Monthly Archives: September 2013

Good Copywriting uses White Space for Sales Growth

Sales Growth Frog

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 90% of B2B-focused organizations use con

tent marketing for sales growth. Although much of the content is video, infographics and other ways to engage visitors; the largest portion of content is in written form.

With the plethora of choices of what to read, it is critical that your content be created in a way that is engaging, easy-to-read and informative. Improving the quality of your writing can have immediate and profound effect on sales growth.

This series is designed to help you learn a few skills of a professional copywriter, or at least learn what to look for in any copywriter you hire.

Part 2 of the 5 Part Guide – Principals of Writing Effective Web Content

To impact sales growth, the goal is to make it really easy for the reader to consume your content. There are a ton of tools you can use to determine whether your writing is easy to read. My favorite is the Flesch-Kincaid tests. The tools can be installed directly into your MS Word program.

When you are competing for the attention of today’s information-overloaded reader, you want to keep the grade level score below the 8th grade. Last week’s post tested at 7.5 grade level and had a readability score of 65.2. If I spent a little more time on it, I could get the grade level even lower and the readability score higher. Content that is easily read takes a whole lot more effort to create.

My Clients Are More Sophisticated

I cannot tell you the number of times I have had clients tell me that their clients are too smart to read something written for middle-school reading levels. Believe me, content that is easy to read is NOT an insult to your client’s intelligence. Instead, easy reading respects their time-crunched schedules.

If your content is dense, full of facts, statistics and big words, your prospect will see reading your content as hard work. If the reader has to struggle reading your content, it will not lead to sales growth. Which would you rather have…?

1. Simple, easy to read…where you get the facts in bullet points?

2. Or, dense content that is supported with facts and figures?

Duh…simple will do for most content. If the reader wants more information, they can click on a link you provide or call you to get more information. This is particularly true when you are presenting deep, information-rich content like case studies and white papers. A well-written case study has text boxes, bulleted lists, headlines, sub-headlines and all the reader-friendly tactics of good copywriting.

How to Create White Space

The easiest way to create more white space is to create more paragraphs. Each time you begin a new paragraph; the reader gets a little break in concentration and can relax a bit. The reader is more receptive to your message if it is easy for them.

Another tactic is to insert images, text boxes, quotations, etc. We will talk about the science of eye movement in the 5th part of this series. For now, just trust that inserting something for the eye to consume other than just text increases the chance someone will read what you have to say.

When to Create Bulleted Lists

Anytime you have a series of statements, a bulleted list makes it easier to read. To demonstrate this principle, here is a paragraph from earlier in this post:

“If your content is dense, full of facts, statistics and big words, your prospect will see reading your content as hard work.  Which would you rather have; simple, easy to read (content) where you get the facts in bullet points?  Or, dense content that is supported with facts and figures?”
Even though it was only a two-item list, it becomes much easier to read when it is part of a numbered list. It also creates more white space.

Until you get used to creating content like a copywriter:

  • Reread your first draft of any content you write
  • Look for things that can be broken down into lists
  • Pay particular attention to any action items that can be used as a checklist
  • Vary your bullet points and numbered lists. In MS Word, you have the option of using at least 6 different bullet styles with the click of your mouse. When online, like in a blog, you may have fewer choices, but you can still mix it up.

We have now covered the first three components of good web writing. I put them first because they are, without a doubt, the most important to your sales growth goals. You must get these three things right or you are losing business. Your goal of creating content is sales growth…not a big yawn from your readers…or worse yet, a click away.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. My contact information is right here on the Sales Growth Hub. I want to make your content a source of huge sales growth and increased bottom-line profit. That is why I am here.

BTW: Congratulate me. This time the post FK scores are 71.9 for readability and 6.7 in grade level. Did you feel insulted by the easy reading? I didn’t think so.

5 Part Guide to the Principals of Writing Effective Web Content

CopywritingYou’ve heard it.  “Content is King” You know full well that one of the most cost-effective sales growth strategies is creating high-quality content.  Yet, if you are like most business people, you have no training as a copywriter.  The skills for copywriting are very different than you were taught in college composition class, but that is probably the best training you have ever had in writing.

This article series is a “quick and dirty” overview of the elements of good copywriting for the internet.  Each week I will share the components of good web writing.  If you are already an excellent writer, you may be able to apply these 12 fundamentals to your content and see a noticeable improvement.

