Entries from December 2014 ↓

Things to Think About When Designing Your Website

First things first, I’m not a web designer or an SEO (search engine optimisation) expert, so this post is written from a business owner’s perspective.

Having gone through 3 website design processes (and currently going through the process for the fourth time), I have learnt a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.

Before looking at web design specifically, I want you to think about the content on your site. As a copywriter that is obviously my area or expertise and the way that’s created has a lot in common with web design.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is copy written from the company’s point of view. It tells the reader all about the business, how long it’s been in existence, how they are the leading widget builder in their field, how they value their customers and how reliable they are.


Heard it all before.

There is nothing there that makes them stand out from all the other widget makers.

Why is that so wrong?

Because the only thing the reader is concerned about is themselves. They want to know that your product is going to help them in some tangible way – saving them time, money, making them more successful etc.

What does all of that have to do with web design?

Well, when you start with your web design process you’re more than likely going to think about what you want to see.

You’re going to want to be the owner of the flashiest, quirkiest, most modern looking website out there.

You’re going to obsess over colour, images and fonts.

The problem is none of that stuff is important.

Granted, it’s got to have a professional look to it, but it’s far more important to give your customers what they want.


Because they are the ones you want to buy from you.

Think how your customers are going to view your site – ask yourself what will they want?


  • Clear and logical navigation
  • Useful information that’s updated regulalry
  • Video how-to guides and product demonstrations
  • A simple way to contact you
  • Information that tells them how your products will help them

In other words they want a website that’s easy to use.

How does that measure up with the plans you had?

Remember, when designing your new website make sure you leave your ego (and your web designer’s ego) at the door. It should be designed for your customer. Everything it does should make their life easier. After all, their interaction with your website will probably be the first impression they get of your company, so if it’s all about them and making their lives easier they’re more likely to buy from you.



8 Ways to be Tweet-tastic

Have you noticed how everyone else seems to have a handle on Twitter and yet you seem to be tweeting into nothingness because no one is engaging with you?

Even though you’re tweeting regularly you’re not being listened to, it’s as if your tweets are invisible.

Making an impact in the Twitterverse is important if you want to get your business noticed.

Stop banging your head against that brick wall and read these 8 tipsĀ  that will get you tweeting like a pro.

1. Make use of Twitter lists

Using lists will help you make sure you’re tweeting relevant information to different groups of people, a bit like you would do in your email marketing.

They are also a great way of helping you keep up to date with what’s going on with the different groups that you follow.

2. Snippets

When you publicise your blog posts do you just send out the title and a link?

How about sending a snippet instead (along with the link) to arouse curiosity?

3. Images

Look at your Twitter feed. Your eyes will be drawn to all those tweets that incorporate images.

Use the impact of visuals to your advantage to help your tweets get more attention.

4. Content

When you read an article and decide to share it on Twitter make sure you @tag the author too. This is a great way to start to build conversations and relationships.

5. Personality

This is something that should be in all your marketing, but especially your tweets.

Showing your human side will really endear you to others.

6. React

Twitter is immediate, so be topical and put out your opinion of things that are happening in the world. Plus, if there’s something happening in your industry, bring it to the attention of your followers.

7. Valuable

Although it’s fine to now and then tweet about personal stuff, make sure (in the whole) that what you put out is valuable to your followers.

8. Be seen

People have to notice you if you want them to pay attention. Join in conversations, reply to people and connect with your audience.

The idea is to be seen as an influencer and all these tips will help you achieve that.


Creating Winning Sales Letters

sales letter

Sales letters are still widely used despite the growing popularity of email marketing.

In some cases a letter can make more of an impact because people are becoming immune to emails and are more likely to delete it if it doesn’t immediately pique their interest.

Snail mail may be old hat, but there’s still something comforting about receiving a letter, something that makes us want to open it (especially if it comes in a hand addressed envelope).

I would love to tell you that this blog contains a free template for the most successful sales letter on the planet, but in truth there are too many variables for their to be a “one size fits all” template, such as:

  • The audience you are addressing
  • What they’re doing and how they are feeling when they get your letter
  • The offer you are making
  • What the weather is like
  • How their journey into work went

I could list more, but you’re getting the picture.

Having said there is no winning formula, there are a few things you can do.

1. Grab their attention

This shouldn’t need to be said as it’s true for all your marketing.

You have to grab their attention the minute they open your letter. That means a compelling headline and an awesome first line.

Make sure you draw attention to the benefits they’ll get if they do business with you and always go for clarity over creativity.

2. Problem and solution

This format always works well.

Your product/service is going to solve their problem, you just have to make sure you convince them of that.

There’s no need to lead them in gently, get straight to the point and empathise with them.

3. Benefits

The benefits must always be the focus of your letter.

Your reader wants to know how you’re going to help them so make sure you tell them. Everything you say about what you’re selling must be related back to your reader – how it will save them time, money, make them more successful etc.

4. Offer

People always opt for offers over purchases.

If you need glasses you’ll always go for a 2 for 1 offer, so make sure you offer a great deal and emphasis it.

5. Guarantee

One of the easiest ways to over come cold feet when you’re trying to sell to someone is to offer them a cast iron guarantee. If they know they can come back to you if they change their mind, they’re far more likely to take the plunge and buy.

6. Tell them what to do

If you do all the hard work listed above. but forget to tell them how to buy, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

Make the buying process as simple as possible and offer several different ways to buy – by email, phone or by using a reply card and stamp addressed envelope.

This may not have been the template you were hoping for, but it’s as close as you’ll get to one.

All you have to do is make sure each one of the elements above are included in your letter if you want to give it the best possible chance for success. Another tip is to follow it up with a phone call (depending on the size of your mailing).


Beware of Testimonial Thieves

You already know testimonials are like gold dust.

They give potential clients a glimpse at what you’re like to work with and an idea of how you’ve helped other companies.

You also know they have to be attributed to a specific person because there are so many bogus ones out there.

Well, did you also know there are some very dubious companies out there who think it’s OK to cut and paste testimonials from one company and claim them as their own?

I would never have believed someone could stoop so low had I not had first hand experience of such people.

To cut a very long story short, my company website is about to have a makeover. As a result, a number of social media sites that I am on will have to be updated, so in a rare moment of spare time I set about doing a search to make sure I found all the sites. Can you imagine my horror when the search turned up a copywriting website that had stolen three of my testimonials and claimed them as their own!

How could I tell?

They weren’t bright enough to remove the reference to my name or company in one of them.

I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

The problem is the company in question is in America.

An email has been sent asking them to remove the testimonials and, at the time of writing this, I am waiting for a response. If nothing happens further action will be taken.

I am staggered that there are people out there who:

  1. Think this is OK
  2. Are too bone idle to work hard for their own testimonials
  3. Has such little regard for copyright laws

The moral of this short tale?

Do a Google search on your company and check out any of the URLs that come up that look a bit odd.


Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd