Archives for August 2010

Beware the perils of mailmerge!

We’ve just received a very well written and nicely laid out email from London Launch promoting their trade exhibition in London.  Here is the email they sent out:

Email from LondonLaunch

but for the mailmerge that has gone wrong!  Sadly LondonLaunch’s attempt to personalise on the senders company name has given them the lovely line of  “All of London’s best venues and suppliers will be there – will Londonlaunch?”. Oh dear!

It’s easy to see they have merged their own company name in place of the recipient’s.  So, beware mailmerge and get someone else to read your marketing emails before they get sent out!

Have a great weekend…

Writing great sales copy 7 – The More You Tell, The More You Sell

The debate on using long copy versus short copy never seems to end. Usually it is a newcomer to copywriting who seems to think that long copy is boring and, well…long. “I would never read that much copy,” they say.

The fact of the matter is that all things being equal, long copy will outperform short copy every time. And when I say long copy, I don’t mean long and boring, or long and untargeted.

The person who says he would never read all that copy is making a big mistaking in copywriting: he is going with his gut reaction instead of relying on test results. He is thinking that he himself is the prospect. He’s not. We’re never our own prospects.

There have been many studies and split tests conducted on the long copy versus short copy debate. And the clear winner is always long copy. But that’s targeted relevant long copy as opposed to untargeted boring long copy.

Some significant research has found that readership tends to fall off dramatically at around 300 words, but does not drop off again until around 3,000 words.

If I’m selling an expensive set of golf clubs and send my long copy to a person who’s plays golf occasionally, or always wanted to try golf, I am sending my sales pitch to the wrong prospect. It is not targeted effectively. And so if a person who receives my long copy doesn’t read past the 300th word, they weren’t qualified for my offer in the first place.

It wouldn’t have mattered whether they read up to the 100th word or 10,000th word. They still wouldn’t have made a purchase.

However, if I sent my long copy to an avid die-hard golfer, who just recently purchased other expensive golf products through the mail, painting an irresistible offer, telling him how my clubs will knock 10 strokes off his game, he’ll likely read every word. And if I’ve targeted my message correctly, he will buy.

Remember, if your prospect is 3000 miles away, it’s not easy for him to ask you a question. You must anticipate and answer all of his questions and overcome all objections in your copy if you are to be successful.

And make sure you don’t throw everything you can think of under the sun in there. You only need to include as much information as you need to make the sale…and not one word more.

If it takes a 10-page sales letter, so be it. If it takes a 16-page magalog, fine. But if the 10-page sales letter tests better than the 16-page magalog, then by all means go with the winner.

Does that mean every prospect must read every word of your copy before he will order your product? Of course not.

Some will read every word and then go back and reread it again. Some will read the headline and lead, then skim much of the body and land on the close. Some will scan the entire body, then go back and read it. All of those prospects may end up purchasing the offer, but they also all may have different styles of reading and skimming.

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.

Mind the gap… between sales and marketing

There is a disconnect between sales and marketing. Different discussion groups are debating this now. However the fact remains that marketing is about generating interest in a product or service and sales is about turning a lead into a sale.

Marketing happily pass interested contacts to sales. Sales then call them and find “most of them aren’t ready to buy now“.

So, there is a gap to bridge. That is to take expressions of interest and move them AT THEIR PACE towards qualified leads that sales can deal with.

But how?

Here is our take…

We mainly use email marketing for our clients to identify contacts interested in their products or services. But this is only transitory interest, not a desire to buy.

So, the next stage is for us to call all those contacts that have shown they have a level of interest. They demonstrate their interest by following certain links in our emails, or by email open / click patterns over a period of time.

The phone call is not a sales call, rather a “customer service” call with the intention of discussing the issue in question with the contact and qualifying their interest.

This extra step means that only qualified contacts with a defined need get passed to sales and the “interested but not yet” get regular contact without feeling sold to or being qualified out.

We’ve found that adding this extra step into the handover process helps everyone… and even starts to close the gap between sales and marketing.

6 steps to more business

Nothing here is complicated, clever or difficult.  It just needs to be done consistently.  Do these steps consistently and I guarantee you will be successful.

