Blog > Copywriting > Ad Copy That Builds Brand Loyalty

How to Write SEM Ad Copy for People, Not for Bots

July 21, 2023
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11
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In a fiercely competitive digital space, building brand loyalty is the ultimate goal of every brand, the end game that can ensure the overall success of the company you work so hard for.

And the best and most effective path to getting your brand to that point, of getting customers to come to you for their needs instead of your competitors is to have good, strategic, and persuasive copy.

Good copy isn’t “just an ad” to inform your followers and potential customers about a sale or about the products and services you offer, good copy is supposed to captivate your reader, put your brand in their heads, conjure up the emotions you want them to feel, and build an emotional connection between brand and reader. 

It’s the taglines, the slogans, the jingle lyrics that have the power to make your brand memorable, to make it a part of your customer’s daily vocabulary and lives.

Good copy goes way, way beyond “just an ad.”

So, if you’re ready for your ad copy to go above and beyond “just an ad,” this blog is going to give the secrets to crafting compelling ad copy that connects with your readers (not with Google bots, more on that later), inspires them, and compels them to build unshakeable loyalty to your brand.

Are you pumped? So are we.

Let’s get started.

What is Copywriting?

Technically speaking, copywriting is the process of crafting written content for use in your marketing efforts. It’s the writing in content like company ads and promotional material and, because of that, its goal is most often to persuade a reader to take action or influence their purchasing decisions.

The humble copywriter is the someone who makes all of that magic happen. Their job is to write copy for ads, social media captions that may accompany them, and possibly the entirety of the content on a company website, including white papers, case studies, FAQ sections, blog posts, and more.

Even though the vast majority of your customers will never know who your copywriter is, they are a vitally important behind-the-scenes player, because a good professional copywriter writing good professional copy creates the memorable ads that can set your business apart.

How to Create SEM Ad Copy

A piece of paper being written on with an orange pencil.

But first people have to see your ads.

This brings us to the topic of SEM (search engine marketing) ad copy, which is written content that is specifically designed for use in paid ad campaigns. 

It works like this:

When certain keywords or phrases are used in the written content of your advertisements, those ads are more likely to pop up in an internet user’s search results that closely relate to whatever product or service the ad campaign holder is trying to sell.

The goal of these SEM ads is to entice the user to click, driving traffic to a brand’s landing page or website with the goal of getting them into that brand’s marketing funnel for further nurturing and a future sale down the line.

SEM Ad Copy Formula

It seems very complex (and it is) but also, it’s not. To write good SEM ad copy, use the following formula:

  1. A Headline — Your headline should be something snappy and attention-grabbing, something interesting and bold enough to make a user stop scrolling to have a look at what your ad is about.
  1. Description — Your description will expand on your headline and provide more info about whatever products or service your brand is showcasing in the ad. Make it easily scannable, but don’t forget to include key benefits, cool features, or any offers or promotions you have going on. Another thing: Don’t buy into the idea that ads have to be short, or that people’s attention spans are too short, or that modern shoppers think “words is hard.” Some of the most successful ad campaigns have a lot of copy, but it’s good copy that’s entertaining to read. Copy that tells a story, makes people laugh, makes a brand name stick in people’s memory. More on this later.
  1. A Call to Action — Something urgent to prompt the user to take action. “Buy Now” or “Start My Trial Today!” Make sure it’s clearly marked!
  1. A Link — It can be in your CTA, or it can be somewhere else, but it should be easy to see or embedded somewhere in the text for the user to easily click on to get to a website or landing page.

SEM Ad Tips

The following tips can be used for any type of copy you’re using in your digital marketing or content marketing strategies, but we find that they are particularly effective for SEM ads.

  • Use good keywords and phrases that align with your offerings and what users are searching for when they’re looking for solutions that can be addressed by your product or service. SEMRush, AHRefs, or Google Keyword Planner are good ways to find high-ranking keywords that you can compete for.
  • Be sure your ad copy aligns with the messaging and the search intent of the user.
  • Highlight your brand’s differentiators, what makes it special, and how it’s truly the ultimate solution to any potential customer’s pain points.
  • Take advantage of ad extensions to provide more info for a customer to easily do their own research and better showcase your benefits.
  • Make your CTA irresistible. Use strong, persuasive language that encourages immediate action.

Warning: Incoming But …

Yellow warning sign with an exclamation mark in it

Yes, there is a but. 

While it’s nice to have copy that ranks with search bots, believe it or not, that shouldn’t be your main goal and if it is, then you’ve lost sight of what’s important.

Sure, use your keywords, they do help your visibility and brand awareness, but please remember that ad copy that builds brand loyalty isn’t completely about how well you rank with search engines. There are websites out there now that rank first in Google searches, right there on top, and then, when you click over to start reading, you quickly find that they are utterly worthless. Just a word salad of SEO-friendly key terms and alt text and of little use for anything else. 

Yes, they’re ranked highly by the bots … but do they provide value to their target audience? Are they memorable? If your website ranks high, but users roll their eyes and click away after they open it and read the first snippet of copy, did you really succeed? 

I mean, congrats, you got a click, but do you think crappy content is what builds brand loyalty?

