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Get 'em Clicking with Good Ad Copy!

By Linda Offenheiser
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2004

Never mind if you haven’t had good response from your ads in the past. That doesn’t matter. You can learn how to write an ad that will have people clicking their little fingers off! I’m going to teach you how to do that right now.

We all know how important the headline is. We also know it’s the hardest part of the ad to write. So we’re going to leave that until last. Know why? Because you can spend so much time creating the perfect headline that you never get to the ad itself. Besides that, if we leave it until last we’ll be writing a headline that goes with the ad, not an ad that goes with a headline.

Okay, so what’s our first step going to be then? We're going to define our ideal customer, get inside her skin and find out who she is, what she's looking for, what she wants. This is very important because if we don't have this information, who are we going to write our ad to? Are we just going to send it out into cyberspace with no destination in mind? Not if we want response we aren't.

Now that we know who we're directing our ad to, the second step is to list all the ways our ideal customer will benefit from the program, product or service that we’re promoting. Notice I referred to benefits, not features.

The Focus is on Benefits . . .

There is a big and important difference here. Benefits tell people “what’s in it for them”. Benefits tell them what they will gain from your product. Features, on the other hand, are things that describe your product.

For example, let’s pretend that you’re promoting cell phones. A feature of the cell phone is that it has an extra long-lasting battery. A benefit of the phone is that the purchaser can talk longer with her pals without having to worry about the phone dying.

Another feature might be the unique design. The corresponding benefit would then be that, not only can you talk longer, you’re more comfortable while you’re talking. Benefits are things that appeal to the emotions and that’s usually what makes a person buy.

Okay, now we know we have our list of benefits. Next, we're going to choose which benefits to focus on. If we're writing a small classified or ezine ad we'll choose only one benefit and concentrate on that. With longer solo ads we could choose several benefits. We're going to write an ezine ad today but the same guidelines apply to any ad you need to write.

Write like you talk . . .

If we want our ad to be interesting we need to write in terms that everyone can understand. Leave all the $50 words in the dictionary and just use a conversational tone. We aren't writing the ad to impress people with our vocabulary; we're writing it to appeal to their emotions. A stiff, formal tone isn't going to do that.

So . . . we're going to write like we were talking to a friend. We're going to use short, punchy sentences and omit any words that we don't positively need. Remember, we only have a few lines to convince our ideal customer that she wants to click on our link and learn more. We have to choose our words carefully and make each one of them count!

Don't use an ad to sell your product . . .

The purpose of the ad is just to get our ideal customer to our site. We aren't trying to sell her on our product ~ that's the job of the sales page. We're simply putting her in a "buying" frame of mind. We're creating interest and leaving her wanting to find out more about our product. That is the sole purpose of our ad.

Just start writing . . .

Now we're ready to start writing. The best way to do that is just to start writing without thought of how it's going to sound, spelling, puctuation or any of that stuff. We're just going to write down what comes into our minds. Okay, ready?

We might end up with something like this:

If you want to talk all night with your best friend, you don't want to worry about the battery on your cell phone dying. You want to know that you aren't going to miss all the juicy details of her dinner date with a new guy. You want the confidence that you won't lose your connection in the middle of her story. That won't be a problem with the new XYZ cell phone. Check it out here and see how it meets your needs.

Go back and polish it . . .

That isn't a bad start. Now we have something to work with. We're going to pare this down, punch it up, polish it and see what we have.

Don't you just hate it? Right in the best part of the story your cell phone dies. Now you won't have to worry about that happening ever again. Now you know you'll decide when the story ends, not your cell phone. Find out more today.

Well, that isn't too bad but we still have to cut it down more and liven it up some.

Don't you just hate it? She was going to tell you . . . and your cell phone died! Don't put up with it! If you want to hear the end of the story every time -- find out more now! (

Can you see the difference? The sentences are short and snappy. We've created interest. We've told her we're going to solve a problem for her but we haven't told her so much that she doesn't have to visit the site to know what we're all about.

I've simplified this a little. Sometimes you have to write and rewrite a few times before you have exactly what you want. It may take a little time but the end product will be worth it. You'll have an ad that will make people want to click on your link and learn more about your product. They arrive at your site already thinking you can solve an annoying problem for them. Your ad has done it's job.

And finally . . .

Okay, it's now time to go back and find a headline for this piece of art! Can you see that it's easier to create a headline now than it might have been at the beginning? And . . . the content of your ad is finished so that takes some of the stress away.

Try out a few different headlines and choose the one that you believe to be the most magnetic. Put yourself in your ideal customer's shoes and imagine what would appeal to her the most. You get the idea, don't you?

Let's just pretend that we've made our list of possible headlines. We want one that is short, catchy and fits our ad. How about this one? "It was just getting good when ... or "Don't miss the best part!" Then there's "Hang up when YOU'RE Ready!" Now you have lots to choose from and once you make your final choice you're finished. Or, are you?

Always, always, always proofread your copy . . .

There is nothing that will ruin the impact of an ad quicker than errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar. You have to find all of the errors and typos before you send that ad out! Don't just rely on spell check either. If you misspell a word it won't be caught if the misspelling is actually a word - even though it wasn't the word you wanted to use. For example,
maybe you typed "hear" when you meant to use "here" - it won't be caught! Go over those ads with a fine-tooth comb or, better yet, have someone else read them too.

There you have it . . .

Now you know how to write copy that works. You can apply everything you've learned here (and hopefully if was a lot) to any ad you write. And don't worry, as with any skill, it gets easier with practice.

Just one word of warning . . .

Please do yourself and your business a favor and become familiar with the FTC guidelines for advertising on the Internet. Make sure you know them and that you follow them. You can't afford not to! Keep your ads and your web pages honest, cut out the hype and half-truths ~ if you don't, you may not have a business to promote!

Now go out there and knock 'em dead! I'm expecting great things from you!

About the Author
Linda Offenheiser is the owner of Stress-Free Copy, a budget-friendly copywriting and editing service. Visit her at ( She also publishes "All the Write Stuff!", a weekly ezine that's Friendly, Informative, Fun and Free! To subscribe: (


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