Introducing The Non-Writer’s Guide To Copywriting

non-writer's guideDo you get frustrated that you can’t write good sales copy?

Does it take you an age to string together a sentence that actually makes sense?

Are you tearing your hair out wondering why customers aren’t responding to your sales messages?

If so I’ve created an eBook which I think might help :-)

The Non-Writer’s Guide to Creating Irresistible Content That Works is designed for people just like you who understand the importance of good copy – but struggle to write it.

Interested? Then read on and discover how to get your copy…

Quality content gives you a competitive edge

Now I know I have an unfair advantage. After all I genuinely love to write. It’s a childhood passion that I’ve never wanted to shake off. And to be honest, I’ve always felt more comfortable expressing my thoughts and ideas in the written word.

BUT even if you don’t have a natural knack for words, if your copy isn’t working it could be because you’re not using proven copywriting techniques. And if you don’t know what they are, how could you?

But this eBook could help…

Discover the techniques the professionals use

Inside I’ve outlined my five golden rules of irresistible content creation. It includes things such as relationship building, writing for your customer avatar  and being yourself.

What’s more, you’ll also discover my list of 12 practical copywriting examples. It’s invaluable…

What I’ve done for you is listed 12 important copywriting techniques, and then shown you how to apply them in practice. It should help you see for yourself the difference between good copy and the rubbish stuff :-)

There’s no excuse :-)

Unfortunately, in this digital age, being a non-writer is not an excuse for creating rubbish copy.

You simply can’t afford to do it. That’s because quality content can boost your ability to sell, persuade and build relationships. It’s powerful stuff.

So even if you never want to write a single piece of content again and you decide to hire a copywriter, it’s still in your interests to understand the fundamentals of good copywriting. It means you can make an informed judgement about whether a piece of content has what it takes to work for your business.

Grab your FREE copy now…

Arrow 7If you’re serious about creating quality content that will promote and grow you business, this is one eBook you can’t afford to miss.

To get your copy, simply add your details to the form below and I’ll whizz you over a link.

And if you have any questions, just pop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you…

30 Tips, Tools & Techniques That Grow Relationships With Your Customers

love1As you know, in business, people buy from people.

This means, to be successful, you’ve got to work your know, like, trust factor.

And that requires an investment in relationship building.

You see your customer’s buying habits have changed. Thanks to the internet we’re now more informed than ever and the likelihood is potential clients are researching online even before they make contact with you.

Therefore, you’ve got to work a lot harder at differentiating your offer and ensuring you standout from the competition. And the quickest route is to shift your positioning from “salesperson”, to “trusted expert” by proactively focusing on your relationships. 

Because that’s when the magic starts…

You see relationship building is the secret sauce that:

  • Enhances the quality of the interactions and conversations you have with customers and potential clients.
  • Is the catalyst to build your know, like, trust factor.
  • Encourages your audience to choose you over all the other options they have available.
  • Nurtures leads and increases your customer lifetime value.

It’s a powerful strategy that can totally transform the fortunes of your business.

The tricky bit is the HOW.

Just how do make the shift from stranger to a trusted expert who’s an important part of your customers’ life (in the context of which you have that relationship)?

Of course there’s no single answer to this – although communication is pretty crucial – and that leads us back to the importance of getting your words right :-)

Introducing 30 Days of Copywriting Love

You’ve probably figured out I’m a big fan of relationship building and content marketing.

What’s more, a lot of the work I do with clients involves creating content that helps position them as a trusted, reliable expert in their chosen niche. From blog post writing to eBook creation, I’m skilled and experienced at using words to establish authority.

Now you can access these ideas too

I decided to package up my knowledge and ideas about using words to build relationships into a free eCourse. And you can access this information right now.

Simply join 30 Days of Copywriting Love and you’ll receive a different tool, tip or technique each day for a month. Each email is less than 500 words and contains a Copywriting Gem – it’s an easy way to get your hands on proven ideas to grow relationships and build your business.

Join 30 Days of Copywriting Love NOW

Arrow 7It’s super easy to grab your FREE copywriting tips, simply complete your details below and I’ll see you in your inbox ;-)

Remember. If you’re not actively and consistently building relationships you will miss out. So get the information you need to outsmart your competition and  join 30 Days of Copywriting Love today.

How Many Times Should You Advertise?

Bizarre number setLet’s start with a question to answer this question…

How often do you buy a service from someone you’ve met for the first time?

I reckon the percentage is pretty small. And usually it’s because:

  1. It’s not the right time OR
  2. You don’t know, like or trust the person enough.

However, I find that many small businesses owners get really frustrated that their ad hoc press ad or leaflet drop hasn’t worked. For sure, advertising and marketing can be expensive, BUT you have to set realistic goals and understand how your target customer makes their buying decisions. And more often than not, you’ll need to make contact with someone a lot more than once before they open their wallet.

Despite this, many small businesses continue to rely on “buy now” marketing. Their enquires run dry, they panic and address the problem by launching an advertising campaign designed to attract some hot leads.

And sure, this reactive approach will get results – but if it’s your main form of advertising, you’re missing a HUGE trick.

That’s because proactive marketing can be far more effective at attracting a constant stream of fresh enquiries to your business. And the way to do that is to use relationship building or content marketing.

