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.

7 Reasons It’s A Great Idea To Hire A Copywriter For Your Micro Business

Hiring a copywriter is a great idea ;-)

OK, I confess!

I’m a copywriter so of course I have a professional interest in encouraging people to use my services.

But knowing what a copywriter can do for your small business, I’m genuinely surprised that more micro business owners don’t take advantage of the skill set a copywriter has to offer.

To help, here are 7 reasons why you could find investing in a copywriter pays for itself.

Have a read through and see what you think. And if you have any questions, hit me in the comments.

1. Impress your customers

Believe it or not it’s actually possible to get too close to your own business.

Whilst your insider knowledge is invaluable and essential, when you know your business inside out it’s very easy to make assumptions about what your customers want or think. As such there’s a risk you could be positioning your business all wrong.

A copywriter will shed new light.

They’ll ask the right questions, think like a first-time customer and ensure you position your products and services in a way that resonates with their motivations and desires.

And if your target customer likes what they read, they are more likely to take action.

2. Reduce your stress

As unbelievable as it is to me, there are a lot of small business owners out there who hate writing ;-)

OK so I’m a bit different. I love to write and I think I was born with a pen in my hand and the ideas in my head. But even now I occassionally crash into those times when I’m at a loss of what to write and the blank page stares me out menacingly.

Writer’s block is horrible and the pressure and frustration it can cause when trying to write words to promote and sell your business can be very painful.

Copywriter’s can reduce this stress by taking the work you hate away from you. What’s more, by letting go of the jobs to hate your productivity will increase.Try it for yourself and see.

3. Get noticed

In short, copywriting involves structuring a message in such a way that it entices a particular type of reader to take action.

It’s completely different to writing good English.

In fact a good copywriter will have access to a heap of techniques designed to attract, interest and motivate a reader.

If your marketing copy is packed with copywriting techniques, it’s effectiveness is going to increase.

If these techniques are lacking, you’re going to get disappointed by the results. So either talk to me or learn the basics of copywriting. This blog contains lots of ideas you can explore and experiment with, and you can download 15 of my top tips when you click here.

4. Make you more money

The right words in the right place at the right time will make you more money.

That’s because the right words will attract your target customer, resonate with them and entice them into action. In addition, the right words will ensure you stand out from the competition and get noticed amongst the ever increasing noise.

In comparison the wrong words can be a turn-off. They can damage your business by giving people a reason NOT to get in touch.

Can you really afford to say the wrong thing?

5. Save your money

A lot of small business advertising simply does not work.

And whilst many business owners are happy to pay print, design and advertising costs they slip up with the message.

For sure your advertising needs to have a powerful visual impact, but with the wrong words it will fall flat.

So don’t waste money on pointless, ineffective leaflets, flyers and sales letters. Instead perfect the whole picture and ensure your advertising budget works as hard as you do.

6. Create advertising that works

A good copywriter will see the bigger picture.

They will understand your business, your market and your customers, and use a combination of that knowledge to find the right angle for your marketing.

In fact just having a chat with a copywriter can open up a new way of thinking.

So if you’re a bit stuck or you’ve found yourself getting lousy results from your existing advertising book a free consultation with a copywriter. They can help you figure out why something isn’t working and give you some ideas of what you could try instead.

Often having a chat with someone who has no preconceptions and no history can help you open up possibilities you previously hadn’t thought about.

So if you’re facing a tough marketing challenge, ask a copywriter to help you solve it with words.

7. Showcase your business at its best

It’s hard work being a micro business owner.

The economic situation is a challenge and it can be a struggle to keep on top of everything you need to do.

Micro business owners work damn hard. And they make a lot of sacrifices to make their business idea work.

You know you do a great job. You know your business offers a tangible solution to your target market. You know you are a specialist in your niche.

So ensure your customers know too and make sure the words you use when talking about your business are the right ones.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on using a copywriter? Please let me know in the comments below.

And if you’d like to book a FREE 30-minute chat with me to discover how professional copywriting could benefit your business, simply get in touch. It would be great to hear from you.

Do You Make These Four Mistakes With Your Business Website?

As a small business your advertising budget is probably limited.

After all, you don’t want to be spending money on “stuff” that you’re not confident will deliver results.

