Discover advertising techniques that work for your business and attract more customers. Learn how to evoke emotions with your design, use the power of storytelling, create a sense of urgency, and more.
Stunning visuals are one of the pillars of every advertising campaign. The use of imagery is a powerful way to grab attention, as it helps to visualize how a product would feel or what it would be like to use the services your business offers. Visual content is highly effective because it’s easier to process and allows you to tell a story with just one image.
In a world where we’re constantly glued to various types of screens, marketers and designers have to tap deep into their creativity to craft stunning visuals that still catch the eye of consumers in a sea of daily information overload.
Tap into the following advertising and design techniques to create attractive visuals that grow sales:
Use the emotional or personal appeal to conjure up feelings that grab your customers’ attention and create associations with your products or services. Common emotions advertisers have applied to their campaigns are humor, fear, joy, sadness, excitement, pity, and anger.
Find a balance here by using images that tug at your audience’s heartstrings but don’t pull and push them into feeling something. In other words, don’t go over the top and be careful to not look manipulative.
A widely used and long-established technique that many brands have been using over the years is to focus on joy or creating a sense of achievement in your customer. For example, many commercials for household products concentrate on showing friends, family, the home, fun, and being social. When you set out to create your joyful ad, think about the desires or goals of your target audience and work these into your campaign as the golden thread that runs through it.
If carefully crafted, your graphics help grow your sales and business. Colors generate certain feelings and you can use this to your advantage for your visual marketing materials. Think about the associations you want your customers to have with your products and brand to pick colors that evoke those emotions. If your advertising campaign is international, be sure to research the meanings of colors in different cultures to avoid any faux pas.
Consider the interplay between colors you’re using in your background, photography, fonts, visual accents, and branding elements. Derive your color scheme and palette from there to use in your advertising.
Bandwagon builds on the fear-of-missing-out principle or FOMO. The term FOMO has become popular through social media and is known as the phenomenon when users scroll through their feeds and see photos of activities their friends and family are up to only to feel like they’re missing out.
This fear of missing out is used in bandwagon advertising. It also plays on the desire for inclusion and being part of a popular group. To tap into the desires of consumers and to give them the feeling that they have to act quickly, create limited editions or limited availability.
The principle of associative bonds builds on the concept of the unconscious desire that makes us want something because we see someone else being happy with it. In advertising, you can adopt this and design images that show happy people in combination with the products you’re selling. Our brains are wired to automatically create an association of happiness with the objects shown in the ad.
Advertising that converts should be focused on benefits rather than features. Sometimes the sales and marketing team is so proud of the many brilliant features of their products that they want to tell their customers all about it. They lose focus on what’s important.
Your target audience mainly wants to know how your products or services benefit them, so it’s easier to get them hooked by clearly stating benefits. Hone in on the most important benefits in your ads to keep it short and simple. Once you’ve got your audience’s attention, they’ll dig deeper, find out more details and eventually move down the sales funnel to the purchasing stage.
The golden ratio is a mathematical ratio that occurs naturally all around us and can be used by designers to create simple and effective compositions. Mathematically speaking, you get this golden ratio when you divide a line into two sections of unequal length, divide the longer section by the smaller one and then divide the sum of both sections by the first longer section.
This scientifically proven method works because our brains are biologically wired to find imagery attractive that uses the golden ratio. Use it to lay out your advertising designs to create balance among your elements as well as a focus on the most important information.
Information wrapped in a story makes it more memorable than receiving a list of facts. Use the power of storytelling to get your advertising message across and help your target audience understand why they should care about your products or services.
Stories resonate with your customers and humanize your brand by tapping into emotions. To get you started, think about what kind of message you want to convey and the narrative you can build around it. According to Annette Simmons, author of The Story Factor, there are six kinds of stories in all communications that can help you with structuring your own.
Particularly, in visual advertising, the body language of actors or models tells a story or supports it. Make sure you get postures, gestures, and facial expressions right to conjure up the emotions you want your audience to feel in connection with your business.
Sales promotions and special offers revolve around discounts, adding an extra like “Buy one, get one free”, or offering a trial. They’re often offered over a limited time frame and are great ways to give your sales a boost, or at least generate more leads that you can nurture further down the sales funnel later if they decide to not buy this time.
Effective promotions with an added sense of urgency can be flash sales and vouchers available for a limited time. Focusing on incentives, you can offer free shipping, returns, and cashback.
