Categories
Copywriting Marketing Marketing Mistakes

How To Market Your Small Business

How To Market Your Small Business, Problems Solutions and Options

By Alan L Tarr, Master Copywriter

You own a small business – or you’re about to open one – congratulations on both counts.

“But”…you say, “it’s hard to grow”.  Welcome to the club.  Over 7-out-of-10 small businesses are experiencing just what you are, in some degree.  Small businesses and non-profits are struggling to generate more leads, more conversions, and turn a decent profit.  So WHY the struggle?  Is it the economy?  The lingering effects of the pandemic?  Who can we blame for the difficulties in marketing your small business?

I blame me.

Was It Really My Fault?

Well…partially – as a speaker and coach, I…

  • Gave 18-30 presentations, seminars, and workshops a year since 2010…and during the pandemic – none.
  • Worked with or spoke to, and coached over 3,000 small business owners in that pre-pandemic time.
  • Looked at over 1,000 websites and did evaluations of over 240 of them. With the objective data I collected, my internal survey showed over 83% of those websites as “seriously flawed” – with 77% rated as “dangerously inefficient”.
  • In other words, people who visited these sites left quickly and, since they were searching the internet, probably would up at a competitor’s website.

Fortunately for my clients, I developed ways to solve these problems.

Then Came The Pandemic

When in-person seminars and workshops ground to a halt, I was no longer able to help you.  And you are my favorite people – writers, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders.  I loved seeing the progress you made in marketing your small business by acquiring a sound basis in the fundamentals of copywriting, marketing and website science.

To tell you the truth, I found I’m not real keen on “webinars”.  I can’t see or hear the attendees and I loved the audience reactions, questions, interplay of a live presentation.  For all, I think it’s a much better experience.  Here’s my workaround.

  • Updated all my presentations – plus new material – into 15 online multi-media Courses, Tutorials, and Toolboxes in Write Like A Madman University.
  • Made over 180 of my original works available free (or in a very few cases, for the outrageous price of $1) through Facebook, Linked-In, and Instagram.
  • Made myself available to answer general questions by email…and for personal, one-on-one, Zoom coaching.
  • Set up a LinkTree page with every important link to my pages, blogs, etc.

This is my solution to the pandemic – and to out-of-state clients.

Now Let’s Get Back To Solving Your Problem

If you have a little patience, I’m going to show you how to market your small business.

  • State the common problems
  • Break down your solution options and
  • Clarify things so you can pick the path that best suits you.

Simply stated, small businesses are challenged with generating enough revenue to cover costs and create reasonable profits – most fall woefully short.

How To Market Your Small Business – Common Problems

Here’s what the research showed.

  • Little or no real, been-there, done-that marketing and writing skills in the owners or key people.
  • Can’t afford the $5,000 – $50,000+ price tags of talented consultants, agencies, or new hires.
  • Limited understanding of how to
    • Create unique and winning marketing messages and campaigns
    • Communicate those messages to prospects through websites, emails, social media, advertising, and content.

Please… don’t be insulted; these are the facts for over 7-out-of-10 small businesses – but there are solutions.

How To Market Your Small Business – Solutions

Here is what most businesses need to create, rethink, or rework to grow – listed in order of priority.

  • Create marketing messages and materials using those messages.
  • Conceive, write, and build – or redesign current site into a world-class, small business website and landing pages.
  • Create content for website, email and advertising campaigns.
  • Map out, implement, and write content for an automated email marketing system.
  • Optimize social-media presence, increase connections, friends and likes, and post frequently.
  • Decide on, create, and implement your advertising mix (i.e. digital, email, direct response, print, radio/TV, signage, point-of-purchase, etc.)

Now, the only question left is who, how, and at what cost, you can accomplish these six critical steps.

How To Market Your Small Business – Options

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of small business marketing success by laying our alternative ways to deal with and solve the problem.

  • Outside Experts can do much, if not all, of these things. They have networks of specialists on call – copywriters, graphics, social media and digital ads, and email system certified experts.  Price is based on how many of these items you need help with, and whom you choose to do it.
  • Hire Individual Contractors – Somewhat less expensive than hiring a consultant or agency, but the trade-offs are:
    • You do much of the searching for the right person or firm. This takes time and a decent amount of knowledge about the work to be done which many business owners do not possess.  Plus (speaking from experience) if you’re handling a designer, a copywriter, and a graphics person…and something goes wrong, each of these contractors have a tenancy to blame the others.
  • Do It Yourself – The frugal way to go, but most often costs more in lost opportunities, ramp up time, and time away from running your business. Most entrepreneurs are experts in their respective businesses – but NOT necessarily in marketing.  Either get help or get some good training.
  • Read A Good Book – I just happen to have my latest book available on my website, at no cost.
  • Comprehensive Training – There are numerous copywriting, marketing, and social media courses available at different sites over the internet. HubSpot, Kate Toon, Udemy, Copyblogger, andWrite Like A Madman University are four prominent ones.  Look for ones that can supply you with all the courses you need…if all you need is copywriting, fine. Look for courses you can take at your own speed…ones that publish sessions every week or two can bog you down for months.
    • If you need or want marketing, website science, and more, your choices will be a bit more limited. Prices can range from under $100 per course to several thousands. 
    • Free courses are also available. Keep in mind though, the free and inexpensive courses are useful to a point, but tend to be less detailed and somewhat incomplete. 
    • Comprehensive Training providers that can offer an unlimited subscription membership to multiple courses, tutorials, toolboxes, case studies and even some live, personal coaching – gives you the best of three worlds.

Make sure you check out all the alternatives; your business deserves nothing less.

TRANSPARENCY Statement 

I am the creator and sole content writer of “How To Write Copy” at Write Like A Madman University (WLAM U).  I designed it specifically for copywriters, entrepreneurs, and non-profits.   WLAM U’s difference stems from its four courses, three tutorials, and seven loaded toolboxes that are 90% focused on how to generate more business by simply changing the words and images you use and the order in which you present them.  My passion is to make WLAM U unique among its peers.  My preference for Comprehensive Training did not, I think, color this report in any way.  But that’s your call to make.]

Your Reward

I hope this article has given you ideas, insight, and incentives to go out and market your small business like a pro. To help in that regard, here’s a couple of those free items of which I spoke earlier.

Learn and Prosper

Listen, I know how many emails you get every week telling you they have the magic bullet that will solve all your business problems – because I get them, too.

I’ve been at this game long enough to know there ain’t no magic bullet.  I’ve written copy and devised marketing strategies for huge international ad agencies as an employed copywriter and a freelancer. My words have helped generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.  I’ve also spent the last 20 years working with over 3,100 small business persons as a speaker, consultant, author, and coach.  Plus, I owned and marketed four successful businesses of my own along the way…including Write Like A Madman University.

I sell courses, yes.  Also, to the best of my knowledge, I also give out more free items than any individual marketing copywriter on the web (over 280 Guides, Articles, Check Lists, Videos and Audios).  All original, written and/or edited by me.

Dig Deeper

If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to visit  How To Write Copy at Write Like A Madman University If ever you had the idea of taking Copywriting and Marketing Courses online to boost your “How To Market A Small Business” skills…BUT…it seemed like a big risk…please, let me help.

On my website, you can get a 7-Day, All Access Trial Membership to the “How To Write Copy” system for just $1. No auto upgrades. If you love it, you can then enroll. 

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Categories
Copywriting Marketing

How Do I Get More Business?

As a copywriter for almost forty years, I’ve worked with giant mega-marketers, regional behemoths, and small, entrepreneurial companies.  The latter are my favorites because the help I provide is much more personal and critical to their success. The funny thing is, no matter the size of the company, they all want to get more business.

Here are nine essentials.  There are, of course, others like Differentiation, Marketing Messages, and Website writing and structure that warrant their own articles, chapters, or even books.

That said…if your goal is to get more business, this is a great place to start. 

It seems everyone has their own definition for marketing. Long ones, short ones, flowery ones, pithy ones.  Dictionary.com defines marketing as: “The commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service”. The definition I get most often from my clients is: “marketing brings in customers and sales”. These are narrow views.

I prefer a far more encompassing definition.  It comes from years of experience marketing companies I owned and advising others.  My definition is this:

“Marketing is everything you do that touches or impacts your customers or prospects.”

Everything? Yes, everything. Think about it for a second. If you send out an incorrect invoice, will that not affect your customer’s image of your company?  If your phone answering system is so poorly configured that a prospect is put through hoops for two to three minutes without getting to the right person, will that impact his desire to do business with you? Conversely, if you handle a return promptly, courteously, and without any hint of annoyance, will that customer not be willing to buy from you again because she knows, if she must return it, the experience is actually pleasant?

The answers are Yes! Yes! and Hell, Yes!

Most customers think if you’re in business, you must be an expert, or authority, on that business.  This may not be the case 100% of the time but think about it.  If you have a question about your car, to whom do you speak – your hair stylist?  No.  You ask an auto mechanic – the expert.

As an authority in your field, you are expected to answer questions.  Well, that’s just what Content is – answering common questions before they’re asked.

Lie this article answers the question, “How do I get more business?”

