EP 2: My 5-Step Process For Planning Ad Messaging

In this episode, I'm sharing the behind the scenes of how I plan messaging for my client's ad campaigns. Find out the 5-step framework I developed to determine what to test and what to communicate in ad campaigns.

Leah: Hey, this is Leah and
you're listening to ads with

Leah, a paid social podcast.

This podcast provides creative
first digital advertising education

for impact driven businesses and
marketers who care more about

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Stay tuned to learn how to make
amazing ads that help you reach

the right people and attract
and engage your ideal audience.

Hi there, Leah here.

And in this episode, I'm going to be
sharing my five step process for planning

out messaging for a new campaign.

I use this process for all of my clients
when I first start working with them.

And then also each time we're launching a
campaign for a new product or a new offer.

The term messaging to me encompasses
everything that we're communicating in

the ad from things that we're explicitly
communicating via that ad copy and

the actual wording that we're using to
the images and videos and things that

we're implicitly communicating through
visuals or the type of people that we

choose to put in the ad or anything
that is communicated in the ad really.

Feel free to borrow this process if
you're looking for a framework to plan

out what you want to say in your ads.

And I do recommend doing
it on a per offer basis.

So do it for each individual product
that you have, rather than doing

it for your business as a whole.

Here are the five steps to the process and
then I'll dive into each one individually.

So the first step is
knowing your audience.

Step number two is
identifying your core benefit.

The third step is brainstorming angles.

Step four is creating your testing
plan and then step five is writing

your ad copy and creating the
visuals to go with your ad campaign.

Okay, let's dive into step number one.

So step number one is
knowing your audience.

This is pretty much the first step for
making almost any type of marketing plan.

It always starts with learning
more about who you're marketing to.

I imagine you've probably already
done a lot of research on this, but

I recommend diving into a bit more
research for your messaging or at least

reviewing your research that you've
done before, just to make sure that

knowledge is really fresh and present
as you're planning your messaging.

A lot of traditional marketing exercises
will have you focus on demographics.

So for example, you might say you're
marketing to Tim a 24 year old college

man who is a software developer and is
single and lives alone with his dog.

But I don't recommend you spend
too much time on demographics.

If your product has a clearly defined
demographic audience, you're likely

already aware of what that is.

What I recommend you focus on instead
is psychographics, which include things

like what your audience believes,
what their interests are and where

they're spending their time online.

For this research, Reddit and other online
communities is my favorite place to go.

It's really helpful to dig
through any subreddits related

to your audience or your niche or
Facebook groups that you can join.

And then go into those and scroll back
through and read all of the posts,

see what people in that community talk
about, and the language that they use.

For example, I once worked with a client
who sold dentures and by joining Facebook

groups of people who had dentures or
were getting dentures, I learned about

the term "e-day", which stands for
extraction day or the day that they're

getting their real teeth removed.

I would have never known about that
language if I hadn't gone through and

read through this community and in
this community, that phrase was very

commonly used and it's really hard
to write ad copy that really speaks

to the audience you're talking to.

If you don't know the language
that they're using to refer to the

things that are in their world.

This will really help you get into
the Headspace of that audience.

Keep an eye out for what
problems they're having.

What things are they currently
using instead of your product?

Like what, what are they
using as an alternative?

What issues are they having with
those competing alternatives?

Or if they are talking about your
product, what are they saying about it?

Another really great place to
research is product reviews.

So this can be your own product
reviews, whether positive or negative.

And also I recommend going to
reviews of competing products or

similar products in your industry.

You can go to Amazon or you can go
directly to your competition's website

and read through a ton of the reviews to
see what the common languages throughout,

what features keep coming up or benefits,
keep coming up as things that people

liked or didn't like what issues they
were having with the product, and other

things that they're saying about it.

I did this recently for a client
who sells dog crates and a really

common theme in all of their
product reviews were two terms.

The first term was the term safe space.

Another one was peace of mind.

So you can really see that what
this company sells isn't dog crates,

they're selling peace of mind for the
owner and a safe space for the dog.

At the end of the day, they're
selling that emotion, the feeling

of safety for their dog and peace
of mind in knowing that their dog

isn't going to hurt themselves,
trying to get out of the crate.

