How To Create Winning Ad Copy

So, you want to write some ad copy. Well, you know what they say: “With every great ad comes great copy – and with great copy comes great responsibility.” Okay, no one says that, but here at New Engen, we believe that to be true. We sat down with some of our resident ad copy experts who shared their tips and tricks on getting creative with your copy.

STEP 1: Get (re)familiar. When writing ad copy, not only is it important to know your audience, but to refamiliarize yourself with your brand. If you haven’t already, check out your brand’s messaging best practices and guidelines so you can speak with your unique voice and to your core value propositions, as well as have a language library to lean on and full awareness of how your company is positioned. Understanding your brand provides a great foundation on which to build, and down the line, if you need to experiment outside of your comfort zone, it’s good to know where you are comfortable testing, and where you need to draw a firm line.

If you’re a newer brand and don’t have brand guidelines yet – don’t you worry! We recommend taking a look at your social media or email messaging, brands similar to yours, ads from other brands you love (and ads you don’t) – and you can build ideas from there.

STEP 2. Get started. Ask yourself – who is your audience, what matters to them and what value can your product provide? Then, identify your value props but keep the messaging short and sweet. What exactly are value props, you ask? Value props offer information about a particular service or feature that make your company or product attractive or differentiated to customers. (Think buzz words like high-quality, fresh, innovative, free, etc.) Most companies will have about 2-4 strong value props.

As you are writing your copy, don’t feel compelled to include all value props! We have found in most cases, less is more. For example, many of our clients love tiered offers (Spend $250 – get $25 off. Spend $100 and get $10 off) but we advise to keep it simple and stick with one offer! We also recommend articulating your value props to the correct target audiences and demographics – you don’t want to use crazy acronyms like “BRB” or “LOL” to an older demographic that may not get it.

STEP 3: Get inspired and get going. Now that you’ve established your audience and value props, it’s time to tap into your creative juices and get the words flowing! For compelling, genuine and persuasive content – your first goal is to be concise and informative. You can get a lot of information across in an image – whether it’s through emoji usage or a using checklist – there are so many different things you can do. Looking for some types of copy tactics to convey your value props? Well, look no further:

  • CTA (Call to action) – Shop now! Sign up today.
  • Free Shipping/Free Returns – Free shipping on orders over $35!
  • Discount – 20% off your order
  • Everyday savings/special offer – Always low prices of $20/month
  • Testimonial – “These workout leggings are like a sports bra for your butt.” -Racked
  • Checklist/emoji list – (Vehicle emoji) We come to you. (Watch emoji) Fixed in one hour. (Star emoji) 4.5 stars on Yelp!
  • Exclusive/elite – The only STEM toy for kids
  • Comparative – We’re the Netflix of pizza!
  • Urgent – Limited time only! Sale ends Friday
  • Gift with purchase – Order today for a free hoodie
  • Gift Card – $15 gift card with today’s purchase
  • Altruistic – 20% of all proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation

STEP 4: Get balanced. Keep in mind, when writing ad copy, the best brand voices have a balance. If your brand is confident, steer clear of being cocky. If your brand is smart, try not to be a know-it-all. If your brand is informal, shy away from being goofy. Get this gist? Now, let’s break down what differentiates good copy from great copy:

Details matter. “Avoiding mistakes is so important,” said Katrina, Senior Copywriter at New Engen. “We catch small slips all the time (your and you’re; there, their and they're). Those tiny details distract people from what you’re trying to say and sell. Instead of buying, they’ll just be chatting about your grammar in the comments.”

Check out a portfolio of some of New Engen’s winning ads and, if you want to practice creating your own ad – how cool is this? – you can build a free mock ad for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest here and for Google’s Display Network through Google’s Ad Preview Tool. Plus, use our cheat sheet below on the three components of Search Engine ads:

Headlines (30 characters): The headline is the text that is most likely to be noticed by a searcher. For that reason, it's best practice to include words that a searcher has included in their search query, to make the ad as relevant to the searcher as possible. It's also best practice to include any offers you might have in the headline to ensure they're seen by the searcher. Make some headlines!

Display URL: The display URL shows your website address. It is comprised of the domain from your final URL, the page your ad lands on when clicked, and any text that's included in the Path field, which should be used to give users a better idea of where they'll land if they click on your ad.

Descriptions (90 characters): The description should be used to convey any other information about your product, service or business that would be helpful or persuasive for the user. It is best practice to include a call to action (CTA) in your description as much as possible (e.g. Shop now, Book an appointment).

Remember, when writing ad copy – use your best judgment but ultimately, have fun with it! Some rules are meant to be stretched. And, when it comes to ad fatigue, it can be rough, so don’t be afraid to try something new.

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