And so if you’re relying on your website to attract attention, convert visitors and grow your reputation, it’s got to be good :-)

Does your website help you or hinder you?

As a copywriter who specialises in working with small businesses, I’ve noticed there are common mistakes micro business owners make with their website.

And these mistakes are costly because they turn customers off, fail to do justice to your business and potentially harm your reputation.

So what are they and how do you fix them?

Let’s find out…

1.  Uninspiring headlines

Let’s start with a startling statistic.

Around 8 out of 10 people will read your headline. But only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your message. 

So whilst a boring, predictable headline might get read (well scanned at least), if it doesn’t grab your target audience the rest of your words will go unnoticed. And let’s face it, it’s in the main body of your content where the real persuasion takes place.

Here’s the truth.

If your headline is poor, your target customers will never find out how you can help them – because they will never read on to discover what you offer.

Here are some clues to help you identify a poor headline.

  • It’s vague
  • It’s predictable
  • It fails to capture curiosity
  • It doesn’t stimulate desire

In fact, the most common poor headline I come across is this…

Welcome to “business name”

If you have this as the headline on your home page, please change it now!

Instead rev up your headlines and empower them to grab your customers attention and persuade them to take notice.

Here are five approaches with examples that work.

    1. Promise your big benefit. 
      • MailChimp promise “Easy Email Newsletters“. I want some of that!
      • SpinLessPlates offers to “Save time, grow your business & get more customers using small business software”. Sounds good to me :-)
    2. Pose a provocative question.
      • Arrive at Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Course and you’re met with this question –  “Is this the secret to a popular blog?” You’ve just got to find out more haven’t you?
    3. Be descriptive and simple.
      • Coombe Mill Farm does this beautifully with “Family Friendly Farm Holidays”.
    4. Make an impressive claim (if it’s true!)
      • StudioPress do this really well and assert they are – “The industry standard for premium WordPress themes“.
    5. Tap into the “how-to” instinct.

Ready to fix? Review your headlines and rev them up using one of the five templates outlined above.

2. Forget to ask for the sale

Hot on the heels of boring headlines is the absence of a call to action.

If you don’t have a call to action on each page of your website, your conversion rates will take a serious hit.

It’s OK to be “bossy” and give a clear instruction of what you want your audience to do after reading your content. Actually, if you tell them exactly what to do next, you actually improve their experience of your website because you make it easy for them.

Effective call’s to action are always clear, specific and simple.

You can make it even easier with a big button!

And be straight…

  • Buy now.
  • Download your free report today.
  • Get the video (big arrow pointing to sign up box!)
  • Enter your email address here.
  • Read more

Etc. Etc… You get the picture.

Ready to fix? Don’t leave it to chance. Instead take control of your conversion. review each page of your website. Check it has a single call to action and hone the wording so it’s clear, specific and simple.

3. Focus on the wrong person

The next mistake is the ratio of you : we in your copy.

If you say “we” more than “you”, your customers will be turned off.

Customers are not that interested in what you think.

In fact, when they first land on your website they have just one question in mind…

“What’s In It For Me?”

If you fail to answer that question, you’re in trouble because your customer will zone out.  

A “we we” website sounds something like this…

We manufacture and design the best blue widgets. We take pride in our manufacturing process and we believe our widgets are the highest quality in the market. That’s because we invest in our staff with an in-house training programme. Our widget selection is one of the best on the market and our widgets are versatile. We have over 50 years experience in making widgets and are known all over the world for them. Thanks for visiting our website”.

Boring hey?

The problem with a website writen from the business perspective is it does not tap into what the target customer is looking for.

You have less than a second to make a first impression.

If a visitor doesn’t think you are relevant for the problem they are trying to solve, they’re off.

Ready to fix? Look at your business through the eyes of a customer. What are they looking for? What do they want to read? How can you help them? Forget about what you think is important. Instead hone in on what matters to your customer.

And get the ratio right – make sure you add in copious amounts of the most powerful word in persuasive writing – YOU :-)

4.  Talk about the features

Here’s another really common mistake.

In your sales pitch are you focusing on the features of your product?

Let’s say you are selling loft ladders.

