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Writing Sales Copy

Writing effective sales copy is a skill and is vital to any business. Luckily, you can learn this skill by reading about it and by using common sense. Most of what you will learn is common sense and will go a long way in increasing your sales. Of course, all elements of writing sales copy cannot be covered in one short article but I have touched on many of the basic rules and strategies to remember and the mistakes to avoid.

  1. Not knowing and/or believing in your product. You need to know as much as possible about your product so this knowledge will come through in your sales copy. Also, if you do not believe in your product, this can also show through in your copy. Research your product, if you have to, and be prepared when writing your sales pitch.
  2. No sub-headings. Most people will scan over the sales page to see if the product would be something of interest to them. You need sub-headings to emphasize the important points of your copy so as to capture the reader’s attention. A good sub-heading would be something like: “Discover the secret to healthy fast weight loss.” Keep your sub-headings as short as possible but make sure they pack a psychological punch!
  3. Not stressing the benefits. People want and need to know what is in it for them. Use a bulleted list to stress the benefits of your product. Pretend you are the customer. What would you want to know about the product you are selling? Let the customer know how your product will solve their problems.
  4. Not using testimonials. Testimonials will show the reader that real people have used the product and it has worked for them. Be sure to use credible testimonials that detail what the product has done for the customer. Use something like: I have more energy now than when I was in my 20’s, as opposed to something like: This product works great!
  5. Not using a P.S. Adding a P.S. at the end of your sales letter can have as much effect as a beginning headline. It could add that extra punch the customer needs to make the decision. For example: P.S. Order now and receive a free 2 hour consultation on how to use our product.
  6. Not learning how to write an effective headline. Take note of headlines that grab and keep your attention. Model your headlines after those. A headline has to contain power words that will trigger a response from the reader. For example: PainBGone gets Rid of Pain or Free Yourself from Pain and Live a Happier Life
  7. Not using the right words. A simple change like using the word “discover” rather than “learn” can make a big difference in the “feel” of your sales copy. Rather than “Get the Job Done”, you should say “Achieve Your Goals”. Using the right words can get a psychological response that the customer cannot ignore. Here is a quick list of some effective power words: Discover, Secret, Proven, Invest (instead of buy), Innovative, Reveal, Success, Free, Save
  8. Not making your copy believable. You’ve seen the ads that were so full of impossible promises and guarantees nobody could believe them. If the customer doubts the validity of the copy then your chances of a sale are next to nothing. Be straight-forward, honest and use simple everyday language. There is no need for using the language of a rocket scientist. If people can identify with what you are saying, they will be more apt to trust it.
  9. No sense of urgency. Sometimes people will need a little push to get them to order. This is when you need to add phrases such as: Limited Time Offer, First 10 Customers Only, Order Today for Your Free Bonuses – Help get your customer in the “Buy Now” frame of mind.
  10. Not proofreading your copy. Who would put any trust in an ad that reads like this: by now to get you’re free gift today. Limitedtime offer for all order. Clcik the link below to order know.

Be sure to check all spelling and grammar before publishing your ad copy. You do not have to hire a professional to get good results from your ad copy but you do need to make sure you learn the basic strategies and mistakes when writing your sales page.

How to Write a Compelling Special Report

Generate Leads – How to Write a Compelling Special Report with Ease by Bonita L. Richter

Writing a special report, or ―white paper, as it’s commonly called, is a fantastic strategy for creating leads for your business.
A simple ten to twenty page document that people can request from your website will create a strong desire for people wanting to do business with you. Writing a special report isn’t complicated. In fact, even if you don’t like writing, you can easily and quickly write a report by following these seven tips.

1. State the “Big Problem.”
You’ll get your reader’s attention if you jump right into what their ―point of pain or problem is they’re experiencing. Demonstrate through writing that you: Understand the core problem they’re facing Care they are having this problem Understand how frustrating having this problem is for them

2. What is the cost of this problem?
People respond faster to alleviating problems and pain, than they do to the potential for gain. So, it is imperative in your special report you specifically communicate what this problem is costing them. Perhaps it is they are losing out on money they could be using to fund a desired lifestyle, to live debt-free, pay for their children’s’ college education, etc. Quantify this cost, if you can!

3. Talk about the general solution.
First, start out by giving a ―big picture solution to solving the problem, such as hiring a coach to accelerate achievement of desired results, or implementing a solid, results-oriented marketing strategy.
Second, talk about how people have tried other solutions, have failed, and why. Examples of reasons why could be ―programs are too complicated to understand or are incomplete or ―includes too much technical jargon. Providing the solution in this format sets you up as THE solution to the problem!

