Entries from February 2013 ↓

How to Generate More Leads & Gain More Customers

That is what every business owner wants, right? Generating more leads and referrals

Customers are what keep your business afloat, so you constantly need to be out there drumming up new business.

But what’s the best and most effective way of doing that?

Sure, you’ve got your website, email marketing, brochures and other online marketing strategies, but are they the most effective?

Frankly, no.

The most powerful tool you have in your marketing armoury is a happy customer because they’ll head off and tell their friends and colleagues about you – and that’s the cheapest and most effective form of marketing I know of.

So how can you generate more referrals? Well, the best way is to give your customers something to shout about and that comes down to good old-fashioned customer service and going that extra mile.

Education, education, education

Educating your customers is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from your competitors. I’m not just talking about blogging and article writing here, which as we all know helps cement your reputation as an expert in your field.

Education should also become part of your company’s culture – whenever you have a new customer (or a returning one for that matter), teach them about your product, show them how to get the most of it and make sure they know you’re there for any questions they may have.

Keep talking

You’ve already shown them your door is always open; so now make sure you keep them informed about every stage of their order – when it will be received, if there’s a delay tell them what the hold up is and when they’ll get it. Keep them informed about what’s happening in your business, if you’re bringing out a new model or a new product, tell them about it.

A regular newsletter is great for this, but make sure it’s personalised and the content is relevant to that customer.

Go the extra mile

We all love surprises, so make sure you surprise your customers. It can be an unexpected gift, a little something extra in their order (it doesn’t have to be much, Wiggle.com always send out a small bag of Haribo with all orders), perhaps a free sample of a new product you’re introducing. Whatever it is, it will bring a smile to your customers face and give them something to tell their friends about.

Make sure you know what’s happening

Too many companies grab orders, send them out and then forget about them.

Be different – follow up every order to make sure your customer is happy. If they are get a testimonial, if they’re not find out what went wrong, put it right and send them a ‘thanks for letting us know and we’ve now put it right’ gift.

Even a simple hand written ‘Thank you’ card with your order makes an impact.

None of these ideas have to cost the earth and by making it part of your company’s culture, it will become second nature.

The result will be very happy customers who come back time and time again with their friends in tow. So if you want a never-ending referral machine, start using these techniques and make your company stand out as a champion.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd


Invisible Writing – The Art of the Copywriter

Invisible writing? Invisible copywriting

Let me explain.

The role of a copywriter is to write stonking copy that:

  • Grabs the attention of the reader
  • Persuades them that the product or service in question is what they’ve been looking for
  • Convinces them to buy
  • Compels them to get their wallet out and part with their hard earned cash

Plus, they have to do all that without being obvious about it.

Although copywriters write for a living, unlike the J K Rowlings, David Baldaccis and Scott Marianis of this world, their writing has to remain invisible – i.e. it shouldn’t be the reason for someone to stop and read.

Copywriters have a tough life – they are great at what they do and excellent writers, but they’ll never receive the recognition that our literary greats enjoy.

But the fact remains that the writing used to sell a product or service should do just that – sell. It shouldn’t be hailed for its literary merits, or be seen as the best-written piece since…well, the last best-written piece ever. It should just do its job without fanfare.

 Writing with power

How do you achieve all of that?

The first stage is to picture your reader and write to them.

Yes, the actual audience you’re writing for will be more than just one in number and most probably quite varied, but by keeping one typical reader in mind you’ll be able to focus your writing on them and their needs.

The next stage is to develop an informal, conversational style of writing (in the second person). Write as though you’re having a chat with the reader over a coffee.

As you start to write always keep in mind the structure of a story. We’ve all grown up listening to them and so are predisposed to taking them in and believing them.

Once you have done your research into the company, product/service and audience you’re writing for, focus on the key benefits and shout about them. They are the lynchpin of your copy – they are the things that will convince the reader to buy what you’re selling.

By keeping your language and sentence structure simple and jargon free, you’ll be able to get your message across clearly. And following it up with a powerful call to action, you’ll have the reader eating out of your hand and reaching for their wallet.

Keep the reader in focus

As a copywriter, everything you write is about someone else; it’s never about you.

If you have a compelling urge to write great prose, my advice would be to write a novel. Keep your flamboyance for that and keep your copy clean, simple and every so quiet.

The Power of Education in Marketing

What’s your idea of an effective marketing message?Education and marketing


Hmm, I’m guessing your marketing campaigns haven’t been very successful then.

Contrary to popular belief, your marketing message isn’t actually about you.

Nope, it should be about your customers because, at the end of the day, they are far more important than you. Without them you don’t have a business.

You see marketing should all be about education – gently nudging the reader to the realisation that your product or service is the thing that’s going to change their life for the better by solving the issue/challenge/problem they’re facing.

Back to the classroom

Recently I’ve been working with a long-standing client to produce a series of case studies to highlight the diverse work they do.

During an interview I conducted with one part of the business, the interviewee spoke about some conferences they’d arranged to encourage sharing of best practice and knowledge with other departments within the same organisation.

Although this an example of interdepartmental education the same principle applies for any marketing strategy.

My client knew that if the value of their work was to be recognised throughout their organisation they had to find a way to educate their peers and the conference was the perfect solution.

The same goes for your customers.

Education is the key to any marketing strategy. Sales messages like the one above (the shouty one) will simply turn your readers off. For starters they won’t like being told they have to buy from you; they want to be wooed.

