How to speak at the “same level” as your target audience and resonate with them? [Video]

6 Types of Digital Marketing Agency in Singapore that you’ve always mistaken as the same

Singapore has the highest digital penetration rate in Southeast Asia of 4.4 Million People.  The average number of digital devices owned by Singaporeans is 3.3. Most Singaporeans use the internet to research a product or service before purchasing it.

With these stats, it is no wonder digital marketing in Singapore has become a buzzword of the 21st century.  With it being a relatively new field, the lack of in-house expertise compels local businesses to outsource digital marketing work to external vendors.

Here’s the problem; Digital marketing is a broad ‘umbrella’ term to define all marketing efforts that work in conjunction with the internet and electronic devices. As you can see, that definition covers a vast spectrum of activities.

Different agencies are good at different things, depending on your objectives. You have to find out their strengths. If you ask them to tell you, they will say they are good at everything.

Here is a basic intro of the different types of “digital marketing” agencies in Singapore.

The most common marketing-specific agencies include:

Creative Agencies
PR Agencies
SEO Agencies
Web Design/Development Agencies
Marketing Automation Agencies
Direct Response Agencies

Below is a breakdown of each agency – what they are and what they have to offer businesses and advertisers operating in Singapore.

Creative Agency

A digital agency typically deals more with the influx of online traffic to a businesses’ online property, as well as converting that traffic into leads and sales. This, of course, may or may not include creative designs as part of their marketing strategy.

Creative agencies are experts at branding through their use of designs.  However, creative design is not limited to logos and other offline advertising paraphernalia. Businesses also use creative agencies to design their ads with eye-catching colors and lettering, as well as creative video ads clips that give their campaigns an advantage over their competitors’.

Do you need a creative agency for your Singapore business?

That all depends on how focused you are on branding your business.

BBDO Singapore is a well-known creative agency that has worked with some pretty big names across the globe including Tiger Beer, Visa, and Procter & Gamble. They are best known for the work they did on Guinness’s “Rise” & A1A’s “What’s Your Why”. Another creative agency in Singapore, TheSmartLocal specializes in helping brands create viral campaigns using videos and articles. There’s no guarantee that it will go viral but their emphasis is on the creative aspect.

Guinness’s Rise Video

Content marketing/PR Agency

PR agencies write news-worthy editorials for companies & individuals, which are strategically placed on relevant websites, TV programs, and Newspapers.

In the digital-first world, landing a mention in the digital publication could prove to be even more valuable than that of a print publication, considering that the article stays on the internet forever. If you are lucky, it even provides SEO value for the business.

While the primary goal of public relations work and advertising remains the same – promoting clients – their approaches in doing so is uniquely different. The main aim of a PR campaign is to validate and maintain a client’s reputation as being honest, relevant, and important in the eyes of the public.  This is in deep contrast to advertising, which is to create sales.

Does your business need a PR campaign?

Many big-name brands utilize them as they have a reputation to uphold and news-style content gives them the credibility they need to continue their goodwill amongst their audience.

Twitter recently hired the Golin Singapore PR agency to create purpose-driven public relation campaigns that would inspire businesses and consumers in Southeast Asia to view Twitter as a must-have communication platform.

Even for SMEs and startups, it can be a good idea to engage in PR and content marketing activities to start building trust around your brand. The positive reputation could indirectly improve the results of advertising campaigns and bring you more sales.

Content marketing agencies also help clients create editorial and informative content to build up trust with their target audience, with the content typically posted on the company blog or Facebook page. An example of a content marketing agency in Singapore is Cooler Insights.

SEO Agency

With 1000+ searches on Google each month, “SEO agency” is likely the most popular agency on this list.

Simply put, Search engine optimization (SEO) agencies in Singapore make search-engine friendly design and content changes to a client’s website that help it to rank higher in search engines like Google.

Ranking on the first page of Google captures 71%-93% of all search traffic clicks. There is a lot of misconception that rankings always translate to sales results, but that is not the case. There are several situations whereby SEO is not recommended for SMEs.

The average cost of SEO in Singapore at the moment is between $500-$3000 per month, and it is worth the price if you managed to work with a legitimate vendor that can provide a lasting result.

You might have to take note that SEO is not necessarily a lead generation strategy.  Ranking on 1st page of Google can provide you with the much-needed exposure for your brand but it is not effective for lead generation, particularly if your website is not optimized for conversion. Check out the video below to understand the difference between SEO and lead generation strategy.

In other words, you have to understand what you are paying for in the first place.

Video on SEO vs Paid ads

Website Design/Development Agency

Are website design and development the same? No!

What are the differences?

Website design is concerned with a website’s aesthetics and usability, while web development takes the design and brings it to life (i.e., makes it possible). Web designers use programs like Adobe Photoshop to create the layout of the website and web developers use programming languages like HTML & CSS to make the created layouts appear and function as they should.

When you hire a web design/development agency, it would be essential to check if they help with both aspects. It is not uncommon for businesses to get a rude shock when they see their new website lacking visual appeal. An example of a web design company in Singapore that does both is Verz Design.

Another critical clarification when it comes to web design is the difference between aesthetics and User Interface(UI). Both are not the same. A website with good UI helps in converting web visitors to leads & customers better. It considers the user experience and psychology bit and typically requires the expertise of a digital marketer.

Marketing Automation Agency

What is marketing automation?

This is an up-and-coming aspect of agency service. It covers cool things such as Facebook chatbot, email automation, CRM and other forms of automation. This is typically carried out with the use of software such as Hubspot(one-stop sales-and-marketing), MailChimp(email marketing automation), Infusionsoft(email and CRM), Manychat(Chat automation), Buffer(social media) and more. Its applications range from customer service to lead nurturing to content marketing.

Many of the above software are designed to be user-friendly enough to be implemented on your own but if you need an agency, there is always one here in Singapore. For example, happy marketer helps in Hubspot CRM implementation and ScaleUpMarketing helps in Infusionsoft automation.

Direct Response Agency

Basically, there are two major types of marketing strategies, branding & direct response. While the former influences sales over the long term, the latter directly generate sales.

Direct response marketing differs from other forms of marketing like social media marketing, content marketing, and inbound marketing as it seeks to produce measurable and immediate results over brand awareness and long-term customer acquisition.

This is the only agency in this list with a clear KPI of generating leads and sales. A direct response advertisement will always contain some kind of CTA (call-to-action) to entice a prospect to ‘move’ in a certain direction.

There are some features that are particular to direct response marketing, some of which are given below:

Trackable/Measurable: When an action is taken, the specific ad, media, and channel can be known and therefore a marketing campaign can be optimized to keep running the ‘winners’ and cutting the ‘losers’ to increase ROI.

