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Posts Tagged ‘Heck’

What Do They Expect?

Monday, June 24th, 2013


Let’s face it, we expect our personal trainers to look and act one way, and we expect our lawyers to look and act a completely differently. If your lawyer showed up dressed like and acting like a physical trainer, you’d probably opt to choose a different lawyer, and vice versa.

In rhetorical terms, the dynamic I’m describing is called decorum: looking and acting like someone’s idea of what a ______ is supposed to look and act like. And decorum is important to PPC Ad copy as well. Take a look at this example:

If you’re ordering a custom-fit wedding dress that’s also available at a discount price, what do you expect that service to look like? Do you expect it to be a local seamstress? Do you expect it to be a local formal wear store that offers custom fitting as an added service?

Or do you expect the seemingly impossible combo of “custom-made” and “discount” to be offered through the brave new world of online commerce?

If you’re like most people, you expect the company offering custom-made, discount wedding dresses to be a dot-com business. So which headline better matches this expectation? The one that features just the name of the company, or the one that ads in the “.com” at the end?

And if a company is custom making or custom-fitting a dress to you, don’t you expect that there would be a lead time involved? So which ad meets and addresses this expectation? Right: the one that mentions a 30-day guarantee.

So take a tip from the boosters, and ask yourself, “what does the searcher expect me to sound like? What does she expect me to say? What concerns are she expecting me to address? Then make sure you match those expectations to get more clicks. Or, heck, test strategically breaking those expectations to grab moer attention. Either way, though, it’s well worth testing.


An Outside Perspective Helps

Monday, May 20th, 2013


The curse of knowledge, as made famous by Dan & Chip Heath’s book, Made to Stick, says that once you learn something, it’s hard to remember what it was like NOT to know it. Without realizing it, you tend to assume that “everyone knows that.”

This is important for PPC copywriting because in-house copywriters — i.e., copywriters working for the company they are writing ads for — get a hefty dose of The Curse of Knowledge. They know stuff about the company through simple immersion that most people don’t know. Yet because they’ve known it for so long and because all their co-workers know the same stuff, it becomes really easy to accidentally project that knowledge onto the searcher.

This contest is a perfect example of The Curse of Knowledge at work:

When you work for a company that specializes in creating customized and personalized products, you start to assume that EVERYONE knows that — to the point where it’s not even emphasizing in the copy. Heck the 20% off sale is news. Free shipping is an important draw. The customized thing, well, that’s just par for the course.

But to the searcher, the fact that you’re advertising a customized phone case ISN’T obvious or secondary — it’s the lead (or lede) for the story and putting that fact in the body copy is essentially “burying the lede”! It’s the 20% off bit that’s secondary.

And that’s why the winning ad grabbed 192% higher Click-Through Rates than the losing ad.

So how can you avoid The Curse of Knowledge? Easy — just hire some outside copywriters once in a while. Get an outside perspective from people who don’t know what you know about your own company. That’s how the company in the example contest did it. And that’s a tip from the Boosters you can take to the bank.


Search Terms And Stages of Awareness

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012


Copywriting legend Eugene Schwartz wrote about the 5 Stages of Awareness in his unequaled book, Breakthrough Advertising. Here’s how he classified them:

  • First Stage — Most aware customer who knows your product, knows what it does, and consciously wants it.
  • Second Stage — Customer is aware of the product, but is either not aware of, or not convinced of, all that it does, or how well it does it, or how much better it is than previous alternatives.
  • Third Stage — Customer knows that he wants what your product does, but is not yet aware that there is a product that will do it for him.
  • Fourth Stage — The customer has a need, but that need will need to be agitated into desire AND ALSO connected to the product.
  • Fifth Stage — The Customer is not even consciously aware of his need, or is unwilling to admit his need, even to himself.

According to Breakthrough Advertising, a copywriter should match her headline to the stage of awareness of the prospective customer.

Of course, different segments can and do have differing stages of awareness. Heck, even the same buyer can pass through differing stages of awareness during their shopping process.

Needless to say, the same dynamic applies to PPC Ads, though most PPC Prospects fall within the first three stages. And here’s the important part: ads for prospects in Stage Three must be written differently than ads aimed at Stage One customers.

So how do you know which stage your prospective customer is in?

Easy, you look at what they’re searching for:

  • If they’re asking for a product or brand by name, they’re in that first stage.
  • If they are in the second stage, they may be searching on alternatives to your product.
  • And if they’re describing problems, they’re most likely in stage 3.

Want a practical example? Check out this recent win:

Shipping container moving is relatively new, but there are some people who have heard of it, and these ads were directed to those people, under the campaign title of “Shipping Container.”

In other words, these ads are directed at people asking for the product by category name. So they are somewhere between Stage 1 and Stage 2, and probably closer to Stage 2.

If they were in Stage 1, where prospects are more direct in naming the product or brand, a more direct and specific appeal to savings would probably work best: “30% Cheaper Than Driving Yourself for Moves Greater than 300 miles,” or something similar. Or even a comparison against other shipping container options.