It’s tempting to focus on the features of the service. Things like what the ladder is made of, the fact it’s telescopic, how many rungs it has etc. But here’s the thing. Although this stuff is important, it doesn’t elicit any desire or excitement. And that’s because it doesn’t focus on the outcome.

So think again. What is the outcome of having a loft ladder?

It’s more about gaining safe access to all the lovely storage space that is currently going wasted in your loft. That’s the hook.

The lesson here is to make sure you’re focused on the right things.

Ready to fix? What outcome does your business offer to customers? Often this is very different from the features of your product or service. Work out what your customer’s life will be like if they use your business, and then focus on promoting that in your website.

What do you think?

What mistakes do you spot on websites? What elements of your website do you need to work on? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments…

P.S: And if you’d like a hand to figure out what’s not working on your website check out my new website critique service. My 7 step action plan will help you identify the “mistakes” you are making and provide you with detailed actions you can take to ensure your website is fit for purpose.

 

The Real Truth About Copywriting And Why It’s A Critical Skill For Your Micro Business

Sell you benefits NOT your features!

When working with a new micro business this is one of the first pieces of advice I give.

You see, in order to sell, inform, influence or persuade, you have to make it crystal clear how what you are about to say will add value to your target reader.

Achieve this, and you’ll open the channels of communication and encourage your audience to start thinking how your product or service may be worth a closer look. Fail, and your reader will turn off and tune out.

Enter copywriting…

So just what does a copywriter do?

Now bear with me, this isn’t a sales pitch!

You see, if you write your own advertising or marketing, understanding exactly what a copywriter does will improve your approach and help you write better.

Let me explain…

Yes copywriting is all about writing words. But that definition is just too simplistic. You see it’s not just about writing words.

It’s about writing the right words.

And here’s a further distinction. It’s not just about the ability to write good English.

In fact, a number of tools and techniques you learnt at school can actually undermine your ability to write to persuade. And if you strip away everything else, that is precisely what good copywriting is all about.

Copywriting is a skilled form of writing that uses words to persuade the reader to take some form of action.

So what are the right words?

OK now we’re starting to get into the real nitty gritty of what a copywriter does and how this skill can add real value to your business.

We’ve established it’s about writing the right words…

And here’s where the complexity starts. Because to find those, your first have to work through a process.  This involves:

  • Choosing the right angle to present your sales message.
  • Uncovering the right approach so your target customer reads your advert, editorial, blog, sales letter, website etc. and feels you’re speaking directly to them.
  • Finding the right initial hook to entice your reader to take a closer look.

And so that 500 word sales letter may not look that long. BUT the length disguises the amount of thinking time, idea generation and research that goes into making it hit the spot and sell.

And here is where the skill of copywriting will add some serious value to your business.

I work with a lot of micro businesses who are looking to improve the message their customers read. I enjoy working with a variety of clients, but I always like to talk with the business owner and talk in depth about what the business does.

Here’s an example.

Stop smoking…

I recently spent some time advising a hypnotherapist about the right angle to use to sell her stop smoking services. Whilst hypnotherapy may be an effective technique, to communicate that message we needed to get the approach right.

First we talked about how the hypnotherapy works. We discussed some of the reasons it may be preferable to other cessation methods. Next we identified the type of people who would most likely benefit. We pinned them down to people who had tried other methods but failed, but were committed to quitting and wanted to find a method that could really work.

Next we focused on some of the phrases and words that would work, and some of the approaches we could use to get her flyer noticed and acted upon.

You see it’s not just about telling someone what you’ve got to sell and inviting them to buy. Instead it’s about working up a concept that positions your business as the solution to their problem (or creating desire) and then telling them what they need to hear to respond and action.

So in reality copywriting is a process of discovery. Of asking the right questions and finding the right content. Of getting the right structure and the ordering of the words. Of embedding the right call to action and using the right tone, language and phrases. It’s not just about the words that end up on the paper.

It’s about the thought process that goes on behind the scenes. Because that’s where the real magic happens.

What’s the lesson?

If you need to write something for your business don’t break it down into a word count. All this does is chip away at what’s really involved with the job.

Instead factor in the time you’ll need to build that winning concept.

