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1. Boring Graphics

If the design doesn’t force you to look, odds are that you won’t!   Don’t be shy about using photographs.  Studies have shown that photos in print ads draw the eyes of prospects – even a small photo can be effective.

2. Bad Choice of Font Colors

A recurring error graphic designers make is using light fonts on dark backgrounds, which was proven by Colin Wheildon and others to reduce reader comprehension.  Instead, stick to black type (or dark fonts) on a white or light background.

3. A Weak Headline

If your headline doesn’t beg for attention, your ad will likely be overlooked. Bold is better to grab viewers and make them continue reading.

4. Unclear Messaging

So you’re the fastest, best solution out there and will fix all of a company’s woes.  But what is it exactly that you do?  If your prospects don’t know what you do when they read your ad, your ad has missed the mark.

5. Too Much Focus on Features, Not Benefits

People invest in things that solve their problems.  Focus on how your product or service will solve their challenges.  Don’t just provide a list of features.

6. An Unclear Differentiator

Explain why prospects should be calling you instead of a competitor.  Remember that they have options.  Why are you different?

7. A Missing Call to Action

Tell prospects what to do.  It seems simple enough, but many ads don’t include this critical step.

8. An Unprofessional Ad

A print ad should represent your company.  Is yours a fly-by-night operation or a professional, trustworthy establishment?  Publish an amateur print ad, and you may be doing more damage than good.

9. A Poor Advertising Plan – Or a Lack of One

Creating a well-thought out advertising plan that evaluates available options across multiple publishers and mediums is critical to the success of an advertising campaign.

Ready to create an ad that really generates results?   First, get inspired by checking out some print ad samples at  If you need help, just let us know.  Reach us at

By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage