Write Your Own Killer Ad Copy. Part 1


Companies are spending their hard-earned money to advertise their products and services, and many of their ads are poor, at best. Those that are poor lack many important elements of a good ad, including:

* A direct-response mechanism (most ads are image oriented)

* Strong, appealing headlines

* A layout that conforms to the eye’s natural movement

* Tracking mechanisms

* Well-written copy

Although there are other things that can be improved in many of today’s ads, I want to focus on the copy because it can have the greatest impact on your potential customers. To write your own “killer” ad copy, first, decide on your target audience and the proper medium to reach that audience. Second, when designing your ad, don’t be fooled by the “bigger is better” syndrome. Although the size of your ad goes a long way in capturing the eye of the reader, if your ad is not appealing, no one will read it. Make sure your layout and copy are appealing to the reader.

Copy, copy, copy

In real estate, success is based on location, location, location. In printed advertising, success is based on copy, copy, copy. Begin with examining your headline. Make sure it screams a benefit to the reader. The headline is the first thing to answer the reader’s question, “What’s in this ad for me?” Don’t get caught up in the mistaken approach of creating “cutesy, feel-good, me-too, or double-entendre” headlines. These usually do nothing for the reader. They usually do more for the copy writer, like massage his/her ego.

Many copy writers get hung up by trying to write the headline first. I recommend that you write the entire ad, read it a few times and decide what stands out the most. Then, compare it to what you say in the third or fourth sentence. Many times, your headline is buried in your body copy. Select one of these sentences as your headline, and then test it by asking people what they think about it. Their responses will let you know if you have a winning headline.

The copy itself is determined by what you have to say to prospective customers. There is nothing that guarantees short copy is better than long copy. If long copy doesn’t work well, why do you see many full-page advertisements for products and services written in three or four column format? Decide for yourself on the length of your copy. The length will be determined by what you have to say and how long you can keep the reader interested.

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