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This business coaching episode explains how to create ads that actually work for you company.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: Include your phone number in your ad and make sure people can see it.
  • Creative Advertisements That Work: 4. Use Some Aspirational Design and Artwork
  • Notable Quotable: "People judge you based on their first impression."
  • Ask Yourself: Do I have a number that is memorable? Could I have one?

digitaltutors for marketing and small business ideas

-So, how important has it been for you putting your phone number on ads? What are some good experiences that have come from that?

-Well, I just want to make sure that it's easy to find.


-When you're advertising, you're annoying people. If you're advertising before a YouTube video, no one wants to watch the ad.

-No one wants to watch that.

-We're a I'm trying to watch this video of this cat that can juggle.


-Why am I having to watch this ad? And if you watch the ad, the ad better be good, or as soon as you can click the skip button, you will. Or as soon as you can skip past it, you will. If you're reading a magazine and you see an ad, you're like, get out of here. I'm trying to read this article. What is this ad?


-But if you have an ad and small business idea that seems like it's an advertorial- something that people want to read, that has value- then that's great. But if your numbers not prominent on there, people aren't going to be curious and go "What is this?" They're not going to get down there and look for the four point font with your number.


-So a lot of people try to be very cutesy with their ads, and they're like "Well, I put my number really small, because my number doesn't matter." No, put your number where it's big, where people can see it.


-Make sure people can see those numbers.

-Do you have a story, specifically, of something- a deal, or something that's come from you prominently displaying your number somewhere for people to find easily?

-I have more of a story of how not to prominently display your-

-Oh, OK.

-I ran ads in a magazine for years. Just yeah, we'll do it. Yeah, we'll do it. Let's do it. Let's do it. It's probably two years in, three years in. And a bride says, hey, I don't know if you know, but you don't have your number or website on your ad. I spent probably 20 grand on that. You know?

-That's not good.

-And I would get like one or two calls a month from it, and I was feeling like this ad's terrible.


-Well, I was thinking, well maybe the ad- the company who sold me the ad- maybe they would proof it, or check it. Well, if you ever assume that somebody else is looking out for your business, other than yourself-

-They don't care about your business.

-It's not a good thing.

-So did anything change when you did put a number in there?

-I put a number that in there, the phone rang quite a bit. Same ad, just the phone rang quite a bit.

-That's called action.

-And with a phone number, if you can have a number that is memorable, that's great. So if you can have like Dr. Zoellner, his office, I believe, is something like 918-460-2020 or 461-2020. It's one of those numbers there. Why is it 2020? It's because it's vision. It's glasses. It's optometry. And Dr. Zoellner is one of our Thrive mentors. An optometrist, he chose 2020.

-Right. -If you can get a number that somehow ties into what you do, that's awesome. Like 1-800-GOT-JUNK. That's a number that you can do. You know, having a number that's not memorable is not necessarily- it doesn't hurt you, but it's not a benefit.

-Right. That makes sense.

-You know, there's like 1-800- what, I think it's ProFlowers.com.


-A lot of people know that number.


-A lot of people know 1-800-GOT-JUNK. So you can have value just in that number.

-That makes sense.

-Make sense?

-So action step here? Action step for us?

-Look for a number you can name. Look for a number you can come up with, you can brand. Look for a number that can get attention like 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

-And then go through all the advertisements and make sure your contact information is on there, I'm assuming.

-Make sure it's big.

-Right. You can actually see it.


-Principle number four. Use some aspirational design and artwork.


-Talk to me about this a little bit.

-Just because I'm not a beautiful man doesn't mean that people in my ads don't need to be beautiful. So I, you know, am not a model. I mean, it's hard to believe, how is this guy not a model? But no, I'm not a model. But for the people who are saying to yourself, well I want to put my brother-in-law in the ad. Well look at him, and if he's a beautiful man, put him in there. But if you're saying well, he's just going through a rough patch, and I'm trying to give him some work- don't do that to yourself.


-You've got to have aspirational people in ads. Think about Nordstrom ads. Think about Lexus ads. Think about ads for any company you can think of. Even McDonald's. Beer ads. Ads for airports. Ad for airplanes, I mean.

Any ad. Baking ads. They usually don't have bizarre people. But when you get into local communities, they put ads in there of people because they're like, I don't want to judge anybody. And Greg works in accounting, and Greg's our guy. So I want Greg in my ad.


-Why would you do it? Greg knows he's not a beautiful man. You know Greg's not a beautiful man. Just hire a model or an actor, or get somebody aspirational.

-The same's probably true for a design layout. If you've got a flyer, or an ad on Facebook- not just the people in it, but it's got to look good- all of it. Aesthetically has to look good.