4. State your specific solution.
Lay out your method or system to the reader. This section should be a minimum 50% of your entire special report, and is where you briefly communicate your process for solving the problem. Perhaps you have a seven-step marketing system, or a five-step method for attracting the perfect mate.
It is important in this section to tell your reader what you do—but, not how to do it! The ―how is what you want them to pay you for (solving the problem). However, give the reader some tips and strategies they can use to start solving their problem. This helps build a relationship, and their ―like and trust factor with you.

5. Prove your solution works.
Share the results of your solution by sharing case studies of actual clients you’ve worked with previously. A great formula to use to tell a case study is the P.A.R method – Problem, Action, and Result, and works like this:

1. State the Problem a client had before they worked with you
2. Show the Action your client took, and how the problem was solved.
3. Tell the Results the client experienced; quantify results, if you can.

6. State your credibility.
What are your credentials? What is your success story? How did you discover the system or methodology you use? You can include this information in a one-page biography to establish your authority and expertise on the subject.

7. Tell the reader what to do next.
By now, your reader should be aching to work with you, and excited to take the next step. Point the reader in the right direction, and clearly, specifically spell out a call to action. Give them an irresistible offer they can’t refuse, and a time limit for them to take advantage of the offer.
One final tip…make you special report conversational. As you are writing, think about a specific person you would be writing this to, like a friend or person you know. The purpose of your special report is to build a relationship between you, and your lead. This builds their ―know, trust, and like factor with you. Moving them closer to doing business with you!

Bonita L. Richter, MBA, teaches coaches, consultants, and solo professionals how to market their businesses to increase sales , income, and generate wealth. To download her popular and *FREE* Money and Marketing spreadsheet tools, and BONUS gifts visit Profit-Strategies.biz

Copywriting

Copywriting a very odd term; and there are quite a variety of jobs that it can pertain to, but the most common probably refers to someone who writes “copy” for an advertising agency. Generally, that’s not what I do, though I have written advertising copy. The term “copy” refers to the text as a design element, so I’m not much of a fan of the term – but there doesn’t seem to be a better one available at the moment. Usually, the people I work for just refer to me as “our writer” or “one of our writers,” which is just fine.

What I do is kind of function as a Jan-of-all trades when it comes to whatever needs to be professionally written for a business. This might include image brochures, internal articles, executive speeches and letters, press releases, Website content and scripts for internal videos. I also do quite a bit of editing and consulting for punctuation, grammar and syntax urgencies and sometimes get to do some public relations strategizing. I don’t get a byline and, in fact, don’t always see the finished product because most of the time, what the people I work for really want is something that’s about 90 to 95 percent there. We might go back and forth several times as the drafts progress; but ultimately, my role is finished and the project is theirs to tweak further as they wish and disseminate.

As for how I approach the work that I do, it varies greatly from project to project – but it’s almost always very collaborative – with the people who assign the work, the stakeholders who are interviewed, and sometimes graphic designers and video producers. Usually, I’m given a verbal briefing on what the message is supposed to be and who is the target audience along with background materials to pull from. Sometimes, additional telephone interviews are necessary. But eventually, there’s no choice but to sit down in front of that blank screen and just hope that something comes. That’s because copywriting requires that you write in a voice other than your own. The posts that I do in the career counselling thread just flow naturally because that’s me talking to you. But when you’re writing an article, similar to a feature article in a magazine or newspaper, or an image brochure, you have to almost conjure an entity and listen to what it’s telling you. It’s difficult. You know the idea you want to communicate, you try to imagine the persona that’s speaking through you… and just hope something comes. So far, it has.

As for how I got interested, it was really a matter of survival and of declining opportunities to do anything else that I might have done. My background is in journalism; but I have an autonomous career anchor (see this week’s career counselling post) – and after five years’ covering health and social services for one of our city’s former newspapers, it became obvious that it was time to move on. A year spent as editor of my college newspaper was more than sufficient to reveal that I didn’t want to manage; and reporting the same events year after year was getting old. There were also some other workplace issues that defied attempts at resolution and had, in fact, escalated into a situation that felt like “learned helplessness;” so one day – I calmly walked in, wrote a resignation letter, handed it to my editor – and left.

One of the businesses that I covered, a hospital, offered a position it its public affairs department; but I thought it would be more interesting to free-lance and see what kind of business could be generated on my own. I really liked the idea of working from home. So, over the next five years, I called on local businesses and acquired free-lance projects writing various kinds of communications materials. It was financially challenging and somewhat frustrating having to write on a typewriter; but eventually, I had a portfolio that was sufficient to secure a “copywriting” position with a large and very well-respected organization in our city. After two and a half years, my position was there was eliminated. It was my good fortune that the organization offered many opportunities for me to write as a consultant, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years or so.

