Archives for May 2010

I wonder if Apple know… or care

Just how their emails are dispayed to the majority of Outlook users.

Here is what the new iPad email looked like to me in preview:

What do you think?  Is Apple missing a trick by constructing it’s whole message from images? This is what it should look like, once images have been downloaded.

But, how many people will download the images?  As it’s Apple, probably a lot, but are you doing the same with your email marketing?

And will your recipients also be willing to download your images in order to read your message?

Writing great sales copy 2 – Emphasize Benefits, Not Features

What are features? They are descriptions of what qualities a product possesses.

• The XYZ car delivers 55 miles per gallon in the city.
• Our ladder’s frame is made from a lightweight durable steel alloy.
• Our glue is protected by a patent.
• This database has a built-in data-mining system.

And what are benefits? They are what those features mean to your prospects.

• You’ll save money on petrol and cut down on environmental pollutants when you use our energy saving high-performance hybrid car. Plus, you’ll feel the extra oomph when you’re passing cars, courtesy of the efficient electric motor, which they don’t have!
• Lightweight durable steel-alloy frame means you’ll be able to take it with you with ease, and use it in places most other ladders can’t go, while still supporting up to 800 pounds. No more backaches lugging around that heavy ladder. And it’ll last for 150 years, so you’ll never need to buy another ladder again!
• Patent-protected glue ensures you can use it on wood, plastic, metal, ceramic, glass, and tile…without messy cleanup and without ever having to re-glue it again—guaranteed!
• You can instantly see the “big picture” hidden in your data, and pull the most arcane statistics on demand. Watch your business turn around in no time flat! It’s all done with our built-in data-mining system that’s so easy to use, my twelve year-old son used it successfully right out of the box.

These are made up those examples, but I think you understand my point.

By the way, did you notice in the list of features where I wrote “steel alloy?” But in the benefits I wrote “steel-alloy” (with a hyphen). Not sure off-hand which one is correct, but I know which one I’d use.

Here’s why: you are not writing to impress your English teacher or win any awards. The only award you’re after is sales, so take some liberty in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. You want it to be read and acted upon, not read and admired!

But—back to benefits…

If you were selling an expensive watch, you wouldn’t tell your reader that the face is 2 inches in diameter and the band is made of leather.

You show him how the extra-large face will tell him the time at a glance. He won’t have to squint and look foolish to everyone around him trying to read this magnificent timepiece. And how about the way he’ll project success and charisma when he wears the beautiful gold watch with its handcrafted custom leather band? How his lover will find him irresistible when he’s all dressed up to go out, wearing the watch. Or how the watch’s status and beauty will attract the ladies.

Incidentally, did you notice how I brought up not squinting as a benefit? Does that sound like a silly benefit? Not if you are selling to affluent 50-somethings suffering from degrading vision. They probably hate it when someone they’re trying to impress sees them squint in order to read something. It’s all part of their inner desire, which you need to discover. And which even they may not know about. That is, until you show them a better way.

The point is to address the benefits of the product, not its features. And when you do that, you’re focusing on your reader and his interests, his desires. The trick is to highlight those specific benefits (and word them correctly) that push your reader’s emotional hot buttons.

This article is courtesy of PLR content that by the time it reached me had lost the author’s name. If anyone knows who originally wrote this, please let me know and I’ll attribute it.

Writing great sales copy 1 – Focus on Them, Not You

When a prospect reads your ad, letter, brochure, etc., the one thing he will be wondering from the start is: “what’s in it for me?”

And if your copy doesn’t tell him, it’ll be deleted or thrown away in seconds.

A lot of advertisers make this mistake. They focus on themselves as a company. How long they’ve been in business, who their biggest customers are, how they’ve spent ten years of research and millions of dollars on developing this product, blah, blah.

Actually, those points are important. But they should be expressed in a way that matters to your potential customer. Remember, once he’s deleted or discarded your ad, the sale is lost!