Targeting: Direct response campaigns are centered around a narrow target audience which pertains to the advertiser’s specific niche or vertical. This allows for more immediate results from a campaign since the advertiser can craft a message in the ‘language’ which the targeted audience understands.

Offer: Direct response ads focus on offers that will provide value to the prospect instead of focusing on the brand that is supplying the offering.

A direct response agency plans, creates, and manages direct response campaigns for their clients! Our agency Ice Cube Marketing falls in this category. With a singular focus, we have gotten so good at what we do that clients tend to see a positive ROI within 2months. Some of our results include:

Absolute Wellness: Increased sales by 30% in 3 months.

Airconnection: Increased ROI 11x by replacing foot traffic with online traffic.

CA International College: Increased the number of leads by 52% while lowering the cost per lead (CPL) simultaneously.

Kumon: lowered cost per lead by 35% within 1 month

Dian Xiao Er: Increased online sales by 5-figures.

i.Poise Design: Turned a small ad budget into 6-figures of revenue in 1 month.

Due to the nature of direct response marketing, we work on a performance based compensation arrangement with many of our clients.



With so many different types of digital agencies and services out in the market, it is easy to get stuck figuring out where to start.  Even though businesses know that digital is important, the information overload prevents a lot of SMEs from making their first move.

To make things worse, “full-service” agencies claim to help businesses with everything at a hefty package pricing. The reality is that you do not need everything; you just need what you need. It will be helpful to think through your marketing objective first before approaching a digital marketing agency. As you embark on your journey of digital transformation, take one small step at a time and you will be ahead of the rest in no time.



Digital marketing in Singapore 101: 5 things you need to know

As advertisers spending more than 1million dollars each year across different industries, we gleaned several lessons about digital marketing in Singapore. As most of our digital marketing practices hail from United States, advertisers need to know that there are nuances in doing digital marketing in Singapore. In fact, many marketers make the fatal mistake of copy-and-pasting tactics from US marketers and wonder why their campaigns are not working! Here are 5 lessons that may help you shine a light on your campaign.


“With so many possibilities in digital marketing, where do we even start?”

This is the most common question we hear from businesses in Singapore. It’s simpler than you think. From a channel perspective, just go with the big 2: Google and Facebook.

How about Twitter, Wechat, Snapchat, Yahoo, Vine, Quora and xyz and abc that are highly popular in other countries?

We advise businesses to stick with Google & Facebook for these reasons:

  • Number of users: Google and Facebook each has more than 4million users in Singapore(practically whole of Singapore) which makes it suitable for any business in Singapore.
  • Mature ads platform: When Facebook Ads started in 2009, the ads technology is pathetic. However, over the years, its machine learning and targeting capabilities have gotten much more sophisticated. This means increasingly better ROI for businesses. Other platforms may have users in Singapore but their ads platform still leaves much to be desired. Google is the old guard and needs no introduction.
  • Scalable: Sure you do not need so many customers to make a profit from ads, but Google and Facebook allows you to scale your advertising campaign when you want to. There is a compound effect. The more you advertise on Facebook, the more it learns about your target audience and improves on its targeting precision.
  • Reliability: Other platforms may give you a trickle of a few customers but they quickly dry out. Facebook & Google are able to give a consistent stream of customers each month based on your ad budget– basically, what SMEs in Singapore need the most.

The common argument here is that Google and Facebook are already fraught with advertisers and have gotten too competitive.(see point 4 below on our thoughts on ads saturation).

Our advice applies to the average advertiser in Singapore. Unless you are spending close to 6 figures a month on online ads, you probably have not reached your cap on Google & Facebook. Before you reach your cap, you will be fine sticking to Google and Facebook.

Facebook Targeting

You’ve probably heard about Facebook’s ability to go laser targeted on your ideal prospects based on the large amount of data it has collected of its users. Unlike in US (in which Facebook has access to more data), however, a number of targeting options are not available to us in Singapore, for example, income level, home type, b2b buyers, and certain purchase behaviors are not available.

Guess what; this is only part 1 of the story.

The real potential around Facebook targeting lies in its use of machine learning. It basically takes over our job as advertisers and decides who to target for us. The longer you run your campaign and accumulate more data, the more accurate it becomes. Facebook ads is built for bigger countries like USA with hundred of millions in population, so when it comes to Singapore, imagine how much easier and faster it is for Facebook to find your ideal prospects.

Time and again, it has been shown. No matter what audiences you choose in your targeting settings, there is bound to be overlaps in the audience being targeted as Facebook takes over the driver’s seat in finding you the perfect audience. For example, if you are an interior designer and you are targeting people who are interested in interior design as well as people who are fans of Renovation portals such as Renotalk, Renonation, Qanvast, Facebook will almost show your ads to the same group of people most likely to click on your ad.

The whole point of this barrage is to tell you that you should focus your effort on crafting the best ad message instead. It will make targeting a whole lot easier; Surprise, surprise. By using ad copies that attract your target audiences to engage with or click on, Facebook develops an idea of your best prospects and show your ads to more of the same type. This way, your ad actually does the “targeting” for you! Put simply, Ads ideation trumps audience targeting, particularly in Singapore.

Funnels: Online vs offline 

If you follow any of the top US marketers such as Russell Brunson or Ramit Sethi, you know that a lot of them are proponents of sales funnels that are 100% online and even automated. They tend to run ads that send traffic to a webinar or an automated email sequence which nurtures and ultimately converts the prospects, collecting payment online.

However, in Singapore, consumer expectations are slightly different. Perhaps due in part to the size and density of the city, we expect to meet people face to face before making the buying decision. (I’m talking about relatively bigger ticket items of 1k and above, or possibly $500.)

An O2O(Online to offline) approach is needed. Here’s how it works. As per the proven internet marketing strategy, you still run an online campaign, buy ads and send them to a landing page but the call-to-action offer will be in the offline context. For example, you can get people to sign up for a free consultation, a free trial, a free diagnostic assessment, a free site survey, free strategy session, free workshop, free masterclass. You want to ascribe a specific value to your offer so that it compels people to come down, rather than position it as a sales trap.

Cost of advertising

Sure, Google and Facebook advertising costs have risen over the years, but in Singapore, it is nowhere near its peak. Just look at the stats for the USA; the most expensive keywords go for as high as US$47 per click. The same keywords cost anywhere between $2 to $17 per click in Singapore.

In many other countries, the cost of advertising is way higher than in Singapore(even though Singapore has one of the highest costs of living in the world). In terms of Advertising costs, Singapore is only at probably the 50 percentile(by estimate).

Unsurprisingly, SMEs in USA also spend way more than SMEs in Singapore on online ads. Data from Wordstream showed that the average spend is $9k-10k/month for an SME in the USA. On the other hand, from our experience, SMEs in Singapore prefer to spend anywhere from $500 to $4k/month. A survey by Equinet Academy indicates that 31% of businesses allocate less than $1k/month for marketing. This is likely due to the unfamiliarity of local businesses with social media and digital marketing in Singapore, preferring to tread on safer waters.

