Advertising can often seem like a hit or miss proposition. Even among the advertising attractiveexperts, success can be difficult to predict. You see, there’s no established formula that guarantees consistent results. If the professionals have trouble creating effective ads, how can you, the business person, recognize the difference between good and bad advertising? Fortunately, with a little common sense and some simple observation you can be your own expert.

Essentially, advertising is a simple process. It’s merely a form of communication, and as interestingsuch, must communicate something—usually a message the advertiser intends you to receive. And that message is usually simple as well: Buy the product.

Of course, a good ad has to attract your attention and get your interest before a message can be delivered. But it’s the message that is the purpose towards which everything else leads. So ask yourself, “What is the message I want to communicate?” That’s what your ad should be all about.

Most successful advertisers try to stay away from “gimmicks” and “come ons,” that can understandsometimes be more deceptive than convincing. With social media and near limitless sources of online information, today’s consumers have become extremely savvy shoppers. A straightforward approach can go a long way towards credibility and gaining trust.

Once you find the right message, remember that you still need to deliver effectivethat message. A good ad takes a basic message and makes it interesting, gives it impact, while keeping it easy to understand. If you have a message worth communicating, and you can deliver it in an appealing manner, you’re on your way to producing effective advertising and promotion.