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How Ugly Ads Can Get You More Leads & Sales

If you had an ugly ad that works very well in bringing you many leads and sales, would you mind?

I’ve been running Facebook/Instagram ads for a long time…  

I run ads for my own business (music school + eCommerce store) and I currently manage $80k/month of ad spend for several clients.  

That means I get to see many types of ads – those that work, those that suck. Across many different industries. 

I learned that for an ad to do well (giving you leads/sales), it doesn’t have to look nice. 

Most of my best performing ads were filmed using just an iPhone.  

Some even say they’re ugly. 

In fact, when businesses hire me to run their ads for them, I tell them: 

“My video and image ads aren’t the prettiest. But they convert well. Are you ok with that?”  

So in today’s letter, I’m going to dive into what makes an ugly ad convert. 

If you don’t mind getting more leads and sale using ads that aren’t pretty, read on.  

There are 3 main things a good ad should do: 

1) Grab attention
2) Show HOW your product/service can help achieve the GOALS of its target audience
3) Make the viewers believe that your product/service can help achieve their goals 

Whether an ad is beautifully produced or is low-quality and ugly, as long as they contain these elements, and are being shown to the right target audience, there’s a good chance they will convert well.  

Let me elaborate on each of the 3 points:

1. Grab attention 

People who are on FB/IG are usually surfing mindlessly. Their thumbs are scrolling/swiping… so the first thing your ad must do is to capture their attention.  

Once you can make them stop, then you can get their attention to read your ad copy and see more of what you have to offer.  

So to grab attention, there are many things you can do. It could be a bright coloured ad with huge fonts. It could be memes or even images of cats/dogs. Or a video ad with you talking and pointing to the screen asking people to “STOP scrolling”.  

You can do those. But it shouldn’t annoy the person watching the ad. And it should still give a positive or relevant experience. 

Through my years of running ads, the best way I do this is to write a good hook and show it at the first 3 seconds of my video.  

(I’ll attach the video below after explaining these 3 pointers)

2. Show HOW your product/service can help achieve the GOALS of its target audience 

If you’re running ads, chances are you’re selling a product/service. 

Every product/service solves a problem.  

So in your ad, show how you do that.  

Show how you help them achieve their goals. 

My product (a flexible roll up piano) helps people learn the piano in 1 hour. 

In my video ad, I show how I help them achieve it.

I show them a preview of my video tutorial, I show them how my product works.  

For service business, show what your process is like when they work with you, and how that process can help them achieve their goals. 

If I run a Chinese tuition centre, I would show my teaching methods, I would show how the kids are learning during the class. I would show them having fun participating in class.  

You want to let the viewers visualise what you can deliver.  

Let me give more examples for service businesses, since it’s not as straightforward as a product where you can simply show how it functions.  

For tuition centres: 

Most parents want their kids to do well. For more than that, they want to see their kid enjoy the learning process. So show that in your ad. Show the kids having fun learning.  

For real estate agents: 

This depends on who you’re targeting – buyers or sellers? 


Most home sellers want to fetch their properties at a high price. Show your unique method of selling and your process when listing a property for sale.  


Investors/home buyers want to buy properties that can have high growth potential. 

In your ad, show how you do your research, financial calculations, how you shortlist properties with growth potential etc. 

If it’s not possible to explain it via video, then write it in your ad copy.  

That’s the key message your ad should give out – that you have the ability to help them achieve their desired goal. 

For spas/beauty salons: 

Your ad should show your treatment process (assuming its for acne scars for example)  

Show how your specialist/doctor will first assess and consult, before going into treatment.  

And finally achieving the glowing skin they always wanted. 

To increase the credibility and trustworthiness of your business, you can get your doctor to be the one explaining in the ad. 

For financial advisors: 

Most ads in this niche are usually about retirement planning or investment.  

If you’re in this niche, you know there are many regulations to adhere to by your company or MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore).  

So instead advertising the product directly… come up with a presentation to show how someone can achieve a comfortable retirement portfolio by calculating for them based on a certain %.  

Use graphs to help them visualise. Use excel sheets to calculate for them.  

Your ad can simply be you showing how you achieve a certain retirement sum based on your excel sheet projection.  

A boring video of you crunching numbers on an excel sheet.  

Boring, ugly, but effective.

3. Show proof that your product/service can help achieve their goals or proof that it works.  

There are 2 ways to do this.  

One would be to run testimonial/review ads.  

Another way would be to show the end result of what your customer has managed to achieve after using your product/service. 

Testimonial/review ads: 

Film a customer sharing their experience using your product/service. To do this, you can get your most loyal customers to help. Prepare a few questions to ask them beforehand, and then film them talking about it. 

These are the 4 questions I usually ask in a testimonial video:

1. What was it like before using the product/service? (Were they struggling or did they try methods that were ineffective)

2. How are things different after using your product/service? (better results, better experience).

3. What did they like about the product/service?

4. Will they recommend this product to others?

A Mathematics tuition centre hired me earlier this year to run their ads and I created a testimonial video for them and ran it as an ad.

You can watch it here.

If it’s not possible for you to do such a video, you can create image testimonials too.  

It can be a simple screenshot of a Whatsapp message from a customer thanking you or sharing their experience.  

Like this:

Show end result 

If there’s a tangible result your product/service can produce, you use that as an ad.  

For example, my piano course teaches people how to play piano in 1 hour. 

I record a video of them playing right after the class as proof and I use that as an ad. Recorded it on an iPhone – blurry video, average audio quality, but it helps to show that my course is really effective.  

You can watch the video here:

Above are the 3 reasons why some ugly ads can convert so well.  

They grab attention, they show how the product/video helps to achieve a goal or solve a problem, they contain proof that it works.  

Here’s an example of an ad I created that contains the elements above.

I shot this on my iPhone, using just one tripod, and edited using Capcut.

This video has generated $32k worth of sales in the 8 months I ran it. 

I’m still running it today btw. 

Here’s the ad:

Notice how in the first 3s I try to grab attention by writing “Watch this flexi piano in action!” 

This is to get the viewer to keep watching. 

I show the features of this product, and HOW it can help achieve the goals of someone wanting to learn piano by showing a preview of my video tutorial.  

Lastly, by seeing me play the product, it’s proof that this product works.  

While I didn’t show proof of students being able to play the piano after watching my tutorial, I showed it on my product page.  

The key objective of this ad was to get the message across that this product works, and can help you learn piano in 1 hour through my video tutorial.  

That’s why this video ad is still converting so well for me today (it’s close to 1.5 years now running the same ad)  

I’ve sold more than $500k of this product till date and the ads are always produced without any expensive gadgets.  

I dug up some of the old ads for this products and you can see it here:

You can call it ugly… low quality… 

But guess what?

As a business owner, numbers matter to me the most.  

I know they perform well and give me a positive ROI on my ad campaigns. 

So I’m good with that 🙂 

These are proof that ugly ads can still bring you a lot of sales and leads.  

Who Is Edmund Chew?

I own a 7-figure music education company called TravelClef. I help fellow business owners scale their business using paid ads. I’m obsessed with marketing and entrepreneurship.

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Ugly Ads That Convert PDF:

Learn how I use ugly ads to pull in leads and sales every day. A proven method that works across many industries.

Get More Customers Using Facebook/Instagram Ads:

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Done-For-You Ads:

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