-Everything has to look good. People judge you based on their first impression. You've got to get something awesome there.

-That makes sense. Do you have any examples of times you've done this wrong, or times you've capitalized on this?

-Well, I can say this. Over the years, as we've grown the different businesses, I've learned- and some of these things took me a long time to learn- but one company in particular I'm working with now, we have a TV personality they feature on some of their website branding. And they get a much higher rate of return and call-to-action on their website than they did before, because they've hired a


Learn more about small business ideas on Thrive15.com

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: Don't put gross pictures in you ad!
  • Creative Advertisements That Work: 6. List a Few, Not Forty
  • Creating Advertisements That Work: 5. Make a Direct Offer, Potentially With An Expiration Date
  • Ask Yourself: Do I have a direct call to action within my ad? Does it have a time limit that encourages action to be taken?

Thrive15.com providesSmall Business Ideas


-I know with the companies I work with now, I always try to make sure that we have professional actors or people that know what they're doing that look great on camera representing what we're doing. Just don't go with amateur models and amateur, because if it's not aspirational, it's de-motivational.

-Yeah. So how you do that if you've got a smaller budget? You're a small company--

-You go to, they have local model agencies and you can do some kind of trade out. You can say, hey, the girls who are in our ads, they can be featured in our ads and we'll give them free-- say, I owned a hair salon. I could say all the girls who are in our commercial can get free hair care or they can get a discount off our products and services. Or we'll do trade out or do something.

-Get creative.

-But do whatever you have to do to make sure you don't have people in your ads that are not aspirational.

-So action step is just to sit down and evaluate all your ads and see if there's something to aspire to?

-Just don't put gross pictures in your ads. Don't do clip art.

INTERVIEWER: That's the action step.

-Don't do nasty pictures. Yeah. It's got to look world-class. If it does not look world-class, people are going to say, this looks amateur. Don't think they won't. You would. I would. You would. If you're watching, I mean, you would do the same thing.

INTERVIEWER: Absolutely.

-So we've got to make sure the people in our ads look first-class. The pictures, first-class. No clip art. First-class.

-Much like these incredible beverages we have.

-Yeah. Well I can tell you what, I'm very happy that we have this--


- --incredible first-class Sprite.

-I just realized we don't have bottle openers though, so that's a shame.

CLAY CLARK: You can use your teeth.

-Hmm. OK. Maybe next segment. All right. Principle number five: make a direct offer potentially with an expiration date. Talk to me about the direct offer. Why is this so important and what does that look like?

-If you have an ad, and it doesn't tell you what you should specifically do--

-A good call to action.

- --we usually do nothing. So whenever I see an ad that's just like, America, like I don't know what you want me to do. And you see it all the time. These government organizations that run ads being like, this message provided to you by the good people at blah blah blah. Like, I don't remember any of the commercials. Do you?

-No, but we know the feel of them all is. We know the music's kind of like da-duh-da-duh-da-duh-da.

-It's so safe. And what I do is I'm watching the Superbowl and all of a sudden it's like, some generic message, and then I'm like, whatever, you guys have any Cheetos?


-And I go back and watch. I don't remember what the ad was. I don't remember anything. But the ads that you remember are the ones that have that direct call to action and some sort of shock to it or some sort of-- it pulls on you emotionally. So you really have to have an ad-- whenever you do your ad, you want to make sure that it has some sort of direct call to action.

So I guess the best example would be like, limited time offer-- special runs till Sunday. You know, the reason why those companies run in the Sunday papers is because it works. So TVs on sale-- a sale until Sunday at 5:00 pm. That's an ad with a call to action. Come in here. Buy this TV by Sunday.

-So you recommend putting expiration date on some of these ads?

-I am all about it. Expiration dates-- I'm all about putting direct calls to action where people absolutely know what you want them to do. Call now while supplies last. Order your free this today. This expires by Tuesday. Call now for your free bonus gift, but I'm totally against just running an ad that just has branding.

Just here's our logo. Here's our name one more time. Hopefully, it helps you remember us. I'm just totally am against that.

-So if I'm an entrepreneur trying to think of a call to action, call to action works for any kind of businesses?

-Yeah, throw me out some different kinds of companies and I'll give you one.

-Well, OK. We've got Doctor Zoellner's Optometry.

-Yeah, I would say something like-- if I was in his business-- I would say, come in and buy one pair of frames for 200. Get the second pair for half off until Sunday.

-Hair salon.

-Hair salon, I'd be like, maybe like, first cut-- like whatever my low hours would be? If my low hours were like, Monday morning and Tuesday morning, I might say all Monday and Tuesday Tulsa haircuts until the end of the month are half off.