Let me explain…

Buy now v slow burn

Buy now advertising usually relies on traditional interruption marketing techniques – for example, PPC ads, leaflets and billboards.

The problem is, as consumers, we’re more immune to this approach. After all, people don’t want to be sold to – they want the freedom and space to make informed decisions in their own time.

In comparison, content marketing is non-invasive. And most importantly it doesn’t rely on a one-off, desperate attempt to close the deal! Instead it promotes the regular publication of useful, relevant and interesting content to build a relationship (over time) with the right type of person.

Sure you’ve got to be patient. BUT here’s what happens. Instead of your marketing efforts heading for the bin, you’ll find you can open discussion with people. What’s more, if you can solve problems, entertain and enter the conversations already happening in your prospects head you’ll draw people to you through choice.

And yes, it can take longer to convert someone BUT it works. And here are three reasons why:

  • You become a welcome guest
  • You’ll build your know, like, trust factor.
  • And, when your customer is ready to buy, (hopefully) you’ll be front of mind.

This approach is NOT new…

Very rarely is a one-shot approach enough. And this understanding is nothing new. Check out this great article written by Thomas Smith way back in 1885. Yes, it may be 120 years old, but it’s highly relevant now and sheds some light on why content marketing is such a great strategy to adopt.

  1. The first time people look at any ad they don’t even see it
  2. The second time, they don’t notice it
  3. The third time, they are aware that it is there.
  4. The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before
  5. The fifth time, They actually read the ad.
  6. The sixth time, they thumb their nose at it
  7. The seventh time, they start to get irritated by it.
  8. The eighth time, they start to think “here’s that confounded ad again
  9. The ninth time, they start to wonder if they may be missing out on something.
  10. The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbours if they have tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for these ads.
  12. The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
  13. The thirteenth time, they start to think the product has value.
  14. The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time
  15. The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy some in the future.
  17. The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product
  18. The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
  19. The nineteenth time, they count their money carefully.
  20. The twentieth time, prospects see the ad, they buy what is offered.

To summarise, the underpinning message is make more contact, follow-up more times and increase your chances of a prospect becoming a customer.

How to apply this in practice?

The key to making this approach work for you is to look at the different stages of your sales funnel – and then figure out what content is needed to move people further along. For example, you could:

  1. Attract your ideal customer with compelling blog content.
  2. Capture prospect contact details with a free eBook.
  3. Stay on their radar, follow-up and nurture the relationship with an auto responder.
  4. Convert prospects to customers through direct mail containing a “no-brainer” offer.
  5. Encourage repeat business by staying in touch with printed newsletters.

In truth there is stacks you could try. You simply need to take a fresh look at your approach. And whilst content creation can be hard work, you’ll find that, done well, you’ll create a framework that makes the selling much easier.

What do you think?

How do you focus on attracting the right customer?  How have you used content marketing to grow your business? What strategies have worked for you? Please let me know in the comments below.

Are You Using This Cost Effective Lead Generator In Your Business?

Holding Out Twenty Pound NotesDo you wonder why some business owners can turn a new product or service into a flourishing success whilst others struggle to get the phone to ring?

I believe the answer lies in the quality of their list and the way they’ve interacted with it over time.

If you’re anything like me there are probably a small number of people (clients excluded) whose emails always get read. And the reason is simple. It’s because they’ve proven to me, over time, that what they have to say is worth my attention. I know that if I read, I’ll learn something valuable, be entertained or find out about a product or service that’s relevant to my business goals.

These people have my attention and if they offer me something that’s relevant and of value to me, I’m likely to invest.

You know of course that this is a powerful place to be.

But this level of likeability, trust and authority didn’t happen overnight. In fact, quite the opposite. Instead the people who are able to cut through and grab my attention on a consistent basis have done the hard work to make the selling easy. In short, they’ve invested the time and effort needed to create a relationship where I benefit – and as such I’m listening.

It’s why relationship marketing is so effective and why persuading a loyal tribe to take notice of you is so valuable. 

And it all starts with your list

Let me explain…

You can’t build the level of trust I’ve just described unless you take communication into the private domain.

For sure you can talk in your blog comments, on your Facebook page and other social media platforms, but you won’t get the same quality of interaction unless you can strike up a personalised, 121 conversation.

And to do that you need at least an email address, preferably a name and eventually a physical address and phone number. And this requires upfront work.

So how do you convince people to join your list?

You’ve probably figured out you can’t rely on simply inviting people to join your list. You’ve got to work harder than that :-)

And that’s where a free eBook can work as a powerful incentive and lead generator to collect the contact details of your customer avatar.

But what should your eBook look like? Let’s take a look at what you need to consider…

The anatomy of the perfect eBook

1.  Nail your headline:

The sole function of your headline is to attract attention and encourage your target audience to want to find out what’s inside.  You’ll get the best results if you choose a topic that’s of interest to your customer avatar. It means you’ve got to have a pretty good handle on the questions and problems these people are tackling. So do your research. Read your blog comments. Take note of the questions you get asked and have a good scout around other blogs and forums where your customers could be hanging out.

