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How to write a great pay-per-click ad

If you are just starting out with PPC advertising you’re probably wondering what separates a good ad from a bad ad – essentially an ad that makes money for the advertiser vs. one that takes money and drags you down and eventually puts you out of business. Below is a Quick Start summary of the core requirements for writing a great pay-per-click ad.

Take the time to customize an ad for each keyword.

The top PPC engines allow you to customize your ad for each keyword/key phrase so why not develop ad copy that’s specific to those words? If you sell pet supplies and the keyword you’re found under is “fish bowls” you should definitely customize your ad so it catches the eye of the visitor and entices them to buy. You want to be presented as the ultimate fish bowl supplier, not just another site selling pet supplies.

Include the keyword in the title and description.

A good way to make your ad more relevant and effective is to use the specific keywords throughout the ad. A lot of people place their company name in the title but this can be a mistake if you’re name does not include your target keywords or if it’s not eye catching. By using your specific keywords in the title they’ll automatically be bolded in the search results and stand out among your competitors. Capitalize the words in your title to further grab the attention of potential buyers.

Use Dynamic keyword Insertion

If you have a lot of keywords or you just don’t have the time to customize hundreds or even thousands of keywords, you can consider using what’s called Dynamic keyword insertion. This is where SE’s allows you to put a line of code in your title and insert the users specific keywords into your title automatically if the amount of characters falls below 25 characters. If the specific keywords use more than 25 characters, Adwords will use the text that you’ve supplied as an alternate backup. It’s an easy and fairly effective way to get the exact keywords into your title with minimal effort so they’re bold. Here’s how the code looks so you can get an idea of how this concept works. {KeyWord: Affordable Pet Supplies} If the user searches for “Fish Bowls Cheap”, this will show up as your keyword but if they search for Pet Supplies Dog Food Cheap Suppliers it will display Affordable Pet Supplies by default.

Make sure the title and description are relevant to all keywords.

As mentioned previously it’s very important to place your keywords in the title and throughout your ad. This is a free opportunity to get your ad text bolded in the search results which makes your ad stand out among the competition and catch the eye.

Distinguish your product or service from competitors

If you want your ad to stand out among the competitors it needs to be original and eye catching. Just like you did when you started your keyword research, you should study your competitors. See what they’re doing that’s creative and do them one better. If they’re boring or they use standard offers and descriptions you should make sure to do something completely different to stand out. Use eye catching words that present you as the biggest, smartest, most experienced or cheapest to grab the eye, attention and confidence of the potential client or customer. (e.g. “official store” or “free shipping”).

Choose a destination URL other than the home page if it is more specific to the ad

When someone is searching for a product or service you should take the time to link them directly to the relevant information or product so they don’t have to search through your site and potentially get lost and leave. As part of the customization of your title and description for each keyword, why not provide a direct link to the relevant section within you site? It’s convenient and effective. If you’ve done your job designing a quality site then the user should have no problem moving on to contact, purchase or browse further through your site. The page that they arrive at is called a landing page and this can be a highly effective way to reel in those customers if you design the page to sell specifically to the visitors that clicked on keywords that are relevant. To use the example again of the fish bowl, your landing page should have clear and compelling product descriptions, attractive fish bowl images in full color, affordable prices prominently displayed (even if you have more expensive products on the site), easy ordering with a call to action and ways to sell them on special offers that separate you from the competition. You can even present a way to sign up for your newsletter about fish bowls that offer advice, future coupons, discounts and special offers. The most important thing to consider is that you just spent money to get someone to your site. Take the time to get them to commit because they’re obviously interested enough to be there in the first place. Don’t make them work for it.

If you only provide service in certain areas, include your location

You have the ability to geo-target ads with most services which means you determine who sees your ads based on their location in the world. For example, I may only sell my services in Cleveland Ohio so for obvious reasons I don’t want someone from Utah clicking on my ads. Geo-target your ad to your location and then make sure to include the location in the title and description. Research your competition again and try to present yourself in a unique way.

Use Ad Testing (multiple ads) to help improve results

Search engines are starting to build in automatic ad testing where you can write multiple versions of the same ad and test to see which one performs better. Take the time to do this to improve your ROI. Yahoo has this built in automatically and they’ll serve the better performing ad over time.

Think like your target customers

If you’re fairly intimate with your target market take some time to get inside the head of your potential customers. What would you be looking for specifically? What would attract your attention and make you buy your products? Write your ads so the customer has no choice but to click on your ad. You should make them feel like they’ve found the perfect solution, at the best price anywhere.

Always include a call to action

You want your potential buyers to click so why not ask them to do it? You also want them to buy, signup, subscribe, download or read something. I know we’re dealing with limited space within our ads but studies show that by asking someone to perform an action they’ll usually do it if they’re interested. You might not have to do this within your ad but you should definitely do this within the unlimited space of your landing pages. Tell them in a big way to “Click here to buy now!” or “Subscribe to our newsletter for special offers!”. Make it exciting and tell them what to do. Don’t assume that they’ll automatically figure it out on their own.

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Chris Auman is a veteran Internet marketer, website developer, and designer with over 20 years of experience in the trenches. As President and Senior Strategist at Sanctuary, Chris has successfully guided the online marketing efforts for companies large and small. Chris’ clients range from family owned & operated retail operations with a local footprint of 1-10 stores to multinational Fortune 500 companies.

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