Design is just one half of the creative advertising pie. The other is the copy. Consider this: in 1970, someone was exposed to 500 ads per day, and today we see around 5,000. Each day, brands battle for customer attention. Here’s how to cut through the clutter of marketing and advertising messages and convert consumers at a higher rate with a few copy hacks and psychological techniques.
1. Numbers work.
A killer way to keep your copy pithy and compelling is to use numbers, amounts, or statistics. “Numbers are a time-honored trigger to get your readers to pay attention to your content” says Mike Hamers, a guest blogger at The Write Direction. They work for a few reasons:
– Your brain retains numbers better than words.
– Your brain is attracted to numbers because they organize information into a logical order.
– Numbers help cut the clutter and get to the point by reducing word count and making it easy to scan the ad text.
– Numbers offers substance and reach directly into our unconscious to highlight that a message as essential.
“…including figures or statistics in your ads helps them make a decision when evaluating your ad with a competitor’s ad.”
The use of dollar signs in ads work too. “Most people have an idea of how much they’re willing to pay for something long before they even consider clicking on an ad,” says Dan Shewan of Wordstream. “So including figures or statistics in your ads helps them make a decision when evaluating your ad with a competitor’s ad.”
Word to the wise: Although numbers can make your ad pop, don’t overuse them.
2. Invoke emotion.
Nothing spurs people into action like a powerful emotional response. According to Dan Hill in Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, “Emotions process sensory input in only one-fifth the time our conscious, cognitive brain takes to assimilate that same input.” Emotions, rather than cognitive thinking, have a more profound impact on our actions. They create better retention, recall, and prompt us to repeat future actions.
Emotion runs the gamut too.
Positive emotional triggers: Emotions like interest, honesty, affirmation, hope, joy, solidarity, and humor prompt action. Use words like critical, delight, smart, honest, uplifting, stable, support, trust, earnest, and natural in your copy.
Negative emotional triggers: Emotions like anger, hatred, and fear provoke powerful reader responses, but can be polarizing. Use them wisely, because you don’t want an adverse emotional reaction to carry over into perceptions of your brand. Use words like agonizing, contrary, controversial, censored, offensive, shameful, surprising, truth, provoke, damaging, seize, and unjustified in your copy.
3. Give the perception of scarcity.
Playing hard to get may work in the dating world, and also in business. Long story short, scarcity accelerates demand. Here’s how to use scarcity in copy:
– Create seasonally focused ads or email marketing campaigns that combine specific products, services, or offers for a limited time.
– Use words like no, low, without, limited, reduced, and stop in your ad copy.
– Promote “going, going, gone” messages communicating a limited-time promotion.
4. Put people first.
Nobody truly cares about your brand. What they do care about is the effect your brand has on their lives. For this reason, it’s important to be customer-obsessed by including value-based messaging. Think about answering the following questions:
– How can I simply communicate the value my brand brings to potential customers?
– How do I communicate that my brand is different (and better), and would serve a potential customer better, cheaper, or more efficiently than other similar brands?
– How can I integrate my company’s value propositions into my messaging?
Show, don’t tell. Think about answers to the above questions and use it in your copy.