2. Figure out your purpose:

Get clear on why you’re creating the eBook. The eBook must contain valuable information but it doesn’t need to be a definitive guide to solving all your customers problems! Instead it should serve to build the foundations for a relationship. In short, you want the reader to conclude that you actually know what you’re talking about, you seem quite likeable and trustworthy.

3. Decide how you will follow up:

It’s a mistake to supply an eBook – and then do nothing.

You’ll get much better results if you work out your communication strategy for converting a prospect into a customer. And there are countless options for doing this. For example:

  • Link an eBook sign-up to an auto responder sequence. 
  • Send a follow up “can’t resist that” offer – this will work better if it has some relevance to the eBook content.
  • Invite your list to sign-up for your printed newsletter.
  • Embrace the power of email marketing (but get the balance right between sales content and relationship building messages). 
  • And NEVER underestimate the power of direct mail.

4. Make sure your eBook is interesting, relevant and useful:

OK, this might be stating the obvious but don’t be tempted skimp on this crucial part. It’s not enough to have an eBook. It’s got to be a good eBook! In fact if the content is rubbish you’re better off not bothering. That’s because poorly written eBooks that disappoint your target customer can actually undermine your relationship and damage your authority.

So if you know you’ll struggle to get your eBook written in a way that will captivate and engage your audience, consider hiring a copywriter. (Here comes the plug…) You can check out my eBook writing service here.

Work hard up front and make the selling easy

Let’s be really clear. It’s very unlikely your website will sell your service the first time someone visits.

After all, a large number of visitors will be in the research or browse stage. In fact, they’ve probably stumbled upon you after spotting a compelling blog headline float past in their Twitter stream. They simply don’t know, like or trust you enough – YET.

So make the first step in nurturing your “know, like, trust” factor really easy and persuade the right people onto your list with your eBook. You could discover it’s the secret lead generation key that will open a whole new level of contact with your potential customers. And as you know, if you build the relationship first, the sales will follow :-)

So isn’t it time you got one?

P.S: I’ve discovered the reason most business owners don’t create a free eBook incentive is because they simply lack the time or the skills to create one. Don’t let this reason hold you back and instead commission me to write the content for you. Just imagine, it could be the missing link that’s causing you to miss out on lots of sales. To find out more about my professional eBook writing service simply click here.

Warning: Are You Giving Up On The Sale Too Soon?

Business person against technology backgroundAs you know sales are the lifeblood of your business –  and without a steady stream of fresh enquires your cash flow will suffer.

Despite this, securing a sale NOW should not be your sole focus. Instead you need to invest your energy in finding and then keeping customers. And whilst this approach requires more patience and longer-term planning, your business will reap the rewards in the end.

That’s because it’s rare for people to buy the first time they stumble across you. And there are lots of reasons for this resistance.

  • Perhaps you offer a service they think they don’t need.
  • Maybe that networking event wasn’t enough to properly suss you out.
  • It may even be a matter or budget or poor timing that means there’s no chance of a deal being on the table.

However, that doesn’t mean they will never buy from you.

So when it comes to marketing your business, it’s not enough to promote your product or service. You also need to focus on building a relationship between you and the prospects who fall within your customer avatar description.

A focus on relationship building is crucial for your success

People are more likely to do business with someone they like. So whilst your product / service is important, as a small business owner YOU are also a key part of the equation. In fact, how potential customers feel about you will influence their buying decisions.

If there’s no relationship, it will be far more difficult to persuade someone to buy. In comparison, if a prospect feels some sort of connection with you, they will be a lot more responsive to what you have on offer.

Here’s what having a relationship with your customers can open up for your business…

  1. You build the know, like, trust factor.
  2. You create a personality that makes you real.
  3. You start to position yourself as an authority in your chosen field.
  4. You become the expert that people go to for advice and information.
  5. You can subtly enter the conversations that are already happening around your customer’s kitchen table.
  6. You can enter into 2-way conversation with people.
  7. You start to emerge from the crowd and differentiate yourself from the competition.
  8. You become a welcome guest instead of an annoying salesperson.
  9. You can become worth knowing because you add value.

What’s more, over time, you could become the only buying choice when the customer is ready.

What strategies can create a relationship?

So we’ve established building a relationship with your prospects is a very smart thing to do. Unfortunately relationships don’t happen by accident. What’s more, you’ll need to put in most of the leg-work. But fortunately there are lots of relatively easy things you can do to encourage your target customer to turn to you.

1.  Blog

Blogging is still relevant (when done with strategy) and here’s why:

  • A blog provides visitors to your website with something other than a sales pitch to read.
  • Well written articles can position you as an expert and an authority.
  • You can start a dialogue in the comments.
  • You allow website visitors a glimpse into your personality and your style.
  • If you publish regularly, you’ll train and encourage “fans” to return for more.

In addition, Google rewards websites that offer up fresh, relevant content by ranking them higher. In short if you’re not blogging, you’re missing out :-)

2.  Write a free, valuable eBook and give it away

Whilst blogs are great for positioning, it’s difficult to build a meaningful connection with someone through commenting and social media shares alone. The next step to a more intimate relationship is to get into someone’s inbox.

