Entries from January 2011 ↓

Social Media Phobia

Social media phobicSocial Media is a contentious topic that continues to divide opinion. People tend to fall into one of three camps:

  • They love it
  • They hate it
  • They just don’t ‘get’ it

From my point of view, I love it. As a freelance copywriter it has helped my business hugely. I tweet (@sallyormond), I blog, I dabble in Facebook and I use online forums, social bookmarking sites etc. They have all helped me gain greater online exposure, gather wonderful clients,  find amazing people and help when I’ve needed it most.

Before you ask, yes I do get out occasionally seeing real people. But being a writer is a solitary profession and I spend a lot of time at my desk therefore social media provides me with a link to the outside world while I am working.

Are you social media phobic?

Are you one of the people that says…

I can’t see the point in all this social media stuff.”

“Why would I want to waste my time reading about what someone had for lunch?”

“It’s a complete waste of time; it’s not as if anyone reads that stuff anyway.”

“My customers don’t use social media.”

It always makes me smile when I hear these objections. They make social media sound like some sort of alien concept that has no place in society and yet it’s been happening for years albeit in a different format.

Social media is all about being ‘social’ – it’s chatting, building relationships, being interested in other people.

In your line of work, how do you interact with your customers?

Do you just take their order, give them what they want and then move on to the next person? If you did they won’t think much to your customer service.

First up you probably have to build some sort of rapport with your customers before you can get them to buy. You’ll spend time investing in your relationship with them but offering them information and guidance. Once you complete the sale you’ll keep in touch, make sure everything is all right.

To market your business you probably go out and network. That means you chat to people unrelated to your business learning about what they do and what they need. You might even put people in touch with others who need their help.

All of this you’ll do as a matter of course in your daily business life.

Hello? That’s what social media is all about it just happens on a different platform—online.

To get to grips with social media all you have to do is transfer the skills you use in your everyday life to the online community.

Give it a try—you might surprise yourself. If you do decide to dabble in a spot of blogging or tweeting give it a chance to get going. Miracles won’t happen overnight so don’t give up after a week just because you’re not seeing any benefit.

You have to give to the online community to get something back. Persevere with it, engage with people—you could surprise yourself.

Researching Your Customers

bread and butter

In a recent post, How Do Your Work Out Your Customers’ Needs? I looked at why you shouldn’t assume your customers think the same way you do.

The post generated several tweets asking for tips on how to discover what your customer wants.

The simple answer is ask them.

They are your bread and butter and are better placed than anyone to tell you what they need from you or why they don’t feel you’re the right supplier for them. They are also best placed to tell you how they use social media.

So what’s the most effective way of communicating with them?

1. Ask them

Many believe conversation is a dying art so why not resurrect it by speaking to your customers?

Scary thought isn’t it?

Chatting to them will help you discover why they bought from you or why they decided not to. How they found you, what social media channels they use etc.

Whether you come into physical contact with your customers or not, it’s simple to strike up a conversation. Pick up the phone and make a courtesy call to make sure they were happy with your service. While you’re chatting ask them what they liked best about your product/service, what they liked the least, what could be improved, how they first heard about you, do they think using social media would strengthen their standing with customers. In fact ask them if they realised you were on Facebook/Twitter—would they use those channels to communicate with you etc.

2. Newsletter

If you want to conduct a spot of market research and already send out a regular newsletter, add in a short survey and offer a prize or discount to those who complete it to encourage them to help you out.

The questions can be tailored to discover whatever you need to know about your service, products, website, staff etc.

You could also ask them about their social media habits to find out where they ‘hang out’ to make sure you as a company are utilising the right channels for your marketing and monitoring. And of course always include your links to your Facebook or Twitter accounts so they can interact with you.

3. Case studies

We all love a good real life story and that’s where the mighty case study comes in to its own.

Ask one of your recent customers if they would be willing to be the subject of a case study – they’ll be flattered you asked them and you’ll get great publicity from it.

