Good copywriting, good small business

The Sydney Morning Herald

CLEAR and effective communication is key to winning business, so it’s important to choose your words wisely. But for some small-business owners it can just be too hard, and it keeps on getting put off … until tomorrow.

The head of the Australian School of Copywriting, Bernadette Schwerdt, says writing involves the fine crafting of words, and many small-business owners make the error of sitting down to write off the top of their head without giving their selection of words enough thought.

Ms Schwerdt, whose background in advertising and acting underpins her communication style, says there are common mistakes that people make when they write material for their business.

Before anyone ever writes anything, they should be able to answer three questions: ”Why this? Why you? and Why now”, says Ms Schwerdt.

Customers will be making instantaneous, often subconscious, assessments when they read the words on your website or in your e-newsletters, and answering these three ”whys” will help your business maintain the interest of the right customers, Ms Schwerdt says.

They want to know why this product will make their life easier, richer, happier or healthier, she says.

Answering the ”why you?” question addresses the difference between your own business and that of your competitors, and ”why now?” is the urgency factor.

”People think I could do with a financial planner but I don’t really need one now, or I could do with a trip but not now. It’s about creating content or copy that encourages people to do something right now,” she says.

Five tips to cure writer’s block  >>>>   Seguir leyendo “Good copywriting, good small business”

David Ogilvy: Writing Tips for Ad Agency New Business

Foto de David MacKenzie Ogilvy
Foto de David MacKenzie Ogilvy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See on Scoop.itGabriel Catalano the name of the game

David Ogilvy remains one of the most famous names in advertising and continues to provide us with relevant content marketing tips.

In 1948, at the age of 37, Ogilvy founded the agency that would become Ogilvy & Mather. Starting with only a staff of two and no clients, he built his agency into one of the eight largest advertising networks in the world. Today it has more than 450 offices in 169 cities.

Included in this collection of Ogilvy’s writings and speeches is a personal letter and a staff memo. Both are rich with tips and insights that will help you to create better copy to use as a magnet for new business.

David Ogilvy remains one of the most famous names in advertising and continues to provide us with relevant content marketing tips.
In 1948, at the age of 37, Ogilvy founded the agency that would become Ogilvy & Mather. Starting with only a staff of two and no clients, he built his agency into one of the eight largest advertising networks in the world. Today it has more than 450 offices in 169 cities.

“On the occasion of his 75th birthday, Ogilvy’s staff put a book together of all Ogilvy’s best memos and speeches [The Unpublished David Ogilvy]. This is a particularly insightful book, because Ogilvy was maybe one of the most gifted leaders when it came to creating a corporate culture. And as his company grew to over 200 offices, he knew the only way he could protect the culture was by constantly communicating with his people.

In the following letter to Mr. Ray Calt, Ogilvy provides us with a list of his habits as a copywriter.
April 19, 1955
Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:
I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home. Seguir leyendo “David Ogilvy: Writing Tips for Ad Agency New Business”

Cómo evitar una crisis en Social Media [Infografía]

[Infografía] | TreceBits

Hay una cosa clara: sólo se equivocarán o meterán la pata en las redes sociales aquellas empresas que hayan apostado por estar en ellas. Una vez asumido el riesgo, lo importante es estar preparado por si ocurre una situación de crisis y saber reaccionar ante ella de la mejor manera posible. Las crisis también se superan… pero mejor aún, también pueden evistarse, y para ayudar en esa tarea, la siguiente infografía:

5 Tips to Better Optimize Your PPC Budget

Whether you are trying to acquire new customers, generate more leads, or simply sell the product, paid advertising can come to your rescue. The advantage of paid advertising is that people are alreadysearching for your product/service. As opposed to conventional marketing, a paid search audience already has the intent to buy or learn more about your product.

Apart from the benefit of having qualified traffic, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has many other positives. First off, it is easy to start. Setting up your account is simple; you can start off with a budget that you are comfortable spending. Secondly, PPC offers flexibility. You can test out different versions of ad copy, headlines, and call-to-actions. Lastly, paid ads are great way for increasing brand awareness. Even if people don’t click on your ad, just showing up in the search results for your key terms builds trust factor and brand recognition.

However, there are challenges involved in paid advertising. With more marketers turning to PPC advertising, the paid search space is becoming  competitive. Seguir leyendo “5 Tips to Better Optimize Your PPC Budget”

Is Web Copy Ruining Your Design?

by Rick Sloboda


Is Web Copy Ruining Your Design?

Integrating web copy and design can be a difficult feat when the designer and copywriter aren’t on the same page. Failure and disappointment often follow.

To ensure that web copy and design collectively attain optimal results, the designer and writer must have a shared understanding in at least four areas:

  • Website’s purpose
  • Website’s audience
  • Brand’s characteristics
  • Web requirements and constraints

Define the Website’s Purpose

Every website and web page should have a purpose. Amongst the most important questions a designer can ask a client is: “What is the objective of your website, and how does it support your business goals?” Surprisingly, many business owners aren’t sure.

With a bit of prodding, the designer can establish the website’s objective, which might entail, but not be limited to:

  • Selling products online
  • Producing leads
  • Creating awareness
  • Building a brand
  • Attracting subscribers
  • Establishing a community
  • Generating feedback

What’s more, defining a website’s main objective helps shape the site’s primary call to action, which might be to get the visitor to subscribe to a newsletter, call or email, request a quote, download a demo, and so on. And when the design and copywriting are collectively geared toward getting users to take that action, the website will produce higher conversion rates and overall success. Seguir leyendo “Is Web Copy Ruining Your Design?”

5 Website Essentials for Most Effective SEO

SEO is an essential tool for the success of your website (unless you’re Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg!). Yet while SEO ‘gets them there’, your website has to ‘keep them there’. If your ultimate goal in undertaking an SEO strategy is to make more money for your business, make sure that your site has these five essentials in place while you’re undertaking your SEO campaign! Seguir leyendo “5 Website Essentials for Most Effective SEO”

Web Designer’s Guide To Copywriting Profits


thumbIf a web design agency wants to increase their sales, there’s one way that’s easier and quicker than the rest: sell copywriting services.

When you sell copywriting to your clients, their websites will achieve more sales and better results.

In addition, your projects will run more smoothly and efficiently.

By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to sometimes even double your revenue and delight your clients at the same time.

Time is money

On most websites, more time is spent on copywriting than design. If you are not involved in copywriting, more than 50% of the website creation process is happening out with your agency. This is a waste of revenue in the short-term, and a profound waste of revenue in the long-term.

Once a website is designed, more time is spent on writing than anything else. Blog posts, email newsletters, new products – all opportunities for your agency to provide value and book revenue.

By keeping a connection with clients, they are more likely to use and recommend your services. When you provide copywriting, you develop a deeper relationship with your clients.


Pick your friends wisely

Most creative people have experienced the nightmare of incompetent partners: an SEO charlatan intent on keyword stuffing and reciprocal linking; the client’s in-house copywriter who takes month to write content unsuitable for the web or even human consumption. When your client chooses your partners, they create an opportunity to ruin your good work and reputation.

Even though it’s the web hosts fault your client’s website is offline, your prospects don’t know that. When a website doesn’t rank in Google, your prospects won’t blame the SEO firm – they’ll blame you. When a web design firm has an incompetent partner on a project, that’s another opportunity wasted to create a good case study and portfolio piece.

Even though you didn’t write it, prospects will blame you for bad copy on your client’s site. Grammar mistakes don’t reflect well on anyone. When you choose your partners, you increase the likelihood of success.  Clients make more money and use your services again; you make more money and have great case studies and portfolio pieces.



Radically improve efficiency

Waiting on clients to deliver website content can be a big impediment to progress.

Time can be wasted and deadlines missed by a failure of clients to send you copy on time. When you sell copywriting services, you improve efficiency and the speed of website deployment.


Best results

As a copywriter, one of my biggest frustrations is writing copy for a website that’s poorly designed. There’s one thing that all my favorite projects have in common: collaboration with a great team. You can ensure you work with the best team, every time, by choosing the copywriter you work with.

An experienced copywriter will know how to capture your client’s tone of voice and deliver improved sales for their business. Give your clients an opportunity to achieve their full potential.


Selecting a copywriting partner

As a web design agency, make sure you choose copywriters that are web literate. At minimum, they should have knowledge in the following areas:

Split testing: If you require sales copy, you should only work with a web copywriter with knowledge in split and multivariate testing. The experienced web copywriter will speak articulately on the topic and should make proposals for testing that will increase conversion rates.

SEO: Even the most primitive of web copywriter will claim to have knowledge about SEO; you must look beyond the rhetoric to judge their capacity. They should know how to weave keywords into copy without any noticeable difference to quality; they should make sophisticated keyword selections, balancing competitiveness, keyword volume and the qualification of traffic. Quiz them on broader topics too: would you recommend a 301 or 302 redirect in scenario A?

Technical: It is possible but rare to find good web copywriters with poor technical skills. A competent web copywriter will know HTML and feel comfortable inside your client’s CMS.

Social media: Having a Twitter or Facebook account proves nothing; you should expect examples of viral marketing success. Ask to see their articles that set the blogosphere on fire. For sales copywriting this is not essential, but it should be a prerequisite for blogging and social media campaigns.

There are many good copywriters that do not have the above skills. They might be good at writing brochures, but are unlikely to be the most qualified for web copywriting. Once you have identified copywriters with the minimum requirements, evaluate their portfolio to see if they’re a good fit for you and your clients.



Two ways to work

There are two ways to make money selling copywriting services once you find the right copywriting partner.

1. Sell copywriting services direct to your client. You markup the price, bill your client directly and pay for the copywriting services. Under this model, you should expect good price discounts and achieve comfortable profit margins.

2.  Referrals. You put your copywriting partner in touch with your client and recommend their services. Then, ask your copywriting partner to agree upon a referral commission.


Sales integration: the secret to doubling your sales

If you find a copywriting partner, it might be a good way to achieve some extra revenue and client satisfaction. But, you must fundamentally change your sales process to double your sales.

Always ask: Each time a client requests a quote, ask if they would like to receive a copywriting proposal on their project. Contact existing clients and ask them if they would like to receive a copywriting proposal to improve their website content.

Recommend: You should have selected your copywriting partner because they’re the best. So, explain this to your client. Your clients trust your web expertise, so make sure clients understand the benefits of working with a web copywriting professional.

Partner proposals: Each time you ask your clients if they would like a copywriting proposal, you should pass on the details to your copywriting partner. Then, they should produce a free proposal for your client. If you will be billing your client, they should prepare the proposal and send it back to you. Then, you can markup the price and send it off to the client.

Optimizing success: The proposal should not just include the offer of writing copy for their website under development. Make sure your copywriting partner offers services that they could use month-after-month: blog posts, newsletters, articles and social media engagement.


Alan Martin is a web copywriter at Cooper Murphy, the boutique copywriters. Cooper Murphy’s services include website copywriting and annual report copywriting.

Do you offer copywriting services to your clients? If you do, please share with us how this has impacted your web design business.

Five Ways to Write Magnificent Copy

image of hands on keyboard

Most writing could be better.

Not just a little better — significantly better.

If you start out with a solid topic, a good knowledge of your audience, and a reasonable degree of writing ability, you’ll usually end up with a pretty good piece of writing.

But you don’t have to settle for “pretty good.” A little attention to the final details can kick “pretty good” to “magnificent.”

Whether you’re creating blog posts, special reports, sales letters, a video script, email autoresponders, or whatever else, you can take your writing up a level just by applying some simple principles…: Seguir leyendo “Five Ways to Write Magnificent Copy”

SEO Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur

Everyone thinks they can win at SEO, but some SEO hopefuls make some pretty amateur mistakes – ones that can even hurt your rankings. Nancy Strauss, today’s guest poster, thought it might be a good idea to remind you of 5 SEO mistakes that make you look like an amateur… and I agreed. Enjoy!

I keep getting spam from “SEO companies” who promise that they can improve my website rankings for Google.

I figure if these companies were actually good at SEO, then they wouldn’t have to spam anyone. Customers would come to them. That’s the whole point of SEO — people who search on Google for the service you provide find your website in the top results.

The benefits of SEO are clear, and because it doesn’t have to cost money, it has become a particularly important tool for freelancers and small businesses with limited marketing budgets.
Want to optimize your website, or even your client’s? Avoid these common SEO mistakes…: Seguir leyendo “SEO Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur”

Know When to Stop Talking

I think I experienced a new first for me in my life of freelancing.  I responded to a tweet looking for a copywriter to do some basic web copy.

I responded, and chatted with the client for a little bit, discussing his needs and my offerings.  Things were moving in the right direction. He seemed to be happy with the price I quoted, and I felt like I had a decent handle on what his expectations were.

Towards the end of the discussion, the conversation that had started out fairly professional had become almost casual.  He asked me a question about a marketing concept, and I shared my thoughts about it.  I understood the concept, but I told him it was tired and probably wasn’t a good fit for his product.   And then the call got very quiet.  He was still very polite, and said he would be in touch with me to get the project started, but I haven’t heard from him in a week now.

I’m pretty sure I successfully managed to talk my way out of a new project. Yay. But at least I learned when to stop talking. Seguir leyendo “Know When to Stop Talking”

What Are You Doing Today to Get Work for Tomorrow?

You’ve got a 5:00 deadline, 3 pages of copy to revise, 2 logos to vectorize  (or whatever magic you design folks use to make things pretty), and a status report to complete to wrap up another project.  It’s almost the perfect trifecta –your three current projects ending at the same time.  You’re smoking busy right now, but as N.C Winters points out – you might not have enough work tomorrow to warrant getting out of bed.

So what are you doing to keep fresh projects coming your way?

I’ve still got that new freelancer smell, but a few things that I’ve been trying to do seem to be working so far:

By design, most advertising is shiny and happy. Its creators not so much.

“Funny, I don’t feel in good hands.”

Much has been documented on the correlation between mental illness and creativity. The starving artist is an unfortunate cliché. That he or she will be tormented by demons seems almost necessary, par for this particularly hazard-ridden course.

And so, as a young man, I wondered if by choosing writing, and then copywriting, was I in turn dooming myself to a life of anxiety and depression? Seguir leyendo “By design, most advertising is shiny and happy. Its creators not so much.”

Meeting Survival 101

Today, several AgencyNetters are presenting our ideas to the leadership team for a large, well-known consumer product brand.

Two of those on the pitch team are designers from the creative department.  For one, it is her first time at a large pitch.  During our conversations leading up to her departure, I shared with her my Sketch Identity Management (SkIM) technique.  I apologize in advance to my copywriter who hates when I acronym (yes it can be a verb too).
In short, the SkIM technique is a quick and easy way to catalog all of the individuals in the meeting by name, title and location in the room.  The technique provides the user with a visual reference to “skim” whenever needed to easily remember who is speaking or whom to address.  Obviously, the technique is meant to be used during meetings where there is a larger than normal group of people where most of them are comprised of people you may not know.

Here’s SkIM by the Numbers… Seguir leyendo “Meeting Survival 101”