How to Ruin an Ad – Part 5

Welcome to the latest edition of our current weekly blog series, How to Ruin an Ad. As is most obvious from the title of this series, each week we’ll be identifying a key element of an ad that, when missing, is sure to reduce its effectiveness.

Last week’s ad was ruined by drop-out text.

Today’s ad is ruined by: No call to action

There are two different types of advertisements.

There are advertisements intended to create some sort of direct response in those who see or hear it. Let’s call those direct response ads – DR for short.

Then there are advertisements that are meant just to expose you to a brand, make you feel good about it, remind you that it’s there, in hopes that you come away remembering them next time you might need something that company offers. Those are “branding” ads.

If you are creating a branding ad, A) your ad budget must be pretty high, and B) you can ignore the rest of this post. Because brand ads don’t need a call to action.

But if you’re not, if you’re creating an ad that you hope gets the potential customer to pick up the phone or visit your website or take a trip to your store, you need a call to action. You need to tell them exactly what they should do.

The last thing you want is for someone to be exposed to your ad, convinced to take action, and not know what to do next. You might tell me, “Zach, they should really be able to figure it out on their own.” But why leave it in their hands when it’s so easy to go the extra step for them.

A call to action says, “Call 555-555-5555” or “Visit www.mycompanyname.com” or “Click here now”.

Without it, your ad is incomplete. You lead someone all the way to the door and don’t give them the key to get inside.

Did you enjoy this post? Do you have a surefire way to ruin an ad you think we should cover in an upcoming post? Share it with us in the comments or by email.