Category Archives: Marketing

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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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
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#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.
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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.

Why?

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 http://marketyourbusinessonlinebook.com/ 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…

Supercharge your “Services” page for better SEO and conversion

Have you ever clicked on a Services page that made your head spin, because it talked about every one of the 15 services they offered?

Chances are, there was so little information about each one of them, you really didn’t know if they could help you or not.

It’s common for many to create a Services page like this, where you list everything you do on one page. But it’s certainly not effective for getting results, such as people calling you for quotes or to buy.
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Are you wasting your web visitor’s valuable time?

It’s a waste of time for the web visitor. And unfortunately for the business, they squander an excellent opportunity to convert a reader to a customer.

Here’s what I recommend for your website’s Services page(s) strategy instead…

First – make a list of every service you offer. (Depending on how many and what they are, you could even lump them into categories)

Then – instead of writing one Services page with a brief summary about every service you offer – create and write a laser-focused page for EACH service on its very own page.

See a perfect example of doing it right at www.ontophome.com.

Your Service page will be a pull-down menu that lists all your individual service pages, and may include a summary page about each service.

(If you need a copywriter to write your copy, you know who to call… my number is below)
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This strategy kills two birds with one stone

Each page can be search engine optimized for  one service, so it increases the chance they’ll find it when people search.

Plus it’s a better experience for your web visitor, because there’s no doubt each page solves one specific problem.

In the headlines and web copy, use keyword phrases that people are likely to search for, and information that’s relevant only to that specific service, and make sure you tell them “what’s in it for them” and include all the great benefits they’ll get.
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A kick-ass Services page will generate more sales

Unless you only have one or two services, don’t take the easy way out and put all of them on one page.

And don’t make the mistake of shortchanging yourself by saving a few bucks to write only one page. If you want any chance of getting found, then getting those visitors to call you, spend the money and do it right the first time by writing separate pages.
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My rule of thumb… The Power of “1”

One web page = One focused service or product. It’s as simple as that.

Does your Services page attract visitors and convert them to paying customers?

If not – give me a call so we can work on it!

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…

The marketing guarantee that’s always true … Guaranteed!

Yep… I know… I’m always harping on you to add powerful and meaningful guarantees to your sales copy, or to improve the one you already have.

But I’m doing it for your own good – so you’ll get better results.

So… down to business, and it will be quick.

The guarantee I mentioned in the subject line doesn’t actually have anything to do with this. It’s something different…

But it’s no less important!

It’s something that I was reminded of while talking with a client recently who was just going to sit back and wait for the economy to change, hoping customers flock to his business, all without investing any time or money to promote his business.

Of course… that’s a fantasy. But why?

Because of the fail-proof marketing guarantee:

If you don’t do or try anything to market your business…
you won’t get positive results – guaranteed!

To bust out of a slump, don’t be afraid to try different things to get ahead.

I’m not saying to spend a ton of money on unproven techniques, but think outside the box a little. You may be surprised of the results you get.

And if it doesn’t work, don’t consider it a failure. It’s just one thing that didn’t work. Figure out why, make a change, and try something else.

I’d love to hear what techniques you’ve used successfully in your business, so 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…

How to promote your small business in print

Should I use printed sales materials to market my business?

It’s a great question, and clients ask me this all the time…

It seems like everyone is jumping on the “online” marketing bandwagon these days.

Marketing your business online with compelling e-mails and your website is not only smart… but necessary for your success.

But Houston – we have a problem:

Online marketing isn’t the only game in town. However, don’t make the common (and maybe costly) mistake of underestimating the effectiveness and convenience of printed marketing materials.

So I’m gonna toss out a few basic pointers regarding print materials that can still be used effectively for most small businesses like yours.

Business cards

If you personally meet new prospects at networking events or meetings, you’ll want to pass out business cards. The keys to a great business card are no different than any other marketing materials.

Get their attention, and make sure your prospect knows exactly what you do and how you can help them – not your title.  “Helping businesses increase profits” is much better than “Consultant” or “President”.

