Advertisers- How to Make Ad Creative that Converts
Every good marketer makes campaign choices with a business goal in mind. Whether you set out to increase brand awareness, revenue, or retention, every customer touchpoint must be crafted in a way that brings them closer to taking the action you desire.
While it’s important to collect and analyze past performance data to inform your ad creative choices, there are certain exercises that every advertiser can complete to optimize their messaging for new audiences.
Select your ad format with the end goal in mind
A packaging insert doesn’t always have to take the form of a promotional coupon. That being said, if your brand resonates well with value-driven customers and your goal is to drive incremental revenue, an exclusive discount or introductory offer may be exactly the format your advertisement should take.
Other messaging options include:
New product spotlight: If your brand is well known but your new product or service is not (or if you’re introducing a “new-to-world” product), use your package insert to educate this new audience about the value of what you have to offer. Leverage audience research to identify common questions about the product or service and highlight those aspects in your insert creative.
Building Brand Affinity
Community building campaign: Promote your affiliation with reputable social movements or charitable causes by highlighting your partnership with brand-relevant organizations. Just be sure to stay away from any potentially controversial stances on a particular issue; 65% of consumers have reported feeling “disappointed” with a brand’s political views. No audience is completely homogenous, and a retailer won’t want to take on the potential risk of alienating their own customers.
Contests: Another way to build your community is to invite package recipients to enter a contest or sweepstakes via social media. Not only will you have an opportunity to nurture them with relevant value-added content, but you’ll also be providing them with an opportunity to join your community quickly and without too much risk.
Creating Social Proof
Testimonial or award announcement: 80% of customers report that “authenticity of content” is the biggest factor influencing their decision to follow a brand or not. There’s no better way to take a prospective customer from the “awareness” to the “consideration” stage than to provide third party validation of the value you provide. Show off a recent award or pull a quote from an influencer testimonial to convince customers of your worth and to clarify your brand values in the eyes of a discerning audience.
While most package inserts will end up as a combination of two or more of these creative elements, it’s critical to ensure that your intended call to action is clear and the friction within the advertisement itself is minimal.
Balance your visual branding elements with thoughtful design choices
Speaking of “friction,” let’s take a moment to determine what that means in terms of this unique customer touchpoint. Friction can be defined as anything that delays or prevents your audience from converting.
A conversion can be defined as an account registration, a purchase, a white paper download—anything that indicates a significant level of interest from your prospect.
In order to remove any objections to your intended call to action, how your brand is presented in a packaging insert should (a) be cohesive with your existing visual branding elements and (b) be perceived as appealing, professional, and clear by the recipient.
Presenting a brand in a series of consistent, mutually reinforcing touchpoints has been shown to increase revenue by up to 23%, and sending the right signals through the visual execution of your brand values can mean the difference between an enthusiastic sale and a lost one.
- Make distinct, meaningful color choices: Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%, so it’s important to use colors that are not only high in contrast (to increase the visibility of your most important messaging), but also noticeably distinct from those used by your competition.
- Incorporate typography that inspires action: On a (relatively small) package insert, readability is key. Keep in mind the importance of hierarchy in shaping the reader’s experience, leverage the power of white space to increase the focus on a single overarching message, and be judicious when adding emphasis with colors, italics, bold lettering, highlighting, and underlining.
- Invest in high-quality imagery: While product photography or images of a user of your product or service aren’t always necessary to create highly successful advertisements, 93% of people believe images are vital when making purchase decisions.
Show someone who isn’t a part of your team a photo of your product or service and ask them to share their perceptions of both the value it is intended to provide and of your brand in general. If they provide answers that are antithetical to your intentions, consider changing your visuals.
Aim for relevance in your copywriting.
Most people don’t expect to be addressed by their first name during their first interaction with a brand. In fact, in a co-branding exercise like package insert advertising, that level of familiarity may come across as somewhat intrusive.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use your ad copy to make the advertisement relevant to the recipient, however. Considering seasonality, upcoming holidays, and the partner retailer’s typical voice and tone are all ways to signal to the recipient that your message is pertinent to them.
Research a retailer’s audience to understand their motivators and behavioral patterns. What state of mind are customers in when they order from that retailer? Are they likely to understand the value your product or service provides, or will more information about your offering reduce the friction in the purchase process?
Use these insights to inform your messaging, your offering, and your visual strategy.
Make your call to action clear and simple.
Unlike with digital advertisements, customers can’t always move from a packaging insert to their online shopping cart with the tap of a button. However, there are ways to increase your chances of a conversion.
Hick’s Law dictates that a person’s decision time increases as more choices become available to them. In today’s world, getting users to overcome distraction and take one specific action is more critical than ever.
Whether you want the reader to visit your website, join your social media community, attend an event, or make a purchase, they should be able to do it quickly and without any perception of risk.
Providing him or her with simple promo codes that have a clear expiration date, a scannable barcode for in-store purchases, or a QR code that takes them directly to a landing page are all better ways to facilitate action than asking prospects to send an email, make a phone call, or send a letter.
If you do use a landing page, make sure the web page creative ties in explicitly with your advertisement creative, and only include functionality that relates to the ad’s call to action.
For instance, if you’re advertising a specific product or product collection on your package insert, you may want to remove other products, calls to action, and even your website’s normal navigation structure to get focus users’ attention on completing the purchase you brought to their attention.
Test, test, and test again.
It’s worth repeating that design, copywriting, and other strategic choices should be tested and analyzed on a regular basis. While no retailer’s audience is homogenous, making intentional choices and investigating their relative impact is a critical component of creative optimization.
There are countless variables worth testing when optimizing ad creative, including:
- Headline messaging
- Character count
- Tone (negative vs. positive; serious vs. lighthearted)
- Discount type, level (percentage vs. monetary amount)
- Value proposition
- Negative space
- Font choices
- Color scheme
- Logo placement
There are several ways to track the performance of your offline ad campaigns: Tracking landing page visits and promo code redemptions are two ways to shape your ad creative with measurability in mind.
Running concurrent campaigns while testing one (or several) creative components can help you collect the data you need to optimize your advertisement creative quickly and give you the best chance of success with your next marketing initiative.