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Sunday, March 11, 2012

6 tips for making a great web ad for your small business


Designing web ads is a whole different creative endeavor for most of us crafters. Even digital designers (like web or digital scrapbook designers) can have trouble working in such a small -- itty-bitty really -- space.

Here are some tips to help get you get started on your stand-out ad art:

1. Add a Call-to-Action: Possibly the most effective improvement you can make to your advertisement is adding a call-to-action (CTA). What's a CTA? It's an invitation for a person to click on your ad. An obvious one is "Click here!" but we can get a bit more creative then that:
  • Shop now!
  • Visit my site
  • Buy it here
  • Learn to sew (or knit or whatever your craft area is)

2. Use Contrast: Look at the site where your ad will be placed and note the colors of the site and the other advertisements. Without getting garish, try to add colors to your ad that contrast with the colors you see on the site. If the site is mostly white with a bunch of pastel-colored ads, add a bold jewel-tone or something else that goes with your brand.

You can also add some interest to your ad by branching out of "the box". Try rounded corners or a shape that protrudes from the ad:



3. Use Animation: Just a few screens of quality images or text will get noticed quickly on a static web page. Try rotating three of your best-selling products. Or maybe your craft blog offers tutorials, tips and inspiration...mention all three with an animation.

Make sure that your images are very clear, colorful and close-up. And slow down the animation so that the text is readable.

Here's some great tutorials for creating animated images:

4. Update Your Ad: Replace the ad graphic every 2-3 weeks. Older images will start to get ignored by regular users of a web site so replace the art entirely or at least change it up a bit. Some new colors and a fresh headline should do it.


5. Track Your Clicks: Make sure you're getting the clicks you're expecting by either asking the site owner for stats or tracking your own URL using a web application. I use Bit.ly which truncates the URL and tracks it as well.


6. Enlist Help: I know, you're too busy with every other aspect of your small business! Who has time to make ads?? Many craft site owners are pretty good designers and, if asked, they'll be happy to make you a simple ad in order to get your business (ah-hem).
  • Make one or two ads that you think are great then request that they make a few more for you using your basic design. 
  • If you have some ads already made but need to re-size them to fit into a new ad spot, ask the site owner if they'd be willing to handle that for you.
  • Since advertising will bring you a return on your investment, consider paying a great ad designer for a series of fantastic ads for your business.
Even using just some of these ideas for your ad graphics should bring more visitors to your web site!


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