Before you begin advertising, it is important to first of all determine the goals for your campaigns. Once you have established the goals you want to achieve with your ads (e.g. increase brand awareness or increase conversions), the ads you create should effectively reflect those specific goals. Marketing is about identifying and making an emotional connection with your target audience.
You want to write creative and unique ads that have personality and stand out from other ads on the page. The fact of the matter is, for certain queries, there will always be lots of competition on the search results page including local search results, shopping results, organic search results, structured snippets, Google maps widgets, etc.
For this reason, the content of your ad needs to be powerful and compelling enough to make them want to click your ad rather than one of the organic search results or any of your competitors’ ads for that matter. Your ad needs to create a strong emotional connection with the searcher and get them excited about the prospect of what they are going to find when they get to your site.
One powerful and effective way to attract attention to your ad is to include the core keyword that matches the user’s search query somewhere in your ad – the headline or actual copy. For the best results, it should also appear in the page title of your landing page. This is why it is important to include your core keywords in granular ad groups. This will increase the relevance of your ads and ultimately, your quality score.
Your ad would be far more effective if it is viewed as a direct answer to the searcher’s question, rather than “just another generic ad that speaks to no one in particular”. If your ad serves to educate or guide rather than coming off as a salesy ad that sounds like you just want to sell something, it will resonate better with your target audience.
The more relevant your ad to the term being searched, the better the results you’ll likely see. Once the searcher decides to click on your ad, they will end up on your landing page, which should continue the conversation started by your ad. Your landing page should be rich in original, unique and relevant content that meets the searcher’s expectations, and include any promises you made in the ad.
By creating ads that are highly relevant to what the searcher is looking for, you will not only have met the user’s expectations, you will likely get them to act. Bear in mind that creating more relevant ads translate to a higher click-through rate (CTR), better ad position, higher quality scores and a lower CPC. But most importantly, relevant landing pages translate to higher conversion rates, which is what most advertisers want from AdWords.
Developing Your Unique Selling Point (Point)
One of the most fundamental points you need to get across in your ad about your business, is why someone should buy from you, or click on your ad rather than one of the organic search results, or one of your competitor’s ads. If you are unsure of what your USP should be, you can test this through AdWords ads. For example, if you are a local company that advertises against national companies, your USP may include the fact that your business is local and someone can walk into your office or easily call and talk to a human.
By choosing a USP that is core to your business, it is easier to make decisions about how to position yourself in the marketplace. The USP also makes for a good line of ad copy as it showcases why someone should want to do business with your company. Thus the USP can help you stand apart by showcasing your company’s uniqueness.
Distinguishing Features and Benefits
A feature is a component or function of your products and services. This is often the big list of details found on the outside of a product’s box or included in the PDF description of a product. Features are facts about the product or services and are easy to list – simply create a bullet point list about the product.
For example, if you were to list the features of a Samsung laptop, they might include the following:
• 15.1-inch wide screen display
• 4 GB of memory
• 500-GB hard drive
• 512-MB hybrid graphics card
• 12-hour battery life
• Built-in webcam
A benefit is something the product or service will do for you. Instead of listing the features of the product or service, a benefit is what actually convinces a searcher to select one company’s product over another. Benefits are based on evoking emotional responses, and you can turn a feature into a benefit by adding a “so,” “to,” or “will” to the end of the feature and completing the sentence.
• The briefcase comes with a leather strap so you can carry it hands-free.
• The PDA is thin and lightweight so you can carry it around without feeling weighed down.
• The laptop comes with 8 GB of memory so you can run large programs or play the graphic intensive video games.
It is important to understand the problems and challenges faced by your customers so that the benefits you include in your ads speak to their wants and needs. For example, if your prospect does not play graphic intensive games or run large programs, then 8GB of memory is unnecessary.
It is important to get your audience excited by the prospect of what you’re offering them in your ad. If your target audience has no need for the features and benefits you have listed in your ads, then the ad will be ineffective, no matter what.
This is why you should not try to write ads that speak to “everyone”, because such generic ads lose their effectiveness and speak to no one in particular. Your ad should be aimed at connecting with the specific audience you are targeting.
You can categorize your target audience into different personas and then examine what features and benefits are most important and will resonate the most with each persona. It would then be easier to write ads based on what is important to each persona.
By creating emotionally beneficial statements about your product, you can move past the features of a product to showcase how buying your product will improve someone’s life in a particular way. Items like shipping, solutions, prices, and discounts can serve to effectively enhance your ads.
While ads should be written that reflect the keywords that trigger the ad to be shown, the content of the ads should change based on searcher behaviour and knowledge. It is also important to determine where someone is in the buying cycle, and then write ads appropriate to their current mind set.
Following are essentials of writing compelling text ads:
Speak the language of your target customer.
If you use terms that your potential customers do not understand or resonate with, it can cause them to not identify with your ad copy and click on a competitor’s ad instead of yours. It is recommended that you avoid industry jargon in your ads unless you are writing for professionals in a very narrow niche who are familiar with the language you use in your ads. This will also depend on stage at which you are targeting users in the buying cycle.
