Advertising Dos & Don’ts: Why Graphics Help You Sell – and When They Don’t

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Flip through the newspaper and yellow pages, surf the Internet, and pay attention to the pictures. It’s probably easy, because our eyes are naturally drawn to the pictures first. Ads and websites without graphics are boring; our eyes pass right over them. That’s why graphics are one of the most important pieces of your marketing layout.

Do use attractive, eye-catching graphics

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: any piece of advertising has only about 5 seconds to grab a prospect’s attention. To grab that attention, you need real power. You need a graphic that reaches off the page, grabs the prospect by the lapels, and holds on for dear life.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling; there is going to be some kind of picture that will help you do it better. Even if what you’re selling isn’t tangible, you still need a graphic. Prospects are always looking for an image, some clue to what the advertising is about, or “what they’re getting into.” As they read, they are forming pictures in their heads. If you don’t provide them with compelling images, the pictures they form may not be the ones you want them to form. Remember, people buy based on emotions. Pictures activate emotions.

So, pictures serve double duty. They pull prospects in and give them an idea about what you’re selling. That’s why a picture that ties in with the headline and content of your advertising is invaluable to your marketing success.

Don’t use graphics that aren’t related to your product or service

All right, we’ve established that people like pictures. However, not just any picture will do. A picture of a sunflower is pretty and eye-catching, but it isn’t going to help you sell lawnmowers.

Example: I pick up a magazine and flip through it, and come to an eye-catching full-page ad on the inside back cover. The whole ad is a comical picture of a woman washing a dachshund in her kitchen sink. The rest of the room is filled with dachshunds…on the floor, on the kitchen counter, on the table, and even portrayed on the wallpaper. In the corner of the page is the slogan, “The Bold Look of Kohler.”

It’s a funny picture, but with all due respect to Kohler, my first thought was huuuhhh…? It caught my eye, but I couldn’t connect the picture with the product. Even seeing the brand name didn’t help.

In your marketing, you want to use graphics to connect your prospect with your product. Compare the example above with this ad from another magazine: An ad for Rapid Refill Ink shows a woman browsing for printer cartridges in a clean, comfortable store. It might not be as exciting as a room full of dachshunds, but I understand the ad a whole lot better. Hey, it’s about ink!

Get the idea?

One last note on graphics: people are fascinated by other people. They like to watch them, look at them, and study them. For that reason, they’ll be especially attracted to your ads if you have (logical) pictures of people. So, if your prospects are human (which I’ll assume they are), using humans in your graphics will help you get, and keep, their attention in that meager 5 seconds.

Source by Andrea Di Salvo

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