Your Ad Sucks: 7 Tips for an Effective Online Advertisement

Look, we’re not saying that your ad sucks. Maybe it’s really good. Maybe it’s the ad to beat all ads – an ad that is engaging and effective at converting viewers and visitors into paying customers.

What we’re saying is this: judging by what we’ve seen on the Internet, there is a chance that your ad may suck. It may not be very effective at convincing or converting, and that means it’s not an ad worth having.

Never fear; we’re here to help. Here are seven (seven!) useful tips you can use to transform your online ad from a dud to dynamite.

Solution Is Your Middle Name

Want an ad that rocks? It’s simple – offer a solution.

Solutions are the be-all, end-all of great ads. Every ad you put out there should offer some tangible, concrete solution for your prospects. It can be knowledge; it can be a service; it can be an awesome product that solves a million problems. Whatever your solution may be, feature it prominently, right up front, so people can say, “You know what, that’s exactly what I need!”

Call Me Mr. (Or Mrs.) Interactive

What do people like to do on the Internet? If you said “Watch cat videos”, you’d be correct. If you also said “Interact”, you’d be doubly correct.

An ad that is interactive, that encourages some level of engagement and activity from the user, is a strong ad. We’ve all seen them; ads that ask us to put in a zip code, or click a button, or type in a word. These ads resonate because they actively involve us in the process (and, honestly, give us something to click. We’re like monkeys with shiny objects. We’ll click anything.)
If you can make your ad interactive, you’re already halfway to click town.

Calleth Thy Customers to Action

Another great tip (we’re just full of them today) is this: include calls-to-actions in your ads.

We all know what an effective call-to-action can do. But we sometimes (!) forget to include them in our copy. Bad. Shame on us.

Make sure you include a solid call-to-action that tells the viewer of your ad exactly what you want them to do. Be clear and unmistakable. Most of the time, you’ll want them to click. But, you have to explain why they are clicking. If you want an email address or any other piece of information, you have to specify that, too. Just saying “Click here” isn’t good enough. You have to say why – and do it in a very direct way.

Be Specifically Specific

What’s one of the worst things you can do to make your ad suck? Being vague and general.

The devil is in the (specific) details. Outline exactly what you’re about and what you’re offering. Detail, to the letter, the benefit you offer. Specificity is what helps turn an ad from a good one to a great one because people want specifics. They don’t want to guess at what an ad – or a company – is all about.  If people start guessing, they start walking – walking away from you with their wallets in tow.

Step Out From the Crowd and Be Different

The market is so incredibly saturated that every industry has a million and one businesses all competing for the same pool of customers. From a customer’s perspective, the market is flooded; every option and offer looks exactly the same.

With an environment like that, how can a person be expected to know how awesome you are?

That’s why we differentiate. You must do something that helps you stand out from the crowd. What makes you unique? What do you offer that no one else does? Think hard – if you can figure this out, and put it in an ad, you’re already on your way to victory. And victory, friends, is sweet.

“I Can Get What for What?”

One reason people find ads useful is because they’re searching for something, and ads have the potential to deliver.

You know what people are really searching for? Discounts. Offers. Coupons. Something that gives them a great deal – something that makes them (metaphorically) slap themselves in amazement.  Showcasing a sweet deal is one of the best ways to create a winning ad. It doesn’t have to be a discount, either; you can offer something useful in return, such as a white paper or a video. You want them to think there is some incentive to clicking on your ad – or even paying attention to it in the first place.

Power to the People

Finally, if you really want an awesome ad, try a trick many advertisers have figured out: use people.

Images are great, but people – that’s where it’s at. Ads featuring human faces are more engaging on average than those without. The more interesting the face, the more people will pay attention to it.

If you want extra credit bonus brownie points, pair a customer’s photo with a brief quote from a testimonial. The one-two punch of a visual image plus a credibility-giving quote is a golden recipe for instant authority – which translates into clicks.

Your ads may not suck. But with this advice, they can be a lot better. Just focus on the customer and what you want them to do. Remember: If you build it, they will click.


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