Throughout the perpetual evolution of digital marketing, one thing has remained constant: the importance of good ad copy.
It sounds so obvious that it’s easy to understand how it frequently gets overlooked. With complex algorithms, targeting, analytics, and a number of other factors to consider, advertisers can forget that the key to gaining a user’s interest starts with the right message.
The best ad copy is both an art and a science. It conveys your business’s value while also making a connection on a deeper level. It can be challenging to strike the perfect balance between “sales-y” and personal, but if you’re able to pull it off, the results are worth the effort.
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind the next time you sit down to write out your advertising copy:
1. Think Like a Customer
As much as everyone loves witty, creative, eye-catching copy, that’s not going to drive traffic or conversions in the most efficient way. Often times, the most effective copy is direct and straight to the point.
Most users who are searching for a product or service are more likely to click on an ad that answers their questions in the simplest way. For example, if you’re looking for someone to fix your water heater you might present with two ad options – if one ad says “Don’t get stuck in the cold – let us warm you up!” and another ad reads, “Quick and easy water heater repair, call [this number]!”, it’s more likely that you’d click on the second option. Though the first adds a little creative flair to the equation, the second one gets right to it.
The next time you’re writing PPC copy, or another copy form where the visual component isn’t a factor, simply ask yourself, “If I were searching for this product or service, what would I click on?”
2. Use Numbers If Applicable
Most consumers care about two things above all: price and quality. With that in mind, copywriters should understand the benefit of including numbers or other statistics in headlines.
Let’s say you’re in the market for some affordable car insurance. Regardless of what you search for, you’ll probably have to go to a company’s website and do some leg work to find pricing information. Savvy copywriters will save searchers the extra step and simply put the relevant information right in the headline.
In a sea of letters and, our eyes are naturally drawn to numbers. Those utilizing the capabilities of search engine marketing (SEM) should stick prices or rates right there in front of consumers and they’ll reward you for saving some of their time.
3. Use FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to Your Advantage
It’s not a revelation to suggest that instilling a sense of urgency is a good marketing tactic. The thought of missing out on a potential sale or great deal can inspire people to act quickly instead of just browsing passively. Incorporating a sort of “countdown” in your ad copy will undoubtedly kick some people in gear and generate additional engagement, traffic, and ultimately, conversions.
The fact is, both history and science have shown us that human beings are more motivated by the thought of losing out than they are by actually getting something. A ticking clock is a reminder of “scarcity” – which is something our brains have developed to mean “I need to act while I have the chance.”
At the end of your ad copy, try including a reference to time that makes the user want to act now. A simple, “1 Day Left – Don’t Miss out!” can be the difference between getting passed by and generating an action.
4. Stick to One Thing
If you’re advertising for a business that offers a range of products and/or services, it can be a challenge to stick to just one when writing ad copy. The fact of the matter is that when people are searching for something, they’re almost always looking for only that thing.
Avoid the trap of “over-marketing” by keeping the copy concise and to the point. If you need to advertise for other things, create different ad groups. It’s much better to have three different ad groups that each focus on one thing than one ad group that focuses on three things.
For example, if you’re writing for an HVAC company, you should have a clear separation between copy that focuses on “servicing” and that which focuses on “installation.” People are going to be searching for one service or the other, and will respond best to an ad that does the same.
5. Cut It Down, then Trim Some More
Shakespeare once noted that “brevity is the soul of wit.” (Yes, I’m referencing Shakespeare while writing about advertising copy). Brevity, it turns out, is also a critical component of effective copy.
If you’re scrolling through search engine results and are faced with a 10-word headline and 5-word headline, you’re naturally going to be more inclined to read and absorb the shorter one.
Copywriters like to show off their creativity, but this creativity can actually stand in the way of generating results. When writing ad copy, your mindset should be “how can I say the most with the fewest number of words.”
If there’s one piece of advice I would give those individuals tasked with writing ad copy, it would be to avoid overthinking it. Advertisers are ultimately consumers too and should have some idea about what they themselves look for when seeking out a product or service online.
Keep it direct and straight to the point and at the very least you’ll at least make sure your message is being heard. In the competitive world of digital marketing, if you can gain someone’s attention for just a few seconds you’ve done your job.