Or their dog, isn't going to get out and
destroy the house while they're gone.

One way to find this common language
is to copy and paste all of their

reviews into a document and then use
a word cloud tool to get a word cloud

created and the most common words
and phrases will be nice and big in

your word cloud so they'll stand out.

If you can, I also recommend doing
interviews with people, whether that

is people who've used your product.

Or people who are in your target audience
and prospective customers or clients.

If you're talking to current customers,
find out what they absolutely love

about your product from people
who are your best fit customers.

April Dunford has a great book on
positioning, which I recommend reading.

If you're interested in messaging
and positioning, positioning comes

before messaging in your marketing,
but her book is called obviously.


And she says your best fit
customers hold the key to

understanding what your product is.

So those people that just adore your
brand and love your product, those

are the people that are going to tell
you the best information that will

help you to figure out what messaging
you can use to sell that product to

other people and how to position the
product to sell it to other people.

Another thing to pay attention to in
these interviews, and also in sales

calls, if you're doing sales calls
in your business, Is make a note of

all the common objections that people
have to purchasing your product.

Objections are reasons why people
wouldn't want to purchase your

product or why they might be
hesitant to purchase your product.

Another place you can find objections is
often in the comment section of your ads.

If you're already running ads, you've
probably noticed there are always going to

be some trolls or negative people that are
going to be commenting on your ads with

what they don't like about the product or
reasons why they wouldn't want to buy it.

This can be a great
place to find objections.

However, I recommend keeping
in mind that often the negative

commenters are the most vocal.

And so those objections.

Might not be super common with
the majority of your audience.

It might just be a vocal few that
has an issue with your product.

So keep them in mind, but take
them with a bit of a grain of salt.

Some of the common objections you'll
see, probably include things like price

objections, like why is this so expensive?

Or I can find this cheaper somewhere else.

Another common objection is,
does this product actually

work the way they say it does?

This is a huge one.

So how can you think about how to
include in your messaging proof

that your product is what you say
it is and does produce the benefit

that you say it's going to produce.

Another common objection is
I don't need this right now.

Lastly, when you're doing your
research, make a list of other things

that your audience cares about.

What other brands do
they love and buy from?

Where else are they spending their time?

Where are they spending their time online?

Which social media networks, which
websites, what media are they consuming?

Which influencers do they like to follow?

Who are the celebrities
that they pay attention to?

Which podcasts do they listen to?

What magazines or shows or
movies are they consuming?

A great tool that you can use
for this is called spark Toro.

So spark Toro, T O R O.

And this tool allows you to find out this
exact information from your audience,

which can be really helpful just to get an
understanding of your audience as a whole.

What kinds of things they're
interested in, and this can help

with a bit of your targeting as well.

Once you've done your audience research,
you can move on to step number two.

Step number two is identifying
what your product benefits are.

The benefit is what your customer
actually gets out of the product.

It's the what's in it for me factor.

Humans are inherently selfish creatures
and especially in today's digital

world with a million distractions,
the best way to catch someone's

attention is to talk about them.

Your ad needs to communicate
explicitly what is in it for them.

What's the benefit that they
get from your product and how

does it make their life better?

If your ad doesn't communicate
this quickly, you're going to

lose your audience's attention.

And this step, we want to identify
what the benefit is and what your

customers really want from your product.

I recommend sitting down and doing
a huge brainstorm on all of the

benefits that come from your product,
get everything, all of your ideas

out of your head and on paper.

And then from there you can hone
in on one or two core benefits that

we'll focus on in your ad messaging.

The core benefit is the
main one that we'll want to

emphasize with our advertising.

It's really important to determine
your core benefit for your campaign,

that you're going to be running
because it needs to be communicated

across all of the ads that you run.

This core benefit helps to tie your
marketing messages together so that

all of your ads feel like they fit
into a campaign that is consistent.

Repetition is really
important for marketing.

And if you're doing too much testing with
your ads and your ads are all completely

different and they're communicating
something completely different about your

product, then you're going to have a lot
of disconnect with customers, seeing an ad

about one thing, and then seeing another
ad the next day about something else.

