Never clean your kitchen again! Germs begone! Make it all sparkle! Clean once and you’re done with this hated household chore when you buy the Magic Mop and Sop Kit.
You know what doesn’t convert today? Bad ad copy. And that doesn’t mean poorly written copy — the ad above is grammatically correct and even has some clever wordplay. But it’s not great copy for today’s market because it’s over the top (looking at you, multiple exclamation marks), obviously insincere and potentially misleading.
It’s not the 1950s or 60s, when golden-age ad copy could promise perfect lifestyles and cash in on conversions. Online consumers are cynical, savvy and hungry for authenticity. Skilled copywriters know – if you’re not writing content that speaks to that audience, you’re not going to be successful as an advertising copywriter.
What Is Ad Copy?
Ad copy is any content created for the purpose of advertising. That includes obvious content such as the text that appears in a paid search ad or the script for a video commercial. But it also includes other types of content that target the sales funnel such as landing pages, email drip campaigns or even product pages.
Not all marketing copy is ad copy (but all ad copy is marketing copy). Marketing copy written with the sole purpose of educating, informing or entertaining the reader isn’t ad copy, even if it’s meant to build brand awareness or foster consumer culture around a company. Advertising copy is meant to convert — to drive someone further down the sales funnel toward the point where they decide the purchase a product or service.
Advertising copywriting, then, is dedicated to that purpose: to driving consumers forward on the buying journey with compelling, persuasive content that keeps the sales goal in mind. Even if the sale is still far off on the horizon.
That doesn’t mean all ad copy is a hard sell. It shouldn’t all sound like late-night infomercials or even position the product as the foremost topic. Ad copywriters are responsible for understanding the specific purpose of each type of content to support the ultimate success of comprehensive advertising campaigns.
Types of Advertising Copy
- Ads, whether they’re display, banner, search or video, have a primary goal: To convert the click. Ad copy for these pieces is usually short, sweet and packing a powerful hook to entice the reader to click and learn more.
- Landing pages are where people end up when they click ads or links; typically these are sales-style pages that offer concise, audience-relevant information about the product or service. Content should include compelling reasons why the person needs the solution and at least one well-written CTA.
- Advertorials are ads positioned as more conversational content, such as blog posts. They serve the same purpose as landing pages, but can be presented as more informative or educational in nature.
- Confirmation pages, which confirm that someone has signed up for a newsletter, made a purchase or taken some other action can still be ad copy. This is especially true when the action is mid-funnel; if someone signs up for a newsletter, that’s only the first step in them purchasing a product.
- Email drip campaigns are sent when someone signs up to receive information or takes another action that signals approval for marketing messages in the inbox. The purpose of email ad copy varies by campaign, but it’s ultimately aimed at persuading someone to take action.
Tips for Advertising Copywriters
Convincing consumers to take action isn’t easy. You have to build and maintain trust throughout the buying journey. Here are seven tips from the experts to help advertising copywriters do just that.
1. Put effort into the headline.
“The most important part of your ad copy is your headline,” says Megan Meade, Content Marketing Specialist for SoftwarePath.com. “Get this wrong, and you’ll lose 80% of your audience before they even read the second line.”
“It’s critical that you optimize the headline for your audience, making it as relevant to specific search queries as possible,” says Meade. She suggests using SKAGS (single keyword ad groups) to do this.
“You could create a standard advert for ‘dancing shoes’ or you could create several targeted ads for ‘ballet dancing shoes’, ‘best ballet dancing shoes’, ‘comfortable ballet dancing shoes’, and so on. The most relevant headline will be served to match the search query, meaning you’ll be getting more relevant clicks coming to your site, which brings a higher ROI (and margin) to your campaigns.”
Advertising copywriters aren’t typically in charge of keyword decisions, but this is great advice to follow when you are. And if a client provides keywords, remember that they did so for a reason and make good use of them.
2. Create ad copy that engages.
James at The Advisor Coach says, “One of the best copywriting tips I can give that has proven itself to boost conversions is to ask a question. The reason this works so well in a headline or ad is because humans are hardwired to answer questions. It pulls people in and gets them to start reading.”
3. Keep design and multiple devices in mind.
“When you’re working with landing page copy, you absolutely need to make sure that you optimize your copy for every form of display,” says Yaniv Masjeda, CMO at Nextiva. “This may mean working closely with a designer as well. The days of the writer operating independently on a typewriter from a closet are over. Today, copywriters must be collaborative, responsive to feedback, and ready to crank out further iterations based on data and user experience.”
4. Write empathetic advertising copy.
“I’ve found using empathy to write ads by putting yourself in your dream customer’s shoes and writing from their perspective — using their language — to be very beneficial in getting more clicks and conversions,” says Stacy Caprio, Founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing.
5. Target copy to specific audiences or niches.
Caprio also points out that advertising copywriters must understand the target audience for any content they create.
“Take a very specific angle that fits that niche when writing ad copy,” says Caprio. “This could mean instead of targeting wine lovers and using general wine lover copy for a personalized wine glass, to instead target and write copy specifically for special personalized bridal party wine glasses. This makes the audience feel the product was made specifically for them and they’re more likely to be interested and buy.”
Samantha Kohn, Communications Manager at Mobials, provides a tip for writers struggling to create niche-based content.
“Take two seemingly unrelated topics and combine them into an ad that speaks loudly to a narrow audience,” says Kohn.”For example, you can speak directly to Game of Thrones fans during winter tire season with messaging like: Winter is coming. Get 30% off winter tires. Learn more. You will speak to fewer people, but you’ll definitely capture the attention of the ones in your new target market, therefore increasing engagement and decreasing your cost per click.”
6. Make a point and keep it short.
Kohn advises, “Be relevant and be brief. Relevancy and brevity are the foundation for any successful ad copy. If your messaging doesn’t promise to solve a consumer’s problem or answer their question, they likely won’t bother reading your content — and even if they do, it’s unlikely they’ll click on it. Give them a reason to click or keep reading.”
7. Tell stories with your content.
Kohn rounds out this tips list by reminding advertising copywriters that people love a good tale. “Make sure your content tells a story, preferably one that readers can relate to. Try to answer the following: what was the problem, how was it recognized, what was the solution and how was success measured?”
By putting these expert tips into action to write winning ad copy, freelancers can land more work with advertising agencies, brands and other organizations in dire need of content that converts.
If you find yourself in need of skilled ad writers, be sure to check out our roster of skilled copywriters for hire.