Tri-fold brochures

Many businesses (even some marketing gurus) think brochures are dead. I think they’re a great medium, with enough space to tell your unique story and sales message to your prospects… only IF it’s written in a way that speaks directly to your reader’s needs.

If your reader is interested in your product or service, especially if it’s a high-cost one, and your headlines get their attention, you bet they’ll read it. If they’re not interested, they won’t read it no matter what.

Postcards

Postcards are great because they can be used for many things. There are several common sizes and delivery methods available. Typically I recommend them as an inexpensive way to get new leads, or a way to introduce a new product or service to existing customers.

Their biggest advantage is your message and offer is immediately front and center – no envelope to open. You can also use them as handouts. The downside is limited space, so your copy, message, and design must be powerful, laser-focused, short and to the point.

Rack cards

Approximately 3.5″w x 8.5″h, these work well to hand out to prospects, put in brochure holders on a store counter, put on a table at a tradeshow booth, or as a “leave behind” when you can’t speak directly to your prospect.  Advantages are similar to postcards – get attention quickly and convey a short, focused sales message without having to open an envelope.

Door hangers

Very similar in size and usage to rack cards, except they have a cutout at the top so you can hang them on doors or on mailboxes. (You can’t legally open mailboxes unless you actually mail something). Great for door-to-door or neighborhood promotions. The downside – someone has to do the footwork…

There are obviously many other shapes and sizes, ways to use them, and specific situations. So if you have a specific marketing problem to solve and you’re not sure which one to use, or what it should say, contact me.

And to be most effective, all the direct response marketing principles apply. They must:

  • Get attention
  • Have a powerful headline
  • Have compelling copy
  • Include an irresistible offer
  • And include a clear and simple call to action

I’d love to hear how you successfully used any of these, so 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…

 

 


Get more customers with 5 Star Google reviews

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Crush your competition with
Google online reviews

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Here’s one simple and low-cost secret that will make your business stand head and shoulders above your competition, even if you don’t have a website! (okay… it’s not really a secret… but it’s certainly underestimated and underused)

First – let’s set the stage.

So your spouse drives your car into the garage… only problem… the door was closed…

Oops… now you need to find a good local body shop.

What do you do? If you’re like most, you’ll simply go to Google, and search on say… “auto body shops greenland nh”

Google PlacesA list of several local body repair shops magically appears in the search results, coming from the Google Places listings. (you have claimed and optimized your Google Places listing, haven’t you?)

As you look through the list, one of the listings jumps out at you. You’ll see that Mirror Image Automotive has eight 5-star reviews, while the others don’t have any, or maybe 1 or 2.

These online 5-star reviews are basically testimonials from happy customers. Many will read these reviews, and many of them will base their decision to call a certain business based on them, too.

Think about it, if one listing stands out above the others because they have many more Google reviews than the others, which business are you more likely to call?

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So why are Google reviews important?

Google write a reviewA recent study by Nielson Company shows that more than 70% of people trust these online reviews, and value them almost as much as a referral from family or friends.

This tells me that people really are reading these, and they can be paramount to your success at getting new customers. But you gotta get your happy customers to create one. (And NO – don’t do a bunch of fake ones – Google will spot that a mile away and you could lose your listing completely.
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How to get Google reviews from your customer

But before you do anything… Go to your Google Places listing and make sure it is complete.  To find it, just Google your phone number, and click the name of your business in the list, or click “Place Page”.

Create a postcard that you’ll hand out to customers immediately following your transaction, while they’re most likely to be happy with you.
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What to include on your postcard
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  1. A short link to your Google Places listing
  2. Your free QR code
  3. A short customized message asking them if they’re happy, and if they’d leave a good review
  4. Instructions on “how to write a Google review”
  5. And your company’s contact info

That’s it!

If you’d like me to create a postcard for your business, give me a yell, and we’ll get your business on the road to 5-star reviews!

I’d love to hear your comments 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…