10 Steps to Writing Successful Ad Copy
How To Write An Ad
Writing an ad? The tips below -and the important warning that
follows - will help you to get the very best response.
Looking at these tips, it may seem that good advertising involves
manipulating the emotions of your customers. Yes, it does.
- Start by choosing a single benefit of your product or service
that you wish to highlight above everything else. This is
your "principle selling position" or PSP. To choose this, ask
yourself what specific benefit makes your product or service
different, better, or special. Is it the price?, the
convenience? the reliability?
- Write attention-grabbing headlines. This is very important.
People are overloaded with information, so they skim read,
particularly on the Internet. If your headline doesn't get
their attention everything else is probably wasted because it
won't be read. Your headline will often be based around your
- Write a list of all the features of your product or service
then translate each of these into a benefit for the customer.
One way to do this is to look at each feature in turn then
ask yourself "So what?" Imagine you're a customer; why should
you care about this feature? Ask "What will it do for me?"
For example, don't just say that you product is fast (a
feature) tell the customer that it will give them more free
time (a benefit). Better still, paint a picture of them using
their free time to go to the beach, read a book, or relax.
- Write copy that emphasises the benefits in a way that makes
an emotional connection. For example, let's say you're
selling toothpaste. A feature might be that it contains
fluoride. Sure, but that's boring. Rather, say it "Lessens Tooth Decay!" or even better:
"Brush with Boffo and Avoid the Dentist's Drill!" See? You've turned a dull feature into a
strong emotional benefit linked to people's fear of dental
procedures. Isn't that more effective than "Contains fluoride"?
- Start with your strongest selling points. The first few
paragraphs are particularly important. Use them to create a
desire for your product or service by briefly touching on the
major benefits it will bring the customer. You don't have to go
into too much detail up front as you can expand on these
benefits later. Do try to get your big guns in early, though.
- Testimonials sell. Good, believable testimonials from real
people will help sales, particularly on the web where
establishing credibility is a tough job. For even better
credibility, ask your testimonial writers if you can include
their contact details along with their testimonial.
- Write with a natural style. Don't try to be pretentious or
over friendly. Just write it the way you'd say it.
- Decide who you're writing for and why. What tone are you
trying to convey: light hearted?, serious? What level of
jargon are you going to employ? Suit your language to your
- The final sales pitch, when it comes, must have three
- It must incorporate a good deal; e.g. "40% off!"
- It must be urgent; e.g. "Only seven more days!"
- It must be risk free; e.g. "Backed by a 90-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee!"
- End by telling the reader what to do; e.g. "Ring now" or
"Click here to order now for immediate delivery!" Needless to
say, ordering details must be clearly visible and simple to
Selling is a blatant form of emotional manipulation that involves
convincing your customer that they want to buy your product or
service, and they want to do it now.
Is this unethical? Well, it can be. It depends where you draw the
line. In point 9 I said that your sales message must include a
sense of urgency. A common ploy on the web is to include a claim
like "Offer closes this Saturday". If you go back to the site the
following week, though, the offer is still available. If you were
tricked by such a claim, would you order from that company again?
So, by all means, use the 10 tips above to write as persuasively
as you can, but remember that if you attract sales by deceiving
your customers you risk not only legal action but poor word of
mouth, no repeat business, and more refund requests. So, be as
persuasive as you can possibly be, but avoid the temptation
to be "too" persuasive. :-)
About the author:
Tim North is the author of "BETTER WRITING SKILLS" - an
easy-to-understand, jargon-free, downloadable book that
can give you a competitive edge. You can DOWNLOAD A
FREE CHAPTER that's full of useful hints and tips from
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