ad, a catchy headline, some bold imagery, and using these elements to share how the client stands out from the competition. From there, the ad can guide readers to the client’s website where they can learn more information about the business.” 

TIP #1: Let a Photo Dominate
One of the design trends this year is prominent photography. When our design team is given a great image from a client or we find that perfect stock image, we know we can knock the design out of the park. Prominent photography can evoke a certain mood and tone in the ad, making readers want to take action. It also allows the ad to speak for itself without the need for too much text – ad copy should ideally take up less than a third of the ad space. Find the perfect singular photo that grabs the attention of our readers and communicates what you’re all about so less copy is necessary.

TIP #2: Go Natural
Another design trend of 2024 is using natural materials to evoke emotional appeal. Natural materials often bring to mind positive emotions such as warmth, comfort, and nostalgia. By incorporating these materials into ad design, brands can tap into these emotions and create a deeper connection with their audience. Examples include images of nature (trees, sunlight, grassy fields, water), or using a natural texture as the background of the ad (wood paneling, stones, brick, etc.).

TIP #3: Feature a Reader 
To quickly build trust among readers, use your ad space to tell them you’ve already been “chosen” by some of their fellow residents. You can do this by showing a map of recent projects in the community, featuring a resident’s project in the ad, including a testimonial from a resident other high-profile local influencer, etc.

Additional Quick Tips:

  • Take your current headline and brainstorm catchier or more impactful versions of it.
  • Consider creating an ad campaign (a series of related ads) instead of a one-off ad. For example, use the same messaging and theme but switch out the image or feature a new reader testimonial.
  • Think about what these specific readers want, need, and value (a high-end experience, supporting local, etc.) when you consider the look and feel of your ad.
  • Keep in mind our readers can afford your services so it’s better to use the ad space to tell them why you’re better than the competition instead of discounts or promotional call-to-action sections.
  • Create a seasonal ad if it makes sense for your business, but do so purposefully (don’t just add an American flag to your ad and call it a Fourth of July version).


I want your ad to be noticed and appreciated! Email me at [email protected] for a free ad design handbook to help you create your next print ad.

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