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4 Ways to Create Impactful Ad Campaigns Without Spending Much Can you tell your unique value proposition in five words?

By Brent Thomson

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As an entrepreneur you've got a limited budget, so every ad you create has to count. Ads need a purpose. You're either promoting immediate transactions and/or you're building your brand image. Doing this well requires choosing your channels and your content wisely.

Creating impactful ad campaigns give your advertising a head start by increasing the odds of audience engagement and desirable audience actions. Always consider the audience's needs and expectations when crafting your ads and your campaign results will flourish.

Here are four strategies for entrepreneurs that want to increase the impact and reach of their advertising:

Create Emotion and Relevancy

Consider the classic Apple tagline used for advertising the iPod— "1,000 songs in your pocket!" Instead of talking about storage space, Apple emphasized the joy of carrying your favorite songs in your pocket.

Nike evokes action with its tagline, "Just Do It," to create emotion. By doing this, the sports brand is inviting their audience to change and their relevant products can help them do so. There are lessons brand managers and advertising teams should learn from these brands if they want to create impactful campaigns.

Consider the benefits of speaking to your audience on an emotional level. What do they care about? What problems do they have that you can elegantly and cost-effectively solve? Think about what the audience wants to hear. Use customer reviews and quotes and share their voices. User-generated content is typically very impactful because it's more relatable and authentic to other consumers. People considering buying or using a product or service want the comfort of knowing others are pleased with their experience.

Your advertising needs to be relevant. This sounds simple, but too many early-stage companies use messaging that doesn't make contextual sense to their potential buyers. Maybe the ad speaks too much about the company and not its value proposition. Maybe the ad uses language that is not relatable to its target audience. Whatever the case, use targeted, audience-specific marketing to create content and offers that are relevant to the target demographic and also relevant in terms of current events. For example, your company might reference winter's "polar vortex" within its ads. Digital advertising platforms allow you to pick very specific keywords and other parameters to make your advertising hyper-relevant to targeted audiences.

Stick to Your Branding

Assuming you have a brand guide (if not, you should create one), then you want to pair your advertising messaging within the brand's look and feel. Every ad impression adds value to your brand. Decide your brand voice and follow it closely. This doesn't mean you can't introduce some fun into the messaging. It just means ensuring your advertising furthers your brand recognition. Review your ads carefully before they run. Do the content and imagery represent your overall proposition? Will the audience deepen their understanding of what you offer? These questions help you to keep advertising on track and present ads that garner results.

Consider your product/offering and how you typically present it. Do you use fun Twitter posts or do you provide clients with case studies and research? The consistency of tone, look and feel, and value proposition will help you develop a trusted brand. A core part of your branding guide should focus on the simplicity of your messaging. Keep it simple. You must quickly and concisely share your business offering and its value. If you can't do this succinctly, then meet with your team and rework your content.

Consider the Goal: Urgency or Brand Building?

Many types of advertising push for a sense of urgency—such as, "Buy now!" or "Limited time!" There's certainly a benefit to urgency-themed messages, especially for transactional-style ads where a brand's goal is to generate immediate sales. For example, most Facebook ads are pushing a transaction. They want the viewer to take action since they're already on their mobile device or computer, and it's easy for them to click on an advertiser and make a purchase.

Brand-building ads are more of a slow burn. Instead of immediate results and transactions, brand-building ads look to create legitimacy, credibility and forge connections with the consumers over time.

There's certainly a time and place for both types of advertising—in fact, the most successful brands use both. While online, digital advertisements are great for generating transactions, radio, billboards, and TV are much more suited for brand building. You have a chance to tell a story and showcase the brand's personality. And of course, for radio and billboard ads the viewer isn't likely to pull over their car or stop what they are doing in order to complete a transaction. These ads require a softer approach. Consider using humor to catch the viewer's attention or pose a question that piques their interest.

Whether you're pushing for transactions or brand building, the key is to consider the objectives of your ad and then match it with the right content and channel.

Valuable Alternatives to Digital

Paid digital advertising is effective and a great way to enter a market, but marketers have to expand their marketing channels to get the most out of their marketing budgets. Broadcast advertising (TV, radio, billboards, etc.) is considered traditional advertising and is experiencing a renaissance. Technology is changing the availability of traditional advertising works for early-stage companies.

Can you tell your unique value proposition in five words? If not, try narrowing down the best parts of your Twitter and elevator pitch. This powerful exercise helps you share with anyone that contacts your brand exactly what you do and what you represent. It also encourages you to think deeply about what your early-stage company aspires to become. For all of your campaigns, you want to hone in on that uniqueness and then use it strategically to drive your brand forward.

Brent Thomson

CEO and co-founder, Blip Billboards


I solve problems. Sometimes that means making stuff and sometimes it means building a company. I love dissecting business ideas and strategies. I've been lucky enough to find myself in places where I could learn about economics, paleontology, telecommunications, outdoor advertising, and philanthropy. In past lives, I've been a dishwasher, firefighter, landscaper, short-order cook, shooting instructor, missionary, author, DJ, system administrator, investor, and software engineer.

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