Always start a copywriting job with some thinking space. I grab a really sharp pencil or a fine nibbed biro and have a scribble. I often use mind-maps to jot down top level thoughts and then let my mind laterally take me to new ideas or make new connections. Other times I’ll make a list of key points or probing questions to see what that uncovers.

Then I’ll question what I’ve written. I’ll look at it from different angles and always take a look from the target customer’s perspective and get a feel for how they will respond. This helps me work out what’s a winner and what won’t work.

So you see successful copywriting it’s not just about writing

You also have to be able to understand people. In fact the more experience of different jobs, lifestyles, individuals etc, the more ideas you’ll have to draw upon. And so you have to be a good listener. You have to be able to ask the right questions that cut through the noise and hone  in on that little gem that could transform your message.

So next time you need to write some copy for your business, check your approach.

Do you automatically grab the keyboard, bash out a few words and consider it done?

Or do you take the time to plan, create and craft your approach.

The first will get your message out there – but the danger is it may not be the right one. At best it might get read, but worse it may damage your reputation or your product.

Or do you allow the time to find the right angle, look through your customers eyes and edit ruthlessly. If the idea of doing that fills you with a cold sweat, or if you simply do not have the time or passion to fall in love with your words. Do your business a favour and hire a copywriter!

Now tell me about your writing experiences. How do you write copy for your business? What works for you? What do you struggle with? Please share and tell me in the comments.

Profit from your copywriter with these 25 creative ideas

So you’ve taken the plunge and hired a copywriter.

But how do you get the best from your investment and use words to make your business stand out from the crowd?

There are stacks of creative ways words can direct customers to your business, and a talented copywriter can help with all of these (and a few more besides).

So if you’re seeking inspiration for cutting edge content and awesome advertising,  here are 25 creative ways to get you started…

  1. Start by developing a content marketing plan and identify a wide range of opportunities to provide quality, relevant content to your audience. Content marketing is an invaluable way to entrench your position as an authority in your niche and can help you make a customer, not a sale.
  2. Work up a PR strategy and a publication schedule to explore how well written press releases could increase your media coverage.
  3. Create a regular newsletter. Start with a strategy and pin down your aim. Be clear what your call to action will be and what you want your newsletter to achieve. Then work out how often you’ll publish, and plan your content to ensure you’re consistently delivering worthwhile content to your subscribers.
  4. Give your SEO a health check – review keywords, keywords phrases, and meta descriptions to ensure they’re fit for purpose. Double check you’re writing for people – not search engine spiders!
  5. Pin down focus topics, work out a publication schedule and blog with strategy.
  6. Seek opportunities to guest blog and increase the exposure of your business to a new audience. You don’t need to pick someone in the same business as you. Whilst this is good exposure also look out for opportunities to blog on complementary sites (e.g. as a copywriter guest blogging on a design site would work for me).
  7. Leave relevant, insightful comments on blogs. Avoid the “nice post” style and instead add value to the discussion thread. It’s a canny tip for raising your profile, and can entice new readers to check out your own content.
  8. Create an expert product and give away in exchange for an email address. It’s a proven technique to build you list – and as the experts say it’s “where the money is”.
  9. Create some innovative ways to communicate with your list. Again the aim of any communication must be to engage readers in substantive conversations. And whilst well timed sales talk is ok, it shouldn’t form the bulk of your interaction.
  10. Create bespoke landing pages to group together content about particular products and services. This copywriting tutorial is a good example. It’s a good way to focus your audience and expose them to a range of relevant content about a specific topic.
  11. Attract attention across your advertising portfolio with punchy, neck snapping headlines.
  12. Revamp your appeal with some fresh web content.
  13. Review your about us page and rewrite it from the customer perspective rather than boring your  customer with your life story.
  14. Create awesome articles for submission to EZine directories and clock up your back links.
  15. Create some Squidoo lenses to focus Google traffic to a particular landing page.
  16. Interview clients and create some interesting case studies from satisfied customers and post them instead of testimonials. It’s a different way to show potential clients what you can deliver.
  17. Don’t dismiss offline advertising. Experiment with leaflets and brochures as a hard-copy reminder of your business when your customer walks away.
  18. Create some reward content to send to subscribers or customers to thank them for their business.
  19. Write an informative article for a trade journal or magazine. It’s a good way to gain exposure and build credibility.
  20. Write an e-book or e-course around your specialism and develop your authority within your niche.  Consider distributing it with an auto responder. Lots of providers offer these including MailChimp.
  21. Create a white paper that tackles a thorny issue that’s challenging your niche in an unusual way.
  22. Write a commentary about something of interest to your niche.
  23. Review a book, publication or journal that’s hot in your area.
  24. Use the back of your business cards for unique content and insert a strong call to action.
  25. Rev up your Twitter headlines and get your content noticed and shared to new audiences through social media.

