Hobson Powell, (April 15, 2015)
What’s the difference between a good and great ad? How do you connect with users, but also make sure to drive people to your site? Digital marketers have a lot of optimization tactics at their disposal — such as bids, budgets, targeting — all designed to drive the performance of their ad campaigns, but the only thing potential customer actually sees is the ad. Imagine you’re the consumer — would you click on it?
We have studied the impact of thousands of digital ads, and three secrets to success emerged to help ensure ad copy breaks through the clutter in compelling and engaging ways. The formula itself is simple: have the right basic elements and use them to tell a cohesive, logical story.
Tip #1 – Use Emotion, Language & Credibility To Connect
Emotion. The best copywriters are the best storytellers. Compelling copy sells a product or service by telling consumers a (short) story in which they can relate. Your audience needs to do more than read your message — they need to feel it on a deeper, emotional level. Instead of simply showcasing their selection of high-end purses, the ad invites the viewer to “splurge” on themselves during the busy holiday season with the copy “Splurge on the Perfect Handbag This Holiday.” If you’ve ever felt stressed out during the holidays, you may be able to relate to the idea of wanting to treat yourself. The ad speaks to consumers on a more personal level.
Language. Ad copy is not the place to flex your impressive vocabulary. Write in the voice of your target audience and always follow the K.I.S.S. philosophy (Keep It Simple, Silly!). The handbag ad speaks directly to style savvy shoppers in a way that connects fashion to feelings.
Credibility. Today’s consumers are savvy and skeptical about advertising. In order for consumers to accept a message, they must first trust it. One way to establish trust is by using words that signal credibility. Make true claims and support them with objective, third-party evidence. Using third-party awards (e.g., “rated best headphones”), the TM symbol if you’re a trademark owner, or legitimizing language (e.g., “Official Site”) can have a major impact on ad quality and performance.
Tip #2 – Ignite, Enlighten & Send to Site: Tell a Story that Encourages Action
Ignite. “Crucial,” “hurry,” “limited-time only,” and “sure-fire.” Those are all examples of igniter words that help pull your audience into the message and spark a connection. One of the best ways to connect with users is with a teaser or provocative question like the one in the title of an ad such as: “Time to Upgrade Your Bike?” Questions can create interaction, and interaction can prompt action.
Enlighten. Focus on benefits rather than features. Why is your product/service different? What is your competitive advantage? Enlighteners include price, value, availability, customer service, expertise, consistency and reviews. In an ad for Hot Chain Bikes, the company’s customization options, vast selection, return policy and free shipping help it stand out from the competition. It reads: “Shop the world’s online bike store with over than 500 brand. 365 day return, and free shipping over $99. Find the perfect bike now.”
Send to Site. The key to digital advertising success? Motivating the undecided. Every ad needs a solid call to action; something that pushes a consumer over the threshold and delivers them to your site. A strong call to action offers extra information that compels users to take a next step. Instead of simply telling a consumer to “shop now,” the sample ad invites them to create a customized bike that fits their needs, a potentially fun and informative experience that will pique the interest of a bicycle lover.
Tip #3 – Channel Your Inner Maestro: Create a Cadence that Connects
Good copy, like good music, has a tempo all its own. Write in rhythm with the power of three. The “Man Cave Must Haves” ad with the headline “12 man Cave Must Haves” uses the power of three with its “poker, pool tables and pilsner glasses,” all the must-haves for the perfect Man Cave. It’s a natural beat that connects with the audience and keeps the copy moving.
In summary, good copy is less about product and more about people. To connect with people — with their wants, their needs, their aspirations — it’s important to be creating ads that make your business stand out from the rest. But remember, a good copywriter’s work is never done. Keep rewriting and refreshing your copy, and test your ads to ensure you’re staying ahead in this dynamic and ever-evolving market.