But I don’t know how to write ‘Copy’ – Part Two

best copywriting

Thanks to ABC Copywriting for the Perfect Pic !

Following the feedback I received after publishing Part One of “How To Write Copy”, I thought it best to get back to it as soon as possible, and offer another list of tips. These may be a little more advanced than the original list I offered but, according to the messages I have received, many of you have already made it through the first list – or perhaps you use those guidelines on a daily basis already. Whatever the reason, here are some more points to ponder. Of course, as always, have fun with it! You can always tell the Sales Copy that was fun to come up with – it shines in the prose. See if you can have fun with these ideas:

  1. Overwhelm with Testimonials.

Why does Social Marketing work? Because people see what their friends like, and that makes them want to try it, too. They trust other user’s advice. So get as many testimonials as you can: The more specific, of course, the more convincing. In short, deliver proof that your claim is for real.

  1. Remove the Risk!

Give a guarantee that something works. Less than 2% of your customers will ever ask for their money back, so offering a guarantee is a safe risk. We have all seen the thirty day challenge, when most customers are so busy, they don’t remember to ask for their refund. The fact that you are offering to pay their money back makes you successful.

  1. Ask for the Order.

Too much copy these days never asks anyone to buy anything. Sales copy should SELL, so remember your target point. What do you want them to do: Buy, sign up, or subscribe? Ask the reader to do it! Use a coupon as a way to signal readers that you want their business and to remind yourself to always ask for the order (or at least to ask people to contact you or remember you).

  1. Use Magic Words.

There are certain words which have been proven to help get attention. If you just string these words together, they sound like fluff. But weave them into your sentences, along with your facts, and they become powerful:

Announcing, astonishing, exciting, exclusive, fantastic, fascinating, first, free, guaranteed, incredible, initial, improved, love, limited offer, powerful, phenomenal, revealing, revolutionary, special, successful, super, time-sensitive, unique, urgent, wonderful, you, breakthrough, introducing, new, and how-to.

And consider the connotations of the words you use: workshop sounds like hard work while seminar sounds easier. Read sounds hard while look over sounds easy. Write sounds difficult while jot down sounds easy. Be aware of the psychological implications of the words and phrases you use. How words sound and look are just as important as what they mean.

  1. Get Pumped Up!

Show your excitement for your product: If you aren’t pumped up about it, why not? Enthusiasm sells. This should be important to you. Look at successful TV Ads, and how actors portray everyday essential products with such glee and excitement. It works for viewers that instinctively like these people more, because of how they look, and what they say. Your copy should act the same way.

  1. Rewrite and Test Ruthlessly.

Test. Test. Test. A change of one word can increase response 250%. Most copy isn’t written in one day, it is a work in progress. You have to write, rewrite, edit, rewrite, test, and test again. And record how business looks with each ad. Run two concurrently, so that you can A/B test.

Just as all fish aren’t attracted by the same bait, there is no single Ad that works for everyone. You should educate yourself on what works for you, when, and keep on testing.

  1. State a Believable Deadline.

Most people won’t take any immediate action unless there is a sound reason to do so. Deadlines help, as long as your deadline sounds credible. Don’t put multiple dates into an ad or offer, either. It will confuse your audience. Be wary about what you want the reader to do and stick to that one thing, Make it easier for them to do!

  1. Instantaneous Satisfaction!

Everything should be nearly instantaneous because we want instant gratification. Toll-free numbers and e-mail addresses help. If you’re marketing on the Web, include a link or a “Buy Now” button that makes it easy for your readers to order. If it’s easy for them to hit a button, it’s easy for them to enjoy your product faster. Is this your product?

  1. Sincerity Sells.

Don’t offer fluff, mislead, or lie to your prospects. Tell them the truth. While rarely done, it actually helps sales to admit a weakness or a fault. Tell the truth in a fascinating way, as a story or a moral. People like to be entertained, but keep it honest and useful, and they will love you for it.

  1. Copy your copy from the Best.

What are your favorite ads? Why? Look at them from a distance, and try to figure out what hit’s your buttons. The fact is, these ads were designed to do just that so they are working. Why not copy them in the terms of the points above, and see how your product looks in others’ eyes?

BONUS TIP: The Easiest Way to Write Anything

After you have decided what you want to accomplish with your writing, and you have completed your research, then write in 33-minute non-stop blasts. Then take a 10-minute breather, do some push-ups, get some air, dance, drink some coffee. Then write in another 33-minute spurt. This helps your left and right sides of your brain work in harmony. It’s true – compare the results of the two ‘spurts’ and they will appear different!

