Good copy sells product.
That is the belt that all good copywriters keep their tools in. The only copy that counts is copy that works. Not all good writing is good sales copy. Unless sales copy creates sales, it has no particular reason to exist—even if it’s pure poetry.
So what’s the practical application of this copywriter’s creed in the realm of digital advertising?
The Facebook ad is the single most effective digital sales channel; and so the copy that you employ at the ad level has the potential to make an enormous impact on the number of visitors to your website…and your revenue. And the most effective copy element in a Facebook ad is the headline – the bold, 5-8 word title that runs below the image or video in your ad.
Here are five direct-response writing tips we’ve discovered that can help turn that view into a click, and that click into sweet, sweet revenue.
Tip 1: Include A (Round) Number
People feel good about numbers. Numbers feel concrete. They feel validating. “25% Off Sneakers”. “$15 Off Select Sunglasses”. “We Give 10% Of Every Purchase to [Misc. Charity]”. “Comfortable Sports Bras – For Under $40.”
A solid, round number (for our fuzzy math purposes, “5” counts as round) gives potential customers an immediate sense of what they can gain by choosing your company at that particular moment. Numbers that aren’t round are harder to attach a feeling to—and that feeling is what makes customers pull out the ol’ credit card.
Use this technique if: your product has a broad audience and a low education threshold (e.g. t-shirts or sunglasses), or as often as possible in your remarketing campaigns.
Tip 2: Describe Your Product in the Simplest Possible Way
Be clear and direct about what your product is. Forget the cool material your shirts are made out of or the innovative manufacturing methods your factory uses or the funny pun on your company’s name you thought of in the shower. Stick that stuff in the top copy, where people can read it if they want to.
Advertising is about communicating benefits, not features; and the benefit that your Facebook ad headline should communicate is that potential customers can have the exact product they want, and they can have it now (or after 3-5 business days).
Use this technique if: See Tip 1.
Tip 3: Make Your Headline a Call to Action
Don’t be content with the “Shop Now” button that Facebook auto-populates for you. Write a headline that clearly calls your customer to purchase your product. “Shop Fountain Pens Now”. “Find Your New Favorite Sunglasses.” “Get a More Comfortable Night’s Sleep.” Suggestion is a powerful thing.
Use this technique if: your product has a distinct benefit to the consumer beyond what they might expect.
Tip 4: Have TWO hooks in your headline – but hide one.
I know, I know—I just said you have to communicate directly to sell stuff online. But here’s the thing—hidden information is a direct value proposition in and of itself, enticing your lead to click because they know a visit to your site could satisfy their curiosity—instantly.
This is why those clickbait headlines we all despise so much are laid out the way they are: “These Two WWII Vets Saw Each Other For the First Time in 50 Years—and the First Thing They Said To Each Other Will Shock You”.
These headlines are written this way because they work. Start with one inherently interesting thing—”Two WWII Vets…”—and then tease a second, related thing—”the First Thing They Said…” that promises to really blow you away.
Your headline doesn’t have to be awful, however: simply hook them with interesting, surprising information about your product, and then suggest (subtly) that there’s something even more surprising about your product that they must click in order to discover.
Tip 5: If It Works, Do It.
Facebook has oceans of information that you are free to fish in as you see fit. Use this information. If any one (or all) of the tips above don’t work, and your data suggests that something else does, do that thing until it doesn’t work anymore. In advertising, there’s only one real rule: there are no rules.
Use this technique if: you own any business whatsoever.
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