Now this is not as easy as it sounds. People are becoming more and more reluctant to share their email address which means you need to offer up a valuable incentive. A free eBook that tackles a common customer problem, shares valuable information (that goes beyond what you offer on your blog) or describes some quality hints and tips can be highly persuasive. And the result? You start to build a list of prospects who you know already like your style.

3.  Stay in touch with email and newsletters

Once you have an email address, you can start to build a relationship on a more personalised level through email and printed newsletters. Create a strategy. Communicate frequently, be interesting and add value. When people actively look forward to seeing you show up, you know you’ve cracked it.

4. Invite feedback and initiate 2-way conversations

Many businesses fall into the trap of filling their prospects inboxes with sales pitches. Do this and you’ll risk customers tuning out and unsubscribing. Instead:

  • Start conversations.
  • Get people thinking.
  • Be useful and helpful.
  • Ask what people think.
  • Ask how you can help etc.

Do this and customers won’t hear you as someone’s who’s trying to sell. Instead they’ll label you as someone who genuinely wants to help and who can add value to their business. It’s a far more effective approach.

5. Make timely offers

Now don’t lose sight of the fact that you want to make a sale. After all we’re talking about business, not a hobby! What’s more, you have something of value to offer to prospects and you want to be rewarded in return. So in amongst your value communication, do invite people to buy through targeted offers with a deadline that encourage action NOW.

What do you think?

How do you build relationships with customers? What’s worked best for you? Please let me know in the comments below.

Here’s An Easy Way To Create A Customer Avatar For Your Business

AvatarsHands up who wants to:

  • Massively increase their conversion rates
  • Attract more of their “best” customers
  • Create advertising that actually works by generating an impressive return on your investment?

If so read on because I’m about to reveal a highly effective, yet easy to use marketing tool that could seriously revolutionise how you approach your marketing.

It’s time to create a customer avatar for your business

A customer avatar is simply a detailed profile of your target customer. Once you’ve got one you can use it to do things like:

  1. Market to and own a niche where you become “the one to go to”
  2. Hone your marketing message so it appeals to a specific someone as opposed to a generic everyone.
  3. Increase conversion rates because you’ll be able to say the sorts of things that will encourage your target customer to take action
  4. Attract more of the right customer because the “wrong” people won’t be attracted by your message
  5. Avoid spending money on marketing that just doesn’t work

It’s relatively easy to create a customer avatar. It simply involves completing a template of detailed information to profile your best customer. And if you read on, you’ll discover a link at the end of this post where you can download the template I use with my own customers. What’s more it’s free :-)

But I don’t need an avatar because my business appeals to everyone…

Wrong!

Let me tell you that unless you genuinely are a mass market business, this simply isn’t true.  And here’s the evidence. You see, if you take a closer look at your customer base, you’ll discover there’s a core of people who:

  • Spend more
  • Give you repeat business
  • Upgrade to your premium products / services
  • Generate a large percentage of your profit (and don’t barter with you on price)
  • Give you great feedback
  • Are great to work with
  • AND best of all, they refer you to their friends, say nice things about you on social media and help market your business via word of mouth.

What’s more, if you look even closer, these people will often have common demographics, values and motivational drivers.

Then compare this with other customers on your books who only buy once, are more demanding and make you feel uncomfortable or unsettled. I bet you’ll find these people don’t share the same profile as your core group!

So whilst your business could theoretically serve anyone, which group would you most like to work with on a consistent basis?

Focus ALL your attention on attracting the right people

With a detailed customer avatar in your business toolbox you’ll be in the minority. That’s because most business owners will not make the effort. And as a result you get to work a brilliant competitive advantage.

That’s because instead of creating advertising that is forgettable, generic and blends in with what everyone else is saying, you can tightly tailor your message to your ideal customer. For example:

  • Creatively use the language your customers use
  • Closely address their buying objections
  • Design the sort of offer you know your avatar will respond to
  • Filter out the sort of person you’d rather not work with etc.

In addition, instead of guessing the most effective marketing media, or simply using the format that everyone else is trying, you can choose the method you know your target customers are most likely to look at.

And as a result you’ll increase your conversion rate, attract more of the right customer AND avoid burning money on advertising that simply doesn’t work.

Cool right :-)

Then download your FREE customer avatar template now :-)

Please don’t miss this opportunity to seriously improve your business marketing. Instead download your free template now and use it to work on your customer avatar. Just click here.

Then once finished, give your avatar a name. Even better find an image that best represents the person you’ve described. Next pin your avatar up somewhere prominent in your working space as a constant reminder of who’s the right who for you.

Then every time you:

  • Write a blog post
  • Work on some new copy
  • Develop a new product or service etc.

Make the effort to get into the shoes of this person and visualise their perspective. What do they need to know? What could they struggle to understand? What objections might they have? etc.

And the result? The chances of your words hitting home will increase…

And what impact could that have on your bottom line?

Now that’s something to think about…

P.S: Download your free template NOW. Just click here. It’s free :-)

Warning: Are These 14 Essential Ingredients Missing From Your Marketing?

Stand out from the crowdAs a copywriter I see a lot of really poor marketing.

I define this as marketing that:

  • Fails to attract attention
  • Doesn’t inspire customers to take action
  • Is boring and forgettable
  • Is “industry generic” (meaning in the absense of your name and logo it could apply to just about any of your competitors)

And the worse bit is it means ambitious business owners like you are losing out on sales.

