Monthly Archives: October 2013

Copywriting “Mad Scientists” Affect Sales Growth

Crazy Mad Scientist InjectingThe goal of this five part guide is to connect the dots between good copywriting principals and sales growth. It may seem like a bunch of unnecessary rules to follow. In fact, everything in this series is scientifically proven.

The same technology that is learning new things about black hole gravitational waves and what our brain to flushes during sleep is also offering copywriting guidance. There seems to be no end to what these geniuses are able to reveal.

Sales growth is the result of implementing what has been learned about readability, usability and adapting to the reader audience. The good news is that only a small number of web content is using a fraction of what we know about the science of web content.

You have no reason to be intimidated by all the guidelines. Instead, just be aware that each move you make toward improving your written message to prospective customers increases your opportunity to grow your business.

Part 5 of the 5 Part Guide

Principals of Writing Effective Web Content
In this final part of the series, I will skim the top of some of the science of web writing. If you find the concepts interesting, I will point you to resources that will allow you to learn more. We will not go into much depth in this brief article.

Usability
The most knowledgeable usability expert I have found is Jakob Nielsen. He defines usability as “…a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.” That sounds pretty simple. When you dig into the research done by his firm, the Nielson Norman Group, you will see it is far from simple.

This group of specialists is discovering:

• Specific eye patterns of the people who read your content
• The growing aversion to colorful, over-designed text boxes on web sites
• What can cause cognitive strain on the reader and decrease sales

Psychology
You can find a lot of education about the psychology of buyers. My favorite site for learning about content psychology is Sean D’Souza’s www.PsychoTactics.com. The headline on his home page says it all: “Are you losing customers because you don’t know how the brain works?”

Clearly, Sean has harnessed knowledge about psychology that will lead to phenomenal sales growth. I must warn you…his site is addictive. You will learn things you never thought you would ever want to know about your customers and how they respond to your content.

 

Typography
Many principals of typography are intuitive – like limiting the number of colors and fonts used on a page. Other typography principals can become more complex.

• The self-described Usability Geek outlined his 12 Typography Guidelines here.
• An article in Smashing Magazine goes into detail about 11 different aspects of typography – from vertical rhythm to using a grid and more.

Like I said earlier, this level of knowledge is not at all required to experience sales growth in your business. In fact, if you let this type of thing stop you from trying to create sales conversion content, you will most surely lose.

Although copywriting is my profession, I am not able to incorporate everything in this series at all times. It is simply too much to remember …AND… unless you are a big corporation with deep pockets, it probably does not benefit you enough to even try to use it all.

The goal of this series is to give you an overview of what principals in copywriting can do to add to the sales growth of your company. Go back to Part 1 and begin working on powerful headlines. Contact me if you want more resources for learning about headlines. I have been a student of copywriting for more than a decade and I have a bunch of resources I use almost every day.

There is one thing that you can do best…much better than me. You know two things about your business that leads to writing for sales growth.

1. Your business, your industry, your products and services
2. Your customers, your sales leads, your prospects and their preferences

Use your knowledge of these two things you already know and start building your copywriting expertise from there. Let me know if I can help.

3 Proven Ways to Make Your Body More Attractive (The Body of Your Content)

Good content has one goal…to engage the reader.

A secondary goal is to deepen the “know-like-trust” equation in customer relationships. Good copywriting using the principals outlined in this guide are a proven contribution to sales growth. Avoid the high cost of hiring a professional copywriter when you learn these copywriting lessons well.

Part 4 of the 5 Part Guide
Principals of Writing Effective Web Content

The first two posts of this guide were about the importance of good headlines, bullet points and white space. The third segment covered topic selection. This post is about the body of the content. Sales growth comes when you move the reader toward a purchase…let’s keep them reading the body of your content.

Without Emotions You Will Miss Sales
You are interested in sales growth. You know that people “Buy with emotions, then justify with facts.” Countless copywriting studies have tested this concept over and over for more than a century. It never fails to ring true.

Learning what emotions lead to sales in your business is not easy. You must spend time getting to know your ideal customer to speak to them in a way that evokes emotion. Try this online tool to find emotional triggers that will lead to sales growth.

Revise and Re-adjust so Your Message is Clear
A friend of mine is a PhD in English and former professor at LSU. She claims that “There is no such thing as good writing. There is only good re-writing.” Even when you draft a short email, take the time to read the email one more time before you hit send. When you are succinct and clear to make the message fully understandable, it saves time and aggravation in the long run.