You will see that we have illustrated how we can help with each step.  Yes, this is a sales message, but you can also do each step for yourself without paying us or anyone else.  If you want help, call me, text me or email me – I won’t charge you for my time – promise!

Step 1 – Be visible
You will only get enquiries from people that know you exist!  That may be obvious, but how many times have you had the conversation with someone who said “if only we’d known you were here…”?

So, are you visible to your target audience if they choose to go looking?

  • Ensure that your website looks great.  If it doesn’t, change it or remove it.  No website is better than a bad website.
  • Have a blog that you update weekly, as a shameless example here’s ours
  • Consider other social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, etc.

So, follow these steps and you will be visible and credible should your ideal client come looking for you.

Step 2 – Be Credible
If your potential clients do go look at your public presence (website, blog, brochure, etc), will you look credible?  Will they feel like getting in touch?

Here is what we recommend:

  • Have great testimonials on your website, blog etc.  Nothing is more compelling than having others saying nice things about you.
  • Actively solicit testimonials from past clients.  (Hint: tell them what you want them to say.  Write it for them and just ask them to put their name to it.)  Most will happily oblige if you gave them a good experience.   From these testimonials create case studies that you can put on your website and send to prospective clients.
  • Make sure that your phone is always professionally answered by a human being who can answer questions about your business.  Answer phones and calls diverted to mobiles will lose you both business and credibility that you will never recover.  If you want help with this, we’ll happily put you in touch with a great telephone answering service.

So, follow steps 1 & 2 and you will be visible and credible should your ideal client come looking for you.

BUT you cannot rely on potential clients to find you once they have a need for your product or service.  They should know about you first so you come to mind when they have a need.

Step 3  – Be Memorable
It doesn’t matter how great your products or how wonderful your service, if no one knows about you, they are not going to buy from you.  So, step 3 is to make sure that your target audiences always think of you when they have a requirement.

Start with your target audiences: who are they?  Be specific.  For example:  Businesses within 40 miles of you with more than 10 employees; Accountancy practices in Southern England; UK charities; and so on.  It’s fine to have more than one target audience.  Next identify the people in these audiences that are likely to make an enquiry.

Once you know who you want to talk to, you can talk to them in lots of different ways.  My experience is that the most economical and effective method is to email them initially then follow up by phone with the ones that are interested.

Here is what we recommend:

  • Acquire lists of contacts in your target audiences to add your existing contact database. (We can help you find relevant contacts if you are struggling).
  • Email them regularly (each month) with short, simple messages linking to more information. DO NOT SEND THEM A NEWSLETTER this is the sales equivalent of getting a megaphone and shouting in a prospect’s face!
  • Analyse the responses to your emails, tracking who opens and clicks on the links.
  • Target the best responders for follow up in step 4 below.

There are many email marketing packages available but most are quite complicated to use.  We recommend a couple that work well. Contact me if you want to know more or if you want our help with email marketing.  We can do as little or as much of the process as you want.

Step 4 – Be persistent
You must send out these emails every month.  Your potential clients will only take action when they have a requirement, so you need to ensure that you are always in the front of their mind.  This is why you need to keep your emails short, light and chatty – so they don’t offend those who don’t have a requirement right now.  We can help you write these emails.

Step 5 – Be Personal
If you know anything about your potential customers, use this in your communication with them – make the emails as specific and personal as possible.  If you know their name, use it in the salutation and maybe even the subject line.  If you know someone is interested in one aspect of your business, send them content relevant to their interest.

Remember: it’s about them not you!!

The more personal and relevant you make your communications, the more interest you will generate.  But you need a more advanced system to add levels of personalisation to your emails.  And this can add cost.

We’ve developed a specialism that creates targeted and personalised emails to help clients generate more business from their email marketing.  If you want help, just ask.

Step 6  – Be consistent
Through your awareness raising in steps 3 & 4, you will have a list of people expressing interest each month.  Call these and record the outcome of the call.  Most importantly, if you have committed to doing something during the call do it!

The trick here is to set aside time each week to make the calls and take the actions.  Schedule it in your diary, turn off email and all other distractions and just get on with it.

Do it. Measure it. Evaluate it. Change it. Do it again.