Do you want to design an online advertising campaign? Here’s what you need to know
Did you know that the customer has to see your brand’s message 4-6 times before they are ready to trust you enough to buy something from you? Therefore campaigns with ads that focus solely on the “buy” call to action will not work. Even if your customers register the ads, they still will not trust you enough to buy from you on the spot. Fortunately, when designing an advertising campaign, you can use a template that increases the effectiveness of your ads by incorporating the psychology of decision-making. How does it work?
The first stage of a good advertising campaign is called “building awareness.” Facebook even allows you to choose this as a goal for your campaign in the Ads Manager. What it does not tell you is what to include in those ads.
Meanwhile, the answer is simple: the customer has to get used to the fact that you exist. Don’t try to sell yet! You don’t know one another well enough, the time will come. Instead, show your logo, your product, your company name. That’s it. Why only this? Because your brand has not yet earned more attention.
If you’ve ever wondered why companies pay for big signboards or neon signs at the tops of buildings, then you have your answer. A neon sign with the name of the company doesn’t sell anything, it merely builds so-called aided brand awareness. A customer who is asked, “Do you know the brand X?” will answer “yes.” And this is the first step to selling.
Assigning to a category
When you’re building your brand, there are two basic measurement dimensions you should pay attention to. We covered aided brand awareness in the previous paragraphs. In addition to that, there is also a dimension called spontaneous brand awareness. How do we measure it? We ask the customer, “Name products in X category.” Try it on yourself: digital cameras, gaming consoles, elegant shoes. The brands that come to your mind spontaneously are called “top of mind” brands. It is imperative that your customers can assign your product to a specific category.
How to design an advertising campaign at this stage? Think. Why do people go to McDonald’s? To eat something (cheap and consistent quality). We go to IKEA to buy furniture. You’ll reach for Dan Brown’s book when you’re looking for a holiday read, and Jimmy Fallon will make you laugh (the process works the same whether you’re building a personal brand or a product brand). Your audience thinks in categories before they start thinking about individual brands.
So if you want to sell, you need a message that will assign your brand to the category that is present in the mind of your client. Remember one thing: the category should be useful. If you help solve a real — and frequent, if possible — problem, you are golden. BMW’s “Designed for Driving Pleasure” ads are an example of such a campaign.
So, find a category and attach yourself to it. But watch out for category names that are too professional (hence not commonly used) — your clients who want to “have a website” can’t really tell the difference between a front-end developer, a programmer, and a UX specialist. It’s like with doctors: more people know they have the cough, they don’t know they want to see the pulmonologist.
Look at the picture in this article. Graphics and fonts are the same as in the first stage. Thanks to this, the “familiarity effect” is activated in your client’s mind — he’s ready to devote more attention to something he has encountered before. That’s why we needed the first stage: to increase the effectiveness of the ads displayed in the second one.
Many companies think that proving their product is better than the competition’s is enough for the customer to choose them. And you know what? They are right. If your customer is convinced that your product is better, he will buy from you. However, consider the following scenarios:
- You sell the exact same thing as your competition. Apples, hammers, English classes, or chips. Your product is easy to understand, or the consumer doesn’t care much about differences.
- You sell a complicated product that isn’t necessarily better than the competition, though it is definitely different. And the consumer cannot compare one with the other. Cars, bank accounts, trips to Scandinavia — they all have a lot of parameters, and everyone will value something else in them.
- You sell a product significantly better than the competition, but understanding this difference requires a lot of attention from the consumer.
The consumer who doesn’t see or understand the difference will choose the product… which he likes more. The one which made him laugh, feel better, more appreciated… A consumer who feels that is willing to devote time to understanding the differences between you and the competition. Therefore, “liking” is a kind of emotional foundation for the next stage of your campaign — building preferences.
One definition of loyalty in marketing says that it is a “lasting preference.” Therefore, your ad must first build preference and then maintain it. How?
First, understand that preference is always based on a comparison. I choose X instead of Y — awareness of X’s existence, even the perception of X’s individual features won’t help you if the customer is unable to say how it differs from Y. So are we doomed to comparative advertising? At this stage of the campaign… yes. Although you can cheat a little. How? We will come back to that in a moment.
Secondly, understand that our brain has an enormous problem with processing numbers. They are perceived as abstract values. The brain desperately wants to put them in context, which gives room for some manipulation.
- Sentences like “Works twice as fast” or “Hits the source of pain more precisely” create an imaginary context (you don’t have to say that your product works faster compared to X, the customer will fill it in himself).
- Anchoring is placing product features (such as price) near other numbers (for example a higher price crossed out). The brain combines these numbers and builds relationships between them — and we remember those relationships (cheaper, faster, brighter) much better than the numbers themselves.
- Authority transfer is “borrowing” authority from something that the customer already knows and respects. Esteemed clients for whom your company has worked or the awards it has won.
At this point in our campaign, the customer knows you. He knows what you do. He likes you and can see the differences between what you offer and competitive products. It’s probably high time to start selling.
Advertisements at this stage should have a clearly defined call to action (buy now, visit the site, register) — remember that “sale” doesn’t necessarily mean spending money. The customer can pay with his attention, personal data, opening a new communication channel… In the end, you must, of course, earn, but look at the “purchase” in a broader meaning.
What helps at this stage? “Spurs” and deadlines.
- Spur is a short-term stimulus, often negative, which you emphasize in your advertisement and which is meant to force the customer to act. “Only two tickets left,” “three people are watching this product at the moment” — if you choose them wisely, you will push an indecisive customer towards the purchase.
- Deadline is exactly what you think it is: “the discount is valid for 30 minutes” or “if you subscribe to the newsletter within an hour you’ll receive…”
If you want to know more about this step in designing an advertising campaign, read the article on the psychology of pricing.
What if you sell products that the customer rarely buys and you can’t speed up the process? Imagine you’re selling wedding dresses (driving lessons or apartments). If the customer isn’t getting married, they won’t need your product. And what about the customers who just passed their driving license exam? You put a lot of money into convincing them to buy from you. And now they’re not coming back. What then?
You can design a campaign in such a way that clients who don’t necessarily have the need or opportunity to use your services (but know you, like you, and appreciate you) recommend you and your services. Launching the “recommendation engine” using an extensive advertising campaign (for example, on Facebook) is often much more effective than a tedious hunt for customers who are ready to buy from you. Let your would-be and former customers be your advertising media.
The question of how to design an advertising campaign is — I hope — already behind us. The campaign created according to the above six steps will be much more profitable than even the best-constructed sales creations. Good luck!