8 Creative Ways to Write More Effective Google AdWords Copy
Writing tight, compelling Adwords copy is one of the biggest challenges of Google AdWords.
Other forms of advertising give substantially more room to convey your company's message. But AdWords simply isn't built for drawn-out sales pitches. You get 25 characters for a headline, then two 35-character lines for description text. Considering the average English word is about five characters long, you'll get maybe five to seven words per line at maximum.
That's too little room for carelessness, but more than enough to pique your prospects' interests — if you know what you're doing. Here, we'll review eight tips for writing lean, compelling ads that grab attention and boost conversions.
1. Fulfill Needs
People are easily attracted by what they're looking for — that's why you should always test including your target keyword in your ad copy.
But why not go further? People don't use Google looking for keywords, do they? No, they go online looking for answers. They have needs that must be met. If you can write an ad that promises to meet their needs, then you'll likely get their clicks.
Here's an example. Imagine you owned a plumbing business, and you're advertising your around-the-clock clog-removal services. Your ad could claim "We'll clear your drain fast, 24/7." It's what your customers would want to hear.
2. Wield the Fear of Missing Out
If you're looking to make a purchase, then what's worse than missing out on the best deal?
The fear of missing out — known as loss aversion — is a powerful motivating factor that you can use to your advantage. AdWords is equipped with an ad customizer feature that lets you create countdowns for when sales start and expire. If you're advertising a big sale, or if you're providing a limited-time service, adding a countdown can create a sense of urgency that drives more visitors to your website.
3. Create a Strong Call to Action
A call to action, or CTA, is the part of your ad that tells your reader what to do. And by that, we don't mean telling the user to click your ad (that would be against the AdWords terms of service). The CTA is where you say "order today!" or "request a free quote." It could even be something that's not directly linked to sales, such as "read our amazing reviews!"
4. Timeliness Is Important
Breaking news is always more exciting than old news. It's fresh. It just happened. It's way more relevant to the here and now.
Bring that same sense of timeliness to your ads with references to the month or season. Say how many customers you served the month before, or mention a big seasonal sale. Don't hesitate to invoke the holidays if they're relevant to your ads.
5. Specific Details Stick
Specific information is more trustworthy than vague information. Don't hesitate to list the nitty gritty about your inventory, sale prices, customers served or even how many positive reviews you have. The more specific you are, the more credibility you'll receive, and credibility leads to more traffic and sales.
6. Geo-target Your Campaigns (With Phone Numbers)
Do your ads have 800 numbers? Long ago, shoppers valued these phone numbers because they could call businesses for free from their land-line telephones. Nowadays, most people use cell phones, and long-distance calling is mostly a thing of the past.
Use a local phone number whenever possible if you’re offering a local product or service. Or, if you do market to audiences from out of your area, consider making separate geo-targeted campaigns with appropriate local phone numbers in each. People are much more likely to dial a local phone number when looking for a local product or service.
7. Stay Focused
With so little room to write your ads, it's important to make every character count — and that's infinitely easier with simple, focused campaigns. This tip applies to almost everything you'll do in AdWords. Never create catch-all campaigns or ad groups that send visitors to your website's home page. Instead create laser targeting campaigns focused on a single product or service.
8. Test Everything
Never settle on a single version of ad copy, even when you find something that works. You should always be testing new versions of your ads to find new ways to attract customers. Just set your test ads to display less often than your proven ads.
Testing is the only way you'll ever improve the many components of your AdWords campaigns. Also, testing new ad copy carries the added benefit of connecting with customers who might not have responded to your more established ad. Experiment with different calls to action, various product or service details or even references to different cities in geo-targeted campaigns. The more you test, the more you'll know.
Writing compelling ad copy isn't easy. You'll go through some trial and error. And just when you find an ad that converts really well, chances are you'll launch a new sale or product line that requires starting over again.
Just remember what we reviewed above. Keep your ads focused, be direct with your customers and highlight the most specific, relevant details. In time, you'll wonder why you ever needed more space.
Want more Google AdWords tips and advice? I put together an AdWords checklist to help you get your campaigns set up for success. Click here to get my Google AdWords checklist.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.