4 Simple but Powerful Tactics for Writing Compelling Ad Copy
If you want to grow your business online, what is the one thing you need the most?
And for most businesses, the fastest way to get more traffic is through advertising.
Digital advertising is a game of inches. Small changes in your ad response rates can trigger massive improvements in your profitability. When you’re paying Google and Facebook tens of dollars for a single click, it’s crucial that you write ad copy that can push and persuade people.
More of an auditory learner? Check out our Goal Talk Podcast episode on The Do's and Don'ts of Writing Effective Ad Copy
In this post, I’m going to show you four powerful tactics anyone can use to write stellar ad copy.
Ready to learn how you can vastly improve your PPC ad copy? Run our free Google Ads Performance Grader today!
1. Show viewers how you’ll solve their problem
When it comes to writing ad headlines, most businesses start and stop at plugging in keywords. This is the first thing a visitor will read after all.
Though using the keywords you’re bidding on is important for Quality Score, when everyone (your competition included) is using the same keywords, you don’t really attract much attention.
To stand out, your ad headline needs to mirror the visitor’s end goal (similar to the bridge after bridge copywriting formula).
People click on an ad because it promises to help solve their problem, not because they think the ad checks all the right keyword boxes.
Before you create an ad, think about what the user on the other end wants to accomplish and how your headline can help fulfill that need.
For example, take a look at the ads for the keyword “sell books”:
Apart from writers and publishers, most people searching for this query are likely to be college students and readers who want quick cash for their books.
The first ad focuses on exactly this: sell your books for cash.
It doesn’t try to push their service’s features and quality. Instead, it tells viewers immediately that they can use the service to get cash (the end goal) for their books.
Bottom line: For copy that sells, focus on the end-solution (cash for books) that solves customers’ problems.
2. Include emotional triggers
While some visitors might be looking for a site with an end goal in mind, often people are browsing casually to get information or discover what solutions and services are available for a potential problem.
For these kind of visitors, you have to spur them into action. One way to do this is through emotional triggers.
The reason behind this is simple: people don’t make decisions based on logic alone. Instead, they are driven by emotions.
If people read something and experience a strong emotional reaction (such as fear, anger, or disgust) they will click through.
For example, take a look at these ads for a trainer:
Most of these ads simply describe the services on offer. There is no way to differentiate between them apart from their locations and their prices.
While this can work when the competition is limited, for most keywords, such ads will just blend in with the others.
In contrast, take a look at this ad for a cosmetic surgeon in New York:
This ad works because it addresses the single biggest issue anyone who seeks a cosmetic surgeon has: that they look older and as a result, don’t feel good about themselves.
By highlighting how cosmetic surgery will help you, the patient, “look younger and feel great,” this ad triggers a far more emotional response than the ad below it (which mostly talks about the “state of the art facility”).
Here’s how to make your ad copy emotional:
- Determine who your customer is
- Determine the persona you want to take on to appeal to that customer
- Write emotional ad copy from that persona
You have to be careful to balance this reaction with the rest of your message as you don’t want your customers to associate your brand with a negative emotion.
Instead, focus on resolving the fear or concern. For more help with emotional ad copy, take a look at the words and tips in these posts:
- 120 Words and Phrases for Marketing With Emotion
- 273 (MORE!) Words to Use for Emotional Marketing Copy
3. Focus on benefits, not features
When it comes to writing the body of your ad, don’t waste time by stating how amazing your brand is. Instead, get visitors to take action by telling them how your brand or your product will improve their lives.
Your ad needs to be personal (use “you”) and must be able to demonstrate how your service can benefit the visitor.
Here’s an example from the pet insurance industry:
The first ad focuses on benefits by stating in its copy:
- How much the visitor will save (5%)
- How a visitor can cut costs without cutting coverage (use of you)
- Informing that the plan works with any licensed vet (convenience)
Compare that to the ad just below it, which is vague:
- States “Save Big” but what does that mean exactly? How much?
- States “Visit Today” which doesn’t need to be said if someone is already searching for you (they are already interested). This just wastes ad space.
Similarly, take a look at these two ads for “lasik surgery NYC”:
A customer who wants to get laser surgery done doesn’t really care about the exact brand name of the equipment or even the technology used.
What he actually cares about it whether the surgery is fast, comfortable and accurate – benefits, not features.
This is exactly what the first ad focuses on: surgery that is more comfortable, faster & more precise.
Only after mentioning the benefits does the ad talk about features – “best price guarantee,” “next day recovery,” etc.
In contrast, the second ad doesn’t talk about benefits at all. Instead, it approaches the ad from a position of authority by stating how many surgeries they’ve performed (which is a useless number because most customers have no idea what number of surgeries is normal for a Lasik practice).
If you are finding it hard to differentiate or provide benefits in a short amount of space, you can use psychology to drive conversions, as we’ll see below.
4. Implement FOMO
Yes, the fear of being left out can be a catalyst to get visitors to your site.
Loss aversion is a real psychological force and using it in your ads is a easy way to drive conversions.
The easiest way to implement this online is to use countdown timers which run in real time.
Here’s an example from a business selling TVs online:
These ads work because humans are more motivated by the idea of losing out than gaining something and by instilling time-limits, more people are more likely to click through.
This is also an example of scarcity in action – one of the 6 principles of persuasion according to Robert Cialdini (author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion). By showing that the sale is going to end soon, you create a sense of scarcity which compels action.
With competition online only getting more intense, writing compelling ads is a powerful tool to drive conversions. Though it takes time and practice, following the above tips will help you get ahead of your competition.
About the author
Khalid Saleh is the co-founder and CEO of Invesp Conversion Optimization and is soon going to launch his latest tech startup Figpii, the one-stop platform for everything related to conversion rate optimization.