Write a short (500 – 1500+ word) article on some aspect of your business or industry.  Post it on your blog, or Facebook, Linked-In, etc. 

Compose a layman’s guide to your industry.  What do consumers need to know?  What questions should they ask?  How can they find the best mechanic for them?  Which things should raise red flags (scams, incompetence, etc)?

Believe it or not, this is all Content is.  Helping people make smart, informed decisions in your industry.  Remember, a copywriter (and that’s you) educates, informs, and influences.

Offer your content free in exchange for their email address.  Why?  Because you need to build an “A” Email Opt-In List.

Marketing and Community Outreach have been radically changed by the advent of the internet and social media – but it’s still basically a numbers game if you want to get moe business.

Say you’re planning a special Independence Day Sale.  You’ll want to contact as many prospects and customers as you can.  You could advertise in the newspaper or on radio or TV (at a cost) – or you could contact your top customers and prospects via email (virtually free).  Let’s say you calculate you can handle 80 requests at the sale price to consider it a roaring success.  How many names are on your list?  100? 1,000? 10,000?

For a 100-name list you’d need to attract 80% of your list to the sale.  Not hardly likely.  With a 1,000-name list, you need 8%.  But if you’ve done a diligent job of list building and have 10,000 emails, you only need to attract 0.8% of them to get that roaring success.  Pro copywriters think an email “buy rate” of 1% is average, 2% is great, and 3% is an official “Glory Be”!

So, start building, or adding, to that “A” list as often as you can – and good Content will help you do just that.

“Oh, come on! I don’t ignore anyone. I want to get more business.”  Read on – you may be surprised.

We all have two types of prospects, “Now Buyers”, and “Future Buyers”.  Now Buyers have made the mental decision to buy, and now they need to decide the ultimate question, from whom.  “Future Buyers” are folks who haven’t made their mental commitment to buy yet.  They are gathering information to help make that decision.  Most businesses know enough to make an offer to Now prospects.  Something that motivates them to buy and gives a sense of urgency to “buy now”.  Here’s what we typically see:

  • Discount Coupons
  • We pay the Sales Tax
  • Zero % Financing
  • Free Shipping
  • Save $300 this weekend only
  • Free Gift with Purchase

…and many more.  All tailored for the Now Buyer.

If your website, brochure, or advertisements don’t include an offer for “Future Buyers” to help them gather the information needed make their decisions, you are definitely ignoring up to 94% of your total prospects. (see the Decision Spectrum, below)

Do you ever listen to station WII-FM, the “Radio Of Your Mind”?

Well, I certainly hear “What’s IIFor Me”.  All the time.  It simply means when a customer or prospect is looking at your website, landing page, email, or post, they’re looking for benefits.  Things that will make their life better, longer, more fun, pain free, happier, more fulfilling, etc.  You have the chance to give them all that.  Unfortunately, most small businesses are caught flat-footed, with mouth agape, and no clue at all.  Let me put this succinctly…

If you want to get moe business…STOP talking about yourself. Start talking about what the customer wants and needs.  It’s not about you.

How would you react if, when buying a shirt from a store, you ask, “What if the shirt isn’t as “no-iron” as you say?” and you get the answer, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to iron it now, won’t you?”

If you’re anything like me, you would not buy that shirt, or probably anything else from that store.  Admittedly, this is an exaggeration, but not uncommon.  Businesses – or even non-profits – that don’t ease the customer’s Fear of Buying/Fear of Commitment, get fewer customers.  Here are a few ways to quell the agita and get more business by easing the prospect into buying with no fear or remorse.

  • Have a strong guarantee/warranty
  • If you need to return something, we’ll pay the shipping
  • Free shipping both ways
  • No restocking fee
  • If you find it cheaper, we’ll pay you double the difference

Wax those skis and make buying a smooth, easy, downhill decision.

“People buy from people they like and trust – both in person and online.”

Do you come across as likeable and even trustworthy?  Check out your picture and your copy.  Smile.  Let them see your face.  Look right into the camera.  Don’t use pictures of you standing in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa where no one can see your face and think you’re the Scarecrow from The WIZ.  Get up close and personal with your customers.

And reflect this attitude in your writing: be open, friendly, and caring; it goes a long way to getting moe business.

If you are the “face” of your company, non-profit, or small business, grab onto this with both hands ::::> and “Personalize” your business.

Case Study – Larry’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

“Larry”, a fifty-ish, pudgy, slightly less than average-looking man, owned and operated a large Italian restaurant in a New York City suburb on a busy thoroughfare on the way to the beaches.

Larry didn’t do much advertising, yet people came…see, he was the only place in the area.  Then a McDonald’s (the first one in N.Y) opened across the street and his business plummeted.  He tried but failed to get back to where he was previously.  Then he hired the ad agency I worked for.   Here’s what we did:

  • Made a series of late-night TV ads (much less costly) featuring Larry, in his restaurant’s kitchen and bar area. He had a slightly sad, “hound-dog” expression on his face and spoke not a word.
  • The voice-over copy was: “Everybody Loves Larry’s Pizza – but Nobody Loves Larry. Next time you stop in, go over to Larry or his wife Connie, and say “We love ya Larry” and he’ll smile and treat you to a wonderful appetizer or dessert with your meal.
  • The reaction was incredible. Larry became a “celebrity” of sorts in his restaurant.  His business more than doubled and rose to 20% higher than it was before McDonald’s.

Look, if Larry can do it – and I can do it, certainly you can do it.

This French word comes to us from Louisiana.  It means an extra, or unexpected, gift or benefit.

Recently, I ordered a “Thank You” gift basket for a client of mine.  It was delivered with my greeting card, and all was good.  Two days later, I received a small package in the mail with two of the company’s nut bars.  An enclosed note thanked me for my purchase and hoped I’d enjoy their specialty treat.  This floored me, as no mention of it was ever made. 

The outcome?  I’ve ordered from them again and will do so in the future. They got – and continue to get – more business from me.

Well, that’s all nine. 

I’m fond of saying “marketing is a people skill, adapted to business”.  Each item on this list bears that out. 

  • Understand what it is you’re doing, how to write copy, and stand out from the crowd. 
  • Help people make good decisions.
  • Communicate regularly with your friends.
  • Don’t ignore your prospects and future friends.
  • Focus on your friends’ needs.
  • Strip away the fear.
  • Be likeable and honest.
  • Be proud of what you do.
  • And give someone a little surprise now and then.

I think it’s a good recipe to get more business, don’t you?

A Little Lagniappe For You

As you study and implement these 9 Crucial Small Business Practices, please accept my “companion infographic”, 15 Mistakes Small Business Makes.  Download it here, Free.

Excerpted from my book, How To Write Copy: Your Million Dollar Advantage.

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Categories
Conversion Rates Copywriting

How Can I Boost My Conversion Rates Now?

Of all the questions marketers and copywriters ask, how to increase Conversion Rates, is well up the “importance” chart.

In fact, for many currently engaged in offering products or services though websites, landing pages(s), email campaigns, or advertisements, it might just be the existential question, the answer to which, can propel them to a higher tier of performance.  And do it without increasing their marketing budget one thin dime.

If you’re reading this article, and you or your clients want to boost the conversion rates, make sure to read it carefully.

As a Master Copywriter for 35+ years, I always try to give the solution to a common problem, like conversion rates, as quickly as I can.

The short answer is, “You do it with superior copywriting”.

Oh, come on….that can’t be all.” 

Actually, it can.  But here are two caveats: 

IF you are currently driving sufficient traffic to your Sales “Producer”, such as your Website or Landing Page.

And, IF your company, product, or service is sufficiently unique and different from your competition.

Legendary Copywriter on being different

So, if we can’t fault any of our preliminary funnel components, we must, then, conclude the weakness lies with our Sales Producers.  Thus, I can confidently posit the solution to the question, “How can I boost my conversion rates?”, lies with your copywriting.

Another good question.

Copywriting should inform, educate, and motivate (or influence).  And do all that within these parameters:

  • Using the appropriate psychological approach for the product or service.
    • Intellectual
    • Emotional
  • Understanding the central problem, need, or desire of your ideal customer (aka your avatar client).
  • Being confident your offering solves the problem, fills the need, or satisfies the desire.

By “Using the Right Words and the Right Images, in the Right Order”™  you can boost (or Optimize) conversion rates without adding money to your marketing budget.

This subject, boosting your conversions by superior copywriting, could easily take a small book.

So in this article, I will concentrate on the process of using copywriting strategies to achieve increased conversion rates, but I won’t go heavily into the copywriting techniques you’ll need to employ.

Rather, I will give you several links to previously written articles, so you get the information without the duplication. (<< Example of using a Rhyme to make a point easier to remember.)

That said…let’s get this show back on the road.

Let’s start by getting a grip on our terminology. 

Copywriting for conversion means providing your reader, or website visitor, with a consistent and Logical Thought Sequence that can be easily followed and contains nothing that can cause confusion or a separation of focus.  A leads to B, B leads to C, and so forth.

One page.  One goal.  One Call-To-Action.

Writing your copy with the objective of having your reader take the action (aka conversion) you wish them to take.

