6 Copywriting Steps for Non-Copywriters

Posted by on Aug 25 2015

It’s “back to basics” time, so let’s talk about copywriting your marketing materials! Here are the steps to any marketing copywriting, whether you are selling services or products.

In a previous blog post, I gave you some formulas you can use to write good headlines for your sales pages and newsletters. (If you didn’t see the post, you can still read it on my blog: 3 Headline Formulas for Non-Copywriters.)

Here are the basic six steps you’ll need:

First, know thy audience.

This sounds so familiar, right? But do you really know what it means and how to DO it? Before you begin writing, close your eyes and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who are they? Specifically, who is your ideal customer? It’s important for you to spend some time thinking about them as real people, not a mass of humanity known as “my prospective customers.” They’re not a mass of faceless humans. They’re real people with real dreams and challenges.
  2. What do they want? This is no time to lack bravery. Do not take the simple way out and say something banal here, like, “They want to be happy,” or “They want to grow their business.” Instead, ask yourself what they specifically want. What are they trying to achieve in their personal and professional life? What problems get in their way? Where are they stuck?

Now, write a headline that promises to help them create the life they want, or helps them solve a problem.

You can read more about writing headlines here in this blog post. Remember, the whole purpose of writing a headline is to grab their attention.

Next, help them to get to know you and trust you by honestly talking about their dream or their challenges.

Give them some practical tips. Give them examples. Tell them a story about how you have been where they are, and/or how you helped others to create the life of their dreams. Above all, educate them so that they receive real value from you. This isn’t the place to fluff it up.

This next one is the hard part, the part where nearly everyone falls down: You have to make the offer.

You have to tell them what you are offering, and ask them to buy. Be clear and straight-forward here. Tell them the benefits of your product or service, exactly what they’ll get, the price, and how to buy. Answer any questions you think they might have about your product or service.

This is no place to be shy. If you don’t believe completely in what you are selling, why should your customer? You don’t need to be aggressive or manipulative; just tell them how you can help them and make an offer. Trust their own intelligence that they’ll know if it’s a good fit or not.

To help build your credibility, share testimonials from your satisfied customers.

Testimonials that tell how the customer benefitted from your product and service are best. It’s far better to have a testimonial that said, “I was able to create my lesson plan and teach my first class within one month of taking Karyn’s program,” than to have a testimonial that says, “Golly, Karyn is a great teacher.”

What were your customers able to DO after using your service or product? What outcomes and results did they get?

The final step is the Call To Action.

What action do you want them to take? Should they visit your website for more information? Should they click a button to buy the product or service? Should they call your office to schedule a time to talk? You have to tell them exactly what to do next so there is no confusion.

 

Copywriting is no mystery. There are some straight-forward formulas that work every time. But you have to be willing to ask for the sale.

Are you ready to try these copywriting steps in your own business? Where can you tweak your existing copywriting to make it more compelling?

I’d love to hear your copywriting stories, comments and questions! Share your stories in the comments below. :)

   

6 comments for now

Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing
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Which Teaching Method Is Right For You and Your Students?

Posted by on Aug 03 2015

When designing and delivering training classes for adults, there’s only one question to ask: What is best for the students?

In a student-centric model of training design and delivery, a good instructor knows that it’s not about what you want to teach, but about what (and how) the student wants to learn.

There are many ways to deliver training material to your students, but the two most important ones are the Lecture Method and the Workshop Method.

You’ve seen and participated in the Lecture Method thousands of times: the teacher gets up in front of the group and delivers the material, while the students listen and take notes. Occasionally the students ask questions. This works great when there is a lot of new, introductory material to be delivered and the students have no experience with the topic.

In the Workshop Method, a collaborative learning environment is established. The teacher uses hands-on exercises, Q&A, and discussions to help the student cement what they’re learning in a real-world environment and begin to apply it immediately. This method is ideal for adult students who bring a wealth of background experiences to a class, who need to apply what they’re learning to the real-world environment quickly, and need to stay motivated.

Is one method better than the other?

No. But the Lecture Method has the risk of being much more boring! An all-lecture class can easily put your students to sleep, especially if you’re teaching via teleclasses where they can’t see you.