Jan

Hiring Consultants – an ebook on selecting and contracting consultants

When do we need consultants

Performance measures help the managers of organisations to monitor performance and highlight problems within their areas that need attention. Problems in organisations tend to show through as symptoms in performance that result in deviations away from a desired norm. Symptoms show up as a change from an expected measure or just from a feeling of unease that some aspect of the business is not going well. Perhaps an environmental issue such as poor communications is suspected to be causing a problem that can be later traced back to some behavioural problem in a group or individual deep within the organisation – and far from where the symptom was felt.
Problems and their symptoms can occur at all levels of analysis within an organisation. From the Board Room via divisions, departments, groups and right down to individuals. Some types of problem occur in unexpected ways or appear suddenly such as the case of a competitor launching a new product that competes with your own but does so more effectively, cheaper and with better service. Or a sudden crisis blows up that has to be reacted to such as the credit crunch. What tends to happen in such areas is the problem is seen is a deviation in some form of qualitative or quantitative measure and this deviation can occur at some distance from the source of the problem itself. It is these symptoms that point to a problem deep within the organisation and give us the entry point to the diagnostic stage where the actual issue is pinpointed, the cause identified and solution proposed.
Some typical problems and symptoms to look would be:

  • High or increasing absenteeism.
  • Internal conflicts and tension between departments or individuals.
  • Missed project deadlines or cost overruns.
  • Performance and competitive symptoms such as:
  • Falling market share overall.
  • Declining profitability within certain product groups.
  • Increases in numbers of calls at the service centre.
  • Increasing waiting times as the accident and emergency department.

A common error is to not distinguish a problem from its symptoms, or to confuse a potential solution as the problem. For example it is common to identify Outsourcing a department as a problem to be addressed rather than a potential solution to some yet not understood problem. Also when an issue surfaces if it looks similar to one solved before managers and consultants will look for the cause of the problem close to where the symptom is occurring or to confuse the symptom with the problem and treat that rather then the underlying cause.
It is also common to assume that what worked last time will do as well now and the same solutions are proposed time and time again with ever diminishing returns. Research has shown different problems can manifest themselves in similar ways in terms of symptoms (such as declining market share). What can be seen as a symptom pointing to a specific local problem may only be a consequence of a much greater and broader issue in the organisation (such as a poor product development process resulting in product obsolescence hence market decline).
These sorts of effects can result in a false diagnosis of the problem and the potential over steering of a consultant during the initial assignment stages towards a particular given solution prior to any diagnosis being done. The problem is perceived as so evident that further diagnosis is redundant and a waste of money. Consultants will refer to this initial problem statement as the evoked problem. This is typically what would be described by the client to the consultant during the first meeting as the problem that must be looked at and good consultants use this to probe the problem space further whilst suspending judgement until at least some preliminary work has been done to identify the problem.
Clients should allow for this and treat with some suspicion any consultant who jumps straight away at the evoked definition of the problem or injects statements such as this problem is known, we have seen it before etc. – This is just demonstrating a simplistic understanding and is a danger sign that this consultant will be unsuitable.

Royston

Choosing a Compiler for your eBook

What is an eBook compiler?

You’ve written and revised your ebook, hired an artist who has produced outstanding graphics, and now you’re ready to actually put together your ebook. What you need to make an ebook is software called an ebook Compiler.

There are many different compilers to chose from, but first, you need to know exactly what an ebook Compiler does.

Here is the simple explanation:

An ebook compiler is a software program that converts either text pages or HTML text into a single executable file or an ebook. If you or someone you hired has created a file with graphics in HTML, you will need an HTML ebook Compiler. This type of compiler requires a working knowledge of the HTML tag language. You can also use software to do this for you, such as Microsoft FrontPage or Macromedia Dreamweaver.

How do you choose an eBook Compiler?

There are a large number of ebook Compilers available on the market, all with glowing sales copy and tekkie language. It can get very confusing and overwhelming very fast without some simple guidelines to help you figure out which compiler is right for you.

