Building the Perfect Ad Campaign
A powerful print or online ad campaign can help build your image and take your marketing to the next level. But to stand out, an ad must be well crafted and contain elements that will attract readership and elicit an emotional response so that the reader clicks or calls. In this month's feature story, we'll guide you through the Do's and Don'ts of creating an ad campaign that will have a powerful impact on your marketing.
A Feature Article By Greg Herder
Imagine yourself on Facebook or flipping through the pages of a local homes magazine. What do you see? It’s probably easy to describe: ad after ad of houses, along with the agent’s name and tiny headshot on each page. Sound familiar? Of course it does — that’s what a real estate ad has to look like, right?
In a word, no.
An effective ad — whether it’s in real estate or any industry — is comprised of certain essential elements that make it interesting and compelling to the reader. Unfortunately, the real estate industry has somehow become locked into this “house ad” format that in no way resembles proven, effective advertising, yet most everyone in the industry seems to be afraid to stray from this format.
Now, of course, you can get leads from house ads or house value ads, but these leads are often low-level,looky looky-loo's who just waste a lot of your time. Even if a few turn into sales, generating deal-to-deal leads from house ads is not a good long-term business building strategy. Rather than building your brand, house ads perpetuate the myth that all real estate agents do is offer merchandise with no value added. They also fail to differentiate you or reveal any compelling reason to work with you. The ads we’re talking about are those that create relationships with people long before they need a real estate agent. See the difference?
Build Your Brand to Set Yourself Apart
In the following paragraphs and graphics, we’re going to dissect an effective real estate ad and show you how you can set yourself apart from the competition by creating an ad series that gives you personality, that draws the reader’s eye, and more than anything, is unique. Great advertising is designed to build your brand, so that you build a base of people who will automatically call you when they need a real estate professional.
Being unique is essential because a unique ad will stop all readers and compel them to read your message. To set your ads apart, start with two key elements — the headline and an image.
The Secret to an Effective Ad
The headline is the most important element in your ad. The headline is your first and only chance to draw the reader in and convince them to read the text. A poorly written headline is like throwing your marketing dollars in the trash can — no one will read your ad.
The key to powerful headline writing is to pique the reader’s curiosity. If you create inherent drama with your headline, the reader will feel compelled to find out more. You want the readers to be asking themselves, “What is this about?”
A Picture Says A Thousand Words
A close runner-up to the headline in order of importance is the dominant photo or image used in the ad. Much like the headline, your photo should arouse the reader’s curiosity. A great photo has the power to reach out and grab the reader’s attention instantly.
The image you use is also the first and best place to inject emotion into your ad. Emotional ads not only draw readership, they are proven to be more effective than “just the facts”-type ads.
This is especially true in real estate personal marketing, where your goal is to differentiate yourself from all the other agents in your area. The way you go about this is not by focusing not on the business benefits of working with you (which are nearly identical to every other agent’s), but by making it personal and focusing on your personality traits and life philosophies, developing a relationship with the reader in the process.
We’ve found the most effective ads are very often the most personal ads as well. If family is the most important thing to you and your market is a family-oriented area, use a great candid shot of you and your family enjoying a day at a park to communicate what’s important to you in your ad. Like-minded readers will be drawn to it, and that’s how you create that all-so-important emotional bond with the reader.
Tell Your Story
Once you have written a powerful, intriguing headline and found an emotional, compelling photo to match, it’s time to focus on the landing page or the text of the ad, or what I think of as copywriting. Effective copywriting picks up where the headline and photo left off, intriguing the reader and making them want to know more. In online ads this the landing page that comes up when someone clicks on your ad.
The best copy is written in a story format that draws the reader along. This story should build a familiarity with you, as if you sat down and talked over a cup of coffee. Don’t bog down your copy with lots of bragging and long-winded descriptions of why they should work with you. Instead, reveal your personality and life philosophies to the reader in an attempt to build a relationship.
Finally, when writing your ad, don’t try to do too much. An ad is most effective when it conveys one or two points. Don’t try to cram every last reason why someone should work with you into one ad. Yes you should have a clear call to action that tries to capture their contact information. But remember that you still want the people who won't share their contact information to like you. Over time as they see your ads you will build a relationship with them. I call this online farming and it is very effective if you take the long term approach. Most agents run an online ads and only focus on the short terms leads, they are so focused on short term clicks.
Make Me An Offer
This next sentence is very important. Without fail, every single ad you create should include a call to action. This can be a direct response hook or anything that prompts the reader to take action.
Direct response offers offer the reader something of value for no obligation. Whether it’s a special report or a list of the latest home sales in the neighborhood, a video report, injecting direct response techniques into your ads and landing pages is a proven method of building your direct mail database and attracting more business.
Nuts and Bolts
Finally, your ads should always prominently feature your personal brand and logo, while minimizing your company’s name and logo. There’s also one more important lesson in ad creation: The Cardinal Sin of ad creation is forgetting to include how someone can get ahold of you. Include one phone number and your Web site address in every ad you create. The research shows that a lot of prospects that like what your ad says will skip the filling out your offer, but will go to your website on pick up the phone and simply give them a call. This is why have a great interactive website is still so important.
Powerful Personal Marketing is Personal
Hopefully this article has given you a greater understanding of what comprises an effective ad series. The more insight you give into your personality, the more unique your ad campaign will be. The more unique your campaign, the more attention it will attract.
So now again imagine yourself flipping through a homes magazine, and you come upon an ad that looks and reads like what we’ve described here. Do you think it would stand out? Do you think it would be effective? Do you want to be the first or the last to make that conversion? Make the transition today. It is well worth the time and effort.
I would love your feedback about this article. What was your number one take away? How are you going to use this information? What would you like me to write about in future articles? Please leave your questions and comments below. I greatly appreciate your feedback.
P.S. If you don't have the time or talent to create a compelling headline, find an attention getting photo and craft a story for your landing page along with a great call to action, they we would love to create one for you. We love doing Facebook Advertising Campaigns, and retargeting campaigns etc. Ok, we just love creating advertising campaigns. Take 10 minutes and fill out our Marketing Questionnaire and get a free 30 minute marketing consultation. Click Here to Fill out the Questionnaire. I know it will make you a better marketer.