Simple Ideas to Creating An Effective Ad (That Works!)

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Written By Wendy Dessler

The act of creating an effective advertisement is both an art and a science. For ads to perform as desired, marketers need to be skilled artists and psychologists, knowing what a customer wants to see and what will compel them to take action.

Here are some simple ideas for creating effective ads that work.

1. Narrow Down Your Target Audience

Segmentation is more than a marketing buzzword. In fact, personalization is one of the most compelling marketing trends of the past few years. Most businesses don’t realize that 90 percent of consumers find marketing personalization interesting or appealing. 

So what happens when you release ads that target a wide range of customers with varying interests? It either appeals to a few people in a segmented group or falls short of appealing to anyone.

Rather than paying for a single, broad campaign, you could use that marketing spends to target smaller groups with subtle ad differences. Slight alterations to the imagery or ad copy while following the same template is an effective way to sell the same offering to various groups.

Take the time to narrow down your target audience to develop an ad for the group that is most likely to purchase your offer. 

2. Set Clear Objectives

Creating Effective Ads: 10 Simple Ideas (That Works!)Set goals about what results you want to see from your ads campaign. This exercise will help you clarify the path ahead while giving you measurable metrics by which to measure the campaign’s success.

Consider setting both conversion goals and business growth goals. Keep in mind that conversions trump clicks in social media advertising. Having an ad with high clicks may seem appealing, but if they aren’t taking action, then something is missing. 

While conversions are often the goal in social media marketing, not all conversions are sales.

Many skilled marketers use social media advertisements as a way to attract cold leads to the sales funnel to warm them up over time. Your advertisement could be for a discount code that may go unused or a free download. 

If a lead enters their email in return for your lead magnet, you’ve successfully completed a conversion. From there, you can nourish the relationship over time to build trust and eventually convert to a paying customer.

3. Simplify Your Messaging

Simplicity is everything when creating effective ads. This medium isn’t the space to share all the features of your product or service; you are here to sell an experience. Keep your messaging straightforward and simple, conveying the value of your offering in as few words as possible.

Remember that while people love to shop, they don’t like feeling sold to. By keeping your messaging simple, you avoid that feeling of a pushy salesperson that deters so many customers from following through.

A common mistake that many businesses make when crafting an advertisement is trying to put as many informative details as possible. An ad isn’t the space to inform customers— it is a space to build awareness.

When someone clicks an ad, it is because they are ready to receive more information. Trying to convey every feature of your offer in an advertisement will deter people from clicking through.

Remember that building customer trust is a give and take relationship. You need to give the customer time and space to come to you. 

4. Use the Right Tone

Your brand voice is how you communicate and connect with your customers. This core branding element should be apparent in everything you publish, especially advertisements. 

For example, if you cater to a wealthy audience and sell high-end, luxury products, your brand voice should be formal and elegant. Conversely, if you are selling funny t-shirts, you’ll likely have a more casual, relaxed tone.

When perfecting your tone, it is equally important to consider what words to leave out, rather than just focusing on what words to include. Using the luxury brand example above, words like “discount” could create a negative connotation that cheapens the brand image. However, that term could work nicely with the funny t-shirt company.

This logic also applies to including pricing in your advertisement. If you are targeting a budget-conscious audience, it could be beneficial to showcase precisely how much they’ll save with this offer. If you are targeting a luxury audience, including the price is a waste of space.

Using the right tone is about speaking your audience’s language. Use the words and tone that appeal to the demographic you are trying to reach, based on their age, socioeconomic status, etc.

5. Use an Active First Person Voice

There are two primary forms of communication: passive and active. In simplest terms, passive language alters the tense of a sentence while an active voice happens in the now. For example, “Our product was loved by our customers” is passive, whereas “customers love our products” is active.

An active voice tends to be more engaging. While there are a time and a place for passive language, an advertisement isn’t it.

You should also use a first-person voice rather than a second-person voice. That sentence was in first-person and spoke directly to the reader. A second-person voice would say, “Marketers should also use a first-person voice,” which speaks to a general audience. While second-person works well in many settings, the first-person language will connect on a more personal level with ad viewers.

These small grammar tweaks can have a significant psychological impact on someone reading your advertisement. They also allow you to say more with fewer words. 

6. Use Video Components

Creating Effective Ads: 10 Simple Ideas (That Works!)Video marketing is the wave of the future. Many businesses have found great success in using video components in their social media ads. 

Don’t confuse video marketing by making cheesy television commercials. The modern video advertisement could be a tutorial video or product slideshow.

Even small businesses with limited resources can use one of the best apps to create ads in 2021 by dropping a video clip into a premade template.

When using video advertising, the same rules apply. Keep the messaging simple and relevant while focusing on engagement rather than dropping too much information. Consider adding closed captioning to enhance the accessibility of the video and appeal to potential customers who are viewing content from a mobile device. 

7. Find the Right Offer

Whether your goal is to create conversions now or add people to your email list to build trust over time, it all comes down to the offer. What are you offering that people will want to invest their time or money in? 

If you are using a lead magnet, it needs to be something that solves a problem and presents an opportunity to showcase how your company adds value. If you are pushing a product, consider why people need it and why they should choose you over the competition. 

The right offer often goes hand-in-hand with your unique selling proposition.

8. Practice A/B Testing

When you get down to it, creating ads is quite simple: you keep what works and toss what doesn’t. One way to accomplish this before investing too much money is to use A/B testing.

Develop two advertisements that showcase the same offer, and put them online for a limited test run. Then, calculate which one is getting higher conversions and launch it for a longer campaign.

A/B testing, particularly with social media marketing, is an effective way to optimize your cost per acquisition. 

9. Craft a Compelling Headline

Finally, you need to craft a headline that elicits an emotional reaction. Your headline will act as your hook, pulling people in and encouraging them to keep reading.

Whether it is “Today only! Save 50% on your order” or “Are you tired of feeling tired?” find something that interrupts the flow and makes potential leads stop and look at your ad.

10. Include a Call-to-Action

Creating Effective Ads: 10 Simple Ideas (That Works!)Many inexperienced businesses fail to include a call-to-action on their advertisements for one simple reason: they expect the customer to know what to do.

To give them the benefit of the doubt, the customer does know what is expected. However, presenting an actionable direction creates a psychological response that compels them to follow through.

A case study from Toast Marketing indicated that using a single CTA in email marketing increased clicks by 371 percent and sales by 1,617 percent. Businesses have seen similar results with adding call buttons on Facebook pages and adding a subscription CTA on YouTube videos. 

This phenomenon is comparable to the classic job interview advice of asking for the job when the interview concludes. While the goal of the ad might seem apparent to the people who made it, clarifying with a strong CTA ensures there is no room for doubt when a potential customer views the ad.

Final Thoughts: Creating Effective Ads

With these simple tips, you can create effective ads that work. Set aside time after every campaign to review the analytics and determine the overall success on a granular level. 

If you have high engagement with your advertisement but few conversions, it indicates that the ad was successful, but the offer was not. Conversely, if people are scrolling by without pausing or clicking through, your campaign strategy needs more work.

Successful ads are built over time, with the dedication to the details listed above.

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