Let me set the scene…
It’s a warm summer evening in Vienna. It’s raining, you’ve been walking for hours.
You pass a bar with this sign in the window:
(a) Giggle and keep walking.
(b) Stop in your tracks, look for the door, and jump into the bar
I’ll tell you what I did in a second.
First, some extra context:
This is a sign that’s really popular at bars and pubs across the world. If you Google “soup of the day beer” you’ll get hundreds of examples:
So, it must be a great marketing/sales tool….
All those examples can’t be wrong….
Well, in a word, NO. It’s not good marketing.
Back to my rainy day in Vienna.
I chose option (a) Giggle and keep walking.
I’m a beer guy, I was hungry – I’m an EASY sale. But all this sign did was make me giggle.
And that’s the problem:
Giggles don’t pay the bills.
Imagine you’ve got ONE sandwich board sign to pull people in off the street and into your bar.
Are you going to tell a joke and make people smile?
Or are you going to give the passerby a reason to stop what they’re doing, walk through your doors, and spend $$$?
Humor can be a great hook, but it’s usually not enough by itself to convert a random stranger into a paying customer.
Way too many brands don’t understand wtf they’re doing when it comes to sales.
They see another business do something that gets reactions and decide, “Hey, Presto! A magical sales formula!!”
That’s lazy. And it just doesn’t work.
And in case you think I’m just talking about bars and beer — the same thing happens every single day with online brands.
They copy one thing that seems to be working without any idea:
- If it’s actually resulting in sales.
- Why it’s getting reactions (or sales).
- How to adjust it to their own brand.
If your ads are funny, that’s wonderful. You’ve got a great hook.
But if you don’t follow it up with a really strong reason to buy…..you’re probably wasting space.
Back to that Vienna bar —
If the “Soup of the Day” joke didn’t “convert” me, then what would?
You’ve got to use more direct selling points, like:
Price: Tell me I’m going to save X amount of money.
Example: “Get 50% off all local beers for happy hour”
Uniqueness: Tell me I can try something I can’t get anywhere else.
Example: “October special: Get Vienna’s original Oktoberfest beer – we use the real original Austrian beer recipe (unchanged since 1516)”
A joint event: Tell me I can watch something or attend something that I can’t get elsewhere.
Example: “Tonight! Khabib vs Jake Paul!”
Use a funny hook if you like – but follow it up with a reason that’ll do more than make people chuckle. Make them drop everything and happily run to your business trying to buy your stuff!