2683871403_d0fe743c5f_mWhether your ad is destined for a print publication or a website, one thing is for certain. You want your ad to be effective. What exactly does that mean today, though? Many people have written off advertising because they feel that social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and social media marketing are the names of the game today. There is a feeling that ads are too promotional in an era when people are looking for relationships and more “human” brands. Many companies that do still advertise today don’t put a lot of effort into their creative, fulfilling the idea that ads are not well done and can’t really be effective.

We, of course, disagree. Ads can still be just as effective as they ever were, but the approach needs to be updated for the modern age. How can you go about that? Here are some ideas.

1. Remember that the people you are reaching with your ad are the same people you are trying to reach via social media

Companies often treat advertisements and social media marketing as if they are diametrically opposed. In social media, the focus should of course be on building relationships and solving problems for your customers, but ads should be “us” oriented. Not true. Your advertisements can also be “you” based and in fact we think they should be. How does your product solve a problem? How does your service help companies save money? This is not a new approach, by the way. David Ogilvy preached the same thing.

2. Put some thought into your ad

We are constantly stunned at what passes for an advertisement these days. Spelling errors and typos, out-of-focus images, and “design” that really should not be called design. If your company spends hours crafting your blog posts and white papers, an equal amount of thought should go into your creative work for your ads. If you are just going to toss elements together, it won’t work (we can assure you) and it probably is not worth your time, effort, or money.

3. Don’t focus on the “sell sell sell”

Calls to action are ok, but the era of starbursts with discounted pricing is coming to a close for most industries. If you are not overly promotional in your social media marketing (and we hope you aren’t) you should remain consistent in that regard with your advertising. People know that your ultimate goal with an ad is to get them to buy your product. You don’t need to slap them over the head with it.

4. Stay on message

Nobody should be shocked by your social media presence after seeing your ad and nobody should be shocked by your ad after seeing your social media presence. Your company should not seem like two totally disparate companies depending on where you are promoting your products. While you don’t necessarily need to be promoting the same things everywhere, you definitely want to maintain some similar talking points, a similar tonality, and a similar focus on key issues.

5. Make sure you have a way to track your success

Social Media marketing enables you to use a hashtag for tracking, or it can allow you to send traffic directly to a special landing page. You might think that print ads especially are not as easy to track, but that does not have to be the case. There are ways to use print ads to drive people to your Facebook page, to your blog, to a YouTube channel, or to a special landing page (or all of the above). Make it clear why it would benefit that person to visit those pages so that it’s more than just you trying to track things. You might be surprised about the successes your tracking reveals.

Many tactics in marketing today can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. You don’t think ads are going to work so you don’t put as much time into them and sure enough you end up with a bad ad that does not end up working. With any marketing action you try today, it’s important to be sure your company isn’t just “phoning it in.” Put your thought and creative spin on everything you do. People can tell when your heart isn’t in it, and if your heart isn’t in it, why should they care?

If you would like some more tips on how to make sure your ads are effective, leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pareeerica/2683871403/ via Creative Commons