Given that Singapore has one of the highest social media penetration rate of 93% in the world, opportunities abound for SMEs to dominate their marketplace online. Interested to learn more about advertising costs? Check our article on Facebook ad costs.

 “Cowboy” advertising

Some marketers think that the internet has no boundaries & rulings and they are free to post anything they want. Well, Singapore is one of the first few countries to introduce a law to fight fake news by restricting the content published on social media and on the internet.

This comes after news reports of sightings of articles using fake stories to promote digital currency trading.

What this means is that the Singapore government and its people have a very low tolerance for deceptive marketing practices.

When running digital campaigns in Singapore, advertisers also have to take into consideration advertising guidelines specific to highly-regulated industries such as in healthcare. For example, words like ‘best,’ ‘discounts,’ ‘Singapore’s No. 1’  are not allowed under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act.


The takeaway here goes further than just obeying the law. In fact, being honest in your ads is just good marketing. Advertising legend, David Ogilvy has this to say, “The consumer is not a moron, she’s your wife! Don’t insult her intelligence. You wouldn’t lie to your wife, don’t lie to mine.”

Considering that Singaporeans are a highly educated and savvy bunch, it pays to be transparent and authentic in your ads. Now, who says you can’t add impact to your ads with strong copywriting techniques while staying with the facts?

Learn more about the basics of copywriting by appealing to emotions in this video here:

Tips for doing marketing in  Singapore

With all that said, here are 3 bonus tips for running marketing campaigns in Singapore.

1. Appeal to our inner ‘kiasu-ism’: From Hello Kitties to Iphones to hawker fare, it is no secret that Singaporeans are willing to queue for hours(and even days) to get our hands on desirable products. A queue begets an even longer queue because of the power of social proof. You can create social proof online too; using testimonials, media features, user stats, and other methods. It doesn’t hurt to throw in some ‘scarcity’ to amp up the desirability of your product. Scarcity can take the form of a time-limited offer or exclusive coupons.

2. Demonstrate value: Some businesses think that Singaporeans are very ‘cheap,’ from the fact that we like to go for Fave deals, GSS promotions, and free gifts. They assume that giving discounts is the only way to grab attention. That is not true. The reality is that Singaporeans are savvy consumers that know how to discern a good deal. This means that businesses need to demonstrate that their products have a higher value than what they are selling it for. It is about “value-for-money” rather than “cheap.”

3. Start small: The happening Telco space has taught us marketers several lessons, one of which is that Singaporeans are commitment-phobic. Singtel and Starhub used to lock us into 2-year contracts which come with high termination penalties. New providers came along and provided plans with no contracts. Boy, do we love them. No-contract plans are now the defacto plans here. Likewise, think about what you can offer your target audience online without getting them into heavy commitments of time and money. The easiest way to go about it would be to offer a free trial in your online campaign, to get “a-foot-in-the-door.”

Bring your marketing to the next level

At the end of the day, “marketing” should not be detached from “digital marketing.” Marketing entails going back to basics and gaining a real understanding of the target audience. Digital is but a channel. This article provides you with general insights into the Singapore market, but in order to win in your marketplace, you have to get more specific and dive deeper. If you need any help in your digital marketing, don’t forget to check out our agency services and get your free consultation.

9 traps of facebook marketing that causes Singapore business owners to burn time and money

You probably don’t need another person to tell you that ”everyone is on Facebook” and your business should also leverage social media marketing in Singapore. It’s widespread these days.

Well, these people are not lying. Facebook records a user base of about 3million people in Singapore. On average, Singaporeans spend 2.2 hours daily on this platform. These are staggering numbers from a marketing standpoint.

The problem is; Facebook introduced so many features & changes in their platform in the recent 2-3 years, its easy to lag behind and misapply outdated strategies that waste our precious resources as SMEs. Having worked with companies ranging from startups to MNCs in their advertising efforts. We have identified 9 common traps you need to be aware of:

Don’t bother posting on Facebook

Are you thinking about what to post on your Facebook page next week? Well, you can probably drop the thought.

This would have been a good move in 2012 when your post can reach as much as 16% of your fanbase. The figure dropped to 6.5% in 2014. Now, it is less than 2%. That’s not all. Only a further 5% or less of this measly 2% is going to pay attention to your post on their newsfeed. That is only about 0.1% of your fanbase. Shocking?

Facebook page organic reach to your fans per post

*Note: These are average figures. Your numbers will vary depending on the level of engagement on your page & post

*Note: These are average figures. Your numbers will vary depending on the level of engagement on your page & post

It would have account for something if you have a fanbase of say, 10,000. If your Facebook fancount is 1000 or less, honestly, the time would be better spent elsewhere. There is absolutely no need to put up posts daily, or even weekly for that matter, as with the case of so many businesses I see. We all love to think that we are very important and everyone is waiting for us to post. Fact?  People are so busy with stalking their friends and relatives on Facebook to give us any attention.

On the other hand, you cannot totally ignore Facebook either. People need to know that you are still in business. Strive to at least post once a month, but there is absolutely no need to scratch your head agonizing what to write everyday.

Be careful of the default

So you learned that your organic posts do not go far and advertising on Facebook is the only way to reach more people at (very) reasonable costs.

Source: Moz

Source: Moz

You started buying ads on Facebook, only to receive alot of likes…. but zero new business. Before you start concluding that Facebook ads are a waste of time & money for businesses, think again.

The problem usually lies with how you set your targeting. By default, Facebook shows your ads to users on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook ad network.



Did you know only the first option is for advertising on Facebook? 2nd option shows your ads in Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram and for the 3rd option, you don’t even know where your ads are displayed!

You may think it’s harmless but Instagram burns your money faster than fire spreads in the forest. (Instagram is hardly profitable for most businesses) If you do not have a big budget to invest for ‘brand awareness’, do scrutinize your settings before clicking ‘confirm’, or you may just fall into one of these traps. Bear in mind, not all forms of social media marketing works in Singapore.


Free bonus: Get a 1-page Cheatsheet to Facebook advertising in 2019: Step-by-step guide

Click here to download

Foreign likes

Lets say you checked your targeting settings hundred times and have made sure that you are targeting high networth individuals in Singapore. Your ads are still not getting any sales. You decided to click into the profile of people who like your ads. To the shock of your life, these are not locals! You got alot of engagement with plenty of unfamiliar-looking profiles instead.

Another trap of Facebook advertising is its ‘smart’ algorithm. Facebook automatically optimizes your ads to appear infront of people most likely to click or engage with ads. Coincidentally, these people may not be people who buy, but people who like to like your posts. More often than not, these are not the locals.

What can you do about it?

Well, Facebook’s advertising platform is a powerful machine, as long as you know how to tap on its potential. Make use of the ‘exclude’ feature to exclude the audience you do not want to target! You can exclude foreigners or other groups you know will never convert into a customer. In one of our campaign for a property company, we excluded all property agents in Singapore.

The shortcut

If you are wondering why the options above are not accessible in your computer, you probably have been boosting posts only.

Amazon and other e-commerce stores have their 1-click purchase to make it easy for people to buy. Facebook came out with their own version of this with the ‘1-click advertise’ option, which is the boost post button.

It saves time&hassle at the expense of cutting out a lot of features you would see in ads manager and power editor. To encourage its use, Facebook repeatedly reminds you with messages like this:


Many advertisers have likened clicking boost-post to writing a blank cheque to Facebook.  If you don’t have deep pockets, avoid the trap of the shortcut and instead go deeper into what Facebook offers.

Facebook’s share price has been on the rise as more and more businesses jump on the advertising bandwagon. Without proper know-how, businesses owners are just contributing to the bottom line of Facebook. On the other hand, with the right strategy, you can be among those succeeding.

Source: Convinceandconvert

Be a geek

Since Google, Facebook and other digital advertising platforms came into the picture, marketing has largely evolved into more of geeky sports. It is a great thing for businesses because the data tells us what is working and what is not, allowing us to optimize the campaign for better results.

Moreover, the reports are fairly straightforward. You don’t need a data scientist to interpret them.

The trap here is in focusing on the wrong metrics. Most advertisers are overly concerned about Cost per Click and number of clicks they are getting. They pride themselves on getting clicks for as low as 10cents per click. When you probe deeper about sales results, they are not able to answer because there is none.

Here’s the thing. The most important metric in advertising is ROI. In fact, if you refer to the screenshot of an actual Facebook ads campaign below, the cost per click is a whopping $5.11 but it doesn’t bother us one bit. This is because the revenue generated is $14,240 as shown below, from an adspend of $3,685.82. The ROI is 3.86x!  This is not counting potential referrals and repeat business from the initial purchase.

The sad thing is that most businesses don’t even know how many leads are coming from their campaigns because they do not have tracking in place. It is as simple as installing pixel on the website and setting up custom conversion for the campaign. Without the fundamental data, it is like going into the battlefield with their eyes covered. Bullets fly everywhere.


Trust Facebook

In 2019 and beyond, Facebook ads has gotten even smarter. Their machine learning is quite something to marvel at. By setting the right objective, you can basically trust Facebook to find the right target audience to show your ads to. Manual targeting is becoming less important, particularly when running Facebook ads in Singapore(due to our small market size).

Yet we see advertisers spending so much time trying to get targeting right. Instead, what is going to have a bigger impact on your ROI would be conceiving the winning ads. Ads copywriting and ideation is something AI still cannot do(at the moment).  Check out the screenshot below. While targeting the same group of audience, one of the ads is getting in leads at about ¼ of the cost while generating more than 100 leads. The power of ads copywriting!


Lower Quality leads 

By using lead ad forms and messenger ads, some businesses are receiving leads that are barely turning into customers. Watch this video for more information.


Softer conversions

Facebook likes to keep users within Facebook. That’s obvious, no media publisher wants to send people away.  That’s why they introduced new features such as Canvas ads, as well as instant articles to confine people within their ecosystem. As an advertiser, this is not to your advantage. Facebook is the land of shiny objects where a thousand and one things demand the attention of your prospects.

Think cat videos, ex-girlfriend’s pictures etc etc. As an advertiser, instead of trying to sell your product on facebook where attention span is almost nonexistent, strive to get them to click into your website or landing page and opt in to an offer that doesn’t take alot of brainpower to process. Don’t be overly ambitious in getting them to buy on the spot. Use soft conversions. For example, by changing the call-to-action from “Get a Free consultation” to “Get a Free quote”(lower commitment) for one of our clients, we were able to lower the cost per lead by  40%.


Facebook distraction

Facebook distraction 

Scaling your ads

Perhaps your Facebook ads has started to work and you are getting some leads. You excitedly increase the budget of your campaign from $5/day to $50/day. The next thing you realize, your ads do not work as well as before. Clickthrough and conversion rate starts to nosedive and you wondered what happened. Well, thats Facebook’s mechanism.

When you increase your ad budget suddenly, ad frequency starts to increase drastically and effectiveness of ads decline. To get around this, instead duplicate your adset and tweak one of the variables- either ad image, copy, targeting or campaign objective.

Alternatively, don’t forget other ads platform as well.

Youtube ads are fantastic for getting huge reach at low prices. Google search ads are ideal for established industries with proven demand. Video, search and social are all huge in Singapore(check out our stats) A laundry business we helped out with closes 20 over deals consistently a month from Google but didn’t fare well in Facebook.


At the end of the day, don’t stop trying. Getting burnt on Facebook once doesn’t make it a useless platform.  Afterall, isn’t it the spirit of entrepreneurship to keep trying?  Having taken the time to educate yourself on the 9 traps above, you are better equipped to deal with Facebook than ever before. Like all other aspects of your business, once you find the right formula, Facebook will skyrocket your sales. Importantly, it provides the consistency and stability of business that all of us need. Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity! Facebook ads is going to get more expensive over time. The best time to jumpstart your engine is now. Don’t want to spend time and money paying ‘tuition fees’ to Facebook? Check out our Facebook marketing services!


Free bonus: Get a 1-page Cheatsheet to Facebook advertising in 2019: Step-by-step guide

Click here to download

How much does it cost to do Facebook Advertising in Singapore?

Unlike advertising on traditional mediums such as Straits Times where you fork out $7000 to buy a ”half-page ad space”, things are very different on Facebook.  There is no minimum cost to advertise on Facebook.



  1. What are you buying on Facebook?
  2. So how much is the Cost Per Click?
  3. Factors That Influence Facebook Advertising CPC
  4. Direct response campaigns
  5. How to get a low cost per lead
  6. The single biggest mistake of Facebook advertisers
  7. Setting Up a Budget for Testing Costs
  8. Outsourcing Facebook Ads?

What are you buying on Facebook?

We first have to answer the question: What are you buying on Facebook?

Well, to simplify the matter, you are buying traffic from Facebook.

“Location, location, location!”  If you run a brick-and-mortar business, I’m sure you are no stranger to this maxim. If your store is on Orchard road, lots of traffic will flood your business. On the other hand, if you are in Pulau Ubin, even a good product will not save your business. In essence, the hefty monthly rental cost in Orchard Road is the cost of high foot traffic.

In the online space, it is no different. Think of Facebook as a giant landlord that sends online traffic to your Facebook page or Website based on your advertising spend. Traffic takes the form of a click in the online space. Facebook charges you by cost per click. Your goal is, therefore, to turn those traffic or clicks into leads and customers.

