How to Make an Offer Your Customers Can’t Refuse

One of the best ways to add horsepower to your website content is by making a better offer.

If you’re stuck for inspiration on how to make your offer more attractive, you’ll love this four-part article from Copyblogger by Dean Rieck. It explains 58 of the world’s greatest offers.

The offers have been divided into four categories as follows:

Offers That Raise Response and Lower Risk

You’re probably familiar with the “free trial” and “money back guarantee” offer. But what about the risk-lowering “Yes/Maybe” offer?

Offers That Reduce Price and Increase Urgency

Did you know a free gift of equal value often works better than a dollars-off offer?

Offers That Improve Terms, Add Services, and Make Bribes

Improving terms of sale can often get fence-sitting prospects over the line. Examples include bill me later and installments. A good bribe can also overcome customer inertia.

Offers That Increase Profits and Generate Inquiries

Some the best ways to generate sales leads and inquiries include free information, free samples, free demo or a free quote.

5 Easy Ways to Write Better Articles or Blog Posts

If you want to write better articles or blog posts, focus on your readers, not the search engines, advises Nick Usborne in a recent article.

As Nick points out, articles written for the sole purpose of getting better search engine rankings are often over-stuffed with key words and rarely a joy to read.

I believe spammy SEO articles can actually drive potential customers away, rather than increase sales.

Nick suggests a few tactics that can help you write articles that will delight your readers, while still ranking well, such as:

Write a better headline

This is one of my favourite ways to improve an article (in fact any web page). An attention-getting headline is much more likely to catch readers’ attention and keep them on the page.

Tell people “How to…”

You speak more directly to the needs of your readers when you turn a passive article into a “how-to” guide, says Nick.

Create a resource list

A similar tactic is to create a resource list, such as a top 10, best of, or guide. Not only are articles like these useful for your customers, they can also attract links which will improve your rankings much more than a spammy article.

You can read the entire article here:
5 Ways to power up the appeal of your web content

The Profitable Website Manual: Quick Start Guide

Is Your Website Getting The Results You Want?

Think about this for a minute: if you turned off your website tomorrow would it be detrimental to your business? Would it shut off a rich source of customer enquiries? Would it jeopardise the pipeline full of prospective customers you’ve built up? Would your profits suffer?

If you’re like most business website owners in Australia, shutting down your website would have no detrimental effect whatsoever. That’s because most business websites simply don’t work.

They don’t generate any customer enquiries. They don’t help convert prospects into buyers. They don’t add to the bottom line in any way.

Here are the brutal facts about the failure of business websites: According to a report by Sensis on small to medium business websites:

  • Only 10.4% of sites delivered additional sales, orders, bookings and customers, and
  • Only 8.5% produced an increase in enquiries.

What this means is only one in 10 websites delivers a profit-generating benefit to the business. In other words, 90% of websites just sit there and do nothing! That’s right: no enquiries… no new customers… absolutely nothing.

If this sounds like your website you’ve got two choices:

1.       Ignore the situation and struggle on, or

2.       Take some inspired action to fix your “do-nothing” website and enjoy the increased customer enquiries, improved sales and additional profits that a good business website brings.

If you’re up for option number two here are my top 10 tactics for rapidly and cost-effectively improving your website results.

If you want to create a stream of targeted customer enquiries, turn browsers into prospects and prospects into customers, and boost sales and your bottom line, then make the following 10 improvements your first priority when you update your website:

1. Build Your Website Around Your Most Wanted Response

The single most important element of your website is the “most wanted response”.

The term “most wanted response” or MWR was coined by e-commerce guru Ken Evoy. It refers to the one action you most want website visitors to do. Examples of MWRs include order a product, subscribe to an e-newsletter, call you to arrange a consultation, fill out a form, or send you an email.

Determining your MWR should be the very first task when you plan your website. Just ask yourself, “What is the ONE thing I want my website visitors to do?” You need to be very clear on this. Once you’ve set your MWR you should design your entire site around encouraging visitors to take that one action.

For some companies making a direct sale from their website is their MWR. Especially if they’re selling products that are commonly bought online such as computer hardware and software, travel and accommodation, clothing and accessories, or information products.

However, most businesses don’t want to make sales online. The goal of most business websites is to generate customer enquiries and/or qualified leads that the sales team can follow up.

Ideally you’d love people to pick up the phone and be ready to buy after they’re viewed your website. And this can happen for some businesses (plumbers and pool cleaners for example).