That action can be:

  • Buy Now
  • Subscribe Today
  • Take The Survey
  • Clip The Coupon
  • Get Your Free Report
  • Make An Appointment
  • Call For Your Free, No Obligation Quote

… etc.

When your prospect takes the intended action, you have a conversion.  And the number of conversions divided by the number of visitors to that page is your Conversion Rate.

The Process

[Note: The “page” can be a website, landing page, email, or direct advertisement.]

First of all, they need to get – within a very few seconds – the answer to the question, “Am I in the right place?” 

If the answer is yes, they then spend 7 or 8 seconds looking at/reading/scanning the words and images above the fold.  If they see a quick, informative, intriguing, powerful Marketing Message, or a great Tagline saying, in essence, “There’s something here that can benefit me”, they’ll start to read more or scroll down the page.  So, this is what you do to encourage them.

  • First, you plan their route, by breaking your copy into sections. Each section conveys one complete thought, idea, or concept.
  • You lay the page out vertically, so the reader’s eyes slide easily down as they are exposed to your selling copy.
  • Each section should transition seamlessly (and logically) to the next. Again, Section A leads into section B, B leads into C, and so forth.
  • As the prospect continues to read (or listen, or watch) and moves from one section to the next, they’re giving you a little thumbs-up – “I like what I’m seeing, and I want to know more. This affirmation is called a “mini-yes”. 
  • Your goal is to keep supplying useful and motivating information, collecting mini-yesses at each section until they come to the Big Ask…your Call-To-Action.

By taking the above steps you ensure n smooth progression down the page in what I call Logical Thought Sequencing (LTS).

A World's Best Copywriter makes a startling claim to aid conversion rates

What Gene Schwartz is alluding to by using a statement bound to get your attention, if not amazement, is that the copy is written after the Logical Thought Sequence framework has been developed.

In that way, the copywriter is “constrained” by the topic of each section to deliver the information in a short, easy to digest way, that is friendly to the eye of the reader. – The Thought Bite.  Each section is a Thought Bite and is made up of four components.

  • The Cross-Head  the headline of the section used to inform readers what’s coming. The cross-heads help separate the sections in the mind of the reader.
  • The Intro – an intriguing short sentence or two.
  • The Meat – the information you want to convey presented in four of five sentences or bullet points.
  • The Outro – a sentence transitioning to the next section. The Outro either sums up what was presented in the Thought Bite, or talks about what is coming up in the next section.

In this way you convey a complete thought in a smoothly read way.  No long sentences, no long paragraphs.

A Wise thought for writers by Thomas Jefferson

Yes.

Because we now come to the real test of our logically sequenced thought bites and find out if they did their job.

The big ask, or main objective of your page, is the Call-To-Action (CTA). Hopefully, we’ve amassed sufficient mini-yesses to make it easy for the reader to take that last step and click on your CTA and Get an Appointment, Request A Free Report, Buy Now, Subscribe Today, etc., etc., etc.

The trick is to position your CTA at a place on the page where the reader has enough information to decide, but not so much that their interest wanes, or they feel overloaded.  Timing is everything

[Get my template for a perfect Landing Page]

I often remind, cajole, and admonish my students not to repeat themselves when writing copy – especially for a landing page or email.

The exception to my rule comes with the Call-To Action.  I expect these to be repeated…not only repeated but separated by Motivators like:

  • The Pot Sweetener (aka “But wait, there’s more.”) – Now that the prospects have read all the way down to the CTA, we want to reward them with a “special”, “bonus”, or “gift” offer…for instance a Free Gift With Purchase or Buy Two And Get The Second At 60% off.

And Risk Reducers like:

  • Guarantees, easy returns, no restocking fee, we pay shipping both ways. Risk reducers lessen the fear of buying that occurs naturally when people are on the verge of spending money – especially if they haven’t done business with you before.

And Social Credentials like:

  • Minority, Veteran, or Woman owned business.
  • Awards or recognition from third parties.
  • Support of Civic and Charitable organizations.

CTAs surrounded by their friends produce more conversions.  Don’t leave your CTAs out there naked.

It comes in here.

All the preceding sections focused on HOW you can prepare your pages, email, or advertisements to give yourself the best chance of optimizing your conversion rates via copywriting.

Remember this?  Great copywriters gain a Million Dollar Advantage by their learned ability to “use the Right Word and the Right Image, in the Right Order”.

The Right Order is what the whole article, up to this point was all about.

Throughout this article, I provide links to extensive free Copywriting Content.  These links are to information about the copywriting techniques used within the Thought Bites.  The Right Words if you please.

Follow the links in this article and you’ll get a darn good start on proving my claim that Better Writing Brings Better Results.

David Ogilvy, one of the legendary figures in advertising and copywriting said this, “[Businesses and Advertising Agencies] are infested with men and women who cannot write.  They cannot write advertisements and they cannot write plans.  They are as helpless as deaf mutes on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera”. 

OK Dave, tell us how you really feel.

Does anyone want  folks lie these in charge of your marketing message, tagline, and copy?  I didn’t think so.

Instinctively you know that.  But how do you do that?

  • Get trained right.
  • Accumulate an extensive library of copywriting videos, audios, pdfs giving you not only the WHAT to do, but also step-by-step, HOW to do it, and WHY it’s done that way.
  • Get an armload of Checklists and Cheat Sheets you can refer to when you’re writing.
  • Choose a person for your personal copywriting coach. A specialist who concentrates on one thing – How To Be A Better Copywriter.  Get other coaches for other disciplines.

It’s even harder being a copywriter or marketer assigned the task of increasing conversion rates by 30%, if you haven’t been trained in HOW to write like a successful, experienced, and talented copywriter.

If you’re not sure you’re at that level…worry not, we can get you there. 

  • First download my super-secret, self-scoring, 20-question, Free Copywriter Aptitude Test. No one will know your answers but you. Not even me.
  • Also, take a look at this short, but informative piece How To Write Copy.
  • Lastly, take a gander at my website that has oodles of info and free content.

Great copywriters NEVER stop learning.

And some great copywriters NEVER stop teaching.

To your Amazing Success.

Categories
Copywriting Learn Copywriting

How Can I Start Writing Copy? 7 Rules…

Man asking How Can I Start Writing Copy

So, you want to know how to start writing copy.  Admirable.

We’ll approach this noble goal by laying out some obvious, and some not so obvious, caveats.

  • One – Don’t start in the middle.
  • Two – Don’t rely solely on Free Content.
  • Three – Don’t follow all the tips you see on X/Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Instagram and the like.
  • Four – “Never trust anyone you don’t understand.”
  • Five – Don’t shell out $500 to $10,000 for the promise of a quick and easy $10k a month internet business.
  • Six – Don’t depend on free seminars to teach you.
  • Seven – Don’t try to go it alone.

So, with all of these cautions, do I still think you are admirable for wanting to start writing copy?  Damn right I do.

Now, almost everyone who gravitates to copywriting because they like to write.

That’s how I started.  Writing skits, songs, parodies for the enjoyment of my classmates, friends, and – most of all – myself.  I got a kick out of being recognized and praised just for things I wrote, rather than being able to memorize and regurgitate scientific formulas, mathematical equations, notable dates in history, etc., etc., etc.

If you’re anything like me, and your head is filled with ideas more than it is with facts, I’m happy to be your guide to true happiness and satisfaction with your next career or side gig.  And there’s no time like today for you to start your copywriting education and training.

“Don’t start in the middle” is number one on my list.  Not because it’s first in the process, but because it’s supremely important to get off on the right foot.

Writers to be – control yourself. 

  1. You can’t turn a slick double play without first learning to correctly field a ground ball.
  2. It’s tough to be a rock musician if you can’t play the heck out of your instrument. (If this wasn’t true, the Beatles would be John, Paul, George, and Peter.)
  3. Do prima ballerinas become such at 18? No…they’ve been learning and practicing since they were five.

Almost no one can pick up and be an effective copywriter on desire alone.  You must prepare.  And, in copywriting, that means you learn the building blocks – the techniques, and the strategies, that will make you into a fine writer with a great future.

If you begin anywhere other than the beginning it’s a sure harbinger of coming frustration, and an elongated learning curve.

The most significant word in the above headline is “solely”.  Free Content is wonderful.  But it can’t be the basis of your knowledge, your career, or your business.

I say this as a Content Provider and Marketer.  I freely and happily give away over 430 video and audio tips, articles, Twizdoms™, quotes, checklists, reports, newsletters, and self-tests.  All free – all helpful.  But as valuable as they are…they are no substitute for a strong knowledge of copywriting fundamentals.

Free Copywriting Content – and there is loads of it on the internet – is not categorized as “beginner”, “intermediate”, or “advanced”.  So, unfortunately, you can have a hard time figuring out just which piece of content, is intended for your experience level.

Random copywriting “tips” commonly appear as short individual posts or tweets.  These are even less organized than the free content, which usually takes the form of more substantive articles, checklists, case studies, and videos.

Additionally, simply because it’s posted on social media doesn’t mean it’s correct advice (nor does it mean it’s not).  You have to look carefully at the source of the tip.  There are many successful, knowledgeable, and reputable copywriters on social sites.  Given my 35+ year career including formative years at a top Madison Avenue Ad Agency, I like to consider myself among this group.

