The best ads don’t stand out and their objective isn’t to be annoying. If you think long and hard about what captures your attention when looking at an ad, you’ll recognize it meets your expectations. If you do a quick search on Google, you’ll notice several ads are similar, but there’s one single ad which gets your click-through. If you’ve been marketing for years, then you know the importance of copywriting and how it can help fuel your marketing. You’ll also know how creating an advertisement does require an entire process from start to finish. This is where those who have been in the industry a short time have trouble. They don’t know where to start and what elements to focus on. They don’t know what it takes to create a highly engaging advertisement. They spend enormous time trying to figure it out. Here’s the thing I realized years ago –
It seems the best advertisers know how to read your mind and have a sixth sense. But, you can steal their genius saving you enormous time in your ad creation process. I’m going to walk you through 7 of my favorite ad copywriting techniques that you can replicate to double or even triple your results in a short period.
1) Target a Local Audience
By targeting a local audience you’re not only paying less per ad click but have a smaller audience to test with before expanding out. One of the hardest things I’ve had to face was a limited budget to test my advertising strategy. I simply would run out of money before I was able to gather my data about my audience. This would happen because statistically when your marketing to a country or state, you will have more competition and will pay more per click. But, I soon realized by targeting a local audience, I’ll have less competition and would pay 1/3 of what I would pay by targeting an entire country. The reason behind this is quite simple, it’s because of the following two reasons –
a) local business won’t use PPC often to market their business because they’ll rely on Yelp or Yellow Pages.
b) It’s human nature to think “more is more” meaning the more traffic the more conversions. But, this is a flaw in the way people think because even a small city will have 250,000 people which are more than enough to generate sales.
Those who have been in the industry for years know this so it’s vital to learn from them. Try to market to a city with very little competition instead. I mean, you don’t need to use this strategy for targeting to the same place as your competitors…right? Find other cities within the Country and State to test out your marketing campaigns then scale out afterward.
Google AdWords does allow you to geotarget an audience within specific locations. From my knowledge, other big marketing platforms like Bing and Facebook allow you to geotarget too. Include local names when creating the ad text copy
2) Refine Headlines
Remember, the purpose of your ad is to get people to click-through. You’re not selling anything when people view your ad because that’s going to happen once they arrive on your sales page. Again, you’re simply trying to get the person to click-through to your sales pitch. With that said, you need to refine your headlines so there direct and concise. Google AdWords gives you a limited character count to write out your headline, so you need to be crafty. You need to grab the visitors attention quick and this needs to be done even with other competitor’s ads above and below you.
An experiment done by marketingexperiments.com showed that a headline doesn’t need to be fancy. For example, if someone types “cna practice tests” then an ad headline written in the following format will be good enough “100 free cna practice tests”. This not only has the main keyword typed in, but is setting the expectations for the click-through page. Now, back to the study by marketingexperiments.com where they showed matching the keyword in the ad and landing page increased conversions dramatically.
Here’s an example without the keyword [bankruptcy] in the landing page headline.
Here’s an example with the keyword [bankruptcy] in the landing page headline.
And, the results…
Consider Audience Buying Stage Then Craft Advertisements
A huge mistake made by beginners is they fail to understand what buying stage they are marketing for. Here’s an example, I like to divide buying decisions into three categories – awareness, consideration, and decision. You need to know if you’re marketing to those audiences who are just learning about your product or those who know about it but are looking for a specific model. Therefore, a typical search query using the keyword phrase – “Men’s Watches” would look like this –
Awareness: “Men’s Watches” – You’re just becoming interested in buying a new men’s watch.
Consideration: “Best Men’s Watches” – You’re now comparing and evaluating your top options.
Decision: “August Steiner Watches” – You’ve now decided on a specific brand name.
Several years ago, I realized the professionals know how to tap into every sector and they create ads catering to them too. You don’t want to advertise “men’s leather watches” to those not interested in men’s watches at all…right? This would be a waste of time and money. But, you do want to market “August Steiner Watches” to those who are looking for the “best men’s leather watches”. The chances this person clicking through and buying are much greater because they’ve shown interest in their search query. It’s more direct and precise.
Use Specific Numbers
I love adding numbers to content titles, in descriptions and when writing ads. This is something I learned from the best ad copywriters in the world. Numbers have an advantage over other typical copywriting for the following reasons –
Scannable – when people type in a search query they’ll skim through the results. Having numbers in the headline are easier to pick up then words. They stand out because as humans a whole number represents the concept of more.