So we don't want to just be
throwing a bunch of stuff at the

wall without some cohesive message
that's tying them all together.

The core benefit will be the recurring
message throughout your campaign

that will help your audience remember
what that benefit is and help create

an association with your product.

You'll still be able to do testing with
different angles, but those angles will

be layered on top of the core benefit.

Again, for this benefits exercise,
as I recommended at the beginning of

this podcast, I recommend focusing
on your individual product or offer.

And not your brand or business as a whole.

I'm going to share a few exercises
that I like to do to really help

draw out what those benefits are.

So the first thing you can do is write
out all of your product features and then

turn all of those features into benefits.

Let's continue with the
dog crate example here.

The dog crate has a lifetime guarantee
so that if it ever breaks or anything

happens to it, you can get it replaced.

So the benefit of that is that
again, it's the peace of mind.

You don't have to worry
about if anything happens.

You can get a new one.

You can get a replacement for it.

So writing out your features and
turning those into benefits is a

great way to make a list of benefits.

Another exercise that I like to
do is think about what the product

helps the customer have, do, and be.

So the crate helps them have a dog crate.

Helps them have a place
for their dog to go.

What it helps them do, is it helps
them leave the house without worrying

about their dog being home alone.

So it helps them have a bit
more freedom in their life.

If they've got a dog that would normally
destroy the place, if they leave and

then who it helps them become is it
helps them become someone who is less

anxious and has more peace of mind.

So that.

That "be" piece is
really the most important

Thinking about who your product helps
them become is really helpful because

people don't tend to buy products.

They buy a transformation, they buy an
idealized version of themselves that they

will become once they have the product.

Those shoes they buy might
make them look like a more hip

stylish version of themselves.

That cooking class, they bought
makes them into someone that can

impress their partner on date night.

Think about what that transformation is
and who that product helps them become.

Another exercise you can do
is just keep adding the phrase

so that after your benefits.

The dog crate helps you have a crate
for your dog so that you can leave

them home alone so that you don't
have to worry about them destroying

the house so that you can be relaxed
when you're out so that you don't

have to rush home to check on them.

If you just keep doing so that you can
continue to come up with these different

benefits that you can put on paper.

The, so that exercise
helps you really go deep.

Beyond the surface level of just
having the product, it helps you

dive into why do they want that.

Once you've done the brain
dump of all of your benefits.

Then you can sit down and compare them to
your audience research that you've done

to find out which ones match up with the
reason that customers buy your product.

From there you can select one or
two core benefits that you want to

use and focus on in your campaign.

Now that you've identified your core
benefit, it's time to move on to angles.

The angle is where it gets really
fun with your advertising because

the angle is where you can do all of
the testing and you can learn what

your audience resonates best with
or what different audiences resonate

differently with different angles?

The angle is meant to
do any of the following.

It can help your product stand
out from the competition.

It can add a unique and memorable
aspect to your product or the ad.

It can help the ad capture
attention in the newsfeed.

It can help to persuade the
audience to purchase the

product if they're on the fence.

The angle is the way that you communicate
the benefit that you're selling.

Let's use an example to explain the
difference between benefits and angles.

Imagine you're selling a simple
household object, like laundry detergent.

The core benefit of laundry detergent
is pretty much always going to be

that it cleans your clothes well.

It doesn't matter what fancy angles you
try to use to sell laundry detergent.

If the customer doesn't believe
it's going to actually clean their

clothes then there's no reason
for them to purchase the product.

But laundry detergent is also
a pretty saturated market.

So if you really want to stand out in
your advertising, you're going to need

a unique angle to help sell the product.

You might say that the laundry detergent
is completely environmentally friendly.

You might say that it is specially
formulated using a new type of

technology that makes it really
different than other leading brands.

Maybe your co-founder used to work
for a Tesla and that's the angle

that you want to use to sell it.

The benefit is the fact that it
cleans your clothes and the angle is

the unique way that you're going to
try to catch attention and make your

product stand out in the marketplace.

The benefit and the angle work
together to make an ad that's

really attractive for your audience.

There are hundreds of different
angles that you can take

when selling your product.

You can take a social proof angle
and say that you have over a thousand

five-star reviews on your product.