Which of these creative ways will you try? Or which ideas worked best for you? Let me know how you get on in the comments section below.

 

This is the third instalment in a series of posts called Hire a Freelance Copywriter and Get Rid of Ineffective Sales Copy Once and For All.

Do you make these five copywriting mistakes?


Professionally written words will outsmart your competition 

But not all micro businesses invest in a professional copywriter to get them.

And that’s strange considering you’d pay a developer to build your website or hire a designer to create your logo. Perhaps you write your own copy. After all writing’s a common skill. But consider this:

Promoting your business is not just about looking good. Once customers peer past the pretty pictures and glitzy graphics your words need to convince.

So if your advertising is not professionally written, you could be missing out on sales. That’s because a professional copywriter knows how to get your words read.

So are you ready to discover if you’re making those copywriting mistakes?

Then take this 5-minute test.

The copywriting litmus test

It’s easy to do. Simply read a piece of your advertising and look out for these top five mistakes.

If you didn’t make them great. Your copy is probably getting results.

If you did then perhaps it’s time to consider investing in some professional copy.

The top five copywriting mistakes 

1.  Use “we” more than “you”. 

You” is the most powerful word in advertising. Use it in copious amounts and your customer will feel you’re talking directly to them. However many businesses talk from their perspective. They rely on the word “we”. The result? Customers tire, tune out and look elsewhere.

Fix it: A professional will re-word your copy and shift the emphasis firmly to the “you” camp.

2. Focus on features – not  benefits.

Although interesting to you, very few customers care about the chemical composition of your new perfume. But they will be interested to know the scent lasts all day, it makes you smell amazing and you’ll feel more attractive wearing it. With so much competition, you must demonstrate how your business adds value. So focus on benefits and tone down the features.

Fix it now: A copywriting pro will stand in your customer’s shoes, pinpoint benefits, and write copy to evoke emotion and get customers reaching for their wallet.

3. Forgot to ask for the sale.

It’s not unusual for businesses to forget to tell readers what to do next. If you want people to act, tell them. Use words like “sign up here”, “download this report”, “buy now” etc. Customers are busy, they won’t think it rude you asked. Instead they’ll be pleased you guided them clearly to the next step.

Fix it now: A copywriter will craft a compelling call to action that increases your response rate.

4. Headline doesn’t hook.

The headline is the most important words you’ll write. Nail it and you’ll have customers reading on. Screw it up and readers will move elsewhere making the quality and content of the rest of your message irrelevant.

Fix it now: A pro will pick the best benefit for your headline and structure it to catch your customer’s curiosity.

5. Advertising that’s difficult to read.

How often do you see long paragraphs, endless chunks of text and long-winded complicated language?  Advertising works best when it’s conversational in tone and easy to navigate. If it’s not your message won’t get through.

Fix it now: A copywriter will break down your message and have customers grasping your content with ease.

So that’s five common copywriting mistakes.

Which ones did you find in your copy? Let me know by leaving a comment below. And if you’re ready to find out more about Gem Writing simply click here.

 

This is the first instalment in a series of posts called Hire a Freelance Copywriter and Get Rid of Ineffective Sales Copy Once and For All.

Hire a freelance copywriter? The 5 warning signs it’s time

On my blog I’ve talked a lot about how entrepreneurs and small business owners can improve their writing technique and create their own sales copy. Am I doing myself out of a job? Well no because there are occasions when it makes sense to hand your writing over to a professional freelance copywriter.

Check out these 5:

1. There’s not enough hours in the day 

As you know Google (and readers) love relevant, dynamic websites that deliver a great customer experience. And that means you’re under pressure to delivery awesome content… on a regular basis.

