This article is based on section two of the Adweek copywriting handbook.
So, all 23 of the elements in an Advertisement are designed to do one thing- Get the reader to read the first sentence.
And if your Ad is missing some of these elements, the effectiveness of your ad can decrease exponentially.
Use this blogpost as a checklist when you get started. Consider all of these points when you write an ad.
This element is really important.
Fancy type might look elegant to the type designer, but if it can’t be read it has no value.
It’s like talking to a foreigner and finding the words difficult to understand.
The most important role a typeface has is to allow the greatest comprehension possible.
- So don’t use fancy fonts.
The First Sentence
The general idea is your headline should be short, sweet and interesting.
I have discussed this topic before so if you want a detailed explanation … Click here.
This sentence is almost as important as the first.
You’ve got to maintain interest, so you must also create another sentence with a compelling reason to cause your reader to want to continue.
You must continue this momentum throughout the first and second paragraphs.
Put aside any facts, benefits or product features. Your only goal is to get the momentum going and create that buying environment.
Paragraph headings make an Ad look less intimidating and thus encourage the reader to read all the copy.
Paragraph headings could introduce material in the paragraph that follows or they could have absolutely nothing to do with the copy underneath or the copy in the entire ad for that matter.
Remember, they are designed to break up the copy and make it look less intimidating. They have little to do with selling or presenting your product. They simply make the copy look more inviting so your reader will start the reading process.
- So use paragraph headings to break up copy in the middle of columns but not at the very end or beginning.
This might sound very simple, But many ads leave out the simple step of explaining what the product does.
- You should explain a complicated product in a very simple way.
- And you should explain a really simple product in a complex way.
In addition to the concept of simple versus complex, you should always check your copy to make sure you have explained all of the features.
You should ask a number of people to read your copy to see if they understand the product and its features.
Highlight those features that make your product or service new, unique or novel.
This might sound familiar to “product explanation”, but it’s different.
Here you are revealing not just the features of the product, but the features that distinguish it from anything else on the market.
Buying is a process of trust. We all like to buy something from an expert—somebody we like, respect and trust.
In Advertisements, technical explanations can add a great deal of credibility, but before you write them, make sure you indeed become an expert. If not, the consumer will see right through the ploy.
Here is an example,
“A pin points to the new decoder/driver integrated circuit which takes the input from the oscillator countdown integrated circuit and computes the time while driving the display. This single space-age device replaces thousands of solid-state circuits and provides the utmost reliability—all unique to Sensor.”
Very few people would be able to understand the explanation.
But, providing a technical explanation that the reader may not understand shows that we really did our research and if we say it’s good, it must be good. It builds confidence in the buyer that he or she is indeed dealing with an expert.
This is a very important element to consider when writing copy. If you feel that your prospect might raise some objection when you are describing a product, then raise the objection yourself.
Remember to properly answer those questions.
Because if you give a lousy answer or ignore the question would be the same as ignoring the customer.
Just as you have to recognize objections, it is your opportunity and duty to resolve the objections, too.
You must be honest and provide alternative solutions or dispel the objections completely.
Who is the consumer? Male, female or both genders? Are they female golf players, lady pilots or professional women?
Make sure there are no sexual or sexist comments that would offend any group, and know your target audience so that you can communicate in their terms.
Your copy should be clear, simple, short and to the point. Avoid big words that confuse those who don’t know them.
- So write like you speak.( unless you are a non native like me)
Back when I was starting out as a newbie copywriter I used to make this mistake all the time.
- Do not use cliches.
“Here’s the product the world has been waiting for,” or “It’s too good to be true.”
I thought writing stuff like that made me look like steve jobs. But it didn’t.
Clichés seem to be used when you have nothing really significant or good to say and must fill up space.
How do you know if you are writing a cliché?
If it sounds like you’re writing typical advertising copy some agency may have written 50 years ago, that’s one clue.
Think about how copy would sound if all the sentences were very short or very long or all had a distinct predictable pattern.
Pretty boring right?
In my opinion, if all you are writing is long sentences, you would sound like university professors.
And if your copy is made out of a lot of short sentences you would sound like a hyperactive kid.
And that’s the point of copy rhythm. Vary your sentences; vary their length to give your copy a rhythm.
If you are selling an expensive product or one that is not easily returned for service, you must address the question of service and convey the ease of that service to the consumer.
