This is a post on how to write better ad copy.
However, here is a disclaimer: I am not a professional copywriter.
The ideas I have accumulated below are based on my personal experience and material I read, and they are basically nothing but that: ideas.
Imagine your friend wants to sell his car. How would you improve his ads?
From my own perspective: what gets me sold is not the classical sales punch.
Even though I may go on craigslist with the intention of buying a car, somebody who tells me a story how his car has done great things for him and then just shows and describes his car without asking me to buy will win.
If I am entertained while reading the sales letter, I actually think by myself: ‘this was fun to read, how can I give back?’ Luckily, the guy who wrote the letter just happens to sell his car!
It is also important – though often overlooked – that every type of car has a different audience. A sports car will sell to a different market segment than a Lexus. A Prius will probably have different buyers than a Jeep.
So you want to target your ad to your specific segment of the market. A family that buys an SUV will care less about speed and more about safety and ease of handling, e.g. how easy it is to add or take out an extra seat if they want to bring friends along for a picnic etc.
A sports car buyer will be happy to see how many carburetors the motor has and whether you installed special exhausts that add some horse power.
Stress out those respective features in your ad.
Here are several specific ideas.
#1 – Provide a better headline.
According to Robert Bly’s “Copywriter’s Handbook”, 80% of people are sold on the headline… they only use the text of the copy to reconfirm their good initial impression. This list has some great templates for headlines.
#2 – Provide photos.
A photo tells more than 100 words.
Have the car displayed in good lighting from a perspective that makes it look nice.
In addition, show yourself. If your potential customers see your face, they will simply trust you more and you will stand out from the majority of ads you find.
#3 – Provide a video.
If you have the possibility of a video in your ad, do it.
The video could show you starting the car, driving it etc. – and at the very least show the potential customer that they can trust you.
#4 – Tell a story about that car.
Tell a specific story taylored to the car and the audience you want to sell it to. Show them a potential benefit.
If the car is a family car, then tell a story on how you went out to the beach with your family.
Maybe something unexpected happened, and then grandpa saved the day. This story would communicate that everyone was secure and unharmed in the end.
If the car is a sports car and your audience will mostly be younger, talk about how this was your first car after your 18th birthday and you took your girlfriend out with it.
You would make that story about how this car makes the buyers cooler among their friends.
And if it is a small car, mostly purchased by people with limited resources, talk about how you drove that car to clients and were able to sell them something because they liked the understatement.
Suggest to people that they, too, can make money using this car.
Which is actually not a lie – my friend works for an insurance company, and his clients appreciate that he drives a “normal” car.
Tell your story in 2 – 3 sentences, if possible, with a picture (see #3) that fits the storyline.
One photo alone can tell the whole story.
#5 – Testimonials.
Maybe you can add some testimonials from a friend. Like a citation. For example, if your friend is a car mechanic, you could have him say:
“The easiest car I have ever worked with. Despite one sluggish windshield wiper, which we fixed, it was a pleasure doing the yearly inspection for Mike and his car. Sorry to see them leave us!”
Your friend, the mechanic, has just explained to the world that the car has been kept in pristine condition with only minor changes. Moreover, he has declared you a trustworthy person that he liked doing business with!
#6 – Showing how the car will help people solve a problem.
Once again, it depends a bit what your target customers are.
What I mentioned in #4 applies. Tell a little story. In addition, give some extra advice.
For example, if your car is a family car, add a small line: “A little advice: if you have a playmobile duck and some Micky Mouse comics on the backseat of the car, your kids won’t have to be told twice to get going on the next family trip”.
If your car is more of a sports car, add “a little tip: always have a CD with slow rock on board, and you’ll never have awkward silences again”.
You want to convince your target audience that you are a source to be trusted.
Bonus: even if they don’t buy, you have given them great advice and they have likely learnt something from you. Who knows, maybe they recommend you to one of their friends?
#7 – Good design
For example, use blue-grey colors if you are selling a car for professional purposes.
Like a Lincoln town car that people will probably use for driving clients around.
If the car is a sports car, add some design to make it cool.
I would copy the design from ads made by the car manufacturer. They have likely run extensive studies on which colors and letter type appeal best to their target audience.
If you are looking for an easy way to design graphics – there are several templates out there, for example, canva.com.
Also, if you use a photo, have it take up ca. 60% of the area of the ad, according to the Golden Ratio.
#8 – Include your phone number and eMail address.
Make your ad as trustworthy as you can.
If you have a social media account, also provide that account. Make yourself accessible out there. Nothing to hide.
Besides, people actually Google you anyway. So direct their curiosity into lanes that you have control over.
#9 – Offer a test drive.
I rarely see that offered, but why not?
That shows your willingness to let the customers see for themselves.
#10 – Add promotional offers
If you can, add a bonus gift for people that want to buy your car.
Ridesharing service offers (buy the car, get a bonus if you use it for Uber) work great, because you point out that the customer can actually earn money with the car. Alternatively, you can could offer potential buyers a promotional code for a local car repair service or similar.
#11 – Advertise on Social Media
For example, you could run ads on Facebook targeting your ideal customers, down to their location, age, interests and consumer behavior. So you can point your specific target audience to your ad or your webpage. Down to the amount of money they earn. Then, have your ads point to your car.
If you already have a social media followership, talk about how the era of you and your car comes to an end. Share some memories with your car. Talk about why you bought that car in the first place. Share your enthusiasm and generate some buzz for your car.
The bottom line for an ad that would excite me and potentially entice me to buy?
#1 – Tell a story about you and your car and
#2 – Show that you are a trustworthy person that does not try to “sell me up” on something.
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!
What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.
And to get back to the main page, you can click here.
Have you ever sold your car?
Do you have additional ideas for upgrading your ad?
Thanks for reading and let us know in the comments below!
(Pictures taken from Wikimedia Commons.)