7 Copywriting Tips for Advertising and Marketing Beginners
Are Your Ads Selling?
If you’re a marketing agent or work in the advertising industry you know the importance of copywriting, but many beginners and entry-level specialists struggle to write effective ad copy.
As a digital marketer myself, one thing I always have to pay attention to is ad copy. Because I live in New York City I have been exposed to countless ads on subways, buses, street signs, and windows since I was a small child. If your ads aren’t selling it’s probably because they suck. To the average person, ads can be annoying with so many of them shouting, “CALL NOW”, “ORDER NOW”, and “FREE SHIPPING” and to be honest, they are pretty annoying. However, every now and then there are some ads that are eye-catching, unique, and even get people to purchase their service/product. Even as a New Yorker, native to sniffing out bs ads, there are some that just get me to buy as well.
So how do you create these high converting ads? Well, I’m about to share with you 7 of my favorite copywriting tips for you marketers /advertisers out there.
1) Focus on the “What’s in it for me”
This sounds obvious, but so many people forget this! Especially those who are not native to copywriting. The “what’s in it for me” mindset will get you into the prospect’s shoes. Why should I, the customer, buy your product? Here are a few things to ask yourself when you’re writing for a client, or even yourself
- Are there any special offers?
- How can this product improve the buyer’s life?
- Is this product/service a necessity or a want?
- Is it one of a kind?
- If it’s not one of a kind, how is it better than the competition?
2) Emphasize the “You” not “Me” and Talk to Your Audience!
One of my favorite tips came from Entrepreneur.com which is to talk to the audience. This goes hand-in-hand with the first step. In order to engage the audience, you must always be talking to them, rather than about yourself. For instance, rather than writing, “Our elevator repair services are unmatched in the industry” you could say, “are you looking for a top elevator company to fix your elevator?” this makes your content more engaging, and also makes you look less
Another way to engage the audience is to start every headline with a verb. This should be its own tip, but it’s also umbrellaed by the “talking to your audience” category. I always have a go-to checklist of verbs to begin headlines for my clients:
- “Tired of…?”
These are just a handful of verbs that I use to create eye-grabbing copy.
3) Avoid Unnecessary Info!
This tip is mainly for people who are writing their own posters, ads, etc. for their business. STOP TELLING ME ABOUT THINGS I DON’T CARE ABOUT!! Okay, I get it, you’re not being paid to write ads, it’s just something you need to do for your local shop. But seriously, I don’t care about why your business is named the way it’s named, I don’t care about your dedication to customers. All I care about is what is it that I get? What’s in it for me? The background information, how many employees you have, the year you were founded, how many cats your wife owns, all that can go into your about section. There is no need to have excess info laying around anywhere near your headlines.
So what is the necessary information?
- Deals (writing $99 rather than $100 is a good advertising tip to remember)
- Contact info (should always be somewhere that users can easily see)
- Special dates
- Company brand
Anything else… should go into your about section or more information. If you’re a digital marketer writing a facebook ad and are at the converting stage (for the love of marketing please don’t try converting prospects at the beginning of your campaign) for a plumbing company you might put, “Get Your Toilet Repaired Today! Starting at $49.99 for Brooklyn Residents – JCSURGE Plumbing(Doesn’t actually exist)” every word here is carefully chosen, and has a sense of urgency and avoids unnecessary info.
4) Include a Call to Action
When writing an ad you want to always create a call to action. This means writing up a reason to call, the sense of urgency, and how you will write the call to action. For different niches, you will need to adjust the wording. Recently I have had to pleasure to work with a/an NYC elevator company and revamp their site. One thing I became more aware of was the different words used in a call to action. A company in the industrial business will usually say “Get a Free Quote Today” or “Call now for a FREE quote”, it has a quick and urgent tone to it. Meanwhile, a health coach might put, “Book a Free Consultation” or “Get in Touch Today”, something a bit softer and more passive sounding.
Writing an effective call to action is all about finding the right tone for your audience. One of my favorite examples comes from 511 Tactical, for those of you that don’t know I am a fan of tactical clothing. At the bottom of their website, you will notice their email signup says, “Get the latest Intel” which is perfect for their audience, primarily those in the outdoors / military field.
5) Forget What You Learned in English Class
A little background, English has always been my worst class. I had trouble understanding grammar, acted up a lot in class, and just never liked it. Most of you probably know what I’m talking about, especially you entrepreneurs out there.
A lot of what you learned in English class is useless when it comes to ad writing. In school, you’re expected to use sophisticated vocabulary, complex grammar structures, and knowing when to use semicolons (if somebody knows the exact rules let me know because I still don’t know). All these rules are doing exactly the opposite of what makes effective advertisements. In copywriting you want to keep things simple! The more complicated words you use like, “thwart“, and “sardonic” the less readable your copy gets.
Sometimes it also becomes necessary to break traditional grammar. Creating catchphrases and acronyms that go against the English language can strengthen a brand. In the United States headlines often have the first letter of each word capitalized, except for preposition words.
6) Avoid Thin Content for SEO
Okay, so this applies to those of you in the digital marketing field. Whether you’re a web developer, blogger or SEO specialist everyone working in web marketing should know this. Google’s Panda Update has recently penalized websites for thin or spammy content. This might seem to contradict the idea that copy should be kept simple and to the point. However, the goal of copywriting isn’t always to keep things short. Yes, an advertisement post should be simple, but websites and blogs should be full rich and meaningful content.
Google can detect if your content is spammy or near useless for a reader. So make sure to come up with original or at least valuable content for users. You can do this by checking what’s already out there, and looking at what could make this post better. Before writing a blog I always do some keyword research, see what’s already available and ask myself, “What questions do I still have, and what could I add?”
7) Utilize The Marketing Funnel!!
The marketing funnel is essentially the process of converting the average user to a customer. The image above is a very simplified version of this process. In ad copywriting you want to start off by creating awareness. Advertising your offer in a big text will catch the user’s attention. Let’s start with a sample of 100 people landing on your website. Right off the bat, 30 people will leave within the first 5 seconds because that’s how long you have to make a first impression. You’re now left with 80 people. Your website should generate interest, this is usually done through visuals like infographics, videos, carousels, etc. Scrolling down another 30 people leave, you’re now left with 40 people. At this point, you’ve caught the user’s interest with a special offer, and visuals. Now comes your call to action, with a sense of urgency.
Writing, “Call TODAY for a Free Consultation” or “January Special NOW” creates that urgency and should be utilized. Another 30 people will leave but the remainder of 10 will give you a call. Again, this is overly simplified, but when writing your content you should utilize this theory as it will help you structure your post.
If you’re a business owner and don’t have time to think of creative content, or simply want someone who has more experience to do the heavy lifting, then we recommend outsourcing this work. JCSURGE has helped small businesses throughout the NYC area generate more customers. We use the same copywriting techniques and more to generate real results for our clients. Let’s generate ads that sell!
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