How to Ruin an Ad – Part 1

Welcome to the first edition of our latest 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.

Today’s ad is ruined by: A Missing Phone Number

I will come right out and say that not every ad needs a phone number. But, the ads that should have a phone number in them far outnumber those that should not.

All different types of ads should have a phone number. That includes web ads, search ads, print ads, outdoor ads, television commercials, radio spots, etc. Essentially, any piece of marketing should have a phone number, if your goal is for people who see or hear that ad to respond to it.

A phone call is still the easiest and most common way for people to take action when they encounter an advertisement. It’s direct and immediate. And often, it makes selling someone a lot easier than it would be if they were instead directed to a website.

Today, many companies opt to include a web address instead of a phone number. I say, provide both. That way you give people the option to respond in the way they feel most comfortable. And you will likely get a higher response rate because of it.

When is it okay to forgo the phone number?

  • If you don’t have the ability to answer incoming phone calls (if that’s the case, you may need to rethink your sales model)
  • If you don’t care about people taking action when they see the ad because it’s just a branding exercise

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.

New Series – How to Ruin an Ad

Starting next week, we’ll be launching a brand new weekly series entitled, “How to Ruin an Ad”.

As the name suggests, it’s going to feature the kind of anti-advice, the how-not-to type of post that you’ve come to love from us. Each week, the post will highlight one key element of an ad that, when missing, will completely derail your message and kill your ROI.

To be a successful marketer, it’s important that you learn how to advertise. Advertising is a big piece of marketing. It’s what drives people to your product or service, store or website. It’s the very top of the marketing funnel. And without the top of the funnel, there is no funnel.

So if you want to become a better advertiser, or ad creator, this series is for you.

Stay tuned next Monday morning for the first post in this series. And if you have idea for post topics, share them by email or in the comments below.

Conversions vs. Followers

What is the goal of your ad? That’s the question every marketer should ask themselves when putting together an advertising campaign.

No matter what the platform, you have a couple of options when running an ad. You might want to increase brand awareness or likeability, you might want to drive traffic to your website or followers on social media, or you might want to drive sales or conversion.

An ad works best when it attempts to one of those things, not all. And so it’s crucial to define your goals in advance.

On social media sites, a lot of advertising is meant to do little more than increase followers.

Using Facebook as an example, many companies pay to get more page likes. The theory being that more page likes will lead to increased sales over time.

But other companies pay to send people directly to their website or app in an effort to get a conversion or a download. And what they’re willing to pay for a conversion is probably more than someone is willing to pay for a page like.

Conversions and followers are two different things. It’s up to you to decide which one you’re after and not to mix them up.

Market To Mondays – Part 6

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, Market To Mondays. Each week, we will introduce you to a new group of people you should market to. We’ll tell you who they are, why you should market to them, and how you might get started.

Last week’s group was Google Searchers.

Today’s Group = Your Competitor’s Customers

Depending on what industry you’re in, customers will have different levels of brand loyalty. But across the US, consumers are proving to be less and less loyal to brands and products than they’ve been in the past.

And it’s not just price that draws people away. Consumers are looking for companies that value them, make their lives easier, offering more effective solutions, etc.

So it should be no surprise that your competitor’s customers make an excellent target market. Not only do you know that they need what you have to offer – they’ve proved that by shopping with a competitor already – but you know exactly how you’re better than that competitor. Which means you can construct very specific messaging to lure those customers away.

But how?

Surprisingly, there are a number of ways that you can market to your competitors’ customers.

The most direct is calling them out in advertisements. The best current example of this is Sprint’s “Cut Your Rate in Half” ads that are running right now. The entire purpose of those ads is to attract Verizon and AT&T customers with lower prices. This can be very affective, especially for new companies in a market or industry who are looking to get their name out there.

Another option is targeting search ads to your competitors brand terms. This works on a smaller scale, but is a good strategy if you’re going up against a well-established brand in your space. You can also target Facebook ads to people who “like” or “follow” competitive pages on Facebook.

If you or your competitor have physical locations you can try outdoor advertising in the surrounding area to lure customers away. And depending on how big your competitors are, they may make their customer lists public and/or saleable. You may be able to buy a list of their customers and sell directly to them with direct mail, email or phone calls.

The point is this, just because someone has chosen your competitor in the past, doesn’t mean they are a lost cause. In fact, they are an easy group to target, and one that should almost always bear fruit. So don’t give up on them, ever.

What group should we cover next? Now accepting submissions for audiences that we will cover in an upcoming “Market To Mondays” post. Submit your ideas via our contact page or in the comments section below.

3 Tips for Better Readability

If you write something, you likely want people to read it.

For marketers, you definitely want people to read it. We spend hours writing copy for web pages, ads, emails, articles, social media posts, etc. All of that copy has a purpose. And it only works if people read it.

But people’s habits have changed. They are blind to advertising because they are blitzed by it. They read less online because they have less time.

So how can you make sure your writing – whether it’s in ads, emails, social media, or your website – gets read?

Here are three tips for better readability:

  1. Learn the art of headline writing. A well-crafted headline can make all the difference. And I don’t mean writing “click-bait” headlines that get people to click on posts only to anger them once they see the full content and are disappointed. Sorry Buzzfeed. I mean headlines that genuinely appeal to your intended reader, that introduce the concept and give them a real reason to continue reading.
  2. Use bullets and numbered lists. If you take less of someone’s time, chances are they will be more likely to pay attention. If someone says, “I need 5 minutes of your time”, you’ll be more agreeable than when someone says, “I need an hour of your time”. So the best way to condense content and make reading easier is with lists. Lists make people feel better about the content they’re reading. It feels faster and more fluid.
  3. Incorporate other media. Are you using the written word for a reason? Could you accomplish the same goal, or get across the same message with an image, diagram, video clip? Mixing in other media forms is a great way to get more people to see or hear your message. Using short form video and imagery can make a page or email less boring, and more likely it will get read or watched.

You want to get your message across. So use these tips to start creating messages that are easier to read.