The following strategies will help you create ads that make prospects want to click and buy.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The following excerpt is from Ted Prodromou’s book Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound
Everyone sees thousands of ads every day, so it’s hard to break through the clutter and grab someone’s attention. You need to interrupt a viewer’s thought pattern without being annoying. If you pique their interest, they’ll click on your ad to learn more. If you don’t grab their attention in a second or two, they move on and can subconsciously block you out in the future. This is why you need to carefully plan your LinkedIn ad campaigns to get the most for your dollar.
The key to writing successful online ads is to put yourself in the shoes of the people who are reading your ad. Imagine how they’re feeling. Find their pain points. Understand why they’re frustrated. Once you get into their heads, you can write ads that will instantly grab their attention and make them comfortable with you and your products.
The headline and the image are the most important factors in your ad. Most online advertising experts say the headline can account for up to 90 percent of your conversion rate. If you don’t grab users’ attention with a compelling headline or an eye-catching image, they’ll never read the rest of your ad, let alone click on it.
There are five key factors that can make your headlines more clickable. Not all of them will result in clicks on ads for your product or service, so you have to test to see which ones convert best for you. They are:
- Curiosity: If you start your headline with phrases like “How I . . .” or “How do I . . .,” readers will be curious and want to read the entire headline.
- Benefit: By providing a clear benefit in your headline, you’re implying that people will learn something new that may give them a competitive advantage. They’ll click on your ad to find out more.
- Emotion: People respond to certain words, especially when they trigger an emotion. The right words will make people click on your ads.
- Credibility: Most people like tangible ideas because they’re familiar and make sense . When you hear “1 + 1 = 2,” that’s tangible because you know it’s true. When you hear “How large is space?,” you don’t feel comfortable because there’s no definitive answer. Including familiar experts is an easy way to make your headline tangible and credible.
- Expectation: It’s important to set reasonable expectations in your ad and not over-promise.
Creating Strong Headlines
Top copywriters suggest you sit down with a pad of paper and start writing headlines until you run out of ideas. Just write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t stop until you have at least 30 headlines. Most of them will be terrible, but by doing a complete brain dump, you’ll come up with a few good ones to test.
Another great way to get headline ideas is to go to your nearest bookstore or grocery store and check out the magazines. Your local bookstore will have huge racks filled with hundreds of magazines in every niche—or you can search online. Write down the headlines and article summaries that grab your attention and use similar wording to create compelling headlines for your LinkedIn ads.
All copywriters have what’s known as a swipe file, where they save articles, magazine and newspaper headlines, and direct mail that they use as a source of ideas for their own ads. Those ads you receive in the mail every day are great sources for headlines and ad copy. Create a file folder where you can save headlines and articles that caught your attention. When you’re ready to write new ads, read through the clippings you’ve collected, then try brainstorming—your brain is full of ideas from the swipe file, so you should be able to crank out 30 to 50 headlines in short order.
The Power of Images
Images in advertising are as powerful as your headline. Often the image can be the most important aspect of your ad, depending on what you’re promoting. Selecting the right image for your ad can be up to 70 percent of the reason that someone clicks on it. Your image will make your ad stand out on LinkedIn and interrupt the viewer’s attention. The image you choose must be relevant to your ad and your offer. Deception may get viewers’ attention and get them to click on your ad, but they will quickly become disappointed if your offer doesn’t match the image.
Images of a real person, from the neck up, convert best on LinkedIn. A simple headshot of a professional facing the camera works best. You don’t want to use casual pictures of a person out at the baseball game or making silly faces. You are targeting professional people on a business-oriented website, so choose appropriate photos.
Targeting Your Ads
One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn advertising is your ability to target the audience to whom your ads will be displayed. You can create very specific ads for very specific demographics, so your response rate increases dramatically. A well-planned LinkedIn ad campaign includes tracking your results so you know which ads and targeting demographics work best for you. Many advertisers don’t take advantage of the site’s targeting capabilities, displaying all their ads to all job titles. Creating specific, relevant ads and displaying them to the appropriate target audience will improve your conversion rate significantly while reducing your advertising costs.
You can target your LinkedIn ads based on any or all of the following criteria:
- Job function
- Job title
- Company industry
- Job seniority
- Company size
It will take some testing to determine the perfect targeting for your ads, but once you nail the demographic of your ideal customer, your ads will generate consistent leads and sales for your business. Be patient, split test your ad campaigns, and measure your results so you know which campaigns are fully optimized.