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It’s Never Too Late to Start your Blogging Empire.

blog-new-blog-ideas-for-business-websiteA recent LinkedIn article asked: ‘Are you thinking of starting a blog? Don’t!’ Why? Because there are so many online today, it’s going to be almost impossible to make any kind of mark. How many? The figures are truly mind-blowing. According to Website Designer, The U.S. alone has over 30 million bloggers in 2018, which captures almost 30 percent of the market. To give some perspective, the next biggest blogging country is the UK with 7 percent of the world’s bloggers. That means there are over 60 Million blogs now online from the rest of the World! Why are they still popular?

People blog about their passions: Pets, clothes, movie gossip, and recipes. Their popularity is due to the passion of the writer, not for the genre they are written about. If you are blogging about your business, your customers, your community, and ensure that your passion for your subject comes out, your readership that have been looking for the information you give out specifically, will continue to read your words, because of the feelings they are written with. If you are excited about an idea, you really want to find others that share your passion. Be that writer.

Look at the amount of Fortune 500 companies, high street mega-chains, and Big Box retailers that have blogs on their websites. From a business point of view, everyone is doing it, so therefore it must show value to companies that have ‘bean counters’ for every single cent moving through the company. I wonder if these accounting geniuses have worked out that it is the passion that works and not so much the items headlined for sales? According to this research, business owners see a 126 percent increase in lead generation if they blog about their industry.

But are there still guidelines to follow among this written-word universe out there? There are, so if your passion requires some guidelines, consider these 2018 blogging facts:

The average blog post length is 1,050 words, and the average word count of top ranked content in Google is between 1,140-1285 words. Longer, in-depth blog posts generate 9x more leads than short ones however, the median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds, so make that first paragraph count – especially as the average blog post takes 3 hours 16 minutes to write! Did you know that Blog titles with 6-13 words get the most consistent amount of traffic and hits?

However, your blogging work is never a waste of time. Consider that Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI, and Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get nearly 3.5x more traffic than those that publish 0-4 monthly.

It is usually the planning of posts that many writers don’t fashion into their blogging, and having no forward plan about what they are writing means they will soon drop out of regular posting. The majority of these blogs haven’t had a post in the last three months, many in the last six, and almost 20% in the year immediately following their last post. If you are looking forward to a post as a reader, you will soon lose interest if you haven’t seen a post in a few months. I wonder how many posts start off with: “I know that it has been a while since my last post…” Too late – your readership have moved on.

Blogging will always have a future but remember that it isn’t your content as much as the feelings that it is written with. It is the writing that brings people back, sets you apart from others, both in your niche, and the Blogosphere as a whole. It isn’t the act of blogging that is at question, only your passion, content and frequency. Make your feelings ‘long’, and tour Wordsmith skills ‘short’. Use the above 2018 facts to fashion your posts for 2019, and post at least once per week. To completely disagree with LinkedIn – ‘DO!’

But I Don’t Know How to Write ‘Copy’ – Part One

copywritingAdvertising ‘Copy’ (Script) is your major sales vehicle. It tells people who you are, what you do, when, where, and why (The ‘5 W’s’ of Journalism.). Everyone does it, but not everyone does it well. As a beginner in business marketing, it is a major chore that everyone would like to to do well, but often don’t think hard enough about what it means, or what is involved.

Learning a few simple tips, though, will make your writing not only easier, but more enjoyable and successful. As you get more successful at it, the further you will sprint ahead of the pack that is merely adding words to their pictures. In turn, proper Content Marketing will turn more strangers into prospects, prospects into customers and customers into evangelists.

The answer to all advertising is a simple, although a long one. All Advertising ‘copy’ fits into certain rules, and although there may be lots of ‘rules’ to try to learn out there, when you research, the same points come up repeatedly. To save your time in searching for The Secret Formula, I have boiled it down to twenty easy to understand rules, and will use two posts to list them all. Not all of them should be used at the same time, but it will give beginners a check-list to follow to hit as many points as possible that will help you.

Most importantly, anything you write should be personal. It has to come from you. Write as one person, addressing one person: Here are some more ingredients to bear in mind:

  1. Know your UVP.

A UVP is a Unique Value Proposition: A one line statement that explains how your product or service differs from the competition. Think Coca-Cola, or Dove Soap. What comes to mind is their USP.

  1. Use layout.

Everyone puts a picture on top of their blog post, but if you don’t have one that supports what you are writing about, don’t use one. Don’t divert a reader’s attention from your USP. Layouts may include graphs, infograms, photos, but they don’t have to. Your layout should support your USP, and that’s all.

  1. Create a relevant headline.

This is the hook that makes readers read the first line. Make it about the entire piece, make it ask a question, but – again – stay on topic. What are you saying when you ‘open the door’ to fire that message?

  1. Write to your Prospects.

Who are you writing for? What do they want? Do some research on your perfect reader, and aim the piece at them: In layout, language or pictures, make sure that they understand it.

  1. Benefits, not Features.

It doesn’t matter what your ‘widget’ does, what matters is how it will benefit the reader. No-one is interested in how clever you are, what matters is how your product or service will positively affect those that you are writing for.

  1. Use Aspirational Appeal.

You can appeal to someone’s emotional side, no matter who you are writing for. Even business purchases are made from an emotional point of view: “You will feel better, because…”

  1. Dispel Myths.

When prospects say: “I don’t have enough time.”, or “I don’t have enough money.”, do they mean, I’m not thinking about this now? Are they saying “It won’t work for me.”, or “I don’t need it.”, or are they saying: “I don’t believe you.” This is your chance to take on any or all of these myths.

  1. Fire up your prose.

“The meeting is tonight” sounds informative, but; “The Meeting starts at 7 PM – Don’t Miss It!” sounds direct, and exciting. How can you re-write what you do to make this piece riveting? Keep your prospects reading to the end. Use questions, unfinished sentences, lists. What makes you read on, instead of closing the document?

  1. Be an Expert.

‘The more you tell, the more you sell’. Keep your piece short enough to be exciting, but in it, the reader learns something.

  1. Be Specific.

Whenever you write something vague, such as ‘in the future’, or ‘many people’, you create a question in the reader’s mind: “When, exactly”, they will say, or “How many people, exactly.” If you are talking about a group of people, find out how many, or when you have a target in the future, state it. “We expect that over 1,000 companies will be using our product by December 1st.” is way better than: “be one of our customers with many others in the next few months.

Everything you write should be aimed at your prospects and be about your business. I suggest you keep some kind of note-keeping device close to you, be it a notebook, or Phone App. Ideas will start coming to you at the oddest times, so be ready to note them down.

In Part Two, I’ll have another 10 points that you should be addressing.

Blocked while Blogging? Here’s how to get out of it.

Writers-BlockEarlier this year, I offered “6 tips for the perfect blog post“. However, there will be times when – despite the hints of lay out and content given in this post – you won’t know what to write. Everyone goes through it, despite your best efforts, the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ hits you and you can’t think of a single topic for your business blog. Here’s a list of ideas to fall back on.

Customer success stories.

Has someone told you how your good or service has made a positive impact on them or their life? Write about it to help others.

Industry tips.

You are part of an industry, so what have you discovered lately about that industry. Search for already printed bulletins from larger suppliers, or economic circles, and describe how it could affect your future. Don’t forget to thank the original writer and give them a link.

New products/services.

Are you planning an upgrade, or a new product? Tell everyone about it as a ‘sneak preview’.

Upcoming small business events.

Even if it’s just a Sale, write about it. In fact, if someone else is reaching out, share the news and look like a supporter to your community.

Customer feedback.

You can generate real customer comments about the industry in general. It could be useful for your prospects, and makes you look as if you care about customers and their observations to others.

Educate Your Customers.

Do your prospects truly understand how your product should be used or enjoyed? Take the opportunity to educate them, without selling them. This kind of free instruction places you as an expert, and someone that goes the extra mile for your prospects.

“Warning” Posts.

Is the World of prospects going to change because of something that is happening in your industry? Perhaps you can see the ‘Big Picture’, and help them to look ahead?

Related interests.

Spread the word about the world at large as it is affected by your product. Business tools, for instance, can relate to automation in the office, or freeing up employees’ time. Stepping away from your own product occasionally to look at the world at large reminds your prospects to do the same.

Product explanations.

What are the nuts and bolts of your business, your product, why you are here? Explain in detail how it comes together, and where it is from. The logic behind your businesses’ process will show what you do from a different angle.

Even with all of the writing you are doing on an ongoing basis, we all face a blank wall sometimes. Use one or more of these ideas to enliven your Businesses’ story, and get the word out to your prospects from a different angle.

Try them out and let me know your Successes !

Social Media Re-Visited

social_media_marketingWhen you have reached the point where your small business marketing is a daily practice, it is normal to think occasionally, what this extra work is getting you? You are spending an hour or two online tweeting, posting and linking in. Perhaps you have gotten used to blogging on a regular basis, but are you seeing any interest for the work you are doing? It’s worth reminding yourself why from time to time, so here are some facts and figures for you.

Without online marketing, how were businesses marketed? A sign over the door for your store-front? Perhaps some local newspaper advertising? These methods and others need time to work. Everyone thinks differently, and your special offer may only resonate with them when they require your service or product – timing, truly, is everything. How many people every day walk past that store-front? How many people are seeing or hearing your ad? You never really had a clue, but hoped that whoever did walk into your business were, at least in part, thanks to your advertising. So, who online is interested in you?

A reminder that your links are a concrete reminder if who is sharing your material. Check your website’s Alexa details to find out who that is. By being active as a real person on Social Media, and putting yourself front and centre, with your business message in the background, you are inviting people to learn more. We all enjoy watching interviews with movie and rock stars on TV. We know they are going to plug their new movie, book, or album, but we are more interested in them as a person, and their thoughts on various issues. This is what you are achieving with Social media marketing. So, are your customers or prospects on line? Well…Over 70% of all internet users are on Social media, and over 80% of people between the ages of 18 and 50 are posting, and almost three-quarters of these access social media from a mobile device. We would say, yes – they are there. So what are they doing?

On Facebook alone, almost a quarter of these people log in over 5 times a day, over one million pages online feature a Facebook Log In button, and almost half of these visitors say that Facebook is the top influencer of their purchasing habits. Twitters has over 200 million global active users – and more than double this figure in registered users. In the two years after 2012, its user numbers grew by over 40%.

Google+ may be ‘late to the party’, but thanks to its Google connection it already boasts almost 400 million monthly users and is growing by a third per year. Those over 45 years of age have increased by over half in the last two years. We all love great visuals and graphic images. This is proven by the fact that You Tube (Attention! Google Connection!) has over 1 Billion active monthly users, Pinterest boasts over 20 million, and Instagram gets more than 150 Million monthly users.

Be yourself online and find people and companies like yours. You prospects are probably online, in your area, and looking at what you are doing. Time a cut-price or Sale event to each one of these platforms and see who is ready to buy now. This is what you are doing online every day or week, and you need to continue it.

Is your Business Mobile ?(And that doesn’t mean movable.)

 

Mobile BusinessIt’s not only young, urban, early adopters that appear to live their lives through their mobile devices. Just like any other aspect of the knowledge-based lifestyle, the way to access mobile, and make your personal communications device easier to use, grows exponentially year over year. Moore’s Law, indeed! Even as a small business, you should ensure that your online marketing includes mobile ads, notifications, and analytics: Very soon, if not already, even if a prospect is standing outside your business, and they can see you through the window, they won’t recognize you until they see you on their mobile device. It is getting to the point (Amazingly quickly), that a mobile website and accompanying social media campaign is the only truly important advertising channel foe any business.

Liken it to an ad in a very specific magazine or newspaper that everyone in your market carries around with them. Perhaps these are tourists new to the area, or those that are downtown on this specific Saturday to see the Arts Festival that is happening around your business, or even the specialist pet-owner’s periodical that include cut-price tickets to their big event this weekend By ensuring that you are doing your bit in mobile, you are advertising to all of these groups, simply by the geographic area you are in.

Start with Google+ Local. Your business should be here, optimised to ensure your geographic location stands out, and linked to your You Tube and G-Mail accounts. As Google’s ongoing efforts to dwarf every other provider of services on the planet continues, they give more ‘juice’ to their own products being linked. Google+ is simply their attack on FaceBook, but when linked to your business, and – perhaps- You Tube, where you can graphically show your business, your business website, and it’s Google+ Local account, Google will love you even more. Those links don’t just add, they multiply in Google’s algorithmic-eyes.

One central Business account in this area is now the hub of your mobile advertising campaign, and links directly to the page of your website that gives prospects the information that will draw them in. of course, you should continue with your Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Yelp accounts as well, to ensure that your ongoing messages are being received by as many people as possible. Any person standing around your store is a member of Local search, whether they are visiting or residents. That makes almost half of all the world’s businesses local ones, so the size of the market is about to explode. Be one of the first to leverage this power.

Every visit to your advertising channels (Likes, Plus 1’s, Re-tweets, etc.) and your website should be recorded, too. Every visit means: “I am interested in what you do. Send  me more information.”, and it happens automatically. It is an invisible Visitors Book, that people sign voluntarily, grows over time, and allows you to advertise directly to prospects that already like you, and could well evangelize on your behalf to others. So, how do we achieve this?

Firstly, get a pro in (if you haven’t already. And you should: This is your businesses’ advertising after all.). Ensure that your website and social media paths are ‘mobile friendly’. This is simply a coding exercise, with the resizing of various views required to make sure they are not only easily seen, and that your emotions come over to the prospect. Ensure that the sites and pages are more easily navigable by a left-hand thumb only! Intellectually, the easier it is to see something in the prospect’s current view, the easier it is to decide to visit, or buy.

The companies that fit the needs of their mobile prospects have reported huge growth in sales in these areas, sometimes over a 50% rise, so this is vital. The strategy you use to ensure the overall marketing campaign works to its utmost is just as important. Using the keywords you already have should work, especially if they are repeated on your site’s landing page. Ensure that local references are there, of course: “Conveniently located in…” as a second line to follow up your [City] then [Service] keyword combination means that people walking close to you, with their smartphone on, realise you are within steps of them, you have a great cyber-store window full of what they are interested in, are open, and welcoming them. This is very powerful –something that advertisers could only rely on billboards for up to now: Imagine a huge floating blimp over your neighborhood that is shaped like a downturned fist with a finger saying: “Your (Insert Your Town Name Here) Mover is here…” That is what mobile is, except it is in your prospect’s hand.

Finally, once you have them in the store, what can they use their phone for? You can ensure that QR technology allows you to give them a special that they can purchase with their device. You are seeing this technology all over, now. Using the phone as a coupon holder only for them, you can simply ask them to buy through it, and make that decision, easier for them to do.

This is not a fad, nor simply another advertising gimmick – this is big and growing, and now you can use world-wide, trusted search capabilities to make any business a local one.

How Your Business Stands out From Everyone Else.

Leading the pack, ingenuity,standing out from the crowd concept.Are you in a crowded marketplace? Do you offer a ‘Commodity’ Product – a good or service that customers can get anywhere else? These two questions often go together, and create an ongoing problem for many businesses: How do you stand out from your competitors. Especially when you are the ‘Newbie’ on the block? The one that has just started and the history of your prospects’ community have a head start on you?

Firstly, you must differentiate yourself from everyone else, which takes some research. Type in a Google search for your future competition, find out where they are, how long they have been in business, and what they offer. This will take you some time if you are in a  busy industry, but for all of the research you do, you will discover not only why these businesses are successful, but in which areas they overlap and offer the same service as everyone else.

Mostly, they will all be the same, which means you have an avenue to investigate: What don’t they offer? Which part of the marketplace do they ignore, or not serve at all. if you can’t make your business different, then make your clientele stand out. Find new ways to do your business. If everyone in a marketplace is the same, then their fees are the only differentiating factor, which can drive the overall prices down.

Find a way of adding something to your services that no-one else does. This means that you have the opportunity to charge more, but you are offering more, so the price and the value of what you offer do not get confused into the same thing – which they aren’t.

It is important to know about your clientele: Who they are, what they do, what they want, everything. When you find an overall pattern in whom you are serving, you will find another way that you can offer something that they need – you add to your value set, and continually spread your expertise over similar business interests that will appeal to your Ideal Customer.

Use the lessons you have learned, for instance, in marketing and online engagement to put your clientele in touch with each other: Become the centre of a hub of activity, rather than someone that offers a service when it is required. Make sure that your specialty is part of your client’s lives. Ensure that your clients bring you new business. They know people just like them, and as they are being served by you, their friends will like it to. Now, you are not only being unique, and filling your funnel with perfect prospects, they are evangelizing for you, and bringing you more and more business based on what you do so well.

It takes commitment to work this way. Commit to your research, your additional professional education, and your social engagement skills. Often you will wonder if anyone else goes to these lengths. They probably don’t, which is why they are part of the pack, and not a business that stands out in your marketplace. Look for your inspiration outside of your regular industry sources, to what market leaders in other industries do. Find out which of your competitors are reaching the end of their current practices: Moving, retiring, getting out of a certain line of business. What can you pick up from others? Can you start another business stream with this information?

We started discussing how to stand out, and next we will look at how to expand your business. It maybe scary, but you will stand out.