Writing successful ad copy means focusing on people rather than product, which means that marketers need to make sure ads make the audience feel a connection to the product with carefully chosen language that evokes an emotional, rather than intellectual response. However, many marketers get too wrapped up in the product to fully consider the user experience. Here are a few strategies from Frank Palmieri, manager of creative strategy at Yahoo, for getting out of the marketer mindset to get the most out of your ad copy.
Check Out Your Competitors
According to Palmieri, the most effective copy comes from companies who notice what their competition is doing and strive to stand out.
“Sometimes, people write what they think is a competitive advantage without going to the search engine and looking at what competitors are serving for the ad,” Palmieri says. “See what the other ads say. If one of your selling points is that you’re open 24 hours but you see five ads that offer the same thing, it’s not an advantage for your ad. Therefore, it’s kind of a waste.”
Describe Benefits, Not Features
Successful ad copy doesn’t tick off the best parts of a product; it explains how the product can improve the lives of the audience. Too often, marketers write to an audience of their peers rather than putting themselves in the users’ place.
“Showing what a product can do for the end user makes a world of difference,” Palmieri says. “Put yourself in the end user’s seat. For example, if you’re featuring a car with a Wi-Fi system, instead of saying ‘Our new sports car has onboard Wi-Fi’, say ‘Listen to your favorite tunes with our new Wi-Fi.’”
Get Out of Email Mode
Word choice is everything in the restricted space of an online ad, so if you’re writing copy the same way you would email a colleague, you’re missing out. “For the past 20 years, anyone who has a professional job is in email mode most of the time, where we’re constantly using professional jargon,” Palmieri says. “We know usually what we’re talking about when we’re writing in a snappy acronym, but the end user isn’t going to know that stuff and really isn’t going to be responsive. If you don’t clean up that jargon, the ad won’t sound natural to the audience.”
Don’t Stop Testing
Once an ad is deemed successful, most marketers stop testing. This is a huge mistake, according to Palmieri. “Even if it’s a really good ad, test little variations. Let the ad run for a few weeks then run A/B tests against it that isolate a single word. Be aware of seasonality. It’s important we don’t rest on our laurels. Don’t set and forget.”
Read Like a Customer
But the most important part of successful copy writing is making sure writers can read like users. Learning to write in a way that’s appealing and natural takes time says Palmieri. And little changes can make big differences.
“Once you’ve written the ad, step back and look at it with fresh eyes,” Palmieri says. “If you see anything that looks too professional or not colloquial enough, change a word here and there. Once you start doing that, you’ll see that it becomes more relatable. With ad copy writing we’re trying to reach as many people as possible, so we have to make sure we’re speaking their language.”
You can read more tips for improving your ad copy from Palmieri here.
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