Or you can take an influencer angle and
say that your product is used by one

of the top influencers in your niche.

You could take a cost angle
and say that your product is

cheaper than the competition.

You can take an environmentally
friendly angle and say that your

product is sustainable and uses
environmentally friendly ingredients.

So there's so many different
angles that you can use.

You also don't have to
just choose one angle.

In fact, it's likely that you're
probably going to be taking a few

different angles in your ads, like
a social proof angle is one that is

commonly layered on top of the other
ones that you're using in your messaging.

Ankles or something that stimulates
interest from your audience.

There's something that makes
your offer unique and makes

them want to pay attention.

For this step again, I
like to do a brain dump.

I just brainstorm a whole bunch of angles.

I come up with a ton of
ideas, write them all down.

Even if you think they're not the best
one that you think you're going to use,

because it might bring out other ideas
or help you think of other angles.

I do a big brainstorm of all of my ideas
for different angles that we can use.

And then I move on to step four,
which is creating a testing plan.

Step four is where the previous
three steps come together.

I review the research that I did.

I look at the core
benefit that I've chosen.

And then I pick a few key angles
that I want to start with for

testing based on which ones I
think are most likely to perform.

I also look at the client's
assets that we have available.

So all of the images, videos that
we have, and I also take into

consideration what assets the client
is able to get from me as well.

So for example, some clients it's
really easy for them to contact their

customers and get video testimonials.

Or some clients have influencers that
we can use to get content made for us.

I make sure to take that into
consideration in my testing plan as well.

Then I put everything together.

I pull out the language that I want
to use from the customer research.

And then I figured out how I'm going
to tie that into the angles and

also bring everything back to the
core benefit and make sure that's

communicated in the ad as well.

I also plan out how I'm going
to communicate that in the ads.

So with what types of visuals am I
going to use an explainer style video?

Am I going to use UGC
inspired type content.

Or a customer testimonial,
video or images.

All of this goes into the testing
plan I'm really planning out

everything that I'm going to need
to actually start creating ads.

I also make sure to request anything
from the client that I'm going to

need for this plan going forward,
because then the next step is when I

actually sit down and make the ads.

I like to have everything in front of me
so that that process goes really quickly.

And lastly, the final
step is to create the ads.

This is where I write the ad
copy and create the media or

the visuals for the ad campaign.

I could obviously elaborate on this step
for a very long time, because this is

all a complicated process, but all of
that is beyond the scope of this podcast.

I just wanted to share my
messaging process and everything

that comes prior to this step.

By the time that you get to this
step, this should be actually

pretty simple and straightforward
because you've got your plan created.

And you've, you've also got the
language that you're going to use,

you know, what types of visuals you're
going to be using so I find that by

the time I get to this step and I sit
down and I'm ready to make the ads,

it can actually come pretty quickly.

I hope you enjoyed this episode and
it gave you a bit of insight into what

goes on behind the scenes of making
ad campaigns for a social media.

If you're interested in learning more
about this process in depth, I'm going

to be making more podcasts episodes
that goes more in depth into a lot of

the topics that I talked about today.

I'm also working on an ebook right
now that is going to be all about

this process and I'll be going
into it in a lot more details.

So there'll be more examples, more
exercises that you can do to plan your

ad messaging and come up with angles
and how to identify your core benefit.

if that is of interest to you, make
sure you sign up to my newsletter

so that you can be the first
to find out when it goes live.

You can sign up by going
to ads with leah.com.

And just on the top of the homepage,
there, there is a email opted.

Where you can enter your email address.

And from there, I'll make sure that you
are in the know when that book comes out.

If you are a busy business owner and
you would rather just hire someone to

take care of planning your messaging for
you, you can hire me to do this for you.

Just go to ads with leah.com and
click Hire at the top in the top menu.

I do message planning and message
testing for all of my clients when

I'm running their Facebook ads.

And my team can also take care
of making your ads for you,

launching them and doing all of the
ongoing testing and optimization.

So again, if that's something
you're interested in, just go to

ads with leah.com and click on hire.

Thanks for listening to this episode of
the podcast and i'll see you next time

EP 2: My 5-Step Process For Planning Ad Messaging
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