Facebook, being a nice landlord ,’tries’ to help you to achieve your advertising objectives. To tell Facebook what you want, there are a few bidding options you can choose from: Cost per click, Cost per thousand impressions, Cost per like, Cost per conversion etc. Depending on your requirements & situation, you will choose the bidding option accordingly.


Say you are a brand marketer and you are shifting your ad budget from newspaper to Facebook ads platform, you will be looking at Cost per click or Cost per thousand impressions, which are indicators of the reach of your ads.

If you are running a campaign to drive leads and sales directly, aka “Direct response campaigns”, you are probably less interested in the reach of your ads than the actions people take on your ads. For that, we focus on cost per action or cost per conversion.

In this article, we will discuss Facebook Cost per click in Singapore, followed by Cost per conversion. No matter the objective you choose, Facebook follows a PPC(Pay per click) bidding system. This means if you receive no conversions from your campaign, you still have to pay Facebook for the clicks or traffic generated. Hence, it is essential to understand the 101 of Cost per click first!

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So how much is the Cost Per Click?

It can be annoying to say this, but there is no specific magic number. The costs depend on a variety of factors, as we will explain below.

The cost for one click can range from $0.10 to more than $2, depending on your requirements and other factors. You can decide yourself how much you’re willing to spend and form a budget for yourself.

Although we don’t have exact figures, we have historical averages that you can possibly use as a reference. In 2015, a report by Nanigans revealed that the average cost per click was $0.11, and the CPM was $1.61 in Southeast Asia.

Source: Nanigans Asia-Pacific Facebook Advertising Benchmark Report


Adespresso also estimates that in 2017, the average cost per click for Singapore was $0.76.

Facebook Ads cost

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Factors That Influence Facebook Advertising CPC

Facebook and other online advertising platforms such as Google base your advertising costs on 2 main factors: 1)competition in your market , 2)quality of your advertisement .


Free bonus: Get a 1-page Cheatsheet to Facebook advertising in 2019: Step-by-step guide

Click here to download


The theory behind this is simple – if many other advertisers are going after the same demographic group(s) as you, expect to pay more. Vice versa, if you are the only one, or the rare few, then the costs will go down.


Different industries require different costs. Usually, industries with higher costs are professional services, e-commerce, technology, and education. You can draw reference to this infographic published by Wordstream on the global CPC across various industries on Facebook.

facebook posted massive increases in cost per click despite losses in impressions

Advertisement quality and content type 

Similar to Google’s Quality Score, Facebook’s algorithm provides a score to every advertisement that partakes in the bidding process.

Each ad has a relevance score that will constantly evolve depending on the ad’s performance.  An ad is considered to have performed well if a large portion of the target audience interacts with it, which is determined by click-through rate. Naturally, the advertiser with the highest relevance score holds a distinct advantage over the rest. Check out this infographic for a more thorough breakdown of Facebook’s ad auction system. 

Like Google, Facebook rewards advertisers that meet users’ needs with cheaper advertising costs. This is to ensure that users’ experience is positive and they are being protected from spammy ads.

Hence, you could be paying alot more to Facebook if you do not take the time to understand your target audiences’ needs and to come out with ad copies that could relate to them.

Here’s a simple explanation of Facebook cost per click.


Top-of-funnel posts such as informative articles, videos or infographics almost always get a lower cost per click than bottom-of-funnel offer such as “consultation sign-up” or “free trials.” So if you are aiming for higher reach and awareness, producing useful content is your best bet.

For example, an article ad with a strong relevant headline could cost as low as $0.20 per click while a landing page click typically costs $1-$3.

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Direct response campaigns

If you are running a campaign to drive leads and sales directly, aka “Direct response campaigns”, you are probably not very interested in cost per click or cost per thousand impressions.(marketers like us tend to geek out over these metrics).

Instead, you are interested in Cost per Conversion.


Cost per conversion

Cost per conversion is a higher-level business metric. Conversion is defined as an action that the user takes on your website, such as a purchase(for e-commerce stores), signup, and enquiry or a lead. Until we start talking about Cost per conversion, your Facebook ads have very little relevance to the sales & revenue growth of the company. As a social media marketing agency, we are also accountable to our clients where it comes to cost per conversion.

However, cost per conversion is derived from cost per click(CPC), hence the inevitable discussion about CPC earlier.  Here’s the relationship between Cost per Click and Cost per Conversion(otherwise known as CPA, cost per acquisition):

Cost per Conversion = Cost per click  *  no. of clicks required to make a conversion.

Say it takes 100 clicks for you to get one lead. One click costs $0.50.

100 clicks * $0.50cents/click = $50 per lead.

One click on facebook will get you nowhere, since the average conversion rate is at 1-3%.

While Cost per click affects Cost per conversion, it sometimes makes sense to pay $3 for a landing page click if it’s a highly relevant click from an interested prospect. On the other hand, using clickbaits can get you low cost per click but the conversion rate will probably suffer. Needless to say, cost per conversion will also shoot up.

Here is an example of a clickbait using giveaways.

Image result for clickbait giveaway

Clicks can be likened to the raw materials that you purchase from a supplier, in this case, Facebook. Marketers like us then run campaigns and do our work to turn clicks into leads and into customers.

Cost per click affects the costs of acquiring a customer. It is therefore important to a marketer, much like the cost per kilogram of raw vegetables is important to a chef.

It then takes a good chef to turn the raw ingredients into something palatable.

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How to get a low cost per lead

So how much exactly does it cost to acquire a customer or a lead on Facebook?  For simplicity sake, lets just look at Cost per lead because that is independent of an individual company’s sales capability.

Referring back to the formula above, cost per lead is derived based on the number of clicks required to make a conversion, in order words, the conversion rate.

If conversion rate is 5%, that means 5 people signed up- out of 100 people that clicked on your ad and/or visited your website.

For direct response campaigns, conversion rate is much more important than the cost per click, and it is based on several factors:

Industry: Industries that do better on Facebook tend to be “wants-based” rather than “needs-based”.i.e. beauty, fitness, enrichment classes, lifestyle products etc. This is because these types of trades convert customers based on impulse more than with logical analysis & comparison. Facebook is also more suitable for mass-market products. Obviously, you are not looking at changing your industry, so what you can do is to position your offer as a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’.

Type of lead: What is being considered a lead is also ambiguous. For the purpose of lead generation,  Facebook allows us to set up messenger ads and lead ad forms. Is a Facebook chat message from a prospect considered a lead? How about someone who fills in your Facebook lead ad form? These 2 types of leads are seen to have a lower cost per lead than leads from landing pages. However, the latter produces higher quality leads because the users have read up about your company offerings beforehand.

