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  #1  
Old 03-14-2011, 02:11 AM
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Default Learn From My Mistake - Advice For Newbies By A Newbie

I'm sure any newbie that has managed to find this forum knows that ads should sell benefits, not features. But as a newbie myself, I find that it can be really easy to screw this up in practice.

I'm not going to pretend I'm anywhere near qualified to give copywriting advice, but my tip for fellow newbies is to always go back and take a 2nd, 3rd, 4th look at your failed campaigns, until you truly understand why it failed.

It's sometimes hard to understand why something failed at the time, but after a couple weeks you'll have the benefit of a little bit more experience, and with the passage of time you'll be able to look at it more objectively.

Here's a line from a dating ad I put up a few weeks ago, targeted towards men.

"There Are 1000s of Hot, Single Women Out There For You!"

Pretty horrible right? I’m sure my thinking at the time was something like: What does this dating site have that men want? Hmmm...Men like women, men like single women, men like hot women, men like lots of women…1000s of women! There, that’s a benefit! Let’s slap in a geo-targeting script and put that in!

Now looking back, it seems obvious that I was pointing out a feature, not selling a benefit. Sure men like women, especially hot, available women. But the fact that a dating site has 1000s of hot women isn’t a benefit, it’s a feature. A pretty useless feature when you actually think about it. There are also 1000s of hot, single women at work, gyms, clubs, restaurants, shopping malls…so what? Why does a Man need a dating site? Why does THIS Man need THIS dating site? Maybe he’s looking for his dream girl, maybe he’s close to 30 and his traditional Jewish parents are pressuring him to find a wife and settle down, maybe he’s lonely because he lacks the confidence to approach women, maybe he doesn’t get the chance to meet many women because he works 90 hours a week, or maybe he just wants to get laid. You can’t identify the benefits to your viewer without understanding what your viewer wants. And this leads to my 2nd major mistake.

Not Segmenting My Target Market
By “targeting” straight, single, young men, I was bound to fail right from the start. I asked myself the question “What do these men want?”, and my answer was…”uhhh single women”? Because my target market was so broad, I could only think of broad, generic benefits/features, which led to a failed campaign.

When I mention segmentation, I’m not just talking about your target urls and keywords either. It’s easy for us newbies to get fixated on the question of “What Urls should I target?” and lose sight of the forest for the trees. In my case, I was focusing on the idea of finding URLs with straight, single, young men, the type of men I thought would be interested in dating sites. What I SHOULD have been doing, was breaking down this group into smaller segments, and selecting my URLs and keywords based on this.

You can segment based on a lot of things: gender, age, income, marital status, geography, buying patterns, education…with a dating product, I should have probably been segmenting based not only on gender and age, but also on customer needs and interests. So this way, I ensure that the ad I create for a single 25 year old guy who’s shy around women isn’t going to be the same as the ad I create for a single 25 year old guy who treats one night stands like a sport. In fact, I might not even want to waste precious impressions on the 2nd guy.

I know none of this is original stuff, you’ve probably read similar advice dozens, maybe hundreds of times. I know I did, but yet I still manage to write bland, uninspiring copy that makes the exact mistakes I was told to avoid. I think it’s really important to constantly go back and examine why things failed. It’s not as fun or exciting as launching new campaigns, but I know it helped me make a few important realizations.
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2011, 02:52 AM
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I think it’s really important to constantly go back and examine why things failed.
Agreed.

Often, success is just one or two clicks away from failure. If you don't take the risk, you'll never find out.

-Aaron
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:31 PM
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Default

Originally Posted by particles View Post
Agreed.

Often, success is just one or two clicks away from failure. If you don't take the risk, you'll never find out.

-Aaron
Exactly - figuring out why the last campaign failed, or had a lower ROI is key.

You should always be testing, tweaking and optimizing to build new campaigns that are profitable day in and day out.
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