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You’re ready to launch. The anticipation builds. Will your ads create an impact? 

One really important step in the ad campaign process is developing creative that resonates with your ideal prospects. While this might seem obvious, it is often not approached with the right strategy that sets your ads up for success. 

You invest a lot of money in your media plan and there’s a lot of pressure to make sure that you’re driving revenue through your advertising. While there’s a lot of factors in a successful ad campaign, a big part comes down to the creative.

Ad creative framework

There’s a framework for developing relatable creative that we use with our clients in the ad development phase and we wanted to provide an overview of our approach that you can use as you tackle your next round of creative.

First, before you sit down to develop the creative, there is some groundwork that you need to do to make sure you have all of the data, the information, and the right insights to start putting your ads together.

The best marketing comes from knowing your customer very well.

  1. Who is your ideal customer profile or your ICP?
    If you were to look into the next six months, the next year, the next two years, who is the most likely to buy your product or service? Who is your best fit customer? It could be one customer type that you’re focused on, but very often, there’s two or three that you’re going to list as your primary customers. Make sure you’re really clear on who your customer is and all the things about them: what motivates them, what products/services they are most likely to purchase, why they buy your product/service.

  2. Who are your competitors?
    Your customer has a choice of who to buy from. What does the market look like and who are you competing against? You will want to do a little bit of research to look at how they are positioning themselves, what they say is their unique selling proposition, those types of things.

  3. Why would your customers choose you over your competitors?
    What do you do so well or different that they come to you over your competition? Why do they leave your competitors and come to you?

  4. What problems do you solve for your customers and how does that solution impact their life or business?
    It’s not just about how we do this thing for you, but it really is how does it make your customers feel, how does it make their life better, how does it make their business better? In the fact of B2B, how does using your product/service impact their customers (ie: help them get more business). Thinking downstream into the effects can give you great insights in how to position your messaging.

Once you have identified your ICP, you know who your competitors are, you know why they choose you over your competitors, you know the problems that you solve and what the impact is that has on their lives, then go get some real world examples.

Talk to your sales and customer service teams – the people that interact, and see your customers on a regular basis. Get some customer stories and find out stories of you coming through for your customers, making their lives/work easier, bringing joy into their lives, etc. These stories can help you create relatable messaging, imagery and can be featured even in your posts.

How to brainstorm effective creative

Once you have all the information on the table, then you’re really ready to start brainstorming the ads themselves. For this, we’re focusing on prospecting ads. These are considered top-of-funnel or demand creation ads. There’s lots of different words for it, but we’re focused on creating intentional awareness with our ideal customer to create interest and build trust and engagement.

We want to develop a series of communications that really hit our prospects at a personal level, something that resonates with them, where they think, “yes, that is me; I need that.” or  “Let me look into this because this might be something that could help me.”

We’re looking to create that “oh, yeah, that’s me” moment. So how do you do that? Once you have your information and you’ve done your research, list out the three top customer problems that your company solves through your products and your services. Think of ways you can speak to them using customer language – not your company language. Keep your focus on the customer, not you.

Step by step, do the following for each problem, one at a time:

  1. State the problem the customer is experiencing
  2. State the frustration that this problem creates
  3. State the solution that you provide that solves this problem and alleviates the frustration
  4. State the feeling/benefit to the customer or the business impact once the solution is in place
  5. What is the call to action that we want them to take

Walk through this framework with the first problem, and then think of two creative ways that this could be executed. This could be a carousel, this could be a video, it could be funny, serious or conversational, but develop a couple different ways that you could execute your creative and test different creatives against themselves.

Then walk through the second problem. What is the frustration that it causes? What is the solution you provide? What is the feeling or experience your customers get after the solution is in place? What is the call to action? What are a couple of different creatives that we could use to communicate this problem + solution + impact scenario?

Go through this process and then you’ll end up with at least six different creative executions. Once you have that done, then you have a launchable campaign.

Planning ad campaign execution

On average, a rule of thumb is that prospecting creative should be changed about every eight weeks. Sometimes six weeks, sometimes twelve weeks. So initially, planning for 8 weeks is a good average to start with. Once you get the ads live, you will watch the frequency, start honing in on your audiences and looking at the engagement. That’s where you can really fine tune how often you want to change your creative.

It’s recommended that you focus on one key message at a time. What is this one problem that you’re solving? Let’s run this for six – eight weeks or so and then let’s run the second problem. That way people are really starting to learn your brand over time and starting to put the pieces together because you’re focused with your messaging and not sending too many different messages at one time that start to confuse them. 

Over time as your ad sequences run, you can start to see, which creative responded the best, which messaging responded the best and that is really good business feedback to consider. You will get to see which problem + solution scenario is creating really great traction with your audience. From this you can determine if it’s something that you can lean into a little bit more and use  for next iterations of ads. You can also share this information at the business level and determine if you can iterate or ideate on your products/services a little bit more in this area. 

For metrics, you’re going to look at your reach, ad engagement, click through rate and brand lift. You will also want to look at your pipeline or your revenue metrics over time as your campaigns run.

What’s next?

This conversation has been focused on demand creation. Then, as somebody starts to become aware of you, as they start to pique interest, what are the things that they would want to know about you? This next line of thinking is what you’ll want to start layering in a more remarketing sense to continue the education and nurturing. What is it like to work with you? Why should they buy your product? What are some key features of your product/service? As you develop this phase of the strategy, it’s really good to talk to your sales and customer teams again to see what are some top questions that your customers have. What are their decision making factors, those types of things that you can start answering with digital content. 

In conclusion, crafting catchy ads and developing an effective advertising and promotional campaign requires a keen understanding of the target audience. Leveraging audience profiles and creating captivating advertisements allows businesses to connect with customers on a profound level, driving growth and success.

As always, if you are planning your next ad campaign, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if we could help you make your campaign a great success!