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How to Write an Effective Ad

Hey guys, I found this great post by Charlie Page and wanted to share it with you. PLEASE DO NOT COPY THE LION AD BELOW. WRITE YOUR OWN KING OF THE JUNGLE AD! 🙂

How to Write an Effective Ad

Have you ever wondered why most ads on the internet fail miserably to get the job done? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You pay your money, place your ad and the result is … underwhelming.

Why do so many ads fail to get the response we hope they will get?

The answer lies in an ancient proverb. The proverb says:

“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.”

When it comes to doing business online, we can translate that proverb this way :

“It is better to have 100 highly qualified visitors to your site than 1000 visitors who got there by mistake or misdirection from a misleading ad”

You see, our ads need to lead the right people, qualified people, to the sites we promote.

Are you satisfied with your results online right now?

I’m willing to bet that you are working on becoming an amazing and compelling email or ad writer.

And I’m willing to bet that it’s not your fault — that no one ever told you how to write a truly great ad.

So let’s fix that right now.

The simple fact is, most ads are sheep.

They are weak and they don’t get results. They don’t inspire the reader to take action now, which is all that matters.

Why do they fail to attract the right visitors?

Because they sound so much like all the other ads that the people who read them just say to themselves “Yeah … I’ve heard that all before. No thanks.” and then click away.

But it does NOT have to be this way.

Your ads can capture attention and cause the visitors you want to come to your website IF you know how to add real selling power to them.

So how can you stop using “sheep” ads and start using “lion” ads?

I believe there are three ways that you can create new and better ads than you use now.


The bottom line here is actually quite simple once you grasp these two core truths.

  1. People buy based on emotion and justify what they buy with logic.
  2. People want to buy specific products, not general solutions.

Let’s look at each briefly.


Professional marketers have long known that people buy with emotion and justify their purchase with logic. This is why so many great commercials, in print, on television and online, tug at the heartstrings.

Why? Because people remember what they feel but rarely remember dry facts and figures.

Here’s an example — can you recite the periodic table you learned in high school? Some can but most can’t.

Now, can you remember your high school prom? You probably can. You might even remember what you wore and with whom you went!

How about your first kiss?

You remember these things because you remember the emotions you felt, be they good or bad. Those feelings — the sites, sounds and more — are captured in your mind forever.

Even commercials that seem to rely on logic to sell use emotion to create interest.

Take car commercials for example. We often see ads for cars that can “go from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds” But why would anyone apart from the police or a professional race driver want to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds? To impress. A clearly emotional appeal.

This is why people buy houses that are much too large for what they really need, why they buy shiny new cars when it would cost much less to repair their existing car and why they buy products online that convince them IN THE MOMENT OF DECISION that the product will meet their needs.

You see, the moment of decision is what it’s all about.

There is a moment in every online purchase where the person makes the leap. They decide to trust what the website is saying and move ahead.

That decision, a very emotional decision by the way, comes much easier when your ad is CONGRUENT with what the site offers.

Congruent is an interesting word. It originated somewhere around 1375 and it’s basic meaning is to fit together. So when your ad “fits together” with the website you are promoting there is congruence. When your ad is mismatch with the site the reader feels the disconnect in a very real way.

More on this in a moment. First, core truth #2.


People buy with emotion and they also buy very specific solutions to their problems.

Have you ever gone to the mall or your favorite store and said this — “I want to buy something today. Any old thing will do, I just really want to buy something.”

No, we go to the mall or clothing store to buy shoes, not to buy just anything. We go to the hardware store to buy paint and hammers and nails, not to buy a dress.

We buy specifically, not generally.

We buy because we need or want something. And that something is very often something emotional, like freedom.

And it’s almost always very specific.

Too many ads today are so generic that they don’t appeal to anyone.

Remember this — when you try to appeal to everyone you end up selling to no one. I’ve seen it happen a thousand times.

So point 1 is to know how people buy … with emotion and they like to buy very specific solutions to their problems.

Now let’s look at the second way you can create more powerful ads for any product you want to promote.


