Many of our clients do not know where to begin with digital advertising. Do you start with what you are going to say? Or is it better to start with mastering the digital advertising technology offered by Google and Facebook?

When I work with clients who are new to pay-per-click advertising, or who are not seeing the kind of results they had hoped for in their existing campaigns, they are often overwhelmed and frustrated by the technology. Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram Ads, and the other digital ad platforms offer an array of terrifyingly complex choices. What kind of ad? Video, single image, carousel, story, messaging bot, display? Who are you targeting? Do you need a customer list? Local, national, or global? Target by income, interests, education, intent to purchase? 

When clients get bogged down in the technology and the tools provided by the big digital advertising companies, they forget the basics of marketing. On the first page of the Google Ads Campaign Builder, there are already 55 permutations of choices available.

The first thing I do with clients is to ask them how their product or offer will improve their customer’s life. Most businesses know what their offer is, and can quickly rattle off the features and benefits. Many know what their points of difference and parity are. The trick with marketing online, especially with social media, is to sell your customer on the end result, or outcome of using a product. If you try to compete on features, you will eventually lose. Someone will always have a lower-priced widget. Another realtor can offer access to the same houses for sale on the Multiple Listing Service. That is the difference between an ad that grabs and converts and an ad that gets skipped over in the chaos of social media feeds and online search results.

The higher the price point, and the more complex the offer, the better your ad must be at telling a compelling story. It may seem obvious at first. However, the difference between feature/benefit and outcome is subtle.

One of my earliest clients and mentors, Jeff Hudson Consulting, sold Facebook coaching packages to businesses that wanted to run their own campaigns. Jeff’s average coaching package started at $6,000.00. In addition to the coaching package, he offered access to an elite online coaching group, templates for building out your offering, and access to PPC experts (like me) and graphic designers. Although the price was high, Jeff did not want to talk about features in his ad copy. Instead, the highly successful campaigns we ran focused on telling business owners how their lives would improve as a result of working with Jeff. 

Example of standard feature/benefit ad copy: When you sign up with Jeff, you receive 20 hours of personal coaching with Jeff, a digital marketing guru, proprietary templates for building out great campaigns, and access to the best ad pros in the business. 

Example of outcome ad copy: “After working with Jeff, I don’t worry about my marketing anymore. I have a clear strategy and campaigns that deliver leads every day. Now, I can focus on selling cars and getting home for dinner with my family.” – Jane Client, Owner of Jane Client Car Dealership. 

The difference is that we focus on how the product is going to create a positive outcome for the customer’s life. Instead of saying we will save you time worrying about your marketing, we tell you how you can see your family more. Instead of saying Jeff is a great coach, we focus on showing a customer how she can focus on her core business when she works with Jeff. 

A great example of outcome messaging can be found in successful cosmetics campaigns. This Cover Girl campaign does not spend time listing out their ingredients and how their products make lashes longer, skin smoother or cheeks pinker. Instead, they present the aspirational woman who wears their makeup. The implication is that in order to become the confident, beautiful woman they present in the campaign, you need to wear Cover Girl makeup. Rationally, there is no connection between wearing Cover Girl mascara and living your dream life. But Cover Girl presents the desired outcome of becoming the woman in the ad. By using their cosmetics, Cover Girl is telling women that they can actually create the identity they want to have. “I am what I make up.” 

Once you know what your target customer’s desired outcome message is, using the tools of digital advertising becomes a lot easier. We can quickly knock out the demographics and psychographics of the customer, and find the best tools to share the outcome message with them. 

The woman in this Cover Girl campaign is a #GirlBoss, running meetings, lifting heavy weights at the gym, talking to handsome men at chic bars, and generally living a glamorous life. The sale is about the outcome, not the features and benefits. And that is why it is powerful.

All of the tools of digital marketing are asking the same questions – 

After you have answered these big questions, working with someone who knows their way around the technology is helpful. But all a good PPC advertising consultant is doing is using the answers to these questions to build out messages, creative, and audiences to test. Once you know your customer’s desired outcome, the hard part is over.