-Pet party business.

-Pet party business. I'd just put a going out of business sign right there.

-OK. Good. Good. Excellent. Principle number six here. List a few, not 40 or 42.

-Why? OK.

-Why is it important just to list a few. And I think we're talking about benefits here... Small Business Ideas.


-Why is it important to not overwhelm the viewer with a list of benefits?

-It's really important, because when you're looking at an ad you can only see so much information. You only process so much. So you want to have, what's your main idea you're trying to communicate. And then there's maybe three benefits, maybe four. But not like 50 in a whole page of


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Soft Selling In A Hard World- Jerry Vass: "Plain Talk on the Art of Persuasion."
  • Jerry Vass-"In any business the only benefits that sell are power, profit, prestige, and pleasure."
  • The Three Major Benefits: 1. Save Time 2. Save Money 3. Improve How You Feel
  • Action Step: Write down five problems you can solve for your customers. Determine which one is the most powerful and use that as a benefit.
  • Ask Yourself: What problem do I solve for my ideal and likely buyers? How can I effectively advertise my solution?

Looking for Small Business Ideas?

-And I think it's important in the "Soft Selling in a Hard World" book by Jerry Vass, he talks about what a benefit is and how it's not a feature. He says, "in any business, the only benefits that sell are power, profit, prestige, and pleasure." So your benefits have to fit in one of those categories. If you're selling vacuums, you're not talking about how fast does the circular bristles on the vacuum work. That doesn't mean anything.

But the amount of time that this vacuum saves you would be a benefit, correct?

-Right. You're trying to describe benefits to the ideal and likely buyer that resonates with them as being true and something that they want. So you're trying to help people save time. A consumer. You're trying to help a consumer try to save time, trying to help the consumer save money, trying to help them kind of improve the way feel about themselves. That's really kind of your big three. It's save time, save money, improve the way they feel about things.

And then you've got sort of like the ongoing motive that most people have is to avoid pain or to experience gain. And so those are what you do. So you try to appeal to that so that way-- if you're running an ad for college students, you might want to put an ad of "get your start at yada yada." Or find your ideal job. Finding your ideal job is only one call away-- if you were marketing to college students, because you're trying to create something that is true to them.

That's your one call to action. That's your one core benefit you're trying to describe. And then what you'll do is underneath that you get maybe three benefits you can put in there. But you can't be having like a whole page of 50 promises.

-Why is it that so many companies focus and use words like professional or trusted? Where the professional office. We're trusted. And not focus on the benefits for the actual consumer?

-Well, the benefits for the consumer involved answering the question-- what problem do you solve for the consumer? What problem do you solve for the consumer? That is the core reason why you are putting the ad in there-- explaining, where is the problem that you have that you can solve? A lot of businesses don't really know what problem they solve and so they're just talking about what they do. I don't care what you do. I want to know what problem you can solve for me.

And so it's really important you think in terms of a customer focus. Think in terms of what problem can you solve for your ideal and likely buyers.

-So tell us a story. Let's do story time with Clay Clark. What's one of the best benefits you've given that you're most proud of that really attracted consumers?

-Well, with our DJ business, I think we nailed it. And then with their Tulsa hair salon, we've nailed it pretty well, too. For the men's grooming lounge, we basically are marketing-- we're constantly sharing the message that it's an experience for the modern man. Basically, it's is a haircut for the modern man who's looking for experience and not just a haircut. And I came up with the actual wording we have on there, but the idea is that we're expressing that if you're looking for experience and not just a haircut, then The Elephant in the Room is the place for you.

And a lot of guys are like, yeah, that's me. And then they say, well, what is that experience? Paraffin hand treatment. Hot towel treatment. Straight razor shave.

CALEB TAYLOR: Scalp massage.

-Scalp massage. Yeah. Those are things that resonate with people. That has worked very, very well. But if we were just to put "quality cuts, professional customer service, integrity people."


-Trusted professionals. That can be like any ad in America.

-What does that mean, right?

-We have to make something a little more than that, a little more attraction than that... Small Business Ideas.

-So if I'm an entrepreneur here and I'm really struggling to think of benefits that will bring those customers in, will catch their attention, what are my action steps.

-Ask yourself what problems can you solve for the customer.

-What problems can I solve for the customer?

-Yep I would ask you to write down, let's say a minimum of five. What are five problems you can solve for customers? And then figure out which one of those is the most powerful for your customers. And if you have a hard time figuring that out, I've always in my business, I love getting the customers involved. I love talking to former customers and saying, hey, which one of these ads to you is the most appealing? And it will help you.



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