The purpose of all advertising is to take people’s existing desires and direct them towards your product or service.
I believe the first person to express advertising in these terms was Eugene Schwartz. If you’re a student of advertising make sure that you get a copy of his book Breakthrough Advertising but be aware it isn’t cheap (at the time of this post USD 125 plus delivery).
If you want to make your ads better you need to understand psychology and copy writing. But I know not everyone has time so to save you time here are some of my favourite advertising approaches. All have been used effectively over many years. choose what you believe will work best with your clients.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and test different appeals.
1. Create a common enemy. You can bring people across to your side by sharing a common enemy. A few examples that people use are ‘big business’, ‘the banks’, ‘big pharma etc. Notice how the labels predetermine you viewing them as bad.
2. Arouse curiosity. Once a curiosity loop opens in someone’s mind most people feel the need to close it. I had a great example recently a Facebook ad asked me if I knew the one question to get more sales. I didn’t but was curious and clicked the ad to find out.
3. Tell a story. It seems widely known now that stories sell. So use them in your message. Especially if it’s a story of success for someone just like the person you are aiming the ad at.
4. Use the Zeigarnik Effect. In psychology, the Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. The easiest way to use is to give part of the information and then the rest can only be gained by clicking to another page or opting in for something. Don’t make it too hard though.
5. News. If you have something genuinely new and different then use a news angle in your ads. Words like announcing, introducing or finally now you can XYZ.
6. Take a contrarian position. A simple example of this could be telling people not to use Facebook ads whilst everyone else seems to be telling them to use them. You can go really strong on this one if you’re comfortable with it. Be aware though you will get some flack so you need to be able to deal with that.
7. Create controversy. This is a strategy that has been used in Public Relations a lot. Brands like American Apparel have also used it to gain greater exposure. It’s not for everyone and again has risks of flack you need to be aware of.
8. It’s not your fault. If you can absolve potential clients of any responsibility for making mistakes in the past then they can embrace your solution. If they feel as though it was their fault it can be hard for them to move to something new.
9. Social proof. The more people who testify to the fantastic results they get with your business the better. It’s far more credible than anything you can ever say. Aim for video testimonials if you can with specific results they got from your business.
10. Risk reversal. In any purchase there is a perceived risk of making a mistake and this fear reduces sales. You can limit this ‘perceived risk’ with a powerful risk reversal guarantee.
11. Small yesses. If you can get someone to say yes to something in your ad and keep them agreeing along the way it makes it easier for get the main yes to your product or service.
12. Offer a magic pill. People want the magic pill. As much as I hate this it’s the reality of the market. You need to present your offer like a magic pill to get the most people saying yes.
13. Sell to their want not need. It’s amazing how there is always money for what people want. Even if you know what they need sell to their want first or you won’t get the chance to help solve their true need.
14. Offer a sense of community. We are all looking to belong in some way if you can add community to your ads and offers it can bring more people in.
15. Add scarcity but make it true. A risk something will end or run out triggers fear of missing out and makes us take action.
16. Sell it well and then take it away. If you can get people wanting what you have and then say who it’s not for this adds more motivation to purchase.
17. Enter the conversation already going on in their mind. If you can write your ad to what they are thinking about right now then they will click your ads in big numbers. But you need to dig in and really understand your market to do this.
18. Ask a compelling question. It’s really hard for us to ignore questions especially if they are on a topic we are interested in. So you could ask a question like ‘Do you know the one question all clients want answered?”. If they don’t they will very likely act to get the answer.
In summing up all of the above we are always communicating to the ad viewer self-interest.
If you keep even that in mind at all times you’re on the way to creating better ads and growing your business faster.