Before committing wholeheartedly to the advice of one or another self-proclaimed copywriting expert, check their bios, websites, reviews, and – if possible – samples of their work. You know, be persnickety.

I recently posted this tweet on X – not for anyone specific, but for way too many tweets that came across my feed.

“Expert” is losing its meaning.

To the 24 yr old with a BS in Business who holds herself out as a “Life” coach and the 28 yr old “Copywriting Guru” with a thin portfolio.

Please learn your trade before “helping” people with theirs.

Jack Trout, the author of the above quote, is an acknowledged marketing expert.  He understands that some “so-called experts” cloak their lack of true copywriting and marketing ability in a tsunami of words meant to impress by confusing.

Even if you cannot EASILY comprehend what is said or written, a percentage of you will, in my experience, decide the speaker/writer must be an absolute genius.  Jack disagreed.

And I agree with Jack.

Complexity is NOT to be admired

The internet is good.  The internet is great.  And, the internet is also full of traps.

My friends, I like to be transparent.  I make money by selling subscriptions to my “How To Write Copy” system.  But for goodness’ sake, please do not buy or subscribe to any course(s) – including mine – without…

  • An iron clad guarantee, free trial, or preview.
  • A reasonably small initial commitment (less than $100) on your credit card.
  • The opportunity to cancel anytime, for any reason.
  • The chance to upgrade to a more cost efficient plan after you’ve had a chance (7-30 days) to work with the program and determine if it will help you reach your goals.

Be skeptical, be careful, and that goes double for seminars.

I’m fairly sure you all know this, but for 100% coverage, I must include it in the list.  (Besides, as all good copywriters now a list with 7 items is much preferred by readers to one with six of eight items.)

Free seminars exist to grab your attention, create interest (or pain), generate desire, and move you to action.  And the action we’re talking about is to buy whatever the seminar is selling.  Along with some useful information, you get, depending on the vendor, a wonderful opportunity (for today only) or an extremely well-written and rehearsed sales pitch that the product being promoted will solve your problem and ease your pain, or make you oodles of money.

To my thinking these “up-sell seminars” are the highest priced and probably most profitable of all online marketing vehicles.  I don’t do them because I am simply not comfortable with the process.

Some First-Hand Information

Out of curiosity, I watched over 40 online seminars, and I marveled at the presenters’ reasoning skills – even when I had a strong disdain for the way they used them.

Upsell Seminars often work a three-tier method:

  1. Give them something of “value” free or cheap.
  2. Entice them to sign up for our “program” at a “reasonable”, but elevated cost.
  3. Then introduce the “Platinum Program” with all the bells, whistles and promises to disclose the “Secret Sauce”, or even “Do It For You”.

I watched a seminar take me from a $35 sale (I paid it to go further) to a $950 membership (I did not buy) and finally culminated in a $35,000 “Done For You” service.  Whew – some trip, eh?

Okay…I realize I have (maybe) scared a few of you.

I did it for two reasons:

  1. To make you aware that there are a whole lot of choices for you if you want to start writing copy. Some of those choices (I’ve expressed six in this article) are meant as cautions.
  2. Although there are some seriously good and honest copywriting course providers, who have both the knowledge and experience to do you some real good, there are some who simply do not.

I  sincerely want you to follow your dream and to start writing copy as soon as possible – but safely and without unnecessary frustration, loss of time, and loss of money.

My advice?  Get trained in the foundational concepts, strategies, and techniques, of professional copywriting.

I’m happy you chose to read my article – and I would be proud if we got to know each other better. 

If you’re truly interested in starting to write copy, let me remind you to download my Free Copywriters Aptitude Test.  It’s Private and self-scoring.  No one knows your answers except you.

And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to register from my Free Newsletter, “Classic Copywriting”

Self-Scoring Copywriting Aptitude Test

To close with a little serf serving “commercial”, I believe that my How To Write Copy system is a premier educational experience.  I hope you will take a few minutes to get acquainted with it here.

To your astounding success,

Categories
Copywriting Learn Copywriting Marketing

I’m A Good Writer. So Why Should I Learn Copywriting?

Why Learn Copywriting? The short answer is: There’s a huge difference between being a good generic writer and being a good Copywriter.

The difference is obvious in the Intent, the Construction, and the Results of the writing.

  • Intent – The intent of generic writing is usually to impart information or news, or a story to the reader.  A Copywriter’s intent is to educate, inform, and influence readers to take a specific action, or member a specific thought. 
  • Construction – There are few, if any, hard and fast rules on how generic writing should be arranged.  The science/art of Copywriting has many standards, customs, and templates that have been proven effective in elevating basic writing into celebrated and acclaimed, and money-making, copy.
  • Results – Good writing is still good writing when the results follow the intent.  Good Copywriting is the same – but the results are vastly different…educate and inform readers on a specific topic, leading them to conclude that this product, service, or cause, is one that brings benefits to themselves or others.

Now, let’s move on to some of the writing and construction (aka structure) guides and tutorials you can expect to get from a good, detailed, comprehensive copywriting course(s) or system.

You already said you’re a good writer.  About 7-in-10 people have what it takes to be genuinely talented copywriters and don’t even know it.

How do I know?  Look at your life.  Have you ever…

  • Asked someone out on a date and they said “yes”?
  • Offered a suggestion to a work or civic group that was met with enthusiasm?
  • Put together an impromptu party, ball game, or even for you and your friends?

If you done these sorts of things, my friends, you did the job of a copywriter…you got an idea, placed that idea in front of people who might benefit from it, and they reacted positively and acted.  Bingo!

The key to great copywriting is “the Ability to use the Right Words and the Right Images, in the Right Order”.  I call that the copywriter’s “Million Dollar Advantage”.

Legendary Copywriter says it's critical to learn copywriting from the classic texts.

Here’s what you can expect to add to your current writing talents when you learn copywriting with the How To Write Copy system:

  • The Techniques and Secrets of the World’s Best Copywriters.
  • How to write Clearly, Concisely, Conversationally, and Convincingly.
  • Understanding how to choose the Right Psychological Approach.
  • How to Differentiate and be Unique.
  • Formulas and insights to creating your Unique Marketing Message .(aka Value Proposition).
  • How to know when to break the Grammar Rules.
  • Rules when writing for Print Media.
  • How to write Radio spots.
  • Rules when writing for TV.
  • How to write a Press Release.
  • How to Write Web Copy.
  • The keys to creating Effective Email Campaigns and Sales Letters.
  • How to choose the Best Fonts for the Situation.
  • How to Sell Your Product with a Story.
  • The AIDA Code.
  • How to create a Credibility Letter.
  • How to write Reports, White Papers, and Brochures.
  • The secret to write Incredibly Effective Headlines & Sub-Heads.
  • Why you should follow the “5 Steps To Benefits” Headline Rule.
  • How to Avoid False Alarm Headlines.
  • Why you need to know about Cross-Heads.
  • Writing Long Copy Made Easy.
  • How to create a Hook and how to use it.
  • The Methodology of Copywriting.
  • How to use the Curiosity Factor.
  • How to get the Specificity Advantage.
  • Learning to write in Thought Bites.
  • How to create Taglines for Branding.
  • How to avoid the Spam Police.

Copywriters, in general, write about products, services, and charitable causes.  So, a copywriting education without some reference to Marketing is incomplete.

Don't be one of "them". Learn Copywriting>

Every copywriter, whether in-house, agency-based, or freelance must learn about business marketing…and every business marketer should learn some copywriting.

A good, extensive, copywriting course/system will have a robust lineup of marketing guides specifically written for copywriters and marketer/copywriters. In other words, you’ll learn copywriting from a Master Copywriter.

Here are some examples:

  • The TRUE Definition of Marketing.
  • Understanding the difference between Tactical and Strategic Marketing.
  • How to develop your Unique Selling Proposition.
  • The clues to Generating Leads.
  • How to distinguish Features, Benefits, and Satisfactions.
  • How to avoid the most Common Marketing Mistakes businesses make.
  • Why the old stand-by Elevator Pitch is outmoded and how to improve it.
  • Understand the difference between Now Buyers and Future Buyers.
  • How To decide on Offers and Risk Reducers.
  • The vital importance of your Call-To-Action (CTA).
  • Cautions for Start-Ups (under 2 years in business).
  • Basics of Franchising.

Marketing and Copywriting are inextricably bound together.  Specializing in one without knowing the other would be like building a house and forgetting the roof.

Almost all Businesses, Organizations, and Non-Profits have websites.  For small businesses, websites are the MOST important tool in their arsenal.

Writing for websites is very close to copywriting with the one caveat of, “Get The Facts Out First” – In 7 seconds or less.  All “Learn Copywriting Courses” worth their salt should offer significant assets and spend significant time on the subject of Websites, Landing Pages, etc.  Some examples follow.

  • Why A Website Doesn’t Produce – and how to fix it
  • Why the first 7 Inches and 7 Seconds are critical for Website Success
  • Essentials you Must Have on your site
  • Colors and your Website, A Psychological Approach
  • How to get More Clicks from your Call-To-Action (CTA)
  • How to write Facebook Ads
  • Key Elements of a World-Class Website
  • Obstacle to Website Success
  • SEO or PPC – which is better for you?
  • The “Write In” Test – Can your Homepage Pass?