What’s more communicate with customers frequently and your sales will increase. It’s simple mathematics. If you regularly show up, you’ll edge to the head of the pack when a customer is ready to buy.

And that means it makes sense to blog, send out newsletters and issue press releases. But for this content marketing strategy to be effective you’ve got to be publishing on a regular basis.

Which means if you’re already juggling too many hats and lack the hours needed to write the awesome content your business needs, hire a freelance copywriter to handle it for you.

2. You realise writing’s not your thing

Let’s face it. Not everyone was born with a pen in their hands! And it’s ok to hate the blank page and irk at the thought of having to scribe some compelling sales copy. And you know good quality content doesn’t get reeled off in minutes. Instead the writing process takes focus.

There’s the idea generation, the fact finding, the keyword research,the drafting, the re-writes… (phew!)

Good writing takes time, attention and dedication. And as Nathaniel Hawthorne said:

“Easy reading is damn hard writing”

So don’t wrestle with your words. Instead do more of what you do best and shift the things you don’t enjoy to someone who does. Your business will benefit from a professional copywriter because you’ll end up with better words.

3. You’ve got to nail it

There are times when your message is so critical, it’s got to be bang on.

Your blog audience are likely to forgive the odd grammatical error, or questionable description, but when it comes to nailing a sales pitch, cracking your home page or conveying product benefits, a top notch writer will be on the money.

A professional copywriter will attract your reader with a killer heading, help them navigate your copy with a signposted trail then build your message and emphasis key points with the rights words and right tone.

If you’ve got a shred of doubt and feel you can’t deliver – don’t risk it. Speak with a freelance copywriter instead.

4. You need something specific written

You find it pretty straightforward to blog about your passion.

But if you’re looking for something more specialist your blogging style may not work.

Perhaps you need:

  • An expert product to boost your email list like my 7 Steps to Writing Copy That Sells free eBook.
  • To show your authority with an e-course,
  • Some revamped website copy,
  • Hard-hitting direct mail to convert readers into customers.
  • A content rich newsletter to stay in touch with your customers etc.

5. You’re just too close

It sounds strange but being too close to your business can mean you’re not the best person to write about it.

Let me explain.

If you run your own business you can reel off the behind the scenes detail with ease – it’s inevitable considering all the time and sacrifices you’ve made to get where you are. And that’s often the problem. If you know too much you can actually overlook the very things that would interest a customer.

Here are some examples:

  • Pitch your offer wrong by failing to explain the very detail you take for granted.
  • Focus your sales copy on aspects the customer has no interest in.
  • Create marketing copy that turns customers off and fail to do justice to your business.

A freelance copywriter will probe your business with fresh eyes, stand in the shoes of your customer and write words that compel your target market into action.

On these occasions hiring a freelance copywriter will get it nailed on your behalf.

You still hold the reigns…

Does the thought of  handing your marketing message over leave you bathing in a cold sweat?

An understandable reaction…

But here’s the thing. If you hire a professional copywriter you’ll still be very much in charge.

After all you know your target market. You may even have an idea of your niche keywords and you’ll know your business inside out. So instead perceive your talented copywriter as a partner. She’ll work with you to transform your raw information into a powerful marketing message that compels your audience into action.

Over to you. Which of your marketing activities would be better handled by a freelance copywriter? Why not make that decision now and see what difference a finely tuned marketing message makes to your sales strategy.

 

This is the second instalment in a series of posts called Hire a Freelance Copywriter and Get rid Of Ineffective Sales Copy Once and For All.

 

 

How to help your copywriter write words that wow

Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the plunge and hire a copywriter.

For sure you’ve made a great decision but how do you ensure you’re happy with the results?

Read this blog and discover 5 simple strategies. Use them and you’ll help your copywriter create outstanding “salesmanship in print” for your business.

1. Timetable some detailed fact-finding conversations

Hiring is just the start. Next you’ll need to spend quality time discussing your business, products and services with your copywriter. In fact they’ll want lots of information and will probably arrived armed with a detailed briefing document or a bank of probing questions.