Offer: The offer you put up on Facebook has a huge bearing on your cost per conversion. ‘Offer’ however, doesn’t always refer to 50% discount, 1-for-1 or anything to do with a reduction in price. In other to stand out without cheapening your brand, we recommend ‘offers’ such as a complimentary strategy session, centre tour, free trial, free diagnostics, free site visit and quotation and so on, depending on your type of business.

Message: Known as ad copy or landing page copy, this is simply the message that you put out in your Facebook campaign to your audience. Message is critical because no one ever bought anything without first understanding the value behind what they are buying. The better you are able to build up perceived value using copywriting, the more they are willing to pay for your product/service.

Marketability: Marketability encompasses several other factors such as the uniqueness of your product as compared to that of your competitors. A recognizable brand name, strong social proof, media endorsements, and awards garnered all contribute to higher marketability.

In Singapore, a sales-qualified ‘cost per lead’ can go anywhere from $30 to $300/lead based on the factors mentioned above.

Free bonus: Get a 1-page Cheatsheet to Facebook advertising in 2019: Step-by-step guide

Click here to download

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The single biggest mistake of Facebook advertisers

Facebook advertisers complain of high cost per conversion because they do not understand the characteristics of Facebook audiences.

This is especially true for businesses that are used to advertising on Google and writing ads the super-direct way. They fail to attract the attention of Facebook users who are scrolling through newsfeed for news and entertainment.

However, if you know how to connect the desires of your target audience with the benefit of your product, you can pretty much sell anything on Facebook. Really.

Check out this video for a better explanation

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Setting Up a Budget for Testing Costs

Many marketers spend a few hundred bucks on Facebook and call it quits after failing to see sufficient leads and customers to turn a positive ROI. That is a fatal mistake.

In Facebook, the first few hundred to a thousand dollars are ‘testing’ costs. Think of it as buying data from Facebook. At the initial stage, the marketer runs as many adsets as possible to test various ad angles, images, and target audiences. During this process, different variations of ad images, ad copy and audience are tested in order to find the combination that works best.  The priority during this phase would be to gain as much insight as possible, rather than to acquire sales.

Ads take time, effort and some trial and error – you can’t expect them to kick-off successfully from the beginning. Therefore, you have to include costs for these into your budget to ensure a more successful advertising result.

How much to spend on Facebook ?

There are 2 main ways to make this decision: 1)Your marketing budget  2)What do you want to achieve?

If you are a businessperson determined to grow your business, it is almost always recommended that you use the 2nd method to derive your spending on Facebook.

Think of it this way. If you have a machine that reliably gives you $300 for every $100 you put in, how much money would you put in the machine?

Infinite! The same philosophy applies in Facebook.

If you can reliably spend $100 on Facebook to gain a new customer that provides $300 in sale, would it make sense to continue? Why not? Unless you have capacity issues, a company aiming for growth will always reinvest their earnings on Facebook.

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Outsourcing Facebook Ads?

The benefits of outsourcing Facebook ads are obvious; you spend less money paying ‘tuition fees’ on Facebook. You also outsource the stress of running a Facebook ads campaign that seems to be getting no results no matter what you do.

The learning curve is negligible, particularly with a specialized direct response digital marketing agency.

The trick, however, is in knowing which agency knows their thing because everyone claims to be the expert. When campaigns fail to generate any results, businesses are left with a big hole in their pockets.

Ice Cube Marketing, our agency, does it differently. We go on a performance-based charging model, one of its kind in Singapore. This means that clients do not pay for services such as ads creation, copywriting or split-testing. Clients only pay for results and conversions.

To find out if your business is suitable, claim your Facebook Ads consultation.


Free bonus: Get a 1-page Cheatsheet to Facebook advertising in 2019: Step-by-step guide

Click here to download


5 Insights Into Human Behavior That Will Boost Your Sales and Marketing

Image credit: Rawpixe | Getty Images

First published in

People are not rational. You can have the most logical and compelling proposal but still fail to elicit any response. If you are working hard but seeing little to no increase in sales, this could be attributed to a lack of understanding about human behaviors. A DNA survey involving 1,056 people from 52 populations revealed that people are 99.9 percent the same. In every human brain, you find the same makeup that gives rise to our thoughts and emotions.

Successful salespeople and marketers understand universal human behaviors well enough to use the right trigger words to get them to take action, each and every time. Here, we explore five common human tendencies and what you can do about them.

1. People will do more to avoid loss than to gain pleasure.

In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel winner Daniel Kahneman asserts that we typically fear loss twice as much as we relish success. This means price decrease has a bigger impact than price increase. For example, from July 1981 to July 1983, a 10 percent increase in the price of eggs led to a 7.8 percent decrease in demand, whereas a 10 percent decrease in the price led to only a 3.3 percent increase in demand. (Putler, 1992)

As a result of this loss-aversion tendency, people are also more likely to stick to existing solutions rather than to risk losing what they have. That doesn’t bode well for new businesses. So what can you do?

Consider offering free trials to lower the risk of going into business with you. Once they start incorporating your solution in their lives, loss aversion will work in your favor. It becomes hard for them to stop using your solution, so they will pay to continue using it. Money-back guarantees work in the same way. Legendary business consultant Jay Abraham calls it “risk reversal.”

2. People are naturally inquisitive.

Curiosity is something that distinguishes us from other species. Psychologists have theorized it’s something evolution has endowed us with to propel the human race forward and to ensure its survival.

From a marketing standpoint, this is also why clickbaits work so well. According to Professor George Loewenstein from Carnegie Mellon, curiosity creates an information gap. Whenever we perceive a gap between what we know and what we want to know, we can’t help but seek to close the gap. While I am not encouraging you to create clickbaits, you can apply this tip in the attention-scarce social media space. Great companies across time have made use of stories to draw people’s attention and bring their point across. Stories work so well because, unlike blatant sales messages, it provides the impetus to continue reading/watching. The ups and downs experienced by the protagonist in the story create an information gap that we can’t help but followThink about Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign and Subway’s story about Jared. The stories have literally turned these companies into household brands.

3. People are interested in themselves.

In his timeless classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Ancient philosophers concur, with Plato and Socrates arguing for psychological egoism, the idea that humans are always motivated by self-interest.

In marketing, one of the most prevalent advertising clichés is, unfortunately, “We are the best xx in town.” Businesses can’t seem to stop talking about themselves and how good they are.

As a web content auditor,  the most common problem I have seen in clients’ website copy is the excessive use of the word “we” instead of “you.” Businesses boast about their achievements and life stories, forgetting that people are primarily interested only in themselves. Seek to understand the needs of your audience and convince them based on their need, not yours. Even if you are running an online business, you should get on the phone with your customer to survey them on their needs.

