Let me tell you a little story
Early in my career I wrote copy for a collectibles company. The work wasn’t terribly stimulating, but I did learn a lot about writing direct marketing advertorials, display ads, sales letters, flyers and TV commercials.
For some reason I reported to the VP of Product Development. He was a totally visual man whose favorite saying was, “Nobody reads the copy.” I don’t want to get personal here, so let’s just call him Commissar X.
Whether on purpose or by accident, Commissar X frequently made my work day miserable. But he was stuck with me, because my copy sold a whole lot of stuff. And on occasions when we had a visually beautiful program that fell short of its goals, it wasn’t unusual for an outward bound phone campaign using my copy for the same product to do very well.
What does this have to do with your content? It’s just my way of reminding you that all content, no matter how strong it is visually, requires copy that goes beyond “words.” It speaks to your audience, engages them, informs them and persuades them to act.
That’s what my copy has been doing in every form of media since 1989. Here are the kinds of website, emial and sales enablement content I write for my clients today.
Web sites or pages (new or revised)
One of the first jobs of a website is to get found on search engines and in social media. That’s why on-page SEO is an integral part of every website I write. But getting found isn’t enough. Once found, your website has to earn the click.
When a visitor clicks on your search engine result and lands on your website, you have less than 10 seconds to convince them they are in the right place. If you haven’t grabbed their attention by then, they will click the ‘back’ button and find another option in their search results.
Most business websites spend 80% of the time talking about the company and 20% talking about the customers. Effective websites do the exact opposite. How will your product or service address your prospect’s need? That is the only reason they are on your site. If you don’ have an answer, they have no reason stay, go deeper into the site, or come back.
Content that addresses visitors’ needs, curiosity, and aspirations wins.
Blogging helps business websites reach new prospects, communicate with current and past customers, and improve search engine rankings.
In deciding how frequently to blog and how long/in-depth blog posts should be, these questions (at the very least) need to be taken into consideration:
- What different customer interests do you need to address in your blog?
- What kind of content will your readers find most engaging?
- Is it to your advantage to become a trusted resource in your sector?
Ongoing blogging brings prospects and Google back to your website. Links to blog posts can be emailed directly by sales people to their prospects.
Targeted email & eNewsletters
Keeping prospects and customers abreast of news and offerings of interest to them is not just a marketing opportunity, it’s your responsibility. Relevance is key. Keep your emails upbeat and to the point. Everyone likes hearing from a friend.
These are the pages where people sign up to download an offer, request more information, or subscribe to your eNewsletter. In other words, these are the pages where leads are generated.
The copy needs to be lean, engaging, to they point, and persuasive while establishing credibility. Filling out the form should be the logical next step.
Case studies (success stories)
People like stories. A good case study relates the problem, solution, and result of a service you provided or product you sold, but it does so from your customer’s perspective. My interview of your customer is essential.
The finished case study presents the story of an enthusiastic customer whose problem you solved. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, than a case study is worth 1,000 testimonials.
Case studies can be downloaded from your website or emailed directly by sales people to their prospects.
White papers, eBooks and eGuides
White papers have been around since long before the internet. Years ago, buyers would ask a salesperson, “Could you send me a white paper about that product?”
White papers are typically 3,000-5,000 words in length and carry the distinction of being non-promotional, except for the very end of the paper where you have a paragraph about your business. They are for buyers in the consideration stage of their journey who need detailed information about a product or service.
There are no similar standards for eBooks and eGuides. Unlike white papers, they are created in landscape (horizontal) format and are more visual than white papers. They can also be more promotional, but the emphasis remains on the information, not the business.
White papers, eBooks and eGuides can be downloaded from your website or emailed directly by sales people to their prospects.
Given the choice of reading copy or watching a video, many people today (even in B2B) prefer to watch a short video. If they like the video, they might read on. If they don’t, they’re gone.
That’s why any videos on your site need to be tightly scripted. You can say a lot in a 1-3 minute video, as long as you aren’t wasting the viewer’s time.
Check lists and tip sheets
One page content pieces that help customers use your products and services and allow prospects to see how easy it is to use those products and services.
Check lists and tip sheets can be downloaded from your website or emailed directly by sales people to their prospects.
After your landing page has successfully converted a visitor into a lead, stay in touch using a series of relevant emails that provide more information and encourage the lead to take the next step toward becoming a customer.
Your sales and customer service teams should have a library of email templates they can call on to send to prospects and customers. These emails might include:
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Links to relevant online content
- Attached white papers, eBooks, eGuides, case studies, sell sheets or brochures
Sales letters & emails
A well-written sales letter can be very effective today, because decision makers don’t receive a lot of them. They do receive a lot of sales emails, many of which end up deleted or in spam folders.
Many businesses use email first, because it costs less, and then use postal mail to reach the people they couldn’t get to by email.
- Bullet lists of features and benefits
- Easy to read at a glance
- One or two-sided
See what I did there?
A brochure can cover your entire business or any of its specific components, products or services. Brochures can be downloaded, but are most effective when included with a sales letter.
Get the results you need
As one marketing director for a 20-year client put it,
Meyer can communicate a thought, idea, or message, more fluently than anyone I have ever met. Whether an informal quote or letter, a detailed press release, or a thought-provoking blog, he is the best I have ever seen.Paige Boyle, Director of Marketing and Customer Relations, Boyle Buick GMC Truck
Contact Meyer Baron for a no-obligation consultation about your copywriting needs. Let’s go fetch some customers.
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