The core tenet of SEO is the knowledge that Google spends millions of dollars every year updating its indexing criteria and its AI to make it think more like a human being. This is why the algorithm changes so frequently. Google discovers that poor content is ranking highly because everyone’s gaming the system, so they change the system to make it more human. Keep reading, because we’re going to blow your mind about this point in just a bit.

So, if you want to truly become a creative copywriter, one that crafts ads that resonate with readers and makes them smile, makes them think, makes them loyal to your brand, then here are our tips for you:

Becoming a Creative Copywriter

Here’s the deal. 

The past few years as search engine crawlers and SEO this and SEO that have taken precedence over great, snappy, creative ad writing, many brands forgot one crucial detail: Indexing bots aren’t the ones buying your products or subscribing to your services or liking and following you on social media. 

People are.

And people don’t want to read content that was written for search engine optimization and to make the almighty Google bots happy. When they read, they want to read content that was written for them

For people. Not for robots.

 

And when we lose sight of the goal (which is selling to people, in case you’ve gotten distracted) and we start writing to appease search bots and to rank high in Google searches, that’s when our good copywriting gets swept to the wayside. 

That’s when marketing suffers, when we write blog posts that suck, and that's when our value gets buried and hidden in a confusing mishmash of keyword-heavy titles and awkward and stilted product descriptions that do it for Google but don’t make much sense to curious visitors.

Examples From the “Before Times”

If you think we’re being dramatic and preachy, we’re not. It’s worked before. 

There was a time when ad companies weren’t worried about search engines and SEO copywriting and Google bots (mainly because they weren’t around, but still). 

Did that make it harder to reach customers? Probably. Were they wildly successful anyway? Oh, yes.

And during those “before times,” good copywriters and marketing teams relied on language, the written word. Good, persuasive copy. Catchy headlines and unforgettable slogans. 

And it worked, didn’t it? As old as the following examples are, you can’t tell us the copy didn’t catch your eye, make you smile, and make you think. Check out these examples:

Nike 

Just do it.

Simple. Inspiring.

Nike ads are some of the best. Check it out to see why.

Volkswagen

VW has a history of having some of the best ads of all time. Some of their ads used only a single word too. Take that, SEO. 

Have a look at these pitch-perfect VW ads.

Coca-Cola

Another one of the greats. Check out how simple yet effective these vintage Coke ads are.

Apple

Think different. 

Just two words, right? But it’s what they say between the lines that make these Apple ads so powerful.

Alka-Seltzer

It’s silly, almost nonsensical, and yet …

If you’re of a certain age (or your parents are), all you’ve got to do is sing the first four words of this little jingle, and those in the know will jump right in and finish it. It's the 70s equivalent of going viral. That’s ad magic, right there.

Don’t Forget About the People

Three 3D purple people icons

Nostalgic, right? 

These jingles, slogans, taglines, they were all written for people and that’s the reason they’ve stayed with us so long. We have the internet now, but that doesn’t mean that we start writing for robots just for visibility and forget about the humans that will read our content once it does manage to get in their sight. 

We need our copy to bring the magic of the before times back into our current times.

If you want to be a truly great copywriter, then keep this in mind when you’re crafting ads, typing up blogs, or sitting at your desk to work on any type of copywriting that comes your way. Just write for people and stop worrying so much about SEO and cramming so many keywords into this blog post or product description or FAQs.

But My Google Ranking …

Yes, we know. Stop worrying about your Google ranking.

The thing is, search engine crawlers aren’t a done deal. As we mentioned earlier, they’re evolving just like every other technology we have out there. Look how much cell phones have changed in the past 20 years. Look how social media has changed in the past 10 years, how AI has changed in the past 5. 

Those search engine crawlers will evolve soon enough, so just focus on producing great writing, great content, and great ad copy, and they’re going to catch up.

In the next few years, we anticipate that well-written, helpful content will be more important than keyword stuffing and SEO. Bots will be better able to “understand” the quality and relevance of the words written in your website, blog posts, and content and start putting more emphasis on how much value it can potentially provide users rather than how many keywords it hits.

It’s already started, actually. Even the bots we have now are taking into consideration the quality of traffic a website receives. Websites that are helpful and actually provide value have users that hang around longer, download material, and come back for more. 

If your content is good, people will read. If it sucks, they won’t. It’s that simple.

So, hang in there and focus on writing for people because that’s what produces good copy, drives traffic, and increases conversion rates. 

The bots will catch up soon.

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How to Hire a Great Copywriter

If you’re looking for that memorable and creative copy, the words that resonate with people the same way they do with Google bots, then you’re going to need a creative copywriter.

There are a few ways to find that special someone. You can find a freelancer by posting copywriting jobs on Upwork or other online job sites, check out some applicants’ writing portfolios and see if their expertise and writing style is a match for you …

Or … you can partner up with Designity instead.

At Designity, our talent pool is made up of the top 3% of US-based creatives, including the copywriters, content writers, and SEO experts capable of elevating any written content you have.

Our talented writers specialize in capturing the essence of your brand, crafting just the right words to connect with your audience, and finding the balance between SEO writing and good writing that helps you build that emotional connection with your target audience that is so often lost when brands focus on bots and stop writing for people.

Our copywriters write for people. Do yours?

Does your ad copy build brand loyalty?

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Sara, a Designity content writer.
About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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