More or Less Copy?

The debate is never ending… Should you bank on the “less is more” principle and keep your ad minimalist / image heavy, or make sure you have enough copy to fully explain the benefits of what you have to offer?

In watching our advertisers over the last decade, I don’t believe one size fits all. There are too many variables to assume either of the above approaches is best for you. Your audience, product and particular offer should dictate how you choose to layout your ad.

For instance, if you offer design services, try showcasing your work versus a long list of features your websites contain. Or if you’re a travel agency, consider enticing your readers with just a couple––not 10!––large and high quality photos. Seems obvious, right? Well, you’d be surprised how easy/tempting it is to write a book about your offering and forget what is most likely going to capture attention. Or worse, have a collage of 10-20 pictures that your readers simply flip right over because nothing stood out.

Or let’s say you’re in the service industry. You’ll most likely benefit with a more copy-driven ad to clarify your USP’s to help differentiate you from your competition. And yet how often do we see a super-sized stock photo of a big handshake dominating an ad with hardly any compelling headline or copy as to why the prospect should consider their company over another?

So we’ve addressed a lot of mistakes. Who’s getting it right?

I’ve watched several of our advertisers nail it, and their ad response is proof…

  • GuideOne Insurance shows an example of balance. They do a great job of connecting with our audience graphically, highlighting the need for their service (safety, not simply coverage), and then providing a FREE resource to pastors in order to capture more leads. [Read more about free offers in your ad]
  • Intervasity Press provides a great example of “less is more”. They present their book large enough that the title itself speaks the headline, and then use a testimonial to build trust instead of trying to pick the perfect excerpt from their latest book (which would end up taking up ten times the space).
  • Sharefaith makes sure everyone can see their quality design work – front and center. Plus they manage to graphically highlight a new feature (Sunday School Curriculum) without distracting from their main offer!
  • MOPS uses the power of emotion with a large and touching photo to convey their message.
  • And finally, ReAlign Financial Services used a good bit of copy to differentiate themselves in a very saturated market. It’s a lot, but it’s necessary and done well.

How do you feel about your creative? We don’t want to step on toes, but we also love helping our clients present their organizations in the most effective way possible. Contact us if you’d like our humble opinion of your ad artwork. No cost or obligation, we’ll just be sure to hound you about advertising… come on, you saw it coming.