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Like attractive television pictures and radio jingles, attractive photographs and graphics require talent to produce. Business advertisers might take a photo, or draw a graphic, that’s capable of stopping potential customers in their tracks. An image that will complement any sales messages they have in mind. An image that is so technically proficient that it reflects high standards of their company. If they’re honest though, it’s unlikely. It takes years of training and practice to succeed as a photographer or artist. A few happy snaps of trucks or premises are unlikely to suffice.
Attractive adverts in magazines, on billboards and on Internet also require significant skill to produce. Although, thankfully, budgets for time and money will be lower than for television or radio. In addition, security aspect will be less important, if only because fewer people are involved in design and production. The trade-off for lower cost is lower effectiveness (probably), compared to television and radio advertising.
Effectiveness is relative though. These ‘poorer’ advert delivery media are effective. They can be even more effective when they are integral elements in mixed media packages. Business advertisers should focus on overall ‘cost-effectiveness’ therefore, when selecting media and defining their systemic relationships.
Humble, black and white text ads (both online and off-line) offer a cost-effective means of advertising. They require fewer skills to produce than magazine, billboard or Internet alternatives. What’s more, informed business owners are often better placed to create text ads than external copywriters are, which resolves security issue. Text ads are cost-effective to create and distribute, in terms of money and time too.
Like other advertising media, text ads are seldom a complete solution in their own right. In a few cases, they are though. One such case is small businesses that trade locally; they may rely solely on text ads. In these circumstances, simple lines of well-written text can offer a highly cost-effective means of advertising, especially if various versions of adverts are alternated, and one version appears every week in local media.
In most cases, text ads should form an integral part of mixed media advertising campaigns, as described above. Each element in these campaigns should be designed to complement others. Each element should be assigned specific functions to perform.
For example, many inexpensive text ads can be sown widely on Internet, in newspapers, in newsagents’ windows, even on mobile telephones these days. Meanwhile fewer and more costly magazine, billboard, radio and television adverts can deliver complementary messages in richer ways. The whole campaign should compel potential customers to seek salvation and/or fulfilment by making contact with businesses and buying their products or services.
In conclusion, like all other advertising media, text ads can play a pivotal role in mixed media campaigns. In ways that complement richer alternatives, text ads can be ‘envoys’ that businesses despatch cost-effectively to Four Corners of known world, to tell potential customers how well they can salve their worries and meet their needs.
© Steve Hawker 2005. All rights reserved. Steve is a partner at http://www.ehawker.co.uk, the small ads search engine. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org