The importance of advertising for every class of business needs no extended argument. Advertising matter occupies relatively the same place in business economy as a sales force, the purpose of both being to make a sale. A direct sale is one coming directly from an advertisement, as an order for a book from one who has seen the advertisement in a paper, or indirect, as a sale made of a proprietary article because of advertising displayed on a billboard, so creating a demand for the article or turning a demand already created toward it.
The character of advertising varies with the article offered for sale, and such medium is used as will, in the judgment of the advertiser, produce results.
General advertising is conducted through a variety of publications, street-cars, billboards, etc., with the idea of creating a call for the advertised article from the various dealers throughout the territory covered.
Local advertising is conducted through the newspapers, assisted by street-car and billboard advertisements, and often supplemented by the distribution of circulars or the mailing of letters to buyers in a limited territory.
Mail order advertising originally was conducted in a class of publications known as "mail-order monthlies," as those published in Augusta, Maine,- papers designated to circulate in the rural districts, cheaply compiled and printed, and sold at a low subscription price. These papers still have a large circulation and are used for mail-order advertising; but practically all the high-class publications, particularly those of a general nature, carry a large percentage of ads now classed as mail-order advertising.
Advertisements may have numerous classifications as to form, from the announcement ad affected by many clothiers, to the blanket ad of the department stores. A common and increasing class of ads may be embraced in the term "freak ads." Nearly every manufacturer and promoter puts a freak ad on the market at one time or the other, some being unqualified successes. The present fashion in this class of ads is to leave the reader in doubt as to part of the wording, which is afterwards supplied. A familiar ad of this class was the one asking "What did the Woggle-bug say?" displayed in the newspapers and on billboards, and after a week's time being merged into a newspaper and book advertisement.
The real object of all advertising is to sell. No matter what other virtues an ad may have, if it does not sell goods- sell enough to make it profitable- it is a failure. Attention attracted is of value, but attention to the point of buying is the only thing that counts.
The results of mail order advertising may be shown by keying ads, there being several methods Some firms use, "Dept. A" for one periodical, "Dept. B" for another, and so on. Others change the firm name, or a portion of it, as "Chas. A. Ransom," "Chas. B
Ransom," etc. A common key is a variation of the street number, building number, building name, etc. Ads occupying a page- and sometimes a smaller space - often bear a tag to be filled out and forwarded. These bear a key-word or number and are an exact index to the pulling power of a medium. Many concerns request inquirers to ask for a special folder, booklet or catalog and judge of the value of a medium by the replies containing that particular request.
To judge exactly of the value of general or local advertising is not an easy matter. A method to be recommended is as follows: Take two equally good values- give them the same space in each of the daily papers. Have both ads written up in the same vei- have both illustrated with the article advertised, and take very good care that both things advertised are of equal value. Then tabulate the results. Later on in the week advertise the same article in the two dailies, only transpose the ads. Tabulate the results and compare. Do the same with the weekly papers, and so determine the relative values of the different mediums.
To write a good ad, say in brief what you have to sell and why people should buy it. Use concise wording, the language of the common people; let the words be short. Short words economize space, are easily understood and enforce and drive home the truths the writer wishes to convey.
Force should be combined with two other qualities, grace and versatility. The ad stands in the position of a salesman and should present the subject forcefully, easily, and in a manner peculiar to itself. In considering the choice of words, remember the methods used by the good salesman or the good business man and apply them.
In general advertising, prices are of prime importance; in retail advertising, they are absolutely essential. The object of an advertisement being to sell goods, the advertisement must answer those questions liable to come into the mind of the reader, and the question of price is always an important one. First, give the introduction, so worded as to attract the attention, next the talk concerning the goods- concise and interesting-and finally give the price in unmistakable terms. This does not apply to very high-priced goods, or goods intended only for exclusive trade. Such goods generally sell regardless of exact price.
An advertisement must be different and look different than other ads if it is to be fully effective. This is accomplished by a different display. By display is meant the arrangement of the type used so as to give prominence to certain parts of an ad. It is really the contrast between the dark and the light portions. When originating a poster or other work in which various colors may be used, contrast may be brought out by the use of different colors for different parts, as a catch-line in red and the body in dark blue. But the adwriter for newspaper work must limit himself to blacks and whites, and intermediate grays- and so distribute them as to produce an effective result.