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Weekly Wisdom with Joel Bondorowsky: The Strategy Behind Effective PPC Ad and Sales Copy

Weekly Wisdom with Joel Bondorowsky: The Strategy Behind Effective PPC Ad and Sales Copy

Joel Bondorowsky

Modified Transcript

Hello. For this week's Weekly Wisdom, I am going to give some advice regarding pay-per-click strategy. More specifically, I am going to be speaking about how to find the best ad message and sales copy for your unique campaign needs. But first, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Joel Bondorowsky. I am the founder and executive director of PPC Designs, which is a boutique PPC ad agency, and I am also the SEMrush PPC Academy professor.

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So, what is pay-per-click strategy?

Well, you know what? Strategy is the difference between successfully launching a pay-per-click campaign and launching a successful pay-per-click campaign. Platforms, pay-per-click platforms such as Google and Facebook, they make it really, really fast and easy and simple these days to drive traffic.

All you do is click through their funnel and do some billing details, and before you know it, you are driving PPC traffic. Actually, more specifically, you are successfully driving PPC traffic, but you aren't driving successful PPC traffic. So, the difference between the two is a strategy.

Five Elements for Success 

Successful campaign strategy requires the following five elements. First, it is the right tool for the job, which is basically the right PPC channel or platform, whether it be search with Bing/Yahoo, search with Google — this is Google Search, Google Display, YouTube.

It is not limited, by the way, to the actual company that is offering it. It is the tools that they offer. Next, you need to use that to serve the best possible ad, a winning ad, to your target audience, which then sends them to a well-designed sales funnel. All of this is encompassed by proper campaign optimization.

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Tools Needed to Succeed

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Today, I am going to tell you how to choose the best possible creative to pull your target audience off of whatever they are doing on the web over a billion websites. They are browsing for stuff; they are researching things. Whatever they are doing, I am going to tell you how to write the best creative to distract them, pull them away, and get them onto the best possible landing page, which will then turn them into a converting user.

What is the decision-making funnel?

The decision-making funnel represents the steps a person makes in their mind before they purchase a product. These steps are awareness, interest, desire, and action.

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You see, for someone to be interested in something, they have to first be aware of it. Before they can desire it, they must be interested. And finally, before they can take action and buy, they must desire.

The biggest mistake you can make when targeting people who are at the top of the decision-making funnel is to try and sell to them too quickly. These people are not even aware of what you are offering yet. They will be turned off if you advertise a price or a promotion for something that they know nothing about. Instead, it is essential that your ad reflects a problem that they have which your product or service may solve.

So, first off, the ad is built to entice the user to click. Next, you must write a clear message in your ad. The sales copy must be to-the-point and spark curiosity, not sell. And finally, have a clear call to action to learn more, discover what your message is about, and so on.

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And by the way, I strongly advise against using ads that are too rich in graphics. Though they may be beautiful and visually appealing, they will probably distract from the message that you are trying to convey.

Sales Copy

So, once the user clicks on this ad, it is then the job of the landing page to have sales copy that is well-written and compelling enough to drive them down the decision-making funnel from being aware of what you are offering to interest in it, and finally, taking desire and action to buy it.

The sales copy needs to be of the highest quality; it usually is longer. Often, a video sales letter or a video on the landing page can help. And also, you don't want to be so quick to lay out your offer and price; this will turn users away.

Remember, first, the landing page needs to make them interested before you could say, "Hey, get this today. Free shipping. 50% off." Whatever it may be. Save the pitch for the end.

Bottom of the Decision-Making Funnel

This concept is in contrast to targeting consumers that are at the bottom of the decision-making funnel. When people are ready to take action and buy something, they know what they want. So the best ad message that reaches these users is one that clearly reflects what they are looking for or desiring. Demonstrate to them that you can provide it in a reasonable manner. Also ends with a clear call to action and is straight and to-the-point.

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Often, with these types of ads, people try being poetic, being creative, being funny — it won't work. People have a little attention span. They don't want to think. They don't want to try to get your joke or point; it should be straight and to-the-point.

Unlike advertising to users that are at the top of the decision-making funnel, the landing page that will work best to sell to them is one that has a very clear headline which also reflects what they want, an image that shows that you have it, short sales copy. I mean, they already know what they want to take action and buy. You don't need to sell it to them again. There is no reason for that. Of course, a clear call to action, to add to cart, to proceed to the order form, and so on.

Credibility Components

Also, very important are components that show that you are credible, that explains why people should buy from you, that give them trust, and that relaxes anxiety that people often have when they are on a landing page trying to decide whether or not they should trust you with their billing details or not.

So a lot of times seals help. And these seals could just be something that you design. A seal that says, "100% money-back guarantee," near the call to action can work wonders to help increase conversions and relieve some of that anxiety. Also, user testimonials help - they show credibility. Better Business Bureau seals with your rating, Trust Pilot reviews, all of these are good on a landing page that is selling something to users that are ready to buy.