Some teachers choose the Lecture Method because it allows them to be the “sage on the stage” instead of the “guide on the side.”

Smart teachers choose the Lecture Method, wisely, when there is a great amount of foundational information the students are required to learn.

Really smart teachers use both methods: the Lecture Method for the basics, then switching to the Workshop Method to allow students to process the material in a real-world atmosphere and apply what they’ve learned. This is especially helpful when you factor in that adults begin to lose attention and focus after 10 minutes of doing anything. Switching back and forth between the two methods helps keep student engaged in the learning process.

Here’s an example of how I use these two methods in a class I teach:

In my Marketing Planning class there is a lot of foundational information to learn about the psychology of marketing and creating a strategic marketing plan for your business. These lessons are generally taught using the Lecture Method, but I throw in some discussion questions and allow a fairly large chunk of time for Q&A. When we move into the lessons about writing your own marketing plan, we switch to the Workshop Method.

Here’s how I apply the Workshop Method in class:

  • I ask students about their specific situation and how they’ll apply what they’ve learned in class to their own marketing plans and campaigns.
  • Sometimes I have a student in the “hot seat” to talk about their challenges, and the rest of the students act as a mastermind group, brainstorming with each other to come up with best practices and creative solutions to problems.
  • I give them homework assignments that they can submit to me for review and comments, which keeps the learning going strong between class sessions.
  • Students write their marketing plan in a step-by-step format using a workbook I’ve designed for the class.
  • I ask questions related to the material where students fill in the blanks from their own life experiences. (You’d be surprised how much you know about marketing just by having been a consumer all these years!)
  • I ask students to debate the pros and cons of choosing specific marketing techniques.

Getting your students active in their learning process keeps the energy high, keeps them motivated, and most importantly, keeps them learning at a peak rate.

And while you’re at it, consider this: When giving speeches, what if you combined the Lecture Method with the Workshop Method? Professional speakers, too, can spice up their speeches by moving away from the I Talk and You Listen model.  :)

Special Note:

Want to learn a step-by-step method for designing classes for adults, classes that they’ll love? Join me for my ClassDesign program beginning on September 24, 2015. Click here for all the details!

Class Design begins Sept 24

 

   

7 comments for now

Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes

Why Marketing Fails #7: Not Tracking Success and Failure

Posted by on Jul 22 2015

You MUST have a way to measure the results of all your marketing. Tracking the success or failure of a marketing techniques solves the age-old question of “Which marketing techniques should I use?”

For instance:

  • When you posted an status update on Facebook, did it increase traffic to your website?
  • When you sent out your last email broadcast, did it produce sales?
  • When you wrote your last blog entry, did it produce comments, shares or link backs?
  • When you did SEO on your website, did it increase your rankings in the search engine results?
  • When you made your free offer, did people subscribe to your mailing list?

Never, never start a new marketing technique without having a clear idea of what result you want from that technique, and a way to measure those results.

And at the end of each month take a look at those results and compare them to the results you wanted. Just because something produced poor results doesn’t mean you should give it the heave-ho. The first thing you should do it see if there are tweaks you could make that would produce better marketing results. Only after repeated failure should you get rid of a technique that is not producing for you.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

   

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Category: Marketing
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Why Marketing Fails #6: Lack of Repetition

Posted by on Jul 15 2015

One thing I know for sure: your customers are busy people. They see and hear your marketing message, and they may think, “Hey, that’s a great product!” Then a child (or the boss) starts to scream, or an ice storm knocks out power, or they run out of gas on the highway, and POOF! — Instant Distraction.

Placing just one advertising message and expecting miracle sales is a recipe for marketing disaster.  Marketing is a marathon not a sprint. It requires repetition to gain their attention. It requires repetition to RE-gain their attention. It requires repetition to gain their trust and respect. It requires repetition to get them to take action.

There is strength in repetition. Think about doing sit-ups. You don’t do just one…you do them over and over again, because the repetition of the exercise sends messages to your body to build specific muscles.

When planning your marketing campaign, common marketing wisdom tells us you need to get your message out to the customer at least seven times before they’ll really pay attention and act on it. If you have a mailing list of responsive clients, maybe two or three repetitions is enough.

