How to Create Online Ads That WORK

In our most previous post, we covered the three main types of online ads:


And since that post went live, we’ve received some great feedback about how the post helped to lineate the world of online advertising, making it simpler and easier to understand from a bird’s eye view.

Now it’s time to discuss how to make an online ad actually work for your business.

Because remember – online ads cost money. So the crucial, can’t-forget-about piece of this topic is making sure your online ad(s) give you a return on your investment (ROI).

But before we jump into this, it would be a complete disservice to you if I didn’t mention one little (not little at all – totally massive) thing:

Your Overall Marketing Strategy

I’ve talked and written circles around the topic and I’m sure I’ll continue doing so for years to come because, well, it’s my thing and people so quickly forget about it.


You read an article about online advertising and all of a sudden you think, “OH THAT’S WHAT I’M MISSING! THAT’S WHAT I NEED TO DO.”

No. No. No.

That is NOT necessarily your best next move.

Your next best move must come from your overall online marketing strategy. If online advertising truly makes sense in the flow on how you plan to lead your potential client or customer to purchasing from you, OK. Let’s do online advertising.

If it doesn’t make sense, though, or you’re not quite sure how it might play in, take a step back to figure that piece out.

Otherwise, you’ll more than likely waste money on online ads, blame it on the ads, when in reality, the problem was that it just didn’t fit in your buyer’s journey.

For DIY assistance in creating your unique Online Marketing Strategy, start here, with JAM’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Online Marketing Strategy.

For expert assistance, hey, you’re in the right place. I strategize business marketing every single day for small businesses. Schedule a free JAM Session with me to chat about whether online advertising is the right next move for you (or about anything relating to online marketing, really).

Ok! Now that we got that bit out of the way and you’re sure you want to learn how to make online advertising work for your business, let’s continue.

According to a HubSpot market research study in 2016, customers ACTIVELY AVOID ADS.

Wait, what?

It’s true.

They either use nifty ad blockers or plan to in the near future.

People believe online ads are intrusive, annoying and detract from the time they’d rather spend looking at the content they originally wanted to see.

Many of these people also have security concerns about ads due to the disconnect between advertisers and ad publishers.

This has led to consumers using ad blocking software to dodge ads which may be lacking in quality and security. But it also blocks ads that could be potentially useful.

So with those proven barriers in mind, what can you do to make sure you are creating USEFUL ads (ones that aren’t seen as a nuisance) and targeting your ideal client (enough for them to click AND buy)?

How to create online ads that WORK by Brit Kolo of JAM Marketing Group, online marketing strategy for creative entrepreneurs

There are FOUR strategies to make your online advertising worth your time, energy, and money:

# 1 Go Where the Trust Already Is

Remember, in order to get someone to buy from you, they have to first KNOW about your business, then they have to LIKE what you’re offering, and finally, they must TRUST your business to deliver what you say it will.

So it’s smart to place your online ads somewhere your ideal client already frequents AND trusts.

Where could that be?

According to the same 2016 HubSpot market research study, consumers found two types of ads the least intrusive, thus, making them more likely to engage:

  1.             Digital ads consumers chose to receive (like those included within email newsletters they willingly opted into)
  2.             Non-disruptive ads on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Respondents also noted ads that appeared in the same design and feed as other posts were less annoying.

#2 Offer Something of Indisputable Value to Your Audience

In short, instead of being sales-pitchy (aka sleezy), take a more helpful, intuitive approach when creating and publishing ads.

I see this go wrong all the time – business owners tend to think of content and advertising as two different things. They’re not.

Digital ads are still content that your potential clients are viewing and are definitely part of your brand’s image. Use this to your advantage by providing valuable content in your ads.

We’re all guilty of thinking “ads = selling” but we need to start looking at our ads as providing value, above and beyond telling our clients what we sell and listing our prices.

It IS possible to use online ads as a platform of not just turning ad traffic into leads, but also educating potential customers about your brand. Marrying these two goals puts your brand in a better light because you are connecting to customers instead of just selling to them.

How do we add value but still generate leads?


We suggest designing ads that answer a question or solve a problem.

So if you sell custom made curtains for homes, you could just advertise that your curtains are 20% off.

OR your ad could detail the way your company helps provide design tips, ensuring the product they order is exactly what they need in their home, saving them from the hassle of returns, AND they’re 20% off.

Based on consumer studies, consumers are more likely to click AND PURCHASE from the latter of the two ads. We can assume this is because they’re not only getting a good deal, but their real problem – the fear of ordering the wrong curtains – has been solved.

#3 Take Advantage Of How Targeted You Can Get

There’s no argument – online advertising is superior to offline advertising because of its targeting options. And because online ads can be so hyper-targeted to your ideal client, we suggest taking advantage of this feature.

Whether you’re advertising on social media, a single website, or within a search engine, your ad can be hyper targeted to be shown only to those who are likely to be interested in what you’re selling.

The ability to hyper-target an audience blends the factors of TRUST and RELEVANCE together to make for an ultra-effective ad.

No matter where you’re advertising online, we suggest being as specific as possible about who you’re targeting and then make sure your ad is placed in front of that hyper-targeted group. Each platform is a bit different in how to do this, so your best bet is to connect with an ad expert for that specific platform to find the optimal ways to target your audience.

#4 Track, Track, Track

I can’t stress it enough. You simply have to track every ad you pay for by linking it back to your website or landing page so you know exactly what ads are working and which ones aren’t.

Doing so not only saves you money by trimming on campaigns that aren’t working but gives you insight into what your ideal clients are looking for and how they are responding to your brand.

Gone are the days of paying for an ad and having no idea whether it worked or not. Sure, newspapers, magazines, and radio still work that way, but again, online advertising is a giant step above those platforms.

Each platform you advertising on will track metrics differently. Connect with an ad expert for the platform(s) you’re using to ensure you’re gathering the most relevant data.

In review, to make your online ads work for your business (and not waste a ton of money),

  1. Go Where the Trust Already Is
  2. Offer Something of Indisputable Value to Your Audience
  3. Take Advantage of How Targeted You Can Get
  4. Track, Track, Track


Next week, I’m so excited to bring you a guest post from Facebook Ad Expert, Steph Cohen. Steph is bringing us incredible insight into exactly, step-by-step, how to set up a successful Facebook Ad Campaign.

Her post will NOT be one you want to miss. Subscribe below to get it delivered straight to your inbox Thursday afternoon at 3pm EST:

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