So, that just about wraps it up. I really hope this helps clarify a bit about what it takes to run successful campaigns. I welcome any questions or comments that you may have. Feel free to leave them below. So, this is Joel Bondorowsky with PPC Designs and the SEMrush Academy. I am signing off. Thank you so much for watching.

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Joel Bondorowsky

Knows everything… well, almost.

Joel Bondorowsky can be described as a true PPC addict. The last thing he does before bed is check his stats, which is also the first thing he does after waking up. It is his love for the job that feeds this addiction. He dabbled with his first small campaigns back in 2000, when PPC was at its infancy. However, it wasn’t until 2010, when he started working at Wix.com, when he got into more extreme PPC. After leaving Wix, Joel started a boutique ad agency called Quality Score where he managed some of the largest PPC campaigns in history. Today, he serves as the SEMrush Academy PPC professor s well as founder of PPCDesigns, a new boutique agency providing tailor made marketing solutions for large, mass market activities.
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Daniel Stewart

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

I strongly agree with your tips for a successful PPC Ad campaign. I also try to implement these points while launching PPC AdWords campaigns.
Steve Young

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Great job, Joel. I can see the efforts you have put in writing this article and thank you for that. I'll be waiting to read more valuable information like this in the future. Thank you once again, Joel.
Nik Ranger

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Great short little video, I played it for our PPC team who could always use a good refresher. I appreciate that you're sharing your process of logic to help people laterally think and apply these concepts to their campaigns. This was really useful because I was able to relook at our ad copy with fresh eyes to ensure that we have ads that serve the right intent along the purchase funnel. We've now colour coded each of these so it's really easy to see at a glance if we're covered all the right angles. It's been a really good start to be able to see quickly if we're being thorough where it counts. Cheers
Igal Stolpner

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Hey Joel, hope all is good!

I really like this one: "People have a little attention span. They don't want to think."

I think we need to keep this is mind when we build pages and products, but even more so when it comes to LPs.

Anyways, so from your experience, do you think there's a way to target people in different decisions-making steps with separate campaigns? I'm speaking of a separate campaign for someone in the Awareness step vs. someone who's just looking for the Action? (best offer).

I'm thinking about this a lot from an Organic point of view, but it might be in the same direction.
Tim Jensen

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Excellent discussion. Good point on saving the pitch to the end for top-of-funnel people. I think too often marketers fall into a mindset of building every landing page around the bottom-of-the-funnel folks, with an immediate hard sell. You need to meet people where they are.
Andrew Cock-Starkey

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Hey Joel - great, simple explanation.

Question: your advice around "The ad should entice the click not sell" - where do you draw the line around click-baity headlines (or maybe you don't?).

E.g. a "GET FREE BEER!" ad headline will draw the click but if the page doesn't offer that, users get frustrated and leave. Do you have any tips on striking that balance of enough info about what the offer is vs. enticing the click?
Joel Bondorowsky

Knows everything… well, almost.

Andrew Cock-Starkey
Hi Andrew,

That's a great question. The title should not be deceptive, not only because consumers will get frustrated and you'll suffer from low conversion rates, but also because you'll run into problems with compliance, especially with the Google Display Network, and Facebook Ads.

Let's say you're selling an automatic car washing device called the Auto Clean 2000.

Ad copy that says "Free Beer" may more clicks but won't sell a thing.

An ad that says, "Buy the Auto Clean 2000, 50% off" won't get any clicks because nobody has any idea what it is.

Instead sales copy that says, "Have a clean every day without leaving the house and spending a dime" will both trigger curiosity, and be relevant to the product that's sold.

After the click, it is the job of the landing page to inform the user about the product, and sell it.

I hope that answers your question.


Jason Barnard

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

Trying to sell too quickly. Oh yes. We see that so very often
I am soooooooo guilty :)
Joel Bondorowsky

Knows everything… well, almost.

Jason Barnard
But you sell so well.....

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

thanks. loved the points on the copy. I often find light CTAs (eg "Learn More") to be more effective for top of funnel activities and less effective for the bottom funnel.
Nick Samuel

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Agreed Gianluca, there's a few smart-arses who claim these are wishy-washy (ineffective) CTRs but they're tried and tested. And as you said, if you're at the top of the sales funnel...it's not really appropriate to display messaging right away such as BUY NOW!
Liraz Postan

A veteran community member.

Super helpful! Joel is the best in terms of simplifying topics and explain what's really important. Well done!
Navah Hopkins

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Great suggestions! We like using audience customizers to accomplish this (especially in branded campaigns). Extension creative can also benefit from this thought process.
Craig Campbell

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Good tips, I like how you have simplified everything here and take the time to explain the steps and the reason you are doing things. Think this comes across really well and helps people understand PPC when all of the rubbish is cut from the talk.

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