Anything less than a carefully crafted message leaves room for misunderstanding…or the reader may click away. Use bulleted lists, or better yet, make emails short and only cover one topic. Otherwise, in our busy world, the recipient may fully intend to respond.

However, if they perceive your multi-topic email time-consuming and they put it off for another time. You may think you are saving a little time by shooting off a quick email. Instead of sales growth, your rushed message will often result in a total waste of time.

Use a Golden Thread
Have you ever listened to good friends chat? They will often flip and jump from subject to subject. They leave other participants clueless about the topic being discussed. While good friends can get by with this manner of discussing lots of topics – YOU CAN’T. Good friends have a powerful “golden thread” and it is the deep relationship and time-proven history.

When you are talking to prospects, you cannot afford to wander off your very specific sales path. When you re-read your content like suggested in the section above, look for anything that strays away from the point you are trying to make in your content.

Be ruthless in eliminating information that does not lead the prospect through your sales process. A great way to keep from wandering from one topic to the next is to start with an editorial calendar for your content. With a copywriting plan, you accomplish two things.

1. You will have a global vision of how you will guide your prospects into becoming customers.
2. It is easier to stay “on topic” when you know that you will be covering a subject in another content piece.

Many things are involved in copywriting that leads to your desired level of sales growth. Take the principals and apply them one-at-a-time. Soon you will see an increase in revenue and it will be worth it.

3 Pro Copywriting Tricks for Sales Growth

EyeDelivering sales growth in today’s buyer-centric marketplace is not easy. No one can give you a simple mathematical formula for success. Many entrepreneurs depend heavily on SEO. Others expect to win the market with clever, unique, sharable content. Yet, at the foundation of any solid content strategy is simple, good copywriting that engages readers.

• Constant evolution of technology is having an effect on your customer. They feel empowered to chose based on what they find on their own and in your content.
• The sheer volume of information available makes it hard engage new buyers.
• Google is shifting its algorithm to favor high-quality content over high-volume content.

The time has come for every business to gain a basic knowledge of copywriting (or hire a pro). With the ability to gather data about what type of content your reader wants, everything you need to know is available for learning the skill. This series is a tiny, little bit of what you need to know to compete in the race for quality copywriting and sales growth.

Part 3 of the 5 Part Guide
Principals of Writing Effective Web Content

1. It’s Not About YOU…
Sales organizations have been talking about what they offer for centuries. About 50 years ago, sales trainers succeeded in convincing the sales professionals to talk about the ‘benefits’ to the buyer rather than the ‘features’. It’s time for another big shift.
You must invest time and attention into defining your ideal client and speak directly to a single entity you have identified. Copywriting to an ideal client is the focus of Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero. She calls it a ‘Tarket’. Get access to her 3-Step Tribe Defining Template here.

2. Telling Stories and Other Tricks…
In the battle for your customer’s attention, there are a few tricks to being noticed. Telling stories is one of the best. Believe it or not, a personal story – particularly one that shows how you messed up – can be one of the most powerful ways to engage readers.
A copywriting genius from New Zealand has mastered the art of storytelling. It is part of what he teaches at PsychoTactics. Master the art of storytelling and you will win over readers in a way that certainly leads to sales growth.

Another copywriting trick is using current events and trends to capture attention. I have written articles about fifty shades, sales leads that suck, Lady Gaga vs Madonna and many other current topics. I don’t write for any media outlets. These articles were about sales growth tactics.

Pay attention to hot topics and search for a way to twist them to fit your message. Pay particular attention to the language of your ideal client. When your written content mirrors the way your customer talks, it will lead them to trust you. Trust equals profit for your business.

3. You Gotta Have a Hook…
Big companies invest a ton of money developing very professional looking games, info-graphics and interactive maps. If you have the money or time and skill to follow their lead – do it. The result may be phenomenal sales growth when your content is shared. It might even become viral.

For most small businesses, that type of content is a budget-buster and a big gamble of resources. The Content Marketing Institute defines: “A hook is, quite simply, a unique content concept that is designed to ensnare and trap your unsuspecting audience into consuming and sharing your content.”

The most common ‘hook’ is your headline. We talked about that in Part 1 of this series. The headline is simply not enough. Begin watching for moments that your reader will recognize. When they identify with a self-deprecating remark, they see you as human. That level of customer relationship is a big hook in today’s overwhelmed environment.

Find humor, incite curiosity. Ernest Hemingway got lots of attention when he wrote a short story in six words, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” Another hook that will always be remembered is the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.”

Your hook may not be immortalized like these. However, if you know your ideal client well enough, you will know how to ‘hook’ them into what you have to share. Once you set the hook, you are on the road to sales growth.