“Where should I run my ads?”

“What’s the best headline to use?”

“Which picture gets the most attention?”

These are some of the more common questions advertisers ask themselves.

While knowing how to tweak an ad campaign or choosing a proven headline template may prove helpful, they will not increase your ROI as much as the “3 As of advertising.”

Using the 3 As, even an inexperienced marketer is able to outperform a seasoned one with all the technical skills and knowledge.

Understand this and you’ll impress even an expert advertiser. Better yet, you’ll impress your clients more than this expert ever could.

Here's the first A.

“Make more money.”

“Increase sales.”

“Let more people see my products.”

Ask a marketer why he’s running an ad and he’ll likely say one of these.

But none of these are real accomplishments for ads.

These are the end results you want at the end of the cycle.

Not the ad accomplishment.

So what exactly is an ad accomplishment?

An ad accomplishment is the specific outcome you want to produce from a particular ad.

Here are some examples.

“Getting seniors to sign up for my chiropractic trial session.”

“Getting business owners to enquire about my logo design pricing”

“Getting registrations for my investment seminar next weekend”

“Getting my jingle heard by as many people as possible at the cheapest rate”

If you’ve identified your ad accomplishment well, you will know which factors are non-negotiable and which factors you can be more flexible with.

For example, in the last example above (jingle), you wouldn’t be too bothered about the platform you’re using as long as you have a wider reach and a cheaper cost per action.

Whereas in the first example above (chiropractic), you should be willing to pay more to ensure only seniors are seeing your ad as opposed to getting it blasted to as many people as possible.

This is why understanding your ad accomplishment is important.

When you understand it, you’ll be able to avoid putting out ads that conflict with your end goal.

Let me give you an example.

I was at a massage outlet with my partner, intending to get a foot and back massage.

As we approached the outlet, we saw an ad at the entrance. This was how it looked.

Refresh massage

“Promotion offer, Only for first timer!”

We wouldn’t qualify as we’ve been to the establishment before. But a man at the counter seemed to be a first timer.

“Is this your first time here?” the staff asked.


“Ok, let me check,” she said as she checked the records and spoke to another staff.

“I’m sorry,” she got back to the man. “You’re a first timer but the promotion is only valid from 11am to 4pm. Do you want to get the normal package instead?”

“Hmmm… It’s only 4:08 now. That’s less than 10 minutes. I was here at about 4,” he said.

“I’m sorry. Company policy.”

The guy tried to reason for a bit. But the staff insisted that it was past the offer timing.

3 minutes later, he left without getting a massage.

As I was observing this, I wondered to myself…

What exactly is this ad trying to accomplish?

Is it trying to get new customers? Is it trying to promote their new package? Is it trying to slot in more customers during a specific time slot?

What exactly is the ad accomplishment here?

The more likely answer is, they never thought about it. They just slapped a few things together to launch an off peak promotion.

But if we deduce the ad accomplishment here, this is it - They’re trying to convert brand new customers only during their off peak timing.

And that’s a horrible ad accomplishment. Here’s why.

If they’re trying to acquire new customers - there’s a specific approach that works.

If they’re trying to slot in customers during off peak hours to maximise profits and efficiency - there’s a completely different approach that works.

By blending the 2, they’ve adopted an approach that has backfired.

If their ad accomplishment is to acquire new walk-in customers using a promotion, they should have focused on getting that conversion and removed anything that could affect the conversion - such as the time window.

Their priority should have been to sign up the new customer for anything, regardless how small, and give the customer a good first impression.

This will allow them to get familiar with the brand and they will be comfortable to pay another visit in the future. People are more comfortable spending money at a place they’ve spent money before.

If the massage company had understood their ad accomplishment, they could have even employed other strategies to further reach their end goal - such as the loss leader strategy. They could consider waiving the cost of the “promotion session” if the new customer chooses to sign up for a 10 session package.

This would have not only secured the customer but also improved the overall customer lifetime value.

However, as we have witnessed in the case of Refresh, not evaluating their ad accomplishment (or having a bad one), led them to design an ad that conflicted with their own interest.

This could have been easily prevented. And I’m sure that one guy wasn’t the only customer they lost because of that ad.

So, that wraps up our first "A" and now, let's take a look at the second "A" of advertising.

A good advertiser has to know his audience. Most advertisers have at least a general idea of who their audience is.

The better ones are able to narrow their target audience down with more precise demographic details.

Let me give you an example.

Raymond, an online mastermind student of mine in the weight loss industry, identified the following as his target audience.

Audience Details
Gender: Female
Age range: 21 - 42
Location: U.S.
Income level: $60,000 - $120,000 annually
Interests: Watching TV and surfing the net

With these details on hand, Raymond created an ad campaign on Facebook.

This was how his ad looked.

Raymond ad1



Professional looking?


So make a guess. How well do you think his ad performed?

The quick answer…

Raymond ad2

It was bad. Out of the 254 clicks he got, only 6 of them converted to sales. Small ticket sales.

Raymond made a loss.

Confused and upset, he engaged me.

I looked at his ad and I asked him who he was trying to target. He gave me the details I shared above.

That was when I knew there was a problem.

You see, most marketers make the mistake of narrowing down their audience to a certain demographic. This may include people of a certain age range, gender, location, interests, etc.

And while having that rough idea of who you are targeting may be helpful in creating ads that work, you will notice that the ads are just barely breaking even or the ROI is low.

To create ads that completely hypnotise your audience and get high conversions, you must first throw out any conception of a “target demographic” and focus on your avatar.

Your avatar is the one person you are selling to.

Yes, ONE person.

