Archive for the ‘Copywriting’ Category

Four Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their Web Copy

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Message from Michelle

Welcome to this issue of Sumèr’s Secrets. Thanks again to all of you who were on the call Tuesday night. I’m excited about the number of people who’ve already signed up for my four-week bootcamp, “The Secrets to Influencing Your Online Market,” which begins October 27th.

This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets focuses on the common mistakes businesses make with their website copy. It’s often easier to write about something or someone else than it is to write about yourself. It’s no different when writing your company’s marketing materials. When you’re too close to something, it can be difficult to see what isn’t clear and needs revising. What you think makes sense may not make sense to your intended audience.

I’d encourage you to read the article below and take action. Go back over your website copy and see how you can better connect with your target audience.

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Feature Article: Four Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Their Web Copy

1) Is your website too self-centered?

“We’re so great at this, so great at that. Want to see all the awards we’ve won? No? Well we’re going to tell you about them anyway.” This might seem over-the-top, but too many business websites do just this. I’m sure businesses that do this haven’t stopped caring about the prospective customers and started caring only about how they look to others—it’s human nature to want to showcase strengths and people are attracted to it—but it won’t work on a website.

The key to influencing your market and attracting clients is all in how your website copy speaks to your customers and how it illustrates your company’s goals, values, and, obviously, products and services. Your web copy should work to build relationships with your prospective customers and illustrate a transparent business message.

2) Do prospects understand what services / products you offer?

How many times have you stumbled across a website that describes its services / products and you have no clue what they’re talking about? While many businesses have the intention of trying to stand out and be completely unique from the competition, all they end up doing is stringing together a bunch of fancy words that have no meaning. It’s nearly impossible to express your uniqueness when you say that your “creative services are unique.” (What does that even mean?)

The key is not about saying you’re different from the competition, but rather, it’s about showing your prospective clients that you offer something different from the competition. This is expressed in a clear, result-driven brand message. When you become clear on your brand message, your target audience becomes clear on what you sell.

3) Do you even know what products / services you offer and to whom?

You may think you know what products / services you offer, but how clear are you? Businesses evolve. Services change. And so does the market. Often, what happens is companies add information to their website over a period of time. The result is a smorgasbord of information that can easily confuse prospects.

If you aren’t specific about the product / services you offer and how they benefit your target market, it is extremely difficult for you to convert prospects into customers. Similarly, if you don’t follow shifting markets, how can you expect to sell products to a customer you no longer know?

4) Are you speaking “Greek” to your prospects?

Your business is unique, and this uniqueness sets it apart from the competition. But, there’s a difference between expressing that uniqueness in industry terms, and illustrating it in layman terms. You understand the industry jargon, but do your prospective customers? Probably not, which is why you need to understand who your target market is and how your brand message and language can be written to connect with them. Remember, it’s important to speak to your prospects and not at them because, many times, they are your peers, not others in your industry.


Tip of the Month

According to the new FTC guidelines, which came out Monday, October 5, 2009, “The post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.” And according to WebProNews, bloggers who do not respect these new guidelines can be fined up to $11,000.

Are Your Keywords Performing For Your Company?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

If you’re having trouble cutting down the hodgepodge of keywords you have for your website, WordStream might just be the solution for you. In the video below, WebProNews conducts an exclusive interview with Rob Adler, CEO of WordStream, a company specializing in keyword organization and discovery. In the video, Rob analyzes the affects keywords have on your search engine rankings and illustrates how having a niche-oriented group of keywords is highly beneficial for your website’s online exposure.

More WebProNews Videos

When You Get Clear, You Get Clients

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I’m sure clients, colleagues, and you, Dear Reader, are sick of hearing me harp on how critical it is for companies to really understand their target market.

Call me a broken record. I don’t mind.

Before I take on a new copywriting project, one of the first questions I ask a prospective client is, “Who is your target market and how do you serve them?”

