Writing ad copy is intimidating for most small business owners.
You know your company. You know your products. But communicating that information to consumers is dicey, especially since a poorly written ad can render thousands of dollars of advertising completely ineffective.
Good ad copy is within your grasp – if you can steer clear of the most common ad copy mistakes:
- Too Subtle. Right out of the gate your headline has to grab the reader's attention by with a short summary (a few words) of your offer. Then after you have the reader's attention, you have to keep it with copy that pops off the page – not subtle innuendos he doesn't understand.
- Mystery Benefits. Your ad copy should focus on communicating the benefits of your products to consumers – not the features. Although you might be interested in the specs of what you're selling, most buyers aren't. They would rather hear about how your products or services are going to save money and make their life a little easier.
- Too Long. Lengthy ad copy is boring, stale and ineffective. If it takes more than a few seconds for a consumer to read your ad, you've lost her. When writing copy think short sentences and familiar words. Also, your copy should use bullet points and lists as a way to communicate a lot of information in an easy-to-read format.
- Bad Words. Good ad copy doesn't contain bad words. No, we're not talking about profanity (although you should probably avoid that, too.) The bad words we're talking about are words that are dull, overused, and uninspiring. Resist the temptation to use clichés, passive verbs, and non-descriptive phrases whenever possible. At the same time, don't let your language get so flowery that it affects the clarity of the message you're trying to communicate.
- Lack of Urgency. Effective ad copy convinces the reader that he has to purchase your product or service right now. Although the entire ad should convey a sense of urgency, the ad should conclude with a crystal clear call to action, telling the consumer what to do (buy your product) and when to do it (now).
For more copywriting mistakes, make a habit of perusing the ads in your local paper. Watch for the ads that are effective and ones that aren't, keeping an eye out for blunders you can add to this list of advertising copy mistakes.