Paid search has taken a lot of criticism lately. Rising competition and rising prices in Google AdWords is making PPC advertising less cost effective than it used to be, and organic means of increasing traffic have gotten more attention and increased popularity. Still, paid advertising is an effective means of generating new traffic to your website or landing page, especially if you know what you’re doing. It serves as a complement to organic traffic increase efforts, which take time and grow exponentially; instead, paid search traffic rises immediately but stays consistent.
The trick to getting the most out of your PPC campaign is to write your advertisements effectively. Having great copy can take an otherwise lukewarm campaign and accelerate it into something powerful, and these seven secrets can help you achieve that level:
This might seem like an obvious strategy, but you’d be surprised how many advertisers neglect it. For example, if your target search term is “blue sweater,” make sure to include the phrase “blue sweater” somewhere in your ad copy. Generic variants which are loosely related, in our example something like “high quality sweaters” might seem appropriate, but remember—they’re going up against similar products, and your customer has a very specific search in mind. Include your keyword or keyword phrase in the heading of your ad copy when possible, or definitely in the description. This is an important first step you should take no matter what.
Don’t just describe whatever it is you’re selling. Take the extra step of describing exactly what the value of clicking your ad is. If you don’t have a lot of space, this can be tough, but try to think about the most important benefit your product or service offers. For example, if you’re selling a piece of software, you could say something like “learn a new language in 60 days or less,” which explains exactly what the product does and why it’s beneficial to the customer. Anything you can do to make your ad seem valuable to a user will improve your click through rates—just make sure it’s accurate, or you’ll lose potential conversions.
If they aren’t prompted to do anything, your users are likely to skip right past your ads. If you want to draw them to your landing page or encourage them to click through, you’ll have to compel them to take action. Using strong action-based words can help you accomplish this. In the old days, gimmicky calls to action like “click here!” used to be the most effective; today, these types of practices are considered spam, so you’ll have to tread carefully and write with tact. Something simple like “learn more today” or “reach your goal” subtly calls a user to action, and can increase your CTRs.
Doing extensive keyword research and learning about your different customer types can help you better understand what each of your individual customers’ needs are. Once you understand those needs, you can write ad copy that caters to them directly. For example, are your customers primarily concerned about price? Use your ad space to explain how cost efficient your product is. Do your customers need reliable service? Use your ad space to mention your 24/7 support. Addressing those immediate, important needs is the best way to earn a reputation in as few words as possible.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Perform some searches for the target keywords and phrases you’re going after, and read the advertisements your competitors have posted. What approaches do they use? What words do they use to compel their audience? How do they describe themselves? You can use some of these pieces of information as inspiration to fuel your own writing campaign, but more importantly, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself. If you don’t stand out, you aren’t going to get clicks. It’s as simple as that.
In Google AdWords, you have the ability to include ad extensions, which change the format of your ad listing to include more specific information, almost like a drop-down that extends beyond the scope of your original ad. Here, you’ll be able to include information like your address and hours, but you’ll also be able to include hyperlinks to specific pages on your site or landing pages. It gives you an extra opportunity to write more specific calls to action and get your users exactly where you need them to go.
Finally, it’s important to view the process of writing great ad copy as an iterative one. Even if you strike gold by luck on your first attempt to write great PPC ads, there is always going to be room for improvement. Regularly measure the impact of your ads, judging their effectiveness based on click through rates and eventual conversions, and discard the variants that seem to be lagging behind your primary breadwinners. Examine those successful ads and determine which strategies led them to perform better, and apply those strategies in newer, more refined excerpts for your campaign.
With these seven writing secrets put into practice, your ad copy will develop into something far more effective. It may take a little extra time and research up front, but maximizing the value of your paid advertising budget is more than worth it. Regardless of which platforms you choose for your advertising needs, make sure to use some form of analytics to track your results and measure your ROI to keep a close eye on your overall return.