In today's internet environment, ads that do not immediately “grab” a surfer's attention will receive “the click of death” as the visitor leaves your ad. An ad on the Web will often receive only a glance. In that split second, a potential prospect has to be enticed into giving the ad a second, deeper look. Here are some basic guidelines for writing profitable ads that pull.
A successful internet ad consists of three main components:
call to action
The function of an ad headline is to pull your visitors deeper into the page. If visitors can be enticed into looking deeper into the page, other page elements, such as a benefits list, can guide them toward the action you want them to take.
Ideally, you should be able to explain what your ad is about with a headline of 40 to 60 characters. You will lose visitors with a headline that is too long and complex.
Your headline should stand alone. If you view your headline by itself, does it make sense and convey your message? An ad which begins with a good headline will be sure to captivate a viewer at a single glance whether it is placed on a web page or a traffic exchange banner ad.
In addition to compelling text, other headline properties, such as color, font size, and punctuation can also determine the effectiveness of a headline. Quotes are good. Red is good. Big is good. Bold is good.
A good headline should “involve” your viewer in some way. If you are targeting visitors interested in home remodeling, for example, use a headline such as
Thinking About New Windows
or Siding for Your Home?
to bring *their* home into the picture.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of your headline can only be measured after testing it in the marketplace. If you use your headline in a banner ad on a traffic exchange or in a safe list ad, you will get immediate feedback as to its effectiveness. A well-crafted headline will “get the clicks.” If your headline doesn't get the clicks, revise it.
If you need more text to adequately convey your message, you can optionally use a sub-headline. Use a smaller font-size or color for your sub-headline to make sure that your main headline still dominates the ad. The sub-headline
Make Your Home Beautiful with Our Quality Remodeling
serves to develop further interest and pulls the visitor deeper into the page.
A well-crafted headline “grabs” the attention and interest of your visitors and guides them deeper into the ad to the benefits list. A bulleted or numbered benefits list will help deliver your message even to the visitor who just scans your ad.
After reading through a good benefits list, your visitors will take the action you want them to take because they want the benefits you offer.
In keeping with our remodeling theme, here is a sample benefits list:
Lower Energy Costs
Higher Home Value
Free Project Estimate
When you build your benefits list, you can use a customized bullet, such as a small check-box GIF image. For this article, I used a small blob shape from Photoshop for the bullet. Although you can use an animated GIF for a bullet, such as a twirly ball, it might be too distracting in your ad.
Call to Action
The “call to action” tells your visitors exactly what to do to get what they want.
So far, you've pulled your visitors in with your headline, enticed them with your benefits list, and now it's time to convert them into buyers.
Here's an example of a simple call to action with a “sense of urgency” to it:
Call Now for a Free Estimate
Writing profitable ads for the Web involves paying attention to the way today's web surfers actually view web pages. Often, your ad will only get a glance; and in that single glance, your ad must entice a prospect into looking deeper into the ad. You do this first of all with a captivating headline. Other elements, such as a benefits list, will lead your prospects to the action you want them to take. Putting all of these elements together along with a graphic or two resulted in this sample postcard:
Consistently good ads that pull do not happen by accident. Once you get the hang of the basic three requirements of a successful ad, you are well on your way to designing good squeeze pages or landing pages, as well as “full-blown” sales pages.