Often the mention of a brand name manufacturer is all that is needed to establish ease of service.
But if there is a remote possibility that the consumer would still ask about service, then you must address this issue in your ad.
“A FRANK DISCUSSION OF SERVICE”
“Fireball is a solid-state computer with its electronics condensed on integrated circuits—all hermetically sealed and all pre-tested for a lifetime of service. Fireball is also self-diagnostic. Let us say something goes wrong with the system. Simply press the test button on the back panel of your machine and the exact problem is displayed on your scoreboard in digits. Check the instruction booklet and simply remove the designated plug-in circuit board, light bulb or part and send it to the service department closest to you for a brand new replacement. Even your TV or stereo isn’t that easy to repair.”
In copy you must mention all the physical facts about a product or you risk reducing your response.
I’m talking about weight, dimensions, size, limits, speed, and stuff like that.
Sometimes you might think that a certain dimension isn’t really important or the weight may not be necessary.
But it’s not true.
Give readers any excuse not to buy and they won’t buy.
When I bought a bird cage for my bird,
I bought it from the dealer who provided me with the weight of the cage rather than the one who didn’t. Both cages were similar.
You know, when you give all the information about your product , people feel confident to buy it.
With mail order items, you must offer a trial period for any product that the consumer cannot touch or feel at the time of purchase.
The only time you can make an exception to this rule is when the value is so strong and the product so familiar that the consumer is willing to take the risk.
For example, If I were selling a bunch of toilet papers I wouldn’t mention any trial period.
Make sure your trial period is at least one month, or even better, two months.
Tests have proven that the longer the trial period, the less chance the product will be returned and the more confidence the consumer will have in dealing with you and purchasing the item.
Whenever possible, offering a price comparison to another product establishes value in the mind of the purchaser.
If you are selling an expensive item or something that is a good value when compared to another product, you should always consider a price comparison as a means of establishing the value of your product.
- If your product is the most expensive product being offered, then you want to suggest that it has more or better features.
- If your product is less expensive, then you want to focus on better value and use a price comparison.
Here is an example,
“The $275 Pulsar uses the LED technology which requires pressing a button each time you want to review the time.
Even the $500 solar-powered Synchronar watch, in our opinion, can’t compare with the Sensor and its 5-year warranty.
And no solidstate watch can compare to Sensor’s quality, accuracy, ruggedness and exceptional value.”
A testimonial is a good way to add credibility if it is from a very credible person or organization.
This approach can be used not only in the copy but in the headline or photo.
- And don’t show testimonials from really attractive people;(people think they are paid actors).
- Make sure the testimonial makes sense for the product.
- And on some occasion point out a minor flaw of your product…
“(some random protein supplement) tastes really bad. But I have gained 10 pounds of muscle in 2 weeks!”
Another important copy point to consider is the price.
But should the price be obvious? Should it be set in a large type? Small?
- If you’re selling a product or service at a very good price, then set the price in a larger type.
- If the product is expensive and it’s not the price that will sell it, you want to underplay it. Don’t make it really large. Or don’t make it too small for the reader to notice.
But no matter what, remember to put it there.
It’s a really good idea to summarize what you are offering the consumer somewhere near the end of your ad.
Many people miss this point, so that’s why it’s why it’s a really good idea.
Here is an example,
“So here’s my offer. Order two pots with Teflon coating and you’ll receive the two pots plus our handy cookbook and video for the price of only $19.95.”
Avoid Saying Too Much.
Two biggest mistakes copywriters make are Saying too little and saying too much.
First, say to yourself as you go through the editing process.
“Is there a simpler way of saying this?”
Very often you can cut your copy down 50 to even 80 percent and still say the same thing.
Ease of Ordering
Make it easy to order. Use a toll-free number, a coupon, a tear-off reply card or any vehicle that is easy to understand and use.
Use a coupon with dotted lines. In tests, it usually generates more response because the dotted lines clearly convey at a glance that you can order the product from the ad.
Ask for the Order;
Always ask for the order near the end of your ad. This is often forgotten by many copywriters.
At the end of an ad, I state the following or something similar: “click here to buy now” or “click here to order now” or something similar.
- Never forget to ask for the order.
These 23 copy elements are points you want to consider when you are writing a copy.
You don’t need to use all of them in your ad. But remember to use most of them.
So that’s it.
Thank you so much for reading And stay safe 🙂