Ad copy is the foundation of any advertising campaign, online or not, so it’s crucial to choose messaging that inspires consumers to take the next step toward their purchase. Creating memorable, effective ad copy takes time, practice, and an understanding of the target consumer to get right. Great ad copy not only works as a call to action (CTA) to buy, but it also motivates consumers to feel, respond, think, and learn more about a product or service and stay loyal to your brand.
However, “great ad copy” can be a lofty goal if you’re not sure about what makes copy sell. We’ve put together four tips to help you get started writing powerful, clickable ad copy that will draw in—and help you keep—consumers.
1. Use personas validated by consumer data and insights
Understanding your consumers is the first step to writing effective ad copy, and that means creating buyer personas if you don’t have them already. Buyer personas are important because it reminds you who your audience is, what they value, and how your products or services solve their problems or improve their lives. When ad copy speaks directly to a pain point your target audience has, the value of your product appears more compelling.
Basic buyer persona documents give an overview on the demographic information of your consumers, like age, income range, and location. (Hint, cross check your personas with your first-party consumer data and the target audience you are writing for. Is it aligned?)
So much of ad writing success is from asking the right questions. This will help you understand your different audiences, so you can create effective personas to use for each. However, start with the basics such as the following:
- Where do your consumers prefer to shop? Online or in-store?
- What types of questions are they asking?
- What are their pain points? How can you solve them now and in the future?
- What type of content do they enjoy reading, watching, and listening to?
- Where are your buyers located? What resonates with consumers in the geographic areas you’re targeting?
2. Craft meaningful, relevant, must-click headlines
Before consumers even begin their journeys down the purchase funnel, they’re searching for solutions to their pain points. These problems may be something they are actively thinking about, or it can stay in their mind passively, to be reactivated with the right prompt. That’s where you come in.
Eighty percent of website visitors never make it past the headline (or in eCommerce ads, the opener). You only have 7-8 seconds to grab a reader’s attention (and a shorter 1.5 seconds if this is a video ad) —so speak to them directly and quickly. Make sure your headline tells your audience exactly what they need to know up front, usually by stating the value and relevance of your products or services. Most importantly, headlines should be readable and simple to understand.
Here are a few more tips to help you create killer headlines:
Use search-friendly keywords.
Be sure your keywords match users’ online searches. While this may take some time and research, it’s critical to understand what readers are searching for, as it can serve as a signal for shifting consumer sentiment. Think of both targeted and general keywords that hone in on your buyer personas, while also using broader keywords to tap into a larger, more generic audience.
Make sure you are relevant.
These days, brands are constantly driving to create a real connection with their consumers and bring real value to be relevant. Your headline should demonstrate that your product’s value is relevant to their everyday lives, especially what’s top of time. During the initial months of the pandemic, parents thought more about breakfast as their children stayed at home. Brands like Campbell’s caught this shift, and changed their messaging to breakfast and families to stay ahead. Focus on the experience and value that your product or services provide. How do you know what these consumers value? That’s what your consumer insights should be telling you.
3. Use compelling copy that pulls in visitors
Along with keyword-relevant headlines, the accompanying copy should include a combination of general and targeted keywords that are placed naturally within your post.
Be wary of over-using keywords just to rank higher in search engine results. This can sound forced, unnatural, confusing, or too spammy, and it can lead visitors to abandon your site or your ad experience. In fact, keyword stuffing is considered one of the most popular search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes made by online marketers. Remember that 86 percent of consumers consider authenticity a major factor in choosing whether or not to support or purchase from a specific brand. Stuffing copy with keywords but providing no real value will make your consumers bounce.
This is also a good time to think of your omnichannel consumer journey as a whole. Where are your consumers arriving to your ad from? Where do they go after engaging? Does your messaging make sense in that holistic context? If a key destination your shoppers go to after engaging with your ad is Instacart, for example, perhaps writing that omnichannel insight into your copy will convince them to take the next step. After all, consumers aren’t just buying your product anymore these days, they are buying the whole buying and fulfillment process.
4. Tailor content to your platform
Social media networks attract a wide variety of audiences, from TikTok and Snapchat to Pinterest or LinkedIn. Writing online marketing ad copy that’s suited to each network can help you increase eCommerce sales. Remember these key tips:
Follow the best practices laid out by each social media platform.
Refrain from sharing the exact same content to all your social media accounts. What works for one may not work for another, and this tactic will appear lazy to anyone who follows you on multiple channels.
Leverage the platform as well as creators.
Each network has its own suite of creator tools that can help brands write effective ad campaigns, get to know their audiences, and communicate with followers. If influencers are one of the key ways your shoppers like to discover, engage with, and purchase their products, look into platforms like TikTok and Instagram that have seen many influencer success stories. Partner with them in the creation of ad copy to best communicate with their loyal followers.
Learn how to use metrics to write compelling ad copy.
In an omnichannel world, learning how to write ad copy and creating a messaging strategy can’t be done in a vacuum. Keeping a pulse on insights on shopping habits and consumer sentiment is key to making sure you are not only targeting accurately, but delivering messaging that is relevant and effective.
What to know how to stay up to date on how your consumers are buying? Learn how to best use metrics to inform your ad copy—check out our eBook The Modern Digital Marketer’s Guide to eCommerce Performance Metrics and learn how to use data to convert more sales.