Through the case study you’ll discover what their problem was, their motivation behind approaching you for the solution, how they perceived your service and their feedback on the whole process.  Plus you can discover how they first came across you.

Whether you write it yourself of get a professional copywriter to do it for you, the humble case study is a great promotional and research tool.

4. Feedback

So simple and yet often forgotten.

Once you’ve sold to someone or missed a sale, ask for their feedback. Ask them why they bought from you, or why they decided to go elsewhere.

Ask them where they first heard about your company (if you sell online you could always add this question into your order form to help you discover the most effective advertising channels—whether that’s through Google search, Facebook, Twitter, advertisement etc.)

Taking the time to ask your customers for their feedback also shows you as a company that cares. Yes, it helps you in the long run to improve service, your products and to discover where your customers are hanging out but it also shows that you listen.

5. Test the water

When using applications like Twitter and Facebook try running competitions to see what reaction you get.

Interaction through social media will highlight how your customers are using it. Plus competitions will boost your profile and you can monitor how successful each channel is through the number of entries. You can also grasp an idea of the demographics of social media users by looking at the entrants/comments you receive.

So if you want to find out where your customers’ are hanging out the simple answer is to ask them.

Calm Copywriting

calm copywriting

What do I mean by calm copywriting?

Well let me first tell you about what prompted me to write this post.

I took my eldest son to the Orthodontist this morning. The Orthodontist is a lovely chap and comes from Eastern Europe…somewhere. Anyway, after making my son’s next appointment we got in my car to head back to school when I mentioned that I might get his father to take him in for the next appointment as I might not have my car that day.

My son looked at me in horror and said “no, you can’t do that. You know what dad’s like, he’ll try and talk in his European English so the Orthodontist understands. It will be soooo embarrassing!”

The ‘European English’ my son is referring to is the good old fashioned British way of communicating abroad – s-p-e-a-k-i-n-g   v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w-l-y  a-n-d   l-o-u-d-l-y to make sure our European cousins can understand us perfectly.

Admittedly it usually ends up either offending or reducing people to hysterical laughter.

So how is all this related to copywriting?

Well there’s a lot of ‘European’ copywriting about too.

We’ve all seen the landing pages which comprise of different sized fonts, bold colourful words and truly awful graphics. And this isn’t just confined to landing pages you can also come across it in emails, sales letters and websites.

Does it give the reader confidence?


Does it engage, enthral and sell?


Instead it annoys, switches the reader off and encourages them not to buy.

Rather than relying in brash sales techniques like these, use your words carefully and let them do the selling.

Keep your text uniform (other than your sub headings), calm and persuasive. It will have a great effect; make you appear more professional and approachable.

Remember your reader isn’t an idiot. They will see through all the frills, fonts and colours. If you want to be taken seriously, write seriously.

Email Marketing – Getting 2011 off to a Flying Start

email marketing

A new year is a time for resolutions, a lot of which probably only last a few days at most before they are broken.

But just because 2010 is over you shouldn’t just forget about it.  Now is a great time to reflect on what happened last year, discover what worked for you and what didn’t.  Once you have the answer to those questions you can begin to plan your email marketing strategy for 2011.

Email marketing for 2011

To help you make sure you enjoy successful email marketing campaigns this year I have listed below a few suggestions that might make all the difference.

Now’s the time to try something new to help you enhance your results from last year. So without further ado, here are my suggestions:

1. Remember mobile

One thing many companies forget is how their emails are being read.

More and more people will first become aware of your email on their mobile phone.

How do you decide whether to open and email or not? You probably look at who sent it to you first, followed by the subject line—if it looks interesting you’ll open it. If it doesn’t catch your attention it’ll probably remain unread.

Boost your email’s chances of being read by adding text above your header:


Therefore when the email appear on their phone they will see who it’s from, the subject line and the text ‘Email marketing secrets revealed’.

