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Sunday, May 22 2005
 Cutting through the clutter and actually getting your prospects to sit up and pay attention is no easy feat given the amount of information that's thrown at us every day. When you swamp your prospects with unnecessary information it works against you: it clouds their minds and confuses them and confused people don't buy.

     So, how do you decide what to include and what to leave out? It depends on lots of factors, but here are two main ones to get you started. 

1.   Your target market

      All your materials need to be geared to your target market. What are their pains and problems, hopes and dreams? That's what you need to talk about. They have to be convinced that you understand what makes them tick (and what they need to tick even better!), and that you have a solution to their problems. For your purposes, that's all they want to know. Before I ever put a word on paper I spend a lot of time researching my client's target market and figuring out how to hit their hot buttons.

2.   What do they need to know in order to be convinced to hire you?

      People don't need to know everything you do. For example, you know me as a copywriter and marketing consultant. But did you know that I'm also a business coach? OK, so some of you did! But for those who didn't, I usually don't tell you that when I'm talking to you about my writing services. It's just not relevant to you when you're worried about the quality of your brochure, wondering how on earth to put an informational booklet together or sweating over the right wording for a sales letter. Resist the temptation to include details about every aspect of your business. Keep your material focused only on what's relevant to the problems of your target market and the solutions you can offer. 

     This information will be specific to YOUR service and YOUR target market.

     Obviously all the above applies to marketing pieces whose purpose is to generate leads. It's a whole different matter if your purpose is to dispense information or to educate. I'll talk about those in a later issue.

Copyright 2005 The Dennison Group

Posted by: AT 03:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 22 2005
 What's a clincher? It's a statement at the end of your promotional piece, that motivates the reader to take the next step. 

Up to this point, your material is focused on persuading the reader that he or she really needs your service or product. Now, when they're teetering on the brink of a decision, it's time to use some nifty phrases to help push them over the edge. 

Here are some examples for you to copy. Or to use as patterns to adapt to your own situation. 

· Why settle for [this] when you can have [that]? 
· What do you have to lose? 
· We have only a limited supply. 
· You'll wonder how you ever lived without it. 
· That's all it takes. 
· Don't miss out! 
· Put these ideas to work for you. 
· Now it's time for you to make a winning decision. 
· Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! 
· Reserve your [item] today. 

If your goal is to have people contact you, here are some clinchers that will help get them to pick up the phone or make a beeline for your store. 

· Please don't hestitate to call us. 
· We'd love to hear from you. 
· Just give us a call. 
· All you have to do is fill out the enclosed form. 
· Come in and introduce yourself to us! 

Often promotional materials leave you thinking "What now?" When you use a powerful clincher, the reader knows exactly what's expected of her. Without any direction, she's at a loss to know what happens next. When you don't give clear instructions, she'll be confused and is likely to leave your website, discard your letter, or just dump your ad in the trash can. 

It's up to you to make sure she doesn't. 

Copyright 2005 The Dennison Group.
Posted by: AT 03:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 22 2005
 Writing for sales and marketing purposes is not primarily about "good writing." It's about human behavior, the psychology of sales and using words that sell your product or service.

Think about it. It's not organizations that buy your products. It's not government entities. It's not anonymous faces. It's people.

People do business with people they know and trust: this is as true when writing as when you're talking to someone in person. How do you begin to establish that trust? By writing in a form and language that they can relate to quickly, that make them feel they're having a cozy chat with you over a cup of coffee.

- When you speak, you don't always honor the rules of grammar. Often you don't speak in full sentences. 
- When you read, you hear the words in your head as you read them. If your writing is conversational, the reader will hear it as if you're having a conversation with them.

Dangling participles, contractions, and sentences ending with prepositions: these are some of the things that were drilled into us at school as forbidden. And in good literary writing, that's correct. However, for our purposes in marketing, breaking those rules is often a step in the direction of conversational copy.

Or course, the language also has to be appropriate to the audience and the product. But in the end it doesn't matter how flowery, elegant or beautifully poetic your language, if it doesn't affect your audience and make them feel that you know and understand them, chances are it just won't work.

Here's a really famous example of bad grammar that works. The Rolling Stones had a major hit called "I can't get no satisfaction." Would that have been as appealing if they'd followed the rules of good grammar and written, "I can't get any satisfaction." I don't think so.  Because good grammar destroys the rhythm that made the title catchy to begin with.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you throw away your grammar books, or never open Strunk and White again. What I am suggesting is that hanging onto the rules of good grammar out of principle may make your marketing materials less attractive to your ideal clients than you'd like them to be. Be flexible. Be willing to overlook the rules in favor of the effect.

Remember the old adage that there's an exception to every rule? Create your own exceptions! And watch how response shifts.

Copyright 2005 The Dennison Group.

Posted by: AT 03:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email


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