Special offers catch on best when they’re repeated multiple times on your website and in your advertising. For example, if you’re offering free shipping, consider making that a permanent fixture at the top of your website and mention it on all your advertising materials. Other ad designs can also profit from repeating benefits or showing a product multiple times. When using this technique, be careful to not overwhelm your audience.
To create more trust in your brand, consider showing your customers how good you are in numbers. When using data like facts and statistics, make sure you’re selecting interesting or unusual numbers that grab attention.
This is a persuasive technique that calls on the rational part of our brain and is particularly useful for advertising cosmetics or household products. For example, you can publish a study to show how well your products work and use the best numbers in ads to offer proof to consumers.
This is a great visual advertising technique to prevent yourself from overwhelming your audience. Minimalism is all about stripping away anything that isn’t necessary to be left with only the core message of your advertising campaign.
Support your sales message with a statistic that features as the focus of your ad design. When creating minimalist ads, designers can experiment with white space to create the focus on a single message or product. The golden rule is to keep it simple rather than create a complex design that customers have to decipher. An ad should require only a glance to know what’s going on.
In advertising, endorsements often come from celebrities but recently there has been a shift in online marketing towards influencers, who have a dedicated following on social media. The idea behind this technique is to persuade customers to buy because people they trust or look up to publicly recommend the products or services.
Endorsement appeal advertising builds on our natural inclination to look at what people around us are doing to get clues as to what we should be doing. This works particularly well when experts or leaders endorse the product.
This natural inclination is the result of a phenomenon known as "social proof," the idea that humans are motivated by proof—e.g., endorsements, recommendations, etc.—about a product or service from others. Not only is it great when this proof comes from influencers, but fellow customers also provide excellent endorsements when they review your company. One effective way of leveraging this technique, for example, is by using customer reviews in marketing, such as on your website or on social media.
Visuals in endorsement appeal campaigns usually highlight the celebrity. The best way to feature celebrities is by letting them look at the camera or your audience directly. The intense look of the direct gaze technique automatically makes people return it and look at your ad while stirring up emotions.
Advertisers have to think of new ways to prevent customers from hitting the skip button on their ads. Interactive ads offer innovative ways to combat ad blindness, the phenomenon of ignoring advertisements online that many consumers have adopted as they browse through free content.
Interactive advertising ranges from interactive display, experiential campaigns connected by creating QR codes, or video ads to the use of augmented reality to create entertaining experiences. Use this technique to craft fun ads with viral qualities that also look professional and not spammy.
Set the scene with a distinctive element that reflects the main point of your ad campaign in your designs. Your focal point is the most important information and where you want to guide the eyes of your target audience. To pull customers into the experience of your interactive ad, put the focus on the enticing start of their journey through your interactive ad.
High-quality product photos are usually the basis for ads but there are alternatives. The emergence of shop grid and the color blocking trend on Instagram provides new avenues for designers to get creative during advertising campaigns.
For example, you can use this technique to create a grid with similar toned images posted alongside each other to highlight a product launch. To find the various hues and shades of the color palette you’re aiming for, browse the vast library of searchable and royalty-free images on Pik Wizard.
If you don’t have the time or budget to produce high-quality photography for your ad campaigns, a quick and easy way to design ads is to use stock photos as your foundation. Eye-catching imagery is more likely to make anyone pause for a moment to take a closer look.
Make sure the photos you choose look genuine and are in line with your brand identity. On Pik Wizard, you can add text to your image to get it ready for your next ad campaign straight away.
Advertisers using this technique make unfinished claims about how well their product compares to a competitor but don’t go into detail or finish the comparison. Usually the ad claims to be better or to have more of something implying that their products have a clear advantage over competitors.
This technique relies heavily on the copy that accompanies your ad. It’s a clever format that highlights a core benefit without specifying or proving the claim made. For example, a brand might claim that they use more color or more natural ingredients but never specify how much more than anyone else.
Typography and the way you arrange your copy make visual storytelling in your ad more effective. Large and bold fonts stand out while thin handwritten lines can create a more personal connection. Headings and subheadings can be used to establish a hierarchy and highlight information according to importance.
Choose the font styles for your advertising material carefully and avoid using more than two variations for the same campaign. Make sure the typeface you choose fits with your overall brand design. The type of font you go for should also complement the color palette you’re using to convey the same message as your colors.