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Guidelines For Writing Online Ads, Signature Files, And Banner Copy

251 Comments · Web Copy

Writing online classified ads, e-zine and newsletter ads, signature files, banner copy, and other advertising copy for use on the web requires strategies a little different from offline ad writing.

Where an offline ad might feature a strong benefit-laden headline, or give the product or service’s unique selling proposition, writing your online ad requires a different kind of discipline-the same kind required to create an editorial as opposed to an advertisement.

It’s so easy to use short, punchy copy reminiscent of classified ads in the offline world, such as “Lose weight while you sleep. Click here to learn more,” or “Learn a foreign language in 30 days. Click here for more information.”

When you have only two to five lines in which to generate a response (such as in an online classified ad, advertising banner, or e-zinc ad), it’s tempting to resort to the tried-and-true techniques of advertising language.

But do you really want your ad to say, “I’m an ad-read me?” No! On the internet, you’ll probably be ignored.

The trick is to stand out above the other ads in the medium in which your ad is placed. This is accomplished not by screaming the loudest or using hype, exclamation points, capital letters, and so forth, but by featuring something newsworthy in your ad.

Many editorial-style headlines could double as copy for online ads, with a bit of retooling, as necessary. For example:

$2 Million Scientific Project Unlocks the Secret of Aging: How You Can Become Biologically Younger!”

You can turn back your body’s aging clock and be able to prove it with a simple at-home test. Read entire article here: http://www.domain.com.

You might think that getting someone to click on a link should be relatively easy. After all, clicking on a mouse seems like a virtually effortless task, doesn’t it?

It may appear so, hill not when you consider that every commercial enterprise on the Internet is asking your prospects to do the same thing.

The web population has learned to become selective about what they click on, particularly in view of the endless choices and the limited time at their disposal.

You have to give them a compelling reason to click. Here is another example of an editorial-style ad.

9 Facts You Must Know Before You Buy Any Product
That Promises to Grow Hair or Stop Hair Loss
Protect yourself from hair fallout and other horrors–and learn how to choose the right hair restoration product for your needs. Send a blank e-mail to 9fact@domain.com to receive free report.

The same applies to writing copy for banners, search engine listings, or SIG files.

Three Tips for Writing Online Ads

1) Make your ad look different, and articulate it differently from the rest of the ads in the medium where it runs so that yours will stand a chance at grabbing your audience’s attention. Don’t blend in with the rest.

2) Inject an element that will spark curiosity to get your audience to click.

3) Get prospects to opt-in, if possible, instead of trying to sell in the ad. In the offline world, this is called the two-step approach.

Only amateurs and fools run three- to five-line classifieds and try to make a sale from that one ad.

There’s just not enough space in a few lines to make the sale. Use the ad as a lead generator to get people to opt in to receive a free report, a free course or a free eBook.

That way, you acquire another qualified prospect to add to your mailing list.

If you write an ad where readers must click to go to your webpage, they might choose to ignore it, and then you’ll have nothing.

On the other hand, if you offer to give readers something for free, if they do not visit your website you at least have their contact information.

This is gold on the Internet because you can be in constant communication with them until they finally buy your product-and, more important, buy many other products from you.

Instead of directing readers to a download location, you can opt to have them send a blank e-mail to your autoresponder to get the freebie.

Either way, you will capture their e-mail address, because your web host sends you the e-mail address of everyone who sends a message to your autoresponder.

The disadvantage here is that you don’t get the person’s first name just an e-mail address-so you won’t be able to personalize subsequent e-mails.

However, the “send-a-blank-e-mail” method should not be discounted, because in online ads, SIG files, and bylines at the end of promotional articles, it is often easier to get people to send a blank e-mail to receive a freebie than to get them to click through to your website (where you can capture their first name and e-mail address via a form).

So much of your success depends on what you do after people visit your website. I estimate that up to 90 percent of your total sales will come from the skillful application of these follow-up marketing communications, combined with the e-mail strategies.

Only a small number of visitors will become customers on their first visit to your website, but when you have mechanisms in place to capture the contact information of as many prospects as you can and start an e-mail relationship with them, that’s when the real selling begins.


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