Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Copywriting for Customer Appreciation

Now that another Thanksgiving has come and gone, you've probably had ample time to think about what you're thankful for -- and if you're in business, you're obviously thankful for your clientele. But have you actually expressed that appreciation to your customers lately? Thanking your faithful buyers  and associates not only makes them happy; it also assures them that their choices matter and encourages them to keep choosing you. Sending out the right bits of content at the right times can make all the difference in your efforts to show your appreciation in a way that yields results. Here are are a few of the forms that content might take:

Special Offers

Have your customers attained a special milestone that deserves recognition, from their very first product purchase to 10 years as a regular client? Sending out targeted thank-you emails, letters or postcards lets them know that you're thankful for their decision -- especially if those messages include a coupon, discount or other goodie they can make use of. If a local coffee house, for instance, sent me a thank-you note for my business over the past year with a "Have a free cup of coffee on us" coupon, I'd certainly do that. I might also buy a cookie, sandwich or gift certificate while I'm there.

Thank-You Letters

If you just want to express your appreciation at length in a more personal manner, send thank-you letters to your top clients. While you may not have the time to craft individualized messages to each and every client, you can still write several different variations of the letter aimed at particular industries and personnel. But consider adding the personal touch of ink of paper wherever possible. Hand-signed letters make a deeper emotional impression on recipients, while hand-addressed letters are more likely to be noticed and opened promptly.


If you want to thank a vendor partner for their top-class service and assistance, write a ringing testimonial that can be posted on Yelp, LinkedIn, Twitter or included in that vendor partner's own marketing materials. A polished, eloquent testimonial that tells a compelling success story not only makes your colleague look like a million bucks; it also reflects positively on your own willingness to show your appreciation with such care and passion. If your own team is pressed for time, hire a professional copywriter to help you craft this piece into a brilliant promotional statement. Your vendor partner will feel a natural desire to reciprocate, so don't be surprised if you receive a glowing testimonial for your business in return!

Show your appreciation for your customers and associates, and they'll show their appreciation by sticking with you for many profitable years to come. If you're feeling thankful now, just wait till you see how much more you'll have to be thankful for in the future!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4 Misconceptions About Marketing Content Creation

The quality, quantity and frequency of your marketing content creation can make all the difference in your organization's growth and success -- but it isn't always easy to know whether you're going about it the right way, especially when there are so many opportunities to mislead yourself. Here are 4 common misconceptions about marketing content creation you'll want to sidestep.

1. Your content should be about you. 

I sometimes see what I call "This Little Piggy Marketing," so named because it goes "We We We" all the way home. While it's important to provide a unique and compelling description of your organization's, history, mission and solutions, nobody's going to buy from a company that only talks about itself. The bulk of your marketing content shouldn't be about you; it should be about your audience -- the person perusing your content right this minute in search of a specific answer to a burning need.

2. Longer is better.

You may encounter so-called rules about how long a landing page or blog article should be, with longer typically portrayed as automatically being better. Take these with a few cellars of salt. Don't assume that because a web page or blog article is twice as long, it's automatically twice as good. Compact, meaningful verbiage usually carries more of a punch and makes a more memorable impression. It's true that the bigger an investment you're asking for, the more depth, detail and persuasive arguments you need to provide. But as a general rule, write only until you've made your point. Then stop.

3. SEO is everything.

I've addressed this point before, but it's all too easy to fall into the habit of writing "for SEO purposes." Yes, search engine optimization is important, and yes, regular, relevant content can help you boost yours. But keep in mind that SEO can only put your audience in front of your products and services; it can't inspire them to buy. The real power of your marketing content lies in its ability to hit your prospects and clients where they live once you've gotten their initial attention. As critical as it is to get visitors through the door, it's even more critical to convert those visitors into customers. 

4. Once you've created "enough content," you're done. 

Unfortunately, the tale told by your marketing must be a never-ending one, for the simple reason that your clientele, the business world and your own offerings are constantly changing. If you create a big pile of content and then simply stop generating more, that pile will eventually grow stale, no matter how brilliant it may be. To make matters worse, your clients may get the impression that your business has gone similarly stagnant. You must keep re-engaging your audience with fresh, relevant content that holds their attention and inspires new purchases.

Steer clear of these misconceptions, and you'll find it much easier to keep your marketing ROI on course toward your goals. Do it right -- and watch it work!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Content Marketing Revision: How to Get the Rewrite Right

H.G. Wells has been attributed with the following quote: "No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft." I don't know whether Mr. Wells was speaking from some hard-earned personal bitterness (if in fact he really said this at all), but few writers can completely avoid an occasional goring with a red pen. I've been relatively lucky in that I don't usually get a lot of rewrite requests. That isn't necessarily bragging -- for all I know, the clients have rewritten my work themselves without mentioning it to me. In any case, I've found that there are certain things that both writers and their clients can do to help make the revision process less painful:

Writers: Ask questions, no matter how dumb they may seem. You may be the writing expert, but your clients are the ones with all the industry knowledge and inside data necessary for your project. Get clear on the basics and fill in the informational gaps as needed by asking questions. A quick email or phone call can prevent some major misunderstandings, not only on details but on the overall direction of the entire job.

Clients: Collect your notes -- all of them. You may be tempted to shoot some revisions requests to your writer the moment you receive the draft. But if you do, be prepared to fire off another email, and another after that. And then there's your marketing person, and your CEO, and whoever else may care to pile on with suggestions. Nothing confuses a writer worse than dozens of emails, each with different and possibly conflicting rewrite requests. Make sure you have collected everyone's comments and parsed them for consistency before sending that ONE email to your writer.

Both parties: Be prepared and responsive. For writers, that means listening closely and making detailed notes right from the initial consultation. Before launching into the first draft, go over the job with your client to make absolutely sure you're both on the same page. For clients, it means answering the writer's questions and providing additional information in a timely manner. Work together to make that first draft as compelling and accurate as possible, and you may not need to go to a second draft at all.

H.G. Wells would approve.