A lot of Website Strategy and Effectiveness is covered in our next section, Construction.

One of our modern Marketer/Philosopher understands why business people need to learn copywriting.

Now we come to the final section where we will explore what a copywriter and marketer/copywriter must know about the psychological and physiological effects how the readers react to the copy on your page (paper or digital).

Page construction (aka Structure) can’t be overestimated – especially online – because people with Intent (that is, the desire to see what you have and do business with you if their needs are met) are looking to see three things immediately on arriving at your website, opening your email, or looking at your ad.

  1. Am I in the right place for what I want?
  2. Does this company do what I’m looking for?
  3. What are the Benefits I get from them?

If you don’t answer these questions within about 7-8 seconds, visitors , readers, listeners, start leaving.  Below you’ll see samples of what you should expect when you take Copywriting Courses.

  • How to plan your page with Logical Thought Sequencing
  • When to offer your Value Proposition
  • How to maximize the Look and Flow of your Website
  • How to Maximize Call-To-Action Buttons
  • The “One Concept Per Page” Imperative

Okay…enough already.

I apologize if I took the long route to answer the question.  But, as a Master Copywriter for almost 40 years, I wanted to do a thorough job because I believe,  wholeheartedly, in what I’m saying.

In closing, I want to offer you – other than my words of wisdom – a solidly helpful Check List for you when you write copy.  It’s called, “The Unbreakable, Unassailable, Copywriting & Structure Rules”.  It’s one page; it’s Free, and it helps many of my clients and students write better copy.  Download It Here.

One more thing.  If copywriting interests you and you’d like to see more free content from me, simply go to my website.  And…don’t forget to download my latest book…Free!

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Categories
Copywriting Free Copywriting Content Learn Copywriting

Can I Learn Copywriting From Free Content?

Up to a point…yeah. Depending on where your current skill level lies, I have no doubts that anyone can learn copywriting from free internet content.

For some, this will be enough to help them in their business or career.  For others it will be a starting point.

It was much too nice a day to stay inside watching college football.  Temperatures in the mid-eighties under a cloudless Arizona sky beckoned a few of us to hit some golf balls and then grab lunch on the patio while we were recording the Tennessee – Alabama game for watching that evening.

At lunch, my friend Raul, who knew only that I was a writer, speaker, and coach, asked me about what it was that I wrote, spoke, and coached about.  I explained that my writings were focused on providing marketing and copywriting how-to guides and tools for small businesses and emerging “wannabe better” copywriters to elevate their skills.  It seemed to grab his interest, as he was dead set, so he said, on adding skills to his resume in this  scary, highly uncertain economy.

Then, he came out with a question I’d not heard before, “Can I learn copywriting from Free Content on the internet”?

I’d never had to actually put my thoughts in order enough that I could answer his question fully, yet concisely.  So, I begged off answering until “later”.

That evening, after we watched Alabama eke out a victory against a very good Tennessee team 34 to 20 (the thrill of victory for me; the agony of defeat for Raul). I asked Raul to let me think on his question some more so I could give him a reasonably good, thoughtful, fact-based answer. 

That night, when the house was quiet, I started to compile my answer.

Let’s start by breaking down his question, “Can I learn copywriting from free content on the Internet?” into parts.

First, we’ll need to examine:

  • Why do you want to learn copywriting?
  • Who shares good, helpful, Free, content on the net?
  • Why do these Content Providers post all that free content?
  • Copywriting Content is my business.
  • Why is most content free, but some is not?

As we progress, I’ll be using my own experiences mixed with what I know of other Content Providers, to craft the best answer possible.

Before anyone can answer your question, they must first know your “Why”.

  1. Are you looking at copywriting as a career choice? (Highest level of training.)
  2. Are you a marketer who wants to increase results by learning to write copy better? (Level of training will vary depending on how you acquire customers, and what your goals are.)
  3. Do you have a J.O.B. and want to add copywriting skills to your resume? (Training level will be basic to intermediate.)

All good, solid reasons.  And, as you can see, all get different answers.

Larger amounts of Free content are usually given by people like me – experts in their fields…and usually in conjunction with their businesses.

I, personally, provide the following content about Copywriting, Marketing, and Website Strategy on open forums:

  • Over one hundred articles on my blog.
  • Forty “20-Second Video Tips” on YouTube.
  • More than two hundred twenty TWIZDOMSä tips and quotes posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linked-In.
  • And even my 16 Lesson Audio book, “WIN the Marketing Game and STOP Wasting Money” is posted on my website.
  • One hundred percent FREE.

There are many providers like me posting content in their areas of expertise.  It’s up to you, the questioner, to submit a question to Google that covers exactly what you want to know.  Make it too narrow, you’ll get sparse results; make it too broad you’ll be wading through hundreds of options.

Content Marketers do have a very good reason for creating content and putting it out free for all to see and learn from. 

Many of us write our content to answer questions that people are entering in the Search Engines, like Google, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, Bing, and others.  Since Google is the elephant in the room, I will use them in my examples. 

Why do we do it?  So the Search Engines will find our piece of content and rank it high on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) and that the searcher will click on, and read, our articles.  Here’s an example:

  • Someone enters “Will A.I. Replace Copywriters?”. I have an article by that exact name.  Google will, therefore, rank that article very high on the results pages because Search Engines are really in the business of finding answers to your questions. 
  • Then, the searcher sees that I have an answer to his or her question, clicks on it, reads it, and then the reader and the provider have an opportunity for mutually beneficial engagement.

This is what Content Marketing is all about.

I am a Master Copywriter, and I ♥ to write.

I write about what I know best and want to share it with others interested in marketing, copywriting, and website strategy.  Most – if not all – Content Providers I know, share insights and how-to’s aimed at helping readers improve their lives in fundamental ways.  Most readers find our articles, tips, videos, and other content helpful in their quest to:

  • Get a better job.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Start a new business.
  • Grow their current business.
  • Work on their business, not in it.
  • Be more successful in their business.
  • Make more money with their business.

People follow us because they like what they’re reading and they know they can learn – and benefit – from our content.

Because Content Marketers like me, own businesses that offer information products, services, and personal help to people…and (frankly) because we’re in business to make a living.

Our “advertising strategy” is to let you read, watch, and hear much of our products.  Then, since you experienced me as a writer and an educator, you may wish to follow me or look into more information and/or in depth training.  To these people, I offer my online “How To Write Copy” System as a solution to their needs.

And this can lead to a beautiful, win-win relationship.

Our businesses are built on our own experiences, knowledge, and skills – and we want to pass this on to our readers.

We content providers generally segment our content into three levels:

  1. Get It Fully Free – Huge amounts of content are there for you in whatever you’re looking for. Just click and read, listen, or watch.  Helpful, but Incomplete – that is to say, the content delivers what it promises – “What To”, “How-To”, and “Why-To” information.  These pieces can’t go much deeper simply because a 1200-2000 word article would easily turn into a 20,000 word book.
  2. Get It Free with Opt-In – You can have this content if you’ll give us your name and your email address. By opting-in to this content you are giving permission to the provider to communicate with you (usually through emails) about the subject area you are interested in.  Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.  What you get in exchange is a Very Helpful, but still Somewhat Incomplete piece.
  3. Get Content For $ – by a subscription, purchase, or membership – this is how we pay the bills and have the resources to create the content, websites, videos, graphics, and hopefully make a nice profit. Extremely Helpful, Very Complete Content.  For example, in addition to hundreds of free content pieces, the member area for my product consists of:
  • 4 Courses.
  • 3 Tutorials.
  • 7 Loaded Toolboxes.
  • Over 100 original articles all in one place.
  • 53 Videos and Audios with hours of material.
  • 87 full Marketing & Copywriting How-To Guides.
  • 35 Templates, Checklists, Case Studies, and Self-Tests.
  • 32 Infographics, Study Guides and Writing Companions.
  • Unlimited email support plus the ability to get personal coaching.

I am, and I know my Content Marketing colleagues are, proud of what we bring to our followers, friends, and subscribers.

The short and sweet answer to my friend and to you is, “As much as you want to…” with the caveat that you may find you want to take your training to a higher level, in which case, it may require a financial commitment.

It depends on your goals, needs, and (yes) pocketbook.

  • If you are looking for a few tips – you can have those in spades – and virtually all are Fully Free.
  • If you want study guides/infographics, newsletters, self-tests, or full checklists, you’ll have opt-in with your name and email address. You’ll be getting some relevant emails, articles of the week, and so on – and even an offer or two. If you don’t want these perks, you can also unsubscribe from that email list.
  • If you’re looking to learn all the techniques, strategies, and secrets we have practiced and perfected over a career, you can become a paid member (as I am with a few of my favorite Content sites). What’s really important is, that in my experience, the Value of the tools, information, and advice you get is almost always much greater than the cost – and there’s generally a way of contacting the author with questions. 

Look, I tried Facebook ads to attract more interested people to site.  I tried Linked In Navigator.  But it wasn’t until a good friend suggested I put my hundreds of valuable content pieces out for all to see, that I understood the value of Content Marketing.  I realized the good it does for both the reader and provider.  I became a convert.

