Copywriters, those wonderful folks who write the ad copy we’ve become so familiar with on the internet, in brochures and pamphlets, and in ad flyers, have learned that learning search engine optimization techniques on the internet actually can help write better ad and sales copy, even if it’s not written for the internet.
One thing we have learned, or should have learned, from writing content that is keyword optimized is that writers have to write in search terms that the average internet user will use to look for that content. In the past, ad and sales copy writers would find flowery words, vivid imagery, and catch phrases, but the truth is, this type of copy doesn’t really connect with the average reader.
So along comes the internet to show us the way. We have learned through internet and search engine optimization techniques to really ‘think like the user’. When we truly put ourselves in the mode of thinking like the average internet surfer and not like sales persons when writing ad and sales copy, we learn how to customize ads to appeal to the greatest common denominator.
Times are changing
For example, there was a time years ago when someone writing an advertisement would never even THINK of using the word ‘cheap’ in their ad copy. This word carried a negative connotation, in that cheap can mean inexpensive, but it also could mean poorly made too. However, with the internet, having to think like an average internet surfer, we have seen sites such as cheaptickets.com become wildly popular.
When the average internet surfer sits at the computer and searches for something, they are essentially asking the search engine a question and the search engine provides a very specific response to what they ask. How many of you looking for cheap airline or travel tickets have ever sat at the computer and typed “inexpensive travel arrangements”?
No, it’s more likely you put something like “Cheap Airline Tickets” or “Cheap Vacation Packages” or something such as this in the search engine, right? So companies like cheaptickets.com had the right idea when they came up with their name.
In the days gone by, terms such as ‘cost-effective’, ‘competitively priced’, and the like were all we’d find on ad copy and sales copy. Now, internet searches aren’t going to use those terms. They will use things such as ‘cheap’, ‘free’, ‘low cost’, etc.
So when writing ad copy or sales copy, it’s important to really take your target market into consideration, even if you are not writing for the internet. Customers have become so accustomed to reading internet ad copy that when they see print ads now, they expect the same terms to be used, and will be thrown off it they are not.
Now it is important to take into consideration the image you do want to present. In a world of price slashers, bulk purchasing, and wholesale clubs, if you use the word cheap or low cost, can you really provide what the customer expects from cheap? If you provide a quality product at a reasonable price, but you simply cannot compete with the truly low cost providers, the targeting traffic that is looking for ‘cheap’ might not be the way to write your ad or sales copy. Once the surfer or customer sees your prices, they will know you are definitely NOT inexpensive compared to other retailers, and then your site or business loses credibility.
That’s when you should take a different approach. If you truly cannot compete with the low price, bulk distributors or retailers, you need to push the value your business does provide. That’s when words such as ‘quality’, ‘fine’, or even ‘popular’, which can mean many different things.
Then, once you have hooked your potential customer by getting them to read your ad copy or sales copy, or by getting them to click on your link to find your site, that’s when you can target with things such as ‘exceptional customer service’, ‘follow up’, ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ and other hook phrases that, while important to your copy, are not friendly to search engine optimization.
When you focus on the key words and phrases to draw surfers to your site or business, get those into your ad copy the way an average consumer thinks and not the way an ad or marketing guru thinks, then you can add in those extra words and phrases that will hook them, but those words and phrases are not what you need to focus on when originally writing ad or sales copy.
Good Content is Important
This flies in the face of traditional ad and sale copy training, and if you meet one of the ‘old timers’ in marketing and promotion, or even if you pay big bucks to purchase training books or ebooks on the subject of copywriting, you are probably going to be told all about how to avoid those keywords like ‘cheap’. However, you should know that if you actually target to your key audience with the words they would use to find your site, you will be heads above the competition who are still listening to the old gurus, whose time has passed.
So if you are a copywriter or looking to become a copywriter, be sure you understand these concepts and can explain them to those for whom you write. The simple rule is this, when writing ad or sales copy, always ask yourself, “If I were searching for this [insert item here] on the internet, what words or phrases would I use to find it?”
Those are the words and phrases you should use in your sales and ad copy. Additionally, when you use these words and phrases even when you are not copywriting for the internet, but rather for print, you are still appealing to the way the consumer actually thinks in their head, and should they investigate further on the internet about your business of product, they will find your copy consistent both in print and electronic forms.
Writing sales and ad copy can be a lucrative business, and once you can prove to companies that even though your ad copy and sales copy flies in the face of tradition, YOUR copy brings in more targeted traffic and converts more sales, then you will be in hot demand.
Which brings me to the last point of this article: When you are trying to sell yourself to businesses so they will hire you over everyone else to write their ad or sales copy, you need to once again put yourself in the position of your customer – the company you want to write for. The target phrases that will catch them are ‘targeted traffic’, ‘convert more sales’, ‘higher conversion rates’, ‘more page views’, etc.
When you can prove you can do these things with your ad or sales copy, and if you follow these guidelines above you will, you will be in high demand in the competitive field of copywriting.