Entries Tagged 'copywriting services' ↓

Watch Out For SEO Con Artists

SEO con artistJunk email seems to be a part of life these days.

But just recently I have noticed a vast increase in my inbox. It’s either for Viagra, to tell me the FBI has tracked me down to pay me several million dollars I’m apparently owed, or from SEO companies who claim to be able to get my website to rank for everything.

It’s this last bunch that prompted me to write this post.

Practically every day I get an unsolicited email from an SEO company who claims to be able to get me on the front page of Google for all my keywords.

As soon as they arrive I delete them but their sheer number got me thinking. Someone somewhere is probably falling for their hyped up patter – they must be because why else would they keep sending them?

Don’t fall for the con

Most of these emails will make huge claims about their SEO effectiveness.

Some of them will claim to be able to get great results for much less than you’re paying your present SEO Company.

But they all have one thing in common – they are unsolicited.

I don’t know about you but that’s not how I run my copywriting business.  The people I email are either clients, people who have made contact with me to talk about my copywriting services, or people who have already opted in to receive my newsletter. The one thing I don’t do is randomly select email addresses and bombard them with sales emails.

These people are spammers, pure and simple, and on top of that they are most likely the type of SEOs who use black hat techniques.

Choose your SEO Company wisely

If you receive an email out of the blue from a company offering their SEO services, think very carefully before contacting them.

The best advice I can give to find a genuine SEO Company who really understands their subject and will only use white hat techniques, is do your research.

Ask other people you know and trust who they use for their SEO and what results they’ve had.  Plus good SEO Companies should be more than happy to provide you with client recommendations.

Tread carefully, don’t believe the hype and don’t act on an unsolicited email.

The last thing you want to do is fall foul of Google – make sure your SEO Company understands the techniques and abides by the rules.

How to Brief a Copywriter

How to brief a copywriter

As a freelance copywriter I receive numerous requests for quotes every week.

They can be anything from new website copywriting, content for a brochure or direct mail letters to newsletters, email marketing and case studies. To make sure I get all the information I need I use a pro-forma that asks a series of questions designed to extract as much information as possible from the client so I can put together a comprehensive proposal and quote.

Most of the time clients are more than happy to complete the form in a very detailed way. However, every so often, clients will just jot down the bare bones of what they’re looking for assuming I’ll be able to fill in the blanks.

I’m good, but I’m not that good.

What your copywriter needs to know


When I first started as a freelance copywriter, one friend said to me “But why would I need a copywriter? You couldn’t possible know my business better than I do” and he was right, I couldn’t – not only that, I would never suggest I did. But that’s not what copywriting is about.

It’s not about who knows your business the best, it’s about who can write the strongest sales message.

Business owners tend to want to write about their business and achievements. They find it difficult to stand back and see their company from their customers’ point of view. And that’s were a professional copywriter comes into their own. Not only do they understand how to write powerful marketing copy, they can also view the company and its products/services from the customers’ perspective.

But to be able to do that, your writer is going to need as much information as possible about your company, its services and products, its ethos as well as the tone you want to convey.

Can’t you just write it?

As I mentioned earlier most of my clients appreciate what they need to provide me with, but there’s always the odd one that doesn’t. They think they’re doing my job for me by providing me with information – well, I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know your company intimately so I can’t write fabulous copy just from you company name.

To illustrate my point consider what would happen if you wanted someone to build you a house. When you sit down with your builder to brief him and say – “I want you to build me a house. Get on with it.”

Is he going to say “OK” and start building? Very unlikely.

He’ll want to know:

  • What style you want – detached, semi, bungalow
  • How many bedrooms
  • How big the rooms should be
  • How many rooms you want
  • How big is it going to be

And that’s just for starters.

You wouldn’t dream of doing this so why expect your copywriter to write amazing SEO website copy from your instruction “I want you to write my website – get on with it”.

The copywriter/client relationship is a very close one. You have to work together to achieve the right copy. It’s a very collaborative approach and one that can create a strong working relationship. The more work your copywriter does for you, the better they get to know your company. They will be able to make suggestions and point out areas of your marketing that need strengthening, giving your income a much needed boost.

A great copywriter is a valuable asset for any company to have and a worthwhile investment. Through their marketing expertise your company will gain the upper hand. Through powerful brochures and email campaigns to strong SEO website copy to boost your rankings, your copywriter is quite literally worth their weight in gold.

Are You The Right Person To Write Your Copy?

If you are a business owner, are you of the opinion that there is absolutely no need to hire a copywriter to write your sales materials because you know your product better than anyone else?

I can’t argue with the fact that you probably do know your product better than anyone, but that is the exact reason why you shouldn’t write the copy.

How can you tell if a company has written its own copy?

Because it is focused on what the product is rather than what it will do for the customer. It’s only natural. After all if you spend every waking hour with tumble dryers you will end up thinking about them a lot. You will know what every programme does and will probably be able to explain how it works in your sleep. It would be same if you made top of the range, ultra expensive shoes or any other product for that matter.

