Writing an ad copy is not as simple as some make it appear.
As a copywriter, your job is to craft a narrative that resonates with people, piques their interest, points out a value proposition, and convinces customers to click-through and complete a purchase.
In other words, direct-response copywriting has one goal: getting people to act.
Your ads must grab the attention of the right audience, propel them forward, and offer them a clear path to take action.
However, writing ad copy has a large set of challenges. While thanks to the top analytics tools available today, marketers can determine whether their ad copy is compelling or not, you still need to understand how to write ads that convert.
In this story, we will highlight key takeaways you need to write ads that convert.
What is an Advertising Conversion?
It refers to any goal action taken by potential consumers that you have deemed valuable to your ad campaign (1).
As per a definition found on Google Ads Support (2), advertising conversion is an action that is counted when anyone interacts with your ad, for instance, views your video ad or clicks on your text ad, and then takes an action that you have defined as valuable to your business. It can include actions such as a call to your business or completing an online purchase.
Successively, these conversions lead visitors through the buyer’s journey and grow more meaningful pressing on prospects converting into leads, leads into consumers, and consumers into loyal advocates.
However, generating these actions is not easy and needs the right tools and strategies.
How to write an ad that effectively converts?
1. Pick up the Right Keywords
Picking up the right keyword is essential for the success of your ad campaigns as they can help your brand be seen by the right audience, hence increasing your conversion chances (3).
Below are some tips for picking up the right keywords:
- The key is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and figure out the keywords you would use while searching for a business.
- Be specific with your keywords. For instance, if you sell men’s sports shoes online, you may not get the best results if you put “online shoes”; instead, try “buy men’s sports shoes” for better returns.
- Ensure your keywords are as relevant to the product as possible using synonyms, plurals, serial numbers, exact product names, etc.
- You can also use techniques such as concatenation to fuse words to make different keywords.
2. Use Personalized and Active Verbs in Your Ad Copy
The effectiveness of your ad copy will determine the performance of your ads. In other words, you will need proper CTA, call-to-action words within your ad copy to maximize your conversion rates.
For instance, if your main keyword is “online log,” you should try combining it with an action verb like “Create a logo online for free.”
Below is an image from Slack using an action verb in the CTA – “Try for Free” to improve its conversions (4).
3. Make it About Your Customers
Here is one open secret when it comes to drafting a great ad copy: people care more about themselves than the business.
Even though the brand’s credibility is a factor, potential customers will not convert by ads that emphasize who the seller is than what the shopper will gain.
You will need to craft an ad copy that relates to your target audience to get a message across.
Here are some examples of power words that you can leverage:
There are several other powerful words you can use to boost your conversions. You can use these terms to frame your ad copy messaging.
For instance, a travel company, KAYAK (5), often runs a marketing campaign highlighting a single and clear benefit: make your travel plans easy with the best price.
4. Use Emotional Triggers
Several marketing campaigns aim at spurring an emotional response from their prospects. After all, it often drives people to take the desired action.
Notably, emotional triggers are what make clickbait an effective and also annoying strategy.
While we put clickbait as an evil thing, you can use this technique for good by creating honest and compelling ad copy.
Now, what kind of emotional response you may want to provoke depends on what is being offered and the desired effect of the reaction. For example, you can trigger negative emotions like anger and fear to provoke people to read and share an article.
According to a USA Today report (6), anger is the internet’s most powerful emotion.
In contrast, you can trigger positive emotions like humor and joy to compel users to click through. However, it can be quite challenging since such emotions, especially humor, can be highly subjective.
5. Be Interesting and Useful to Grap Attention
One of the most important things your headline would do is grab attention. You don’t need to grab everyone’s attention but the right audience’s attention.
Meaning, your headline needs to work as a screening machine that would alienate some groups to appeal more strongly to others.
You can do it via:
- Posing a question that would target your ideal audience. For example, you can lead a coffee ad with “Do you drink coffee?” It would screen non-coffee drinkers and catch the attention of people who are a better fit for your ad.
- You can lead with an offer or discount. For instance, “Get 50% off on your next coffee with XYZ Coffee Club.” Yes, it can weed out some readers; however, those who continue to read often have high purchasing intent.
6. Use a Strategic Format to Keep Your Readers Engaged
As previously discussed, your ads need to propel your readers forward (8). Hence, you will need to understand how people consume ads and format them accordingly to achieve it.
For instance, several newsletter readers are on a phone where even a short paragraph can look like a text wall across the entire screen.
Smart formatting will ensure that you are not scaring your buyers away.
