At all the conferences I’ve attended in 2022, I’ve made a point to take a good look at the program provided to attendees. One of the things I’ve been paying attention to is the ads companies place. We know these ads are not free, and in fact, many cost a pretty penny. Why then am I seeing a generic flyer used as an ad, or even worse – the same ad at multiple conferences? Too often, the design of these ads is put off until the last minute, resulting in something thrown together or reused from a previous ad opportunity.
In general, I am not a fan of print ads. However, there is always an exception to every rule and the exception for print ads, in my opinion, is program ads at a conference. The program is a booklet the attendee will carry with them throughout the entire event and will reference often. This is an excellent opportunity for visibility and impact, if done right.
Here are my dos and don’ts for program ad design:
  • Don’t reuse an old ad or repurpose a generic flyer.
  • Do include your booth number if possible.
  • Do consider your audience. Is this a general podiatry conference or is it focused on sports medicine or pediatrics? Tailor your message to your specific audience, at this specific event.
  • Do include a very clear call to action. When they see your ad, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to scan a QR code to download a white paper or new catalog? Do you want them to run, don’t walk, to your booth to grab one of your very limited special giveaways? Do you want them to place an order with a discount?
  • Do make your message very simple and very clear. From the wording to the design, your ad should make it easy to see what you offer and why they should talk to you.
  • Don’t waste this investment. They are not cheap but program ads can make a huge impact on a potential customer.
  • Do solve a problem. Think of a problem your ideal customer is faced with. Now, rather than using your ad to tell about your product or service, use your ad to acknowledge that problem and promise a solution.
PRO TIP – if you are sponsoring a lunch symposium, workshop, or any other event you want attendees to participate in, be sure to grab an ad in the program to tell them about it!
Did you know? 75% of a potential buyer’s decision is made based on the headline alone in print ads.
-Ann Dosen