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Developing The Effective Online Advertisment

The following is part 1 of the course materials that I use in my “Communications as Capital” class that I teach in the Sonoma State Wine MBA program. Part 2 is here: A Checklist For Effective Online Advertising

Online marketing and advertising offer a lot of advantages over more traditional forms because:

  • Costs are inexpensive compared with traditional media
  • A campaign can target small and very specific market niches
  • Reaching an international audience is no more expensive than local markets.
  • Statistics can be measured instantly, easily and cheaply.
  • Campaigns can be implemented quickly and altered almost instantly.

The cheap and easy part, combined with advertisers and web sites that are unclear on the online concept have led to ugly, annoying, unsuitable advertising that often turns users off.

The following will help you get the best results for your advertising dollar.


Twitching animations drive people away very quickly.

If you feel the need to use an animation, make sure it offers slow cycling. This means at least three to five seconds for each frame to be read and a transition of at least a second between frames.

it is better not to use animations

Avoid Flash and Shockwave. They annoy by slowing down computers and using up Internet bandwidth.

Never, ever use auto-loading, auto-running video or sound. Surveys consistently show that users loathe having their decision process usurped.

It never pays to anger and annoy potential customers who can make you vanish with a single click of their mouse.


Your ad MUST answer your prospect’s biggest question: “what’s in it for me?”

No one is going top click on your ad out of the goodness of their heart. You must make them WANT to click on it by addressing what they need and/or want. These can include:

  • Getting a promotion.
  • More sales.
  • Recognition
  • Avoiding disaster
  • Saving Money
  • Finding a better/faster way to do something
  • Solving a problem
  • More information
  • Novelty/Curiosity

Of course, any single prospect will have more than one of those. However, you have limited time to convince them to click on your ad and limited space in which to do that.

So, you must find the TOP need/want and marry that to your TOP strength.

If you fail to answer the question, “Why should I care?” then your ad will fail.


While it may seem like a touchy-feely retro trip back to psychology class, giving some thought to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs can be helpful, enlightening and offer some help in writing your advertising copy.


It never hurts to compare the hierarchy with the face you put on your prospect.


When you sit down to create your advertisement, visualize someone you’ve met that serves as your typical customer. It can even help if you have an images, even small ones like those on LinkedIn.

If you can’t visualize that face and you don’t have any LinkedIn connections who qualify, then don’t advertise. Get out there — online and in meatspace — and connect with those people, understand what makes them care, then try writing the ad.

NEXT:The Effective Online Advertising: Checklist