If you have anything to do with online advertising I’m sure you want to be as much ninja-skilled with it as possible. You want to have an exceptional ability of attracting attention, conveying your offer, grabbing the reader by the throat and forcing them to take action… just like a real ninja would have done it. Well… at least that’s what I want.
But there’s something harsh I need to tell you…
People essentially don’t care
They don’t care about you, your offer, your great marketing message, your brilliant discounts, your magic pills and whatnots. They just want to read their favorite blogs, get in touch with their friends on Facebook, and watch some funny videos featuring silly cats. Getting hit by an advertisement right in the face is not in their agenda.
Did you know that each one of us is exposed to nearly 4,000 marketing messages every day? (Just in case you’ve been wondering why people don’t care.)
What online ads really do is interrupt. They are the main tool of interruption on the internet. But users have accustomed to them so well that they’ve stopped even noticing anything that looks like a possible ad.
And it doesn’t even happen on a conscious level. The fact that ads remain unnoticed goes even deeper. I won’t be far from the truth if I say that we simply, really don’t see them.
So what can a ninja do about it?
What’s a lightning quick ad?
It’s nothing fancy. Everyone can create a lightning quick ad or banner ad. The task sounds simple (or does it?). All you have to do is create an ad that gets noticed, read, understood, and remembered in less than 3 seconds. And on top of that, it needs to force the reader to take some kind of action as well.
Why is it so important? Picture a situation when you’re driving on a highway. There’re tens of billboards standing there begging for some attention. But because you’re driving and because you’re doing it at a 100mph you can’t really focus on them for more than a fraction of a second. Only the best ones will get noticed.
So if the creators of a highway billboard do a good job they’ve made sure that the message is short, to the point, and eye grabbing. Or in one word – outrageous (like Bill Glazer says – outrageous gets noticed, great book by the way). And that’s what you want.
So what you really want is an ad that can be described using three words: outrageous & lightning quick.
How to create such a thing
There are three main elements of a good online ad:
As I’ve said you need to be outrageous. Headline is the most important thing in any piece of writing. No matter whether it’s an article, a blog post, or a marketing pitch. Some say that the headline accounts for 80% of success. This means that it is the most important element of your piece.
Here are some of the most important rules.
You don’t want to be dull. You want to be interesting. The worst that could happen is someone asking a “so what?” right after reading your headline. An example of a “so what?” headline:
New Year’s Sale. Everything 50% Off and Needs to go!
Well… so what?
You don’t want that.
First things first. Being different always gets noticed. Being outrageous gets noticed even better.
You can begin advertising your business by focusing on providing two crucial pieces of information: what’s in it for the reader (why are you advertising your offer and what is the offer) and what’s the main benefit of your offer.
If you have those two, and in addition you are outrageous and different you’ll do just about fine.
To make your job slightly easier you can use templates created based on some great headlines from the past. What was working in the past is very likely to work in the present too – if it works it works. Period.
Your offer is the second most important thing (right after the headline). Why isn’t it the first most important thing? That’s simple. If your headline isn’t interesting enough no one will read through to see your offer.
The offer itself should provide answers to three questions: What do you got? Why the reader needs/wants it? What should they do next (call to action)?
Simple, yet powerful message. And you can’t really get into more detail if you want to do it in a ninja way in less than 3 seconds.
But how to actually do it?
Your offer needs to encourage the reader to take action. There are two main motivators for taking action: fear of loss or possible personal gain. You need to pick one and target it. Write something that conveys the main benefit of your offer and explains how it can deliver some personal gain or prevent from some severe loss. Then give a call to action like “call us at …” or “visit our website at …” to get some traffic. (Check out my list of 9 million blog traffic sources, by the way.)
If you’re a real ninja you will be able to wrap this round in two or three sentences.
The last element. But why is the deadline so important? It’s simple. It motivates the readers to act fast. And the truth to be told is that if you don’t give them a deadline they probably won’t act at all.
You don’t want them to have a belief that they can take action whenever they like from now till the end of the world. You want them to know that they have to make up their minds till, let’s say, next Tuesday and after that the deal is off.
It sounds like this may result in less number of customers because not everyone might be able to make it in time. But as it turns out, having a deadline increases the overall response to your marketing message, and in essence, makes you more money by rolling in more business.
(Hint. Deploy a marketing board if you don’t want to do it yourself.)
That’s it, but let me summarize this post in one paragraph. Want to be an attention grabbing ninja? Create an outrageous headline that is different than all the other ones you’ve seen. Convey the main benefit and write it in a way that nobody can ask a “so what?” on it. Target either the fear of loss or personal gain in your offer, and then end it with a deadline not far away in time. And it all needs to be brief because you want your prospect to read and decide whether or not they want to take you up on your offer in less than 3 seconds.
What about you, do you have any ninja-like attention grabbing tips for creating lightning quick online ads?