How To Jump-Start Your Advertising Campaign

Image of .Com ConceptYou want compelling advertisements that drive hordes of traffic to your website that converts to sales, am I right?

Who wouldn’t?

Advertising that “gets the click” can translate into business growth and revenue.

But how are you supposed to improve your advertising and where should you even look for ideas?

One place to look is commercial advertising. Magazines, televised commercials and infomercials, world-recognized brands’ online advertisements and even the radio are all a goldmine for advertising inspiration.

Advertising Online – Watch the Pros

This isn’t a license to go out ripping off everyone’s advertisements. What I’m suggesting is that if you’re not savvy with wording, colors, layouts, or making creatives in general then fear not. You don’t have to be a revolutionary thinker.

Master the basics by learning from others. Study the ads you see in your Facebook sidebar or the wording used in ads scattered around your email inbox. I’ve even gone mining for inspiration at Graphic Mania and came away with some creative “aha” moments.

You also can scan and for a collection of some of the craftiest advertising out there. The only downside is after viewing a few ads on Creativity-Online, they start pushing for paid membership before you can see more detail.

Also try flipping advertising on itself by watching a TV commercial and critique it based on:

  • Types of imagery
  • Layout of graphics and text
  • Calls to action: How many? What kind?
  • Emotional triggers: Which ones?
  • Social networks the advertiser uses
  • Tone of voice
  • Colors they use to entice
  • Real-world benefits to the buyer

Listen and watch closely at what the advertisement pushes. Are they selling benefits or are they just giving you a bullet list of bells and whistles? If the advertiser is on their game, they’re conveying the benefits of their products and services.

When you’re just starting out and clueless you’ll want to experiment with ads similar to the pros. After all, a well-known brand with a deep advertising budget has likely poured substantial market research (and dollars) into their ad campaign. We’d be fools not to riff off what works.

Take a look at this Nike page and scroll below the fold at the apparel category buttons. The simplicity and strong, direct copy written in their rectangular buttons are inspiring. They don’t have to say much because they did a great job blending compelling imagery and text.

Try Innovative Advertising

Studying the pros for guidance can save you advertising dollars if you’re at a loss for ideas. The logic is, if you follow what works then at least you’re building on solid ground.

But thinking outside the advertising box is certainly worthwhile. Feel free to experiment with different colors, voice inflection, strong calls to action, or even weaving client testimonials into an advertisement.

Do most of your competitors advertise online? Try marketing offline with direct mail pieces (see Nextmark).

Are other advertisers in your space using the same old and tired text-only advertising? Create a short video slideshow to pitch your product or be brave and get in front of the camera.

If you sell a physical product, solicit some of your buyers to film themselves happily using (or in possession of) your product. Then, after you get their consent, create a video mashup of those buyers. Just remember not to put out over-hyped, over-promised or misleading ads because all you have is your credibility.

Once your credibility is shot, you’re back to serving tables.

Try to keep your ads direct and use the language of your buyers. This will resonate with them and make them say, “hey, Company XYZ sounds like they know exactly what I’m feeling and think. They get me.”

You don’t have to go this alone. Growing your business with punchy advertising can be as easy as studying the market around you. Find reputable businesses and advertisements that appeal to you or your target market and take notes. Listen intently and watch how the winners in your industry are capturing leads.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Have you already been spying on industry leaders to enhance your advertising?


30 Responses to How To Jump-Start Your Advertising Campaign
  1. Brandon@Make Money Blogging
    February 26, 2011 | 7:59 pm

    Good points man. No need to reinvent the wheel when fortune 500 companies already spend hundreds of thousands developing ad campaigns. Copy their successful strategy with a slightly modified version of your own.

    • Jon
      February 27, 2011 | 8:24 am

      Exactly. We don’t have those insane ad budgets so we really have to work smarter basing our strategies off of proven methods. I appreciate your visit and input, Brandon.

  2. Sam Ayodeji@ Secrets of Entrepreneurship
    February 27, 2011 | 5:11 am

    Jon, these are good tips to not and follow when planing on advertisement campaign for a company. Thanks for sharing and also, I appreciate your comment on my blog. Good job.

    • Jon
      February 27, 2011 | 8:22 am

      Thank you, Sam. Stop by any time.

