September 16th, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting, copywriting tips, effective copy
This blog first appeared on our sister blog, Briar Copywriting Ltd, but we wanted to share it with you here also.
If you knew what made people buy, writing your marketing content would be a doddle, right?
I’m not talking about features versus benefits or anything like that; I’m talking about the processes that go on inside their heads when they make a buying decision.
Most people’s decisions to buy are made subconsciously so there are certain things you can do as a copywriter or marketer to nudge them in the right direction.
Prey on their self-centeredness
It’s a sad fact, but your customers really don’t give two hoots about your company (other than you’ll provide them with great service).
The only thing they care about is how you’re going to make their lives easier. They want you to make a difference to them, to take away their pain and bring them more pleasure.
If you can show them how your product or service will do that, you’re on to a winner.
You, just like your customers, are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day.
Which ones do you take notice of?
Probably the ones that stand out, right?
It’s the same for your customers. If you can create something that’s different to everyone else’s message you stand a chance of breaking through the noise.
Use their laziness
There are a lot of adverts out there than use loads of words and some fairly abstract ideas, forcing the buying public to try and make sense of them.
The problem is customers are generally lazy and just want simple messages with relevant and eye-catching visuals.
Give them what they want and they’re more likely to buy.
Our brains have a tendency to pay attention at the beginning and end of things. Therefore, if your marketing is to have the right impact start strongly and recap your strongest selling points (i.e. your benefits) at the end.
Captivating videos and graphics will do the selling for you because people process and make decisions visually.
How many times have you made a snap buying decision based on an emotional response to something?
Emotion is a powerful marketing tool – make someone think they’re going to miss out and they’ll buy. Whether it’s using adorable animal images to get donations for your dog charity or showing that only fashionable people wear your jewellery, emotion will make people buy.
Successful marketing comes down to giving your customers what they want – not only in terms of your product or service, but also in the way you tailor your messaging.
September 9th, 2015 — newsletter
It’s important to keep in touch with your customers, old and new.
One of the best ways to do that is to send out a monthly newsletter.
Yes, newsletter, not sales letter.
Keeping in touch, sending them useful information and news and not making a direct pitch will help keep your name in their minds. Then, when they’re ready to buy again, they’ll think of your first.
Just remember your newsletter isn’t a regular sales pitch. Sure, if you are launching a new product or service you can add a piece about that, but your newsletter shouldn’t be all about offers and why they should buy from you.
The idea is to use it as a relationship building tool.
So where do your ideas come from?
After a while, you’ll probably find that your stream of brilliant ideas is beginning to dry up.
What was once a simple task once a month is now turning into a chore.
Every newsletter is beginning to look the same, so much so that your open and click through rates are plummeting.
What do you do?
No. You just have to get your thinking cap on.
Generating new ideas
I write a regular newsletter for one of my clients.
It’s done on a bi-monthly basis and I usually contact him with an idea for the lead story and then we work together to add in the rest of the information, such as offers etc.
So where do I get my ideas from?
My first stop is his website and blog. What have they been talking about? Once I find a suitable topic I do a bit more research to expand it and make it directly relevant to his audience.
What if there are no ideas?
Then I get on the phone and we have a chat about what’s been happening in the business over the past month. You’d be amazed how many content ideas that can generate.
You see, your newsletter themes don’t have to be about what’s happening right now in your business, they can be about wider issues. Perhaps a customer asked you a question? If they were interested in that topic perhaps other customers are too.
Look at what’s happening in your industry – new technologies that can be commented on, news stories that you can elaborate on, or events.
There are ideas everywhere; you just have to know where to look.
Read around. Listen to your customers. Talk to other staff members. All of these will generate ideas for future newsletters.
September 2nd, 2015 — Freelance advice, marketing
A time for holidays and relaxing.
It’s also the time when a lot of businesses experience a slow down.
Leads drop off, the phone stops ringing and no matter how may times you refresh your email client, no enquiries are coming through.
You have 2 options:
- Put your feet up and mope
- Put in some groundwork for future leads
Every business has a pile of leads that didn’t go anywhere.
Despite sending out competitive quotes, for one reason or another they didn’t get taken up. You were going to give them a call, but you were so busy you forgot.
So how about doing that now?
Give them a call for a chat, you never know their position may have changed and could now be in the market for your product or service.
What have you got to lose?
Review your sales process
Are you really being effective?
You probably think you are, but if that were the case you wouldn’t have that pile of warm leads to work through, would you?
Now’s a great time to review your marketing strategy from top to bottom.
Set yourself some targets to focus your efforts to make sure you minimise your ‘slow’ periods.