Choosing an ebook Compiler depends on a number of factors:

  1. How did you create your pages? Did you use HTML or PDF format? There are many more compilers available for HTML, but you can find some very good compilers that will covert your PDF files into an ebook.
  2. Consider how easy the program is to use and the thoroughness of the software’s instruction manual. It is absolutely necessary that the compiler you buy have an instructional manual, documentation, or online “wizards.” If it doesn’t, your chances of figuring out how to correctly use the program are compromised, and the time required doing so is going to be significant. Many manufacturers of compilers offer a free trial version so you can play around with it and see if it suits your needs. Download the trial version and ascertain that it actually does what it claims to do.
  3. Security features. If you plan to sell your ebook, check out the security features of the compiler software carefully. Security features should include: prevention of the reader from modifying text, access only to the pages you assign or by entering a password, different ways of generating passwords such as secure passwords, user-friendly, and open passwords.
  4. Supported scripting. Find out what scripts the software supports. Scripting allows you to create special effects, customize menus, and create and modify other user interactivity. Choose a compiler that permits you to include graphics, search windows, hyperlinks, forms, surveys, etc.
  5. Pricing. This is a factor that is not always easy to gauge. The highest priced compilers are not automatically your best choice. Choose your compiler based on the necessary requirements for your Ebook. That means you need to know exactly how you plan to use your Ebook and what functions you require.

Let’s look at some of these factors in more detail. First of all, make sure you have the correct browser to run the compiler. The majority of HTML compilers use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape. Check out the version that the compiler supports. Compilers that require a browser will not run on a computer that does not have the required browser installed. However, there are ebook HTML compilers that don’t require you to have any browser installed on your computer. These compilers run on any Windows system.

If you choose a compiler that requires a browser, check to ascertain that the browser is installed correctly and that it is properly configured to the specifications of the compiler. Check to see if certain functions are turned off or on, and make any adjustments according to the compiler instructions.

Security

Security is an essential element of any compiler, regardless of whether you plan to sell or give away your ebook. One of the main reasons for using a compiler is to prevent the reader from modifying the contents. A secure compiler allows access only to the pages you want the user to access unless they enter a correct password.

To find out how secure an ebook HTML compiler is, open an ebook on it. While it is open, check the temporary directory of your computer. This can usually be accessed by typing in C:\Windows\temp. If you see a bunch of files when your ebook is open or running, it means that your computer is decompressing the secure data from your ebook before showing the ebook to the viewer. This method is not secure! It means that anyone with the knowledge of how to access these temporary files can steal the secure data and then they can fiddle with your ebook to their evil heart’s desire. Remember, one of the main purposes of buying and using an HTML compiler is to protect your property.

Passwords

Next, let’s discuss passwords. When trying to choose an ebook Compiler, check out the type of passwords that the compiler supports. Almost all compilers offer some kind of password protection that insures that the user can only access the contents they have purchased from you. However, the best compilers offer varied ways to generate different types of passwords. Choose a compiler that gives you the options of secure, user-friendly, and open password generation.

Another important factor when it comes to passwords is how the compiler generates them. A compiler that has internal password protection generation built into the software is more secure than compilers that link to live Internet password control systems.

Find out if the compiler generates passwords online. If it has this option, it allows you to choose any payment processing system you want or to do the payment processing yourself.

Compression

Next, look into the size of ebook the compiler supports. The best compilers can create ebooks up to 2 GB in size without decompressing the HTML pages or images to your hard disk. Usually, ebooks that are 2 GB in size can easily support 6 GB of compressed data. The catch here is that only text files will generally be compressible.

You do not want a compiler that decompresses this amount of data when the user attempts to open your ebook. This would mean that anyone who purchases your ebook will have to wait for all the data to decompress before they can access your ebook right after downloading it. So look for compilers that only decompress temporarily files that are NOT HTML to the local hardisk. Non-HTML files include Flash, Word, and Acrobat files. This type of compiler is more secure and certainly faster.

Make sure the compiler you choose is compatible with your system software. Check out what version of Windows it requires, and make sure you have that version before buying your compiler.

Support

Support issues are extremely important. Choose a compiler that includes an installation program. This program allows your user to choose a number of different places on their computer to install the ebook, to place a shortcut on their desktop, and to add the ebook, if they choose, to the Start Programs menu.

You also want excellent and accessible vendor support. Make sure you can access quick technical support! At three o’clock in the morning, this factor will be VERY important. Also, check to see the terms of free technical support offered. Unlimited technical support is obviously the best option.
Check to see if the company that puts out the compiler software offers a service level agreement. This agreement is to assure you of their quality response to your questions or problems.

A good thing to consider is how long the compiler has been on the market. Usually, the version number will give you an idea. The longer the program is on the market, the higher the version number, the more bugs have been worked out. Last but not least when choosing an ebook compiler, do not be swayed by incredible promises and dazzling sales copy. Do your homework first, and then consider all the above issues and factors before choosing an ebook compiler.