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Dollar Shave Club (DSC) took the world by storm when they uploaded their original DSC ad in March 2012. They convinced me and millions of others that buying a razor for just one dollar was the way to go. How did they do it? Through persuasive ads.
Through humor, lunacy, and their referral program, DSC turned into a billion-dollar company in less than five years. While a billion dollars seems like a dream, implementing persuasive campaigns into your ad strategy can be the boost your company needs to stand out in your industry.
So, what is Persuasive Advertising?
Persuasive ads are one of the two forms of advertising campaigns: Persuasive and Informative. While not mutually exclusive, these ad campaigns make up everything we see in magazines, television, social media, and radio. What you need to know about persuasive ads:
Aristotle Started it All
Over 2000 years ago, Aristotle developed the ideas behind arguments and how they work. In his research, he decided that three basic umbrellas cover different forms of argumentation: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.
- Ethos: Focusing primarily on credibility, this form of advertising takes an ethical approach and utilizes authorities to gain the trust of potential customers. We see this implemented in ads when a doctor, politician, or celebrity endorses the product.
In action, we see this when someone in a lab coat holds up a brand of toothpaste and says, “Four out of Five Dentists recommend ….” Since it is ingrained in us to trust doctors, we immediately develop trust in the product. The same thing happens when we see Jennifer Lopez drink a Coke. If she likes it, so should we.
- Pathos: Emotions and feelings are the targets here when implementing a persuasive ad campaign. We want the audience to feel something that drives them to move—a call to action before the call to action.
It is hard not to tune out commercials when watching TV, but we all know what is coming when we hear Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel.” That means it is time to grab the tissues and pull out our debit cards to save poor abused animals. This commercial is a classic example of pathos at work.
- Logos: This form of persuasive advertising focuses primarily on logic and reason. The ad campaign will use facts, statistics, graphics, and more to compel the audience to answer the call to action. Similar to informative except that in a persuasive ad, this will focus more on user needs than product capabilities.
When you see an ad, and it uses words like organic, green, high performance, utility, or other words that describe the product, they’re trying to appeal to your sense of reason. It describes the product, but they also know that you are interested in slowing down climate change or keeping up with the latest trends. They’re describing what you want more than what the product offers.
The main takeaway from approaching advertising from an Ethos, Pathos, and Logos perspective is that it is all user-focused. As a business, reaching your customer through their desires is a highly effective way to land the sale.
What is Informative Advertising?
Informative advertising focuses on compelling the audience through a fact-based call to action. That doesn’t mean that persuasive isn’t telling the truth, though. It just means that informative advertising has a product-focused approach rather than an emotive customer focus.
While that may sound boring, it simply means that by highlighting your product’s specs and abilities, the customer will feel compelled to need the product in their lives. Informative ads are more educational, clear, concise, highlights value, and overall feels very genuine. It is by no means like listening to a lecture. A good marketer will highlight only what is striking and relevant, so the customer finds the product valuable to their life.
Since persuasive and informative ads are not mutually exclusive, they’re often used in tandem to convince the audience that it is necessary to purchase the product. As we see in the animal abuse commercial, the ad introduces us to animals in cages, injured animals, and the grotesque images of underweight animals. This persuasive approach pulls at our heartstrings, and we’re compelled to act. Then, after were crying, the commercial will hit us with stats on the number of animals harmed, how many facilities exist that harm them, and how many animals they save. This one-two punch is a compelling call to action.
How do I Make a Persuasive Ad?
There are a few basic concepts that you can start doing today if you want to get benefits from persuasive ads.
Sense of Control: Customers like to feel in control. By making them feel like they have options instead of making yourself the only option, you give the customer power, which makes them want to choose you.
Use Second Person: When you use words like “You” or “You’re” in your persuasive ad, the customer feels as if they are a part of the equation and are more invested.
Call to Value: Instead of telling the customer to buy, tell the customer to take advantage of the value. Don’t say, “buy now.” Tell the audience to “Change your life today.”
Convey Scarcity: Even if a customer feels that they may not need your product, if they believe that there is a chance that it might disappear, they may purchase it “just in case.”
While these are not the only persuasive ad techniques, implementing these today will enhance your advertisements and drive sales. When your bottom line is the bottom line, persuasive ads are necessary.
Figuring out what works best when creating an ad campaign for your product is vital. Regardless of the product, a persuasive ad will drive your point home and reach the customers where they are. There is value in conveying value, and it starts with persuasive advertising.