Do Paid Ads Work?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Ads do NOT work if one of the key elements is wrong: Message, Offer, Audience.

For an ad to work, it MUST have the correct: Message, Offer and Audience.

  • The message is the text, photo, and call to action.
  • The offer is what you are giving away, or what you are promoting, the product or the service, the price and any discount.
  • The audience is the group of people seeing the ad.

The Message

It must be finely crafted and well-thought out. Sometimes something as simple as ‘horse for sale’ does work. Keep in mind to not make it overly complex, or hard to decipher with clever jokes and puns, those types of ads confuse people, get ignored and rarely work.

Don’t try doing what big brands like Coca Cola do by just having your ad say ‘Coke. Enjoy’. Big brands can afford that kind of advertising, but small businesses can’t. Your ad’s message needs to communicate how your product/service can take the customer from his current undesirable condition (before) and into a better, more ideal condition (after). To do that, you will have to have a product/service that can actually do that! Which brings us to our next item.

The Offer

This is the product or service you want them to buy. It has to be something of value, something desirable or something that can solve a problem for the prospect. Something that takes them from a before state into an improved after state. Offers that have a discount attached to them usually sell more, but you have to be careful not to get addicted to discounts as it cheapens your perceived value, and your consumer base will start to get de-sensitized, and you’ll need bigger and bigger discounts.

There needs to be a market for your offer. If no one knows what it is, it will be harder to sell. It is easier to sell things that already exist, as they require less explanation.

Also, for your offer to work it has to be priced correctly, taking your audience into consideration. Pricing is key. Ads also don’t work when they are unrealistic. For instance, a Facebook ad that sells a $8000 patio paver makeover. This ad will not result in any sales. You need to change your offer to something more ‘front-end’ and introductory, with a lower price ceiling. This is why people advertise free consultations to get prospects in the door, because the bar of entry is much lower; and save the heaving lifting of big sales for in-person interviews.

The Audience

Even if your message and offer are excellent, if you show it to the wrong people, they won’t buy it. You would not advertise re-financing mortgages to people who rent apartments. It is important that your message uses its insight from the audience you are targeting. When you know your audience, what their issues are, and what they want to achieve you can then know how to talk to them in a way that will make them relate to your ad. The message and audience go hand in hand.