Yes, there is such a thing as annoying people with too much marketing. Daily repetition of the exact same marketing message will cause people to exit quicker than a skunk in a movie theater. But a balanced pacing of marketing messages (say once a week or once every 10 days), plus a focus on what the benefit is to the customer, will reap rewards every time.

Whether you use email marketing, printed postcards, or Google Adwords, repetition of your marketing message is one of the key factors in getting people to really see and hear it. It ensures that, should they become distracted and forget about your message, that you give them another reminder. Plan your marketing campaigns accordingly.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

   

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Category: Marketing
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Clean Your Desk Before It Rebels – July 17 Accountability Day

Posted by on Jul 12 2015

I’ve always procrastinated about organizing my office, and it’s even worse when you move to a NEW office and have to set it up from scratch.

Two weeks ago, we moved to a new house. Yay, right? Uh…no.

It was an utterly exhausting process, physically, emotionally and spiritually. By the time we got to the new house, all I cared about was three things:

  1. Did we have a place to sleep?
  2. Could we take showers?
  3. Could we cook meals?

That’s how tired we were! And it’s taken two weeks to simply set up the basics and recover from our long, arduous journey to our new home and new home offices. (Let’s just say that napping and ice cream became crucial pieces of our recovery process!)

Today I created an “accountability day” for myself, to set up my desk, unpack all my office boxes, organize my supply closets, and figure out how to make my office as efficient and pleasant as possible.

I hate doing this sort of thing alone, so I’m enlisting all of you, my friends on Twitter and Facebook, to hold me accountable.

Friday, July 17 is Clean Your Desk Before It Rebels accountability day. Want to join me?

We’ll have great conversation and encourage each other to tackle whichever part of your office that needs the most attention (you decide).

Plus, it’s a free Accountability Day. So you have no excuses! Let’s make our offices the perfect place to work and be creative!

Here’s what I propose:

  1. Pledge to clean your desk, declutter your office, file your paperwork on Friday, July 17. (If you can’t do it that day, pick another day close to that date so you can join in on the fun!)
  2. Choose a time you will begin and a time you will end. Setting clear goals will help you to focus.
  3. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, friend/follow me, so we can share our photos and progress reports with each other.

On July 17:

  1. Post your “before” photo on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t be shy or embarrassed by your “before” photo of your office…we’re all in this together. (Wait to you see my disaster area! Whew!) Either post your “before” photo on your own Timeline or on the Accountability Day Event Page on Facebook.
  2. Post a note to me on Facebook or Twitter so I can follow your activity on our Accountability Day. (Or just post your photos and updates on the Accountability Day Event Page on Facebook so everyone can see your progress!)
  3. Every 30 minutes or so during your day, post a tweet or message about your status: How are you doing? What have you gotten done so far? Where are you stuck?
  4. Post photos along the way so we can all celebrate and cheer you on!

C’mon, join in! It’s a wonderful opportunity to tackle a project and get it done with a little support from your friends!

   

13 comments for now

Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Why Marketing Fails #5: Niche Exhaustion

Posted by on Jul 08 2015

When it comes to marketing to multiple niches, I have two words of advice:

1. Go ahead! There’s nothing wrong with targeting multiple niches. BUT…

2. Pick one and become a leader in it, then move on to the second one.

If you try to go after too many niches (target audiences) at the same time, you will wear yourself out. It’s exhausting and doesn’t use the “best of you.”

When you go after too many niches simultaneously, your marketing time and money is scattered too broadly. Say for example that you want to go after “salespeople in the pharmaceutical industry” and also want to go after “salespeople in the auto industry.”

Their appears to be a common denominator (salespeople), but the two industries and the two selling styles are dissimilar.  You would have to connect with both industries simultaneously, which means you can’t really focus all your time, energy and marketing money on just one target. Scattered focus equals scattered results.

In my article, The Problem With Niches, I said that the whole purpose of choosing a niche is so you can find a central place that potential clients congregate. Find ALL the places where auto industry sales people congregate: meetings, magazines, conferences, classes…especially those that are specifically focused on the niche you’re going after. Center your marketing attention on those areas first. Once you become known and recognized in that niche, then move on to other industries or other niches.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

   

2 comments for now

Category: Marketing
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