Not having a clear idea of whom you’re selling to or who your prospective clients are is the number one marketing mistake you can make—online or offline. If you don’t know whom you are speaking to, you won’t know the right message to communicate.

Identifying and knowing your target market—inside and out—requires you to look at yourself, at your company, and look into whom you serve and why. Too many companies have a general idea. Some have no idea at all.

Stating a target as “anybody who needs my product” won’t cut it (believe it or not, I hear this answer all the time). Defining your target as “people in the medical field” won’t help much either. Trying to be everything to everyone isn’t going to get you the sales you want.

If you want more customers, you have to know whom you are selling to. And you should know as much about them as you can.

Let’s say you own a high-end clothing boutique. You sell products to women, but identifying your target as “all women” is much too vague because most of your inventory is designed for a younger crowd. Look closely at your clientele, and you may find most of your patrons are between 32 and 45. Look even closer, and you may uncover a majority of your clients are young professionals who make over $80,000 a year.

Keeping with this example, now that you’ve identified your target, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and brainstorm. Make a list of questions you’d like to know about your target, then answer the questions to the best of your ability. You want to define their lifestyle, hobbies, profession, anything you can that will help you speak to their needs and wants.

Be specific. Where do they shop, dine, drink? What do they read? Did they graduate from college, have a bachelor or master’s? Are they active in their community? Do they bike on weekends, or do they spend time with family? Don’t limit yourself. Keep asking questions until you feel you know these people.

It’s important to note that it doesn’t matter if this is business to consumer or business to business, you are still dealing with people at the end of the day. So, if you are business to business and your target is a CEO, you need to know everything about who that CEO is so you can connect.

The more you know, the better you can target the group, speak their language, and give them what they want. And if you know all the above, it will help you further define the business message you want—a message that will attract your target audience to you.

Once you start mining to find out who your target market is, it has been my experience that many businesses find that their message isn’t clear, effective, or targeted to the correct market. It can be extremely difficult for businesses to project an accurate message, one that encompasses a combination of their company’s products, beliefs, mission, and goals if they don’t have a clear vision of their target market.

If you’re uncomfortable with the message you’re sending potential customers online, it’s time to change this message and solidify a strong brand image.

Just remember, speak to everyone, and you’re likely to get no one.

Google’s Blog Ranking Criteria Revealed: Part II . . .

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Visit Part I of this blog post.

If you’ve already read Google’s Blog Ranking Criteria Revealed: Part I . . . I’m sorry to say, that Google uses even more criteria to rank the quality of your blog. It’s a tough life for blogs when it comes to Google Blogsearch, but with the right attitude, effective strategies, powerful networking techniques, and stellar writing, your blog will reach celebrity status on Google Blogsearch in no time.

So, what more could Google possibly be looking for to prove your blog’s popularity?

• The number of clicks on your blog link when it appears in search engines: If your blog link is continuously clicked on, it illustrates to Google that your blog is receiving a high concentration of readers. If your blog is clicked on more times in search engine results than other blogs, Google sees this as an excellent indicator of blog popularity.

• Inbound links on other blogrolls: The more reputable blogrolls your blog is linked to, the higher Google will rate your blog. Google takes blogrolls seriously because they contain constant outbound links to other blogs. This shows Google you probably have a high respect for and enjoy reading the blogs on your blogroll. Approach your favorite, reputable bloggers and request for them to put your blog on their blogroll. If they agree, you’ll have a strategically placed inbound link to your blog. This also expresses to Google that your blog isn’t SPAM. The more of these reputable inbound links you have, the higher Google will rank your blog.

• Appropriate tags for each blog entry: Tags are your blog’s keywords and are an extremely important factor when determining what your blog is about. Make sure your tags describe the blog post accurately. This will help viewers and Google determine what your blog post is about. Inaccurate tagging and over-tagging is frowned upon by both visitors and Google because it is a false representation of your blog content. It’s important to effectively use tags if you want to become a reputable blogger and increase targeted traffic while ranking high in Google Blogsearch.

