Today you’re going to learn how to write a good advertisement from scratch.
Every step (5 in total).
With real-world examples.
So if you are a newbie, a marketer or a small business owner looking to write effective advertisements – for flyers, landing pages or Google and Facebook ads, then you’ll love this article.
You’ll even meet Justin, the co-owner of a chemical root control company (yup, the unsexiest business ever). We’ve applied the exact process of this article to help him write an irresistible ad for his business, step-by-step.
Let’s dive right in.
Quick jump to sections:
How to Write a Good Advertisement For Your Business
First, I want to share with you a quick story…
A while back, Dominion Root Control co-owner Justin May reached out to me.
Say hi to Justin
Here’s what he wrote:
I noticed it’s TRICKY to convince people to buy you services…
When they don’t even know they have a problem.
And that’s when I had an idea:
Keep reading to see what happens next.
You shall get started with applying one simple productivity framework to your business life:
It’s called the the Pomodoro Technique, and basically consists in completing a task within 25 minutes.
Breaking down a large task/series of tasks into short, timed intervals will help your brain focus for a short period of time.
Knowing you are limited in time, you’ll get to what matters fast.
If you CAN’T complete a task within 25 minutes, then break it down into ‘mini-tasks’ (that are oriented toward helping you completing the big task).
Grab a cup of coffee.
Hide your phone.
Sit you on a comfy chair.
Get a few colleagues together and ask them the next three questions:
1) What are the top 3 things our prospects love about our product/service? (Think about benefits that you know your customer desperately needs).
2) What are the top 3 things they hate/don’t like about it?
3) What are our core points of differentiation vs our competitors (AKA what benefits do we offer that they don’t)
So we did the exercise for Justin’s business.
Here’s what his customers love about the sewer and pipeline repair services (awwww, my heart is melting):
1) What are the top 3 things our prospects love about our service?
2) What are the top 3 things they hate/don’t like about it?
3) What are our core points of differentiation vs. our competitors (AKA what benefits do we offer that they don’t)
Basically, points of differentiation are benefits you’re offering that instantly separate you from the competition.
It could be…
A low price
A specific, unique process you’re using
So we did the exercise for Dominion Root Control and I can tell you one thing:
It’s wasn’t easy.
But Justin came up with this:
What makes an ad effective?
Ryan might be very cute, but he’s WRONG.
Angles are super important in copywriting because they are how you approach an ad on a creative level.
It’s how you’re going to grab the attention of your reader to get your message across and produce a desired action (book an appointment, request a quote…).
Here’s how you can grab the attention:
What makes a successful advertisement?
To come up with a solid angle, you need to get people intrigued and show them you can solve the right problem. Go back to the points you listed in Step 1 and answer this question:
What’s the single, most powerful thing listed and why? (it can be positive OR negative)
It can be something you customers love or hate about your business.
It can be something they FEAR.
In his book on advertising, D.E. Whiteman explained that humans are biologically programmed with the following 8 desires.
Why am I even talking about this?
You must go for a thing that resonates the most with your customers.
And that’s proven to work.
When I discussed with Justin, we agreed that one of the biggest, most striking benefits was tied to FEAR.
Getting a two-years guarantee on root control services?
But… people are genuinely AFRAID of this:
Coming home from a long day of work and discover water covering their floor throughout the house. The big theme of his root control service is:
This theme is tied to D.E. Whiteman’s desires #3 and #7:
# 3 Freedom for danger (overflow/flood at home)
# 7 Protection of loved ones (collateral damages are dangerous for my family’s safety at home).
The theme appeals to the primal desires of his customers: fear of collateral damage in my home.
[Tweet “Your headline is a promise to readers.”]
As Brian Clark from Copyblogger says, “the job of your headline is to clearly communicate the benefit you’ll deliver to the reader in exchange for their valuable time”.
Here are various actionable tactics you can use to write solid headlines:
1) Spy on your competitors
Head over to Google and find out what headlines your competitors are using.
Let’s say you offer presentation design services.
Type in “Presentation design” in Google and check the AdWord results:
On top of this, you can review Google’s organic search results. Basically, the top 10 results should give you a good sense of what type of headlines work.
2) Steal your headlines from Amazon
OK OK…. you’re not exactly gonna STEAL your headlines.
But you’re going to get seriously inspired 🙂
For instance, let’s say I want to figure out some headlines for some copywriting services I have. I am going to slap the term “copywriting” into Amazon and see what comes up:
Here’s an ad copy headline I could come up with:
I help you write ridiculously good content that sells.
I write highly profitable sales pages that make you more money.
Now, back to Dominion Root Control.
Fear of collateral damage in my home.
What headline do you think I could come up with?
Let’s to get back to D.E. Whiteman’s proven human desires and find out if I can tie my advertising theme to one of them:
3. Danger = flood
7. Protection of loved ones = kids / wife
I want this headline to do one thing:
Force the reader to keep on reading the ad copy (a flood? OMG!! What happened?)
Craft an Irresistible Story
The point of writing a short story is to keep your reader motivated to read and help him visualize WHY he needs what you are offering. There are two ways to tell a story that will do just that:
- Painting a dream (highlighting the benefits your reader is going after)
- Twisting the knife (addressing the problems he’s looking to get away from)
Now, back to Justin’s business.
What we want to do here is to craft a quick story tied to the theme and our headline that’ll keep the reader motivated to read on.
The initial story arc (“I’m a 41 year old dad”) was inspired by Chris Haddad, one of the top copywriting in the online marketing space. Check out his absolutely awesome copywriting tips right here.
Why this story is GOOD:
- It paints a vivid picture (“in the middle of a cold winter afternoon”)
- It’s ultra specific (” a 41 year old dad from Richmond”)
- It’s crazy emotional (“How terrible I felt”, “Daddy…”)
Write Benefit-Oriented Bullets
It’s now time to write some bullets.
According to direct response copywriter Scott Martin:
You can use bullets for:
- A list of problems your product or service solves
- A summary of benefits
- Product details—exactly what you’re getting
- Details of a guarantee”
Go back to the list of things your prospects love and hate about your industry:
Choose the best items you listed and turn them into bullets. Just write one easy-to-understand sentence or phrase for each item.
[Tweet “Call to action = tells your prospect what you want them to do next.”]
The goal of your advertisement is to get the prospect to take action.
For your CTA to be effective, you need to give your customer a clear picture of what action he needs to take RIGHT NOW to get the benefit he’s looking for.
OK… I’m done. What Should I Do Now?
First, give yourself a big high-five.
Second, tweak your ad depending on the advertising format you want to use and put your ad wherever you want it to go:
Marketing flyer for your business
Google adword ad
The options are literally endless.
Here’s how we did it for Dominion Root Control: