Great copy can make or break your advertising campaign. A great ad tells a story, highlights why your product or service is great, and proves why you’re better than the competition. A bad ad does the exact opposite — and can send your customers running to the door.
Creating advertising copy is no easy feat. In fact, many businesses have people dedicated solely to creating and designed remarkable ads. While not every organization can afford this, it’s important that you understand the power of good advertisement — and what can happen if you make a bad one.
For example, In 2013, Google says it pulled more than 350 million bad ads from its systems, up 59 percent from the 224 million it struck down in 2012. While some of these were clearly scammers or those trying to sell counterfeit goods, others were in part due to copyright or policy violations.
So, how can you write great advertising copy, ones that stick and help your consumer to understand why you rule? Check out these best practices, as well as examples of organizations that are doing it right.
Understand your audience
It’s so important to understand who your audience is. From soccer moms to rockstars in the making, understanding your audience is the cornerstone of your advertising copy. Start with creating a buyer persona, and then move on to additional factors such as location, interests, educational level, income, and work history. Plus, if you use advertising management tools like AdEspresso, half the work is done for you.
Know where your fans (and potential fans) are hiding
After you understand your audience, you also have to know where they are hiding. After all, your actual content will heavily depend on where it will be placed. For instance, Twitter ads clearly have a limit of 140 characters, while other platforms are more strict.
Here’s an example. Companies like Zappo’s are very active in their Facebook advertising, so much so that the company created a new position focused solely on driving Facebook marketing. It’s clearly working: In the past two years, Zappo’s has spent $10 million on Facebook ads alone, with 3.5-fold ROI. While their ads are pretty simple, they go where their audience is hiding. In this case, it’s Facebook.
Create powerful headlines
According to advertising pioneer David Ogilvy: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Powerful headlines are key to getting the rest of your ad read. For example, this advertisement from HubSpot has a pretty clear headline: Lead Generation Software. While it clearly doesn’t appeal to every audience, the ones that are seeing the advertisement (and remember, most of the time it’s a select few), will probably jump at the idea of a system that can reel in customers.
Use words with direction
While the headline is the bun, the right words are the meat of your advertisement. Your copy should carry weight, not only to entice the reader, but to lead them to the next step. According to Entrepreneur.com, avoid passive words and content that doesn’t have a direct command, such as “maybe,” “hope,” or “perhaps.” Instead, be forward and bold in your copy.
Check out this advertisement from Survivalstraps.com. By using phrases like “show support” and “get yours today,” Survivalstraps.com not only illustrates how to get involved, they also promote a patriotic product any user get behind — all from great language alone.
Have a call-to-action
All advertisements need to have a good call-to-action, whether they are online or offline. Along with understanding your audience and creating powerful headlines, calls-to-action illustrate what next steps are, be it signing up a for a newsletter, getting a product discount, or visiting your company website.
Check out this ad from Samsung Mobile. According to HubSpot, the ad’s call-to-action is written all over it: Trading in your phone for up to $300 for another one. This call-to-action prompts those who are in the market for a new phone, but haven’t quite made a buying decision, to look into a device that’s easy on the eyes, as well as the wallet.
Creating great advertising copy isn’t rocket science, but it does take some calculated steps in order to pull off the right content. Use these tips as a springboard to creating your next great ad!
Let me know how you write great advertising copy in the comments below!