Advertising copy has but one purpose: to sell. Whether a promotion for a new product, a landing page for a special offer or attention-grabbing product descriptions for an e-commerce site, effective advertising copy eventually leads to sales. Copy that does not is ineffective copy.
Professional marketers have been producing ad copy for as long as the printing press has been used as an advertising tool. And though a lot has changed over the last hundred years or so, the fundamentals of writing good copy have not. Every piece of effective advertising copy includes eight elements that are as essential in the online era as they were in the earliest days of mail order catalogues.
The eight elements of effective advertising copy are as follows:
1. A Clear Objective
The introduction to this article was about as blunt and straightforward as we could make it. We presented it that way for a reason: to make the objective of this article absolutely clear. That objective is to help you understand what effective ad copy looks like.
Ad copy should have a clear objective right from the start. The copywriter needs to know what his or her copy is supposed to accomplish, otherwise he/she will have no direction. Without a defined objective and clear direction, no piece of ad copy will succeed in its intended purpose.
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2. A Compelling Message
The second element of effective advertising copy is a compelling message. Depending on the form taken, this could mean a compelling title followed by more detailed text that explains the information contained in the title. In cases where no title is used, the first few lines of copy should contain the compelling message.
3. A Compelling Offer
If the point of ad copy is to sell, effective copy will present the reader with a compelling offer. It will present a product or service along with some sort of motivation to cause the reader to make a positive decision. Without a compelling offer, there is no point to creating ad copy.
4. Evidence of Tangible Benefits
No compelling offer is complete unless the consumer understands the tangible benefits of taking advantage of said offer. Effective ad copy always includes some evidence of tangible benefits. For example, “buying our product means saving money without sacrificing quality.”
5. A Clearly Understood Tone
Effective ad copy is presented with a clearly understood tone. That tone is determined by the offer being presented and the audience being targeted. Copy aimed at business professionals would obviously be presented with a business-like tone. Another piece of copy targeting millennials and how they use their leisure time would be more light-hearted, perhaps even a bit humorous.
6. A Means of Responding
In order for customers to act on the compelling offer being made, a means of response must be offered. Consumers must be directed to a website, a telephone number, or an in-store location they can visit to follow through on their decision. Without a means of response, any positive decision immediately becomes irrelevant.
7. A Call to Action
Moving the customer from the compelling offer through the means of responding should culminate in a direct action facilitated by what we refer to as a ‘call to action’. The call to action is simply some sort of instruction telling the consumer what you expect him or her to do. Use phrases like ‘call us today’, ‘visit our store’, or ‘click here to purchase’.
8. At Least One Image
Finally, effective ad copy includes at least one image. If there is anything that sets digital marketing apart from the print marketing of 100 years ago, it is the fact that we now live in a highly visual culture. Ad copy that includes at least one graphic outperforms similar copy without graphics. In fact, it is not even close. Graphics seal the deal.