How To Create a YouTube Ad That Converts

Mahmud Ahmed, CEO, New York

04 September 2019

Show them the problem, explain the next step, then keep reminding them.

Get results from your Youtube video marketing efforts

Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

A few months ago, I had a guy reach out, asking me to create an explainer video for him.

Apparently, he was going to use this video for a Facebook ad, and even though I’m a huge fan of this approach, I knew this wasn’t his best option at the same time.

I say that because he was a real estate agent and real estate agents always benefit the most from Google’s network (including YouTube).

As they know, when people are actively looking to move:

And, in turn, allow them to put an ad in front of a hot audience.

Anyway, after telling him this, he took a brief pause. Then, five seconds later, he mentioned the one phrase that hurts a lot of business owners:

“I’ve already tried that, it doesn’t work for my industry.”

In other words, he’d been told the same thing before and even though he loved the idea at first, as it made sense to him, after he tried it out, he quickly changed his mind.

The reason for that was because, like most others, once he did a YouTube ad and wasted hundreds of dollars on it, without seeing results, he immediately told himself that they just don’t work for his industry — instead of trying to figure out what went wrong.

With that said, after hearing this, I knew exactly what he was going through, as I’d heard it many times before, so from there I asked him if I could take a look at his previous ad.

Really, I just wanted to do this so I could see if it was something we could improve on, or at the very worst, show him where he went wrong.

And, after a little more convincing, he finally sent the ad my way, which uncovered a huge mistake that most people make.

He Was 100% Focused on Tactics,

Without Realizing Why They Work


I could honestly give you 500 different examples of this, as it’s something everybody seems to mess up.

Where they think they can:

  • Do an email funnel and instantly get results because of it.
  • Do a webinar and become a millionaire.
  • Setup a chatbot campaign and generate sales at all times of the day.

Whatever it is, people always fall for this misconception…

But in Trevor’s (the real estate agent) case, the biggest mistake he made was simply thinking a YouTube ad was all he needed to generate business.

And the actual ad itself didn’t matter. Not from a “cosmetic” standpoint or anything either, because everybody is usually pretty good about that (ego wouldn’t allow anything less).

But instead, it’s just from understanding the important parts of the ad, such as:

  • The messaging.
  • Your ideal target market.
  • The journey that takes place after the ad.
  • Etc…

And, even though it took a little bit of work to show Trevor this, as in how he couldn’t just:

  • Put up a 60-second video of himself, saying how good of an agent he was.
  • Then asking people to call him right after that…

We finally got him to try YouTube ads again, and let’s just say, he was really glad he did. From finally being able to stop worrying about marketing, to actually seeing an ROI on his campaign.

He quickly realized how the main importance of any campaign isn’t the:

  • Design.
  • Format you use.
  • Or skill you offer…

But instead, it’s just:

  • Understanding your market.
  • Meeting them where they’re at.
  • Creating a journey that takes them from cold prospect to paying client.

Because, once you get that in place, you’re guaranteed to get results and that’s why I wanted to show you how to do this today.

Starting with:

Step 1. Showing Them the Problem

As the great (and late) Dan Kennedy says best: “You should never expect clients to understand they have a problem.”

Because, even though it may be obvious to you, it’s probably something they don’t even realize. In other words, they might just think it’s “how things are”.

Where they have to:

  • Hustle 24/7, if they want to be a “real” entrepreneur.
  • Suffer for the first three years, as it’s the path everybody has to take.
  • Spend countless hours on the phone with prospects, or else they’re just not working hard enough.
  • Etc…

Whatever it may be, there’s usually an underlying problem that most people aren’t aware of and that’s why we need to help them become aware of this.

With that said, that’s the gist of it and this will differ between every market. But, in short, you usually want to do this with the PAS formula.

If you’re not familiar with PAS, it stands for:

  • Problem
  • Agitate
  • Solution

And, when done correctly, it’s the only formula you’ll need to get sales. Anyway, that’s the formula side of things.

And for a practical application, so I’m not going to show you the exact steps we took for Trevor, as I don’t want to give away his secrets, but in the simplest terms, for this market (people selling their house).

The biggest concern seems to be how they don’t want to work with a real estate agent who won’t get any sales. The reason for this is obvious, as it’d be a waste of time and they need to get their house sold quickly.

But, with that said, that’s the first step and now that we know their obstacle, it’s time to think of a solution that’ll help them get past this obstacle.

There are a few ways to do this as well and, depending on your market, it could be a lengthy process. You may have to do edu-marketing to explain everything upfront, that way they fully understand how you can help them afterward.

But, with real estate agents, you really don’t have to do this, as people already understand what you do. With that said, that’s the same reason why the “guarantee first” format usually works best for this field.

There are a few ways you could do this, but one of my favorite examples actually took place years ago, when a real estate agent used to send out flyers that said:

As you can see, this obviously helped people overcome their obstacle, and helped him get a lot of business because of it:

But we’ll talk more about that in a second, so, for now, I just wanted to show you a quick outline of how you could use the PAS formula to create the initial ad.

Going back to our real estate example, this would look something like:

  • Last year, Rick found the home of his dreams, wanted to buy it right away.
  • Only problem was, he couldn’t afford it with his existing mortgage as well.
  • Knowing he had to sell his current home, he hired a trusted professional to do this for him.
  • Like most professionals, they promised the world.
  • But, four months later, Rick’s house was still on the market, missed out on his dream home.
  • This was depressing to see, but he also knew he didn’t have the time to do it himself.
  • One day, he came across a flyer where a real estate agent was promising to sell his home within 120 days, or they’d buy it themselves.
  • Knowing this was exactly what he needed, as it’d allow him to plan out his next steps.
  • He decided to move forward with it, and today, Rick is sitting in the house of his dreams.
  • Want to see how you could benefit from this as well?
  • If so, please click on the link below, and we’ll tell you all about it.

