We’re launching a new series of Ad Tips based on interviews with the top ad writers here at Boost Media. Because it’s one thing to explain a winning ad’s virtues after the fact, but quite another to look at the writing psychology a writer used to create that winning ad during the actual writing process.
In other words, this is valuable advice straight from the horses mouth. And this week’s Mr Ed-style advice comes from Rob, a top producing writer for Boost Media and a software development pro from Colorado. The tips were taken from a lengthier explanation he gave of the writing process he used in creating this Winning Ad:
So without further preamble, here’s Rob:
Tip #1: Closely examine past contests and related contests
Look at what the old contests and standing champions have to tell you in terms of successful angles of approach, high-impact details, etc. Pay especially close attention to seeming anomalies, because they can lead to bigger breakthroughs and insights. Here’s an example:
A few weeks ago, Boost Media had at least 3 contests running related to Fixed Annuities, and the most puzzling standing champion to me was:
Fixed Annuities Compared
A+ Fixed Annuity Rates Jun 10
Comparison Report All Fixed Annuity
Not only is grammar a bit off, but what relevance does “Jun 10″ have to anything? If you showed me this ad in isolation and asked me if it would be successful, I’d say, “No way — not a chance.” But the reality is that it’s been unbeatable, despite 6 challenges. So you have to ask yourself, why does this ad work?
Well, I’ve concluded that the “A+” and the “Jun 10″ must conjure up in the mind of the reader the idea of numbers and facts. And more specifically I wonder if “Jun 10″ specifically evokes the idea of “extremely current information.”
So I’ve concluded that a person interested in annuities probably is on the hunt for numbers/hard facts, reports with current information, detailed explanations of specific annuities, etc. And of course all of this hunt is in the context of wanting to make more money from one’s investments. And that insight, gleaned from that one “Jun 10″ anomaly really became the basis of my writing strategy for the challenger ad.
Tip #2: Do a search on your keyword terms
Conduct a quick search on Google and look at what the competition is doing, but also, if you’re in my position and writing an ad for someone else, look at what the client is doing. I guarantee you’ll learn valuable stuff from your search.
When I searched on Google for annuities, I noticed that this client’s entries sometimes come up with the actual state in the ad. I’m guessing these ads are geo-targeted, which further reinforced an apparent desire for specificity of information, similar to the “Jun 10″ tidbit and the desire for facts.
So I tried to keep all of these ideas in my mind while writing my challenger ads. More over, since all the current annuity ad champions have proven tough to beat, I also decided not to write any ads that departed too far from the champ, choosing to tweak an already successful angle of approach rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, which leads me to my third tip:
Tip #3: Know when to try a fresh approach and when to optimize a proven success
When you first start split testing an ad, it’s smart to test multiple approaches to see which emotional appeals and points of emphasis work best. Don’t narrow down your focus too quickly or you could miss out on a block-buster ad approach. But once you’ve found an angle of approach that works markedly better than the others and you’ve had a few unsuccessful attempts at dislodging your champ, then it’s time to focus in on tweaking and optimizing that basic approach.
Now for this specific ad, there were 4 challenges before my win. They all had different titles than the champ, but the ones that lost big changed the meaning of the title in a big way. So I decided to keep the champ title. Then, since I liked that the champ referred to a custom report for the state, I decided to keep that theme.
With those elements remaining constant, I concentrated on the wordsmithing. So instead of the “lifeless” first line of “custom online report for your state,” I came up with “View Online Report for Your State.” I thought that adding in the imperative verb, “view,” would create a stronger image in the mind of the searcher while also turning a softer offer into a more active Call to Action.
For the second line, I thought I might capture the essence of the champ second line (“See All Annuity Rates and Compare.”) with the shorter “Compare Payouts & Fees.” Additionally, this phrasing was more specific and probably spoke a little better to the person looking for numbers and facts, while also reflecting their ultimate desire — to make money from their investments! Pay-outs creates the image of cash in hand while “rates” is far more abstract, so I imagined that this phrasing would be far more appealing to the searcher. Also, this shorter phrasing left room to stress saving money, which further emphasized the end goal of “cash in hand.”
Finally, adding “Report” in the URL emphasized the fact that you could get a report.
So while the example is very specific to fixed annuities, I think the strategies I used
Thanks, Rob. Where glad to have you on our team here at Boost Media- and if all that seems like more thought than you normally give to your PPC Ads, we invite you to come have Rob, and writers like Rob, split tests ads for you over at Boost Media: )