Hills of Africa Travel Featured In JustLuxe

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

We’re extremely excited to announce that our client, Hills of Africa Travel, is featured in an article in JustLuxe. JustLuxe is a luxury web publication that provides prosperous consumers with information on luxury travel, goods, and services.  

The feature focuses on the unique and customized services Hills of Africa Travel provides for each client. It also focuses on Hills of Africa Travel’s new, soul safari with internationally acclaimed author and psychic, Ainslie MacLeod.

Planning a trip to Africa can be just as overwhelming as it is exciting. Thoughts of fierce felines and sun-drenched safaris can quickly turn to questions and concerns regarding one’s travel plans and safety. When planning a trip to Africa, one’s best bet is to rely on the experience and expertise of a seasoned travel professional. That’s where Hills of Africa Travel comes in. -JustLuxe

To view the entire article, visit  The Magic of Hills of Africa Travel.

Why Now Is The Time To Invest In Your Business

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Now is a critical time for businesses to invest in their marketing.

According to a McGraw-Hill study, businesses that maintained or increased their marketing during the 1981-82 recession:

–Averaged higher sales growth during the recession and over the next three years, and by 1985, had increased sales 256% over those companies that cut marketing…

–Then in 2001, another study found that aggressive marketers increased market share 2½ times the average for all businesses in the post-recession!

Those who stepped up their marketing were the big winners during and after the recession.

The time to grow your business is now

The most effective way to grow your business is to invest in your online presence. If you don’t have a website, now invest in one. If your site is stale and the content is outdated, now is the time to revamp it.

Your website is the easiest and fastest way to advertise your services or product. But there’s a catch: you have 3 to 5 seconds to grab a prospective client’s attention.

One. Two. Three. And they are gone.

And with millions of websites to choose from, the competition is fierce. Want to stay ahead of the crowd, rank high on search engines, and reach millions of prospective customers? 

You must have compelling web copy.

Having a clear business message on your website is the #1 action you can take to attract ideal clients online and skyrocket your sales. 

Your marketing message must speak to your target audience. Give them what they are hungry for. Get them to take action. Communicate in a clear, concise, informative way.

Attract All the Clients You Want: Step 2

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Your marketing copy has the power to bring you new customers and retain current ones. It connects you with your clients. Entices them to buy. Drives them to call you. Copy makes or breaks the sale.

Now is the time to revamp your marketing materials. It’s a must if you want to survive the economic crunch.

Step #1 was to reach your target market (if you haven’t read it, please click here)

Step 2: List the Features and the Benefits

Once you have clearly defined your target market, it’s important to identify how your product or service will benefit this group. And how you do this is to create a detailed list of features and benefits.

Your ideal customer want to know what’s in it for THEM. They don’t care about your process; they don’t care how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing. They care about how your service or product will make their lives better. Again, they want to know what’s in it for them.

Many companies make the mistake of telling the customer that they need a particular software or they need a spa package. This isn’t going to sell your software or your spa packages. People don’t buy based on what they need. They buy something because they want to. They buy based on emotion, then logically justify why they bought it. And the bottom line is people really need very little. They need the basics—food, shelter, water, love, oxygen. So if you are selling your book based on the idea that your target audience needs to buy your book—well, let’s face it, no one is going to die because they didn’t buy the book.

If you want people to purchase from you, then you need to give them what they want. How you do this is to entice them with the benefits. The benefits are the results they will get when they hire you as a coach or when they purchase your bath product. Will it save them more money or time, cost them less, or reduce their stress? 

Take out a sheet of paper for each service or product you sell. Make a list of the features of the product or service, and on the opposite side of the paper, list the benefits. I suggest creating bulleted lists and posting them in front of your computer when you begin writing your marketing copy. This will help you focus when creating a compelling marketing message.

Keep Your Target Market Hooked to Your Website

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Keeping your target market interested in your website can be a tricky task, but when done correctly, it can attract thousands of potential clients, increase sales, and improve business recognition. There are several elements for an effective website—elements that can create extraordinary benefits for your company.