That doesn’t mean start phoning clients and asking them out right to refer you to someone – you don’t want to look desperate.
Offer them an incentive in the way of a generous referral scheme – you know the sort of thing “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
It’s a great way of extending your sales team without taking on new staff – and a whole lot cheaper.
Every business has slow periods, but how you deal with them when they come is what makes the difference.
Use them to your advantage and start planning for a stronger future.
August 26th, 2015 — Freelance advice, freelance copywriter, freelance copywriting
Running a freelance business is great…most of the time.
The pluses include:
- No more 9 to 5
- No boss breathing down your neck
- You get to choose your working hours
- You can run your business in a way that suits you
Of course, any freelancer also knows that what that really means is:
- You can end up working a lot more than just 9 to 5
- You have no boss so the buck stops with you
- You have to work the hours your workload dictates
- You’re the only one in your business so you have to be Jack of all trades
From an employees perspective freelancers have an easy life, but we know that’s not always true – especially in the early days.
One of the toughest bits of freelancing is finding a constant stream of clients.
The freelancer’s workload is notorious: one minute you’re up to your eye balls the next tumble weed is rolling through your office because work as dried up.
What can be done?
Can anything be done, or is that just part of being a freelancer?
Client churn is a natural part business. When you’re busy everything’s rosy, but you tend to be so busy you let your marketing slide. As a consequence, once your project is complete there’s nothing to follow it up with.
Where do clients come from?
Everyone has a favourite way of attracting clients:
- Website traffic
- Through blogging and article marketing
- Social media
A lot of freelancers tend to put all their eggs in one basket, either relying on Google, or relying on local networking events.
The problem is when Google changes its algorithms your rankings are likely to take a hit, causing a reduction in traffic and therefore enquiries. With local networking, you’re limiting your audience and may find it tough to find a fresh pool of clients.
What’s the most effective way to find clients?
Using a mixture of methods.
Ahem – existing clients?
True – your existing and past clients are also a rich source of work. Plus, because they’ve already worked with you, they’re warm leads.
Staying in touch with your past clients is a great way to generate new work. You never know when they’re going to need you again, so drop them a line every month and keep them in the loop about new projects you’re involved with or new services you’re offering.
Notice I said stay in touch? That doesn’t mean emailing them every month asking for work. Send them useful information and tips to keep your relationship with them alive – don’t beg.
Maintaining a constant workflow in the world of the freelancer is essential, but difficult to achieve. Even with the best systems in place you’re likely to see peaks and troughs, but by getting organised and maintaining contact with past clients you’ll have the best possible chance of a constant income.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
August 19th, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting
This post first appeared on Briar Copywriting, but I also wanted to share it with you here.
Everyone makes them, even you.
Those who claim to never have made a mistake in their lives are, well liars quite frankly.
How can I be so sure?
You’re human. I’m human. To be human means we make mistakes, but how we deal with them defines the type of people we are.
What type of person are you?
Sweaty palms, the sudden sinking of your heart, that sick feeling in your stomach – are all signs of the realisation that something’s gone wrong.
What do you do?
a) Pass the buck and claim it was down to someone else?
b) Hide and hope it blows over?
c) Go to pieces, change your name and emigrate?
d) Put your hands up and do what you can to resolve the problem?
If you picked either a, b, or c, you need to rethink your attitude.
I’ve made mistakes and I’ve worked with companies that have made mistakes. The most annoying thing is when someone either denies it’s their problem, or they claim it was someone else’s fault.
Yes, the initial discovery of a mistake is maddening; you want to scream at someone (depending on its magnitude), you may even want heads to roll, but once you’ve had time to digest the situation you would rather have someone say:
“I’m so sorry. It’s completely my fault. What can I do to resolve it?”
Learn and grow from your mistakes
The worst thing you can do after making an error is to forget about it.
Sure, you need to move on otherwise it will eat you up and zap your confidence, but you should always learn from the experience.
- What you can do in the future to safeguard against such mistakes happening
- Reviewing your processes and training provision and improve where necessary
If you care about your work and your customers an error can seem like the end of the world.
It doesn’t have to be.
As a copywriter I’m expected to be a world-class expert on spelling. I’m not. My expertise is in using the right words to create the emotions and responses you want from your customers.
I do make typos. I always do my best to find them before they reach the client. Sometimes those slippery little suckers get through, but if that happens I am there by my client’s side correcting the mistake.
Do I feel bad? You bet I do.
Do I want to curl up and hide under the nearest bush? Most definitely.
Is that what I do?
No. I face my mistakes. I do all I can to put them right. I learn from them.
Yes, I’m a copywriter, but I am also human.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd