Make Them a Simple Offer They Can’t Refuse

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advertising-persuasionIn online advertising, there are virtually limitless reasons for a user to say “no” to your pitch. It’s possible they just don’t need what you’re selling. Maybe they can’t relate to your brand’s identity or values. Perhaps they do get you, but can’t quite see it as a worthwhile investment. Think about your own internal dialogue as you digest an online ad:

“Not now, but maybe later.”

“Sounds fun, but not really my cup of tea.”

“Who are you exactly?”

Effective messaging requires a delicate dance of persuasion in which you essentially use your ad copy and landing page collateral to take away all their reasons to say “no”—and simplicity and brevity are among the most important philosophies that can help your campaigns succeed. In this first installation of our two-parter on crafting effective messaging, we delve into what makes an online ad so persuasive that people have no choice but to say “yes.”

Claim a Position
A clear, overarching brand identity is a prerequisite to a successful display advertising campaign. And having that identity in your back pocket will save you a whole lot of time in the long run—a successful online advertising campaign’s going to require not just one ad and one conversion path, but several. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is your brand’s personality? What are its core values? Use this to inform the tone, look, and feel of your ad content.
  • What are the main benefits of your product or service? Use these points to persuade.

Addressing these two questions will help position your pitch for clarity. Are you the chocolate chip cookie company that brings families together after a hard day’s work? Or do you make the chocolate chip cookies that would taste totally radical while riding a skateboard? Both of these brands have very clear target demographics—choose one for each ad version to make it abundantly clear what you’re all about.

Consider the below ad for a plastic surgeon. What’s his “position” or identity?

At first glance, there are about a dozen reasons someone might call this guy. In reality, there’s only one real reason: Improving self-confidence. Don’t over-think or try to summarize your entire product line in a banner ad—stick to your values.

Brevity is the Soul of All Clicks
In the same way a clear personality can help distinguish your brand from the rest, having clear, simple points of value will help users decide whether your product or service really is “worth it.” And keeping your advertising copy concise is a great way to increase the effectiveness of your ads.

In one classic Web usability study, conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, found that a website with concise copy scored 58 percent higher on a usability test than when it wasn’t. When Web marketing firm Quicksprout compared its super-concise sell sheet to its long one, guess what happened?

A 30 percent increase in conversion rates! Take out the fluff, and please, avoid those seductive industry buzzwords that don’t mean anything at all—stick to what makes your stuff great, whether it’s the gooey chips, portable packaging, crispy-crunchy exterior, or a low price point.

There’s A Place(ment) for Everything
A hybrid agency-ad network offers lots of options as far as how you deliver your pitch. You can place banner ads on thousands of websites within an ad network. You can retarget users with a display ad that calls back to the first ad they clicked on. With clear brand values and concise copy serving as the backbone of your campaign, the format of your ad is the last variable that ties it all together.

Remember that the content of the ad should always complement the format:

  • Banner/display ads: Have confidence in your landing page to do the persuading and let the ad itself generate clicks. Conciseness is paramount when your space is measured in pixels, not pages. Don’t try to cram an entire sell sheet into a banner ad—use that valuable space to make a bold value proposition and display show off your identity in a fun, inviting way.
  • Remarketed/retargeted ads: It’s not your first time targeting this user, so don’t act like it. If the first ad the user clicked really emphasized the number of chips in your cookies, hit this point again in a slightly different way. Remind them why they clicked the first time and give them even more reason to click again.
  • Contextual ads: When delivering contextual ads on an ad network, consider the types of websites you’re advertising on. If your network includes a several websites for fishing enthusiasts, create a version of your ad for that audience—even if you’re just selling cookies.
  • Mobile ads: Segment by device—create different ad groups targeting mobile devices and desktops. Mobile users and desktop users have very different intents when they look for information online. While desktop users are likely still in the research phase, mobile users are generally trying to make a decision now.

Crafting an effective advertising message is no easy task. Think about how many ads you say “no” to throughout your daily web browsing. Why do you ignore them or offer them a mere passing glance? Simplicity, clarity, and placement are essential to creating a persuasive pay per click advertising campaign that generates real interest and real clicks.

Tune in next week for part two of this series, where we’ll take a look at how you can use offers and incentives to get people to act now!