Here’s an ad conversion strategy that might work for you if you’re lucky, which is entirely possible, but probably won’t:
Step 1. Make an ad.
Step 2. Hope it all works out.
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Profit!
Advertising is the most powerful form of selling on the planet. People buy what they buy because advertising told them to.
What people want and even how they want is conditioned by ads. Marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry that’s been around for over a hundred years now.
It used to be something you had to hire an expert for to help you get it right and have a massive marketing budget to pay your marketing firm and to get mass media placements on television, radio, newspapers, or billboards.
But in the digital marketplace of today, with affordable, deadly targeted advertising platforms like Google and Facebook, and unbelievably powerful tooling for ad performance tracking, the power of advertising is within your reach.
Should you take advertising into your own hands, it’s also now on you to make sure you know what you’re doing. Hoping it all works out is not an ad strategy. Hope is not a plan. Leave luck to the gods and make sure you are optimizing your ad conversion.
- Purple Cow
In his 2003 book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, marketing super heavy weight, Seth Godin, says make your product and advertising a “Purple Cow.”
What’s a purple cow? Seth says imagine you’re driving down the highway and see a purple cow. Would that catch your attention. Would you tell someone about it? In other words: Is it remarkable?
The cost of the ease of advertising in the Information Age is it’s so ubiquitous that people tune it out. You’ve got to make your ad (and even better, your product or service) remarkable.
Speaking of Purple, color has a powerful and visceral effect on people’s emotions, their experience of your ad, and even whether or not they convert to a sign up, follow, share, or sale on your landing page.
If you ever dreamed of being a mad scientist, here’s your chance. Well anyway, here’s your chance to do some real science.
If something as simple as changing the color of a button on your landing page can have a significant impact on a visitor’s purchasing decision, just imagine all the other results you might be leaving on the table at the margins.
The only way to really know if your ad is working best is split testing (A/B testing) it. Tweak one variable and see which version performs better. Then split test your landing page for conversions as well. Facebook makes it easy to split test your ads. So, does Google Adsense.
- A B C – Always Be Closing
Don’t start with your ad. Start with the ultimate end result you want and reverse engineer it backward to the ad. This will give you the insight to design the very first interaction with your prospect (including who you prospect to) with the end in mind.
To stir your mind up with ideas about how to think about your sales funnel, here is an in-depth analysis of each of 17 of the most successful sales funnels on the web today. The companies with these funnels are absolutely killing it.
Make your ad consistent with your landing page. In terms of its look and message, the ad and landing page should be very congruent and the prospect’s movement from your ad to your website should be seamless.
Something made them click the ad. Don’t switch gears all of a sudden. Give them more of what they liked enough to grant you their attention out of the 29 and a half trillion other things they could have given their attention to.
Think like your prospect and make sure they see what they’re expecting to when they land on your page. Be sure your keywords are the same in your ad and web page copy.
- Keyword Tool
Google’s AdWords Keyword tool is the most powerful marketing research tool engine force of nature on the planet. This is worth reading.
Though if you haven’t already used AdWord’s Keyword tool, it’s even more worth simply logging into your AdWords account, clicking “Tools,” and selecting “Keyword Planner” from the menu. Play around with it. You won’t break anything and you’ll learn a ton about your market.
My favorite teacher used to always tell us to remember a simple acronym, K.I.S.S: Keep It Simple Stupid. Great advice. Hurt my feelings every time.
Your ad needs to be simple to be effective. Viewers need to be able to understand it in an instant.
According to the Journal of Marketing Research, ads that attempt to be clever, cute, or visually confusing do not make the same impact as simple and straightforward.
- Long Tail
Long tail keywords are super targeted, longer keywords that fewer people are searching, but the ones who are can convert better because they’re after something specific.
Here’s a very broad key word: “furniture.” Here’s the key word with a tail: “amish made furniture” (“amish made” is the tail). Here’s the key word with some long tails: “amish made furniture near me” and “buy amish made furniture online.”
Are you excited to get into Google’s Keyword Planner tool yet?
- Optimize for Mobile
Smart phones keep getting better and people keep spending more and more and more time on them. If you’re not keeping up, you’re not serious about advertising your business. Here’s how to optimize your mobile Facebook ads. Here’s how to optimize Google AdWords for mobile.
Email still drives more conversions than any other marketing channel. Optimize your ad conversion by advertising in emails to your email list. Don’t have an email list? Or not much of one, that’s mostly neglected?
Optimize your ad conversion by using ads to capture emails with a free offer (like exclusive content, maybe a white paper that prospective clients would want to read that shows your expertise), instead of to go right for the sale.
