Advertising Techniques That work
If you’re going to run an ad campaign, you need to have a plan. Needless to say, this starts with understanding your target audience and your product. But you also need to have a way to convince people.
Put simply, an ad campaign needs to give people a reason to click through to your website. This doesn’t have to be a logical reason. It can just as easily be an emotional appeal.
Let’s take a look at a few tried and true advertising techniques that have been proven to work.
Use social pressure
Humans are social animals. From our earliest infancy, we watch what other people are doing and follow suit. For instance, a few celebrities will start wearing a certain haircut, and suddenly it becomes popular for everybody.
There are two main ways of using social pressure in advertising: the bandwagon technique, and the anti-bandwagon technique.
The bandwagon technique takes advantage of our desire not to miss out on what other people are doing. By sending the message that “everyone” is buying a product or using a service, it encourages people to get on board. After all, if everyone’s buying it, it must be good!
The anti-bandwagon technique takes advantage of people’s desire for individuality. This can be because they value self-expression and standing out from a crowd. It can be because they value a sense of exclusivity or being “in the know”. It can also be a simple matter of personal preference, as with Burger King’s famous “Have it your way” campaign.
Appeal to emotions
Emotional appeals target an audience at the most basic, primal level. We’re all human beings with feelings. Sometimes, speaking to people on a more human level is the best way to make a connection. This works for two reasons.
First off, by speaking to people as human beings, you seem like more than “just a business.” You’re a real person, just like them! This makes your brand seem more approachable.
Second, people remember things that make them feel powerful emotions. Think back on your strongest memories. The things that come to mind are probably packed with emotion. Births and deaths, weddings and divorces, or even just small moments that made you smile. If your ad can elicit this kind of emotion, that will stick in your audience’s head.
One excellent example of an emotional appeal is this award-winning ad for Thai Life Insurance.
The concept is simple: a man goes about his day, watering a plant, helping a vendor with her cart, feeding a stray dog, and donating to a homeless family. Over time, the plant grows up, the vendor and the man become friends, the dog becomes the man’s companion, and the little homeless girl can afford school.
The ad has absolutely nothing to do with life insurance. But if you’re a human being with a pulse, it brings a tear to your eye.
Needless to say, this kind of advertising is easier said than done. The directing, the music, the acting, and the lighting have to come together just as they would for a dramatic movie. If it’s poorly done, it can backfire by seeming hokey or insincere. But when it’s done right, an emotional ad can be extremely effective.
Humorous ads are effective for the same reasons that emotional appeals are: they’re primal, and they stick in your head. And much like an emotional appeal, the ad doesn’t even need to have anything to do with your product.
A good example of this is Geico’s Gecko ad campaign, which debuted way back in 1999. The commercial doesn’t tell you anything about their car insurance, but it doesn’t have to. When you sit down to compare insurance quotes, the Geico name is lodged firmly in your brain.
Celebrity and influencer endorsements
Celebrity endorsements might just be the oldest advertising technique in the book. As a matter of fact, ancient Roman gladiators would often give product endorsements before a fight. Apparently, advertisers of the time were willing to risk their celebrity spokesmen getting stabbed in the neck.
Nowadays, celebrity endorsements are everywhere. Watch any TV show, and many of the commercials feature famous athletes, singers, and other famous people. Think of Michael Jordan, and Hanes comes to mind. Think of Shaquille O’Neal, and you think of Gold Bond. They’ve even convinced Adam Levine to sell acne cream.
At this point, you might be thinking to yourself that this is simply not practical for your small business. It’s not like you’ve got millions of dollars to spend on an ad campaign – if you do, contact us! But there are still plenty of endorsement opportunities available.
This is where social media influencers come in.
YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and even popular bloggers can be great ambassadors for your brand. If you get creative, you may not even have to pay for this. For instance, many gaming streamers will endorse a chair or controller in exchange for getting a free one. Similarly, a beauty blogger might be willing to do a write-up on your makeup in exchange for a free kit.
If you’re going to look for an influencer endorsement, make sure you do your research. Much like a celebrity spokesperson, an influencer will also reflect on your brand.
If they have a record of doing charity drives and behaving like a decent human being, your brand is going to benefit. On the other hand, it turns out that they’re known for saying racist things or engaging in petty internet drama, that’s a bad look for you.
Repetition is another tried and true technique that works very well. The concept is simple; by repeating a product name or slogan several times, the audience is more likely to remember it.
An extreme example of this is the notorious original commercial for Head On headache treatment. Throughout the ad, a voice repeats, over and over: “Head On. Apply directly to the forehead.” It’s annoying. In fact, it might just give you a headache, causing you to need some Head On. But once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget that there’s a product called Head On that you apply directly to your forehead.
In most cases, you don’t want to go that far. But even emotional and humorous commercials mention the product name. Ideally, you’ll want to mention the product at least a few times to drive the point home.
Choose the right advertising partner
If you’re going to build an effective ad campaign, it’s important to choose the right advertising partner. Ideally, they’ll work along with you, side by side, through the entire process.
When talking with any prospective agency, take note of whether they seem to be listening to you. Do they want to know about your customer base? Are they genuinely interested in understanding the benefits of your product or service? Do they believe in whatever it is you’re selling?
If you can’t answer “yes” to all of those questions, it’s best to move on to another potential partner. Better to spend a few more days shopping around than to end up in a business relationship you’ll regret.
VisCap Media is a producer of online advertising, with a focus on high-converting video ads. Our goal is not just to turn ad impressions into clicks. It’s to turn those clicks into customers. Contact us to set up an appointment for a free consultation. We’ll ask a few simple questions about your brand, and schedule a call at a time that’s convenient for you.