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How to Write a Good Advertisement (from Start to Finish)

By March 15, 2023March 29th, 2023No Comments

How to write ads

Today you’re going to learn how to write a good advertisement from scratch.

Every single step.

With real-world examples.

So if you are a newbie, a marketer, or a small business owner looking to write effective ads – for flyers, landing pages, or paid 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:


Justin replied:


Sounds cool?

Keep reading to see what happens next.

Step 0: Use the Pomodoro Technique to 10x Your Productivity

Target: Work smarter
Time: 20 seconds (the time to read this section)

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.

pomodoro technique

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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).

Step 1: Brainstorm on Your Product/Service

Target: Identify the most important strengths and weaknesses of your product/service
Time: 25 minutes (I advice you to spend 8 minutes by question)


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?

  • It’s a less invasive way of clearing roots (no need to cut down the trees)
  • “I’m safe from overflows/foods and potential health hazards”.
  • It’s much cheaper than replacing pipes or having to fix costly collateral damages (like destroyed walls or floors, rat extermination…)

2) What are the top 3 things they hate/don’t like about it?

  • “It’s going to damage my beautiful yard.”
  • ”It’s expensive. I don’t need that now.”
  • Chemical products are bad for health and environment.

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
Satisfaction guarantee


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:

We guarantee the results for up to 2 years / We prevent regrowth of roots guaranteed for up to 2 years.

Step 2: Choose a Profitable Angle

Target: Identify the most powerful strength/weakness you just listed in Step 1. Craft your ad angle.
Time: 25 minutes


What makes an ad effective?

Good angles.


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:

Promise to alleviate the pain –“How to look 10 years younger without Botox“.
Twist the knife -> “Single again? We’ll find you a date by tomorrow night”.
Offer instant gratification -> 
Get your credit card report in less than 5 minutes. Guaranteed.”
Compare your product / service -> “We’re faster than Deliveroo”.
Flatter their ego -> How smart companies use copywriting to generate millions of $ (and happy customers)”.

What makes a successful advertisement?

Your ability to write in a way that appeals to your customer primary needs and desires.

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.


1. Survival… enjoyment of life… life extension
2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger
4. Sexual companionship
5. Comfortable living conditions
6. To be superior… winning… keeping up with the Jones’
7. Care and protection of loved ones
8. Social approval


Why am I even talking about this?

It’s simple:

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.

Yes, FEAR:


Killing roots?
Getting a two-years guarantee on root control services?

Nobody cares.

But… people are genuinely AFRAID of this:


Image credit

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:

Prevent collateral damage from overflows into you home.

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.

Step 3: Write Your Ad Headline

Target: Write an advertisement headline that hooks your prospect and motivate him to keep reading.
Time: 25 minutes

[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:

1. Survival… enjoyment of life… life extension
2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger -> overflow / flood at home
4. Sexual companionship
5. Comfortable living conditions
6. To be superior… winning… keeping up with the Jones’
7. Care and protection of loved ones > “collateral damages are dangerous for my family’s safety at home”
8. Social approval



3. Danger = flood
7. Protection of loved ones = kids / wife


“Daddy… we had a flood”.

I want this headline to do one thing:

Force the reader to keep on reading the ad copy (a flood? OMG!! What happened?)

Step 4: Write Benefit-oriented Bullets

Target: write a short story to keep your reader interested and state the major benefits of your product/service.
Time: 25 minutes

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.


Fear of collateral damage in my home.


“Daddy… we had a flood”.

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.


I’m a 41 year old dad from Richmond and I bet you can imagine how terrible I felt, in the middle of a cold winter afternoon, when I was driving back home, and my little girl called me. “Daddy?”.
I immediately noticed something was wrong. She paused for a moment, and said: “Daddy… we had a flood”.

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:

yrxqq7vd_400x400 “Bullets are simply short, bite-sized pieces of copy that focus the reader’s attention on key features and benefits.

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
  • Testimonials
  • 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.

  • Our professional technicians will treat your tree roots, ensuring your sewer pipes stay healthy and root-free. Roots WILL NOT reappear. You have our word.
  • We use environmental-friendly products… no dangerous chemical that kill your trees or plants.
  • We’re always on time.

Step 5: Craft a Powerful Call-to-Action 

Target:Tell them what to do next
Time: 25 minutes

[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.

Click here to contact us right now
Call/text Justin to start at [number]

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:

Print advertising
Marketing flyer for your business
Google adword ad
Business card
Landing page

The options are literally endless.

Here’s how we did it for Dominion Root Control:

Google AdWords

how to write a good google ad

Website Landing Page


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Direct Mailing Advertising

You can turn your ad copy into a promotional flyer:

how to make a good advertisement flyer

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Additional Resources

How to write solid headlines, subheads and bullets

PPTPOP’s resources (A hand-curated list of articles and life-changing books that will help you become a better you, faster than anyone else)

Build an irresistible sales page (For your products or services)

Super-charge your ad copy (Stuck with your sales copy? Infuse some of these +190  proven advertising words and phrases to convert more prospects into buyers)

I hope you liked and learnt !


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