The Challenge of Marketing Messaging in General
...and on Facebook marketing in particular
This is going to be a long one.
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It turns out that marketing effectively in general is really, really hard.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Not everything about marketing is difficult.
It’s much easier to sell ice in the desert than it is in the Arctic. It’s easy to sell a hamburger to a hungry person.
In general, marketing is about getting someone’s attention, piquing their interest, inspiring desire for your good, and convincing them to take action because they’ll be better off if they do.
Doing this requires that you know a little bit about them and what kind of headspace they’re at in a given moment.
The moment, then, is somewhat key.
If someone lives in Dublin and their toilet can’t flush, there’s a couple of things they might do.
They might grab a plunger. If they don’t have one, they’ll probably run to the store and grab one.
After that fails, they might attempt to fix the problem themselves. They’ll go on Google and search ‘how to fix a clogged toilet’.
After they try everything relatively easy on the Google search results, they might cave and search for ‘plumber in dublin’.
When they open the next page, they (ideally) should see the name, phone number, and services of a plumber in Dublin.
They might continue to search, because they need to know if there’s a plumber in Dublin available at that very moment. Or maybe they live specifically in Rathmines, and they need someone who operates in the area they live in.
Knowing what they’re doing and what they need, what is a plumber who operates in all of Dublin (including Rathmines) to do? Well, they'd might as well advertise on Google with the necessary keywords (plumber in dublin, plumber dublin, etc) and make their ad big and bright, showing that they’re open from x hour to y hour and that they’re ready to solve that clog!
That person, living in Dublin and with a clogged toilet, calls Joe the Irish Plumber and gets her problem solved.
Fast forward 8 hours. It’s 7pm, and our subject is sat on the couch, scrolling Facebook and trying to stay awake in time to get her kids ready for bed.
Her name is Sarah. She works all day, and so does her husband. Her kids are ages 8 and 11. It’s late August, so her kids were at summer day camp all day having a blast. (How they have so much energy after running around all day, I’ll never know.)
Since it’s summer and it’s Ireland, the kids aren’t getting to bed until 10pm. Sarah is exhausted and is just looking at stuff on Facebook to ease her mind before she can tell the little rascals to shove off to bed.
Sarah isn’t really looking for anything in particular; she’s just watching funny videos (interspersed with advertisements since she’s on her phone, which isn’t blocking ads by default). Ad after video after ad after video… they all roll by until something catches Sarah’s eye.
Usually she skips the ads as soon as she can. But this one was different. This was an ad for a breakfast smoothie.
Sarah’s a real busy lady, and the toilet fiasco made her late for work. Thank goodness her boss understood. She’s been wondering about how to make her breakfast more streamlined. She’s tried all sorts of stuff: overnight oats, blended smoothies, juice fasts, skipping breakfast entirely… none of it gave her the energy she wanted in the day. The best she has now is a coffee with toast (a bagel is too much!)
The first thing she saw in the video was a digital clock playing the radio that said “8:54 AM”. Then it panned to a woman in bed, waking up in shock. She’s gotta be out the door in 6 minutes! She rushes, gets her (already set) clothes on, brushes her teeth, applies her deodorant (this all happens in 5 seconds by the way), rips open a package of the smoothie, pours it into a shaker cup, adds almond milk, caps the shaker cup, shakes it, and drinks it slow. She then slowly saunters out of the house with a smile on her face, grabs her keys and jacket… and the camera pans to a clock that says “8:58 AM”.
Screen flashes. “Made with all-natural ingredients. 17 vitamins and minerals. 100% Vegan-friendly. 300 calories. Go you. Senshi Smoothies.”
(I’m not saying this was a GOOD commercial, I’m saying this caught Sarah’s eye and kept her in the entire time)
Sarah went to the site linked in the Senshi Smoothies ad. She then wanted to know some things.
“How much is it?”
“What’s in it, really?”
“What does it taste like? What flavors are available?”
“Where can I buy it? Is it available in my local supermarket?”
…among other things. So Sarah goes on the site, hoping that they will answer the questions in her head.
What Senshi Smoothies did was the most important job that any marketer has: getting Sarah’s attention!
Maybe Sarah was the only woman in the world that the ad resonated with. Maybe they’ll have to can the ad after a few more days because it didn’t work out. But Sarah got hooked, and that’s all Sarah knows.
Of course, a marketing campaign isn’t successful if it only got one person in the world to watch more and learn more.
A marketing campaign is successful only if it profitably is able to extend the company’s reach. That is, if the company can get more people to know about the good it sells and make money doing it.
Getting Sarah’s attention is great. But the campaign will only be successful if it gets MANY people’s attention!
…among other things.
The logical consequence, then, is that the marketing messaging must appeal to the entire target audience. This means, in turn, that you (the marketer) must know certain things about the target audience and use those things in your messaging so that your messaging invokes the necessary emotions, thoughts, and actions that precede the customer’s buying decision.
Wow, that was long-winded for something so self evident! But there’s a reason for that.
Good marketers, that is marketers with experience and success under their belt, often have tried-and-true ‘formulae’ for writing copy, choosing images, writing headlines, and convincing people to buy. Some good marketers even use these to construct offers.
A great marketer, on the other hand, never forgets the principles which resulted in the formulae to begin with. While the great marketer may still have the formulae that were created when he or she was a ‘good’ marketer, he or she would use reasoning and experience to figure out when those formulae must be left behind.
Granted, you don’t become a great marketer without having been a good marketer.
So, what does that mean?
Do it. Write a Facebook ad. Write a Google ad. Write some copy. Gather some creatives that you think might be good. Then put it up; either for your business, or for a client’s business.
If you’re a rank beginner, pick up a few books (CA$HVERTISING and Scientific Advertising are the best to start), read Gary Halbert’s letters, and start writing some pieces of copy.
If you’ve been doing it a while but can’t seem to ‘get it’, choose a format and get good at it. Study examples of copy that works for other companies.
If you’re already pretty good, keep your sword sharp. Don’t ever stop creating and studying other copy. And, most importantly: branch out. Try new things. If you’re used to writing ads for crypto, try writing ads for fitness or business services!
Of course, marketing is not just about writing copy. It’s about getting attention and invoking feelings in your reader. Some of those feelings should lead to action. Others should lead to inspiration. The one you choose will depend on your business.
P.S. For those of you who REALLY want to pay for my newsletter… gift it to someone who you know needs it. That is, anyone who wants to become a better marketer, ad buyer, or business owner.