Episode 85: Vanilla. Great For Ice Cream, Not For Ad Copy

If I see one more webinar ad from a business

Jody Milward

If I see one more webinar ad from a business coach who coaches other coaches about business coaching that is all vanilla, fluff, and vague…I will puke!

That’s what I’m diving into in this episode of Online Confidential, where I take you behind the scenes to talk about ‘Secret Ad Manager’ business.

As an ad manager, it’s generally not your job to be a copywriter.

However, a lot of the time, you probably end up writing the ad copy for clients because that’s just what happens.

Ideally, you get to a place where you’re either outsourcing the copy or your clients are paying for it and it’s part of your billing system. Or your clients provide the copy because honestly there’s no one who knows your clients and their audience better than they do.

So what makes copy that’s going to stand out? Lately, the ad copy in the newsfeed for webinar ads that invite coaches to watch a webinar about coaching other coaches, is waffly, vanilla and vague. It’s the type of copy that has a headline like…

“The three key foundations to working with premium clients with grace and ease.”

What the heck does that even mean? How is that speaking to me?

And then the ad copy itself is full of all this other fluff that’s just filling up the newsfeed. Facebook actually doesn’t like that kind of vagueness with their ads.

Ad copy needs to be clearer than ever before

Vague ad copy is not going to cut it as we go into the Pixel-less iOS14 world. Ad copy and creative needs to be clearer than ever before. You need to speak to the ideal client in a way that you’ve never spoken to them before with a message that really lifts the ads up out of the newsfeed and connects with the audience.

This comes back to what we call ‘Brilliant Marketing Message’ and it’s one of the things I teach in my Elite Ad Manager Certification.

It’s taking all the waffle and all the jargon out of ads and out of headlines to make things super streamlined and focused and more powerful.

I was recently looking at cruises to hold an event. I thought a cruise would be fun now (yes, after COVID cruises kind of seem like a big petri dish of germs), but they’re still a lot of fun!

We were looking at cruises and came across Virgin Voyager the new cruise line by Virgin company out of Florida.

Richard Branson’s tagline is ‘Create a longing for the sea, not just a cruise ship.’

That is a brilliant marketing message because it’s about yearning for the sea, rather than here’s another cruise ship. It makes people look forward to the whole experience.

How to create brilliant marketing messages in ad copy

This is exactly what you want to do when you create ads for your clients, or they provide you with the copy. Have an eye for a brilliant marketing message and reduce the fluff and the vagueness. Don’t let the copy sound vanilla. It’s so imperative to have an eye to see when copy is vanilla and know when copy will stand out in the newsfeed.

One of the ways I love to do this is to get testimonials from the client’s clients. Chances are when you to say to your client, “Explain who your ideal client is, what their pain points are and what they want to achieve” you’ll get a whole lot of jargon from them.

They’ll probably say,

“Well…they want some systems and frameworks to be able to consistently implement and post and blah, blah, blah…” and you’ll get all the same vanilla, vague wording.

What you actually want are the words their clients use.

Ask your client to provide you with testimonials from their clients so you can see what they’ve actually said about where they were before working with your client, and where they are afterwards.  Once you have this information then you can be creative.

Use their exact wording, but then add in additional adjectives and action words and other descriptive and emotional words into the copy that are relevant to their field and the niche so it really resonates with the audience. Another way is to use your client’s USP, their Unique Selling Proposition.

Bring uniqueness into ad copy to stand out

Everyone is unique and I think that gets lost in the newsfeed where it comes back to the stereotype.  There’s so much focus on what the graphic designed image should look like and the wording for the ad but it ends up sounding the same as everyone else’s wording. I think we get that from school, maybe?

It’s like when you put in an essay and you got really creative with it but it was marked down. I know that happened to my son. We paint ourselves into what we think we should do to fit in, but when it comes to business and for yourself and your clients, the USP, the Unique Selling Proposition is all about you.

People do business with people. Show your uniqueness in your ad copy and in your messaging. Use the words your client actually says and think about how they speak.

Are they formal? How do they sound when they’re off the cuff and you’re just talking to them? How could you incorporate that into the ad copy along with the testimonials that you’re pulling in from your client’s clients?

Now, if your client doesn’t have many clients or a lot of testimonials, or even if they do, I recommend heading over to Amazon and looking at book reviews that are relevant to your client’s niche. You’ll be able to see what people are saying in the book reviews and use their comments as inspiration for your ad copy.

Look for what is unique and will help with standing out in the newsfeed. Look at your client and how your client communicates and the way they normally talk. Look at testimonials and what their ideal clients have actually said and bring that voice into the ad copy for a brilliant marketing message.

Identify what the audience really wants. It’s more than the three key foundations and how to attract and convert premium clients with grace and ease.

What do they really want? And why do they want it?

I was talking to one of our ad managers who was getting a pool and the reason they’ve been able to get this pool installed is because of the bonus she earned running Facebook ads for clients.

Incorporating a real desire like that into your marketing message is really powerful.

Maybe it’s ‘Imagine flying first class, thanks to working with premium clients and take the vacations that you’ve been wanting to.’

What do your client’s ideal clients want? Identify the struggles they actually face and incorporate that messaging into the ad copy.

Stay away from vanilla and vague jargon terminology.

Get back to being human, use the uniqueness of being an individual and represent that in your ads.

I hope you found that valuable today.

And here’s one more tip…

When you see some ad copy, analyze it. See if you can find jargon and terminology that can be swapped out with everyday language that speaks to people because it connects with where they’re at. Think about the thoughts and feelings they have on their mind and what’s in their heart, and try to bring that to life in the ad copy.

That’s all for this episode of Online Confidential. I look forward to seeing you next time!


I love to share practical information to help you improve your skills, learn something new or help you avoid the mistakes that many Ad Managers and I have made to help fast-track you on your journey as a well-paid and in-demand Ad Manager.