How to Build Ads that Compel Your Target to Respond

How are your ads pulling? Not Much? Interesting.

Not that generating response is the only reason to advertise, it’s not. Generating response is only one reason, albeit an important one.

Especially, if you want to sell something.

Generally, you advertise to persuade your target to think, feel, believe, question, trust, or take a specific action.

And, therein lies the key: Your ad succeeds when your target takes the action you intended.

So, again, how are your ads pulling? Not much? How come? Don’t know?

Wanna change that?

This week I review essential “How-To” concepts to help you build more effective ad copy. This will involve three reports:

  • Analytics for B2B Ads
  • Best Practices for Improving Message Appeal
  • Sculpting Words that Compel Action

Today’s issue is the first of these three installments on proven methods to produce effective B2B (Business-to-Business) advertisements.

So, let’s get to it…


Analytics for B2B Ads

This isn’t as complicated as the title implies. Actually, it’s something anyone can do. All it requires is a little time and some common sense.

Analytics is a systematic way to evaluate your advertising strengths and weaknesses so you can improve their effectiveness.

So, first some basic rules to help you start on the right foot:

#1 Rule: The relationship between your company and your market target exists and it’s personal.

  • Business-to-business relationships are not antiseptic. Outside your place of business there are important people who need what you can provide. Without it, they aren’t as safe, productive, efficient, respected, or profitable as they should be.
  • Because these folks are important, you don’t want to let them down. If you do, they lose and so do you.

#2 Rule: Product, service or technology features are little more than impressive baubles worth very little.

  • The proof is in the so few readers your ads convert into curious prospects.
  • If this weren’t true, your phone would be ringing off the hook, your email In-Box would be overflowing with inquiries and your website traffic would be threatening to crash the server.
  • Is any of that happening?

#3 Rule: Product Features are meaningless without benefits.

  • Pardon the redundancy with #1 Rule, but remember your relationship with your market target is personal.
  • Your ads need to enhance the relationship, connect with your target on a deeper, more substantive emotional level.
  • Do this and you succeed in winning trust and compelling desired action.


5 Steps to Analyze Your Ads

  1. Find your ad that has the lowest performance in every publication in which it is placed.
  1. For that ad, list all product features cited in the –
  • Headline
  • Lead-In
  • Body copy

Product features come from the product itself. They’re the same from user to user and don’t change. Alone, features don’t compel your reader to act.

If your ad focuses on features exclusively, you’re gambling that the reader has the ability to make the personal connection as to how the features impact the reader’s life.

This ability ain’t necessarily there.

  1. List “First-Level” customer benefits cited in the
  • Headline
  • Lead-In
  • Body copy

First Level” customer benefits are simple and obvious, appropriate for anyone interested in the product, service, or technology capabilities you’re offering in the ad. In Business-to-Business advertising, these benefits would appeal to the reader invested in company revenue/profitability, image, productivity, efficiency, safety, security and/or stability.

  1. List “Second Level” customer benefits cited in the
  • Headline
  • Lead-In
  • Body copy

Second Level” customer benefits are a bit more elusive. They come from understanding how the reader wants his/her life to change on a deeper level.

For example, a business owner is a stakeholder in not only the company, but the community as well. Increased productivity (“First Level” benefit) delivered by your product may carry additional, more vital benefits, such as increased employment, higher employee wages, and improved prestige in the local community, city or state.

  1. Describe “Third Level” customer benefits implied in the ad.

The nifty thing about getting a handle on “Second Level” benefits is that they lead you into understanding your reader and what makes them tick. This is “Third Level” benefit territory.

Sometimes, these deeper benefits are too personal, or too dramatic. Knowing them gives you deeper insight but you wouldn’t necessarily mention them specifically in your ad.

The big advantage in knowing “Third Level” benefits is in how they strengthen your copy. You can write more personally to your reader, and with greater impact, when you plug into this level.

                                                       * Next Time *

– Best Practices for Improving Message Appeal



Does this article address concerns you have with your Business-to-Business advertising? A no-obligation preliminary consultation is available. Describe your situation using the form on Steve’s “Contact” page to contact him confidentially.


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