It’s imperative for any business website to keep information and aesthetic elements fresh and updated.

No one likes to visit a site that appears neglected.

Website appearance and web copy can sometimes be a consumer’s first impression of your company. It’s important for customers to associate attentiveness and success with your business. You can establish this by keeping up with industry news, site content, and site graphics on the company website.

If customers see a website that is frequently updated, they’ll most likely make the assumption that customers will be tended to as well. It’s essential for all companies to show the customer you’re there to provide constant company updates, great customer service, and dedication to customer satisfaction. Another way to express this is to have an area on your site committed to frequently asked questions by customers, testimonials, and business contact information.

One of the greatest chances you have in keeping the attention of website viewers is through compelling and concise web copy. Address your target’s need immediately, and assure them you’re there to help. Provide them with direct benefits they’ll receive from purchasing your product / service. Your customers’ needs and how your company meets these needs should be captured in engaging and informative web copy presented on your homepage. The marketing message must capture their attention and persuade them to take the next step in purchasing from your company.

For more helpful tips on marketing in economic crisis and to learn about our many marketing services, visit Michelle Salater Writing and Editorial, LLC.

Hiring the Right Professional Copywriter

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

If you’re ready to take your website to the next level and boost sales dramatically, it’s crucial to find the right professional copywriter.

It’s important to hire a copywriter with thorough knowledge of marketing an online business through web copy, website design, blogs, online articles, and other traffic-generating tools.

A copywriter with skills in various areas of marketing has the ability to see the overall picture for effectively marketing your business. He / she can introduce you to innovative, effective, and helpful solutions sure to send your business skyrocketing to success. 

Here’s what to look for when hiring a professional copywriter:

·       He / she offers several writing and marketing services for businesses. Someone who only does copywriting is most likely not as qualified as one who utilizes various marketing strategies through different writing / marketing vehicles. He may open your eyes to grand opportunities for your business, maximizing success and dramatically increasing sales.  

·       He has a reputable list of clients. Look over the list of past clients and what services he provided for them. Note any testimonials he may have from these clients. If he has created successful marketing strategies for one business, he can most likely do the same for yours.

·       View any sample work / websites she has worked on in the past to get an idea of her writing style, spectrum of ability, and thoroughness.

Your website is an extremely important marketing tool for your business. It’s crucial to find a dedicated professional copywriter with the right vision for your company, recognized clients, great work samples, and a list of result-driven writing services.

How to Grab Your Target Market Online

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

When creating or revamping your website, set aside your personal tastes. Instead, think about what your target market wants to see and know. They’re the ones who have to get something out of it in order for you to gain profits. Your website must speak to your target market and grab their attention within the first five seconds of their arrival to the site.

How to grab your target market in those first crucial seconds and keep them:

·       Use words, phrases, and a tone they’re familiar with and that speak to their wants and needs. Web copy is essential in gaining client interest and keeping them on your site. Quick and witty web copy attracts a much different clientele than smooth and seductive copy. Know what style will appeal to your target market and focus web copy around it.


·       The personality of your website must be attractive and satisfy a need your target market has. For example, if you own a luxury destination spa, your site design should look much different from a teen clothing company’s site. A sumptuous spa website needs to exude a feeling of lavishness in pictures and essence. It should appear calming, with photos inducing a sense of tranquility, accompanied by soothing colors and maybe even peaceful music in the background.


·       Visitors like to see a fresh website with web copy and design updates, news updates, company improvements and changes. This shows potential clients your company is constantly working to gain customers and is up-to-date with advances in the industry.


·       A user-friendly website is an absolute must. Potential customers will move to a competitor’s site as soon as they are frustrated and lost in navigating your site. Be simple, obvious, informative, and to the point.

Hiring a professional web copy writer can get your website on track and increase sales. Visit Michelle Salater Writing and Editorial, LLC, to learn more about our many result-driven writing services.

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