These fact finding conversations are critical.  Your copywriter will probe, question, listen, think, cast fresh eyes, stand in your customers’ shoes and pinpoint the little gems that make the difference.

And the result? – The foundations of copy that will appeal to your target market and sell your product.

What’s more your copywriter will:

  • Agree your tone of voice – specifically that’s how you’ll come across to your customers (for example friendly, authoritative, down-to-earth, luxurious etc).
  • Clarify your Unique Selling Point. Ideally your USP will clearly differentiate you from your competitors and make your product / service worth a look.
  • Identify benefits – because benefits, not features appeal to customers.
  • Pinpoint your target market - you’ve got to write for someone and not everyone so you’ll need to get clear on who your ideal customer is.

2. Dig-out useful facts, figures and information

Copywriters love information.  Support your fact-finding conversations with testimonials, statistics, leaflets, brochures, press releases etc. Testimonials provide invaluable insights through the words of real customers, and existing marketing opens discussion about what worked, what didn’t and what’s the future.

3. Include an offer in your copy

Do you want your copy to result in a customer response? If so enhance the appeal of your copy by incorporating an offer. The most effective are enticing and appeal to your target market so give some serious thought to what will motivate customers to pick up their phone or click your link. Don’t dismiss “freebies” like fact sheets or information booklets, and wherever possible give your offer a monetary value.

4. Don’t view the first draft as a final version

Whilst it is possible to nail copy at the first attempt, it’s far more likely the first draft will be a foundation. Use it to initiate further discussion, identify missing facts and check the detail. And because revisions are an integral part of creating copy that sells, a good copywriter will expect to carry out reasonable amendments.

5. Finally. Remember, quality writing takes time…

and you get what you pay for!

Whilst copywriters will operate in your deadline (if it’s realistic), good does copy takes time.

So beware. If words have been spilled onto paper with little thought or revision, it’s unlikely they’ll do your business justice.

In comparison outstanding copy evolves and matures.

  • It’s informed by solid research
  • Then distilled through careful editing and proofreading.

Indeed it’s good practice for a copywriter to  sleep on a version before mailing it to a client.

That’s because fresh eyes are intensely effective at refining sentences, honing phrases and polishing content.

So when you get your quote, remember the polished final version you’ll publish masks a realm of discarded thoughts, scribbled ideas and unused concepts.

In short you’re paying for the creative concepts and the research as well as the actual words.

Copywriters are an invaluable asset for your business.

Ensure you get the best results from your investment, and apply these five tips when you’re working together. What tips do you have for working with a copywriter? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

 

This is the fourth instalment in a series of posts called Hire a Professional Copywriter and get rid of ineffective sales copy once and for all.

Need a professional copywriter? Widen your geographical search



Do you have this problem?

  • You’re a city firm or small business that needs persuasive words to promote your business.
  • You need to track down the right freelance copywriter. That’s someone who “gets” your business and your customers and can translate this understanding into hard-working copy that sells.
    • What’s more you’re really keen to make some cost savings.

Here’s a solution

It’s a fact the right copywriter may not be based in the same city as you…

That’s because thanks to technology like the internet it’s now possible to use a copywriter based anywhere in theUK.

And this puts you in a strong position…

In fact you win on three counts:

  1. You get to choose from a wider pool of freelance writers.
  2. You still get the same high quality work you need to promote your business, and
  3. You save money by paying the cheaper day rates charged elsewhere in theUK.

What’s more distance really doesn’t need to be a barrier to an effective partnership.

After all it’s quick and easy to make decisions over the phone, and you can receive drafts of your copy by email. In fact working with a copywriter from a distance could actually save you time. For example have you noticed how phone conversations are often quicker and more focused than meetings in person?

Gem Writing is your professional freelance copywriter based in Plymouth, Devon.

I write clear, creative, compelling copy for businesses across the UK. What’s more I offer a full range of copywriting services. I live and work in the SW, meaning you’ll get the copy you need without the big city fees. And in these competitive, hard economic times this makes sound business sense.

So next time you need some convincing commercial copy for your business, widen your geographical search and consider hiring Gem Writing.

And if this is the first time you’ve used my services, why not give me a call to discuss my introductory first time rates.

Let’s talk about finding the right words for your business on 07954 580 039.

Georgina.