4. People believe what they want to believe.

In psychology, it is known as confirmation bias. People search for, interpret, favor and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. The closer these beliefs are to their identity, the more deeply rooted it will be. Unsurprisingly, debates surrounding religion, race and politics typically end up in quarrels.

In a Pew internet research study, it is found that people who identify themselves as liberal are twice as likely to block or unfriend someone on social network who posts something that they disagree with.

If you are trying to sell someone on something, the last thing you should do is go against their beliefs. Once, I helped a client selling tuition services to parents. Their original sales message was saying something to the effect of “Your child is stupid; he needs private tuition.” We revamped the sales message, saying, “Your child has a lot of potential, but the school is not unleashing it. We can help.” Sales took off. All parents believe that their child has the potential to succeed. We went along with the belief, and let it flow to our offer.

5. People are naturally lazy.

In his book The Wizard of Ads, Roy H. Williams wrote, “Ask your physician how to feel good, and he’ll look you squarely in the eye and say, ‘Eat right and exercise.’ Yet for every dollar spent in fitness centers, Americans spend 19 dollars on cocaine.”

Instant gratification always sells. Get-rich-quick schemes play on this nature of human beings to make them buy into the promise of becoming a millionaire in one month with zero effort. Being aware of this principle, however, you can use it for greater good and to build a long-lasting business. For example, we can design our sales process to make it insanely easy for people to make purchases. Take the case of Amazon. Their one-click purchase button allows you to skip through the usually tedious checkout process. Apple’s iPod lets you play any song within three touches.

On top of that, we can limit the choices we offer to customers to increase sales. Barry Schwartz’s theory of “paradox of choice” explains this. In an experiment, 24 different varieties of a particular jam were on display. On the other table, only six varieties of jam were on display. Ten times as many people bought the latter.

Whether you sell jams, music players or insurance policies, you can simplify decision-making for your prospects. Instead of dumping 100 choices on people, narrow it down to three options for them. Better yet, do the thinking for them by recommending a customized solution based on their unique situation. It will be so much easier for them to make a purchase. As a by-product, your cash register will ring more often.

Let your business soar.

Conventional tactics tend to tell you to do a set of things without providing the rationale. Once you understand people at their core, you can do away with tactics and start to appeal to them in a non-sleazy and natural way. Leadership expert Simon Sinek said, “if you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.” Investing time in gaining real understanding about people will yield infinite returns for your business.

7 Unique Selling Propositions By Top Brands: How They Established Themselves Head & Shoulders Above Their Competition

Many new businesses start out making the most common newbie mistake there is: being everything to everyone. In other words, trying to be the best in all aspects of business – price, quality, service, etc… This, however, is a huge mistake as no one brand can be the best at everything.

As the saying goes, when you attempt to be known for everything, you don’t become known for anything

Instead, businesses should really focus on one unique aspect of their product or service, which they can then market to their target audience as their unique selling proposition during their advertising campaigns. .

7 Examples of USP By Big Brands Across The Globe

The following are 7 unique brands that used 7 different unique selling propositions to effectively prove why they were different from their competition. The brands mentioned below come from various industries, different parts of the world, and have both physical and online presences, proving that using a unique selling proposition in one’s branding and marketing can be done no matter what is being sold, where it is being sold, or how it is sold.

1 – Avis: We’re number two. We try harder. 

Who said that a brand has to be in first place to entice customers to switch to them? Avis masterfully proved otherwise with their marketing campaign that admitted that they were not in first place when it came to car rentals but because of that fact, they went the extra mile to serve their customers.

At the time Avis rolled out with their “Number 2” campaign they were struggling to stay in business as the number one car rental company at that time, Hertz, held a majority of the market share. What did Avis’s unique selling proposition do for the company? It brought them from an 11% market share to a whopping 35% market share! Talk about turning a drawback into a benefit. This shows customers value transparency and authenticity more than anything.

2 – M&Ms: The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

This brand has one of the most memorable selling propositions ever created even though it seems rather ridiculous to say that your product will not melt when touched – looks like a desperate measure to offer a benefit because there really are no real benefits to choosing it.

It worked though and customers really liked that fact that they could hold milk chocolate in their hands without getting them full of chocolate. Remember, nothing was said about taste, quantity, or price, just the fact that M&Ms offered a hard shell that kept the milk chocolate inside. It goes to show that a USP can be more about perceived customer value than an actual value itself.

3 – FedEx Corporation: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

Now, this unique selling proposition really stands out when it comes to a delivery service. Actually, this unique selling proposition delivered two unique selling propositions in one. Namely, overnight delivery and secure delivery.

While FedEx no longer uses this slogan or guarantees this promise, it was responsible for bolstering them from a small courier service delivering local packages in Tennessee to a global delivery giant whose customers turned to when they needed to get a package to someone and somewhere quickly and safely.

4 – Singapore Airlines: The lengths we go to.

With this simple proposition, Singapore Airlines garnered a 5-Star Airline Rating mainly for their onboard staff service. Their unique selling slogan came with two distinct commercials showcasing the airline’s excellent food, service, and in-flight entertainment options. Actually, their unique selling proposition is more than just an ad but the company’s actual mission, which is why it is so effective. They don’t just say it, they do it.

Why fly Singapore Airlines? Because they offer a better flight experience than other airlines do, especially when it comes to longer journeys where comfort and service are not a luxury but a requirement.

5 – Mast Brother’s Chocolate: We take pride in working with our hands.

This chocolate company has a brick and mortar shop in Brooklyn New York but much of its business comes from its online shop. Their unique selling point is that all their chocolates and products are made by the Mast Brothers (founders & owners) themselves. In fact, even the wrapping is designed by them. What is left is a personal touch that provides customers with quality craftsmanship reminiscent of the 18th century.

As the Mast Brothers put it, “We are from the 18th century, back when craftspeople were revered and took pride in working with their hands.” Much like Singapore Airlines, this company does not just talk the talk but walks the walk as the owners can often be found traveling to foreign places around the globe in a sailboat, to find the best cocoa for their handcrafted chocolate treats.

This goes to show that customers value customization. This is true for most industries whereby customization enhances the perceived value of a product or service.

6 – DeBeers: A diamond is forever.

Advertising Age magazine named this USP the best advertising slogan of the 20th century. Who can argue with their decision as it is impactful and to the point and has virtually cemented the diamond as the only option when it comes to engagement rings.

DeBeer’s famous slogan actually turned this precious stone into a symbol of true and eternal love and at the same time cemented themselves as the true and eternal supplier of this love. They have used this USP since 1948 and are sure to continue to do so because after all, diamonds are forever.

The success of this campaign lies in associating diamond with eternal love. Think about how you can associate your product with an emotion. Afterall, people buy based on emotions and justify with logic. If you can persuade your audience emotionally, you will stand out in the market.

7 – Domino’s Pizza: You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.

