As the internet becomes more and more geared toward ephemeral image-based and video content, what place does copy have in today’s marketing world? Is it just filler surrounding the main event, or does it have value? The truth is, while copy often doesn’t get the same resources and attention as designing flashy video ads, it can be your marketing superpower. We’re sharing five of our secrets on how to write ads like a pro & how to create irresistible ad copy that can easily double the performance.
1. Start with an engaging hook 🪝
The fleeting nature of social media means platform users scroll fast, and It’s easy for your ad will be ignored. However, with an engaging hook, you can stop a consumer in their tracks. Text on your ad needs to be short and simple, communicating your selling point in as few words as possible. But how exactly do you write a hook that turns a scroller into a buyer? One proven method is writing out your goals before you start writing the copy. Come up with a shortlist as you write your ad copy so that you are always focused on what you are writing, who the audience is, and what you want them to do.
Now you’ve got your goals in order, it’s time to use some attention-grabbers. Social proof like statistics can make for a hook that will increase conversions. Another tactic that has become increasingly popular is to include emojis in your ad copy. They convey information, as well as emotions, and, are a fun way to grab attention. In our practice, we often see better CTRs, CPCs, and CPM with emojis included, so make sure to test them often. But be careful not to overdo it, sometimes clean copy will get fewer clicks but win the race at the end of the funnel. In this example from one of our clients, five different headlines were used with the same creative:
You can see from this example on Facebook how the emoji headlines are all outperforming the ones without emojis. Another example illustrates the effects that different copies of a headline can have on engagement (again, the same graphic was used with different headlines). The best performing one delivered double the engagement at half the cost (cost per link click):
Now that we’ve covered the impact of copy, let’s continue with the tips on how to become a pro at writing it.
2. Back up every word with value 💎
Once you’ve intrigued the reader with an engaging hook, you have to keep the momentum going. The best way to do this is to make every single word valuable. Here’s exactly how to increase the value of your copy:
- Remove ‘weasel words’: Weasel words are words that don’t carry any weight. Weasel words are evasive and non-factual. Words like “may’ and ‘can’ are weasel words often used by copywriters. But, think about it. As a consumer, are you more likely to buy an antiperspirant deodorant that CAN last up to 24 hours or one that WILL keep you fresh for 24 hours? We know what we’d pick. So, stop using weasel words and start making promises because that’s what’s valuable to consumers.
- Be repetitive: Repetition makes your selling point more memorable. It’s important to repeat your call to action so that audiences don’t move on to the next thing without clicking.
- Lead with action: Remember that you’re writing an ad, not a novel. You don’t need to lead up to a story. Instead, you need to deliver the selling point of your story immediately and make a valuable connection with the reader that they can digest before they’ve moved on.
- Complete a voice test: Read your copy out loud! We cannot emphasize this one enough. If your copy sounds robotic, consumers will not see value in it. Audiences want to be spoken to in a human voice, which helps them to build trust and make buying decisions.
- Use Amazon’s ‘So What?’ test: After every sentence of copy, ask yourself so what? If you can’t extract an immediate value from it, take it out!
3. Build an emotional connection ❤️
To create an emotional connection, you need to know the emotions most likely motivate your target audience. You can start by thinking about the typical challenges that people in your market face, and what they’d like to be able to do about them. Then think about how you can help them feel better and solve those problems. Once you’ve identified the kind of emotion that’s relevant to your piece of content, evoke it through statistics and facts (e.g., “80% of people say…”), by telling stories from real life (e.g., “I once met someone who had this problem”), or using language that evokes strong feelings (“stop sitting around wondering why nothing ever happens”). The key is to set up an objective situation—one where there is clearly something that needs fixing—and then show how the solution fixes that problem.
4. Write for scanners ⚡️
People are generally reading 1 in 5 words on a website, according to web usability expert Jakob Neilsen, and the same goes for ad copy. With consumers becoming exposed to up to 10,000 ads a day, you need to make an ad that is digestible at a glance. Writing with scanners in mind can mean people get more value from your content and take more in. Here’s a list of some things you can do to provide value to scanners:
- Write lists in bullet points like this one.
- Write short paragraphs.
- Highlight key points in bold.
- Use simple language and avoid jargon.
- Cut to the chase. You should be getting to the main point of the article in the first few paragraphs so that readers don’t abandon your site. It’s an article, not a word search!
Use these steps and you can increase the readability of your copy for scanners and ensure they take in more than just 20% of your content.
5. Tell a story using the 4 P’s 📖
Using the 4 P’s, Promise, Picture, Proof, and Push, you can create a compelling story that will ultimately boost conversions.
Your ad should read as a eureka moment for a reader with a problem. Your ad will promise to fix their problem.
Once you’ve made a promise to fix a problem for the reader, take them on a visual journey of just how you will do it!
Use social proof to authenticate your promise and build a sense of trust with the reader.
The consumer is engaged, and now it’s time to push them in the right direction. Use a compelling Call To Action and turn readers into customers!
So, the secrets are out. Use our five-step formula for great copy and cut through the noise of the online world! It can be hard to make your mark, and there’s no need to complicate it even further. Remember that people will always have questions they need answering, products that will make their life easier; things they want to learn – there will always be a need for a good copy!
What was your favorite copywriting secret?