If your content does not meet the high quality standards your prospects expect, think carefully whether it might be cost-effective to hire a professional writer to assist in content creation.  What good does it do to spend money driving people to your website if they do not get a good impression of your company when they arrive?

First Impressions Last

This old adage has never been truer than it is today.   “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Our first 3 principals are about making a good first impression.  If you don’t grab their attention quickly, everything else you give the prospective reader is a waste of time.  You must nail these first three principals before moving on to the rest.  Today, we are only going to cover one of them.

Over the next few weeks we will add:

Week 2:  Two more aspects of making a good first impression.  Readers respond well to empty space and check lists.

Week 3:  We examine who you are writing for and how to tailor your message.  I will cover three aspects of writing that engage people who see your digital messages.

Week 4:  Learn three reasons why people will read what you have to say.  Most of you will be a little surprised by what you learn in this portion of the guide.

Week 5: The science of copywriting.  You already know that gathering data about your internet empowered customers dictates what you offer them.  In copywriting, the science of language, word values and usability are critical to the ever-increasing demands of the skill.  These final three principals separate the average writer from  excellent content developers.

Headlines Say it ALL

Even professional copywriters struggle with headlines.  We put great effort into crafting this short string of words – because we fully realize the importance of this primary attraction device.  Without doing this one thing right, our client does not get results.  If the client does not get results, as a copywriter, I am out of business.

The digital world is full of headlines.  You find them at the top of articles and in the subject line of emails.  You also find them on your web pages, presentations and eBooks.  In each situation, the headline can make or break your opportunity to communicate.

I am writing an entire eBook devoted to headlines right now.  Few people do an adequate job of mastering this critical step in copywriting.  Keep an eye on the Sales Growth Hub blog where I will announce when the eBook is available.  Until the eBook is ready, take advantage of one of the first things we are taught as professional copywriters.  Novelists use this statement to put us down…while we find pride in doing it every day.

Writers Write and Copywriters Copy

What they don’t tell you is that copywriters support the work of other businesses.  We almost never see our names as the author.  Novelists revel in the glory and financial gain of their own writing.  Copywriters revel in the glory and profits of our clients with almost no recognition or profit-sharing as a result of doing it well.

Start copying today.  Notice what headlines and email subject lines grab your attention.  Save the words, headlines and phrases in a place of easy access for inspiration when you start to write.  I keep a MS Word document open at all times.  When I see a headline that I find funny, interesting, timely, juicy or really edgy – I copy it and put it in what is called a “swipe file” in the profession.

Swiping is an honorable pursuit in my line of work.  Having a library of good swipes is one of the most prized possessions of a seasoned pro.  However, we have a code of honor – just like other thieves.

  • We do NOT plagiarize.  There is a huge gap between stealing another writer’s idea and stealing their content.
  • We validate other writers.  When another copywriter swipes one of our ideas, it is much more valuable than a ‘like’ on Facebook.
  • We look for ways to recognize really good copywriting with a backlink to articles we find valuable to our clients.
  • We comment on fellow copywriting blogs and like what they say on social media outlets.
  • We encourage each other because copywriting is a crazy, ever-evolving industry that gets little recognition and is often misunderstood.

Next week I will write about the need for lots of white space and bulleted lists.  Without these visual tools, your content appears too dense.  Remember your reader is lazy and will click away if it becomes a little hard to read your content.

Let me know what you think.  I really want to know.



3 Great Reasons Why Email Will Boost Sales Growth

E-mail Marketing word on puzzle in man handsLook around at the companies who are racking up enormous sales growth numbers and you will almost always find a company who implements an aggressive email campaign. At its core, it is as simple as the old comeback given by Willie Sutton when asked about why he robs banks, “That’s where the money is.”

You may be resistant to using email in your business. We understand. You have visions of ‘spam’ dancing in your head. None of us want to be spammed with unwanted emails – and – we certainly don’t want to be guilty of spamming.

The companies who successfully implement email campaigns are not perceived as spam by their recipients. Here are a few of the secret and not-so-secret reasons why.

Buyers Control the Sales Process

Successful sales processes are truly a cycle that involves the buyer in every step along the way. Since prospects are rarely ready to purchase when they become aware of your company, email provides you a way to engage in a conversation with them in a personal way. The buyer actually determines what they feel is spam and what is useful information they want to receive.

Novice email marketers will use email as a way to deliver promotions. When the recipient only sees promotional material, they will assume there is no reason to open the email unless they are looking for a discount. The business thinks that giving a coupon for their products or services is generous. The buyer thinks it is self-centered.

