Ad strategy vs ad copy, which of the two is better?Many business owners seek out the ancient wonders of advertising for a variety of reasons:
- To tell people about their thing.
- To rekindle the dying flame of a formerly glorious product or service.
- To tell people about themselves.
When it comes to advertising, business owners often place more emphasis on their ad copy. In their minds, they believe that if people only understood them and their solutions a little better, sales would come rushing in. A noble thought. The truth is: how to market and advertise your business has more to do with ad strategy than ad copy. Let's take a look at a generic hypothetical figment of my imagination, called Plumber Joe. Plumber Joe is notoriously known for his sewer repair and replacement services. For any sewer problems in your community, you can trust him to get it fixed and running perfectly. However, he fixed the problem with a rather traditional approach. He digs your soil up, creates trenches, goes directly to the leak and then repairs it. In a competitive industry where most sewer fixes are done in a trenchless method, Joe is a bit held back. People don't like any mess, yet Joe the Plumber still dig anyway. When his sales calls began declining, he came to advertising to be his magic pill. The ad copy? Superb, unrivaled, unequivocal. The results? Still measly and uninspiring? Why? We've been preconditioned to believe that advertising is focused more on ad writing than ad strategy. That's not the case. In the words of Roy H. Williams:
"Advertising will only accelerate what was going to happen anyway."
People will keep on coming back for a solution they like, advertising only widens the reach and hastens the process. That said, our focus should be on ad strategy versus ad copy, and I will explain this further here. Keep reading.
Ad Strategy vs Ad Writing
Before we go any deeper into the topic, let's first define and differentiate ad strategy vs ad writing.
The strength of your advertising techniques relies on the power of your ad strategy. But what is advertising strategy? Ad strategy is your action plan in going about your advertising - whatever purpose you dedicate your advertising efforts for. Think of it as the blueprint that guides the construction of a wonderful building. Your advertising strategy covers everything from the central core of your messaging to your advertising channels. A few examples of advertising strategies include inbound marketing, outbound marketing, relational and transactional marketing. Ad strategy focuses less on the types of advertising strategies. Strategizing is more about deciding on how and why you will make the point you are intending to make in your ads.
Ad writing, on the other hand, is the process of crafting your killer ad copy. This usually contains the headlines and content that appear in your ad. A good ad writing strategy incorporates elements of advertising strategy. For example, you want your ads to reflect your branding, objectives, and tone. Normally, good ad copy should persuade and influence your target audience into taking your desired action. Instead of dealing with what point you’re trying to make as with ad strategy, ad writing focuses on two things:
- Taking an unexpected approach to the subject matter.
- Using the least amount of sticky words or phrases to get your message remembered.
Picking up from our analogy earlier, think of ad writing as the materials you will use for the building. There's just one problem. Even if you use the sturdiest, most premium materials available, you won’t produce a world-class building without the blueprint. Like putting make-up on a pig, pretty ad writing will never mask an ugly solution. Ad writing only focuses on a single area within your entire ad strategy. Whereas ad strategy is more holistic as it considers not only the advertising per se, but also your solution. By that, I mean how your solution fits the public's perception and meets their felt needs. Ad strategy definitely takes precedence when we're talking about ad effectiveness. You could have the best ad copy in the world. However, if you're not using the right advertising strategy, getting the results you want is a long shot. For your business, you don't want ad writers who will produce ads that satisfy you. You want to pair a desirable solution with impeccable ad writing that satisfies your audience. Ad strategy does just that. Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads® is the Master Strategist who can give your business the holistic advertising it needs. Book a call.
Bad Strategy Happens
Okay, so strategic advertising is what it takes to persuade people to engage with you. However, not every ad strategy is effective. Even with a blueprint, a bad strategy will yield the same result as not having one at all. What is a bad ad strategy? A bad ad strategy is one that doesn't take your audience into consideration. It's like giving bait that fishes don't like. Naturally, little to no consumers will be interested in what you have to offer. Why? Because they're not at the forefront of your mind when you crafted the advertisement or worse, developed the solution. Bad strategy = little engagement, mediocre sales and poor public perception Here's an example of a bad ad strategy in action: Every entrepreneur is prone to wishful thinking. It is often the belief that advertising is the missing link between their solution and endless sales. Let’s envision an entrepreneur that seeks a platform, for example, a radio, to deliver their message. Long story short, they found a popular radio station that had good frequency, a loyal following and great ad writers. A trifecta that most businesses would like. The business owner assumes (not presumes) that a radio schedule could make the difference he wants for his business. So he spends to have his commercial featured in prime time.