  3. Geek Face
    February 27, 2011 | 6:31 am

    Hey Jon,

    Good post here. I’ve started being a lot more aware of adverts on TV since I’ve been involved with IM. Its interesting to see how the bigger companies approach things. Split testing ads is really important as the slightest little changes can make a big difference, colors being one of the biggies

    • Jon
      February 27, 2011 | 8:22 am

      Definitely a good call on colors; they do matter. It’s interesting how being in business for yourself makes you view advertisements in a new light, right? Yep, tireless testing is hard work but pays off. Thanks Geek Face!

  4. Patricia@lavender oil
    February 27, 2011 | 10:39 pm

    Hi Jon

    Some great information here. I haven’t tried ads yet so these are very helpful hints for me to consider if/when I do. Thanks for sharing them with us Jon. Appreciated.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Jon
      February 28, 2011 | 7:45 pm

      You have great and interactive community at your site without ads, Patricia. Long comment threads over there. Thanks for your time.

  5. Adrienne
    February 28, 2011 | 11:23 am

    Hey Jon,

    Great post and great information on this topic.

    In learning about advertising, this is exactly what we were told to do. It’s not that you want to “rip off” what is already out there but it’s a great way to give you some really good ideas. For example, I’m not very creative when it comes to coming up with headlines, etc. But when I look at what is successful it gets those juices flowing so to speak. It just helps you understand which headlines grab your attention and which ones don’t. All the big companies have already done all the work for me. I just need to tweak those strategies to fit with my own campaigns.

    Thanks for this information Jon, awesome post.


    • Jon
      February 28, 2011 | 7:47 pm

      Many of us may stare blankly at the screen but once we see what’s working “out there” we quickly gain momentum using others as templates. You’re right, the big companies have done a lot of the work so we’d be fools not to leverage their efforts.

  6. Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion
    March 2, 2011 | 10:58 am

    This was great Jon. I’m a huge fan of not trying to reinvent the wheel, especially considering there are so many people out there doing things the right way.

    Take websites for example. I’m constantly looking at other blogs and sits and saying, ‘Why don’t I do that?’

    If we can see the world from a ‘student observer’ point of view, it’s amazing the things we’ll learn.


    • Jon
      March 3, 2011 | 8:12 pm

      Right on, my friend. For now there’s no shame in borrowing strategies that work. With time and experience you will wind up spotting trends, forecasting, and will have established enough authority that you can venture out and set some trends of your own. Reinvent the wheel later, for now…let’s learn from winners and just put one foot in front of the other!

  7. Hi Jon! Awesome advice in your post.

    I am planning to do some advertising within the next few months and though I have tried writing the ad a couple of times, I know it can be better. Taking a closer look at the writing of some of the Facebook ads, and others from big-name brands is a good idea.

    Hopefully, if I look at enough of them, I’ll learn from their similarities.

    • Jon
      May 7, 2011 | 6:44 pm

      Thanks, Jeanine.

      It’s great to hear you’re looking to branch out into advertising. Using the heavy-hitters as a guide can certainly help you get the creative juices flowing. Have you considered switching to a self-hosted domain?

  8. Dr. Bob Clarke
    May 8, 2011 | 8:11 am

    Hi Jon,

    I’m used to using a scientific style of writing, so you can imagine I’ve had a bit of a jump learning to write effective ads. In fact, I’ve taken some copywriting classes and read many books just to overcome my prior programming! :-)

    One of my mentors suggested a source to study effective advertising and copywriting, and I though he was crazy.

    He suggested I look at the TABLOIDS! Yuck! But when I thought about it, I realized that these same tabloid magazines sit at the check out counter of our local grocery store and people are drawn to browse through them based on their effective headlines!

    So I have started to browse tabloid headlines and am learning what creates attention and what doesn’t. You never know where you might find inspiration!

    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it!

    • Jon
      May 11, 2011 | 8:46 pm

      Hi Bob,

      It’s wild how much you have to adjust your writing online from the academic tone. What would be considered a solid piece in school would fall flat on our websites. Especially paid ads.

      Yep, tabloids work for great headline and topic inspiration. It’s sad that we’re drawn to them. Let’s try not to let them dumb us down while we scan them for an angle on our next article :)

  9. Oliver Tausend
    May 9, 2011 | 3:50 am

    Hi Jonathan,

    I love that: All we have is our credibility. Keeping that in mind, we have to stay away from any type of hype.

    I also second you on your idea of learning from others, from the good and the bad and ugly as well.

