Archive for April, 2008

If Your Website Doesnt Do This, You May Be Losing Sales

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Your website is a powerful sales tool. A tool that should be working for you round the clock. 24/7. While you’re sleeping, in a meeting, and yes, even while you’re enjoying dinner with the family.

While your site is the easiest and fastest way to advertise and sell your services or product and has the potential to be an unlimited source of revenue, it will prove a waste of your energy unless you invest your time and effort into creating the content.

To get potential visitors to purchase your products or services, you must effectively address concerns and answer additional questions. Less is better. Keep it simple. The best way to do this is with a Frequently Asked Questions and Answers page—a separate FAQ section. Bold the question, and then answer it. The secret is to answer it as clearly and concisely as you can—in the shortest amount of words possible. List the most commonly asked questions first.

A great way to know what potential customers need and want to know is to email a satisfaction questionnaire shortly after they have taken your garden tour or purchased your hand-designed jewelry. Ask relevant questions that are clear and direct; then use this information to narrow your FAQ section.

Client testimonials are also a great way to learn more about your company: how clients perceived the level of service, what they liked and disliked, and why they chose to do business with you. Paying attention to these statements and mining them for valuable information will also help in determining what potential customers want and need to know.

Do not forget the power of offering free information. Posting online articles or blog entries will help you establish credibility and help with your online presence. Remember, the information must be useful. The more useful it is, the better credibility you will have. The key is to make sure it will work to your benefit and turn potential clients into customers.

 

**This is an excerpt from my FREE report, “5 Secrets for Creating Web Copy That Will Increase Your Sales and Double Your Profits.” Visit www.mlsalater.com and sign up for my newsletter to get your free copy.

 

Going to California Without A Map…

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Let’s say you’re planning a two week road trip from Connecticut to California. You pack accordingly. You have the camera and backup batteries, the cooler is packed, your bank account in order. The departure day arrives, and you’re off. You don’t need a map. You know the interstate out of town, and you’ll figure out your next interstate when the road forks or at the next interchange. You’ll follow the signs, plan it by ear, go with your gut. No big deal. After all, how hard can it be to find California?

The above scenario sounds ridiculous, but that is exactly what many people do with their businesses. They have a vague idea of where they are going, but fail to plot the course on how to get there. It happens time and time again. People are so excited about the possibilities, about the future, that they forget (or rather ignore) the importance of planning. We’ve all heard it before, that voice inside of us that screams, “But I don’t wanna!”

While in theory, California is easy to find—head west and you’ll eventually hit it—there is a huge difference between ending up in San Diego versus San Francisco. Different terrain, climate, atmosphere, and the list goes on. Without a map as a guide, you’ll wander aimlessly, the frustrations will build, and many times you’ll head down the wrong road.

A solid plan is the key to achieving any goal.

I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to take time to write out the purpose of your business. Plot your course to success. Treat yourself to a cappuccino (or a cold gin and tonic) or find a quiet spot in the house, and think about your goals. Then write them down as clearly as you can. And be specific. California is specific, but not specific enough. Do you want to visit the mountains in the north or the sunny beaches in the south? And when you get there, what is it that you want to do?

Not only do you need to know what you want to achieve, but why. Figuring out the why will help you understand the driving force. Many people know what they want, or think they know, but never define the motivating factor. What is driving your goal? Is it the opportunity to be your own boss, set your own hours, spend more time with your family, or build something that you can sell?

Why Web Copy Is Important

Monday, April 14th, 2008

I’m taking a break from adding the final touches to the April issue (scheduled to be delivered to the inbox of all my subscribers this week). I’m really excited about this issue because it is a question and answer with two fabulous web developers I know well and have worked with. The more clients I get who need web copy written, the more I realize how web content and web design and development go hand-in-hand. I can write attention-grabbing copy, copy that sizzles and sells, but it’s not going to be as effective if the website is hard to navigate through or looks like it was homemade. I know there are a lot of people out there who disagree with me. And that’s fine. But my experience and expertise in web copy and working closely with clients to develop a solid, streamlined marketing strategy, tells me otherwise.

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Good SEO Info Video

Friday, April 11th, 2008

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8v3UnMDC5M&hl=en]

The Best Marketing Tip I Can Offer

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Things, they are a changing at Michelle Salater Writing & Editorial. As our clients’ needs and wants change, so is our company. And we couldn’t be happier with the way things are headed. We’re tweaking the site and reworking the newsletter. Just today, I completed a new FREE report, which is packed full of great info on creating web copy that will accelerate your sales and increase your customers. It’s free to anyone who signs up for my monthly ezine, Your Business Marketing Solution.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because a little self-promotion never hurt anyone. Which leads me to the point of this blog…the best marketing tip I can offer.