Be clear and specific in your ad text.
Be as specific as you can in tying together your ad, keyword and landing page together. Every click is costing you money, so there is no room to be unclear or speculative in what you are offering. In a price-sensitive market, experiment with adding pricing to your ad to ensure that potential customers know exactly how much they will be paying.
State why you are different from the competition.
Your aim is to stand out from your competitors. Incentivize your ad by including things like guarantees, benefits, and unique features that are relevant to your target audience. Bearing this in mind, write ads that set you apart from other ads, and in a way that connects you with your target market. For example, assume you sell used laptops. You check out the AdWords competition and discover that the keyword “used laptop” brings up ads that only focuses on models, features, and price. You can differentiate your ad from others by writing an ad that cites powerful benefits, solutions and shipping deals.
Make your ad stand out from the rest.
Use special characters to help your ad stand out from the crowd. For example, using punctuation, trademark symbols and ASCII Characters (%, ®, +, *) will instantly set your ads apart from others competing in the same marketplace. Legally, you cannot use the registered trademark symbol unless you have an approved trademark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
So you can only use that symbol if you’ve gone through the legal formalities of filing for an actual trademark and had it approved. However, you may use the ™ symbol when you have not yet registered your trademark to identify your unique name—it can be a product name, service name, company name, or URL and to the layman on the street, it will have exactly the same effect as having the registered trademark symbol.
Use qualifiers to dissuade bad clicks.
Your ad should be designed not to appeal to everybody. It should be designed to only appeal to your target audience. You can use negative qualifiers to not only weed out the wrong folks, but to also attract the right traffic. The wrong ad can easily generate lots of clicks that never lead to conversions. Qualifying your ads is the number one way to avoid wasted spending in your accounts, and it could save you from losing so much money. It is important to be clear about who you are, and who your product or service is meant for.
For example, if you sell wooden easels on your website, you might feel that “wooden easels online” would be a great keyword to use because of its high relevance. However, it is possible there are two different kinds of people looking for wooden easels online. One group of people could be researching wooden easels for a DIY project, and the other group could be looking to buy wooden easels. The only way to make that keyword effective is to qualify the ad text very carefully.
You can qualify your ad based on location (Manchester plumber), $6.99 monthly plans, price (Downloadable Book — $29.99), limited options (Red and Gold Only), platform (Not Mac-Compatible), profession (For Teachers), time-sensitive date and time indicators, and many other characteristics. Your persona keyword research can give you ideas about what your market wants and what the competition is currently providing and talking about with your target audience. Armed with this information, you can write ads that address unmet needs.
It is important to note that by qualifying your ad copy, your CTR might actually go down because CTR is one of the major components of quality score. However, this is a good thing because your conversions will ultimately increase. Furthermore, quality score includes other metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, engagement, relevancy between the ad text and keyword.
So even though you might lose some CTR, your quality score will ultimately increase. Your cost per conversion is also likely to decrease in this case. It is therefore very important to qualify your ad copy, especially if you are on a limited budget.
Use powerful calls to action.
It is extremely important to include a compelling and intriguing call to action within your ad. A call to action directs the user on what you want them to do when they get to your site. Direct a consumer to take whatever action you want them to do once they arrive at your site. Note that the user must see the benefit of making that call-to-action. In fact, you could have a call to action that is also a benefit. Not having a call to action doesn’t instruct the prospect on what to do when they get to your site.
It would be a mistake to assume that each customer that visits your site will know what to do when they get there. When you tell someone what to do within the ad copy, it is going to cause them to look for that action on the landing page. Those who do not wish to take such action may not even click on your ad. That is exactly what you want. You want your ad to appeal only to people in your target market who are going to do exactly what you want them to do. In fact, including a direct call to action on your ad may directly affect CTR.
Note that you cannot use the generic phrase “click here”. However, you can use terms such as purchase, enrol, call, order, browse, or sign up. If you’ve got a product or service people can buy you can use your call to action to help weed out people who are not likely to become customers. For example, you can use phrases like “enrol today” or “order now.”
Examples of calls-to-action:
• Get, buy, purchase
• Order, call, sign up, subscribe
• Learn, try, see
• Compare, check out, discover
• Download, view, watch
You can also use “urgency words” to generate immediate action. These include words like:
• By (date)
Using a generic call-to-action will not get you the results you’re looking for. You could have a call-to-action that is also a benefit.
• “Sign up for our Newsletter Today” is a generic call to action that does not add any benefit for the searcher. Why should they sign up for your newsletter? What’s in it for them?
• “30-Day Free Trial”: This is a powerful call to action that lets the user know that the service you offer is not free, and that there is a 30 day free trial.
• “Receive your secrets today” is a powerful call to action that is showcasing a benefit to the user. However, this is overused and not so effective anymore.