Buyers want information. That is why they spend endless hours on the internet before making any purchase. Buyers feel total responsibility for being well-informed before they spend a dime. This is true in both the B2B and B2C environment. Send them information that is useful whether they buy from you or not and they will welcome hearing from you in emails. A recent study found that 62% of internet users start their day with email. Be there to help them gather the information they want.

Email marketing ROI

Few investments in marketing provide the measurable results of email. In fact, according to a study done by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing gets a return of $39.40 for every dollar spent. Since this level of sales growth is remarkable, it makes sense to learn how to leverage it for your business.

Using a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), email can be set up in an automated campaign that is delivered after certain triggers from the customer. That way the buyer remains at the center of the email marketing campaign. Whether the automated email is for the purpose of nurturing a new sales lead or developing customer loyalty in current clients, the reader’s behavior gives you feedback on what they want to receive from you and what is unwelcome.

Email is a Privilege

While it is really easy to acknowledge that being invited into someone’s email inbox is an honor, many companies don’t recognize it can be a reciprocal privilege.

Think about the information addiction of your buyers. A huge percentage of the people who make buying decisions for your product/service sit in front of the television at night to gobble up more information. It seems that a simple human interaction is too much bother. Meet them where they are every day.

If they are so eternally focused on learning more about the products and services they consume, don’t you owe it to them to provide a little of what you know? Build a relationship with your prospects by sharing stories, showing trends, educating them on the pitfalls of making a bad choice, explain why you have made certain choices in what you offer them.
Connect with prospects using email and communicate like you would to a friend. After all, deep customer relationships are what can drive your sales growth.


Michael Halper

Michael Halper, founder and CEO of SalesScripter and author of “The Cold Calling Equation – PROBLEM SOLVED, is an expert on how to penetrate new accounts, get meetings with executives, and generate leads. His mastery of this area began while working in hunting roles selling technology products to large corporations and took it to the next level while building and managing an inside sales call center.

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Focus on Sales Messaging to Drive Sales Growth

Information - CopyWhen looking to drive sales growth, an area that is often not looked at enough is sales messaging. Not only is this an area where small changes can lead to big results, but neglecting this area can be detrimental to a business and sales performance.

What is Sales Messaging?
Sales messaging is what a sales person will say to a prospect during the early stages of the sales process while trying to generate a lead and build interest. This includes both oral and written messages to the prospect and includes everything from what is said over the phone, at networking events, in meetings, and also in emails.

The Overlooked Areas of Sales Messaging
A very understandable response to this point for a sales manager or business owner is that there is already a strong focus on sales messaging. And what this commonly looks like is training sales people on the products that they sell and what the products do.

What can often be missing are the questions to ask and what to talk about with the prospect before you are ready to discuss products and solutions. When doing sales prospecting and trying to secure sales growth from new clients and net new customers, it is often too early to jump right into product information on the first conversation.

3 Areas to Focus
There are three areas to focus on and include in your sales messaging that can help you to increase your sales growth while prospecting.

1. Value Offered
Does your sales messaging clearly communicate the value that your products and services offer? More often than not the messaging focuses on what the products and services do. But this does not communicate the value offered. Value is what your products and services help your customers to do or to achieve.

By simply being sure to include the elements of value that your products offer to your sales messaging, you will stand to improve your sales growth results.

2. Pain Points Resolved
Does your sales messaging focus on the pain your products help to resolve? One of the main motivators and areas of interest for your prospects will be to fix the areas where things aren’t working well.

By simply discussing these areas in what you say when talking with a prospect or when sending an email can greatly improve your ability to both get their attention and get a response.

3. Qualifying Questions
When we think about sales messaging, we can often think primarily about the points that we make to explain what we do and what we have to offer. What is often left out and in many ways more important are the questions that we should be asking the prospect.

Any time spent talking with prospects is extremely valuable. Not only do you want to get the most out of each interaction and asking questions to extract information will help with this, but you also want to qualify the prospect to make sure that it makes sense to even keep talking. Including qualifying questions in your messaging will help with both of these.

Sales Growth Hub provides a one-stop shop of sales and marketing providers.


Michael Halper

Michael Halper, founder and CEO of SalesScripter and author of “The Cold Calling Equation – PROBLEM SOLVED, is an expert on how to penetrate new accounts, get meetings with executives, and generate leads. His mastery of this area began while working in hunting roles selling technology products to large corporations and took it to the next level while building and managing an inside sales call center.

More Posts - Website