June 11th, 2014 — copywriter, Copywriting briefs, copywriting services, marketing, small business web marketing
Do you have a fear of public speaking?
Perhaps you’re none to keen on clowns, buttons or flying.
Whatever your fear, you’re not alone.
The funny thing is that if your fear is one of the above you’re quite happy to talk about it. But there’s one fear many SMEs and small business owners don’t like to talk about – the fear of writing.
Are you bothered about how your customers see you?
Everything you write reflects on your business.
Your customers will get their first impression about your company from your website, emails, newsletters, press releases, articles…I could go on forever.
What impression are they getting?
The words you use will influence their opinion of you so it’s essential you get it right first time.
Feeling the pressure now?
One of the main objections SMEs have about using the services of a professional copywriter is that the writer doesn’t know their business as well as they do.
That’s true, but that’s not why you hire a copywriter.
You need one because they know what words to use to reach out to your customers, engage with them and convince them to buy from you.
Through their expertise your company looks professional, caring and focused on your customers’ needs.
What a copywriter can do for you
The main task that many companies are happy to outsource is the writing of their web copy. After all, not only does that have to engage the reader it also has to work well in the search engines, so you have to know what you’re doing to get the results you want.
But other than website copywriting, a copywriter will also create:
- eBooks – to build your reputation
- Press releases – to boost your exposure
- Blogs posts and articles – to bolster your online marketing
- Landing pages – to give weight to your offers
- Sales letters – to make sure they don’t get binned
- Ads and product descriptions – to make sure they sell the benefits
- Taglines – to get you remembered
- Emails – to boost your sales and build customer relationships
- Brochures – to make sure they sell and not just inform
- Speeches and presentations – to drive your message home
- Profiles and bios – to tell the world what you do and how you can help
- Video scripts – to engage your audience
- Re-purposing content – to reach all your customers
- SEO copy – to boost your visibility in the search results
- How to guides and tutorials – to help your customers’ understanding
How many of those could you do with to strengthen your marketing efforts?
The greatest strength you have is to know your weaknesses. Your business and your customers deserve the best. Finding a copywriter that you can work with will result in an exponential growth of your business and happy customers that will return time and time again (and bring their friends).
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
June 4th, 2014 — brochure copy, brochure copywriting
Is there really a place for brochures in today’s online world?
Of course there is.
Whether you have them printed as a hand-out for exhibitions or conferences, or as a PDF download from your website, brochures remain a valid form of marketing collateral.
So, if that’s the case, why did your last one tank?
Why did no one read it?
Your brochure is only as good as the images and words it contains and brochure copywriting isn’t as easy to write as you may think.
Here are some of the main reasons why your brochure failed.
#1 Re-using existing copy
Before I begin, if you think all you have to do is copy the content from your website and paste it into your brochure, think again.
You are creating your brochure for a specific purpose, so it’s important the information it contains is relevant.
Normally, your brochure exits to promote a new product or service (occasionally a range of services).
If that’s the case don’t fill the pages with stuff about everything else you do. Granted, you can have a page at the back that gives an overview of that stuff, but the main focus should be on the product you’re promoting.
#3 Going all literary
You already know that your website copy should be chatty, informal and interesting, so why have you just filled your brochure with mind numbing hyperbole?
Just because you’re writing for something that’s (potentially) going to be published doesn’t mean you’re writing a classic work of fiction.
You’re writing for the same audience so keep your language simple and your style the same as your web copy. Remember, it should look as though it’s come from the same company.
#4 Naff images
Why use stock images that have no relevancy to your business when you can get your own graphics created and photos taken?
This brochure is supposed to represent your business, so make sure your imagery is personal to you.
#5 Talk to the reader
Don’t write your brochure in the third person.
It’s there to convince the person reading it to buy from you, make contact or book an appointment. Use the second person (i.e.’you’) to talk to them directly and tell them how buying from you will benefit them.
#6 Tell them what they need to know not what you want to talk about
As a business owner, it’s tempting to tell the world how great your company is and how hard you’ve worked to get where you are today.
The problem is your customers really don’t care.
They want to know how you’re going to help them, why their lives will be better as a result and how to get in touch. It’s as simple as that.
Keep your content focused on your customer not on your business.
How many of those are you guilty of?
Brochures can be powerful tools when written correctly.
Writing for your own company can be tough, which is why it is a good idea to bring in an external copywriter with no knowledge of your company who can look at what you do from a customers’ perspective.
Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
May 28th, 2014 — copywriter, copywriting, copywriting tips, marketing
You hate ‘in your face’ marketing, right?
I’m talking about those websites and landing pages that are full of hype and insincere drivel that’s supposed to make you want to buy a product you don’t need.
All you really want is the basic facts about the product and how it’s going to benefit you. Then, if it is something you can’t do without and it’s the right price, you’ll buy.
If that’s how you think, why is your website full of marketing drivel that’s driving your customers away?
I’m not talking about jargon; I mean the stuff that’s damaging your conversion rates.
How many times have you read that something’s ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘market-leading’?
“Our product is world-class…” – really, where’s your proof?
“Our new widget is first-rate…” was the old one second-rate?
These words and phrases are meaningless. Instead of wasting space with these, tell your reader why your product is great and why that is important to them. Will it make them happier, save them time, make them happier?
If you’re launching a new product you’re bound to be excited about it, but resist the urge to claim it’s a ‘breakthrough’ (unless you have proof), ‘innovative’, or ‘pioneering’.
It’s new; we get that, but tell us why. Explain what’s new about it and, more importantly, what it means to us as consumers. In that way you’ll be converting this new feature into a benefit.
Don’t tell us you’re the best, or incredible or the ultimate, instead tell us what you’re really like and leave words like that for your testimonials.
If you over-hype your copy no one will believe you.
Stop being meaningless
Come on now, tell the truth, does your website copywriting claim ‘fast delivery’ or ‘great customer service’?
If you want to show your customer service levels use specifics, such as the results of a customer survey. This will increase your credibility.
The last on my list, but one of the biggest offenders in the ‘meaningless website drivel’ stakes.
Leveraging and alleviating are not as powerful as ‘using’ or ‘easing’ – stop trying to be clever and write what you mean.
Come on, be honest, how many of these are you guilty of?
You see, writing simple, straightforward copy isn’t as easy as you first thought. It’s easy to splatter your copy with meaningless drivel that dilutes your message until there’s nothing left to impress your customers with.
Before you start writing think about your customer, who they are and what they want. Then keep them focused in your mind as you write using their words.
Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
May 21st, 2014 — copywriting
As a regular reader of this blog you’re used to seeing 3 new posts per week.
It’s been like that for quite some time now, so it’s time for a change.
You’ll still find the great information you know and love, but it will just be a bit more spaced out – time-wise.
Rather than posting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from now on I’ll just be posting once a week.
Why the change?
To be honest I just want to try something different and see how it goes.
Keeping up with the demands of this blog is tough, so consider this a little experiment.
My next post will be next Wednesday so don’t forget to pop back, or sign up for my RSS feed (link on the right) to make sure you never miss any of my pearls of wisdom.
Thanks for being such a loyal follower and I hope the new regime will suit you too.
May 19th, 2014 — marketing
It is if you follow the advice in Gallup’s recent report on the “State of The Global Marketplace”.
According to their findings only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs, i.e. that they are ‘emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organisations every day.’
What’s more alarming is that actively disengaged employees outnumber the engaged ones by 2 to 1.
3 types of employee
There are 3 main types of employee:
- Engaged – have passion for what they do, drive innovation and move your business forwards
- Not engaged – do what they have to do without passion
- Actively disengaged – unhappy in their work and content to let everyone know about it
I don’t know about you, but I know which ones I want.
So how can you be sure your employees are engaged and happy in their work?
Increasing employee engagement
If you are only interested in your bottom line, the chances are your employees aren’t particularly engaged.
Your people should be your biggest investment because they are the ones that will drive your business forwards.
If you want to get and keep customers you’ll need employees who are engaged. Companies that attain higher employee engagement levels achieve 3 times the operating margin of those that don’t. Plus, companies with engaged employees see a 240% improvement in business results because they become brand ambassadors giving a positive slant on the business with every interaction.
You can achieve greater employee engagement in 3 ways:
- Hiring the right people – look for people with the right attitude and personality for your business
- Invest – focus on their strengths and offer coaching to help them improve their skills further. Investing in them will increase their engagement to you
- Well-being – help your employees with their work-life balance as well as providing fair pay and perks (such as healthcare)
If you want to get the best from your people, it’s up to you to show them you are the right employer for them. See them more than just tools to generate sales; they are real people who, with the right training and investment, will become great ambassadors for your brand.
When your staff want to do their best for you, they will bring in the customers you want.
Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd