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4 Fifty Writing Tools

On more than one occasion I have promoted writing as a master marketing skill. Like any skill it is improved through practice and the proper application of tools.

So, what are the right tools?

A great place to start is this list of 50 tools for writers from Roy Peter Clark Senior Scholar, Poynter Institute

About the list Clark says:
“At times, it helps to think of writing as carpentry. That way, writers and editors can work from a plan and use tools stored on their workbench.”

1 The Why Is Not A River In China

One of the most powerful copy techniques you can employ in your marketing is to tell your reader why you are doing something.

  • I’m having this sale because we overbought.
  • I need to ask your forgiveness because I made a mistake
  • I need your address so I can send you a free gift
  • We package our products this way because it saves on shipping

Don’t assume that your readers and prospects will understand the benefits of what you have to offer or the logical steps they should take to receive those benefits.

Here’s an example of a form that tells the participant why they are collecting each piece of information.

I don’t mind filling in all of the blank, even the birthday question, on a form like this. It’s funny, but people are much more likely to take a step in the marketing process if you tell them why you want them to. There’s just something disarming about the honest feel of it all.

2 Tell Stories With Numbers and Shut Up About Your Benefits Already

[Okay, maybe a little harsh on the title today. I just want to make a point, get your attention, on a topic that confuses almost every small business marketer I come across – and it’s killing their sales and marketing efforts.]

One of the best ways to differentiate your offer or sales pitch from another is to give very specific information, with numbers to prove the point.

And then, wrap it around a story of someone, some client, actually getting that result.

That’s really all your prospects care about. What result will I get and how can your prove it. They don’t care about your mishy mashy, “let’s sit around the board room table and make up some really cool sounding benefits sales copy.”

If you must point out features, sell the results they produce. Nobody really cares about benefits as you see them. They care about results. Go way past your marketing benefits rhetoric and produce real results copy.

Don’t write sales copy that promises they will be satisfied and that will make their world a happier place (typical benefit copy). Write copy that says your employees will be 27.5% more efficient, producing a profit increase in the first 6 months of 15.3% bringing over $254,327 in new revenue to your bottom line. Ted Smith at Gears To Go had this to say, “Our numbers don’t lie, blah good things, blah more specific results, blah.”

Even better, create a formula, run the numbers and show your prospect such incredible ROI that your product or service is actually free (or will be in 6 months of use by way of payback.) And then, wrap your results in a story. Paint them a picture of what their business will look and feel like when they too get these results.

Actually having this kind of proof does take work, but it will make your proposition so much easier to understand, grasp and buy. Do this part right and selling is easy.

4 Writing Is A Master Marketing Skill

Few things are sold without a prospect reading a written word or two.

Business owners often ask me what they should be looking for in a marketing assistant and I always say – find someone who can write.

Now, let me back up and tell that what I really mean. Find someone who will write.

Many people claim that they are not good writers and my take is that they simply don’t write. In order to become a good writer, in order to use writing as a marketing skill you must write. You can always have someone edit what you write, but it’s the act of writing that starts the marketing ball rolling. (I know my editor friends out there wish I would take that editing advice.)

Here’s what I have found.

Writing creates ideas. It’s rarely the other way around. Many times I have no idea what I am going to write, but once I start, ideas just happen. What comes about is often far greater than anything I could have simply thought and then transferred to paper or screen.

Writing will help you have something to say. The more you write, the better you will sell.

Writing will help you listen more actively.

Write speeches, write notes, write essays unrelated to your business.

Okay, write sales letters, write web pages, write white papers. Just, write first, and then see what you had to say.

Your business and your marketing will thank you.

Do This One Thing Every Day

There are lots of variations on this simple marketing tip, but the theme is always the same – do something well and do it a whole bunch.

That’s the one simple truth about marketing. Always has been, always will be.

Here’s one of my favorite small business marketing success strategies.

Take one rainy Friday afternoon and compile a list of 60 businesses or individuals that you feel need what you do. Do some research in the local business journal or at the library or by asking your current clients. Find businesses that fit, have a need and that you know you can offer something of value.

Create your target list and personally call each one and find out who in each of these organizations is best suited to receive a marketing message from you.

SIDEBAR:Here is the marketing phone script that always works. Call and say this to whomever answers the phone. “Hi – My name is Fred, from Acme Marketing. If I had a way to help you double your organization’s business in about 90 days,[substitute you big idea here] would you be the person I should send that information to?”

The person answering the phone often is not the person you want, but they will always give up the right name when you pitch it like this.

Then, everyday, for the next 60 days, write a personal letter demonstrating your knowledge of their business and their needs and outline how you have a solution for their needs. Send one letter a day, wait three days and call that person to ask for an appointment.

If you do your homework, write a strong letter and make your follow-up calls you will have a steady stream of very warm prospects every week.

Valuable Content Just Needs A Package

Here’s a quick little tip that may help some small
business owners harness the whole content thing.

Okay, some background first. Most know that I talk
endlessly about the idea of providing (most of the time
free) content about some really valuable stuff to your
prospects to help cut through the clutter and prove
yourself the expert that you know you are.

Here’s a twist! Hire someone to show how smart you
are. Let me explain. What if you knew that a particularly
hot market sector wanted, no strike that, needed, to know
about a volatile market phenomenon. And, what if you
could hire someone really nerdy like, an economist, or
better yet, futurist, who could share with them exactly
where their business or industry was headed.

A great source of content, and therefore lead generation,
may lurk in your back yard just waiting to unfold itself
for you. Think outside of what you sell and present
experts of any shape and sort that may possess value
to you market and watch what happens to your stock
as a result.

Content comes in various forms and most of it is free.
You just need to provide the package, cuz that’s what
people pay for anyway.

3 Blogging has tipped

In Malcolm Gladwell’s now famous book, he refers to a phenomenon known as tipping – thus the title, The Tipping Point.

He goes on to present some very well documented events that can lead
one to understand the precise moment something tipped or became a success, trend, plaque, or simply met with general acceptance.

Bob Bly, legendary copywriter and offline direct marketer, recently launched a blog, so, I’d say blogging has tipped! Who’s next, Gary Halbert?

Don't we we all over your prospects

When I read most of what people put out there as marketing it copy I have my we we radar up. See most people write things like…We do this, we do that, we have the biggest, we think this, we go to great this…

When a potential client reads your ad or letter they don’t care about any of that stuff. Someday they may grow to care about you but for now they care about one thing. Continue reading

2 The Top 10 Power Copywriting Tricks

Small business marketing is not really about sitting around in
board rooms discussing branding strategies…it’s really about
selling. When it comes right down to it if you can’t write an
ad or letter that makes people want to buy what you have to
sell (even if that’s just an appointment) then you are sunk.

Between reading most everything on the subject Continue reading