And, even though this message comes to life with an explainer video:

As I’m sure you can see already, this outline alone would be enough to connect with your market. Because it not only shows them the problem of working with any real estate agent, but it also shows them the consequences of doing so.

And that’s why they’ll likely want to hear about a program that mitigates this afterward. Anyway, that’s the first step of the process and the part where you’d use the actual “ad” to grab their attention.

But, afterward, you need to implement:

Step 2. Explaining the Next Step

As I mentioned a little bit ago, this part really depends on the industry you’re in because some people need to understand exactly what you do before they’ll move forward with anything (happens a lot in marketing).

While others are familiar with your service, so they just need to see how you can mitigate their problem (such as our real estate example). But, needless to say, whatever your next step is, the main way you want to look at it is that it needs to be something that moves your readers down the “funnel”, without going too far.

In other words, you can’t just put up an ad that offers a “free consultation” because nobody wants to jump on a phone call right away so, instead, what you want to do in that situation is show them everything they need to know, on autopilot.

Going back to the Craig Proctor story, where he sent out flyers that guaranteed to sell people’s homes. So, even though he knew this promise would be enough to get (most) people to take action right away, at the same time, he also knew that he’d miss out on a lot of business if he just asked them to call him right away.

And, with that, he decided to create a next step that explained all the final details on autopilot.

Now he actually did this a few years ago as well, so he had to use automated recordings as the internet wasn’t even a thing yet. But, needless to say, after people would see his flyers, they could then call a phone number and listen to the final details after that.

From the home values he dealt with, to the zip codes he traveled to. He explained it all, that way, by the time they were done with this recording, they knew if it was for them or not.

And if so, they could take the next steps (i.e. leaving their contact info) after that. Anyway, again, this took place years ago.

So, creating a recorded message might not be your best move but the logic remains the same. And that’s why it works best when you create a video that explains the final details.

Going back to the example we created earlier, where we started off by showing people the problem of working with any real estate agent. Then, after that, leaving a call-to-action that shows them how you guarantee your home sales.

So, what you’d want to do in this case is take the Craig Proctor approach, just with today’s tools.

In other words, create a video once that explains all the final details to them. Then, after that, have a form at the bottom of the video that allows them to leave their contact information if they want you to follow-up and see if you could help them as well.

With that said, that’s the “promise-first” approach and would work well with a lot of small business owners. But, even if you’re not a small business owner, and are part of a different industry, such as:

  • SaaS
  • E-commerce
  • Etc.

This would still work for you, you’d just have to take a different next step. For example, if you’re SaaS, you’d want to offer a free trial first. Or, if you’re e-commerce, you’d want to offer a free plus shipping product to start things off.

Etc. The industry doesn’t matter because, as long as you offer a next step that gets them to take action and, in turn, move further down the funnel, then that’s the main goal.

Anyway, that’s step 2 and if you just did these 2 steps, that alone would give you a YouTube ad that converts like crazy but the last thing I wanted to mention is:

Step 3. Retargeting Ads

In a perfect world, we’d be able to design ads that get every prospect to move forward right away. And even though that used to be a little easier to do, in today’s world, where everybody is a guru, there’s a lot more noise out there and, in turn, it usually takes a couple of touches before everybody will move forward.

With that said, that’s the bad news. For the good news, it’s not that hard either because you really just need to have a retargeting ad in place that brings them back.

If you’re not familiar with the term retargeting ad, it’s really an ad that’s shown to people who’ve taken a certain action (i.e. watched a video, visited a page, etc.).

But not another (i.e. signed-up for a phone call) so, in this situation, you’d want to create another automated ad that’s shown to them and gets them to come back.

As with everything, there are a few different ways to do this, but in this situation, one of the best ways is by creating a personalized video that goes over a few FAQs.

In other words, when you’re doing the first touch, it usually works best to have an explainer video. Because, at that stage of the journey, people don’t care about you, they care about what you can do for them.

Now that you’ve already “broken the ice”, it never hurts to follow-up with a personalized video, deepening the relationship that way.

With that said, that’s the gist of it, and again, it’ll all depend on the industry you’re in, or what your next offer is. In short, you really just want to have an FAQ video that addresses any questions they might have. Or better yet, things you didn’t cover in the initial video.

Going back to our script format, this would be something along the lines of:

“Hey, it’s Trevor again and I know I already introduced our program to you, but during the past couple weeks, I’ve received a lot of emails from people mentioning how they wanted to move forward with the program.

There are a few things preventing them from doing so, so if you’re interested, I wanted to cover those quickly.

Starting with:

  1. What’s the catch?

No catch…”

And you’d go through every FAQ after that, but in short, once you’re done with these FAQs you’d leave the call-to-action again and get people to take action that way.

From there, I’d leave this ad in front of people for 21–30 days, as it does take some time for (most) people to move forward. If they don’t take action by then, it’s usually a good idea to stop showing this ad to them, as they’re probably not interested.

Anyway, that’s the third step I wanted to mention, so let’s move onto:

The recap

As I hope you’re starting to see by now, one of the biggest problems people have with all types of advertising (including video ads) isn’t that they don’t have:

  • Good design.
  • A large budget.
  • A good (final) offer.

Or anything like that, but instead, it’s just that they don’t understand the process of a customer journey.

In other words, if you understand how to:

  • Grab your audience’s attention with the PAS formula.
  • Then, send them to a funnel that takes care of everything after that.

You’ll have more business than you know what to do with, even in today’s noisy world.

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