Author Archives: Merrill

Where does the ongoing feud between direct mail and email stand?

Direct mail vs Email: Which one wins?

A client recently asked me:

If I send out the same sales message to the same number of people using email and direct mail, which method is more likely to get the best response rate?

Great question!

My answer: Assuming all other things being equal, in my client’s experience, direct mail usually wins the battle.


arm-wrestling--sca0011I think it’s because readers have an opportunity to hold a letter or postcard in their hands, which gives it a better chance to grab someone’s attention.

On the other hand… people are completely overwhelmed by the number of emails they get, so it’ll most likely be deleted before it ever has a chance.

But that’s my opinion.

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Website Conversion Killers – Part 2


Does your website FAIL to get the new customers you expected?

Okay… If you get serious, qualified, pre-sold prospects from your website, that’s great news! You’re light years ahead of most business owners.

But if you don’t, then Houston… you have a problem.

Look… All the traffic and visitors in the world will get you a total of ZERO customers if your website doesn’t convince them you can solve their problem and contact you.

Last time, I discussed 5 of the 10 website conversion “killers” that cause nobody to contact you after looking at your website.

So here are the other 5 big and common failures I see.

Part 2:
10 Reasons your website doesn’t generate customers

1. No eyeball-grabbing headline

If your website’s headline is “Welcome to my Website”, you can be virtually guaranteed nobody will read the rest of your content.

You need a main headline that quickly grabs your reader’s attention with a benefit or a question that raises curiosity.

There are many proven headline “formulas” Continue reading

Are you affected by one of these website conversion killers

Why don’t people contact your business after finding your website?


Okay… it’s a loaded question.

There are actually many reasons you don’t get qualified prospects or new customers from your website.

So I boiled ‘em down into what I call 10 big website conversion “killers”.

10 Reasons your website isn’t generating customers

1. Lack of purpose

Is your site’s primary purpose obvious to your reader?

Or does it try to accomplish too many things at once, confusing your readers?

Within 7 seconds or so, your readers expect to learn exactly what you do, how you can help them, and what the next step is. If they don’t, you’ll lose them.

2. Poor layout

Is your site’s layout and design simple and uncluttered so readers will keep reading?

Or is it “busy”, cluttered, and full of ads that will distract your reader?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “KISS”? (Keep it simple stupid)

It definitely applies to your website.

If it’s cluttered, then people’s eyes won’t know where to focus.

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Fired by a copywriting client! Gasp!

A copywriting client fired me…

After a few weeks of working on a copywriting project for a client, I e-mailed him client to discuss the copy I’d written for his business.

Well… the reply I got wasn’t quite what I expected.

The phrases included “we’re terminating out agreement”, “impact of the message”, and “not acceptable to our corporate direction”.

On the bright side… it also included “appreciate your attempt and professionalism”.

Now of course, there are other parts of this story, but that that’s not my purpose here.

So… it made me feel…

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Do you want your business marketing to give you better results?

Hell yeah, you do!

I don’t know of a single business owner who doesn’t want to generate more leads and sales from their marketing.

So here’s one simple (and often overlooked) technique that you should use on every ad, sales letter, web page, email, and brochure you use.

Let me repeat it. Use this technique on EVERY marketing-related material your company produces – even your business card!

Or don’t use it – at your own peril… Up to you.

This mistake is one I see all the time, (actually… it’s something I don’t see), and it blows my mind because Continue reading

Does your marketing process work?

Are you wasting money on advertising because you haven’t completely thought through the whole process, from target market to offer to call-to-action?

Put it this way… If you don’t make sure everything in your marketing process makes sense, you’ll simply flush your money right down the toilet.

Here’s a recent example:

A ValPak coupon for a small local sub shop (the keyword being small) offered different Continue reading

Beware of bogus official looking Domain Name emails

Beware…If you have a website (and hopefully you do), chances are you’ve received a very official, government looking email with a subject line like “Domain Notification – This is your Final Warning”.

Well… you’re not alone… I get them too. Often, my clients get them and forward them to me thinking their websites or domain names are Continue reading

Effective Marketing Depends on Engaging Your Customers

Why Customer Engagement is Such an Important Aspect of Marketing

Today’s article was written by a marketing colleague, Craig Robinson. Craig is the Editor and online customer engagement specialist for Facebook marketing company, Qwaya.

Regardless if you call it customer interfacing, customer engagement, or even customer relations, developing a bond and communicating with your customers is incredibly important. If you hope to be a successful brand on Facebook with longevity and a large following, engaging your customers is something that you cannot neglect.

Simply designing a great page and maintaining your business and aiming to please with quality products and services is not nearly enough – especially not in the age of social media.

When users visit Facebook, they’re expecting engagement, either from their end or from someone else’s end. No legitimate user—especially someone who would be inclined to use your business—visits this social networking giant just to hide in the shadows.

