Mark Twain wrote "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter". Being brief is hard. With search ads you don't even have a paragraph. You only have 25 characters for a headline, and 2 x35 for a description.
Once you show up for a query, you need your ad copy to earn the click. Fast
Being Brief & Great In 5 Steps
1. Connect Your Keyword To Your Ad
Write ads customized to the keywords they run against.
Text in the ad that matches your keywords appears bolded. For the user it stands out on the page
You can dynamically insert a keyword in your ad. Make sure the ad copy surrounding it can makes sense for all the different keyword variations. Watch out for plural vs. singular keywords. "Hire a professional cleaner" works; "hire a professional cleaners" doesn't.
2. Call To Action
This is the one that everyone knows, or think they know.
Of course you need to tell users what to do with your ad, or what they'll be seeing on your landing page after they click.
But are you doing it? Are you being lazy and using the same CTA for different offers and landing pages?
Consider including prices, or limited time offers like "free shipping this week".
Update your CTA's often so they reflect your best offer.
Match the CTA against the landing page. The experience from the ad to the landing page must be consistent and reflect the same offer.
Think: Would I click on this ad? Be honest, and if not, change it.
Look around at what your competitors are doing and "borrow" some ideas for inspiration.
3. Use Your Brand Name
If your brand has recognition and trust in the market, use it in the ad copy.
Use your brand to earn the click if you can. Talk about the 'official site' and the geography of your brand.
'Canada's official ABC co. site" can earn you the trust of your searchers.
If your brand is new include it to test an instance of your ad with the brand. Don't underestimate the value of search as a way of bolstering your brand. Get it in front of your potential audience to boost its recognition.
4. Test All The Time
Launch and watch is the order of the day with search creative and new offers.
Look for the best performing parts of your campaign. Which deliver the largest search volumes? Test against those areas first.
Look for ads with low click through rates or conversions and make adjustments. Set up 2 or 3 variations at a time. This way you get enough traffic to each one to have meaningful data, and be sure you can isolate what you are testing. Is it an offer test - like free shipping vs a % discount? Or is it a headline test with your brand name and without?
Try not to mix elements so that you'll know what's driving the changes.
Keep finding your winning ads and try something new with challengers.
5. Keep It Fresh
Take advantage of the instant changes you can make in SEM to be up to the minute.
If there's a new offer or product, search is one of the easiest places to test and launch messaging before trying it offline.
Make sure your campaign reflects any changes to your product or service
Christine Bellefontaine is an Account Manager at Search Engine People. She has spent 15 years in traditional and digital marketing and is passionate teaching marketers to look beyond the data points to make digital make sense. She was previously an Industry Analyst at Google Canada.