Have you ever chatted to a direct marketer (from the old school) about online and search engine marketing? Did you end up hearing the line – “it’s all direct marketing, just in a different medium”
Whether you believe that or not, the fact of the matter is that many of the old rules of direct marketing very much apply to our new age of marketing.
There’s a myriad of “top rules of direct marketing” lists out there, one of which I stumbled on in my recent meanderings online. While reading it, I couldn’t help but see how these rules applied to PPC advertising. So here it is with a PPC advertising slant on the explanations.
This is probably the most important piece of text in your direct mail letter or advert. It will grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to read the rest of your copy.
Fail to interest or connect with your reader here and all the hard work you have put into your lovely body copy could be wasted. Don’t just state the name of your product or name of your event. Promote a benefit. Ask an open question. Deliver news.
The same very much applies to the PPC space. You’ve got milliseconds to capture the searchers attention on the Search Engine Results Page – and your headline is key!
The letter advert is not about you or your organisation but needs to focus on the benefit to the reader. Starting with your headline and throughout your body copy, you need to state the benefits of your service or product for your reader and not just the features. The reader will constantly be wondering ‘What’s in it for me?’, and if this is not explicit, they will switch off.
You have even less time and space to explain the “what’s in it for me” in a PPC ad – so you need to “cut to the chase” straight away.
People are busy. Daily we are inundated with information from emails, direct mail, television, the web – you name it. Don’t make it hard for your readers to understand what you are selling or communicating. Spell it out for them. Write clear, short sentences.
You don’t have sentences in PPC ads. You have characters. So keep it short and on point. Just because you have 70 characters to use in the ad – doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Sometimes less is more!
Avoid jargon – it puts people off. Spell out in full any acronyms or abbreviations…
Use plain English. ‘Buy’ instead of ‘purchase’. ‘Before’ instead of ‘prior to.’ ‘Get’ instead of ‘obtain’. Avoid flowery language and get straight to the point, leaving out needless words. Read through your copy and if a word doesn’t add value to your letter, delete it.
Obvious stuff. Write for the lowest common reader. Of course with acronyms, look for a shorter expression or term where possible, because spelling out some acronyms will see you use all your ad space.
Write your letters as you would if you were communicating verbally. Read your letter out loud. Does it sound like something you would say? If not, change it.
You’ll be surprised how evident tone is in 70 characters. If you don’t resonate with the searcher – you’ve lost them.
What do you want your readers to do? Book onto an event, sign up to your newsletter mailing list or join your membership scheme? Spell it out to your reader, clearly and simply.
It’s a well documented fact for PPC ads that asking for the action generates much better click through rates. So just do it!
Remember the only aim of your communication is to elicit a response, to drive people to your website or whatever your call to action may be. Measure the return on investment. Does it work? If not, why not? And crucially test, refine, test and keep on testing.
Speaks for itself….test test test. And lets the real response measure your success!
Now go and give your PPC ads the once over. Do they follow these direct marketing 7 rules of thumb? If they’re not – they should!
To read the DM inspiration for this post – visit NCVO