The 100,000 words in your novel might not have been the most important words you’ll write. The sixty in your Facebook ads could be the ones that make all the difference to driving mailing list subscriptions, sales and, if it all goes to plan, your career.
I’ve spent more time than is probably sensible studying copywriting strategy, and today’s post is a quick and easy guide to writing killer copy that will convert.
FOLLOW ADVICE FROM EXPERTS
There’s been a huge amount of thought in this area and many people make a good living doing nothing else but writing ad copy. Facebook themselves have produced a cheat sheet that sets out the basics and I recommend you take a look at it. You can grab it here.
Don’t leave writing the copy to a few scrambled seconds as you put together your ad. You need clear focus. Treat the copy writing as a key part of the ad creation. Allocate time to the task and do nothing else. Minimise other distractions and, depending on your level of self discipline, maybe try tools like Freedom which limit online interferences.
A good ad needs to flow. You need it to swoop from the headlines, through the image and then to the main copy and the call to action. All of these elements need to work together, like the instruments in an orchestra. Make sure you have your image to hand when writing the copy and then ensure the headline, call to action and other elements all work in harmony.
STAY ON TARGET
Be clear in your mind about who your audience is. In many areas of advertising writers now refer to ‘personas’, an artificial creation based on the typical customer. Try giving your persona a name. She could be ‘Elizabeth, 48, mother of 3, works part-time as a dental receptionist and spends a lot of time running her children around to clubs and school events. She reads in the car when waiting for them and occasionally in the evening at home’.
With that in mind, you can now really focus on copy that will catch Elizabeth's attention. In order to do this properly, you’ll want to carry out some research on who your readers are. You’ll know from your targeting demographics on FB what groups works best for you and, of course, you have your mailing list.
Understanding your exisiting readers is a great idea, too. I send out a survey to my list just after Christmas each year, with the offer of a Kindle (loaded with my books, natch) to encourage participation. I’ve learned some useful insights along the way. For example, I know that my readers are 75% male and 25% female, and tend to skew towards the older end of the spectrum. That knowledge is very useful when taregting my ads (I can exclude women under 35 from the targeting, for example).
TEST, TEST, TEST
Think about testing your ads with friends and family before you publish. They might spot something that you’ve failed to pick up on. And, of course once your ads are published, they’re going to be tested all the time. Don’t be afraid to tinker and fine tune as you move forward, but remember that if you tweak the creative (copy and image), you’ll reset your social proof (comments, likes and shares).
HAVE A STRONG CTA
Many ads fall down because there is no clear call to action. This is not a time for subtlety, so don’t be afraid to be super-obvious about it. For example, a subscription campaign could end with : “Get your FREE book here”. People appreciate that kind of offering and immediately know what’s in it for them. Ambiguity is not your friend.
People like drama. A good book often depends on tension, so make that work in your ad. Create a little peril for your main character, or suggest an uncertain future. You are giving your target audience reasons to want to know more.
MAKE IT URGENT
If you’re offering up books for free or at a reduced rate, make it clear in your ad that it’s an offer that’s not going to last. The ‘Sale Ends Today’ approach will help accelerate potential readers’ decision making processes.
WRITE PROPER [SIC]
And, last but not least, make sure your ad copy looks right in terms of punctuation, spelling and use of capitals. Publishing an ad that fails on these grounds is unforgivable. ‘Get Your FREE Book HERE’ is going to work a whole lot better than ‘free book here’.