    I always love your ideas because they come from an angle I wouldn’t have thought of myself.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care


    • Jon
      May 11, 2011 | 8:48 pm

      Credibility is everything, right? Jeopardize that and we’re sunk. I’m glad you’re a fan of learning from others; it helps us avoid unnecessary bumps and bruises along the way.

  10. Heather C Stephens
    May 9, 2011 | 12:02 pm

    Hi Jon,

    I love the idea of getting inspiration from other sources to help you with your advertising. I love looking and studying advertising on tv, print, direct mail and online in order to get ideas for myself.

    I think putting together a swipe file of ads that feel compelling to me, regardless of the industry, has helped me in my marketing. :) Flipping through it is a great way to brainstorm for me.

    Great tips as always, Jon,


    • Jon
      May 11, 2011 | 8:51 pm

      Hmm…you have me beat there, Heather. I’m not so good at curating ad content for future reference. That’s something I’ll create a simple process for because I like the approach and use it on other facets of my business. A clever marketer you are, indeed ;)

  11. Tommy DiPietro
    May 9, 2011 | 1:19 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Great post.

    I love to get new ideas just from something I like
    on a website or even the layout of the site.

    My new blog which is only a little over a month
    old is still new and I am always looking to improve.

    As I search the web, if I see something I like, I
    will definitely take the idea and try to use
    it on my site.

    Thanks for the advice!
    Tommy D.

    • Jon
      May 11, 2011 | 8:53 pm

      Hey Tommy,

      Congrats on the newer blog and I wish you well with it. Some things we find along our travels may look shiny and great but we may find they don’t work well for our business. Trial and error. Ideally we take the time to study the “why” behind a given design element, headline structure, ad copy or whatever else we plan to use. If the science behind it is sound then at least there’s a good foundation.

  12. Jane | SEO Blogs
    May 9, 2011 | 8:55 pm

    Hey Jon,

    This is an interesting topic. I confess that I am seriously bad at it and may need help. That is the reason I am hesitating to put myself and my blog in front of mass advertising.

    Even though I get the color and design ideas for graphics I won’t be able to get the right “purposeful” ad lines! I should outsource.

    Great information as always.


    • Jon
      May 10, 2011 | 10:28 pm


      You do well with your content publishing which is apparent with your community size, guest posting and site rank. Paid ads are a great supplement but if you find that you can hit your numbers (subscribers or sales – whichever you’re targeting) with no ad outlay – more power to you :)

      A compelling headline gets the click. As do images of smiling women.

  13. Tisha
    May 9, 2011 | 9:18 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    We learn from the world around us. Everything we see and hear gives us ideas on how to go about doing things.

    Looking at advertisements on the TV and everywhere else to get ideas is a great idea.


    • Jon
      May 10, 2011 | 10:29 pm


      That’s the truth. Just take a look around and use your observations as a guide. Most of the time I find I become most inspired in the car when I turn the radio off. How about you?

  14. Dev
    May 10, 2011 | 2:30 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Awesome post. Spot on. Recently i won a Facebook Ad campaign, I think I’m going to use it for Blokube promotion.. !

    These are fantastic tips, bro. Thanks for sharing this great post..


    • Jon
      May 10, 2011 | 10:49 pm

      Hi Dev,

      That’s great, man. Congrats for winning that, I hope it goes well for you. Blokube does well on its own but nothing wrong with more! Best wishes.

  15. Jym Tarrant
    May 11, 2011 | 8:35 am

    Great stuff as always Jon.

    I love to do this, even just as advertising passes by on the TV or through other media.

    I’m especially wary of watching which emotional hooks and triggers are being employed. I’m hoping to teach my daughter to see through all this stuff since I know how much she’ll be bombarded with while she’s growing up (too much!)

    Also what you said is very powerful – the design and layout of large commercial brands is a fantastic resource to be plundered for inspiration (but not plagiarized, as you mentioned!)

    Thanks for sharing these insights mate,
    All the best,

    • Jon
      May 11, 2011 | 8:56 pm

      TV is dangerous but it certainly offers some gems once in a while. I commented on another site today about how I now have a post in “drafts” as a result of a commercial I watched.

      Wow, Jym. I like that you’re getting an early start teaching your daughter about ads and marketing. It’s important to view that material objectively. Emotional hooks and triggers sell :)

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Trackback URL