Last week we introduced the topic of how to write effective ad copy; and we started by focusing on the basics and the headline for your ad. Today we’ll talk about the copy of the ad itself.
Depending on the sponsorship level and type you are writing for, you may have anywhere from a few words of text to perhaps more than 100 words of text to work with; but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should use them all. Remember, your e-newsletter sponsorship is essentially “an ad for an ad”; you don’t need to say much – say just enough to prompt interest to warrant a click, either now or in a future need situation for the reader. Be straightforward and succinct with your message, and if you can do so in fewer words of text than you are allotted; do it! You can also experiment with less text in order to use white space effectively to make your ad ‘stand out’.
Therefore, copy should, first and foremost, hold your readers’ interest. Boring copy or lengthy descriptions of your products can overwhelm your readers and actually turn away potential customers. Instead, think like a customer. When you are writing descriptions of your products or offerings, try to ask yourself these questions:
What challenges are they facing, and how can your products make their lives easier?
For example, if you are selling a software product that automates everyday tasks, position this in terms of the benefit to the user. Rather than highlighting the “task automation” aspect, talk about how much time it can save. “Task automation” is abstract and vaguely technical, but everyone understands “time savings.”
Once you decide what the critical benefit points for your target customers are going to be, present the information in an accessible manner, use short sentences, bulleted lists, and other ways that don’t overwhelm readers. Instead of telling your customers about a product, use your copy to show them how it will work or how it can improve their work lives.
Here are two quick examples of ad copy for a manufacturer of “serial device server”; a serial device server translates data between communication formats, allowing an end-user to access, manage and configure remote facilities and equipment over the Internet from anywhere in the world.
Sample Copy A: Focus on the customer application:
“Ethernet has become the protocol of choice for industrial and commercial processes — so much so that a communications gap now exists between new and old systems.
For many faced with this dilemma, it could mean you are considering a costly replacement for perfectly good legacy equipment. However a better solution exists that will allow you close the communication gap with a serial device server from ABC Inc.
Serial Device Servers will save you time, resources, and most importantly, dollars on the bottom line. To learn more, download our complimentary white paper: “The Serial Revolution” or visit our website at…..
Sample Copy B: Focus on the product details:
“Serial Device Servers from ABC offer versatile socket operating modes, including TCP Server, TCP Client, UDP, and Real Com driver; additional features include:
- 2- or 4-wire RS-485 with patented Automatic Data Direction Control (ADDC™)
- 10/100BaseTX (RJ45) or 100BaseFX (SC connector, Single/Multi mode)
- Built-in Ethernet Cascading ports for easy wiring (RJ45 only)
- Warning by relay output and E-mail
Learn more about ABC’s complete line of Serial Device Servers by visiting….”
See the difference?
Many marketers are too close to their own products to describe them effectively. Try to imagine that you are totally unfamiliar with your products or services — as many of your potential customers might be. Look at what you are offering through your customer’s eyes to gain a better insight as to how your products or offerings should be described. In Sample Copy B, the marketer’s extensive technical knowledge of the products is actually a hindrance for an e-newsletter ad. It appears as if ABC lost sight of the real world application that makes their products compelling or different, and how they benefit someone. It seems as if they think that the benefits are extremely obvious and need no description, but for someone who has never seen the product, they may not understand this as readily as the person writing the ad.
Later this week we’ll cover link strategy and landing page suggestions.