And if you talk to any experienced advertising person, they try very hard to be clever. A catchy title, sophisticated allegory, ample dose of humour. And of course, this content makes an ad “sticky”. Chip and Dan Heath too outlined the formula: simple, unexpected, concrete, believable, sentimental and stories – or success.
SUCCESS is great for something where the message is product, but What good is a clever ad if no one buys what you’re selling,
Take one of our customers as an example. He had a friend joining the call – a brilliant advertising man – and they both wanted to do a “clever” advertising campaign. The ad guy kept telling us about some of the “clever” advertising campaigns he’s done in the past. Campaigns for Apple, IMAX, United Way and other renowned brands in collaboration with renowned filmmakers and storytellers.
However, our customers – including friends of the great advertiser – are small businesses, startups and non-profits. They certainly don’t have the same budget capability as Apple.
I asked the advertiser what the budget was for these “clever” ad campaigns. He was excited to tell me they were many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sometimes millions. Then I asked my client if he had a million dollars to spend on an advertising campaign.
He said not at all. Then I asked my team if they thought we needed a million dollars for effective marketing. Our team also said no at all.
Smart is expensive. It takes time to come up with clever ideas, money to execute them well, and Often they just don’t work, So here are three ways you can run a “clever” advertising campaign on a budget and without.
1. Establish a Price Proposal
Value proposition is the reason people work with you, join your organization or buy your products.
A great value proposition almost always works. Even for the campaigns above, the most important thing is to answer the question: What do you do differently and better than your competitors?
Now, this sounds like a simple question, but it is actually very hard to do. And often the answer is nothing. But if you really have something that’s different and better than your competitors, will “clever” make your message even better?
For example, we’re running an advertising campaign for The Bureau of Small Projects (Practice What We Promote) and the headline is exactly this: The smartest people in the world work with the Bureau of Small Projects. This is not clever, a simple statement of fact.
I asked my team if there was some “clever” way of saying “the smartest people in the world work with the Bureau of Small Projects” that would make it better without obscuring the message? We couldn’t think of one. can you?
2. Get your message across to as many people as possible
Marketing is simple once you can articulate what makes you different and better than your competitors. Just pass that message to as many people as possible. The good news is that never in the history of the world have there been more ways for your message to be delivered to the world or for more people to see it. If what you do is really different and better than your competitors, people will notice and come to you.
You can start with the classics: Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. But these are relatively expensive and are becoming less effective as more people advertise there. So look for other “outside” places to get your message across. Quora and Reddit are much more cost-effective and get a lot of traffic. You can also try listing and reviewing sites. It doesn’t cost them anything to create a listing and then customer reviews move you up the ranks.
One trick that can be super effective: Instead of trying to get the top spot on Google — which is harder than the millions of blog posts on the topic and spammers lead you to believe — Google the word you want to rank for. Then contact the people who are at the top and ask how you can be featured on their page.
3. View data and adjust accordingly
This last part is the most overlooked part of marketing. Almost every organization works hard on delivering its message and, at some point or another, takes a shot at running ads. But it’s shocking how many people—even seasoned professionals—stay there.
If no one buys anything, you need to look at the data and find out why. It sounds simple, but I bet you will never do it.
Look at Google Analytics. If people come to your website and leave immediately, the problem is likely with the banner image or title. If they spend a lot of time on the landing page but don’t make a purchase, the problem may be with the call to action (or perhaps lack thereof). People like to be told what to do. If they go to the shopping cart but don’t make the purchase, the problem may be the price.
If you want to take data to the next level, install heatmap software like CrazyEgg or Hotjar, and you can find out which part of a web page isn’t performing well.
After that, it becomes as addictive as a video game. You keep improving until people buy something, use your service, or join your organization. Then make incremental improvements as you progress. No cleverness needed, just a little smart.
These days people are getting tired of being manipulated with all the misinformation and fake news. Maybe it’s time to save some money and try Smart for a change.