But it doesn’t have to be this way…

You see good marketing will help stand out in your niche, attract more customers and multiply your income.

And it can be achieved if you combine time and creativity with these 14 proven techniques.

So read on and discover your copywriting checklist

And don’t miss the link to a FREE downloadable version at the bottom :-)

1.  Communicate your USP

  • Why should customers pick you over all the competition?
  • What makes you “the one to go to” in your niche?
  • What can people get from you that they can’t get from ANYONE else?

Figure this out, weave it into your marketing message and suddenly you’ve got a Unique Selling Point that can encourage customers to make you their first choice.

2. Write headlines that attract attention

Without question your headline is the most important aspect of ANY marketing material.

Want proof? Then consider this…

Approximately 8 out of 10 people will read your headline whilst only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your message.

This statistic has SIGNIFICANT implications for where you focus your creative efforts.

You see, if your headline fails to inspire your reader to keep reading, the rest of your message is a complete and utter waste – it will go unnoticed.

In comparison, write a captivating headline that hooks your reader in with something that interests them, and you have a good chance of setting them up on a slippery slope through your pitch.

The lesson here is simple. You MUST spend the time needed to nail your headline. So please don’t settle for the first idea that springs to mind.

3.  Place the emphasis on YOU

Next check the emphasis of your copy.

I see far too much advertising where the business presents the message from THEIR perspective by using phrases such as “we do this” and “we think that“…

This approach is a BIG mistake.

You see, your potential customers are just not that interested in you.

All they want to know is What’s In It For Me?  

And the quickest way to achieve that is by using copious amounts of the most powerful word in advertising… YOU.

(N.B: The best ratio is around 3:1 – that’s three you’s for every we).

4. Sell the benefits

I bet you can explain the features of your product or service to a customer really easily.

In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if you chose to explain those features in your advertising. A lot of micro businesses owners do.

However features fail to hit on the emotional buttons that you need to press if you want to close a sale.

Instead you need the emphasis to be placed on BENEFITS.

This means explaining what difference a customer will experience in their life if they invest in what you have to offer? 

Is it more time, more wealth, more intelligence, more power, more control etc…

You need to know because that is what you’re really selling.

And that’s the message you need to convey in your advertising. Do it and you’ll get more people buying. I guarantee it :-)

5. Include an offer…

As you know we are bombarded with information everywhere we look.

In addition to this you need to overcome people’s natural instinct to do nothing.

Offers are the best way to push someone to ACT NOW. So in addition to getting potential customers excited by how they could benefit from your business, ramp up your persuasive stakes by presenting an incentive that encourages them to buy | call | sign up etc. then and there.

But please avoid the boring, predictable 10% off! Instead try an added value package that doesn’t end up costing you money.

6.  With a fixed deadline

Boost your response rates by putting a fixed offer on your deadline. That means take action by x time on x date.

Avoid the temptations to use deadlines that never end because they train customers to expect your stuff to always be on special.

In addition, don’t be tempted to extend your deadline because you’ll simply undermine the integrity of your offer (and annoy the people who have already brought!).

7. Use a call to action to increase response rates

What do you want people to do after reading your message?

Perhaps you want them to:

  • Buy online
  • Call your office
  • Sign-up to your newsletter list
  • Complete a form etc.

Never leave a reader guessing. Always be clear and specific and outline EXACTLY what you want a reader to do once they have absorbed your marketing message.

If you don’t include a clear call to action, the likelihood of your readers doing nothing increases significantly (and the cost effectiveness of your advertising will diminish).

N.B: Don’t forget to include your contact details (and don’t laugh – I’ve seen it done!)

8. Testimonials add credibility

Seriously nothing is more powerful than a 3rd party telling potential prospects just how great you and your business is – especially if the testimonial has been written by someone who is your target customer.

So become an active testimonial collector. Don’t wait for the testimonials to come to you, instead actively ask for them as part of your customer pipeline process. And then weave them into your leaflets, press ads, website, sales letters, even blogs…

You’ll be amazed at the impact they can make.

9. Bullets & lists make for easy reading

However great your copywriting, it’s rare for a reader will give your sales message the same kind of attention that they will when reading a good book.

Which means you need to make it as easy as possible for your message to be absorbed.

Bullets and lists are great for this because they break up a big block of text and make it much easier on the eye.

In addition, don’t be afraid of short paragraphs and short sentences.

You’ll find these proven copywriting techniques all help to pull your reader effortlessly through your copy.

10. Long route & short cuts

Most people won’t read your sales message carefully from beginning to end.

Instead they are more likely to skim and skip their way through, landing on words and phrases that particularly stand out to them.

As such you need to ensure your message is communicated in multiple ways.

The whole piece of marketing should capture everything you want to say. But in addition to that, your subheads and emphasised words and phrases should enable a skim reader to grasp the essence of your message.

(This blog is a good example. You can read the subheads for a simple checklist, whilst the short descriptions underneath explain each one for detail and clarity).

11. Guarantees remove the risk

Guarantees are brilliant because they take away the risk from your reader and instead put the risk onto YOU.

