Marketing Consultant & Storyteller

5 Principles for Designing an Impactful Advert

In an era dominated by big corporations, I believe it is crucial to support local businesses. There is something truly fulfilling about conducting business with someone who lives nearby and whom you know personally.
By actively listening, engaging with your audience, and seeking their feedback, you can gather the information needed to create content that truly addresses their needs. Understanding your audience's questions, inspirations, and emotions will enable you to provide valuable content that resonates deeply with them.

I recently came across local magazines and noticed some businesses’ advertisements that left room for improvement. However, my intention wasn’t to criticize or patronize them. I understand the challenges faced by small business owners who often have to juggle multiple responsibilities while working with limited marketing budgets. When placing an ad in a local newspaper, one naturally expects positive results. My main concern was that poorly designed ads could hinder these expectations.

What was the challenge all about?

My goal was twofold: not only did I want to assist local businesses in achieving effective marketing, but I also had a desire to create visually appealing designs. I envisioned local magazines and newspapers filled not just with meaningful content and articles, but also with advertisements that supported small businesses and had the potential to convert readers into clients.

Originally, I set out to create 1-3 designs per week with the aim of reaching 100 designs. However, as life and business obligations took precedence, I was only able to complete a few designs. Nevertheless, these few designs were sufficient to enhance my creative portfolio. Additionally, the experience proved valuable as it taught me how to edit videos in Canva, a skill that proved useful for other purposes later on.

Disclaimer: I do not receive any financial benefits from this challenge, nor am I affiliated with any of the businesses for which I redesign advertisements. If a business owner would like to receive a print-ready design, they can email me at to discuss the details.

Please note: All rights to each design are reserved. Permission must be obtained before using them.

Why did I undertake this challenge?

Because small local businesses deserve effective marketing

In an era dominated by big corporations, I believe it is crucial to support local businesses. There is something truly fulfilling about conducting business with someone who lives nearby and whom you know personally. Additionally, I want to contribute to the idea of more individuals successfully running their own businesses, thereby reducing the monopoly of large corporations and the prevalence of unfulfilling jobs.

To teach people marketing principles

Through this project, I aim to demonstrate and teach people that following a few basic marketing principles can significantly improve results. Often, small changes can lead to better outcomes.

To experience small victories each day

On a personal level, this challenge allows me to experience daily wins. I have grappled with anxiety, negative thinking, and self-doubt. I acknowledge that I am my own worst enemy, and without these small victories, my mind can easily delve into dark places. Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is both exciting and challenging, requiring constant work on one’s mindset. This project serves as one of the tools I employ to alleviate my racing thoughts and avoid descending into negativity and anxiety.

Moreover, as a perfectionist, it is difficult for me to remain focused on a project without being distracted by shiny objects. By completing this challenge, I aim to prove to myself that I can accomplish tasks and enjoy the process. Progress takes precedence over perfection. Done is better than perfect. I am falling in love with the process.

I also have plans (and hopes) to enhance my video editing skills. I aspire to establish and develop my own YouTube channel, where I can educate people about marketing and share stories from my entrepreneurial journey. Although the channel exists, it is not yet active.

5 Principles for Leaflet Design

For each design, I adhere to leaflet design principles based on the concept of building a customer journey as explained by Donald Miller in his book, “Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.”

  1. Eye-catching title that addresses a specific problem
  2. Description of the business and its solution to the aforementioned problem
  3. Social proof in the form of testimonials from previous clients
  4. Contact details and a clear call to action (e.g., “Call us,” “Book an appointment,” etc.)
  5. Relevant imagery that represents the business, potential clients, or the desired outcomes offered by the company

Overall, the design principle focuses on keeping ads clean and uncluttered, with a single focal point. Additionally, I often incorporate QR codes, which serve as tracking tools and also make it easier for readers to visit the businesses’ websites

Here is a collection of my redesigned advertisements

Avenue Health: Improving Marketing Impact

Before: Avenue Health specialises in solving various types of pain and focuses on osteopathy. The current ad fails to communicate this information effectively.

After: The new design captivates attention with its clear problem statement, presents the solution, incorporates social proof, and provides easily accessible contact information. With these improvements, Avenue Health’s advertisement is now better equipped to attract potential customers and generate tangible results.

Highcroft Music Lessons: Enhancing Clarity and Branding

Before: The initial advert suffered from a lack of clarity. The imagery, while aesthetically pleasing, did not immediately convey the nature of the business. Instead, it gave the impression of a shop selling musical instruments.

After: The utilisation of a yellow background ensures that this crucial information stands out when readers peruse magazines. I have tidied up the design, demonstrating the diverse range of lessons available.

Furthermore, I have incorporated essential details such as the target audience, emphasising that Highcroft Music Lessons caters to both beginners and professionals. The call to action, providing contact details and encouraging readers to book their lessons, remains intact, as it was a valuable component of the previous design.

Steph Edwards, Natural Therapist: Enhancing Clarity and Connection

Before: While the original advert exhibits a pleasing structure and alignment with the brand, it lacks clarity and fails to address the specific problems the business can solve. My goal was to enhance the advert’s effectiveness by creating a design that better resonates with the target audience and communicates the value proposition of the business.

After: The new design enhances clarity, connects with the target audience, and communicates the unique value the business offers. By incorporating visual elements that align with the nature of the business and utilising testimonials for social proof, the advert now better resonates with potential clients, leading to increased engagement and inquiries.

Berrylands Autocare: Enhancing the advert's effectiveness

Before: While the original ad is clean and straightforward, I explore how applying marketing principles can enhance its effectiveness. By incorporating visuals, social proof, and a positive call to action, I aim to create an improved advert that captivates potential customers.

After: In the final redesign, I successfully incorporated an attention-grabbing image, created a sense of trust through social proof, and crafted a positive call to action. By employing these marketing principles, the redesigned advert presents a compelling message to potential customers. The image, clear name, testimonials, and contact information combine to deliver a persuasive advertisement that encourages individuals to take action and book their vehicle repair services.

Local Carpentry & Garden Services

Before: The original advert was straightforward and easy to read, but it lacked visual appeal. Visuals are powerful tools that instantly communicate the message.

After: In the final redesign, I made sure to maintain a clear focus. The images, accompanied by the company name and a list of services, deliver a straightforward message. A call-to-action button was also included, making it easy for potential customers to take the next step.

Remember, when creating your own advertisements (whether digital or printed!), there are three essential elements to consider: eye-catching visuals, a compelling description of your services, and a clear call to action. By incorporating these elements, you can effectively capture attention and drive engagement.

That’s pretty much all you need to know to create your own attention-grabbing adverts. 

Keep it simple, be creative, and enjoy the process. 

If however you need someone to design a leaflet for your business, drop me a line and I would be happy to assist you!

Magda Gradova | Marketing Coach for Introverted Solopreneurs | Website Designer | Writer

Magda Gradova | Marketing Coach for Introverted Solopreneurs | Website Designer | Writer

Multi-passionate Introvert (ISFP), recovering perfectionist and overthinker. Brave but fearful, a dreamer but doer, cat lover but dog tolerant. Magda believes in marketing that is simple and aligned with your unique personality. Contact her if you are looking for a partner who shares your mission, supports your vision and will hold you accountable for achieving your goals.

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