5 strategies to improve your ad copy

Ad copy is a very important element in online advertising, but it’s often “set and forget” — once written, advertisers move on to newer and/or sexier strategies and tactics.

Ad copy is often one of the first areas I focus on to boost advertising efficiency. And, if I focus on iterating ads, I can often continue to improve ad performance. In this article, I’ll suggest some elements you can use to put some pep into your ads and improve their overall performance.

Before getting started, here are some general pointers:

Good ideas can take time to come together, so put some time into your ad copy. I brainstorm ideas and intentionally sit on them for a while. I find this valuable, as I often come up with additional ideas when I’m not specifically thinking about my copy. (Keep a device or pen and paper handy to jot them down!) The extra time also gives me time to brainstorm and/or run ideas by colleagues, run a mini-focus group or talk to potential customers to further refine ideas.
Ad copy should be concise and to the point. Just because you’re given a certain amount of space, it doesn’t mean you should use it all. In fact, we’ve been testing shorter headlines (especially second headlines), and they’ve been converting better than the longer ones.
Come up with a plan to consistently iterate and improve the performance of ads. A simple calendar reminder (say, once every two weeks or every month) can be a very good way to keep on top of this.

In the sections below, I cover ways to improve ad copy to increase conversions. They are in no particular order. I suggest layering the strategies on top of each other for added ad bang.

1. Reduce buyer anxiety

Many people feel anxious about making purchases online. Try to incorporate elements that make people feel less anxious. One way to do this is to emphasize your company’s credibility — e.g.,”in business since 1984,” “as seen on TV,” “as featured in The New York Times.” These can be enhanced with features like seller ratings and review extensions and are very effective in helping people feel more comfortable making a purchase from you.

I also like to emphasize the “no extra fee” angle, and you can use wording like “no hidden fees,” “no booking fees” and “no minimums.” You can even try stronger language like “no bait and switch” if your brand/industry lends itself well to such language.

You can take it a step further and create “positive” anxiety. Effective strategies for this are to state that special pricing ends by X date or is available for a limited time. The countdown feature is an awesome complement to this wording. You can also highlight potential loss by using wording like “don’t miss out!” or “why miss out?”

2. Reduce buyer friction

It’s also important to eliminate potential barriers to purchase. For example, I spell out how easy it will be to get, use or return a product or service. It provides additional reassurance and can effectively nudge people to make a purchase. Here are several examples:

Quick turnaround: “ships within one day,” “inventory available”
Return policy: “free returns,” “30-day returns,” “no hassle”
Ease of use: “within minutes,” “quick and easy,” “3 easy steps”

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]