Finally, advertising campaigns that work!
That innocent piece of white paper is going to cost you lots of green paper, so make it work for you for all it's worth! Remind yourself that people buy for their reasons, not yours. Use space to sell, not to build your ego.
Make sure your headline states a clear benefit to the reader. What can your business offer him/her? How will it benefit the reader's life or work? Start with benefits, they sell!
If the picture is not spectacular, then it's just another picture. The picture you use should be designed to get people to stop flipping pages, look at the ad, and decide if they want to read the copy. You could show how fun your business is or use graphics to point out features and benefits of your product or service. Most importantly, never waste caption space by describing what's in the picture - the readers can see that.
A feature tells you about the product. A benefit explains how the prospect can benefit from it. One strong benefit outweighs dozens of seemingly useless features. Readers typically do not put two and two together to figure out how that feature will benefit them. Pick the strongest statements that make your business sound exciting, reliable, and the best in town.
It pays, always, to back up your claims any time you can and as much as possible.
People read from top to bottom and left to right. If you make their eyes jump around too much, they'll give up. If you make it too small, they won't see it.
Try some of these ideas and see your responses increase. End the headline where you want the reader to start reading, not at the far side of the page. Always use a caption (which should sum up your key benefit or offer) under the picture; it's the second place everyone looks; and you might not get another chance. Make sure all photographs of people have the people oriented as if they're looking towards the text, so the readers eye follows the picture and begins to read. Photographs of people who appear to be looking off the page take the reader's eye away from your investment.
Not asking the reader to take action is the biggest mistake of all. Always use strong calls to action.
If you compete only on price, someone can always do better. Use your copy to make statements about your experience, your service, your reputation, etc. Then tie each statement into a clear and specific benefit to the customer.
Does your headline promise a clear benefit to the customer? Will each picture in your ad capture attention? Does the ad clearly differentiate itself and stand out from the rest? Is the copy written specifically for your most probable prospects? Have you stated benefits, not features? Have you asked for action? What do you want the customer to do? Be specific!