Creating a PPC ad that captures a customer’s attention is of no use at all unless the ad increases the likelihood that they will click on the ad and then take a desired action – preferably, buy your product or service.
One of the key steps to starting a successful advertising campaign is a close review of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Determine what your company can do better than competitors and then highlight those differences in your ads. In other words, determine your USP (i.e. unique selling point) first, then write the ad copy.
The Story Behind USPs
USPs, also known as unique selling propositions, were the brainchild of Rosser Reeves, a pioneer in television advertising who wrote 1961’s Reality in Advertising. His advertising techniques centered on the concept that every ad should show off the main USP of the product – the one reason the product or service is better than the competition.
A USP often became a slogan for the product or service. Many of these slogans are still being used more than fifty years later: M&Ms (e.g. melts in your mouth, not your hands), Anacin (e.g., headache medicine), and Bic pens (e.g., writes first time, every time).
Determine Your USP, According to Reeves
Reeves felt that each advertisement should highlight a true, honest benefit for the customer and that no amount of advertising could successfully benefit a company that is selling defective or poorly made products. Reeves also believed that almost every product has a number of benefits that will sell the product, but there is always one benefit that sets the product apart from its competitors.
This USP must be articulated and – if possible – demonstrated to the customer. Limiting the ad content to one main idea also helps eliminate distractions and highlights the important USP. The USP must be so strong that it can pull over new customers to your product or service and build repeat business.
Testing USPs: Key Driver of PPC Success
Test several ads that highlight various USPs, product or service descriptions to find the ones that work best for you. Use different word combinations and tones to appeal to various demographic segments of your customers.
A/B testing – or split testing – is a classic and effective testing method that compares two versions of an advertisement that is identical except for one specific difference – maybe a different word or image. This is a great way to determine the effectiveness of a PPC campaign. By taking an ad that is currently performing at a certain level, and changing one specific part of that ad, you can determine whether the change results in better click through rates or conversions.
Consider changing a title, using a different USP, highlight a special offer, or use action words like “buy”, “try”, “choose”, etc. Even though changing only one specific part of the ad takes longer, this method will allow accurate evaluation of the change. If, however, none of your ads are performing well, you may need to discard your current ads and create two completely different ads to test.
Monitoring PPC Metrics: A Never-ending Process
Ads must always be reviewed for timeliness and appropriateness. Times change, and the ad that worked last week may not work this week for various reasons.
For instance, an ad for a flight school program that was totally acceptable during the weeks before September 11, 2001 became totally inappropriate in the days following. Meanwhile, a promotion featuring a well-known actor can be very tacky if the person dies during the time the ad is running. Customers also tune out ads that are boring, repetitive, or annoying.
Your USP may also change – maybe your product has been improved, or perhaps a competitor’s product has changed making your claims inaccurate.
Ultimately, writing the perfect advertisement is not an easy project, and can in fact be very difficult without proper considerations. Determining the USP of your product or service will allow you to market the best product or service to your customer, decrease unnecessary PPC costs and increase the percentage of those PPCs that result in conversions.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO of Disruptive Advertising. He is a passionate digital marketer and entrepreneur with 7 years of enterprise digital marketing experience. He personally managed over 40 million dollars in annual marketing budget and consulted many of the Inc. 100 companies while at Adobe, including groups like: GE, John Deere, Citibank and Home Depot. Connect with @DisruptiveAds on Twitter.
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