Knowing that your ideal customer is an American lady aged 21-42 won’t help you create a good ad. You need to know what this lady’s exact age is. You need to know what are the websites she likes to visit. What are some of her favourite brands? Where does she shop at and what does she buy?

After knowing some of these basic information, you need to delve deeper into her psychographic info.

What are 2 of the biggest distractions she faces daily? What are 3 things that make her angry or frustrated? What are 2 self-doubts she keeps to herself in private? What kind of claims get her skeptical or defensive?

These are just some of the questions from my Crystal Ball that help advertisers specifically identify their avatar. I ensure all my students go through the Crystal Ball so that they don’t end up creating horrible ads that lose money.

And Raymond was no exception.

You’ve seen the ad he created on his own (above).

After going through the various questions in the Crystal Ball, we realised the exact angle our avatar would resonate with. And this was the ad we came up with.

Raymond ad3

It may not look as “pretty” or “professional” as the ads big companies like to run. But the results after just 1 day told a whole other story.

Raymond ad4

Not only did Raymond spend much less...

With less than half the clicks to his website, he was able to close almost 3 times the number of sales.

Which only meant one thing.

Our new ad resonated with his market.

And we would never have predicted it before going through the Crystal Ball.

If you’d like to have a copy of the Crystal Ball so you can get your avatar right, drop me an email here:

[email protected]

Now, let’s have a look at our "ad on the street" critique.

At Young Elites, I teach kids how to improve their writing and thinking skills through the use of games.

I strongly believe that the various environments we are exposed to in the early stages of our lives have a huge impact on exactly who we turn out to be later in life.

So you can imagine my delight when I heard about a company called KidZania.

At KidZania, kids get a chance to role play certain professions in a fictional city. They get to engage in activities that develop the way they think and act.

Fantastic concept. You can tell that I’m very supportive.

Supportive of their concept - Definitely

Supportive of their advertising - Not quite

When I saw the first KidZania ad on the street, I was rather underwhelmed.

KidZania ad

“At KidZania, you can be whoever you want to be.”

That isn’t the best headline to use, even if we don’t factor in the avatar consideration. Considering the target avatar, it becomes even worse.

Looking at the ad, who do you think the company is trying to advertise to?

Children (one might even say young girls).

Who do you think the company should be trying to target?

Yes, their parents. The adults who pay for them. More specifically, the mother.

Sure, if you can entice a child to come down to KidZania, that would be good. But think about it. Which do you think makes more sense?

Getting a kid to think “Yes, I want to role play many different professions and see how they work in society,” or getting the mother to think “Yes, I want my child to be exposed to various professions and understand his interests so I can push him in the right direction in life.”

I trust that you see the difference and recognise how a simple tweak in avatar can completely change this failing ad into a winning one.

By simply identifying their avatar right, KidZania would have realised that they should change their headline to one that resonates more with a mother. That alone would bring more kids through their doors.

And lastly, we have the last “A” of advertising…

It sounds very simple. Yet most people leave this out of their ads.

A call to action helps an ad perform better because it influences the consumer to take a specific action. Most advertisers feel they don’t have to literally spell out what action to take because it’s clear enough in the ad.

But they’re mistaken.

No matter how unambiguous your ad may be, always have a specific call to action because by making it clear and simple for your audience to understand what they need to do, you will be directly leading them to take the action.

This will help your conversions.

What makes a good call to action?

That will vary depending on what you want your ad to accomplish.

In any case, there has to be an action you want them to take after seeing your ad because that’s how you get a return on your investment. (There are exceptions to this - like launching a positioning ad in a high end fashion magazine or doing guerrilla marketing. But unless your ad accomplishment warrants it, adding a call to action will always improve your ROI.)

I was browsing through a magazine when I saw two ads. Here’s the first one.

SK2 ad

If you have no idea what this product is, then you’re a victim to one of several advertising crimes committed on this ad.

I happen to know the brand and product. But even I was a little confused when I saw the ad.

Then, a few pages away, I saw this ad.

Swarovski ad

Swarovski is a rather famous brand. Some may even argue that brand-wise, it is more eminent compared to SK-II.

The Swarovski brand has a hint of luxury (SK-II too) and because they’re selling to a sophisticated crowd, their ads may choose to reflect this element of sophistication.

We can see how elegant the ad is. The SK-II ad is equally clean and elegant. However, one missing aspect of the ad ensures it will never perform as well as the Swarovski one.

The call to action.

Tucked neatly at the corner of the Swarovski ad is the call to action: Discover more at swarovski.com

This call to action, while appearing insignificant, will make a world of difference compared to the ad without a call to action. Having a call to action that’s congruent with the elegance of the ad and brand retains the impression people have of the Swarovski branding.

Plus, it leads to more sales and further customer assimilation into the Swarovski brand and community.

There are many ways SK-II could improve their ad. One monumental way would be to add a call to action.

In the article above, I’ve shown how 3 very simple concepts have 3 extremely vital roles in creating a winning ad - when you apply them correctly.

You might have noticed either midway through or by now, that the entire article itself is an ad.

The ad accomplishment: To reach out to companies for collaborations or advertising consultations.

The avatar: I will not reduce it to a one liner - but if you’re reading this and considering writing in, then I probably have described you rather accurately in the Crystal Ball.

The action: Send me a message below. I’ve worked with a fair amount of people who have reached out to me. Some, on a smaller scale. Some, on bigger and longer term projects. One interesting message I received ended up with my ad service being incorporated into their $20,000 corporate marketing suite.

So tell me what is 1 way you and I could work together. Or if you need to, share this article with the person who will help you make the decision.

Talk soon.

Tell me 1 way you and I could work together