Online Advertising – What were they thinking? (If they were thinking).

Yesterday an online ad caught my attention – not because of what it was advertising, on the contrary, the ad gave absolutely no clue to what they were selling other than a brand name I’ve never heard of.

Out of curiosity I clicked on the ad and arrived at a site that sells kitchen- and dinner ware – pretty nice stuff actually!

I have worked with some pretty high-end brands of kitchen/dinnerware (Royal Copenhagen, Bing & Grondahl, Nicholas Mosse etc.) and like I mentioned, I have never heard of this brand: “Pfaltzgraff” (I doubt I’m the only one).

So what’s wrong with this ad?

Well, if we assume that the purpose of an online ad is to: 1, catch you attention (Headline) and 2, make you interested enough to click on it (Body text) then there are several problems:

  1. Overall
    If you’re not familiar with the brand, the ad makes no sense whatsoever – just try reading it after removing the brand name
  2. Headline
    Lack of relevant keywords – Unless your market research shows that 95% of the world’s population knows your brand, you’d be wise to include a word or phrase that describes your product/service i.e.:Pfaltzgraff Home Décor Sale or Pfaltzgraff Dinnerware Saleyour ad is more likely to be seen not only by loyal Pfaltzgraff fans but also potential new customers who may not have heard of Pfaltzgraff but who just searched for “Home décor” or “Dinner ware”
  3. Body Text
    There’s not a single relevant keyword in the body text of this ad:40% off One Item – Limited Time
    Enter Code: SEPT40. Sale Ends 9/20
  • Keep: “40% off”
  • Remove: “One Time” (it doesn’t make the offer sound more exciting (quite the contrary) – you can tell people about limitations on the landing page.
  • Keep: “Limited Time” Giving people a sense of urgency is a proven way to get them to take action.
  • Remove: “Sale Ends 9/20”You already said “Limited Time” don’t waste valuable space saying the same thing twice.I prefer the phrase “Limited Time” over “Sale Ends 9/20” It gives the reader a sense of urgency regardless of when the ad is read and is more likely to make the reader take immediate action. As opposed to reading an ad on September 1 that tells says: “Sale Ends 9/20” – which might make the reader think: “that’s 20 days from now, I’ll come back later“ (Which they rarely do!)
  • Remove: “Enter Code SEPT40” again a total waste of valuable advertising space that does absolutely nothing to make your offer more interesting – you can give people the discount code on the landing page.

So, what’s left:

“40% off – Limited Time”

which leaves you with plenty of room to add some relevant keywords and make the ad appeal to a broader audience other than just those who already knows the brand -You could try something like:

40% off Pflatzgraff kitchenware &
dinnerware, Hurry – Limited Time

Always be testing!

Don’t settle for what YOU perceive as the perfect ad – test different combinations of ad copy and landing page designs to find the combination with the highest conversion rate.

White papers – should you insist on registration before visitors can download?

In a recent article, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs raises the question: “Should You Put Your eBooks and White Papers (and Other Content) Behind a Registration Page?”. [Full Article]

This is an extremely relevant question for anyone using white papers and other downloadable assets to generate leads.

To register…
Requiring registration to download your white paper will give you the name/email of everyone who downloaded it, but you risk losing potential customers who are reluctant to give out personal information before they are ready to buy or engage in a dialog about your product/service – furthermore, you’ll find that an increasing number of people simply submit fake names/emails to get the white paper while avoiding being contacted by you.

…or not to register?
Allowing downloads of your white paper without registration will almost certainly result in a dramatic increase in the number of people downloading your white paper, you just won’t know WHO nor will you be able to communicate directly with them and your conversion rate will likely be much lower that with required registration. That being said, this can be a very effective way of getting your white paper in front of a lot more people! and you could still get good results (1% conversion of 10,000 leads is still better than 5% conversion of 100 leads)

There are good arguments for both approaches but there’s really only one answer: whichever works for you! and the only way to find out is to test both approaches side-by-side:

Just test it!
Run an A/B split test by having your online ads send half the click-throughs to a page where your white paper can be downloaded without registration and the other half to a page where registration is required before download.

Make your white papers “trackable”. Although there is no 100% accurate way to track conversions from white papers that did not require registration, there are a several things you can do to optimize the accuracy of your tests:

  • Use different file names for the white papers used in the test
  • Use different 800-numbers in each white paper – set up new numbers specifically for this test to make sure they are not generating calls from other source (yellow pages, magazine ads, business cards etc.) which would “pollute”  the results.
  • If the white papers contain links to content on your website, make sure you use different landing pages (links in white paper X link to landing page X and white paper Y to landing page Y).

In other words – make it all trackable in a way that allows you to measure and identify the source of all traffic (phone, web, email etc.) generated by this test so you can compare the end result and decide which approach works for you.

[eSuiteOne – All-in-one Website (CMS), eCommerce, eMail Marketing, Lead Generation, CRM, Customer Service Ticketing System,  Blog, Online Booking System, Web Analytics and much more]

Use the recession to grow your business

When small businesses tighten the belt, the marketing budget is often the first victim. Don’t make that mistake! – Many (most?) of your competitors are cutting back on their marketing – use that to your advantage – increase your marketing in media/areas normally used by your competitors. Potential customers will see less mention of your competition and more of your business – now is the time to take market share and position your business for maximum growth when the economy turns positive again.

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