But many buyers use the web to research purchases they plan to make in the future. Usually these buyers aren’t ready to pick up the phone straight away. But they’re often willing to exchange their email address for some useful information.

In this case you should encourage visitors to register their contact details in exchange for a valuable freebie such as a report, newsletter or trial. Once you have prospective customers’ email addresses, you can follow them up to maximise sales conversions.

No matter whether it’s sales, enquiries or sign-ups, a well thought out MWR is the NUMBER ONE tactic for creating a profitable website.

Copywriting Video of the Week: The #1 Copywriting Skill – Dramatising Benefits

“Your real challenge, as a copywriter, is to bring the benefits derived from the features to life,” says B2B copywriter Steve Slaunwhite in his e-book, 7 Secrets of Highly-Successful Copy.

This 1962 TV commercial for Super Shell petrol, purportedly written by advertising great David Ogilvy, is a great example of how it’s done.

In this case the feature is the additive Platformate. The benefit is increased mileage.

How to demonstrate that in an attention-getting way? Take 10 gas guzzlers into the Mohave Desert for a mileage test.

Take a look:

Flag Down Your Customers With a Strong Headline

headlinesIf your print ad, direct mail piece, press release or home page isn’t getting the results you want a weak headline may be to blame.

Research shows that readers respond more to headlines than any other element of a print ad. So no matter how eye-catching the images and design, or compelling the body copy, without a strong headline an ad will most likely be ignored.

And headlines aren’t confined to print ads. You’ll also need strong headlines for brochures, signage, point of sale material, direct mail, PowerPoint presentations, web pages and email.

Attention or apathy?
These days competition for attention is fierce. This year, the average consumer will see or hear one million marketing messages – almost 3,000 per day. No one can pay attention to 3,000 messages every day, so we filter out most of them.

A headline attracts attention or apathy. People will make the decision to read or filter out your marketing materials based on the headline. You have only seconds to make a favourable first impression.

In Ogilvy on Advertising pioneering ad man David Ogilvy states: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 per cent of your money.”

Your headline must convince prospects of the value of reading your ad, brochure or home page. It must answer the readers’ question, “So what’s in it for me?”

Headlines boost response rates
Headlines can dramatically affect response rates to marketing offers. A headline can make the difference between success and failure. Take these headlines for example:

Headline 1: How to turn your non-smoking into money

Headline 2: Non-smokers save a bundle on health insurance

The second headline generated 20 times more calls than first one.

Top 7 headline formulas that work
If you need to put your puny headline on steroids try one of these tried and tested formulas:

1. Agitate the problem

Are you struggling to find good accounting personnel?

If a reader has the problem they will be compelled to read on to find out the solution.

NB: This is also a question headline – see below.

2. Ask a question

What is the secret to getting rich today?

A question incites curiosity. It engages the mind. A question headline must be open-ended; you have to keep reading to find out the answer.

3. Promise the reader a benefit

Enjoy younger looking skin in just 7 days

Focus on the primary benefit of your product or service and connect it with the target audience.

4. Give them the news

Announcing the smallest MP3 player ever built

If you have genuine news, announce it. Using the word “announcing” attracts more attention.

5. State the offer

FREE seminar shows you how to make $100,000 a year on eBay

If you have an attractive offer shout it out in your headline.

6. Use the words “How to”

How to win friends and influence people

“How to…” promises readers useful information and advice. If you’re ever stuck for a headline write “How to” – whatever follows will be a hardworking headline

7. Use a customer testimonial

“I lost 7 kilograms in 10 days with TrimSpeed”

Putting the testimonial in quotation marks increases readership.

Should a headline be cute or clever?
Some copywriters try to make their headlines cute or clever by using a play on words or an intriguing teaser. But clever headlines are often more a celebration of a copywriter’s wit than an exercise in effective marketing.

A clever headline is a risky ploy; essentially you’re betting on your target audience “getting it”. But why take a chance when you can appeal directly to the target audience’s self interest? Product benefits almost always beat clever. The exception is when a play on words adds an additional, valuable layer of meaning to the headline.

Sharpen your axe
Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” And so it is with headlines. Many copywriting experts recommend you spend 80% of your time writing the headline.

This may sound like overkill. But producing marketing materials is expensive and time consuming. If your headline is a dud you’ve wasted your money and effort.

Things to do

  • Audit your existing headlines and see if they could use some improvement
  • Test different headlines to see which ones get the best response.

