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The Psychology of Ad Copy: How to Write for Maximum Conversions

What do you look for in a social marketing agency?


Creativity? Knowledge? Design?


One of the biggest aspects we believe gets overlooked not just when picking a social agency, but on social media in general, is copy.


Back in primary school, we were all taught about the power of words, but what they didn’t tell you (because you were 5 years old and didn’t know what marketing meant), was that the lesson runs deeper than an anti-bullying campaign.


The words you write are essentially how your brand speaks to its customers. Everything you put out on social is a conversation - generally, one-sided - which makes the words attached to your brand all the more important.


Imagine a room filled with 100 people. Your only instructions are to make as many friends as possible, and for every friend you make you get £100. That’s £10,000 worth of relationships in one room.


But there’s a catch - you’re only allowed to say three lines.


Chances are you’re not going to wing it.


“Hello, my name is Jeffrey. I’m really nice and I like to listen to Robbie Williams. Will you be my friend?”


“Nah, I’m alright. Thanks.”


That’s not going to get anyone interested.


Instead, of course, you’d work on your lines. You’d think about how you want to be portrayed, what you have to offer, and how to get people interested enough to want to find out more about you.


“Hi, I’m Jeffrey. I once gave such a good best-man speech that the bridesmaid broke up with the groom so she could be with me. If you’ll be my friend, I’ll tell you the full story.”


“Go on then.”


In just three lines you’ve said who you are (Jeffrey), what you can bring to the table (interesting stories), and piqued enough interest to get them to commit. You won’t get invited to many weddings, but at least you’ve made a friend.


Yes, it’s not exactly like that, but actually, it kind of is.


Let’s take things back to the basics.


At Spin, we work using the funnel method. At the top, the widest part of the funnel, are your prospective audiences. This is where you bring in new customers, gather interest, and keep your marketing channels from becoming stale and overused.


Next, you have your warm customers i.e. people who have come through prospecting, engaged with you on social or have looked around your website, but haven’t yet converted. Generally, this is where you make the most sales because the interest is already there.


Lastly, you have your hot customers: people who have been on your site, bought your products, and know who you are. These customers are perfect for targeting new products too as well as focusing on during key sales dates.


For each different level of the funnel, we’re looking for a slightly different action. Through prospecting, we’re mainly looking to build interest. Conversions are great, but clicks and engagements are the main focus. It’s then through retargeting that we build the ROI and hammer home the purchase mentality. This slightly differs between brands dependent on the buy-in, but this is the overall approach.


Because of this, we need to use slightly different styles of creative as well as different approaches to copy. If your copy is the same throughout all your campaigns, you’re not separating your audiences enough or thinking about their relationship with the brand.


Customers react differently to brands they’ve never heard of compared to brands they know, but have never bought from compared to brands they know and have bought from. There are different levels of intent and different barriers to getting them over the line - and your ad strategy has to reflect this.


Cold


With your cold audience, you’re mainly looking to get a click. You want to gather enough interest so that your audience clicks through the ads, have a look around your website, finds out who you are, what you’re selling, and think about a purchase.


Therefore, your cold audience is where you introduce yourself. What makes your company different? Why do you exist? What’s your story? What can you offer?


Keywords:

  • Discover

  • Revolutionary

  • Results

  • Alternative

  • Solution


Warm


Your warm copy is where you’re going to lean more heavily on the sales. Your audience already knows who you are, now you just need them to convert.


Here is where you lean into your USPs, how your products are the solution to a problem, and what benefits your audience can get if they order now (free shipping, % discount, BOGOF, etc.). For some clients, we even create dedicated offers just for warm audiences in order to encourage them into a purchase.


You want to make this decision seem as organic, strong, straight-forward and risk-free as possible.


Keywords:

  • Guarantee

  • Promise

  • Best-seller

  • Simple

  • Easy

  • Smooth

  • Fuss-free

  • Safe

  • Tested


Hot


Your hot audience knows who you are and have used your product before, so this is where you push your new offers, lines, and basically, any updates that your audience should be aware of.


Keywords:

  • New

  • Fresh

  • Updated

  • Added

  • Discount

  • Sale


All


A lot of these will transfer between audiences. For example, ‘sale’ and ‘discount’ will clearly work on cold and warm audiences, but this gives you a good idea of how messaging should differ across the funnel.


Below are some more examples of words that work as a blanket and can generally be used across all areas.


  • Free

  • Limited

  • Now/Today/Immediately

  • ANYTHING IN CAPITALS

  • You/Your/You’re


Those last two are some of the most underused, but most powerful strategies for copy. CAPITALS not only standout on a page, but they stand out in your brain. When I write the word SHOUT, your brain says it louder. SEE it says it MUCH louder than the rest of the WORDS just because they’re CAPITALISED.


Now, take a second (don’t read back) and think about the words you remember from that last paragraph. See? Pretty neat.


Another little trick you can use is called the power of three.


The power of three is strong, compelling, and persuasive; it’s simple, effective, and punchy; and it’s bold, straightforward, and reliable.


And that’s exactly what it is: three words, all fairly similar, put together. I just took it to the next level by doing three sets of them - but that’s an extremely difficult technique only reserved for copy wizards.


The power of three wraps up your argument into one easy-to-digest sample that sticks in the reader’s head. Whatever the main points are that you want to convey, by using the power of three at the end of your text, those will be highlighted.


For example:


We’re rigorous in our testing process, making sure that only the most effective products make it through to production. Plus, we make sure to only use natural ingredients to keep away from any nasty preservatives or artificial additives.


Meticulous testing, natural ingredients, optimal results✔️


Similarly, you can also use alliteration - anything that creates rhythm and repetition to make those key aspects stand out.


For example:


Natural is the new normal 🌱


Let’s head back to the funnel.


At the top of the funnel, you’re going to be trying to reach new audiences to get your name out there and gather new interest. Within this section, you’ll want to target different audiences segregated by interest.


Let’s take a look at a healthy energy drink company.


Some potential markets:

  • Health

  • Fitness

  • Gamers

  • Competitors

  • Lookalike

Gamers aren’t going to care about the same thing your health audience will be. The former will be focused on performance whilst the latter will be looking for a health alternative to ‘normal’ caffeinated drinks.


Here’s an example of how the cop for each audience will differ.


Gaming:


Looking to get the edge over your competition? 🎮


Limitless Energy contains ingredients specifically designed to improve your reaction time and boost your mental clarity to make first place, the only place 🏆


Health:


Not all caffeine is clean 🌱


You shouldn’t be used to feeling drained, slumped, and tired just half an hour after your morning coffee. That’s why we made Limitless Energy with plant-based ingredients, so that your caffeine boost keeps you fuelled all through the day ☀️


Same product. Same ingredients. Different audiences. Different copy.


Final Thoughts


In marketing, words can open and close doors, inviting customers in or shutting them out.


If you’re ever stuck for what to write, everything comes down to relatability. Your copy should always:

  1. Relate to the outcome you’re looking to achieve

  2. Relate to the audience you’re talking to

  3. Relate to your brand’s TOV and personality

Reminding yourself that social is a human-focused platform, and relating to your audience is the key turning point between success and failure, will always make sure that you’re facing in the right direction.




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