The Secret to Writing a Winning Ad

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
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When people are quickly scanning search results, outside of relevancy there’s very little logic involved in deciding which links to click on. Whatever gut feeling they have is what propels the mouse, and those gut feelings are based on emotions.

When you are writing an ad, a great way to appeal to these emotions is to project a positive attitude. We don’t mean saying you’re the best or using lots of exclamation points. We’re talking about embodying a can-do problem-solver. Some examples can help demonstrate.

Suffering from Arthritis?
Clinically tested formula improves your mobility

What’s wrong with this ad? The headline may reflect a user’s motivation for searching, but this only appeals to relevancy, something most completing headlines will also have via keywords. Secondly, “clinically tested” appeals to logic. Of course you would want a drug to be thoroughly tested before you use it, but users aren’t thinking about that when deciding what to click on. Let’s try rewriting it.

Fight Arthritis
Improve your mobility with this simple formula

Fighting arthritis is a positive, can-do action. Which would you rather do, suffer or fight? This emotional response will get the click over its weaker competitor. Also “simple formula” implies that it’s an easy process or less likely to have harmful side effects. Again, no need to logically explain why this product may be simple. People automatically associate things with a word. That’s how emotions work.

The user is searching because they have an issue. Your goal is to present a compelling solution to that issue. Let’s try another one.

Improve Your Self Esteem
Easy mental exercises that will change your life.

The headline is okay since it does provide a positive spin, but it’s a little generic. And even though the exercises are easy, “exercise” always conjures up images of grunting work and daily effort. People want results requiring the least amount of effort, whether they are realistic or not. Remember, we are dealing with the emotional, not the logical.

Impress Your Boss
Boost your self esteem in three easy steps.

This headline offers a specific, appealing scenario. Who wouldn’t want to impress their boss, or anyone else for that matter? “Boosting” sounds more empowering than just “improving”. Think about what each word implies or what imagery they conjure up. A boost is a fast, powerful leap forward. Improvement is a gradual learning process that results in something marginally better. “Three easy steps” makes it sound so simple to master, and it doesn’t make you think about having to do an exercise every day. It’s just three steps.

When writing your ad, just remember you’re going for the gut-level reaction, not an appeal to logic. Keep your statements positive and problem-solving and you’ll be well on your way to getting more clicks!

Zoe is a web designer by day and a caped super-hero by night. Okay not really, but she really is a web designer at Nexternal with over 14 years of experience coding HTML, CSS, and other magical web things. She also enjoys helping others, which is a bit like channeling her inner hero.      Google+ Profile