Essential Practices for New Sales Professionals

John Jantsch followed up his recent article on Disciplines of the New Sales Professional with a second instalment. This post focuses on the practices that every sales professional must have if they hope to excel in today’s environment.

As the business world evolves, so too must our skill sets. Jantsch suggests that “These are the skills that sales professionals will need to acquire and that organizations need to support, train and look for.”

Have you Hired the Right Copywriter?

Hiring a new copywriter can be a risky business. You trust them with a job and you really don’t know what to expect until the work is finished.

Kate Toon, award-winning SEO and advertising copywriter, offers some great tips on finding just the right match for your project. For example, you might have found the right copywriter if…

  • They’re likeable and positive
  • They have an engaging website
  • They ask a lot of questions – and listen well to the answers

If you’re still looking for your perfect, match, read on for more great advice: Eight signs you’re hiring the right copywriter

Is More Content Really Better?

Everyone knows that content is important. Unfortunately, it seems that the overwhelming effort is placed on quantity. More blog posts, more videos, more ebooks. It’s gotten to the point where the biggest challenge for marketers is simply producing enough content.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, confronted this fallacy in his recent post on the CMI blog. While perhaps a decade ago, more content was better, Pulizzi states that this is no longer the case.

Ultimately, he asks a great litmus test question: “Are you seeing behaviours change” due to your content? If not, you may want to read on: Content Marketing: The Fallacy that More Content is Better

Ten Tips for Writing Great Copy

In his recent article on Copyblogger, Chief Copywriter Demian Farnworth states that “
Writing effective copy is both an art and a science.”

In good copy, we’ll obviously see an abundance of both elements. In poor copy, one or both are absent. Demian goes on to share ten example of great copy that sells.

Click through for 10 Ways to Write Good Copy

The Easiest Way to Make Your Marketing Work Better

When you sit at your computer to write your next marketing piece you’re faced with a challenge. What exactly do you write to persuade people to buy your product or service?

Novices tend to simply list the features of their business and products or services e.g. We specialise in… We offer a range of…We’ve been in business since… We provide same day service… We’re expert at…

Features are important. But if you want to persuade more prospective clients to whip out their credit cards there’s something else you should be writing about: the benefits of doing business with you.

Benefits are the fuel that drives your marketing communications. The difference between success and failure of your website, brochure, proposals or direct mail piece often comes down to the benefits offered.

Features tell, benefits sell

Features are descriptive facts about your product or service. Benefits are what clients gain as a result of using a feature. Benefits are much, much more important than features because they contain a “what’s in it for me?” motivation.

Here’s a simple example: A new Volvo station wagon has Integrated Two-Stage Child Booster Cushions. That’s a feature. The benefit is that, in the event of a crash, children who have outgrown their toddler seats are protected from injury. To say it another way, the Booster Cushions are the feature, and superior crash protection for children is the benefit.

Turning features into benefits

Here’s a simple technique for turning features into benefits. Write down all the features of your product or service. Next, put yourself in your prospective client’s shoes. Then for each feature ask “So what?” The answer to this question describes the benefits of each feature. And remember, a feature can have more than one benefit.

Don’t forget about emotional benefits, or the benefit of the benefit. Using the Volvo child seat example from above, the emotional benefit is that you have peace of mind that your family is protected when you’re driving your car.

These days, most people are time poor and cash strapped. So if you can demonstrate how your product or service can save them time and/or money you’ll get a very positive emotional response. Minimising hassles, relieving stress and making life easier are also excellent emotional hot buttons to push.

Take your notepad to a café and spend a morning writing a comprehensive benefits list. It’s time well spent. When you have a benefits list creating marketing materials is a lot easier because you’re not starting from scratch every time. You already have all the ammunition you need.

How to use benefits

The easiest and most effective way to improve your marketing materials is to clearly state benefits.

Why? Because so few of your competitors do. According to marketing guru Jay Levinson in Guerrilla Marketing Excellence, “All you’ve got to do is consistently put across any one of those benefits to the people who want them right now and you’ve virtually made the sale.”

Sprinkle benefits all the way through your marketing text e.g. every time you mention a feature, follow with the most desirable corresponding benefit. Use connectors such as:

  • “Which means…”
  • “This is important because…”
  • “Our clients love this because…”

Or simply include a benefits list on your brochure, website or print ad. Benefits also make attention-getting headlines. And if you can claim a desirable benefit that none of your competitors can, you should shout it from the treetops. That’s what’s known as a “unique competitive advantage” and it’s the holy grail of marketing.