You have to tell them you understand the problem they have (they must have one otherwise they wouldn’t be searching the Internet for a solution) and the benefits your product or service can offer them and how it will enrich their lives.

This ‘educational selling’ is far more subtle as they will believe they have reached a buying decision all by themselves without being sold to.

Sally Ormond, Copywriter and blogger

Constant Content Creation – Supply and Demand

As an online marketer you understand the need for a constant stream of content.Content creation

Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C business (i.e. whether you sell to other businesses or direct to consumers), to gain a strong foothold in the search results you must produce lots of high quality content.

The problem is, the time needed to produce that amount of content is rather hard to come by. We are all over worked and finding a few extra hours a week to write can be tough.

Of course, you can lighten the load by encouraging key staff members to produce content for you – many hands and all that – but there are also some other tricks you can use to help generate content and make the most of the stuff that’s already out there.

Recycle your content

We’re not talking about spinning articles for multiple sites, but rather taking a look at the content you have and making the most of it.

If you have a long article, why not break it down into bite-sized chunks – you may get 2 or 3 articles out of one.

Another great tip is to reuse white papers and reports. They will be full of useful information that can easily be broken down into smaller articles and re-written in a more informal style suitable for your blog or website.

Moving away from text, why not re-create the information in a more visual style such as an infographic? That way you can also make use of social sites such as Pinterest. Or you could create videos from the text for your YouTube channel. Everyone likes to take in information differently so by having it in a text, visual and video format there’s something for everyone.


This one is more to do with making the most of your content through optimisation.

Everything you produce should be in line with your current SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy utilising one keyword/phrase per article.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that keyword also appears in the URL of your article and in the Alt tags for the images you use.

Standing out

The whole purpose of content marketing is to make it stand out and get it read. If you go for a wishy-washy format that’s pretty boring to look at, no one’s going to take the time to read it.

Make sure you use a strong headline and social sharing icons that indicate how many people have shared your material. Bulleted lists, charts and diagrams all help to add interest and, by keeping your article relatively short, you’ll encourage readers.

Call to action

These are not just for websites and sales materials.

They can be visual cues such as the social share buttons. If you want people to share your stuff or become a fan on Facebook, have markers to show how many people follow you or ‘Like’ you – they won’t want to be left out.

You can use your call to action to get people to sign up to your newsletter, go to a landing page, make a comment, in fact almost anything you can think of.

Get social

If you want people to read your stuff you’ve got to let them know it’s there. Tweet about it, link to it from Facebook, put it on your website and mention it in your newsletters.

Interact with your readers by encouraging comments and responding to them and, as already mentioned, make sure the social share buttons are present to encourage readers to share it with others.

You see, content marketing is not just about generating a constant stream of fresh material; you also need to think about what you already have that can reused in a different format.

By looking at it that way, you should be able to keep up with the demands of your marketing strategy.

How to Create a Corporate Video that Sells

What springs to mind when you think corporate video?Corporate Video

  • Panoramic views of a factory?
  • Shots of sign-written lorries driving past the camera?
  • Views of a group of workers looking studious?

Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of them turn out, which let’s face it is pretty boring.

We’ve said this time and time again on this blog, but are willing to get back on our soapbox again; the only way to engage with your audience (regardless of the type of marketing – website, newsletter, email, brochure etc.) is to stop talking about yourself and to concentrate instead on your customer and what you can do for them.

The same applies for corporate videos, which means forget about the arty shots of your premises and the booming voice that announces “We’re been in business since the start of time…” because, guess what, your audience couldn’t give two hoots about any of that.

So, that means you’ve got to get creative.

Video marketing

First up, let’s think about the premise for your video. We’ve already said that it’s a bad idea to create something that shouts about you.

To get your creative juices flowing think about what it is that you do and how that helps your customers. Then consider producing a scenario that highlights the benefits of your service. That could be in the form of a cartoon, animation, or a situation filmed using actors.

If you’re thinking hang on a minute, when do we get a mention in all of this, you do, just subtly.

Right at the end of the video you need to add a strong call to action highlighting that if the viewer wants to have the same wonderful experience as the actor/animation/cartoon character they need to get in touch with you – but slightly more creatively than that.

Powerful videos on a budget

If your budget won’t quite stretch to something like that, how about video testimonials from happy customers?

That way you reduce your production costs, help out your customers (with a bit of free exposure) and by getting them to shout about you, you get your message across without sounding pompous.

The power of this type of corporate video comes down to the script writing – not what your clients say, but how you frame their comments within the video.

Video scripts – making them hit home hard

Whatever you do, don’t try to script the testimonials – they need to ‘come from the heart’ otherwise they’ll come across as contrived and insincere. But the script that introduces them should be very carefully written.

This is your opportunity to set the scene and outline:

  • The issues your client had
  • Why they chose you
  • How your product/service helped them
  • The impact it’s had on their business
  • How it is helping them to move their business forward

Have you noticed something?

None of the items in that list talk about your company directly; they all concentrate on how you helped your customer.  Clever eh?

Then the client’s testimonial will give a fuller account in his or her own words.

You see powerful corporate videos are quite easy to produce. If you have big bucks you can go to a creative agency and produce something epic, but by using these techniques any business can produce a video that really packs a punch without delivering a knock out blow to your marketing budget.


Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd