Some things get researched quite a bit prior to the purchase. Cars, stereos, sports equipment, wine fall into this category. People start out with a general interest/need and then work down to being ready to buy right now.

And as they do, they’re search terms change. They might go from looking at “Recommended surround sound systems” to searching on a product or brand specific term like, “Energy Take Classic 5.1″

But not everything is so thoroughly researched. Some things are bought so quickly that there’s almost no research involved. Following a major plumbing problem, like a burst pipe, most homeowners go with the first plumber to present them with a reasonable assurance of quick service and ball-park competitive pricing.

Knowing which category your product or service falls into AND knowing which buying stage a given ad group is aimed at is crucial to getting your best results. This recent contest is a perfect example of that:

The difference between the two ads? The winning ad wrote as if the searcher had an immediate problem and was ready to buy right now. So it gave a reasonable assurance of low prices, wide selection, and fast delivery. The losing ad assumed that the searcher had to be sold on the need for the product. So it focused on agitating “problem” to amplify the prospects felt need for the product: “Why Risk Hefty Fines?”

But safety signs aren’t something you research. They’re usually not even something you think about buying until someone else — a safety inspector of some sort — tells you that you need them if you don’t want your business shut down or fined. So which ad is going to appeal to you?

The one that speaks to the buying stage you’re actually in! And in this case, that difference created a 30% improvement in CTR.

So when writing your PPC Ads, take a tip from the boosters and make sure your writing to the right buying stage.