The problem with this is that it tends to lead to descriptive writing rather than powerful sales writing. So you will be writing about how great it is at drying clothes and perhaps the different colours it is available in – great, but a freelance copywriter would describe it as a specially designed labour saving device.

The same applies to the shoe example. Being too close to them, you will be selling them as high quality and stylish, which I am sure they are. But your sales writer would look at them and think ‘what does your potential customer want to know?’ They aren’t interested in the quality of the leather, or shade of colour. The will want to know that they are the latest must-have item for the woman-about-town and they’ll make her irresistible to men.

OK, that is potentially a little far fetched, but I hope it illustrates my point.

No matter how much blood, sweat and tears went into developing and producing your product, your customer won’t give two hoots. The only thing they are interested in is what will it do for them?

• Will it save me money?
• Will it save me time?
• Will it make me look successful?
• Will it make me feel like a million dollars?

Knowing your product well is vital but what is probably more important is the ability to dramatise them it terms of their benefits. A skilled copywriter will make your reader believe that not only will their lives be made easier with your product, but they couldn’t possibly live without it.

That is the skill you need to harness through a professional copywriter; the skill that will make your readers reach for their credit cards.

Email Marketing – why it doesn’t always work


Email is a quick and easy way to get your message out to thousands of people in one hit.

So what do you need?

Well a copywriter is always a good start, but well written sales copy will only get you so far. Many people make the mistake of thinking that if they get a copywriter on board their email marketing campaign will be a sure success.

But come on, this is the murky world of marketing – nothing is that simple. For a campaign to have the highest possible chance of success (there are no guarantees here) there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration.

  • Content

Yes, this is a biggy but it’s not the be all and end all by any means. Your copy needs to be strong, compelling and sales orientated (hence the need for a freelance copywriter) with a strong headline and call to action, but it also has to have a ‘human side’. No one likes to think they are being sold something. The content has to be interesting, personable and engaging to give it the best possible chance of getting your message across.

  • Offer

Possibly even more important than the writing (did I really say that?) is the offer you are making. If it’s not irresistible it won’t work. And don’t forget it’s your readers that have to find the offer amazing – your opinion doesn’t count. Let’s face it we all think our products and services are the best, but that obviously can’t be true. It doesn’t matter how great you think your offer is, if your reader doesn’t get excited about it your email will end up in the deleted folder.

  • List

You can send out the best offer ever written by the world’s top copywriter, but if you are sending it to a ‘bad’ list it won’t work. You have to carefully research your target market to make sure your message is reaching the correct audience.

  • HTML

If you are sending an HTML email, have you tested it? Now I’m not an expert in HTML but I do know that not all browsers/email clients view it in the same way. What might look like a stunning email to one recipient may look like a pile of garbage to another. Test your email to make sure it works otherwise your hard work could either end up in a spam filter or deleted file.

  • Timing

Timing is everything. Avoid sending out your mailing on a Monday or Friday. The best time to send is mid morning on a Tuesday or Thursday. Also don’t forget that your recipient has a life too. The reason why your email failed to get their attention may be due to factors beyond your control – too busy, having a bad day, going to the wrong person or simply that you’ve contacted a company at a time when they don’t want or need your product.

I’m sure you can think of many more reasons why an email campaign may not work. But I want to get across the fact that you can’t blame one aspect for failure as there may be multiple reasons.

When embarking on a campaign it should be exactly that – a campaign. One email won’t do it. To be highly effective you need to send a series of emails over a time period. Use them to give information as well as sell. By constantly appearing in your reader’s inbox over a period of time increases your chances of being called when they need your particular product or service.

People will only buy if they need your service. It doesn’t matter how attractive your offer is, if they don’t have a need, they won’t buy.

Sorry, Too Late. They’re All Gone


The purpose of any copywriting or sales writing is to make your reader want to buy something.

But how can you make sure your reader actually buys your product or service when they land on your website?

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. You’ve landed on a web page, it looks quite pretty, it’s got some nice images, the copywriting is quite persuasive but you’re not 100% convinced it’s for you.

So what do you do?

Go back to your search results and look at another site? Probably. But would you actually return to the original site – would you remember which site was the original one? Probably not.

Basically if your reader navigates away from your website you are highly unlikely to see them again.

Therefore it is vital that you create a sense of urgency so your reader will buy your product there and then.

How to create urgency

The simplest way to create urgency is by using a limited time offer. Your reader won’t want to think they are going to lose out on something. It can be in relation to a discount, free bonus, price increase or even stock availability.

If it’s limited by time surely that means it will sell out fast…it must be popular…it must be the thing to have therefore I MUST HAVE IT.

There are a number of different types of limited time offer such as:

  • Order now! While the price is still low. After 18th August 2009 the price will go up to…
  • Order before midnight, January 12th 2010 and you’ll get a 25% discount!
  • Order before July 9th 2010 and you’ll get a free bonus!
  • Order now while stocks last! After 12th November 2009 we can’t guarantee we’ll have any stock left.

By using this method I can’t guarantee everyone will buy straightaway, after all not all your readers are necessarily going to be interested in your product. But if they are interested, a time limited offer will usually make them want to buy.