Rule #2: You must write to a targeted audience.
The fact is, your product or service is not going to appeal to everyone. And if you try to market it to everyone, you'll wind up with far fewer sales than if you choose a select group to direct your copy to. So once you've defined your target market, you need to turn your attention toward making sure your copy addresses them directly.
For example, let's look at pay-per-click advertising. Let's say you bid 17 cents per click in Overture.com for the key phrase "single-family homes." Because you pay every time someone clicks through this link, whether they purchase from you or not, you want to make sure that your ad carefully targets your best potential customers.
Given that you're targeting single-family homebuyers in the Seattle area, you'd want to make sure your ad includes this vital piece of information. That way, you can be sure you won't waste money on people searching for single-family homes in San Diego! And if you bid 41 cents per click for the key phrase "Seattle homes," you'd want to make sure to write an ad that clearly states that your site features single-family homes so you don't waste your advertising dollars on condo-seekers or recreational property buyers.
By writing a separate ad for each of your keywords that carefully targets your market, you'll ensure that you attract the most buyers for the least cost. Of course, if you're writing copy for banner ads, your approach will need to be a bit different. Whether you're purchasing blocks of impressions (i.e. you pay a set dollar amount for your banner to be displayed 1,000... 10,000... etc. times on other websites) or participating in a banner exchange (i.e. you're trading banner impressions with a network of other site owners), you've paid for your advertising up front, so you'll want to do everything you can to attract viewers' attention and persuade them to click through to your site. And this means you'll want your ad copy to be a bit more general, to ensure it attracts the highest number of click-throughs.
The title of the above classified ad would make a great banner because you're targeting your best potential customers:
|Take a Personal Tour of 375+ of Seattle's Hottest, Most Affordable Single-Family Homes! Click here now...|
But you might also try testing banners with more general copy that read something like this:
|Search a HUGE online database of 375+ Seattle Dream Homes and skip the house-hunting headaches! Click here now...|
The first ad is going to attract the most qualified audience--those people looking for a single-family home in Seattle for a reasonable price. The second version, however, will attract a slightly broader audience. Still in Seattle and still looking for homes, this group is not necessarily looking for a single-family dwelling and they're not necessarily worried about price. They're just checking out homes in the Seattle area, and they're attracted by the size and convenience of the online database.
While the first ad may generate a higher visitor-to-sale conversion rate (the percentage of people clicking through who then sign up for the service) because it's more specific, the second ad will probably solicit more total click-throughs because it has a more general appeal. You'd have to test to see which version would pull the most sign-ups altogether.