“How can I say everything I need in such a short space?”
This is a question that every rookie pay-per-click ad copywriter asks themselves. It can feel a bit like being a chef cooking for a banquet on a camping stove in a cupboard. It’s a tight squeeze. You’ve only got a few ingredients to play with. Every word must count.
If you haven’t got your technique right and you feel that you are wasting your time on ads that are devouring your budget with little return – don’t panic. Stick with us. While there’s no magic formula for PPC copy that works for every business, there is “cut out and keep” best practice that you can follow to make your copy work harder to increase high quality traffic to your website and more conversions.
There’s a fine art to writing eye-catching, informative, persuasive copy for Google, Bing and Facebook ads when you’ve only got a limited number of characters to play with.. But it’s worth mastering because searchers really like the format. Around a third of users will click on an ad because it directly answers their search query, according to Clutch.co. Meanwhile, PPC visitors are also 50% more likely to buy something than organic visitors, says Unbounce..
But poor copy means you are probably draining your budget on ads that people skip over at best, or they cost a fortune because the wrong types of visitors are clicking through. If this sounds like your business, let’s fix this. Here are five rules to help you write copy that converts. Don’t flout these rules and you’ll start to see a better ROI on your paid search.
- Keywords for PPC ad copy are different from SEO keywords
It’s tempting to just double up and use the keywords that you use for SEO to drive organic traffic to your site. But there is an important difference with paid search. And the difference is all about how you use your keywords to match specific search intent.
Organic searches tend to be from users at the top or middle of the funnel. The user intent here is navigational or informational. Whereas towards the bottom of the funnel the user intent is transactional – the searcher is in buying mode or they have a specific task they want to achieve. You want your PPC ads to match this type of transactional intent because more conversions = better ROI on your paid strategy. So use more keywords associated with buying and direct users to product pages and landing pages to complete an action.
Test the keywords you use in your headlines and descriptions to make sure they match search intent. If you are investing in Google Ads then use its Responsive Search Ads feature. Create multiple headlines and descriptions and over time Google ads will use machine learning to test different combinations to learn which perform best. You can then choose the combination that best matches users’ searches.
- Know your customer and use negative keywords
Two rules here for the price of one. Know your customer is one of the golden rules of content marketing. Don’t write a word if you do not have a deep understanding of who your ideal customer is, and the reasons why they buy from your brand and not another. Knowing what your target audience is looking for, and why, will guide the copy you use to craft a persuasive ad (we look at this in rule #4). Regularly revisiting your keywords is also a sound tactic to make sure your ads are still relevant for your ideal customer.
Using negative keywords is our second rule. Google defines negative keywords as words that ‘prevent your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase’. Think of all the keywords that a negative persona (somebody that you don’t want as a customer) would use. Negative keywords can also help you exclude window shoppers.
Drive traffic growth with smart SEO content
Need help creating engaging, on-brand content for your website? We’re the go-to copywriting agency for businesses just like yours.
- Drive more traffic
- Increase sales
- Entice customers
- Revolutionise your brand identity
- Focus on emotion not function
Think about the emotions that compel searchers to click on an ad. For example, are your customers rattled by a fear of missing out? Tell them why your offering is exclusive or unique. This brings us to rule #4 – the language you use to do this.
- Effective PPC ad copy requires persuasive language
Use persuasive language in your headlines, descriptions and calls to action to entice the user to do something. Irresistible power words are the best way to compel people to click on your ad. Power words are about more than emotional triggers. They also capture the attention of readers that scan content.
- Leverage user generated content
Trust is a big emotion. And nothing sends the right trust signals like social proof. Customers trust the opinions and experiences of people that buy from your business more than they do you.
Use content that authentic customers and fans of your brand have voluntarily created online like a review This social proof is way more powerful in instilling trust in your brand than your business singing its own praises. Ads featuring user generated content attract 4X the average click-through rate, and cost 50% less per click, according to Power.
Finally, don't just set up your ads and forget about them
Paid search is a live campaign. You’ll need to keep testing and refining the way you approach your copywriting to make sure you are matching the search intent of people in buying, or action, mode. If you just set up your ads and forget about them you could just burn through your budget because the wrong type of searcher at the wrong stage of the buyer journey is clicking through.
What’s your experience of writing PPC ad copy? Any rules that you follow to boost conversions? Let us know in the Comments section below.
We’re exploring PPC copywriting and some ongoing SEO content services. Where are you based?
Hi Lisa, we’re originally based in Devon, UK but now work remotely and have team members based all over the UK, plus some in the US.