Direct – numbers represent a direct solution or answer. For example, you’re getting 25 of (something).
Instant Gratification – it’s instant gratification because numbers represent a “list-type” content format. Traditionally these are easier to follow and gain value from.
Here’s something from Forbes –
“If there IS an equation associated with a product (and many products actually employ math in their design or testing), it can be included in appropriate marketing materials that make claims about the product’s design or performance. Those same claims will be more credible.”
In short, adding numbers will help make your headline or, in this case, your ad more credible.
Ads Should Target Mobile
“According to official Google statements, more than 50 percent of search queries globally now come from mobile devices. But we don’t know whether the number is 51 percent or 60 percent, or if it varies significantly by country.” – SearchEngineLand.com
With such a strong statement how can you avoid not optimizing your ads for mobile devices? If you don’t, that’s an estimated 50% of people not interacting with your ad and business. But, it doesn’t stop there because you need to make sure your landing pages are responsive too. I highly recommend you send your audience to landing pages so you can run a split test to collect data. Next, you won’t have to completely redo your website if it’s not responsive. The entire process can be time-consuming and very expensive. Use a tool like Unbounce.com to help you create split testing landing pages.
Add Images Where You Can
So far, we’ve gone through the importance of tweaking your text ads to increase performance. But, the rule of thumb from the experts is to always add images where you can. Images are easier to scan, and they quickly send a message to the person.
“The commonality across all of these examples (and thousands more in our other studies) is that users pay attention to information-carrying images that show content that’s relevant to the task at hand.” – nngroup.com
The professionals all do their research before setting up ads on different platforms. I learned the importance of research through them and this increased my conversion rate enormously. For example, by examining Facebook I figured out how images were way more important than text. This is because people spend 90% of the time on Facebook scanning images posted by people or the pages they follow. This means I should be following the trend when setting up marketing campaigns on Facebook. Instagram and Pinterest are the exact same because their main function is image sharing and people skim through images all day. If you’re setting up ads on these platforms, you want to make sure your image is what stands out…right? Twitter is different because a “tweet” consists more of text and #hashtags with people paying close attention to #hashtags in my opinion. With that said, when copywriting, you need to take some time and research the platform to see how users engage. Then you can create an image with some text to give it more leverage.
I remember years back I wouldn’t spend any time testing my advertising campaigns. This not only slowed down my conversion rate but killed my motivation because I wasn’t seeing results. But, I soon realized you need to test everything…Yes, That’s Right!
The best copywriters will test everything 10x before settling on a combination that works. They’ll test headline, image, call-to-action, forms, and even the URL format. They’ll test colors and PPC networks to see which is giving them the most bang for the buck. I never did and it’s a lesson I feel made the most difference in my career. In the end, you need to remember your objective and create ads which bring you closer to your objective. For most, the bottom-line comes down to increasing conversion rates which means more leads, sales, etc. If you feel the ads you’re running right now are not helping you then it’s time to split test until you find a winning combination. I’m happy that when creating ads, the majority of platforms do offer comprehensive reporting. I’m able to see what’s working and what’s not after I’m done making tweaks to my ad creatives.
Don’t make the same mistake I made and wait too long before you start split testing. The longer you have a non-winning ad running, the more money you’re paying without experiencing a peak in conversions. This is a waste of time and money. Setup various ads at once so you can run multiple tests and then start to narrow them down as the results come in. Here’s some advice –
Learn from the best out there. The best copywriters know how to utilize the right keywords and place them in the right places to get the highest results. Research and learn from what they are doing because long-term this will help you reach your objective.
Copywriting isn’t only limited to content because it plays a crucial role when creating ads. But, I know for some creating high converting ads can be very exhausting so learn from the professionals before you. You think Pepsi didn’t take lessons from Coca-Cola? I’m sure they did. If I was going to choose the most valuable tip from those listed above, it would have to be the following – Test Everything, especially, in reference to advertising.
I know from experience how the best copywriters will test every aspect of ad creation. Not only that, because the best copywriters learned from those before them. So, it’s time for you to learn from them too. Creating ads is a tricky business because as mentioned in my introduction – an engaging advertisement isn’t about standing out because anyone can do that by adding colorful images, etc. It’s about meeting expectations and giving the searcher hope when they view your ad and click-through to the destination page that they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for.