As such, it helps to build trust, can boost your integrity and make it easier for potential customers to respond.

This article contains some really powerful examples of cracking guarantees.

And if you’re interested in mine, well I won’t stop writing until you’re happy. Simple. 

12. Photos & cartoons add visual interest

For sure your words are critical.

But images and cartoons can really help attract attention and draw people in.

And this works even better if you integrate captions. After all, captions are the second most read element of your message after the headline. So don’t miss this opportunity to make an impact.

13. Write for somebody, not everybody

If you try to appeal to everybody who could possibly be interested in your business, you’ll end up appealing to nobody.

The quickest way to raving customers and making more money is to know who your ideal customer is and then write your message so it’s specifically targeted at them.  This means:

  • Getting involved with the conversations that are already happening around their kitchen table
  • Using your customers’ “jargon” and language
  • Solving the key problems your customer faces etc.

Make this person the focus of your marketing message, and you’ll have a much better chance of success.

14. P.S:  Don’t forget the P.S!

The P.S. at the bottom of your sales letter is often overlooked.

In fact, surprisingly it’s one of the most well-read parts of your advertising. So use it well – or lose out on sales.

Get your marketing checklist… It’s FREE!

Copywriting theory is relatively easy to grasp.

After all, I expect most of what I’ve written in this post makes perfect sense.

The problem is, when it comes down to writing your message, you forget or get confused by all the different elements you need to include. That’s the hard bit.

So to help I’ve created a really simple A4 checklist which you can pin up on your desk to remind you of the elements you should include when creating your next marketing piece.

It’s easy to get a copy. To download the checklist simply click here.

P.S: Please leave any questions in the comments below :-)

Ten Tricks To Make Creativity A Cornerstone Of Your Micro Business

How much time do you spend being creative in your micro business?

Creativity is about manifesting something new and bringing ideas and concepts from your imagination into a tangible form.

As a copywriter, being creative is my job. And that means I spend a lot of time in my zone.

But is it enough?

As a micro business owner there are always a million things to do. And that means it can be difficult to find dedicated creative time. However if you do, it could help you outsmart the competition. That’s because:

1.  It’s inspiring

Creativity is exciting. It gives you a buzz and can inspire both yourself and your customers. Just look at the legacy of Apple’s Steve Job.

2.  It’s innovating

If you create and develop something new, just watch how innovation gives your business momentum. You’ll push boundaries and make new things possible.

3.  It’s outsmarting

Use creativity to tap new markets, reach new customers, and keep existing buyers wanting more. Stay creative, spot the new ideas and you’ll be the business out front.

Convinced? Here are ten tricks to wake up your creativity

1.  Find your “zone”

You’ll be at your most creative when ideas free flow and ooze naturally. So take the time to discover what takes you to that place. Often it will be when you stop trying.

2.  Stay inspired

It’s a good way to find your zone. Read, ask questions, speak to customers, spend time in nature or listen to music. Find what gets your ideas flowing. And once you know what it is, commit to spending quality time hanging out there.

3.  Keep a notepad

I take my Moleskine everywhere. A notebook is a great tool to jot down random thoughts and fleeting glances. What’s more it will quickly develop into a valuable resource. It ensures you don’t waste time trying to remember and gives you a head start when brainstorming.

4.  Schedule creative time

Whilst it’s true creativity is a natural process, it does require some good old-fashioned elbow grease. So commit at least an hour each week (more if you can) and put it in your diary so you don’t forget.

5.  Don’t try to hard

OK this contradicts the last point but too much effort can stifle creativity. So if it’s not working, move on and try something else. If creating feels difficult, your critical head may be in the way and a cracking idea could be stifled. So when this happens…

6.  Sleep on it

Or take a walk. Discover what works to take you away from the moment. In your absence your subconscious will be hard at work. Then when you take a new look, you’ll be surprised at what shifted.

7.  Have fun

You’ve got to enjoy being creative. So stock up on stationery, use different colour pens, doodle, scribble, write on stickies and make your creative workspace fun. Let your expression be free and wait for those little gems to come running.

8.  Watch who you tell

New ideas need nurturing so protect your creativity with encouragement. It is useful to cast a critical eye, but avoid the drainers who knock your confidence and suck embryonic ideas into the void.

9.  Trust yourself

To be creative you must get out of your own way. So be observant with your thoughts and dispel those “well that’s a rubbish idea” comments. For sure some ideas will be a non-starter, but you never know which fleeting notion could be the one to transform your business.

10.  Finally watch how you speak to yourself

Call yourself creative, believe in your ideas, and ask how you could make an idea happen. Whatever you do don’t focus on the reasons why something won’t work.

So there you have it. Three reasons to be creative in business and some powerful tools to make it happen.

Over to you

But what have I missed? What gets you into the zone of creative explosion! And most importantly how have you used creativity to grow your micro business?

Please leave a comment and let me know.

10 Secrets To Attract Attention & Convert Visitors Through Your Homepage

What are the characteristics of a great homepage?

  • Perhaps it’s one that’s both aesthetically beautiful and functional.
  • Maybe it shows up in organic searches for your targeted keywords and phrases.
  • Or it delivers a classy user experience that compels visitors to take action

As a minimum, a great homepage must convince your target customer to stick around in those crucial initial few seconds.