Marketing Tip: There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of shameless self promotion. Nothing at all. If you believe in what you do, that your product or services better the peoples lives you serve, then you must share your company with others.

Behold, the Power of the Press Release

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

A few days ago, I had coffee with a super styling friend of mine who owns Charleston Style Concierge, a personal style and closet editing company. Over lattes, she raised the question of press releases. Specifically, are they effective? Do they really drive traffic to your site, bring you business?

Yes and yes. Here’s why…

Regularly publishing a press release online is an excellent way to boost your online visibility. When you post a newsworthy press release, it helps maximize your SEO efforts and drives more traffic to your website. Another benefit to submitting press releases online is that they are archived. One release will get exposure for long time.

Regularly posting press releases—or whenever you have something newsworthy—is great for publicity and direct exposure. Companies, journalists, PR agencies, and the general public opt-in to have specific types of press releases sent to them daily. How good would business be if an article spotlighting your boutique hotel appeared in a magazine or newspaper? I bet your answer is, pretty darn good.

There are numerous online press release sites, some are free while others charge. Express-Press-Release.com is free, easy to use, and requires no registration. PRWeb.com allows you to choose from 4 distribution packages. The basic package is $80.00 and the most advanced is $360.

If you want to If you aren’t regularly submitting press releases, you should consider doing so.

How’s the “No Plan” Plan Working for You?

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

 

You’ve probably heard a million times about the importance of a strategic marketing plan. But there’s a huge difference between knowing and doing. Marketing can be extremely costly and time consuming–and not having a plan is a surefire way to waste time and money.

 

I see it over and over…many businesses put all their energy and budget into marketing and often have very little to show for it. Why? Because they fail to have a solid marketing plan in place.

 

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to compete in the marketplace and reach potential customers, then you must plan accordingly. Here are 4 simple planning tips that will save you time, money, and energy.

 

1) Plan for Every Action

Planning for every action you take allows you to focus and make intentional decisions instead of reacting to a crisis or jumping before you think things through. Being proactive instead of reactive will help prevent future problems. Create mini plans for overall objectives. For example, maybe you have written down and planned a postcard promotion in March. Is the plan broken down into how many people you will target, demographics, and budget? It should be. The more specific the plan, the easier it will be to track the success of the promotion and the implementation. 

 

2) Create a Calendar

Creating a marketing calendar not only helps you stay on track, but it allows you to prioritize the most important actions first. The 12-month action timetable can be divided quarterly and then broken down monthly. How you choose to set it up is up to you, but the key here is to set a timeline to measure goals and activities, and mark when to incorporate new marketing activities or implement existing ones. 

3) Keep Track

Why go to all the trouble to create a plan and not have a system to measure what works and what doesn’t? Implementing a tracking system allows you to know the best way to reach your prospective customers and discover what marketing strategies work best. It will also save you money. Decisions can be made to reinvest in what works and discard what doesn’t. And you will make decisions based on factual data rather than assumptions. The more efficiently you track your marketing records, the less money and energy you will waste. 

4) Stick with It

If you commit yourself and your business to completing a plan for the year, you’ll be in a much better position than you will be without one. However, many companies fail to follow the plan and stop giving 110% midway through the year or when the tourism season hits. This is the worst thing you can do. Remember, when you aren’t actively marketing your business, you will pay in the months to come.

Online Marketing Using Video

Friday, April 4th, 2008
Normally don’t read USA Today, but a client sent me over this article link. It’s worth reading even if you don’t have the time…
https://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2008-04-03-web-video-advertising_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

What’s In a Name?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Titles are a pain in my butt. Always have been. I remember back in high school when I was the newspaper editor how I used to go nuts (hair pulling ,high drama nuts) over creating the perfect headline. Sadly, in my adult life, things haven’t changed much. So, you can imagine the suffering I went through trying to name this blog. I wrote down every possible idea. Nothing clicked.

When a good friend of mine suggested Dinosaurs and Pudding as a weblog title, I thought, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It would be fitting for a band, not a blog about marketing and copywriting. Yet, I kept coming back to it. What was it about Dinosaurs and Pudding that struck a cord with me?

Possibly because it is different. Unique. Heck, I’d click on it just to see what it was all about. Wouldn’t you?

Why did I pick Copy Doodle instead? The “professional” side of me opted for something a bit more, well, professional. While it may not be as fun as Dinosaurs and Pudding, it has a spunky ring to it. And I like it.

Welcome to the Copy Doodle weblog–a space created to doodle about marketing and copywriting and the joys and the pains of operating a small to midsized business.