I am the proud owner of a new grooming van. It was as much as a surprise for me as it was for my friends and clients as I planned on retiring from grooming soon. In anticipation of retirement, I did not replace most of my clients that passed away or moved. It was a pretty sweet schedule, as I did not have a lot of expenses that necessitated a full roster.

Now I am making payments on a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter 4X4 mobile grooming van.  I need to add more clients. I decided on a color print ad with a local magazine I write for as the best way to reach new clients.

All I can say is that I am thankful for friends who took a look at my first ad. I was very proud of it. After they finished laughing, they helped me craft an effective ad.

Print advertising, especially color, can get very expensive, so I want the most bang for my buck.  As it is so costly, I bartered an article for an ad with a local print magazine. I chose “Natural Awakenings” as their readership is my target audience. If you choose to go this route, be certain that you are reaching the right audience. Writing, whether for pay, local expert factor, or barter is an article unto itself, which I will cover in the future.

Let’s look at the first ad (before). The main problem with my first attempt is that there is no focal point. In order to read this ad, your eyes are all over the place. There is not one thing that grabs your eye. Look at the second ad (after) and see how your eyes naturally follow along.

Is the first thing that you notice in the second ad the dog? That dog is my focal point. The purpose of a focal point is to initially grab the attention of the reader. Ooh look, a cute puppy. The dog also points to my logo. This photo is a professional picture. I use Depositphotos and Stock Unlimited, but there are other repositories for pictures. I paid a nominal fee for the photo. You cannot randomly take photos off the Internet, as somebody owns that photo. Look at it like this; imagine how you would feel if you groomed a dog, but someone else got paid. This particular photo was chosen because the main color is complementary to the colors in my logo. You can use your own photos providing they are high quality that will reproduce well in an ad.

The reason your eyes are drawn to my logo second is that my logo is smaller than the dog, but larger than the other copy.

The copy portion of the second ad has font and color choices. The copy font is paired to my logo font. Complementary fonts are easy on the eye.  These two links can guide you on choosing the right pairing:

http://www.typography.com/techniques

https://designschool.canva.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-font-pairing.

In addition to choosing complementary fonts, ensure they are easy to read. Script may be pretty to look at, but hard to decipher. In addition, the copy needs to be large enough so that it is readable without a magnifying glass. Of particular importance is clear and readable contact information. If a potential client has to decrypt your ad, they will pass it by.

I chose two alternating colors for the copy that are complementary to the focus point photo and my logo. This link is to a free site that will help you choose colors, as well as give you the HEX number. A HEX number is particular to each color. You can input the HEX number to sites such as PicMonkey and Canva to design your ad. https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel

The most important part of the ad is a “Call to Action”. You need to tell them to do something. It can be as simple as mine: Contact Mary at my phone number and website.

“The key to a great ad is a strong call to action. Tell people exactly what you want them to do and give them the most compelling reason you can to do it,” Alyssa Forss of Paws For Design.

The compelling reasons are in the copy. The copy was chosen based on my client surveys. The first question on my survey is “What do you love about my service?” All of the copy points were chosen based on the predominate answers. If these are important to my current clients, then they will carry weight in attracting future clients. I put it together at www.canva.com. It’s a free site, but has options for photos and special fonts at one dollar each.

At the time of this writing, I am nearly back to a full schedule with regular clients that meet my expectations.  Another benefit of this ad is high-end pet supply shops looking to add classes for their clients have contacted me. These classes add to my bottom line, as well as place me in front of potential clients. ✂