Creating Online Campaigns That Convert

Anyone can throw ads up online. But, running ads that actually motivate people to take immediate action -- beyond a simple click -- is not easy. So, how can you convert ad viewers into product buyers, leads, new-member signups and video viewers?

Working in a performance-based ad network with more than 1,000 active campaigns at anytime, I've seen the tactics that work. Generally, they follow tried-and-true principles of direct response advertising but are adapted to the fact that people online tend to absorb information by superficial browsing.

1. Stand out from the crowd: Getting attention is a major challenge in the oversaturated advertising world in which we live, and no one will respond to your ad if they don't see it. So be bold, be in your face, be different.

2. Make them an offer that sounds too good to pass up: Direct marketers have long understood that it's the offer that makes people "act now and save." However, nowadays, any discount under 50% off doesn't get people excited. Better yet, find something you can offer for free. Try to state the offer in a way that seems to provide tremendous value.



For example, a theme park I once worked with offered to waive $15 off of its admission price to upgrade to an annual pass. By restating the offer as "Buy a day, get a year free," consumers immediately began multiplying their savings by 364 days and came up with the incredible number of $18,200! It was a deal too good to pass up.

3. Assume your audience has ADD: Studies show the Internet is a browsing medium, filled with multi-tasking. So don't make people wait for your fancy Flash animation to play out or have to scroll down to the bottom and read through all the fine print. Get to the point! Generously speaking, you've got about two seconds to state your value proposition and make your amazing offer in order to hook them.

4. Create a landing page designed to do one thing only -- close the deal: Here are a few rules to create a landing page that works to convert:

  • Keep them captive -- Get rid of all navigation. Once you've got the prospect in the showroom, would you show them the door? If you need to cram more info in to your landing page, do it with a pop-up.
  • Make the desired action the point of focus -- If you want orders or leads, start your form above the fold. Put in a big arrow that points to it and lay out your page to lead the eye to that form. If you are using a play button, the same rule applies. Drive the eye to the desired action!
  • Alleviate all fear -- There are a lot of fly-by-night operators online. Add credibility enhancers like testimonials, press quotes and logos, third party endorsements, and an "About the Company' paragraph to show you can be trusted. Use money-back guarantees or other risk reducers to overcome people's reluctance to part with their money. If you're asking for personal information, include a privacy statement to make prospects feel that their info is safe.

5. Tell them what you want them to do: If you want people to take a specific action, don't make it a guessing game. Come right out and tell them! (It's incredible how many people don't.)

Of course there's more, but if you keep the above in mind when designing your next online campaign, you'll be well ahead of the curve in your ability to drive conversions.

6 comments about "Creating Online Campaigns That Convert ".
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  1. Lorna Lyle from TMC, March 23, 2009 at 9:21 a.m.

    Did you leave out the word "free"?

    2. Make them an offer that sounds too good to pass up: Direct marketers have long understood that it's the offer that makes people "act now and save." However, nowadays, any discount under 50% off doesn't get people excited. Better yet, find something you can offer for .

  2. Mandy Vavrinak from Crossroads Communications, LLC, March 23, 2009 at 9:46 a.m.

    The basic rule here is think like your prospect... how do you surf the web? What do you notice and ignore? How long will you wait for a page to load... to figure out the navigation or the "rules" of the site? The web is about instant gratification, and advertising on it must live up to the basic premise of the medium. Great post, solid rules.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 23, 2009 at 12:19 p.m.

    Excellent advise, once you have someone to click through, though I won't. Even if I see something interesting, I will not click on, but I will go to the advertised website. I do not want to be targeted via spam, emails that I don't want and can't get rid of, selling my info to other emailers or advertised for such a product to death. And Lorna, NOTHING IS FREE. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. Added or extra value. Just by clicking on a site you a paying a price that will follow you ad nauseum. It costs you time in your short life that you will never be able to recover. Then again, 50% off of what?

  4. Mason Wiley from Fosina Marketing Group, March 23, 2009 at 3:24 p.m.

    Thanks for the feedback. And Lorna you are right. The word "free" is missing from that sentence... and omitting the concept of "free" from a DR article is sacrilege!!! Thank you for catching that.

  5. Nina Lentini from MediaPost Communications, March 23, 2009 at 5:16 p.m.

    Lorna and Mason, This is the editor speaking. The omission of the word "free" is my fault. I've reinstated it. Good catch, Lorna. Thanks.

  6. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International, March 23, 2009 at 10:21 p.m.

    Yes, we need to attract new visitors attention quickly.
    We also need to be mindful how they arrived at the landing page in the first place.
    Were they sent by a friend, clicked on an ad, 'googled it' ?
    There are many ways for someone to land on your site. Once there, give them reason to stay and take action.

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