Many heard the message, many may have liked the message but only a handful bought. Do you want to know why? Because that's not how advertising works. As entrepreneurs, it pays to ask yourself before jumping on the advertising train: "why is my solution not selling?" This should give you a general idea of what you’re doing wrong. Look inward, because audiences will buy whether you advertise or not when they need your products and services. Remember that most advertisers (except Wizard of Ads™) will accommodate whatever reason you have for advertising. They'll be agreeable and give you empty promises that you want to hear just to score a gig. That’s not what you need. You want advertisers who will question your motives. You want copy writers who understand how to speak to the buyers underlying felt needs. You want creatives who understand how to trigger your prospects pain and pleasure points. Experts that will help you develop the ad strategy that will actually give you the results you need to accelerate growth. Advertising on a reputable network, using a popular platform or partnering with a famous personality are all potential tactics. But none of them matter without the right message and distribution strategy. Remember:
"The media doesn’t make the ad work. The ad makes the media work." - Roy H. Williams
Excellent Copy. Miraculous Copy. World-class Copy.
Advertising is powerful. The best ad writers can concoct messages that turn skeptics into raving fans. There's no doubt in my mind that world-class copy can produce favorable results. The only question is: can you keep your promises? To overpromise, then underdeliver with a mediocre product or service is unsustainable. Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to discourage you or insinuate you have poor solutions. However, if you've tried advertising many times over and continue to fail, maybe your solutions need a makeover. In the worst-case scenario, you don't even manage to produce a sale — even with impeccable ad copy. "But why?" you ask yourself, scratching your head. Indeed, a great piece of excellent, miraculous, or world-class ad copy can turn heads and earn accolades. However, if your fundamental ad strategy is riddled with flaws, you are:
- Answering a question no one is asking.
- Trying to talk to too many people with not enough frequency.
The only merit you get for the ad copy is a bunch of commendations and comments. Not sales. In other words, the ad had a minimal or negative impact on your business. You thought, if only people understood the nitty-gritty of your product, they'll buy. Sadly you thought wrong, and people still don't want what you offer.
“84% of buyers do not want to see under the hood of your products and services.” – Ryan Chute
That's the pitfall that most business owners suffer from. Ad copy about you, your business, and your products and services will not get people to buy from you.
The Real Problem
Have you ever wondered what makes Christmas presents extra exciting? First, kids anticipate something they really like to be inside those gifts. Second, the gift wrap adds an extra layer of mystery and intrigue that gets their dopamine squirting. But what happens when they unwrap the present only to find gifts they never wanted in the first place? You get sighs of disappointment, aching hearts, and children who will cry themselves to sleep. The same principle applies in advertising. Your ad copy is the gift wrap and your solution is the gift. The ad strategy is the entire thought process involved when deliberately crafting your solution. Are your customers getting what they asked for (and more), or do you leave their home in disappointment? The real problem is no one wants the gift they didn’t ask for. In the words of Roy H. Williams, it's a loser, a dog, and a mistake. When entrepreneurs give in to their wishful thinking and false preconception of advertising, they walk into this trap.
“Your closing rate is determined by how closely your advertising and buying experience match.” – Ryan Chute
Solving this problem requires an honest evaluation of yourself and your customers. Is there really a market demand for my solutions? Am I selling what people are asking for? Or, am I just selling a solution I think people want in hopes that it will create demand? Selling just ain’t all about you.
Fish with Bait That You Know The Fish Really Love
In the world of ad strategy, your business is one of two things:
- An independent entity that performs advertising on its own.
- A company that seeks the help of professional ad experts to craft the ads for them.
If you happen to fall into the first category, recalibrate your solutions. Maybe you could add extras that amp up your offer. I call this your perfectly fair competitive advantage. What can you offer to boost your product or service's overall value? When you already have solutions that the public likes, your ad copy follows. That's what "fishing with bait fish love" means. That's the right ad strategy for your business's advertising endeavors. For companies in the second category, your business will rely heavily on the quality of ad experts you hire. Yes, the quality of the ad experts you work with, not only the ads they make. Here's a tip: You want ad writers that dig deep into your core beliefs. One that questions your existing tactics and provides valuable insight that can improve your ad strategy. The best ad experts are those that tell you what the public already wants, so you can recalibrate accordingly. When you give people what they want, you are already a forerunner. Ads only speed the process up and expand your reach.
The Danger of Self Diagnosis
Here are some words of caution for business owners who handle their own advertising accounts. Self-diagnosis will more often than not be inaccurate because of bias. Prescribing a form of treatment to a self-diagnosis can hurt you more than it helps. That's where seeking external support for your advertising efforts comes in. In the medical field, if doctors allowed patients to self-diagnose and self-treat, they would be charged with malpractice. The same goes for ad strategy, in my humble opinion. Ad experts work with businesses to fully develop the best ad strategy. Your ad copy is the treatment and crafting effective advertisements is the easy part. However, the diagnosis is where it gets tricky. Many diseases share the same symptoms. Getting to the bottom of the disease is more than glancing at the symptoms and immediately prescribing a cure. In the same way, you want ad experts or diagnosticians to accurately examine the flaws in your ad strategy. Creating a strategy is a cold, objective and suspicious process because we're looking at all angles. This is a fact, and your business will need scientific objectivity to get to the root of the problem. Not all advertising experts will do this, because they're satisfied with your self-diagnosis. That's not who we are. Wizard of Ads™ is committed to helping you craft disruptive ads and ad strategy that help you become a household name. If that's what you want, all it takes is booking a free call with Ryan Chute, of Wizard of Ads®.