Text ads are one of the most fundamental pieces of PPC campaign strategy, but they often get rushed through in an effort to run the most recently released, newer, sexier targeting option. And to be fair, writing text ads can just be boring at times. Especially if you’re writing ads for clients rather than your own business. But that doesn’t mean they’re not integral to your campaign’s success and that spending some time on them could greatly impact your performance. Being unique and compelling are the two of the biggest factors of success with text ads. They’re what can easily set you apart from your competitors. If you’re not unique, you’re blending in. If you’re not compelling, you’re getting beat out. And if those two things are happening, you’re selling your clients short. Below are some tips for preparing then writing unique, compelling ad copy that will help your client stand out from their competitors.
Self and Competitor Analysis Prep Work
Before you dig into writing ads, there’s a good amount of prep work that needs to be carried out. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of your client’s business as well as their competitors to ensure you’re putting your best copy forward. Here are a few analysis tasks I like to carry out for my client and their competitors before I get started writing ads:
- Review the Website & LPs: What aspects of the product/service are most referenced on each site? If sites are done well, the most clearly called out feature/benefit is the bread and butter of that company. What is your client trying to convey? What are their competitors? Is it the same or is it different?
- List the Features/Benefits: As you’re reviewing the sites, go beyond the one main key benefit. Keep a list of all features/benefits for each company. One feature might be the best selling point for one group of keywords, but it might not resonate with the audience who searches for a different group of your keywords. Come prepared with a list to find what resonates where and where you can beat your competition.
- Know the Offers: You can have the best written ad copy, but if your not offering something your audience wants, you’re not going to make a dime. Round up all types of conversions you’re allowed to offer (free trial, demo, download, call back) and get ready to test. Likewise, make note of the types of conversions your competitors can offer.
- Take the Demo/Free Trial: Play in the sandbox. Get your hands dirty. Get a working knowledge of what you’re advertising and what you’re up against. You might not be the target audience of that product, but you can get an understanding of how that product/service helps folks improve their lives.
- Talk to the Authority: This could be your client contact, but many times it’s not. You might want to talk to someone on the product team. Maybe it’s someone on the customer service end who knows how folks actually use the product and knows what makes people happy/unhappy. It could also be someone is sales who has talked to your competitor’s past customers and knows why they’re leaving. Make sure you’re getting the best insider knowledge available.
Get to Writing and Start Competing
Now comes the challenge of writing copy to stand out and compel your audience to choose you over your competitors.
- Get Away From Keyword Stuffing: How annoying is it when you search for something and ALL THE ADS LOOK THE SAME? Granted, having the keyword someone searched for in the copy can help to create a sense of relevance, but when everyone else is also following that strategy, it might be time to start to test new pieces.
- Cross Reference Features/Benefits: Put your client’s features and benefits next to their competitors. If they both offer the same thing, cross it off. Don’t spend your time showing how you’re the same as your competitors. Redirect those characters to show how you’re different. How you’re better.
- Choose Your CTA Battles Wisely: Look at what your competitor is offering for certain keyword groups. Can you beat them on price? Is your free trial longer? Awesome, call those out. If you can offer more than your competitor, use those pieces and create a head to head match up. You’ll be directly showing how you’re better than them. Can’t win in those areas? Don’t call them out. Take a different tack. Their price better than yours? Call out your customer service or extended warranty. Make sure what you’re using sets you apart, not behind.
- Have a Strong Testing Strategy: Without a structure in place, it’s easy to fall of the ad testing rails a bit. Make sure you’re sticking to a schedule, rhythm, whatever works best for you and keep your ad writing moving forward.
This isn’t rocket science. When it comes right down to it, we’re still only allotted 25 characters in a headline and 35 in the description lines, but there are ways to maximize what you put in those spots to beat out your competitors and win the business for your client. Beat them where you’re better, fight a different fight where you’re not.