The ONLY purpose of the ad is to get the right kind of click… period.

You see, the ad can only create a click. It really can’t sell anything. That’s the job of the website.

The ad creates curiosity and that causes people to click. The website convinces them to buy. Classic two-step selling.

If people click, you might make money.

If they do not click, you have no chance to make money. It’s really as simple as that.

So what does “the right kind of click” mean? It means getting the RIGHT people to come to your site.

  • Not tire kickers.
  • Not “lookie Lous”.
  • Not time wasters with questions who never take action.
  • Not freebie seekers who won’t spend money even if they have it.

What you want is REAL prospects that know what you do and are genuinely interested in learning more.

Misunderstanding the importance of the right kind of click has led to two great mistakes by far too many advertisers.

MISTAKE 1 – The first misunderstanding is that we should do anything we can do to get the click.

This is the old “throw it all against the wall and see what sicks” idea. Sure, it’s fun getting lots of people to visit the website you promote. But making sales is more fun.

Getting everyone to your site is not the goal — getting buyers to your site is the goal. People who want what you sell and can take action.

MISTAKE 2 – The second misunderstanding is that all clicks are equal.

The truth is that not all clicks are created equal. In fact, the ONLY clicks that matter are from people who want (or need) what you offer and who can take action.

Think about that statement for a bit, because it is important.

They must want or need what you offer. If they do not then everyone is just wasting time.

They must be able to take action. Wanting (or even needing) what you offer means nothing if they fail to take action once they arrive at your site.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are promoting a business opportunity. The website you are promoting uses a very left-brain logical approach to making the sale. Nothing wrong with that. But your ad is very “excited” in tone and promises quick riches for those who click to learn more.

Your ad says that you can make money in days, sometimes hours. But the site doesn’t say that at all. It says buyers will need to learn and work and then good things will happen.

When this type of disconnect happens you will get lots of clicks but very few sales. The reader is left wondering who they should believe. In their state of confusion they end up not acting on your offer.

Everyone loses.

Why? Because the reader feels you mislead them, even though that was not your intention. The ad and site don’t match and that creates a feeling they are being tricked. Not the right emotion.

But when your ad and the site you are promoting match in tone — they fit together — very good things can happen. The reader feels reassured when they reach the site. They feel that the site is merely a continuation of what they read in your ad.

Now you are creating very valuable clicks indeed.

This is the congruency factor we discussed earlier. When your ads MATCH the approach of the website to which you send people who click on your ad they feel reassured and comfortable. When there is a mismatch people feel afraid and skeptical. And that’s not the right frame of mind for making sales.


To illustrate this point I’ve written two ads that are, to my way of thinking, good and bad.

NOTE: To be totally fair I made sure both ads are the same length … 146 words.

First, the timid little sheep ad. I’ll mark where the ad begins and ends to make it easier to see.


Fire your boss!

Ever want to fire your boss and start your own profitable business from home? Our proven process means that now anyone can make a small fortune working from home!

Millions of people are replacing their jobs and experiencing what it feels like to work from home. Imagine only having a 3 second commute! Imagine you being the boss!

The fact is, there are more people online than ever before — and more are logging on every day. This massive audience means opportunity for you!

Making money online has never been easier. From teenage millionaires to retirees who are living the good life they always dreamed of, everyone is cashing in on the 21st century gold rush.

Isn’t it time that you took control of your own destiny? Learn more now and start living the life of your dreams.

Click here to learn more.


This is a “sheep” ad that will generate clicks but will fail to make sales.

What you will get from this ad is visitors who are in a dream-world. Sure, they would love to fire their stinking boss, but are they going to take action?

I suppose you could go for these types of clicks and hope that your website is so appealing that it convinces them but, candidly, that rarely works.

The fact is that most sites today don’t do a great job of converting visitors into buyers.

This is why your ad must pre-sell them with emotion.

By the way, the most common model being used online right now is to get EVERYONE you can to your site and hope that your website does the selling.

If you are still reading this article I suspect you know that this model does not work.