  • Content Marketing is a way to let everyone take a massive amount of helpful, relevant content for a free “test drive”.
  • Internet Content is plentiful and easy to access, whatever your area of interest.
  • When you’re ready to go deep, you can purchase, or become a paid member to, the courses, information products, master classes, one-on-one coaching, even “Done 4 U” services providers may offer.
  • Most sites will give you a Money-back guarantee or a free trial. Beware of sites that don’t.
  • You are always in control. Go as far as your dreams and talents take you.

Remember – Success is a journey.  Learn and Prosper.

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Categories
Copywriting Marketing Marketing Mistakes

“What Are Taglines & How Do They Make You More Money?”

Short answer…Because they aid in name recall and that results in more sales!

Small businesses need good Tag Lines as much as billion dollar brands.  Here’s a quick tutorial on how to create one for your business and an interesting Case Study.

Taglines, or slogans, are short, memorable statements about a company or its products or services.  Along with your name, they are designed to convey a strong message about what the product is and what it can do for your customers.  

A good tag line will differentiate your product or service from the competition while planting your message firmly into the mind of your prospects.  Just about every company should have a tag line.  Large companies, like GEICO, Fosters Beer, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Raid, BMW, and Rolaids have singular lines they’ve cultivated for decades. 

  • GEICO – “15 Minutes Can Save You 15% Or More On Car Insurance”
  • Fosters – “Australian For Beer”
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken – “Finger-Lickin’ Good!”
  • Raid – “Raid Kills Bugs Dead”
  • BMW – “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
  • Rolaids – “How Do You Spell Relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S” (70+ years old)

Others like Burger King, Hertz, Miller Lite and Coca Cola go through a carousel of tag lines sometimes jettisoning a wonderfully effective and memorable line (a killer message) for a so-so message, just for the sake of change. 

Often this is a mistake.  Keep using a killer message as long as it works.  Early on I was taught the folly of change for change’s sake with this credo, “A killer message doesn’t get stale.  Your prospects haven’t heard it enough yet and your customers believe it.”  Maybe that’s why it’s referred to as a “killer”.

Let’s take a look at some really great lines that were left behind.  Why?  No one seems quite sure.

  • Burger King – “Have It Your Way”
  • Miller Lite – “Tastes Great, Less Filling”
  • Hertz – “It’s Hertz Or ‘Not Exactly’!”
  • Coca Cola – “The Real Thing”

The only thing for certain was…the following tagline didn’t work as well.

Small Business Owners or Small Business Organizations – did anyone ever ask you, “What does your company do?” 

Did you have a short, memorable answer on the top of your mind you could give in under five seconds?  If not, you should have.  Properly articulated tag lines (and/or logos) can be used in a variety of ways.  Websites, letter heads, thank you cards, business cards, advertisements, uniform shirts, signage, etc., etc., etc.

You don’t have to be a big business to use a few of their good ideas.

Small businesses are different from large corporations and national and international brands in many ways. 

One of the most significant differences is that of time and money.  Owners can’t invest months or years and obscene amounts of money building a brand.   Small businesses run ad campaigns, put up websites and engage in SEO and social media to get results.  Now – not in six months.

      So it’s doubly important for a small business to create a tag line that works.  Ideally, it should differentiate you from the competition, relay to the customer a meaningful benefit and do it in a memorable way.  I know that’s a tall order, but the better you do…the better you’ll do. 

Don’t be a scaredy-cat.  You can do it.  Just follow your head and hard and some of these tips.

Try these three steps to create (or recreate) your own tag line:

  1. Find your Unique Message (or Unique Selling Proposition).
  2. Determine the most meaningful benefit you bring to your customers that is not also touted by the competition.
  3. Craft a simple, short, and easy to remember statement that incorporates A and B when coupled with your business name.

Over the years I’ve developed dozens of tag lines for some of my small business clients.  Here is a sampling.  See if you can identify the unique message and or benefit.  (Hint:  It’s really easy!)

Iowa Café (AZ): “Back-Home Cookin’, Small Town Friendly”

Landscape Architect: “Landscaping So Extraordinary, So Perfect…So You!”

NARPRO.com Auto Repair Referral Website*: “Find The Best Mechanic For Your Car” - and – “Love Your Mechanic”

HeliServices, Inc*: “Arizona’s Personal Helicopter Company – Yes You Can!”

Castanza’s Cakery: “We Put Joy In Your Mouth”

R&G Brenner Income Tax Service: “Pay Not A Penny More Than You Have To – Guaranteed!”

Luxury Import Car Repair: “The True Dealer Alternative”

Please…

  • Don’t say what your competitors say.
  • Don’t say something so trite and obvious that no one believes it (like “Best Service In Town”).
  • Do say something real and special about your business.

And now, let’s see what happen even in the world of big business with millions on the line.  Many times the small business owners I work with have a gazillion times more common sense than a Million Dollar a Year CMO (think New Coke…think Bud Light…but just think).

It seems little more than a fantasy now, but once, about 50 years ago, upstart Burger King almost beat McDonald’s in the Burger Wars.

McDonald’s was the first truly successful hamburger chain/franchise.  No one could come close.  Whenever Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, was ever challenged, he’d focus on, then dispatch his opponent.  This story is about upstart Burger King which, if they didn’t make one of the biggest marketing blunders in history, could have, might have, won the Burger Wars.

Let’s get in Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and go back to the 1970’s.

Products have used tagline (aka slogans) successfully for over 150 years.

A good tagline, when combined with the company or product name, tells the prospect who you are and what you do.  A great tagline will tell – or imply – how you are different and how your customers benefit.  A “World-Class” tagline also needs to be memorable to stick in the heads of the readers.

Such a tagline was created in 1973 by top ad agency BBD&O, and Chris Schoenleb, for Burger King and led to the Burger Wars.

“Have It Your Way” At Burger King.

A phenomenal line that, in four words tells us two things:

  • You can order your burger any way you want, which gives the customer control over their sandwich. (Differentiates Burger King from other franchise burgers – AND gives the benefit of CONTROL to the customer.
  • It implies – rightly – that you can’t do that at McDonald’s where all the burgers were made identically.

This tagline propelled Burger King very close to McDonald’s in the burger wars.  BK was trending up while Mickey D was trending down. 

Then, inexplicably, Burger King abandoned the message that got them there and began a long, slow slide backwards – giving us the biggest burger blunder of all time.

But company they didn’t want to be in.

Burger King ranked right up there with Ford’s calamity, the Edsel.  BK reigned as one of the top two marketing mishaps in modern history until 1985, when Chief Marketing Officer, Sergio Zyman, introduced the world to New Coke. (also known as the “Edsel from Atlanta”.)  This total miscalculation reminded everyone, marketing execs, copywriters, small business owners, even non-profit organizations, of one unbendable, unbreakable rule.

“If it’s working…Don’t’ [M]uck With It”.

I realize only a small percentage of you are engaged in a ‘Burger Wars’ type of business, but you need a crackerjack tagline as much as, and maybe more than, large corporations.

The reason is simple.  You don’t have the widespread name recognition that mega-marketers like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Apple, Walmart, or Proctor & Gamble have…and you don’t have their budgets, either.  So, you need a short, memorable tagline that tells people WHAT you do, HOW you’re different, and the BENEFITS that the buyer gets when buying your product or service.

Personally, I’d evaluate your current tagline with these three things in mind, ASAP. 

Get a jump on your Website, Marketing, Taglines, and Copywriting with my FREE Copywriter’s Ultimate Checklist.

And, if you’re interested in even more info and free Copywriting and Marketing Content, please check out my website, How To Write Copy” at Write Like A Madman University.  I know you’ll enjoy looking around at all the free Copywriting and Marketing Content.

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Copywriting Marketing Marketing Mistakes

13 Copywriting Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know

I am happy to provide you with these 13 Copywriting Tips & Tricks taken from my 35+ years as a Master Copywriter and now Head Madman at Write Like A Madman University.

I think it’s helpful to segment these copywriting tips into four categories:

  • The View From 30,000 Feet
  • Headlines and Such
  • Wordsmithing
  • Cautionary Technical Copywriting Tips

With this in mind. Let us proceed.

The View From 30,000 Feet

In this section, we’ll concentrate on those tips and tricks  related to the overall mindset and goals of the copywriter.

1  Copywriters Educate, Inform, and Influence

Your main focus as a copywriter is to educate your customers and prospects.  When done correctly, this leads to an increase in trust…and remember, people buy from people they like and trust.  Get yourself into the mind of your reader and stay there.  It’s not about you.  It’s about your customer. (Also see my article, “I Am A Copywriter”)

2  Be Believable

Copywriting legend (and Original Madman) Bill Bernbach stated “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.  So don’t fudge, don’t obfuscate, don’t misrepresent, and don’t lie.  It doesn’t do you or your client any good.  (Also see my article, “Copywriters: Be Believable Or Be Gone”)

3  Tell a Good Story

People like stories and respond to them well.  Your story can be as short as one sentence or as long as your arm, as long as it is personal, interesting, and true. (Also see my article, “How To Sell With A Story”)

4  Write Like Your Customers Speak

Listen, I don’t care how educated you are, or are not.  Why? Because your job is to write in the voice of your ideal reader.  What words and phrases do they use?  How “perfect” is their grammar?  Do they occasionally speak in industry “jargon”?  If so — copy them.

Headlines and Such

The copywriting tips in this section deal with the part of your copy that gets read the most – Headlines, Sub-Heads, and Crossheads.  Most people skim websites, articles, emails, or ads first to determine whether they want to read the whole thing.  By having good, attracting headlines, even the 80% who don’t read your whole piece will read the most important parts.  You will have gotten into, at least, one slice of their brain.

5  Headlines

The ad for your ad.  This is the most critical element of your piece, so take the time and care to write it right.  In Write Like A Madman University, we devote an entire toolbox and portions of four courses, to headlines. 

These days – especially on the net, your headline needs to deliver the Benefits to the reader in two seconds or less – which is the time it takes to read five short words.

6  Sub-Heads

Most headlines have a sub-head “attached”.  The job of the Sub-Head is to add facts to the headline that increase the chances of the prospect reading the body copy.

You might come across sub-heads that “refute” a common objection before the reader can think of it. This is an excellent use of sub-heads as well.

Try it.

7  Crossheads

This copywriting tip concern one of the most neglected elements of writing strategy: how to keep the reader reading.  Crossheads introduce the next concept to the reader.  Crossheads are used in websites, emails, ads, and reports when you don’t want to risk the reader’s eyes and attention waning so they may stop reading.  Look at the words HeadlinesSub-Heads, and Crossheads, above.  They are perfect examples of a crosshead used in longer copy.

Wordsmithing Copywriting Tips

The copywriting Tips and Tricks we’ll discuss here are used to make an impression and awaken the mind of your reader.  Additionally, they serve to make your writing more memorable. And, that’s something that’s very important to the copywriter and his or her client.

8  Triples (or the Power of Three)

I don’t know precisely why people recall things better in groups of three than any other grouping.  Think of all the “Triples” you’ve heard and may remember. 

  • “Snap, Crackle and Pop” (Rice Krispies)
  • “The Few. The Proud. The Marines”. (USMC)
  • “Just Do It” (Nike)
  • “Complete – Easy – Effective” (Write Like A Madman University)

Why were there 3 Stooges?  Why did Donald Duck have 3 nephews?  And, why did Daisy Duck have 3 nieces?  And Popeye, 3 nephews?

Next in the line of memorability after Triples, comes doubles…two words or short phrase.

9  Double-Ups

Double-Ups are a Copywriter tip to exponentially increase the power of one word by adding a second word with the same meaning.  Which of the following sentences (for American Express) sounds more powerful, confident, and trustworthy to you?

“When it absolutely has to be there overnight.” -or-

“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

Aha!

10  Alan Adores Alliterations

Alliterations are a group of words starting with the same sound.  “Genuinely Great Grapefruit”, etc etc etc.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Frosted Flakes, and Cap’n Crunch. Even the title of this article uses the words “Tips & Tricks”.

Early in my career, I wrote the most “expensive line” I could imagine. It was for a new, sleek sports car. The line was: ”It’s for going fast, going far, even for going formal”. 

So, why was it expensive? I got paid $600 for my work with the team, but I was so taken with the product, that I went out and bought one for $5,100! (In 1973 – that was a lot of cash for a young copywriter.)

Cautionary Technical Copywriting Tips

Our first ten Copywriting Tips and Tricks were all positives.  Do this…and you’ll succeed.  Now, I come to the part of this article where I must caution you NOT to do something or three. Or heaven help you.

11 Eradicate Polysyllabicism Immediately

How about this crosshead title?!?  I use it to make my first caution.  DO NOT use long 5, 6, 7 or more syllable words – unless they’re generally understood (like Delicatessen).  And…DO NOT use unusual words whose meaning are not generally understood words by your target readership (like Prolix) – unless you’re using it for memorability or emphasis – and the exact meaning is not important.  Examples: would be “rigamarole”, ‘Huckleberryfinn-ish”, or “gobbledygook”.

12  Watch Your Margins

On a piece of paper, this warning would not be necessary…but…since much of the copywriter’s work goes on to the internet, websites, emails, etc. the margins become something to consider. 

Most readers generally learn to read from, newspapers, magazines, and books.  Newspaper and magazine columns contain 30-45 characters, books average about 50-60.  Why then, do people put lines of type (copy) on their websites from one side to the other…sometimes 80, 90, 100 or more characters.  People and their eyes are not used to reading lines that long.  And when they tire, they stop reading – and you are the loser.

So, move the margins in, or increase the size of the font until you have no more than 60-75 characters per line.

13  THIS SENTENCE WOULD BE A NO-NO IN YOUR BODY COPY

Ditch ALL CAPS for most writing.  Caps are great for emphasis (see preceding sentence) or for SHORT Headlines.  Otherwise forget it.  ALL CAPS are harder to read than the traditional mixed upper case-lower case sentences.  If you want to keep your readers reading, lose the “all caps”.

Want an example? Which of the words below can you most easily read?

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Psychological

Which did you choose?

Well, my friends, that’s all lucky 13 Copywriting Tips.  Somewhat earthshaking. And, maybe a “tich” startling.  But good, solid, tried-and-true advice for emerging writers and reminders for us “experienced” practitioners of this wonderful art/science of copywriting.

Want To Know The Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters?

Many budding copywriters and business owners need help in crafting branding statements, advertising, online web copywriting and content, press releases and the like. 

I encourage you to find a good branding strategy consultant and/or professional copywriter who can take what’s in your heart and your head and put it in a way that will let you reach your goal of educating your prospects, allowing them to conclude they would have to be raving lunatics if they didn’t do business with you. 

So, if you’re looking for a good online digital copywriting course, kindly check out Write Like A Madman And Make Money Like Crazy, my 13-Video, 30-piece multi-media Signature Course.  I invite you to sit in on video Session 1, just to get a feel of it.

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Categories
Copywriting Marketing

What Are The Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters?

What Are The Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters – and how can you use them in your business?

Learning the Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters is one of the surest and least costly ways to boost your business, conversions, and sales.

This statement has been proven true time and again.  A recent study shows that your message is even more important than how much you spend on online or traditional advertising.

So, small business entrepreneurs, the fastest, cheapest way to increase your sales and conversions is to learn to write better.

Who Says So?

To start with, The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  Plus me.   Now, being a copywriter for over 30 years, I got to experience that first-hand.  The better I got, the better my results seemed to be.  It was like magic.

But let me tell you right here and now, copywriting has little to do with your average high school or college writing course.  It is a clear, concise, and conversational way of speaking with your customers and prospects.  In some ways, it’s a down and dirty art form, in others, it’s the product of proven formulas.  But one thing it isn’t, my friends – it isn’t just a bunch of lies.

Bill Bernbach, one of the “Madmen” of Madison Avenue, who inspired the hit TV show, cautioned us, “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”

Power Up Your Website, Brochures, and Ads with The Secrets of the World’s Best Copywriters

Powerful, memorable, unique messages are what copywriters provide to their businesses or clients.  Just because you were an “A” English student, don’t make the mistake of thinking you are already a copywriter.  Not true by a long shot.

Aldous Huxley, acclaimed author of the novel, Brave New World, and sonneteer tells us, “It is easier to write ten effective sonnets than one effective advertisement.”  And he should know.  He tried his hand at copywriting – unsuccessfully.

Numerous other famous authors have also come from the ranks of copywriters.

How To Write Copy

So…Who Else?

Let’s see…besides Huxley, here a just a few recognizable names.

  • Helen Gurley Brown (Icon of Feminist Movement, Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan, Wrote Sex and the Single Girl)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (Led generations of readers with his writings including The Great Gatsby)
  • Joseph Heller (A leader of American thought from 1961 to his death in 1999.  Penned the classic Catch 22)
  • Elmore Leonard (A prolific writer of what was called “pulp fiction”.  Leonard was also an Award-Winning Author and Screenwriter. Among his many books and credits are “Get Shorty” (John Travolta)”, “Mr Majestyk” (Charles Bronson), and “Hombre” (Paul Newman)
  • James Patterson (King of the Mystery/Crime genre.  It’s not feasible to list his titles here, but his best selling books add up to over 230 million.)
  • Salman Rushdie (his “The Satanic Verses” were a worldwide phenomenon that forced him to live in hiding for decades due to the fatwas placed on him by Muslim clerics who found his book blasphemous.)

Learn the Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters and you will be able to craft your unique messages with power and style.  You will be able to “talk” to your readers clearly, without fear of being misunderstood.  And with the confidence that you are telling them something that will make their lives better.

The copywriter.  The critical link between a business and it’s customers. “Good marketing”, says Joe Chernov, CMO of Robin, “makes the company look good.  Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.”  Getting to “great” is the job of the copywriter.

What “Secrets” Will You Learn?

I was trained by, and wrote for, three Top 5 International Ad Agencies on Madison Avenue.  These agencies were headed by the some of the most respected, accomplished, and noteworthy copywriters of all time.  Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, and Rosser Reeves.  What I learned from my time with those agencies could fill a hundred books.