Users are constantly checking out materials and are actively seeking engagement. Giving them what they crave is vital to your success for quite a few reasons.

The Reasons Why Interfacing on Facebook is Essential

#1: Brand Recognition

When you see a huge company on Facebook like Ford or Apple or Coca-Cola, you see more than a heavily-advertised brand deciding to rest on its laurels. Sure, these large companies might actually be able to develop a following on their previous recognition alone, but if you notice how they advertise to the public on Facebook, they’re working hard to engage customers.

Their brand recognition increases exponentially. So, the moral here is that if a company that doesn’t have to do it per se still decides to do it, you know full well that customer engagement is important.

#2: Trust Building

Engagement can be synonymous with communication in a business context, and perhaps the only way you will ever develop real trust amongst a large network is to constantly engage with individuals. Working to build your customer relations will ultimately help you to build trust. People are more likely to trust a brand that’s willing to keep them engaged.

#3: Social Sharing

One of the rewards you can reap when using Facebook is the benefit of social context. Keeping your customers engaged and building trust will promote your business by way of your customers themselves. Whatever they like becomes part of their page and thus their friends see it and realize that your business is trustworthy and is willing to engage with customers.

#4: Quality Control

The more engaged you are with your customers, the more you will be able to realize if and when something goes wrong with your business. Even if it’s something very small, like a video not loading properly or a broken link on the other end of an external page ad, customer engagement is how you will ultimately be able to stay on top of these things to keep your customers satisfied.

Always remember that it’s very important that your customers are actually engaged with your business and that they’re actually happy. The idea is to actually treat Facebook how it was intended to be treated – as a social networking site.

About the Author: Craig Robinson is the Editor for Qwaya – A campaign tool. They focus on providing cost-efficient solutions for Facebook Ads. Besides writing about Facebook, Craig focuses on social context and customer engagement online. Follow Craig on Twitter here.

Thanks for checking out Craig’s article. If you have any comments or questions about using Facebook as an effective marketing tool, contact him via his Twitter Feed above.

Or you can leave me a comment below…

If you want help with your marketing strategy, writing effective sales copy, have any comments, or have a marketing project you’d like help with, e-mail me or call me at 603-686-5140

If you need help with website design, writing SEO optimized web copy, email marketing, or other online marketing strategies, I can help!

To your marketing success!

Merrill Clark

Website and Marketing Copywriter

Join my discussion by leaving a comment below…

Are the Yellow Pages dead?

Last week, I (probably you, too) saw the big, yellow phone books scattered on front lawns all over the neighborhood, stuck inside a wet plastic bag, waiting to be tossed in recycle bins everywhere.

Portsmouth NH Yellow Pages - Phone BookDid you ever try to read a wet book or newspaper? It’s impossible, since it just falls apart.

But since I’m a marketing dude, I wanted to check out the Yellow Pages (I guess they’re called SuperPages now), and see what was happening.

After a couple of days of drying on the kitchen table, I flipped through it.

I noticed a couple of important things:

A quick check of the total advertiser page count revealed a trend I’ve been watching, and predicting for several years.
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Get better results from your sales copy with this 6-point checklist

Are you in charge of writing your own sales copy for ads, postcards, direct mail, websites, blog posts, or even e-mails…

Then you owe it to yourself to read this short checklist before you start, and again after you finish to make sure you’ve included everything.


Because I consider these points crucial in getting the best results possible in ANY advertising or marketing materials. Ignore them at your own risk.

They’re listed in order of what I consider the most important, and use as many of them as space allows.

  1. Start with an eye-popping headline that has a benefit or big promise to your reader
  2. Speak directly to your prospect in your copy. You should be able to clearly define your ideal client
  3. Make sure to include a clear and simple call to action with a great offer, such as “Call for Free analysis” or “Sign up to our free newsletter for more details”
  4. Include proof such as short, detailed testimonials about your product or service
  5. Offer a killer guarantee
  6. Convey a sense of urgency to order now. Such as limited time or limited availability, with a short reason why

One consideration that comes into play is how much space you have to work with.

For example if you’re writing a space ad, space is limited. In that case, the two most important things to include are your headline, and a great call to action.

Here’s a little self-promotion… but if you’d like a great, inexpensive (but super-valuable) resource to help you write strong online web or email copy, visit for my book titled “How Your Small Local Business Can Get More Customers on the Internet”.

And of course, if you’d rather hire a professional sales copywriter to write your website, brochure, or direct mail for you, just give me a call for a free analysis!

Leave me a comment below…

If you want help with your marketing strategy, writing effective sales copy, have any comments, or have a marketing project you’d like help with, e-mail me or call me at 603-686-5140

If you need help with website design, writing SEO optimized web copy, email marketing, or other online marketing strategies, I can help!

To your marketing success!

Merrill Clark

Website and Marketing Copywriter

Join my discussion by leaving a comment below…