The Fine Art of Encouraging and Discouraging Clicks In Paid Search Copywriting - Irv Brechner

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Cover image for  article: The Fine Art of Encouraging and Discouraging Clicks In Paid Search Copywriting - Irv Brechner

When it comes to SEM, you want to get as many people to click on your ad as possible, right?

Not so fast! The answer for most companies is a resounding "no" because the real objective is to get only those likely to convert to click on your search ad.point+and+click

If everyone who sees your search ad clicks on it, the conversion rate is likely to be close to zero. But if only those that are qualified potential customers click, your conversion rate will zoom and your cost of clicks will plummet – both very desirable outcomes.

I like to say that SEM copy needs to simultaneously EN-courage consumers to click, but at the same time DIS-courage those who are not qualified. Seem contradictory? Yes. Impossible? No.

Let's use a practical example. Your site sells expensive men's suits at 50% off with free shipping and a large assortment of sizes, brands and colors. These are $1,000 and up suits, and your target audience are those that can afford them and enjoy wearing finer garments.

An inexperienced copywriter might write a search ad like this:

1000's of men's suits – 50% off, free shipping

Choose from dozens of name brands, full range of sizes, the latest styles and colors.

With copy like this, everyone in the market for a suit is going to click on this ad and maybe even those men who don't need a suit but are curious. While it does everything to EN-courage consumers to click, this ad copy does nothing to DIS-courage those who aren't qualified.

So when consumers get to the site, they are faced with suits costing thousands of dollars each, and even with a 50% discount, that's still big bucks. Most will not buy because they didn't expect to see a web page with such expensive suits and can't they afford them. It's just that simple.

In order to add the "DIS-courage" element into this copy, here's how you accomplish that:

Men's luxurious, imported, designer suits – 50% off

Dozens of top brands, styles, colors, sizes. Free shipping.

Note the addition of what I call the "DIS words" – luxurious, imported and designer. When people read those words, they understand that we're talking about expensive suits. They know that these words are not used to describe $99 suits.

So when consumers read the "DIS" words, far fewer of them are likely to click, because they know it's going to be a waste of time and that the results are likely to be out of their price range, even at 50% off. Those that do click are the ones that are used to buying high-end suits and therefore are most likely convert.

That's the fine art of simultaneous EN-couraging and DIS-couraging in search copy. It's one of many tactics you need to use when writing search copy (95 characters), Twitter copy (140 characters) or Google text ads (140 characters). This is a good reason to ensure that you have seasoned copywriters tasked with writing your online ads.

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Irv Brechner has written over 100 published direct marketing articles and 13 books on a variety of topics. He's been a pioneer in online customer acquisition since 1996 and offline for his 35-year career. He has developed's "Customer Acquisition Intel Center" ( ) he evangelizes best-of-breed tactics to help companies acquire customers in the digital age. He can be reached at: .

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