The “Techniques and Secrets” they imparted to me and others, formed the foundation of my writing education.  As I moved through almost 40 years of copywriting, I consistently got to put those techniques into play at every level I attained.  As a Freelancer most of my career, I updated the practices as required.  I got to know what worked in which situations…and I started helping/coaching/advising the next generations of copywriters and small business entrepreneurs.

Eugene Schwartz, probably the best direct response copywriter ever, theorized as to why more recent copywriters and marketers did not have the outstanding success that Schwartz and the others enjoyed.

How To Learn The Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters

I have worked with over three thousand small business owners and copywriters through my Seminars, personal website evaluations, and consulting relationships.  The one questionable trait I found in quite a few of these Bedrock Entrepreneurs, was thinking that because they were experts at their business (almost always true) they, therefore, were experts in marketing their businesses (almost always false).

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who want the hands-on experience of marketing, I suggest you learn those secrets, techniques, and practices that make professional copywriters able to boost the performance of almost any website or ad campaign.

Once you get the basics and move up to advanced techniques, you can be your own copywriter.  You’ll then be more able to take what’s in your head and in your heart and communicate it to your customers and prospects.  You’ll also learn “special” skills like:

  • Conversion Copywriting
  • Copywriting for the web
  • Writing for Recall
  • Tagline and Slogan copywriting
  • Headlines
  • Structuring Your Marketing Message
  • Building A World-Class Website

The Secrets of The World’s Best Copywriters are among the skills you will discover and learn in my signature tutorial, Write Like A Madman And Make Money Like Crazy.  This original, multi-media program consists of 13 videos and 28 supporting Guides, Templates, Check Lists and Audios.  It is, to my knowledge, the most complete, online marketing, branding, and copywriting tutorial specifically designed for small business entrepreneurs.

Just Some Of The Strategies, Techniques, and Secrets, You’ll Discover

Members of my How To Write Copy @Write Like A Madman University will be entertaining the following, plus others.

  • Flow
  • Hooks
  • Offers
  • Clarity
  • Rhyme
  • Rhythm
  • Benefits
  • Taglines
  • Strategy
  • Curiosity
  • Branding
  • Congruity
  • Headlines
  • Relevancy
  • Specificity
  • Messaging
  • Psychology
  • Crossheads
  • Satisfactions
  • Thought Bites
  • Risk Reducers
  • Future Buyers
  • Calls-To-Action
  • Customer Focus
  • Lead Generation
  • Value Proposition
  • Logical Thought Sequencing

Want to learn about all these, and more?

Here’s 3 Free, Helpful, Quick, Ways To Start Getting The Techniques and Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters

Watch Video #1 of my program, absolutely free.  I’m confident you’ll find it not only interesting, but relevant to the small business marketing experience, both online and traditional.

Get a jump on your Website and Copywriting with my FREE NO OBLIGATION Information package.  

Visit my Website and get loads of Free, Original Copywriting and Marketing Content.

I ♥ Copywriters and Marketer/Copywriters

Once you have become familiar with how to write effectively, you will notice that your prospects are staying on your site longer or reading your emails and clicking on your offer more frequently (whether the offer is to buy, get more information, reserve a time to talk to you, or whatever your goal is for that marketing piece).  In other words, your results will increase.

The longer you stay with it, the more you learn, the better your writing will become.  And Better Writing Brings Better Results.

I would love for you to read my article “Copywriters Are The Heart and Soul Of Marketing“.

Wishing you amazing success and the best of luck in your current and future endeavors.

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Categories
Copywriting Marketing Marketing Mistakes

The Worst Marketing Mistake Ever

The Worst Marketing Mistake Ever?  Am I serious?!?  I am.  Truly.

Let’s start with a very short quiz and put this all in perspective.

Which if the following is the MOST critical part of your marketing?

  1. Digital Marketing driving traffic to your website or landing pages
  2. Automated Email/CRM System
  3. Lead Generation
  4. Free Content/Blogs
  5. A Unique, focused Marketing Message and presentation structure
  6. Cutting-edge Website Design
  7. Money

Answer will be revealed in this article

The One Mistake That’s Destroying Your Sales

Just STOP.  Stop right there.  Stop making the same mistake as thousands of small businesses are making right now.

What’s the mistake?  Misunderstanding the one aspect of your business marketing that makes the rest of your marketing work.  I’m talking about choice (5) A Unique, focused Marketing Message and presentation structure.

How many of you got that right?

How Can I Say That?

Allow me to explain. (Those of you who got it right and are satisfied with the results of your marketing can stop now and leave early – although reading to the end couldn’t hurt).

This next statement is critical to your future success.

“Operating without a unique and powerful Marketing Message will weaken every other aspect of your marketing strategy.”
  • When your digital marketing drives people to your website or landing page, that page WILL NOT CONVERT in any way near what it would with a Unique and Powerful Marketing Message on it.
  • Your Automated Email system will be sending emails to people who, for the most part, are not fully convinced of the benefits of your product or service without the Message.
  • Your lead generation efforts will under-perform because those coming to your website or landing page won’t get that “Aha! Moment” where they say to themselves, “I’d have to be a raving lunatic not to do business with these people”.
  • After reading your blogs, people may want more information. If the message they’re receiving is lackluster and not properly written and laid out, the result will be the same…limited conversions and a much higher cost of customer acquisition.
  • No matter how modern, slick, or pretty your website, if it’s not “delivering the goods” (your Message) you will simply have one of millions of ineffective websites generating disappointing results.
  • Money? Yes, money.  I’ll wager more than a few of you thought money can be the determinant of success in marketing.  It is not.  A huge study by the prestigious Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania concluded that “Message is more important to the overall success of your marketing than is how much money you spend.”

Now that you know all this, let’s get started on the positive track of increasing the effectiveness of all elements of your marketing, by creating a Unique and Powerful Marketing Message.

Let’s Set the Scene

Try this…let’s say your own a restaurant called Our Place, and a couple new to the neighborhood asks you, “A restaurant?  Wow!  How’s the food?” 

Your response is, “My family has owned and run Our Place for 32 years.  We’re open every day for lunch and dinner.  Comfortable seating, plenty of parking, affordable prices make Our Place and the kind of place you’ll want to bring the family again and again.”

What’s the chances that your “Elevator Pitch” answer will entice them to give you a try?  In my estimation – less than 50-50…perhaps a lot less.

Give Prospects The Information They Want and Need

So, did you answer their question?  You did not.

They asked about the food, you answered with everything but.  So, what does this little example this have to do with your business and your Unique and Powerful Marketing Message?

Everything – because your answer (Message) was neither unique nor powerful.  It was a dud, a bomb, a waste of time.

Your Unique and Powerful Marketing Message

To begin creating your Message you must put yourself in the customers’ shoes.  What is the most important thing when choosing a restaurant?  Right…the food.

Your message needs to communicate what the customer is most interested in.  It’s NOT about you.  It’s all about your customer. 

  • Give them the answers to what they want to know about your business – and your chances of attracting and retaining that customer go increase exponentially. It’s not rocket science. 
  • But you must understand what the customer values most about your business. How about saying, “If you’re looking for homemade Italian specialties made from my grandma’s original recipes, with fresh, quality ingredients and served with pride and love, you couldn’t do better than Our Place…and when you come in look for me and I’ll give you an appetizer or dessert to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

Okay…now what’s the chances of these folks patronizing your restaurant.  I’d make the odds 80-20 at least.

Your Unique and Powerful Marketing Message Checklist

Your website, landing pages, advertisement, social media, emails, and blogs (marketing pieces) are there to communicate your message to your prospects and customers.

Here’s a quick, 8-point checklist for creating that powerful message:
  • What’s unique, different, and better, about your business compared to your competitors?
  • What are the top three needs, wants, or problems your prospects hope you will fulfill or solve?
  • What are the benefits your customers will get when doing business with you?
  • Do the benefits match up with the needs, wants, or problems?
  • What third-party social proof can you provide to reinforce the idea that you’re the company they want to do business with?
  • Do your marketing pieces contain…
    • A headline and/or main image that interrupts and attracts?
    • A motivating offer or offers?
    • A solid risk reducer?
    • A well-worded call to action?
  • Is your message written so that it is…
    • Clear?
    • Concise?
    • Conversational?
    • Customer-centric?
  • Is your message structured so that one thought – or concept – leads smoothly into the next, building the case for your business, and bringing the reader (or listener) to your call to action?
Use this outline to template your Unique and Powerful Marketing Message and you should see an uptick in clicks, conversions, and sales.
Truthfully, everything in your marketing tool belt is dependent on the words and images you use and how well you use them.

How To Be A Better Marketer and Writer and Make More Money

Get some serious training.  Now.

“How To Write Copy” at Write Like A Madman University offers 4 Copywriting, Marketing and Website Science and Strategy courses, 3 deep dive Tutorials, and 7 Toolboxes stuffed with over 245 additional videos, audios, guides, templates, case studies, checklists, InfoGraphics.  Check out the concept and even sit in on the first session of our signature course, “Write Like A Madman and Make Money Like Crazy”.

More Free Help

Also, see my related article, The Better Elevator Pitch.  

Please visit our Website.

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