Now scenario two is where you run a “lion” ad; one that is bold and unafraid and actually qualifies the prospect BEFORE the click.

Here is an example of that ad.


Tired of the rat race and ready to make a massive income working at home?

Many people feel that way but few are willing to do what it takes to make the big bucks. Freedom is possible if you are willing to take action and be bold.

Do you have what it takes?

Are you the type of person who will “go for it” once you see what you want?

If you answered yes our proven system will show you the step-by-step process to follow so that you never have to work for anyone else again!

You really can have the freedom and peace of mind you want and deserve.

Today could be the best day of your life IF you are bold enough to act.

Will you take control of your future today?

Only YOU can decide!

Click here to take control today!


In my view this is a “lion” ad that will get fewer clicks but make many more sales. The reason is simple. This ad has pre-qualified the prospect.

In this ad I was very clear that they were going to need to take action to get the benefits I am offering them.

If they click the ad they have accepted the challenge to get more information and change their lives. And that is exactly the mindset you want them to have when they visit the site you are promoting, be it your own or an affiliate offer.

Remember this — your ad has an important job … pre-qualify the prospect and, in so doing, set up the sale. Not to just get any old click.

It is vitally important to understand the difference between sending just any visitor to a site and sending a pre-qualified visitor.

Yes, you want clicks but you want the RIGHT kind of clicks — qualified prospects.


Want to convert a weak “sheep” ad into a bold “lion” ad? Here are six principles that will help you do that today. I’ll keep them short since this article is getting a bit long.

These are not in order of importance but rather important principles that should be in every ad. The more of them you use the better.

PRINCIPLE 1 – The right headline

Use a HEADLINE that sets the right tone. Excited but not hyped up.

One idea is to let readers know that this is NOT for everyone or for those who will not take action but that massive rewards await those who will take action.

PRINCIPLE 2 – Make the offer

Make a clear statement of what you really are OFFERING.

If you can’t be proud of what you offer then it might be time to find something else to sell online. Tricking people might work for a while but it’s no way to build a business. Be very clear about your offer.

A note about this — if you are promoting a highly promoted product then using the name of the product in your ad is not a good idea. If you do mention the name you run the risk of being associated with other advertisers who might have over-claimed (or outright lied) to get the click. No sense in taking that risk in my view.

PRINCIPLE 3 – Qualify them

Make QUALIFYING STATEMENTS so the reader can know that they qualify for what you offer.

In our example the phrase “Are you tired of the rat race and ready to make a massive income working for yourself at home?” is a qualifying statement. Another one is “Are you the type of person who will “go for it” once you see what you want?” If they answer “yes” in their heads then you have a great prospect.

If someone is happy with their job — it can happen — then they would quickly know that your offer is not for them.

PRINCIPLE 4 – Be truthful

Always be TRUTHFUL in your ads. This should go without saying but often is not the case. If you have been given misleading ads to use by your company please don’t use them. You will only hurt your reputation, and reputation matters online. Plus, hype really doesn’t work too well so why waste the time and your ad budget?

PRINCIPLE 5 – Sell benefits, not features

Sell BENEFITS. Be clear about what the reader will gain if they do take action.

My ad is selling freedom and peace of mind and control, not the product I had in mind when I wrote it. And it clearly states that they will be shown a proven system but only IF they qualify.

PRINCIPLE 6 – A clear call to action

Always include a strong CALL TO ACTION. In the “lion” ad above I included a call to action that is congruent with the rest of the ad … “click here to take control today!”

The bottom line to all of this is simple — you must advertise if you want to make money online so your ads might as well be as strong as they can be.

If you take a little time and make your ads “lions” instead of “sheep” you will not only sell more, get more signups, and maybe make a little money for a change but you will save advertising dollars as well because YOUR ads will be the ones that work the best.

And having ads that work, that REALLY work to make sales happen, is a beautiful thing indeed!

Karla Silver

Karla is an online marketing expert, coach, speaker, two-time award-winning bestselling author and has been voted into the top 50 online marketers in direct sales. Karla helps entrepreneurs build and automate their businesses online.


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