2. Hook line and sinker

The subject line of your email will ultimately determine whether it is opened or not.

It has to be intriguing, promise something new/important or offer them something that’s going to make their lives easier or help their business.

But once you have them hooked it is just as important to make sure the body of your email provides them with the answers.

Using a strong subject line but then talking about something different in the email will dissolve any confidence they had in you.

Make sure that what your subject line promises, your email delivers.

3. Drop off zone

How long should your email be before your reader dozes off?

An email that goes on and on and on will bore the pants of your recipients so if you have a lot of information you want to get across, add a teaser in the email and then link out to the full article so if they want to learn more, they can.

Everyone is busy and if you constantly send out mind-numbingly long emails you’re going to get a lot of unsubscribers.

4. Call to action

You call to action is vital because it asks your reader to take an action—call you, email you or buy now, book here…

Frequently they are seen as hyperlinked text inviting the reader to click it. But how about using a button instead? It stands out more and there’s something compelling about seeing a button – you just have to press it.

5. Proofread

A simple thing but something that’s not done often enough.

There’s nothing worse than sending out your email only to then discover a prominent typo.

Make sure you speak to your public and not the pubic, offer to nurture your clients but don’t neuter them.

An email full of typos will do untold damage to your reputation, so read it carefully before hitting send.

These 5 simple suggestions could help your 2011 email marketing campaign go with a bang. Try them out and see how you get on.

These tips are brought to you by Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter, blogger and social media fanatic.

This is Why Internet Marketing is So Important

internet marketing

I have often written about the importance of internet marketing.

Today, if you want to find new customers, expand your business or grow your reputation, the internet is the place to be.

By utilising the power of online copywriting, blogs, article marketing and social media, you can drastically improve your company’s exposure within the marketplace.

Still not convinced?

Well the lovely people over at Pingdom have generated a list of mind-blowing internet numbers for 2010.

Below are just a few of the stats, for a more detailed analysis take a look at their site.


  • 107 trillion – The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2010.
  • 294 billion – Average number of email messages per day.
  • 1.88 billion – The number of email users worldwide.
  • 480 million – New email users since the year before.
  • 89.1% – The share of emails that were spam.
  • 262 billion – The number of spam emails per day (assuming 89% are spam).
  • 2.9 billion – The number of email accounts worldwide.
  • 25% – Share of email accounts that are corporate.


  • 255 million – The number of websites as of December 2010.
  • 21.4 million – Added websites in 2010.

Internet users

  • 1.97 billion – Internet users worldwide (June 2010).
  • 14% – Increase in Internet users since the previous year.
  • 825.1 million – Internet users in Asia.
  • 475.1 million – Internet users in Europe.
  • 266.2 million – Internet users in North America.
  • 204.7 million – Internet users in Latin America / Caribbean.
  • 110.9 million – Internet users in Africa.
  • 63.2 million – Internet users in the Middle East.
  • 21.3 million – Internet users in Oceania / Australia.

Social media

  • 152 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
  • 25 billion – Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010
  • 100 million – New accounts added on Twitter in 2010
  • 175 million – People on Twitter as of September 2010
  • 7.7 million – People following @ladygaga (Lady Gaga, Twitter’s most followed user).
  • 600 million – People on Facebook at the end of 2010.
  • 250 million – New people on Facebook in 2010.
  • 30 billion – Pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) shared on Facebook per month.
  • 70% – Share of Facebook’s user base located outside the United States.
  • 20 million – The number of Facebook apps installed each day.


  • 2 billion – The number of videos watched per day on YouTube.
  • 35 – Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • 186 – The number of online videos the average Internet user watches in a month (USA).
  • 84% – Share of Internet users that view videos online (USA).
  • 14% – Share of Internet users that have uploaded videos online (USA).
  • 2+ billion – The number of videos watched per month on Facebook.
  • 20 million – Videos uploaded to Facebook per month.

Still think there’s no need to get your company online?