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10 Key Tips For Writing Compelling Letters That Sell

Surely no one sends sales letters anymore I hear you think.

There’s no doubt that online marketing has replaced traditional marketing in a lot of people’s minds. And that is a key reason why sales letters or direct marketing is still a very powerful marketing channel.
You see there is so much less direct mail being sent these days that letters now have a very good chance of being read and as long as they are well written and persuasive, direct mail can be very effective and should definitely still be a part of your marketing arsenal.

But your direct mail has to be good. The following tips will give you all the  weaponry you need to write compelling and effective sales letters.

1.The Offer

Direct mail letters that contain a powerful special offer generate on average 400% better response than letters without offers.
A special offer grabs attention and forces the reader to read the headline and then the body copy to see what is being offered.
Hit your reader with your best stuff right at the start. Your task is to engage and interest the reader and your special offer at the start of the letter will do this.

2. Write Directly To Your Reader

The most important words in your letter will be “You” and “Your”.
Your letter mustn’t be about your company but about what you can do for the reader. You are talking directly to the reader and showing how you can solve his or her problems.

3. Benefits Not Features

I think these days we all know that customers buy benefits not features. No one buys a chair because it is ergonomically designed but because the ergonomic design supports your back and gives you a truly relaxing experience. So having listed your feature you then ask the question “which means that”…….. This forces you to articulate the benefit, which is what the prospect will buy.

4. The First Few Lines

Your first few lines must grab your prospect by the eyeballs. Each line has got to interest the reader enough that he goes to the next line. So your special offer starts the process and your benefits then take over. Once your reader is into your letter, with any luck they will read through to the end.

5. How to Get Readers to Turn The Page

If your letter is long enough to go onto a second or third page you must have a technique to ensure they continue reading. Never end your page with a full stop. Instead, try to break the page mid-sentence so that the reader is virtually forced to keep reading.

6. Credibility

If your reader doesn’t know you, you have to establish your credibility. The best way to do that is with social proof or testimonials. Featuring a couple of testimonials demonstrates that people just like your readers have benefited from your product. Give as much detail about the person giving the testimonial as possible to ensure the reader knows it’s genuine and not something you’ve made up.

7.  Your Close

Before closing, go back to your big benefit and major selling points again. As one old copywriter once said, “Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em. Tell ‘em. Then tell ‘em what you, told ‘em.”

8. Call To Action

The key point of your sales letter is to make the reader take action. That may be to call you, to visit your website, to download a report etc. Whatever action you want you must tell them very clearly at least once. If you can build in calls to action throughout the letter so much the better.

9. The “P.S.”

Don’t think that direct response copywriters are absent minded just because they always finish with a “P.S.”. It’s just another technique that always seems to work.

Most people read the P.S so even if you missed the reader with your opening statement, you can often pick them up again with a well thought out post script which stresses the key benefits, or the special offer.  In fact, some people read the P.S. before they read the letter.

10. Avoid Looking Corporate

If a letter looks obviously like direct mail, its chances of being opened are reduced. Franking a letter is a dead giveaway. If you put a stamp on a letter it looks much more like a personal communication and will increase the likelihood of it being opened. Taking that one stage further, if you can hand write the envelope, you are almost guaranteed that the letter will be opened, which means that you will have achieved the first objective of direct mail.

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7 Great Low Cost Marketing Tips

As business owners we all know we need to continuously market our business. The problem is that marketing is really expensive.

Right?

Wrong

Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. There are loads of ways you can market your business and generate continuous streams of leads and business without spending much money.

1. Stay In Touch
We all need to keep our business top of our customers’mind and to demonstrate that we care so that when the customer is looking to place an order we are the obvious option.
There are all sorts of reasons for you to contact your customers. Here are just a few:

  • To communicate special offers and new products
  • To thank them for an order
  • To tell them about developments in your company
  • To offer them hospitality

2. Referral Marketing
Referrals or word of mouth is the number one way that most small companies generate business. But most referrals are entirely chance.
You need to make referrals a planned part of your marketing strategy.
There are many ways to generate referrals, here are the two most simple and most effective.

a. Just Ask
If just after you’ve done a great piece of work, you simply ask for a referral, the chances are your customer will give you a number of names. If you can get the customer to call the contacts to introduce you, so much the better.

b. Give To Get
If you give someone a referral, they will then feel indebted to you and look to reciprocate. The more referrals you give the more you will get.