And to achieve that you need to master your words…

That’s because the right words can enchant your visitor, convey the right emotion and increase the likelihood of getting exciting results from your website.

In comparison, if you screw up your headline, choose the wrong tact or fail to convince visitors, leads from your website will quickly dry up.

The difficulty is the web is full of “interesting” websites.

If you want to stand out and generate more leads, more sales and more referrals, try these ten proven writing tips.

1.    Clarity

A great homepage hinges on your ability to communicate the right message.

And that requires planning.

Figure out how your homepage fits into your business goals and get clear on your homepage’s function. Whether you want to build brand awareness, increase subscribers or drive visitors towards a purchase, by getting clear on your objective, you can start to tailor the message to suit.

In addition, clarify the key information you need to communicate. For example:

  • What’s your Unique Selling Point?
  • Why should your customer buy from you?
  • How will your customer benefit from your product or service?
  • Will you promote an offer on your home page?
  • How could you use a guarantee to build trust?

Avoid the temptation to just jump in and start writing. The time you spend planning and getting clear on your message will help you avoid lots of wasted effort.

2.    Headline

Your headline is going to be the most read part of your homepage.

In fact 80% of visitors will read your headline whilst only 20% will read the rest. Which means if your headline fails to attract attention, the rest of your words will go unread.

The primary job of your headline is to draw visitors in and convince them to read the next sentence.

Which means you need to find the right angle.

  • Can you incorporate your company’s major benefit into your headline?
  • Could you use curiosity to entice readers to take a closer look?
  • What words would make your business stand out from your competitors?

And if your headline says, “welcome to business name” it’s time to change it. This opening is predictable and boring and does nothing to help draw readers into the rest of your copy.

3.    Are visitors clear how you’re relevant?

When a visitor lands on your homepage they will instinctively search for signals and proof that you are relevant to their initial search query.

A tagline is an effective way to achieve that.

Your tagline should summarise in a sentence the key benefits your business offers.

For sure you can get creative with your tagline, but avoid taglines that are vague or “clever”. If the message is not instantly clear, again you can risk turning visitors off.

4.    Write for people then tweak for Google

For sure you want your homepage to incorporate your target keywords and keyword phrases. After all that’s how you’re going to get found in the organic search results.

What’s more, keywords are the language your target customers are using when searching for the information, ideas and solutions that you provide. And that means if you include the right keywords in your homepage, you’ll immediately build rapport with visitors.

However, it works best if you incorporate those keywords naturally.

Remember although Google’s algorithm will help direct visitors to your website, it’s the people who actually land there who you need to compel to take action.

5.    Tell visitors why they should choose you over the competition

The web is a pretty crowded place.

And you can increase your conversion rate if you make it clear why visitors should choose your product or service over all their other options.

The key to doing that is to get really clear on what makes you different, and then focus on benefits instead of features.

Some small businesses can find it difficult to identify their USP. Frequently you’ll discover it’s your own personality that can make the difference. After all, whilst you may face stiff competition in your niche, no one else will operate in exactly the way you do.

How does your individuality and personality add value to your target market? And how could you communicate that on your home page?

6.    Easy navigation

Good navigation will make it super easy for website visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Ensure clarity in your navigation bar, but in addition, incorporate hyperlinks in the body text of your homepage. This will help direct readers to other pages on your site and help deepen their experience and locate the information they need to deliver your website’s objective.

7.    Write for somebody, not everybody

Unless you really are a mass-market product, hone your message so it specifically appeals to your target market.

The way to do this is to really understand your audience.

Get deeper than their age, gender, lifestyle, occupation etc. In addition figure out what keeps your prospect up at night. Discover their desires. Understand what motivates them. Create a buyer persona and then write for this one person. You’ll instantly see how this focuses your writing and tailors your message to appeal to the right person.

8.    Show how you solve a problem

Your homepage must be more about your customers than about you.

In fact, your primary job is to answer this one pressing customer question

What’s In It For Me?”

It’s tempting to talk about the features of your product and service. However this is one sure way of turning visitors off.

Buying is a psychological process based on desire. Have you noticed how we often buy based on wants rather than needs? And that means you need to press the right emotional buttons in order to warm up a visitor and entice them to take action.

Features are too logical. They don’t get people excited.

In comparison, benefits evoke emotion and are far more persuasive. If you can show your audience how you save time, create wealth, increase intelligence, protect loved ones, minimise risk etc. your message will be far more powerful.

9.    Make it easy to read

Most web readers are “lazy” and have short attention spans.

That’s not to be derogatory. Instead, because we’re bombarded with so much information, we’ve become a lot smarter at filtering out the rubbish content and honing in on what’s useful, relevant and important

The way you lay out your page can really help with this.

  • Don’t frighten readers off with a big block of text. Instead break it down with informative subheads, bullet point and emphasise key words with italics and bold.
  • Start your writing with one short sentence. It makes stepping into the message super easy.
  • Then build up your copy using short sentences, short words and short paragraphs. Again these simple techniques can set your reader on a slippery slope that pulls them into and through your message.
  • Write to be understood instead of to impress. That means always use a simple word in place of a complex one.
  • Finally keep your message clear and simple to ensure readers really get the point you want to make.

