Tips from Professional Ad Copywriters

Writing effective copy that gets your company's product or service noticed can be challenging.  Here's some guidelines gleaned from professional copywriters to help you write more effective ad copy.

1. DEFINE THE GOAL OF YOUR MESSAGE
Define what you want your message to accomplish before you begin writing. Do you want to generate inquiries (leads)? Do you want to get orders? What action do you want readers to take? How do you want them to respond? Put your goal in writing and refer to it often as you develop your message. Everything you write should directly support this goal. Get rid of anything that doesn't.

2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE AND WHAT THEY WANT
Maybe everybody CAN use what you sell. But one targeted group WILL be most likely to buy it. You can discover that group by defining the characteristics of your best customers. Once you know your audience and what they want you can personalize your writing to appeal to their specific interests.
TIP: Advertising copy produces the biggest response when each reader can believe the message was written specifically for him or her. As you write, visualize you're writing to one person instead of to a large group of people. This will help you write in a less formal and more personal style.

3. APPEAL TO THEIR SELF-INTEREST, NOT YOURS
Customers don't care about you, your product, your company, or your professional qualifications. They only care about the benefit they get from buying your product or service. The only thing a customer wants to know about your 1/2 inch drill is that it's guaranteed to give them a 1/2 inch hole. Keep your ad copy focused on the benefits you provide.

4. MAKE AN EMOTIONAL APPEAL, NOT A LOGICAL ONE
Your ad copy should dramatize the feeling your customers get while enjoying the benefits provided by your product or service. Get them emotionally involved so they want to start enjoying those benefits immediately. Use word pictures and real life stories to draw readers into your message.

5. MAKE YOUR BEST OFFER
The offer is the "deal" you're promoting (free information, special price, free bonus with order, etc.). It's the only reason people respond to your advertising copy. The stronger your offer the greater the response you'll get. Always include the best offer you can afford and a reason to act fast. But don't make promises you can't deliver!

6. SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING
Simple, clear copy is easy to read and understand. It propels your customer to the decision point with no hesitation. After you've written your copy, edit it for simplicity and clarity. Use lots of one and two syllable words. Shorten sentences and paragraphs. 

7. MAKE A CALL FOR ACTION
What precisely do you want your reader to do? Call now? File for future reference? Send in a coupon? Send for a brochure? Remember something? Offer an incentive for the reader to call you or come to your store, like a discount, a 20 percent off coupon or a free giveaway like "Register to Win a Free Palm Pilot," for instance. Experienced copywriters know that the call for action works. It's not so much that when readers are told to do something they do it. It's that when they're not told to do something they're less likely to do it.

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