Entries from August 2013 ↓

Customer Service Matters – Even When You’re Not There

What does your out of office reply say about you?

Is your out of office message really that important? It’s not really something people give a lot of thought to and certainly don’t see it as part of the customer service they provide.

After all, you’re off sunning yourself on a beach somewhere without a care in the world; the office is the last think you want to think about and quite rightly so. But it’s important to think about your customers even if you’re not there.

How many times have you received a flippant out of office response, or one of those that goes on forever?

“I’m out of the office until 26th September. If you need xxx, call xxxxxx or email xxxxx. If your enquiry relates to xxxx, please phone Audrey on xxxxx. If you want xxxxx phone Bill on xxxxxxx or Alex on xxxxx….”

Confused? So is the reader.

The best out of office responses are simple, to the point and very easy to follow.

Start with your subject line. Rather than writing something along the lines of “Hey dude, I’m off surfing, catch you later”, try something slightly more meaningful such as:

“Away from 1st September until 25th September with only limited access to emails”

It’s simple, to the point and tells the recipient how long you’ll be away so they can decide whether to wait or to contact someone else.

The rest of your email should be along the lines of:

“I’m out of the office from 1st September until 25th September. Upon my return it will take a few days to catch up, so it may be a day or so before I can reply to you. If your enquiry is urgent, contact Bob on xxxxxxx, otherwise I’ll get back to you by 30th September.”

It doesn’t take a lot to create a meaningful and respectful out of office response. So if you want to come across as efficient and professional, next time you’re away give a bit of thought to the email response you set up.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Boost Your Website Conversions With These 3 Optimisation Tips

Getting people to visit your website is just the first step. Once you get them there, your website has to convert them – i.e. convince them to take an action (sign up for a newsletter, buy, register for an event, download a report etc.).

Boost conversions

There are some simple checks you can perform on your website to make sure you have the best possible chance of pulling off a conversion.

1. Title tags and META descriptions

Title tags and META descriptions are important because they are the first impression a searcher will get of your website. Not only that, but the title tag is the piece of code that lets the search engines know what your website is about to make sure it appears in the relevant search results.

When a search term is typed into the search engine and your website is listed, these must tell the searcher that your website is the one they’re looking for. That’s why its imperative these are keyword rich and use words that will make the searcher click on your link.

Every page of your website must have unique title tags and META descriptions and, as emphasis is placed on the first words, make sure that’s where your primary keywords are.

They should also be short – title tags no more than 65 characters and the META description no more than about 150. But above all, it’s important to remember both of these must appeal to a real person.

2. Headlines

Once the searcher has clicked on your listing the next thing that comes into play is your page headline.

Think about what the reader wants to know and make sure all your headlines and sub headings are useful to the reader, give a sense of urgency, convey benefits and are very specific. On top of all that, they should also include the primary keyword for your page, but again, make sure it’s written in a proper sentence that makes sense to the reader.

As soon as they arrive in your web page, the headline should tell them exactly what that page is about.

3. Call to action

A web page is useless without a call to action.

This is a button, link or sentence that tells the reader what you want them to do next:

  • Buy now
  • Download the report
  • Register for the event
  • Call us now

Each of these pushes your visitor further into your sales process. If your call to action involves them completing a form make sure it is easy to complete, the last thing you want to do is lose them at the last hurdle because your form or sign up process is unclear or overly complicated.

These 3 very simple tips will help you boost your conversion rates.

Take a look at every page of your website and see if they tick all the boxes. If not, you’ve got some work to do.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter, Twitter, Google+

Using Pinterest to Boost Your Business

Although an avid user of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, Pinterest is a social media platform that I’ve not yet dabbled in. Pinterest for business

Perhaps it’s the image-based content that doesn’t seem to sit well with the work of a copywriter that’s holding me back?

But whatever is it, even though I’ve not yet dabbled, there are many businesses out there embracing the world of pinning.

Due to my lack of experience, I hunted round the internet to find a great resource to help you get the most of this unique social media platform.

My search led me to a post on Social Media Examiner that looks at 3 unique ways you can use Pinterest to promote your business.

The article looks at:

  • Using it to increase your brand authority by creating boards that offer useful and educational information. These can be top tips, recommendations and a mixture of video and images.
  • Expanding your reach through group boards (engaging with the Pinterest community), collaborating with popular pinners with a large following.
  • Driving traffic to your site by providing re-pinnable content – great images combined with content that inspires, solves problems or appeals to hobbyists.

To give your Pinterest activities a boost, head over to the article now and discover how you can use Pinterest to boost your business.


Sally Ormond – copywriter – find her on Twitter and Google+

Image courtesy of Boyhung/FreeDigitalPhotos

When is a Sale a Bad Sale?

Is there such as thing as a bad sale? Making a good sale

You would have thought the answer to that was ‘no’. After all, any money coming in to your business in the current economic climate’s got to be good – right?

That’s the train of thought that’s led many companies down the coupon or voucher route.

Offering blistering deals to get people through the door appears to be a great idea. But think about that for a moment. Who are you trying to attract?

The science behind sales

Offering a voucher or coupon will, in all likelihood, bring buyers to your door.

But what kind of buyers are they?

Are they the ones that came to you because they love what you do, want to build a relationship with you and will continue to buy from you in the future?


They are the ones that can’t resist a bargain, dash in, buy cheaply and then head for the door, never to be seen again.

Your marketing must build trust if you want lasting results. Yes, that will take time, a huge amount of great content and a lot of patience, but it will retain new customers.

A voucher or coupon will generate a one off visit to your website and/or purchase, but that’s pretty much it.

In other words, they’ll bring in the wrong kind of customer.

Getting your marketing right

If you want to attract customers who will come back again and again, you must produce marketing content that will:

  • Engage
  • Inform
  • Build trust

Long-term customers only come along when they feel valued. By offering them information that will be beneficial to them, they’ll grow to trust you and with that trust comes their custom.

The important thing to remember is that your marketing can’t just be a one off. To get results it must be sustained.

If you’re unsure where to start, chatting with a professional marketer will help. They’ve been where you are now and have avoided the hurdles along the way (or at least learnt from them).


Sally Ormond – copywriter – find her on Twitter and Google+

The Worst Advert Ever?

There are a lot of adverts out there, but there’s one that makes me cringe every time I see it.

Sure, there are plenty of cheesey ads that make you groan, or boring ones that bring on a sudden urge for a cuppa, but this one drives me mad.

All adverts must highlight the benefits of the product or service they’re trying to sell, it’s what makes us buy. But what about when the ‘benefit’ they come up with is so daft it beggars belief that anyone could have come up with it in the first place.

What advert am I talking about?

This one.

Apparently, according to the advertisers, eating any other yoghurt will make you dreary and dull (with a tendency to wear your hair all over your face in a ‘just got out of bed and can’t be bothered’ look).

But one pot of their elixir will make you into a vibrant person who feels great about themselves, is able to find a hair brush in the morning and who giggles inanely at the slightest thing.


Has it made me want to rush out and try the product?



Over to you

Which adverts really got your goat?

Leave a comment below and let’s compile a list of the worst adverts.