3. Public Speaking
Public speaking, whether to 10 or 1000 people is a fantastic way to generate new business. Your subject matter shouldn’t be an overt sales pitch. Instead you should speak about a subject which is of general interest to your audience.
Basically it is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and  also  to communicate your personality as well.
If you get the opportunity to speak in public, grab it with both hands

4. Write Articles
The fact is if you are published in the media, you will be perceived as an expert. And if you’re an expert then some of the readership may want to do business with you. Simple
So what do you write about?
Again you need to find a subject on which you are an expert and which will be of interest to the readers of that publication.
Once you’ve decided on your subject matter you simply phone up the editor of the relevant publication and sell him the concept. If you write reasonably well, there’s a good chance that your piece will go in verbatim. With luck you should get a picture of yourself included along with your contact details and website address.

5. Trojan Horse
If you’re not familiar with this expression, it is marketing speak for something that you give away for free and as we all know FREE is the most powerful word in marketing. Free gains attention and can influence customers’ actions.
Once you’ve identified what you can give away for free, you have a hook which you can hang your marketing on.
You can use your free item on your website, in your direct marketing, your email marketing, social media, flyers etc.

6. Email Marketing
The great thing about email marketing is that you can reach potentially thousands of people at the touch of a button. The not so great thing about it is that your recipients can delete it, unread, at the touch of a different button.
So make sure that you are emailing to a warm list – your customers and prospects and people who have indicated that they are keen to receive your communications.
You also have to make sure that your subject line is interesting and intriguing enough to encourage people to open the email.
So how often should you email your list? The answer is as often as you can give them something of value. If that is once per week, that’s great. However once per year is too often if you’re sending out boring rubbish.

7. Social Media
Social media is currently very much flavour of the month. 4If you listen to certain areas of the media you will feel if you’re not tweeting every couple of minutes, your business will collapse.
The fact is it won’t but the other fact is that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc provide platforms which allow you to communicate with almost limitless numbers of people.
Put like that you can see the potential benefit.
Social media is just like every day life. It will only work for you once you’ve built relationships with people. If you just go out in sales mode then it won’t work. However if you start interacting with other people, demonstrating your expertise at the same time as building relationships, then you may be surprised at the response

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10 Essential Tips For Successful Email Marketing


Email marketing is one of today’s key marketing channels.

Its strengths are that it is both immediate, cheap and precisely targeted. The downside is that everybody is using it and we all receive far too many emails every day.

This means if your email marketing is going to be successful, it must stand out and deliver its messages quickly, concisely and powerfully.

There are therefore a number of vital do’s and don’ts you need to be aware of.

1.Make Your Subject Lines Original And Intriguing
Imagine your prospect or customer with an inbox crammed full of samey-looking headlines.
Yours must stand out in that list or it will get deleted. Hook your reader in with something that piques their interest or curiosity.

2. Keep Your Eye On The Goal
The ultimate aim of your emails is to build awareness and trust with your prospects and continue to build a relationship with your customers and so help you to increase your sales. Make sure the content of your email achieves this.

3. Prospect vs Customers Email Content.
You want your prospect to get to know, like and trust you so that they will feel comfortable doing business with you. So give them useful information.
To encourage your customers to continue doing business with you (think of all those lovely up-sell and cross-sell opportunities) after they’ve bought from you, provide them with reassurance that they’ve made a great decision, and then give them step-by-step information about how to use or consume the product they’ve just bought.

4. Target Your Market
You need to know how your product or service fulfils your customers/prospects needs. Make a list of their biggest problems, fears, needs or wants. These should become the themes of your emails. At least one of these will hit the ‘trigger buttons’ of your prospect.

5. Hard Selling Doesn’t Work
While the purpose of email marketing is of course selling, too much hard sell won’t work. Demonstrate your expertise by giving them useful information and be low key with your sales message. Think of getting clicks to your landing page rather than an immediate sale.

6. Hook Them In And Don’t Let Them Go
You have to hook your readers in right from the start. The headline must persuade the reader to continue on to the first paragraph. The first paragraph must be interesting enough to make them want to read on to the next.. and so on.
Don’t keep your best stuff for the end. Your readers may not get to the end. Hit them with your most powerful messages up front and keep them involved right through to the end.

7. Focus On Your Reader Not Yourself
Your email must be about your readers, their problems and issues and how you can solve them. They’re not really interested in you, just what you can do for them.

8. That’s My Name, Don’t Wear It Out!
Use your customer or prospect’s name once or twice at the most in the email. More than that is going to seem unnatural and even creepy.

9. Make It Personal
Your emails should be like a conversation not a grammar lesson. Make them easy to read. Write in the way you’d speak and keep your sentences short. Use plenty of sub heads to break the text up and keep the overall length not more than 500 – 700 words.

10. Take Action
You must have a call to action in all of your emails. What do you want your readers to do after reading your message? Do you want them to call you, email you or go to your web site? Whatever response you want – make it clear and explain the benefits they’ll receive from taking action.

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Testimonials – Your Secret Sales Force

Testimonials are like gold dust in business but very few of us use them to their full potential.

Why Are Testimonials So Powerful?
The reason testimonials are so powerful is simple.
Potential customers expect us to blow our own trumpets, to big up our own products. Unfortunately this means our words don’t carry the weight and aren’t as persuasive as they should be.
However when a third party says something is good, now that is worth listening to. Nothing will influence me more than when someone else gives me a recommendation.

How Do You Maximise The Value Of Testimonials?
The best testimonials give a detailed and specific description of how the person has benefited from what you have to offer.
For example say an accountant receives the following testimonial:

“Alan is a great accountant. I highly recommend him”

This is not a particularly effective testimonial. It doesn’t say what Alan is so good at or what benefits he has delivered. The following would be much more effective:

“Alan is a great accountant. He makes dealing with the accounts really simple and always gives me great advice. Just one tip he gave me saved me £4700 pounds. Above all he has become a trusted advisor. I can’t recommend him highly enough.”

One of the biggest obstacles to growing your business is convincing people that you can really deliver on your promises. A testimonial does it for you. So when customers tell you they’re pleased with you, don’t be shy. Ask if they would be willing to share their experience with others. Most will be glad to help.

Making It Happen
Although most happy customers agree to giving you a testimonial, sometimes you will find that they just don’t get round to doing it. This can be very frustrating. One solution is to offer to draft something for the customer. If you agree roughly what they want to say about you, you can then write something. You must of course be sure that they approve it before you use it.

How Do I Know The Testimonial Is Genuine?
The fact is that anyone could make up testimonials. So your task is to make sure they appear genuine. When a testimonial is credited to “Mrs R from Brighton” this does not instil confidence. You must give as much detail as possible about the person giving the testimonial.
In a B to B situation you should give the name, job title and company name at the least ie “Mike Jennings, Director, Business Development Advisors”. This immediately seems more likely to be a genuine testimonial. The last point that can clinch the deal is if you can include a photograph. These may be very difficult to get hold of but they certainly give the testimonial credibility.

Where Should You Use Testimonials?
The simple answer to this is everywhere you can.
Your web site is the obvious starting point. As well as having a page dedicated to testimonials, I believe you should have a few on the home page. Home pages generally receive the most traffic. Testimonials are great for generating credibility and confidence so it makes sense to place them where the most people will see them.
You should also use them in marketing collateral, sales letters, emails – in fact anywhere you are using selling messages.

What Form Should Testimonials Take?
Testimonials normally appear as printed words. However a really powerful way to use testimonials is via video. If you can persuade some of your best customers to be filmed singing your praises and these videos are then placed on your web site, this is the ultimate in testimonials and is immensely persuasive.

