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Entries Tagged as 'Copywriting'

4 tips for writing a strong case study

September 20th, 2013 · Copywriting, Customers/Clients, Marketing, Strategy

Story Everyone loves a good story.  And there’s a reason why Aesop and others opted to teach their life lessons through stories that have been told and re-told for many years.

Case Studies are the marketing version of Aesop’s Fables. Stories told to make a point or teach a lesson that demonstrates the value of your product or service.  So how do create a good case study?

CS Tip #1:  Structure it like a story. Make sure there’s a logical flow.  Explain the problem (identify the villain).  Introduce your company/product (bring in the hero). Describe how the challenge was overcome (tell of the battle). Sum it up (give it a happy ending).

CS Tip #2: Include lots of details. Don’t just say, “We were losing customers.” Give specifics.  Our sales were down over 42%.  Be sure to give details in describing both the problem and the solution. If your client isn’t willing to let you use their company’s name and information, choose a different example. This isn’t the place to be generic or vague. Your credibility goes hand in hand with the level of disclosure.

CS Tip #3: Use quotes to give your case study its authenticity. Be careful not to dumb them down so they sound generic.

CS Tip #4: Make sure everyone signs off on it before it goes public.  The power of a case study is that it reveals an actual problem and its solution. Some businesses may be reticent to air their dirty laundry. Before you pitch your case study to a reporter or post it on your website, get everyone’s blessing.

Case studies are incredibly compelling when done right.  If you’re lucky, you’ll tell a story that people will tell over and over.

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Write so they will hear you

October 30th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting, Customers/Clients, Voice

Tin can communication deviceMost people, when faced with the blank screen on their computer and a deadline for a new marketing piece looming, get a little uptight.

It’s intimidating to capture everything you want a prospect to know and share it in a compelling way. Your product or service is superb and you have so much to say — how will you do it justice?

Which is why most marketing copy is dreadful. Here are the most common mistakes:

  • We do a brain dump, sharing everything we know.
  • We want to demonstrate that we’re experts so we use impressive words and jargon that shows that we’re in the know.
  • We cram way too many words into the piece because it’s all important.
  • We talk about our company, our product, and our people…but not about the customer.

If you make even one of those mistakes, odds are your prospect is taking a glance at your first two or three sentences and then moving on. You haven’t invited them into the conversation – you’re just talking about you.

Remember, you are trying to start a conversation. Who would you rather talk to – someone who walks up to you and asks a question about you or a person who walks up and starts telling you all about them?

So how do we avoid those mistakes?  We can ask ourselves these questions.

How do they talk?
I can have the best deal in the world, but if I tell you about it in Japanese and you don’t speak Japanese – you can’t possibly want what I am selling.

You need to know your prospect well enough that you know how they talk.

  • Are they engineers who use very precise, detailed language and acronyms?
  • Are they teachers who speak about their students with affection and pride?
  • Are they purchasing agents who need to squeeze every penny from the deal and deliver the highest ROI possible?

Understanding the language they use and how they’re going to have to sell your offering up/down the food chain, will allow you to craft your message in their native tongue.

Your prospects are busy and won’t take the time to translate your marketing messages. If they don’t instantly understand it and see that you’re talking to them, they’ll pass it by every time.

Do they know they need you?
No one wants to buy something they don’t need or want. That sounds like a duh, but many times businesses try to sell solutions to a client who doesn’t realize they have a problem.

Often, we just go right to the solution without even mentioning the problem. Let’s say that I want to sell my home in the next 12 months. You own a landscape business and send me information about how good your work is, showing me pictures of gorgeous yards, etc.

But I dismiss it, because I’m not going to live in my house much longer so why spend money on something I won’t get to enjoy?

You’ve lost the sale, because I don’t know I need you. But if one of your marketing pieces was titled “5 landscaping tricks to sell your house faster” now you have my attention.

If the first line of body copy told me that 34% of buyers passed on at least one home because the landscaping was disappointing – you have just converted a “no” into an interested prospect.
Now you have my attention.

By paying attention to these two elements – you can effectively avoid all four of the mistakes I mentioned.

You’ll speak in their language and only talk about what matters to them – their problems and how you can solve them.

 

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Content that your audience loves

September 8th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting · 5 Comments

I saw this on Scott Monty’s Facebook status…and loved it.  I couldn’t track down the creator but if I do, I’ll update the post. Just wanted to give you something to chew on over the weekend. McLellan Marketing Group is an advertising | marketing agency based in Des Moines, IA, and serving clients all over [Read more...]

Start with Why

July 27th, 2012 · Copywriting, Storytelling, Strategy · 3 Comments

One of the 20 most watched TED talks of 2010 was given by Simon Sinek and speaks directly to anyone who is trying to market or sell something. Sinek’s premise is simple. Always start with why. Sinek began his adult life as a student of anthropology. His fascination with people led him to a career [Read more...]

Find newsletter content in a flash

June 8th, 2012 · Copywriting, Marketing, Media, Web/Tech · 3 Comments

Drew’s note:  Here’s a guest post by Patrick Carver on a relevant topic — how do you create and sustain the creation of an enewsletter. Don’t you just hate writing newsletters?  We all know the feeling. It’s Saturday afternoon and you realize the company newsletter is due to go out on Monday.  You can feel [Read more...]

How to keep writing when the well is dry

May 31st, 2012 · Copywriting, Growing & Learning, Web/Tech · 8 Comments

From my mailbox: I read your emails and your piece in the Business Record. I think a gal here at my company might have heard you speak at the NAWBO Conference last year (does this sound right?) Anyway… she said one of the things she took away was that you made a comment of how [Read more...]

Build your key message hierarchy

April 9th, 2012 · Copywriting, Strategy · 19 Comments

When you get a chance to talk to a prospect — you want to make sure you talk to them about what matters.  And if you’re not well prepared…that usually doesn’t happen. Think back to when you were a teenager (or a pre-teen if you developed early) and were figuring out how to talk to [Read more...]

Brilliant writing is timeless

September 7th, 2011 · Copywriting · 5 Comments

Two months into launching my blog in 2006, I stumbled upon this example of copywriting brilliance and shared it with my readers.  Back then, my readers consisted of my parents and about 2 other kind souls who took pity on the newbie blogger. I was going through some old posts for a project I’m working [Read more...]

Taglines that stick

May 5th, 2011 · Branding, Copywriting, Passion · 3 Comments

  I think most taglines used by businesses today are a cop out.  They feel good but promise nothing. A reader wrote and asked if I’d talk about the other side of the coin – what makes a tagline great? Creating and using a strong tagline takes real courage.  A tagline that will last for [Read more...]

What if you just talked like a real human being?

November 26th, 2010 · Copywriting, Sales · 17 Comments

I began my career as a copywriter and at the core, it's still how I think of myself.  I love creating emotional responses, telling stories and drawing pictures with words.  (This could be due to the fact that I cannot draw them any other way!) But I've always believed that many marketing writers have missed [Read more...]