10. Call to action

Finally you need to power up your homepage and entice visitors to do something after reading your message.

This will vary depending on your business but common examples include:

  • Ask people to call you.
  • Offer an incentive to encourage people to sign up to your email list.
  • Entice people to buy something now.

Above all, you need to ask. Don’t be woolly. Instead make your call to action clear, specific and targeted.

Keep your homepage up to date

Your homepage is your shop window.

It’s the key tool you have to show your relevance and persuade visitors to take a closer look at what you have to offer.

Which means it’s wise to review your homepage’s performance at intervals and where appropriate tweak your message to ensure it’s still current and relevant.

Over to you

What do you think is the secret to an effective homepage?

What techniques and approaches do you use to ensure your homepage attracts customers and helps sell your business?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Will You Embrace This Opportunity For A Fresh Start?

Happy New Year!

I love January. Despite the anticlimax of Christmas being over for yet another year, there’s also a powerful opportunity for a new start.

And in business, looking at what you do through fresh eyes and making new decisions and commitments can be incredibly beneficial.

As you know, if you’re not looking at ways to evolve and press forward, your business will at best stagnate and at worse back peddle. Which means smart business owners stay forward looking, set goals and are constantly seeking out those opportunities to innovate, implement and do more of the good stuff.

So as we move into 2013, what goals have you set for your business?

In particular, how are you planning to use content to drive sales, attract new customers and boost your authority in the coming year?

You see, content marketing is continuing to evolve. It’s at the sharp end of  available tools which very small, niche businesses like yours can use to their advantage to carve out a competitive edge.

However, it’s no longer enough to keep churning out new stuff. Consumers (and Google) are becoming a lot smarter and as such quality alongside the nurturing of an engaged audience are really key.

So to help you get off to a flying start in 2013, here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to use content to market your business…

1.  Guest blog

I’m a big fan of guest blogging.

Guest blogging can help you tap into a new audience and start to carve your niche authority more quickly. What’s more, guesting can prove to be an excellent way to forge relationships with other players in your niche that you would like to connect with. Of course, attracting links from authority sites can do wonders for your own SEO but this shouldn’t be your only reason for wanting to guest.

The trick is to find the right blogs to guest on, and then start to build those all important relationships with the blog owners and convince them to give you their stage! Jon Morrow runs a cracking Guest Blogging course which I’d highly recommend, and if you target micro business owners, the guest blogging opportunities available at the Micro Business Hub are well worth a closer look.

And here’s a final tip – it’s well worth saving your best stuff for publishing elsewhere – especially if it’s that dream gig :-)

2.  Start an email newsletter

Permission marketing is another profitable outlet where content can be used to forge deeper relationships with potential customers.

You see, people will only buy if they are good ready, and whilst a prospect may be your ideal customer, the timing may be all wrong. And that means you need to take a different approach – namely convince someone to sign up to your list…

Offer an incentive to get people to part with their email address and then start regular communication. You could try a monthly newsletter, weekly updates or if you really lack the time simply send out your blog posts to people that sign up.

By staying in touch, you also stay on your customer’s radar. And if you continue to send out information that’s relevant and useful (i.e. it addresses the pressing questions your customers are grappling with), when they do need your products and services, you’ll be foremost in their mind.

In fact, I believe helping is often the quickest route to selling.

3.  Use an autoresponder

If you have more time it’s well worth thinking about setting up an email autoresponder.

An autoresponder is simply a series of emails which are sent out in exactly the same order to new members of your list. An autoresponder works like this. You write a sequence of articles that takes your readers on a journey.

  • Educational type series like this classic from Copyblogger are great for establishing authority in your niche.
  • Alternatively, if you have a product or service that you wish to promote, use an autoresponder that persuades prospects to buy through drip feeding benefits, testimonials, an offer etc.

And if you’re at a loss of where to start, why not have a chat with a copywriter (like me ;-) .

4. Revisit your home page

Your website is your base station and your home page is probably the most visited page.

Take a fresh look at it today and give it the critical eye.

  • Does it accurately reflect your business right now?
  • Are you positioning yourself effectively?
  • Could your headline be more compelling?
  • Is it easy to read?
  • Are you targeting the right keywords?
If you decide it needs a bit of work, check out this guest post I wrote over at the Micro Business Hub which outlines how to write a killer home page.

5. Content isn’t just about the written word

Many micro business owners get nervous about content marketing because they feel writing isn’t their strong suit.

However the beauty of this multi-media age is there are stacks of other opportunities for you to exploit and get your voice out there. For example:

  • Get a professionally produced video and use it to enhance your home page.
  • Experiment with self-recorded videos and post them on YouTube.
  • Share your knowledge and experience in a webinar.
  • Hangout with Google+.
  • Present at your local networking group.
  • Get interviewed by a personality in your niche.

Above all discover what works best for you and more importantly – your audience.

Over to you

What will you cast fresh eyes over this year? How will you step up your use of content to promote your business, grow your reputation and attract more customers?

Tell me in the comments below. And while you’re there, please post your questions too.

Here’s to a cracking 2013 :-)

Georgina