Knock ’em out with punchy ad copy

Write Better, Hit Harder! Often overlooked in the scheme of marketing development or relegated to an afterthought– copy writing is an important detail that should include as much planning and strategy as the rest of your marketing platform.

Crafting effective advertising copy is as critical to your campaign as the message, image and layout of your display advertisements. And, the most effective way of getting your writing right is to really know your target audience.Market research is an excellent method for obtaining data about your target groups and market segments but, no matter what industry you’re in, you want your ads to speak to customers on an emotional level.

What gives your marketing copy the emotional accuracy needed for successful writing are nuanced and detailed indicators that illustrate your company’s or offering’s understanding of the audience on a personal level. Subtle phrasing and economic prose is almost always better in a display ad’s content message than long explanations, specifications and unsubstantiated claims.

TELL IT LIKE IT ISAd Copy Avoid clichés and bad puns but consider the vehicles in which you’ll be advertising. At VFC, we often edit copy to compliment a specific publication or edition and, hopefully, reach their readership more directly, personally… emotionally.

It’s important to be honest when employing standard ad development techniques like page-stopping headlines, strong body copy and product and service claims however, there are ways to use frankness to your advantage to speak directly to the motivations of your audience.You should start every copy writing project with the belief that every reader needs your offeringthey just don’t know it yet. It’s up to you to turn them on to that fact and to explain why, as briefly and compellingly as possible.

Readers of magazines, newspapers, billboards and other marketing vehicles are more likely to relate to an honest statement that somehow touches them emotionally rather than contrived copy that is an obvious attempt to either trick them or inundate them with more information than they require.

KEEP IT BRIEFI don’t care if you’re the Barry Bonds of copy writers, you’re going to strike out if you attempt to provide too much information. In almost every instance, display ads are utilized to lead readers to more information whether in-store, online or by phone. We’ve all seen display ads on steroids – attempting to accomplish too much with too much content. Advertising that attempts to make a sale or provide all of the information a customer needs to make a buying decision is a recipe for disaster.

An ad that explains one or two benefits and how those benefits will somehow improve the lives of your target audience – whether by itself or as part of a campaign that can touch on more benefits– is always more effective than boiling down a brochure or spec sheet into the space of an ad. The vast majority of advertisers utilize fractional pages to broadcast their messages, so being brief is almost a requirement with the copy. You’ve all seen 2 pound ads with 10 pounds of copy inside their bulging live areas – it doesn’t work.

Even display ads featuring as few as two or three words like, “got milk” or “like a rock” carry enough of an emotional connection to create strong brand recognition, retention and loyalty.

CONSIDER YOUR GOALSAs stated, the objective of most ads – and we are talking about display advertising copy here, not sales material, marketing collateral or web copy – is to introduce or reintroduce potential customers to a brand, service, product, product line, solution and to persuade them to take action. Generally, the action taken from a display ad – particularly in the business-to-business universe – is taking the next step in a logical progression.

Whether an ad impression leads to a phone call, a website visit or better brand retention among your target audience is most dependent on its message. Strong headlines and objective-focused copy writing can help your ads achieve their desired success and help your business realize the results.

SPEAK TO THEMBecause your entire target audiences are all in an affiliated group together, your target audience, they must have at least one thing in common. If you can create a motivation directed toward that common denominator and speak to it in an emotional tone supported by facts and data, you’re doing everything right!

Your job as a copy writer for your company’s advertising is to subtly remind the group that they need your product or service and that they need to purchase it from you. Whether that means attracting them with compelling images or aligning your brand with their sensibilities based on the ad’s style, the copy always underscores the message and has to speak to the motivations of your target audience.

Whether your brand is like a rock or like a cold glass of milk , your display ad campaigns must identify your target audience’s similarities and connect them to your offering with the emotional, power-packed copy that speaks directly to their motivations. Keep it short, honest and clever, and your ads will help your company achieve measurable results.