When writing your copy, it helps to think of it as writing a letter to an old friend. In fact, I often picture a friend of mine who most closely fits my prospect’s profile. What would I say to convince this friend to try my product? How would I target my friend’s objections and beliefs to help my cause?

When you’re writing to a friend, you’ll use the pronouns “I” and “you.” When trying to convince your friend, you might say: “Look, I know you think you’ve tried every widget out there. But you should know that…”

So, stop focusing on you and your company and think about what benefit your customers get from buying from you.

This article is courtesy of PLR content that by the time it reached me had lost the author’s name. If anyone knows who originally wrote this, please let me know and I’ll attribute it.

Liar! – How to spot if someone is lying

It is very important to know when a person is being economical with the truth, or just plain lying in any business situation.  To the skilled observer the majority of people can be quickly detected when not telling the truth (I exclude politicians from this as they make a career from avoiding uttering the truth!).

People signify their discomfort with what they are saying through combinations of body language gestures and eye movements.  We are looking for the combination.  Never take one movement in isolation – the person may have a nervous twitch!

Typical body language movements that would indicate discomfort with the spoken message include:

•             Pulling at the corner of his eye, his ear or his collar.  All of these gestures show major discomfort.  Watch you actions next time you spot a Police car in your mirror when driving.  If you have any reason to feel guilty your free hand will be pulling the bottom of your ear down.  Incidentally, the Police have been trained to look for this gesture – it is so common!

Remember that it is the feeling guilty that generates the reaction, not actual guilt.  This is important when interpreting body language.  If you are dealing with a nervous person and you ask her a direct question that she feels nervous about answering, even if she tells the absolute truth she is still going to exhibit some of these signs, as she is nervous.  It is the combination of changes this is important.

•             Blushing.  Many people cannot help blushing when they lie.  It may be subtle, but is often noticeable.

•             Foot Tapping.  This is often a sign of lying, almost as if the person is saying “get on with it, I’m not comfortable with this.”

•             Movement stops.  When a person is normally animated in their speech, using lots of arm movements and being expressive with his face, he can go very still when not telling the truth.  This is almost as if he fears that movement or expression will give the untruth away.

•             Eyes shut.  It is a sure sign of lying when someone shuts their eyes as they talk.  The person is worried that you will see the lie in their eyes and so shuts them.

•             Erratic breathing and flat voice.  Both of these signs come from a person trying to control their body to not give away their discomfort with their words.

•             Licking/touching lips or mouth.  If you have ever seen a young child tell an untruth, you will often see him put his whole hand over his mouth.  Touching the lips or mouth is an “adult” version of this gesture.  Most people would recognise licking lips as a nervous gesture that can indicate lying if used in conjunction with other gestures.

•             The eyes.  It has been said that the eyes are the only visible part of the brain.  They can certainly provide you with much information about the thoughts inside a persons head!

Generally, when a person is retrieving past memories, she will look to your left as you face her (she left them there) and if she is in the process of creating new information, she will look to your right.  If you ask here a question to which she should already know the answer (eg, “when is your birthday?”) she should look to the left as you face her to retrieve the information.  If she looks to the right it is an indication that she is creating the information, and in this case as she would already know her birthday, is likely to not be telling the truth.

This incredibly powerful technique can tell you a lot about what the person you are talking to is thinking about.  One word of warning, some left handed people have switched over the functions of the two sides of the brain so they will react opposite to how I have described here.  As long as you know the person, you should with practise be able to almost read their thoughts.

An interesting exercise now that you know what to look for is to watch interviews on television and see how the interviewee’s eyes move with each question – it can be very enlightening!

This list of indications of lying should help you to identify those people who routinely avoid telling you the truth and those who only do so occasionally.  This information is extremely useful to you professionally.

A word of warning. It is unlikely to help your case to blurt out “Liar!!” when a person lies to you.  This will simply entrench him in his position and he will become overtly hostile to you as you have shown him up.  Far better to file the information away for use next time you have to deal with that person.

Have fun!