Michelle Abdow is the president and founder of Market Mentors, a full-service marketing and advertising agency.
How many times have you seen or heard in an advertisement the phrase “for all your ‘fill-in-the-blank’ needs?” Creating the perfect advertisement isn’t about throwing out a basic catchall line and hoping for the best. There are three key ingredients to a successful advertising campaign:
• Reach: The percentage of your target audience that you’re reaching.
• Frequency: The number of times a person is exposed to your ad.
• Creative: The artwork, concept and design of an ad.
While good creative is often the most frequently forgotten ingredient, without it, your campaign is only two-thirds baked. In fact, companies waste a lot of money every year on ads that fail to engage the target audience, making the stakes a little higher to get it right the first time. When it comes to the creative aspect of your ad, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that it’s original and successful.
Identify Your Audience
Take the time to define your target audience. Your approach should be different for every client and campaign. This can require some additional time and research to get right.
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• Look at your current customers. Who are they, where do they live, what do they do, etc.? If you already have a group of loyal, happy customers, seek to find more just like them.
• Look at your competition. Are they attracting a different kind of customer than you? What are they doing differently to get that customer in their door?
• Conduct market research to determine whether there’s an opportunity to fulfill a need in your industry and how your products or services can fulfill it.
• Focus on demographics and psychographics (values, interests, lifestyle, etc.). Once you know who you are talking to, it will be easier to decide what message strategy to use to draw them in.
• Optimize continuously. Finding your target audience isn’t a “set it and forget it” activity. Be sure to revisit your strategy often so your ads don’t become fatigued.
Create A Captivating Headline
Headlines help pull in the target audience. So, what can you do to make your headline more memorable?
• Include numbers such as percentages, fractions and more to make your headline compelling and pique the curiosity of the reader.
• Make a promise. Show confidence in your brand or products by making a promise or guarantee, but make sure it’s believable and genuine. Be clear about what your audience can expect should they buy your product or hire you for a service.
• Include keywords in your headline, but don’t let them completely stifle your creativity. Make sure the keywords are relevant to your business, audience and the purpose of the advertisement.
• Make your pitch personal to your target audience — people tend to respond more to emotions than facts.
Solve Their Problem
Now that you have your audience hooked, it’s time to show them what your company can do to solve their problem or enhance their lives. An ad that claims you are the best at what you do doesn’t hold much weight when everyone else is claiming the same thing. A better approach is to tell your audience what’s in it for them. The more your message resonates with them personally, the more likely they are to keep you top of mind when the time comes.
Depending on what you’re selling, consider an emotional appeal, rather than a listing of facts. Ads that evoke strong emotions, such as fear, anger, happiness, pride or desire, can have a powerful effect on people and influence their behavior.
Create A Call To Action
Be sure your advertisement has a clear, strong call to action. Tell your audience exactly what you want them to do next. Should they visit your website to learn more? Call to set up an appointment? Email you for a quote? Their next step should be so obvious that they don’t even need to think about it. The point of your ad is to make a connection and make a sale, so be sure the call to action offers the easiest and most efficient way to contact you. The more hoops they must jump through, the more likely they are to abandon the process.
The competition is fierce when it comes to advertising. But with the right approach, you can create compelling and successful ads.
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Author: Michelle Abdow, Forbes Councils Member