You put a lot of thought into your ad. You found a good and legal image that fits well with your message. You came up with verbiage that’s optimized to the keywords you’re targeting. You made sure you had the right link so that you don’t get slapped with automatic disapproval for a broken link, which can set your plans back.
You pressed publish. It was approved and ran for the whole time…but you got barely a nibble.
This has happened to me on more than one occasion. While it’s disappointing, it is an opportunity to understand why an ad wasn’t conversion-worthy. Here’s what I learned:
Why Your Ad May Not Have Done Well
There are five possible causes for low or no conversions on your advertising that you need to face:
- You didn’t ask – It’s a serious mistake to not tell people what to do next assuming they are smart enough to figure it out. It’s not about being smart. It’s about expectations. When they know what you expect as their next action, they’re more than likely to comply.
- Too much to handle – This is not about your offering, per se. It’s about all offerings in general. Some would agree that we live in an age where the choices are so numerous that, for some, it’s better not make a decision. There’s just so much clutter and noise that it can get overwhelming.
- They don’t want it – Sure, you told them. Named it and everything. But while unique is cool, people don’t necessarily want it if it doesn’t solve a problem they think they have. Let’s face it. How many times have you heard people swear up and down about a great product idea that they came up with, put money behind but fizzled? When you looked at it, you instinctively knew this was a born failure and wondered how the people who made it didn’t realize it as well. Fine, that’s a harsh example, but there are times when what you think is a great product for buyers, isn’t.
- They don’t get how it will make their lives better – This goes hand-in-hand with your audience not wanting your product. People’s perception is their reality. What they understand about life frames their choices. If what you have to offer doesn’t fit into their assessment of what’s relevant or valuable, then they will pass it, and you, by.
- Lack of trust – This is a bit of a gut-punch but you can’t expect anyone to open their wallets to someone or something they don’t really trust, can you?
Now that you have some idea of what might have gone wrong, is there any way for you to fix it?
Let’s take a look:
Problem: You didn’t ask; Solution: ASK!
Simple fix. Calls-to-action, CTA’s are important and because of their obvious role, they tend to be forgotten (ask me how I know?) Your best fix is to have an explicit, powerful CTA.
Problem: Too much to handle; Solution: Take it bird by bird
Anne Lamott tells the story of her older brother who had three months to write his report on birds and procrastinated until the day before it was due. Seeing his son so overwhelmed, their father offered some sage advice: “Just take it bird by bird.”
If you’re advertising something that’s too complex or too hefty to share in one sitting, you’re going to lose people.
Have you ever tried to get life insurance? How about a health plan? In cases like these, you may want to rethink your advertising strategy and perhaps go for an education strategy instead. Help people understand what you have to offer by breaking it down into easily digestible chunks. This could be adding them to the email list and stewarding them towards that ultimate conversion.
Problem: They don’t want it. Solution: Pivot or Scrap it
There are no shortage of great ideas but, if people don’t buy into them, they fizzle. Just because the person who created the product or service perceived a problem doesn’t mean the customers share that assessment.
If that’s the case, you have 2 options:
- Find a way to pivot and bridge what you have with what people want. If you have that kind of agility, you’ll be in better shape.
- Scrap the idea. Painful but sometimes necessary.
Problem: They don’t get how it will make their lives better. Solution? Paint them a picture
In creative writing, there is a rule I’ve gotten to know better: Show, don’t tell.
When you use words to paint a picture, it helps the reader to feel like they are a part of the story. That same rule can apply to advertising. Their perception frames the story and because you understand their point of view, you can apply your solution in a way that solves their problem. That’s the bridge you’ve got to build.
Your best tool here is a detailed landing page. This landing page will tell them what you have to offer, what it will do for them, and this is what you should do next. This kind of direct response copywriting is a great skill to develop because if you can make some great landing pages, you’ve got a ticket to ride.
Problem: Lack of trust. Solution? Build it
One of the ways to set yourself apart as a brand or marketer is to take the time and build trust. The best way you can do that is through a solid content marketing strategy that helps you to attract and build your audience, moving them from just liking your content to trust.
Another way you can build trust is to counter their cognitive dissonance (also known as buyer’s remorse). Offer a money back guarantee or not requiring a credit card for a free trial are just a couple of ways you can give customers a safety net to fight the cognitive dissonance they may have before it roots.
When it comes to figuring out what works and what doesn’t, testing goes with the territory. The goal is for you to listen to what people are (or aren’t) saying and adapt your marketing efforts to align with those views.