And in Stage 3, more time and effort needs to be made explaining WHAT shipping container moving is.

But in Stage 2, Ads really need to concentrate on driving home the not fully known or believed benefit. And what you’ll find in the winning ad is a double dose of savings: with “More Affordable” in line 1, and “So You Save” in line 2.

But because this is Stage 2 and not fully Stage 1, the ad retains an element of explanation in line 2: “You Pack and We Drive.”

If this seems a tad complicated, think of it this way: you want your PPC Ad’s messaging to be as relevant to the prospect’s concerns as possible. Matching your ad’s copy to the prospect’s conception of the product helps you do this.

It’s something professional ad writers do instinctively (assuming you have your ad groups properly segmented to begin with).

So if this is all new to you, you probably have a whole lot of PPC Profits floating out there with your name on them, just waiting for you to claim them through some smart optimization.

Why not follow this moving company’s lead and give yourself an early Christmas present by doing just that?


Unsubstantiated Claims — Which Ones Work Best?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012


Traditionally, copywriters are taught to always build credibility, substantiate claims, and close loopholes. And that’s great advice for most traditional media.

In a sales letter, or radio ad, or magazine ad, one has time to trot out the proof and credibility elements that transform idle boasting into persuasive communication.

But PPC Ads are different. Often, there just isn’t space for proof and credibility building elements. Also, there’s sort of an implied promise that the proof and details will be provided after the click.

And, heck, an ad that at least makes a relevant claim is better than one that doesn’t even bother addressing the buyer’s chief concern, right?

And that gets to the crux of the matter: when making unsubstantiated claims in a PPC ad, how do you figure out the most relevant and CTR-boosting claim to make?

So with that question in mind, take a look at these two ads and pick your winner — which one makes the more relevant claim?

Well, if you’re looking for a Walking Cain, you are very likely NOT using solely as an affectation. In other words, you are in actual need of the extra support that the cain should provide.

And so while you’re undoubtedly interested in buying a nicer looking cain (hence the “Designer” included in the headlines and search terms for these ads), what else would be your chief concern?

How about QUALITY?

Yeah, that’s what I’d think, too. Apparently, it’s also what most shoppers thought as Ad B, brilliantly penned by booster mcdavis1982, managed to boost Click-Through-Rate by an unheard of 605%!

Also, note that neither ad provides any proof elements that the ads are stylish or fashionable. Nor are any specifics given as to the size of the selection/variety on sale or the speed of shipping.

But only one ad made the claim for quality, and that ad cleaned house when it came to clicks. Whether or not it cleans house in terms of conversions depends on how well the landing page makes good on the implied promise of “proof” elements appearring on the post-click landing page.

So what about your ads and your landing pages? Are your ads promising what your prospects are most concerned about? Are your landing pages living up to those promises?


When In Doubt, Kill the Cliches

Monday, October 1st, 2012


Every advertising medium has them. Those threadbare turns of phrase, transformed into ignorable “blah blah” filler from overuse and utter lack of credibility. In traditional broadcast advertising, they include such “gems” as:

  • “For all your ____ needs”
  • “Serving YOU since 19XX
  • “Fast, Friendly Service
  • “Competitive pricing

And, yes, the relatively new platform of PPC Advertising also has its own overused and patently un-believed claims and phrases. Just take a look at these two ads. They both feature a cliche, but one does so fare more prominently than the other. you should be able to pick it out immediately:

Yup, “Huge Selection” is almost the quintessential PPC Advertising Cliche.

When most PPC Ad Writers aren’t quite sure what to say about the stuff the advertiser is selling and they’re too afraid to make a claim of quality for the goods themselves, they can always fall back on promising a large selection. As in, “You’re sure to find what you’re looking for with our HUGE SELECTION”

Professional PPC Ad Writers know better. If you’re going to make an unqualified claim, make sure the claim matches what the searcher is really hoping to find. ‘Cause no one is hoping to find 1000s of, say, t-shirt designs; they’re hoping to find UNIQUE or DISTINCTIVE t-shirt designs. Just as brides-to-be don’t want to sort through a HUGE SELECTION of bridesmaids gifts — they just want to find gifts their bridesmaids will actually like.

So, heck, as long as you are slinging un-proven claims around in your PPC Ad, why not claim something the buyer is actually interested in, right? You better believe that’s right, because scores of PPC tests prove this rule of thumb to be a sure-fire CTR-booster.

And that’s the case here. Notice that the changes in the winning ad were small. The booster changed the claim of “Huge Selection” of round wool rugs to one of “colorful” round wool rugs. This also pulled the keyword phrase of “Round Wool Rugs” entirely onto the first line rather than splitting it over two lines of copy.

And other than shortening the final call to action a smidge, that’s it; those are the only changes made to the ad. But think about it, if you’re looking for a round wool rug, which is a more promising claim: that the rugs for sale are colorful, or that they online store has a “huge selection”?

Well, most people picked colorful, to the point where the winning ad (penned by booster wordisborn) more than doubled Click-Through Rates, boosting CTR by 181%

And that’s a tip you can take to the bank