Domino’s may not have the best-tasting pizza around but they sure do have the fastest. Not catchy but straight to the point, the message is clear – we deliver pizza fast. While Domino’s Pizza no longer uses this slogan or offers this guarantee as it resulted in a number of accidents by drivers trying to make the 30-minute deadline, it worked like gangbusters when they did use it.

A successful USP does not always have to be creative, short, and catchy as Domino’s has shown as long as the benefit of the proposition is clear and concise. Domino’s “30 minutes or less” slogan gave no room for confusion and it was apparent to customers why they should choose Domino’s for their pizza delivery needs over any other brand – they either get their pizza on time or their pizza for free.



Each of the above brands uses a unique selling proposition to cement their position in their marketplace and stand out in a specific area over the rest of their competition. While they all were from different industries and sectors and sold different products and services, they all delivered on the promise they promoted. The most catchy slogan will never stand the test of time if it is not backed up by real-life results.

If you want to use a USP for your brand, one that offers something that no other brand does, be sure to deliver on it or the only thing your unique proposition will deliver is a bad reputation.



7 ROI-crushing Advertising Clichés you should avoid in the 21st century

Businesses, brands, and marketing specialists have either used them or come across them before – advertising clichés. A great many of them owe a big part of their existence to American Marketing (i.e. consumerism marketing).

Consumers have grown accustomed to clichés over the years and have associated them with “cheap salesman” tactics. They do not get the results they used to and end up ‘branding” a company as a low-quality provider of a certain good or service.

This, however, does not mean that all clichés should be avoided at all costs- just the ones that have been used to the point that people actually feel uncomfortable listening to them.

They are still frequently used because advertisers are “stuck” and cannot come up with the copy for an ad campaign, but clichés are counter-productive and squanders your marketing dollars; you are better off not running any campaign.

7 Ad Clichés Your Brand/Business Should Avoid At All Costs

Here are 7 of them to avoid:

1 – The Best abc company: Every business thinks that their business is the best. Guess what? Saying so doesn’t make it so, at least not in the minds of your targeted audience. This term has been used tirelessly throughout the years in all sorts of advertising campaigns, which has belittled its credibility.

Claude Hopkins, author of Scientific Advertising, heavily warns against use of such cliché, saying that the repercussions endure the entire sales message. Once you boast yourself, your audiences essentially ignore whatever you say next and deem everything as untrue.

Other variations of this cliché includes: The top xx , The world’s leading xx.

The only way a business can prove to its audience, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is to back it up with tangible facts like awards, 5-star reviews, and testimonials. Even then, using the cliché, “the best” is a surefire way to put off prospects and current customers. Instead, it is better to display your credentials from third-party sources like the ones listed above. Showcase what others have said about your product or service, let the customer try it, and then let them proclaim, “the best”!

2 – One Stop Shop; This cliché offers no value to your customer at all. It offered a value proposition back in the late 1920’s when automotive shops started to incorporate this form of service (full-vehicle repair) in one place but since the 90’s has not made any headway in advertising campaigns as more people look to niche-specific products and services to fulfill their needs.

As the saying goes, if you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. The use of this cliché causes customers perceive you as being desperate to take any business.

Even if your brand is a one-stop-shop, think of how you can use unique phrasing in your advertising to emphasize your specialty. Below are some examples of slogans created by “huge” brands that offer a broad range of products to emphasize their uniqueness:

Walmart: Save Money. Live Better.

Amazon: Everything Store Where People Come To Discover Anything They Want.

Target: Expect More. Pay Less.

3 – New and Improved: Another numbing ad cliché signifying that what customers bought before was old and faulty. To avoid the negative connotation associated with this annoying cliché, simply display the new features that have been added to your product or service. This way, customers who bought from you in the past will still feel that what they bought was good but now with the newly added features, it just might even be better.

4 – Great Customer Service: Why wouldn’t you offer great customer service? This is a no-brainer that does not need to be stated. We call it the ‘hygiene factor’ wherein great customer service should be a given. If it needs to be stated, why not simply promote what you provide the customer or client with in more specific details. For example, Zappos’ great customer service comes in the form of ‘paid free returns- no questions asked.’

Generic phrases such as these do not get people to buy or do they build trust. Customers want a solid product or service that solves their problems. List the solutions and benefits your product and service can provide them and that in and of itself is great customer service.

5 – Built From the Ground Up: Your customers don’t really care how the company was built, just that the products or services it provides does what the ad says it will do. Everyone is self-interested.

Instead of talking about how your company was built, talk about the value it can bring them. This is called a value-added proposition and is truly the only reason your customers buy from you in the first place. For example, we were able to turn around a failing ad campaign for a client just by avoiding this cliche. In this case study, we focused the message on the user instead of the founder and results drastically improved.

6 – The First 100 Callers (Fake Scarcity):

The first “any number” is a cheap sales tactic that used to work back in the 80’s but has worn out its welcome over time, not only because it has been used by every advertiser that cannot come up with a creative ad, but also because it is not true – whoever calls is going to get the deal, since it is already priced into the promotion.

Sure, all advertisers know about the psychology of scarcity and its ability to hasten a decision but this phrase has been used so much and for so long in advertising circles that people just do not believe them anymore. Besides being overused, Fake scarcity destroys trust between the brand and customer by “forcing” the sale, be it ever so cleverly.

Think about it, no one likes to be in a rush to buy. Consumers like to take their time and feel as if they found the product or service, not the other way around – being “pushed” into it. Even if they buy once due to this scarcity cliché, they are sure never to buy again because the buying experiencing was not a pleasant one.

If want to employ scarcity, make sure it’s real. Believable form of scarcity applies to event marketing(.i.e. 30 seats available), product ecommerce(.i.e. 30sets only) and limited time promotions.

7 – Are You Sick of Getting No Results: Of course they are and that is why they are viewing your ad. The first thing you want to do is make your audience feel good about discovering your service and product. The cliché, ‘“sick of getting no results?” is only going to remind them of their past failures and put them in a negative frame of mind.

Instead, use positive reframing terms like “results-oriented” or “get our clients needs met” to change their perspective and make them feel good about what you are selling.



As a brand or business who advertises or who employs advertisers to create and run their campaigns, your sole marketing duty is to provide your audience with ads that help them understand what your product or service is all about and how it can help them.

This can be achieved by using time-tested clichés, but not ones that are vague and have been used to “death”. Today’s customers are more informed than ever before due to the advent of the internet and the accessibility of the information it provides. Therefore, cheap, spammy, and salesy ad messages, no matter if they happened to work in the past, will not convince them to purchase from you.

Keep your brand in good standing by avoiding the above clichés and take the extra effort to understand your customers better, expand on your product benefits with clearer detail or come up with entirely new and unique ways to show the value of your products and services.