I’ve started powering through David Szetela and Joe Kerschbaum’s new PPC book called Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing: An Hour a Day and I really like this PDF they made available online to their readers. Although it’s about classified ads, you can pull direct correlations to apply to your PPC text ads when advertising on search engines. Really, search engine results pages (SERPs) are just like classified ads except the page is digital instead of paper.
Here are some of the highlights that I personally took away –
1. The Goal – The goal of your ad is not to sell a product. It is to get a qualified prospect to click through your ad so that your site can sell them. Notice I said “qualified” prospect. All too often advertisers are paying for clicks that have no chance of buying. The search intent and what is being offered do not match. Therefore, the goal of your ad is not only to communicate your offering in a compelling way that will motivate the click, but to motivate the right “clickers” so that you don’t end up “selling air conditioners to Eskimos.”
2. The Content – If the ad is not read, it won’t stimulate any sales; if it is not seen, it cannot be read, and if it does not command or grab the attention of the reader, it will not be seen. Your knowledge and practice of the “master formula” of ad writing called “AIDA” will determine the extent of your success as an advertising copywriter.
Attract the attention of your prospect – Imagine your prospect scanning a SERP. For him it is much like which ride at the amusement park to take next. Something must grab their attention to direct their focus toward your product. With text ads, it’s all in the words and it starts with the headline. It must be more difficult for the prospect to ignore your headline than to stop and read your ad.
To do this, you typically want to do the opposite of or be different than most other advertisers. You might ask a question, give a warning, make a promise, etc. Whatever you do, you want to make sure to test powerful words that relate to the primary emotional benefit you’ve identified your audience to be looking for. Tip: It’s the reason that motivated their search in the first place.
Interest your prospect to desire the product – Tell the prospect exactly how they’re going to benefit from the purchase of your product using the appropriate emotional benefits. This is where you reiterate the benefits you’ve implied in your headline.
Cause your prospect to desire the product – You have to build belief and credibility in the mind of the prospect to assure him of his good judgment in the final decision to buy. So, give him evidence of the benefits you’ve promised. Let him imagine owning the product and visualizing the benefits you’ve promised.
Demand action from the prospect – Psychologists say that when given a directive, a human’s first instinct is to reply. You can tell them what they’re going to miss if they don’t take the action, tell them why procrastinating is a mistake, or offer them a reward for acting now, etc. Tell them what to do and make it easy for them to do it.
3. The Words – Some words are more powerful than others. Saying your ad must “spark your reader’s interest” is more powerful than saying your ad must “get the reader’s attention.” Words spark feelings and getting prospects to have feelings about your words is what you want to accomplish. It is the feelings that have the power. If you are having trouble finding power words to use in your ad, it is probably because you are concentrating too hard on what words you want to use instead of what sorts of feelings you want the reader to feel. Decide on the feelings first and then experiment with the words that best convey them.