So the lesson from this is that you should collect as many testimonials from happy customers as you can. You can’t have too many. Visitors to your web site may not read them all but they will note that you have large numbers of satisfied customers. So collect as many testimonials as you can and use them in all your marketing communications

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Do You Dare To Be Different?

For your business to be successful in today’s market, you have to be different to the great mass of your competitors.

  • Different in what you offer
  • Different in how you position yourself
  • Different in your thinking
  • Different in the way you market your business

Most businesses operate within a straight jacket. They believe they need to market themselves in the same way that everyone else in their profession markets themselves. So all the plumbers advertise in the yellow pages, all the hairdressers advertise in the local paper, all the double glazing companies use direct marketing.

Increase the Ways You Market Your Business

If you are similar to most businesses, you probably use just one or two primary ways to market and grow your business. Perhaps it’s advertising. Perhaps it’s referrals, or direct mail. The fact is that using only one or two marketing approaches is seriously limiting the amount of business you generate.

What would happen if over the next few months you doubled that to say four primary ways of marketing? Then, over the next few months you were to double it again, so that you were using up to 8 different marketing channels?

I’ll tell you what would happen. You’ll see remarkable growth in your business. You could potentially grow by 25% or perhaps even more.

Those business owners who decide to make marketing their top priority are the ones who dramatically outperform their competitors.

Your marketing channels don’t need to be complicated or even expensive. There are lots of ways that you can get your messages in front of prospective customers simply and cheaply.

Have a look at this list of ten marketing channels. If you’re serious about growing your business, pick at least two that you’re either not doing and make a commitment  to add  them to your marketing mix in the coming months.

  • Direct Mail
  • Internet Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Telephone Marketing
  • Direct Sales
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Up-selling existing customers/clients
  • Referral Marketing
  • PR

Why Should You Use A Multi Channel Approach?

There are a number of reasons:

  1. Different people like to receive their information in different ways. Some might like to get emails, others to receive letters while someone else might like to read information from a newspaper.
    The thing is you don’t know who likes what.
  2. If you’re only using one channel and it stops working for you, it could leave you with no route for generating new business, which could have disastrous consequences for you.
  3. The different channels should work synergistically together so each channel backs up and reinforces the others, so the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

So take a look at your marketing and the channels you use currently and then identify what other routes you could be using. The last piece of the jigsaw will then be to commit to action

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The World’s Most Powerful Business Generating Tool

So what is the world’s most powerful business generating tool?

The answer is pay per click advertising.

The real beauty of pay per click(PPC) is that it can dramatically improve your business’s performance in a remarkably short period of time.

What Is PPC?

PPC is simply a way to put an advertisement  for your website at, or near the top of the search engine listings.
Whatever your business – whether you’re a landscape gardener or a party caterer you can be at the top of the search engine results for anyone searching for your services within an hour!
But the great thing is you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad. Hence the name ‘pay per click.’
How much you pay for each click depends on how much competition there is for the search terms  that you want to use and how high up on the search engine you want to be. Either way, you choose how much you pay – and you can also specify a maximum daily budget.

The fact is that PPC is the most effective direct marketing tool in the world.

Why?

Because there is simply no easier and faster way to reach qualified potential customers.  They search you out and you only pay when they click on your ad and visit your web site. Can you imagine if you only paid a newspaper when someone actually read your ad?

Google Adwords

Google dominates the world of PPC.
Setting up an account is really simple. There is no minimum spend and best of all, your campaign can be up and running within minutes. In one hour from now, you could be sending a steady stream of qualified visitors to your website.

How Does It Work?

1.    You write your ad. It needs a catchy headline and a few words of compelling copy to get people to click on your ad.

2.    You select the keywords that you are going to bid on. These should be the words people will use to search for your services.

3.    Next, you need to decide how much you are willing to pay for each click. The more you  pay, the higher your ad will be placed.

A word of warning at this stage. You can spend loads of money and get little result. This could be down to selecting the wrong keywords or your web site not persuading visitors to buy. It is very important therefore that you monitor your results very closely and take rapid action if you’re not getting the results you want.

So now you’re up and running, here are a couple of tips to make sure Google works profitably for you.

Your Position On The Page

Adwords ads appear across the top of the page and down the right hand side. The closer you are to the top, the more clicks you will get..

Many people think that the only way to appear high on the page is to pay more per click. But this is only half the story.
The other 50% is determined by the number of people who click on your ad. This is known as your click through rate or CTR. Ads that get clicked on more often get a better position. And of course, that means they get clicked on even more often, and you end up in a virtuous circle.

What Determines The Number Of Clicks Your Ad Receives?

The answer’s simple. Apart from your position on the page, it’s the quality of your ad. In other words, people who write better ads get more people clicking on those ads and end up paying a lot less.

Test Your Ads Against Each Other

Our second tip is that Google lets you run two different ads at the same time for any of your keywords. This lets you test two different ads at the same time. You’ll find that one will almost certainly outperform the other.
Once it becomes clear which of your two ads is performing best, delete the underperforming one. Then write a new ad to try to outperform the better ad. Keep doing this and over time your click through rates will go up and up. You will soar above your competition, safe in the knowledge that not only are you getting more clicks, but you are paying less than them for each click to your website.

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The Five Big Mistakes Made By New And Growing Businesses

It’s a sad statistic that 80% of new businesses fail within their first five years. The following points are mistakes that individually can seriously damage your business. Put all together and you’ll become just another statistic.

  1. Trying To Sell Something People Don’t Want
    It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised.
    Choosing a good product to sell should be easy. It may not be original but if you choose something that people are already buying, maybe give it a bit of a twist and then you go out and market it better than the others, you’ll probably be successful.But that’s not what a lot of people do.  Very admirably, they create something new, something the market isn’t currently providing. Now that’s great as long as there isn’t a good reason why no one else is selling it.Your product may be fantastic. But do people want it? Possibly they should want it. It may be something we should all need. But do people really want it. If they don’t you’re in trouble.
  2. Wasting Money On Ineffective Advertising
    What’s the quickest way to start marketing your business. That’s right – advertising. If you look through your local paper you will see any number of local businesses doing uninspiring, instantly forgettable advertising. When you’re starting a business, money is invariably tight. Every pound spent needs to generate a profit.
    If your advertising isn’t generating a profit, you should stop it immediately. If an ad costs you say £300, if you’re not making more than that in nett profit then you should stop it.
    Now I know the argument about it taking time to build awareness. Small businesses shouldn’t be doing brand advertising. Each ad should generate an immediate response and make a profit.
  3. A Website That No One Knows About
    You may have the world’s most beautiful website. You may have spent weeks crafting the words and selecting gorgeous images. You may have spent thousands of pounds with highly skilled designers but if no one finds it then unfortunately you’ve wasted all your time and money.
    At the same time that you’re creating your website, you must spend time thinking about how you’re going to drive traffic to it.
    Here are a few ways to make sure your website gets found:
    1.Search engine optimisation
    2. Pay per click advertising
    3. Email Marketing
    4. Traditional Advertising
    5. Viral Marketing
    6. Inbound Link Building
  4. Not Creating A Back End Of Products And Services
    Most businesses make their money by developing long term relationships with customers. The cost of acquiring new customers is very high. Luckily the cost of selling to existing customers is much lower.  So the secret is to create a “back end” so that as soon as you’ve made your first sale, you have something else to sell them. Your customer has already made the decision to buy from you once, given the right offer they’ll be happy to buy from you again.
    Create a sequence of products for your customers to buy and watch your sales grow.
  5. Not Allowing Yourself Enough Time or Money
    Few businesses become successful overnight. If you take the right steps from the outset, then you can build your business pretty fast. But it will still take time.
    When you start out you should decide how long you think it will take to build your business. Realistically you should now probably double that time. And of course it’s not just time that you need. You also need money. You must make sure you have enough cash to get you through this extended period. It’s such a shame when good businesses fail because the owner underestimated how long it would take and how much it would cost to get it up and running.