Fact or Fiction? Writing search PPC ad copy promoting B2B brands, products or services isn’t as fun as promoting some sexy, fabulous, coveted line of B2C goods because B2B, by nature, is boring.
Fiction! Fiction, I say! Clever marketers embrace the opportunity to market B2B because they recognize and respect the challenge it embodies: To make the ostensibly boring not only saleable, but beautiful.
The good news is this is a goal any ambitious marketer can achieve. Even you. All you needs is a creative mind (or team of creative minds), willingness to think outside of the box, courage to test the legal department’s limits, about 90 minutes to spare, a fair amount of caffeine, and this trusty blueprint for more fruitful B2B ad creative brainstorms.
Ready? Here we go.
Lay Out The Literal (10 Minutes)
A great way to kick off ad copy brainstorms is to lay down the facts:
- What are we marketing?
- What are its features and benefits?
- What is the call-to-action?
- Who do we want to click?
- What keywords are being targeted?
Consider any proven key messaging that may already exist. Use it for insight and inspiration. Collate all the goods in a spreadsheet or map it out on a whiteboard.
Build Out Your Buckets (15 Minutes)
Once you’ve identified the information above, write the most literal ad ever. Now’s your chance to be boring. The goal is to isolate each element of the ad that conveys your message and assign it to a bucket.
If you’re selling virtual meeting software to businesses, a sample ad might read:
Virtual Meetings Software
Streamline remote conferences with
Powerful software you can afford.
(I saw that yawn.)
Well actually, that ad wasn’t so terrible. But surely we can spice it up.
Buckets to create from this example might be “streamline,” “remote conferences,” “powerful,” “software,” and “afford.” You can also create buckets for any other concepts you want to convey that may have not made it into the ad– such as “top-rated,” “easy,” “trusted,” and the like.
When you have your buckets assigned, it’s time to build them out. Explore the rainbow… that is to say, the spectrum of how colorful you can be while remaining true to the brand, relevant to consumers and topical to keywords.
How many different ways can you say “best,” or “software”? Spend time on Thesaurus.com, or even with the Synonyms tool in MS Word. Bring in some team members to help. Two, three, four minds are better than one.
Once you have your beefed-up buckets, it’s time to write some ads.
(Intermission: Independent Ad Writing)
Reconvene & Review (30 Minutes)
Come together with your group and go over what you’ve come up with. Redline concepts that don’t work and highlight ones that sing. Then… fasten your seatbelts for some quality lightning round freak-out time.
Let Your Freak Flag Fly (10 Minutes)
Armed with your first round of ads, dedicate a controlled chuck of time being super silly, insanely out-of-the-box, one-too-many-cans-of-Mountain-Dew weird.
Channel your inner-target-customers. Rattle off headline concepts and body copy that play off their personalities, priorities, inside industry humor, concerns, vulnerabilities, fears, desires, and fantasies. During this lightning round, forget you have to run anything by legal (or a client) and just let your freak flag fly.
Aside from being a fantastic mental exercise and break from the norm, we find that these truly uninhibited brainstorms allow your mind to really connect with the end user, concocting ad concepts that are daringly honest, poignant, bizarre and unique.
When cooled down and polished with a sophisticated touch, the ultimate results can be massively effective and genuinely attention-catching.
Which leads us to…
Co-Mingle The Literal & Maniacal (Time: 25 Minutes)
Attack a fresh round of ad writing with your new sideways concepts, tempering them with valuable messaging from your literal buckets (not to mention target keywords). A few additional rounds of redlining, highlighting, tweaking and optimizing should leave you with a glorious collection of ads worthy for client or legal department review.
Final Words of Advice: Remember Who You’re Writing For
This is search. You’re writing for two parties– the algorithm that decides what ads are displayed when a query is entered, and the human being who entered the query. Be creative, but calculating.
A literal, keyword-rich headline gives you freedom to play around with hyperbolic body copy. If you go for an edgier headline, make sure your body copy clarifies it, ideally with KWs in the upper left of the ad.
And there you have it! Now go sprinkle some chili powder in your coffee and get started.