Use your email list with updates once a week to show your client who you are, what you’re about, and why your product or service is so good. Don’t be too pushy or sales-y. You have to give more often than you ask. But every four or five emails it’s okay to ask for the sale.
The best customers are repeat customers. It has been an inexorable truth since the beginning of commerce that it is more expensive to acquire a new customer than to sell again to a previous customer.
Optimize your ad conversion by converting the same customers twice. And three times. And four times. Squeeze all the value you can out of your advertising dollars by keeping up with your customers, and turning them into repeat customers.
How to do the above? Segmentation. It might sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Segment your customers by geography, demographics, socio-cultural factors, user behavior, and income / budget.
Use that information to offer more tailored products and services to your existing customers. Get them the upgraded version of your product or service. If you don’t have an upgraded product or service, create one.
- Stick the Landing
On your landing page, after the customer reads through all your persuasive copy, are they being left with your offer and a flat call to action, instead of a gentle push that transfers emotion?
Here is a super smooth, inspirational way to end your direct response page copy and increase conversions from your ad clicks.
- Unique Selling Proposition
What is your unique selling proposition, that is, your central benefit? Not your unique features, not what’s so special about your product or service, not how long you’ve been in business, not how many happy customers you’ve had— what is your unique benefit?
A benefit is how you solve a problem your customer has that is causing them pain. That’s what they want to know about. Someone motivated to buy a product or service to solve a problem they have will click an ad that does this right and convert to a sale.
- Interesting Call to Action (CTA)
“Buy Now!” Lame. Boring. Overused. Cheesy. Sounds like a pushy salesman. Try saying it out loud and see how strange it sounds. “Buy now!” “Buy now!”
Instead of the common defaults used on buttons, create a call to action button with a message that is part of the conversation you’ve been having with your prospect about your product or service, like: “Take this course.”
- Paradox of Choice
It’s an amazing paradox that marketing researchers have known about for decades now: the more choices you give someone the less likely they are to make any choice at all. They freeze up in “analysis paralysis” and do nothing.
People can’t keep up with more than four or five things at a time. This is actually part of the wiring of our brains. And four or five is asking them to do some work. Three choices are usually best. Two is good too. Here are 11 strategies that mind the paradox of choice to boost conversions.
- Words That Kill Conversions
Here are six words that trigger prospects at the last second to hesitate, doubt, and then get cold feet and bookmark your website in their browser never to be seen again: Quote, Price, Request, Services, Contact, Questions.
Marketing researchers think it’s because prospects take these as cues that they are going to be sold to, which no one wants, and conjure up images of an aggressive salesperson hassling them to purchase.
One way to optimize your ad conversions if competitive pricing is one of your unique selling propositions, is to lead with your price right in your ad.
This can also save you on ad clicks from a prospect for whom your price is an automatic deal breaker. Anyone who clicks your ad after seeing your price is not likely to have a problem with the price point.
- Don’t Be Annoying
Starting in 2018, Google’s Chrome browser is going to start automatically blocking “annoying” ads that don’t meet Google’s ad standards.
Familiarize yourself with these standards and make sure your ads aren’t too annoying so they don’t get blacked out when the new policy takes effect.
- Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso said it best, and Steve Jobs created the most valuable company in the history of the world by fully embracing it: “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”
To optimize your ad conversions, carefully look at, study, take apart, and try to understand the ads and landing pages run by the most successful businesses online and your successful competitors in your field.
If it works, it’s working for a reason. Figure out what that reason is and use the knowledge to optimize your ads so you can do more of what you do best.
Because the digital marketplace has made advertising open to you, it is now up to you to get it right. I know there’s a lot of information above, so I don’t want you to end up suffering from the “paradox of choice” in deciding where to begin, and then end up doing nothing.
So, here’s what I want you to do. Using your to do list, pen and paper, a word doc, however you do it— write down just two or three of the items above.
Go back up the page and scan through the list and pick the best two or three that appealed to you the most for whatever reason:
Because it would be interesting and fun for you to implement.
Because it seems to you that it’s an area where your ad conversion is weakest and needs optimizing.
Or because it’s an area of strength where you can open up big opportunities.
You may already remember two or three that stuck with you as you were reading.
Then write down a short, meaningful action that you can take to optimize your ads for each item you picked. Or if you have some time right now, open another tab on your browser and make a good start.
Some of these will take longer to fine tune than others. For some of them you may be able to take these insights, and in a few minutes, make a small, but important change that you can then keep track of for the rest of the week or month, and see if you didn’t optimize your ad some.
It’s a gradual process that requires lots of tending and fine-tuning over time. Selling is ultimately the most important thing your business does. You can have all the inventory in the world, the best idea, the greatest service in your area, but if you don’t have customers, nothing happens.