How to write ads that sell


I find that when you’re creating ads that are intended to generate leads, you have a bit more room to be creative. You craft your copy to entice your readers, and use persuasive engagement strategies like mystery and humor. You’re trying to get them to pick up the phone, or visit your website. A little bit of effort, but no commitment. While still challenging, this is an easier form of advertising than sales advertising. Convincing someone to pick up the phone and put down their credit card number is a big step from just visiting a website.

Sometimes you need an ad that is going to drive a customer to seal the deal. And that’s what I want to look at today.

In this blog I’ll cover:

  • When you need to place an ad that sells
  • The components of a successful sales ad
  • Test and measuring your ad copy
  • Low-cost advertising that drives sales
  • How to create effective Facebook advertising

You always want your ads to lead to sales, but when do you need an advertisement that does the selling for you?

It’s impossible to generate sales from advertisements all the time. Most of the time you need to focus on getting the customer in the door, and then working them through the sales process. But sometimes you need more. Your ad needs to sell when:

  • You don’t have time to walk the customer through the traditional sales process.
  • You’ve got a product or service that needs to sell, now.
  • You’re trying to sell a specific product or service.
  • You have a highly targeted group of prospects.
  • You have a highly qualified group of prospects.

Creating an ad that sells is much like creating one that generates leads, except there is a different emphasis on its components. Here’s how you put together a successful sales ad:

1. Narrow down your target market to a specific segment.

You can’t sell to everyone with one ad, so choose a highly segmented group to target. When you have identified this group, choose an equally targeted publication to place your ad in, as well as a section of that publication that has the most relevance to your audience.

2. Choose a single product or service, or a product or service line.

Too much choice will muddle the offer, and create uncertainty. Be clear about what product or service you are selling, and the reader will be able to make their purchase decision immediately. If you need to sell more than one item, create a widget or promote a product line.

Choose a product or service that is highly desirable in the minds of your target audience, and one that would be easy to sell them on. Choose something that will make their lives easier, or solve one of their most annoying problems.

3. Craft your ad as you normally would, with a high emphasis on why the customer should buy now.

A. Get their attention with your headline.

Use a strong headline to grab the reader. It’s what makes the reader decided to read the rest of the copy.

B. Position your product as a solution to their need or want.

Since you have such a segmented audience, you can craft highly targeted copy that addresses their most common complaint or desire.

Your copy should be highly focused on the benefits of the product or service, and a detailed and lucrative description of what will happen after they have made the purchase.

Customer testimonials will be highly effective in this context, so use them wisely. You’re trying to move your reader from a place of disinterest to a place of action and commitment. You must reach their emotional hot buttons, and quickly paint a picture of post-purchase bliss.

C. Tell them how and why they need to act now.

Make it easy for them to act and take advantage of the opportunity – allow them to purchase online, or by phone to make the process simple and easy.

Include strong elements of scarcity and exclusivity. If readers fear that they’re going to miss out, they’ll act immediately.

Repeat the call to action several times, and be clear what you want them to do with the contact information you provide. “Call 999.535.9087” is more motivational than the number alone.

D. Include an image.

Use a high-quality photograph that accurately represents what you’re selling, or the benefit you’re promising. This will attract more readers, sell more product, and communicate a stronger message. Photographs represent reality in ways that words can’t. Use that to your advantage.





4. Test and measure your ad copy with a fine-toothed comb. Find the winning combination, and stick to it.

When you’re trying to create an ad to drive sales, you need your copy to be highly targeted to the emotional motivators of your audience. By now you should be able to use what you’ve learned testing and measuring your earlier advertising to inform your headline and copy choices.

If not, use split testing to determine the best headline, offer, and layout to suit your objectives. Divide your target audience in half, and use two different headlines. Then, measure which one is more effective. Then go on to test you offer.

Remember to test only one element at a time – headline, offer, layout, etc. – otherwise you won’t have a true understanding of which element is the successful one.

Now, let’s look at low-cost ads that sell: Facebook.

I love Facebook. 1.32B users every day and the ability to put your ad in front of your specific target audience. Plus, you can test inexpensively and scale quickly.

Most businesses can generate a significant increase in profit from a stronger Facebook presence.

If you’re not advertising on Facebook, it’s time to start!

Here’s an easy process for creating an effective Facebook ad for your business that will sell all year long.

1. Get your ad placed in front of the right audience where it will be seen first.

This is key to your success. Use Facebook’s audience targeting tools to place your advertisement right in front of your ideal targets. Since we are bombarded by advertisements, one way to make your advertisement stand out is to make sure the people who are most receptive to your message see your message!

2. Spend a lot of time creating a killer headline.

Just like every other form of advertising the headline is the most important part.

Create a headline that grabs the reader’s attention and sells your prospect on the benefits of what you sell, or what you have to say. If you have a solid headline, half your work is already done. If your headline is weak, the rest of your ad is a waste because it won’t get read.

Put a headline on your ad that sells your benefits and assures the prospect will read your ad. If you have a hard-hitting headline that projects a strong benefit and relates to the needs of your prospect, half the work is done.

Remember that your ad is competing with many others ads plus all the family pictures in your prospects news feed.

3. Sell them on your business, not on the product or service.

Sell them on the benefit of being your customer. Tell them why they should call you and no one else. Put your offer in a prominent spot, and let it tell your customer that they’ll get the most value from your business. You need to stand out, and offer better solutions than your competitor.

Be specific if you can, and describe the experience of working with your company. Include guarantees, and make sure your offer is enticing. This is guaranteed to boost responses.

4. Tell them what to do and how to contact you.

Always include a strong call to action. You need to tell your customer what you need them to do to start receiving the benefits you promised. Keep this simple, and provide several ways for them to contact you.

As I said earlier, writing “call me now at 604.555.6795” will get you more responses than the phone number alone.

5. Design the ad in a clear, easy to read way.

Flip through your Facebook feed and look at ads that you think are effective. What caught your eye? What does work, and what doesn’t?

Use high quality images. Make the ad enjoyable to look at and easy to read.

Go do it.

Whether you’re looking to create lead generation, sales or classified ads, the basic principles are the same. You need to not only attract the attention of your desired audience, but use your copywriting skills and knowledge of their emotional motivators to convince them to act quickly.

Want to talk about your business? Give me a call or send me an email and let’s talk about how you can advertise more effectively on any platform. or 215.858.8659