Too many businesses get stuck in “HIPPO mode”, where the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion gets in the way of making the best decision for the business.
When it comes to PPC ad copy, the HIPPO epidemic generally causes the HIPPO to say “we’re so special because we’ve been in business for 20 years”, or “we provide better customer service” etc.
Often, the reality is that the salesperson on the floor is talking about how the product solves customers’ problems. Patting yourself on the back for its own sake is useless, it’s just shameless self-promotion.
Similarly, if you are using your website to attract customers or clients who have never met you today, your website isn’t a brochure/business card, it’s your salesperson. As such, you must be able to sell yourself virtually (which is quite a bit harder).
All of this seems to argue against bragging about yourself and selling more – right?
Let’s quickly review the “5 elements of a successful PPC Ad”
- Perceived Value
- Risk Reduction
- Call To Action
So where exactly does “bragging” overlap with selling?
Although you(r) (boss) may be an idiot, trying to pound down the “we’ve been in business xyz years” as the catch phrase, he actually does have some validity to his focus. However, we need to place this copy in context of how we actually use it.
What part of the sales process are we trying to use it on? How will it convince your prospective buyer to click on your ad, go to the site, and buy?
Our customers have an internal voice in their head that wonders in fear whether they should really buy your product. (Subtly) bragging is a great way to answer 60 percent of their concerns:
- Perceived Value: Perceived value can arguably be the most important element of selling. After all, I don’t care who you are or what you do, I’m not buying something from you unless you have something to offer, and that has been valued in some way. If you have a strong existing brand, bragging can add to the mix. An example of copy could be “Exclusive Versace Dealer” “#1 SEO Company” “Top Web Design Firm”. These all can work great.
- Credibility: Here’s where much of the “bragging” comes into play. Our potential customer is asking themself “they talk a good talk, got great perceived value, but is this for real? I don’t want to get burned.” The “Open from 1985”, “BBB A+ Rating” etc. is great here. However, this tactic can generally work better on the landing page. In the ad copy, you may want to put the major focus on the benefits / perceived value.
- Risk Reduction: Credibility and risk reduction are very much similar. Credibility is mostly a “risk reduction” tool. Knowing that a company is credible in and of itself reduces risk. In our previous article, we talked about the other individual elements of risk reduction.
Now that we’ve talked a little about the ad copy elements, let’s talk about what we’ve seen that worked – and what didn’t.
Using anything like “#1” or “Top” etc. is very ballsy. In fact, it’s so good; it’s almost “illegal” to use “superlatives” in Google AdWords. The way to get out of it is by backing your claim up with third party data. Does your chamber of commerce list you as the #1 Local Seller of widgets”? If you are number 1 make sure to put that on the landing page.
We've used something similar to “1,000’s of happy customers” and have had abysmal failure within ad copy. Our theory behind it being that people just don’t believe that type of statement.
On the other hand, we’ve had a client that put in his old copy “selling XYZ since 1985”. We tried other benefit focused copy, and that “1985” copy just worked better. Our theory is that this is something unique – especially in his field.
These are your top action items:
- Identify Current “Bragging Points” in yours and Competitor Copy: see our article on how to beat your competitors.
- Brainstorm the “So what” with your HIPPO: Involve them (and your salespeople) in this conversation. Answer this question: What purpose will the bragging achieve?
- Create Your Brag: Based on your answers to the above question, create some terrific ad copy ideas.
- Add Your “Brags” to the website/landing page: Support your ad copy with landing page copy. (We recommend putting the “brags” prominently on the landing page to increase credibility.
- Generate PPC Copy: What “brags” have you found successful in your ad copywriting? Start with what has truly worked, and go from there.