Here are some tips for doing it effectively:
- You can break the text and vary the length of sentences to keep the eye moving easily
- Use strategic bolding to ensure that readers get across a point even if they skim
- Include two to five links to your landing and ensure that linked text highlights key product benefits or prompts an emotional reaction
7. Learn the Client Side of the Business
As a copywriter, your job is to understand your audience and then use the knowledge to translate your client’s value-props into something readers care about.
However, the entire process can become complicated if:
- Advertisers are not clear about why people are purchasing their products
- Their brand voice is different from yours
- You already work with competing advertisers
And if you wish to write effective ads that convert, you need to know what your target audience loves and says about the product. In this case, if your client doesn’t know why people are purchasing their products, you can visit communities like Reddit and look for conversations among consumers.
For example, Nike may state that people purchase their shoes because they have great cushioning. However, if you find that every person purchasing their shoes because they have an amazing color or design, write about those instead.
Of course, it can be shocking for your client if you describe their product in a way they are not used to.
Here are some tips to ensure that the process goes smoother:
- Set early expectations and let your clients know that you will translate their points in your voice.
- If your clients push back, talk about the performance; for instance, “if you wish your ad to perform well, this will work best with the audience.”
- Try pitching an A/B test if your client is still hesitant.
Now, if you are already working with competing advertisers, you need to know that it is alright as long as you think about positioning them.
Often, companies ask you to say they are the best; you won’t be able to say the same about anyone else without undermining your authority.
You are free to say if the brand is your favorite as a personal opinion. Otherwise, it is recommended to discuss awards they may have won or other objectives indicating their quality.
What Else Do You Need?
8. Choose Easily Measurable KPI
It is important to choose the right KPI, a key performance indicator for your ad campaign, since it makes all the difference in the performance of your ads. It will indicate how your ads are performing and whether you are getting the best ROI.
In addition, make sure it is relevant to your business goals and focuses on your current growth phase.
Below are KPIs you should regularly track to determine the performance of your ad campaigns:
- The total times your ads were clicked by prospects.
- Cost Per Click: Your CPC determines the amount of money you pay your advertising channel for every click on your ad.
- Click-Through Rate: Your CTR measures the number of clicks your ad received divided by the number of total impressions. You should always aim for more than 2% CTR.
- Relative CTR: The performance of your ads on the displayed networks compared to other ads on those same platforms.
- Conversion Rate: It measures the total number of conversions your ad receives divided by the total number of ad interactions.
- Search Term Report: It shows all the keywords resulting in the display of your ads.
- Quality Score: Google offers this rating that helps you determine CPC. If you get a higher quality score, it would mean a lower CPC amount for you and vise versa.
9. High-Quality Landing Page
Your landing page is among the essential elements in your ad strategy since the job of converting the prospects rests on the landing page. Hence, make sure your landing page is always user-friendly and stunning!
Below are some points you should keep in mind while creating the right landing page:
- Ensure your landing page is relevant to your ads
- Ensure your keywords are related too
- You can also use heat maps and scroll maps to determine the effectiveness of your landing page
- Don’t confuse your visitors with multiple elements, be sure to make a clear offer
- Use contrasting colors so your visitors can quickly locate and click on the CTA
- Use videos on your landing page; they have been known to improve conversion rates by up to 80% (9)
- Add testimonials and social proof.
For more details, read our previous stories, Conversion Optimization: Your Road Map to Build an Ideal Website and These Conversion Killers are Driving Your Customers Away.
10. A/B Tests Your Ads
Budget is not a trivial factor when it comes to ads and marketing. Therefore, you should take every step to maximize your budget, and A/B Testing is one such method. It can allow you to reduce your overall costs and also improve your conversion rates (10, 11, 12).
A/B Testing or Split Testing uses two variations of the same landing page, A and B, to determine which one would better convert users.
It is imperative since it would allow you to determine which version of an ad works best definitively and would generate the most conversions (13).
Over time, it will allow you to build highly profitable ad campaigns that feature lucrative ad copy that converts well.
There are multiple elements when it is about writing a successful ad that converts. Be it your budget or your target audience; everything determines the success rate of your ads.
Above all, the one key to writing successful ads is the ability to understand your audience, find opportunities, and know the value you offer your customers simultaneously.
It is also about knowing your target audience well and your ability to apply that knowledge to create value statements that are relevant to their needs, wants, and issues.
Your ads will start getting higher conversion rates in no time if you know:
- The needs of your ideal customers
- The effective ways to communicate with your target audience and show them the value you offer and your business’s ability to meet their needs
- How you can benefit your customers better than any of your counterparts