by John Wood

Due to the space limitations of a PPC ad, you’ll never be able to pack all 21 of the following tips into a single one. But use this handy list as a guideline for things to consider every time you sit down to write them.

    1. Work keywords (also called “keyphrases”) into your ads. Try to work your keywords into your ads as seamlessly as possible in both your headlines and body copy. According to an Overture study conducted by AC Nielsen, “Users were nearly 50 percent more likely to click on listings in which the keyword was included
      in both the title and description.”
    2. Write clear, concise sentences. Of course, you can’t just use keywords, you have to use them in clear, concise sentences – with proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling, grammar, and spacing.
    3. Think like your customer. Make sure your ad speaks directly to your prospect. What would appeal to you if you were a customer? What do they need to read to get them to click on your ad and visit your client’s site?
    4. Check out what your competition is doing. Don’t plagiarize, but do use their ideas to get your creative
      juices flowing. How could you write their ad better?
    5. Create a headline that grabs your reader’s attention. As with a standard sales letter, your headline is the most important part of your ad. Take the time to come up with a hook that will catch your reader’s eye.
    6. Emphasis a benefit. Tell your reader what’s in it for them – the most compelling benefit you can think of. If your USP is that you have the widest variety or highest quality or best customer service or lowest price, mention it. (But include the actual price only if you’re sure yours is the lowest.)
    7. Make your offer unique. For maximum impact, make sure what you offer is different and sets you apart from your online competition.
    8. Ask your prospect a question. Asking a question gets your prospect involved with your ad. And if you word it right, it will confirm that you have what they’re looking for. Asking a question is not something you’ll use every time, but it’s still a good weapon to have in your arsenal.
    9. Target by geographical area. For example, if your client is a dentist who services the Cincinnati area, be sure to mention “Cincinnati” in your ad.
    10. Boost your credibility. You won’t always have room, but if you do, include something that boosts your credibility (such as a “30-Day Money Back Guarantee” or “5 Star Rating” or “Member of the BBB of NY”).
    11. Avoid superlatives. Don’t use vague, meaningless words like “amazing,” “unbelievable,” “stupendous,” etc.
    12. Instead of superlatives, use powerful words that will arouse emotion in your reader. Examples: latest, ultimate, master, scientific, private, discount, cheap, wholesale, special, massive, leading, outstanding, rebate, coupon, guaranteed, free, powerful, easy, shocking, hidden, proven, revolutionary, inside, hot, new, improved, breakthrough, limited, secrets.
    13. Prove all your claims. If your PPC ad says you’re rated #1, back up that claim on your landing page (the page your reader is taken to when they click on your ad).
    14. Add a “call to action” to your link. Be creative. Don’t just say “Please Click Here.” Say “Reserve your spot today” “Read Reviews” “Request Information” “Buy Today” “Call Today” or “Get a Free Quote.”
    15. Mention any free stuff included in your offer. Examples: “Free shipping,” “Free 30-day trial,” “Free report,” and “Buy one get one free.”
    16. Give your reader a reason to buy ASAP. If your sale ends soon, mention it. If availability is limited, let your reader know. Try to create a sense of urgency.
    17. Avoid making general claims. Instead of saying “great tasting peaches,” say “Seven-time winner of the Tasty Peach award.”
    18. Use the brand name. If the brand you’re promoting is well-known and has a great reputation, use the name in your ad.
    19. A note about your URL. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the URL the better. In most cases, you won’t be able to select the URL to be used in your ad – but, if possible, urge your client to test several different ones. Because if your URL contains at least one of your keywords, it will give you an edge in getting your ad clicked. (As an added bonus, the keyword part of your URL will be bolded in the ad.)
    20. The ad must be ultra-relevant. This might seem obvious, but if your PPC ad says “shoes,” don’t send prospects to a landing page that sells socks. You’ll not only be blowing potential sales for your client’s socks, but you’ll also be costing your client money each time someone interested in shoes clicks on the ad.
    21. Make sure your ad lives up to your prospect’s expectations. It has to be immediately apparent to your prospect that, having clicked on your ad, they’ve landed in the right place. Even if you didn’t write the landing page, you have to make sure it relates to your ad and the keyphrase the prospect used to find it. If you don’t, you could find yourself sharing the blame for an unsuccessful PPC marketing campaign.

Keep these 21 tips in mind the next time you write a PPC ad, and I guarantee you’ll come up with a winner.

One last thing …

Never forget that one of the keys to success in all direct-response advertising is testing. To come up with the best possible PPC ad, your client must test several variations (all written by you, of course) and monitor the results. Only then will both of you know which ad is most effective.

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