• “Signup for Powerful Marketing Tips” is a powerful call to action that tells consumers they are going to receive powerful tips (free powerful information). As long as you are targeting the right market, this should be a highly effective ad.
Note that the word “powerful” may be a little overused and could come off as corny to some people. You can use words like “Persuasive” or “Effective”. Use a thesaurus to find great alternatives.
The Two Description Lines
This is your chance to show off two significant aspects of your products or services. Use the description lines to make your target audience an offer they can’t refuse. The first line of these description lines should be the USP or benefit you are offering, and the second description line could be features or your call-to-action. Due to character restrictions, you must pick and choose which messages you are going to use to create ads that will bring a searcher from viewing your ad to your website.
However, that’s not all it should do. You want to dissuade the wrong people from clicking on your ad, because that does nothing for your bottom-line. This is why it is important to include features of your product or service that will dissuade non-buyers from clicking your ad.
For example, if you’re offering a training program on how to build a website, it is important to let viewers of the ad know that you’re not going to build a website for them. Including the word “training” in the headline of such an ad will usually accomplish this.
One suggestion also offered by Google is to include the cost of your product in the headline, as this would put off people who are looking for free stuff. If you offer a free trial, make sure you qualify your ad by including the words “30-day free trial” so that people who view the ad can see that it is not actually free.
Using words like cheap, designer, gourmet and high quality that imply the cost of your products in your ad will also give searchers an idea of exactly what type of product or service you offer. They’ll be able to see that you’re either a high-end or low-end provider, and this will help attract the right people to click your ad – right people being those who are most likely to convert and filter out unwanted clicks. To pre-qualify prospects, start by posing the question “who would not be a potential customer?”
Effectively Using the Display URL
The display URL is governed by Google’s Link policies, which are rules about the ad’s URLs and the website the user is taken to once they click on the ad. Google does have two editorial rules that you must follow in regard to display and destination URLs:
1. The display URL must be the site where the user ends up. In other words, if you were ABC.com, you could not have XYZ.com as your display URL and then direct someone to ABC.com.
2. If you have more than one ad in an ad group, all of the destination URLs of ads within the ad group must go to the same website. In other words, you could not have one ad in the same ad group that goes to Dell.com and a second ad within the same ad group that goes to Sony.com.
Thus, you have to use the same domain in the display URL and the destination URL, which is the website the user is taken to, once they click on your ad. The display URL tells the consumer where they are going after they click the ad. However, the display URL can also help signal a user where on the site they will be directed.
For example, Google has more than 5 million pages indexed from Apple.com, and sending a user to Apple.com is not necessarily useful because a user who clicks on the ad will have to spend a considerable amount of time looking for the page that is relevant to him or her. However, if the display URL is Apple.com/Games, suddenly the user knows exactly where they are going to land on Apple’s website. If a user is in the market for a video game from Apple.com, that is a much more useful page than the home page of Apple.com.
Employing Themes That Get Clicks
An ad copy has three lines where you can be very creative: the headline and the two description lines. (You can be creative with display URLs, but there’s a limited amount of creativity possible.)
Grabbing Attention with a Powerful Headline
This is generally used to capture the attention of your audience and entice them to read the rest of the ad copy: the two description lines. Matching the ad to the ad group’s exact keyword tells your prospects that you understand them. Thus if you include the ad group’s target keywords in your headline, you can almost always increase your ad CTR and increase your quality score.
However, note that if your competitors are all using the keywords in their headlines, you’ll want to choose a different strategy so that you can stand out from the crowd. This is where you can use things like ASCII characters to stand your ad out from the rest.
You should always take your competitors ads into consideration when designing your ads. If all of your competitors are using prices in their ads, you may want to test an ad that showcases features and benefits of the product rather than the pricing, especially if your prices are not the lowest in your industry. If you offer free overnight shipping and you see that your competitors do not, then this is something you can highlight in your ad.
Reflecting the Customer’s searched terms in the headline
People searching for answers will often go to a search engine to find that answer. If searchers see an ad that reflects their original question or contains the keywords they searched on, it is very likely that the searcher will assume that the website that posted the ad has relevant information to help him or her find the information they seek, especially if the ad resonates with the searcher and contains the search terms.
In addition, you will see higher CTR s and conversion rates if you also connect emotionally with a visitor.
Consider the following headlines:
Ask intriguing questions:
• Would you like to get notifications on your watch?
• Does your watch suck?
• Want to get tweets to your watch?
• Need an android smartwatch?
• Interested in wearable technology?
Show empathy with your target audience by mirroring their itch:
• Suffering from migraine?
• Been discriminated against?
• Tired of low pay?
• Bored with your career?
Use a Provocative Question:
• Hate your boss?
• Are you under educated?
• Fed up of earning minimum wage?
• Are experienced enough?
• Interested in a hot career?
• Where will you be in 5 years?
• Need to make more money?
Make a Big Promise:
• New Career In Six Months
• Beach Body In Three Weeks