When faced with a difficult vertical, writing search ad copy is an unenviable task; floundering between cliché and esoteric descriptions, being different or too same-same is a double edged sword. So how does one conquer the text ad? Precision. Strong content slices to the heart of the call to action, employing a foundation of enhanced tactics and marketing keys, dragging the reader’s attention back to the title line and disallowing the casual skim, symptomatic of paid online advertising.
Power up your creative batteries and shelve logical marketing for a moment. Enter five relevant search terms into the Ad Preview tool and take note of your competitors. What are they doing? When advertising as a plumber for example, most self-made SEM’s and small agencies err on the side of predictability. While this tactic works in small regional areas and less competitive verticals, to make an impact, you need to stand out. How? By being different and communicating your mission statement, services, call to action or promotion in a way that doesn’t switch off the potential conversion. Write down the weirdest, most wonderful ways to express these points; if you’re having trouble conducting enough power to these essential circuits, open up the floor and ask others who know your business. Engaging business outsiders will clarify how you’re currently perceived in the market. What sales points are in place to compel a potential visitor to convert?
You can stuff a text ad with keywords and search phrases all you like, it won’t make a hair’s width of difference if you don’t appeal to an ever critical audience. Yelling pick me, pick me without explaining why is guaranteed to drop your ads to the bottom of the auction pile, cycled only when there’s nothing better on the table. Think of it as a micro sales pitch, you have a limited number of characters to make your point to an initially ambivalent visitor base, surrounded by strategic competitors.
Are you running any promotions? What direct and measurable solutions do you provide?
The Magic of Value
A good text ad will validate the customer’s decision to purchase, contract or inquire, affirming their decision was sound and well thought-out. Having an authoritative Call to Action (and we don’t mean, Call Now & Book etc) will cast you as a reliable vertical leader, disinterested in making a buck and carrying the tenants of customer service; they will feel you truly believe in the service you provide, offering the best deal, for the right price without the attached neurosis of post-purchase obsession. What experience can you offer them? And why will they keep coming back for more?
Developing PPC copy is a lottery of obscene failures and minute successes. You may win, you may lose. There is no grey area. Instead of being dissuaded by the polarity and volatility of text ads, extend yourself and be surprised by just how easy it can be once you find a rhythm. Never assume every vertical is identical; advertisers are as individual as the people who stand behind the brand name. There’s a point of difference just waiting to be featured and monopolised by your talented SEM mega-brain.
This post was written by Jessica Hannah, who is a member of the team at Search Factory, an online marketing agency based in Brisbane, Australia.