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Web Coach Tip: Top 7 Crucial Elements of a Successful Website in 2009

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment
  1. istock_000007634606xsmallA SIMPLE domain name – I can’t tell you how many times people have spent weeks trying to determine just the right domain name, only to come up with something that has no keywords or is a tongue-twister.  Keep is simple folks.  If your brilliant domain name is taken, go back to the white board – add a simple word like “The” (thewebcoach) or “Your”, (yourwebcoach) “e” (ewebcoach)… get it?  Go through the alphabet if you have to.
  2. Branding – today you can easily get a custom logo and/or brand identity with “contest” services like 99 Designs. Simply post what your desires are, and several graphic designers will post their concepts.  You give feedback, pick, choose and eliminate the unfavorable ones and are left with a design.  It’s very important to have a unified brand across all of your media outlets.
  3. Copy – I can’t stress this enough.  Seriously, folks. 9 times out of 10 your website is to be written to woo your VISITOR to take action and contact you or purchase something.  If you can’t write compelling sales copy – you’d better hire someone.  This is money well spent.
  4. Articles – the simplest way you demonstrate your expertise.  Articles are the introductory conversation you’ll have with your visitor at their convenience.  They will learn how you will solve their problem, get a feel for you, and determine if you’re likeable enough to do business with.
  5. Social media – Welcome to the relationship marketing age!  At the very least, you MUST be on Facebook and Twitter.  A website simply isn’t enough anymore.  Personal connections are vital to survive in our economy, so get plugged in!
  6. Follow up strategy – Autoresponders are the best for follow-up.  Autoresponders are an automated series of emails sent on your behalf to keep in touch with your prospects.
  7. FREEBIE! or as I say “your single point of entry” into your business.  Everyone should give away a bit of valuable information to their prospect whether it’s from your website or brick n’mortar store.  This give-away does come at a price to the prospect, but it’s not money,  it’s their name and address (or email).  This is the holy grail of all marketing because once you have this information, you can continue to market to that prospect forever.

Now it’s YOUR turn:

  • What steps do you need to take to implement the above strategies?
  • What support will you need? Do it yourself? Hire an expert?
  • When are you gonna do it? TODAY!

Donna Payne is the Chief Web Goddess of The Web Coach.net a web development, coaching and marketing firm, and is known as the gal to call when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Learn Money & Time Saving Techniques that everyone should know when working with a web designer or building a website yourself. Download your FREE “Quick-Start Web Workbook” and accompanying MP3 at http://thewebcoach.net “Know PAYNE – Know GAIN!”
Follow me on Twitter.com/TheWebCoach and lets connect on Facebook!

Can You Trust What You Read Online? Five Ways to Find Out

November 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Check out this article from by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.

When it comes to the internet, you know that there’s a lot of misleading, inaccurate or downright false information out there. By now, most of you have heard the advice, “Don’t trust everything you read.” But how can you tell what to trust and what not to?

Here are some questions that you should get into the habit of asking whilst you’re reading anything (not just online): whether it’s a blog post, newspaper article, sales letter or brochure.

  1. What’s the Author’s Purpose?
    The most important question to ask, and one you should have in mind when you start to read, is “What’s the author’s purpose?” All writing has a purpose. It might be to:

    • Entertain you – make you laugh
    • Give you information
    • Sell you something
    • Encourage you to come back to a blog or magazine in future
    • Build up the author’s reputation in his/her field

    Some purposes are inherently more trustworthy than others. For example, if the author is trying to give you information, or build her reputation, then the facts in the article are likely to be ones that the author at least believes are true. But if the author is trying to sell something, then… read the rest of the article here.

Web Coach Tip: Top 10 Deadly Web Site Design And Copy Mistakes

January 27, 2008 Leave a comment
  1. Don’t fill your web site with a lot of high-tech clutter. Your visitors will miss your whole sales message and bail.
  2. Don’t use unnecessary words or phrases. Sentences should be no longer than 10 words. You only have so much time to get your visitor’s attention and interest; make every word count.
  3. Don’t make the mistake that everyone will totally understand your what you have to offer. BE OBVIOUS! Use powerful words and examples to get your point across.
  4. Don’t write your strongest point or benefit only once. You should repeat it at least 3 times because some people don’t get it right away. (how many times do you have to tell your kids to clean their room…5-6-7 times?)
  5. Don’t push all your words together on your web site. People like to skim; use plenty of headings and sub headings. Bold key phrases to make your copy “scan-able”
  6. Don’t use content your preferred audience isn’t interested in. If people are coming to your site to find info about knitting don’t include soccer content.
  7. Don’t use 20 different formats all over your web site. Use the same fonts, text sizes & colors, etc. If a site looks to “complicated” to read, your prospect is sure to bail.
  8. Don’t use words your visitors might not understand. People are not going to stop and look in a dictionary, they will just go to another site. (If my 11 year old daughter can’t “get” the concept of my copy, I start over)
  9. Don’t let selling words and phrases go unnoticed. Highlight important words and phrases with color, bolding, italics, underlining, etc.
  10. Don’t forget to use words that create emotion. (Woohoo!) People will have more interest when they are emotionally attached.
Copyright 2005 Donna Payne

Donna Payne is the Chief Web Goddess of The Web Coach.net and is known as the gal to call when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the internet. To spend some more time with Donna and to experience Web technology, Development and Marketing in the most SIMPLIFED way possible go to http://thewebcoach.net

Make Your Website POP! Stand Out In Any Crowd

April 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Over the past few months I’ve made several recommendations to clients to read the book “POP! How to Stand Out In Any Crowd” by Sam Horn. Let me share an extraordinary break through a subscriber had the other day.

Mary Q. Contrary said:

I got a copy of POP! (thank you for that recommendation – I’d not heard of Sam Horn) as I’m struggling with the name of my business – really with branding my business. Right now, “Group Performance” is either a brilliant name or a meaningless one – hard for me to say!”

Mary continued…

” I do much more than take my corporate client’s meetings from coma-inducing snore-fests to energized action-producing events – I teach them and their groups how to stay in the high-performance groove.”

Mary is such a fun loving kinda gal.

I picked up on the last three words “high performance groove” and checked for domain availability. HighPerformanceGroove.com is available. So is PeakPerformanceGroove.com (I already secured them in case Mary chooses to be groovy)

Why did I check these? B-e-e-e-e-cause … Group Performance is boring. Sounds like you’re sitting in an office building at the mercy of a bunch of stuffy HR folks with blue hair, suit and panty-hose, over analyzing performance evaluations for some jacked-up corporation. Ick! yeck! Phlewy! Sorry if that sounds offensive – but that’s just my FIRST impression. Of which, counts for a lot. (first impressions, that is)

HOWEVER!

High Performance Groove or Peak Performance Groove sounds way more intriguing, PLUS you can do a heck’uva lot more in your branding arsenal with the word “groove.”

  • How We Groove
  • Who We Groove With
  • Why Your Employees Should Groove
  • Groovy events, services, coaching programs
  • Become a Certifed Groove Leader
  • Movin’ & Groovin Newsletter
  • Get Groovin, and Stop Shmoozin’
  • The Groove Philosophy
  • 7 Habits of Really Groovy Leaders
  • Why Great Leaders Groove
  • Get it, Got it, Groove!

Participants would also be more interested in working with an individual from “that groovy company”… and just think of the office toys you could brand groovy as give aways. Shucks, you could even wear a tie-die suit if ya wanted to! Tres’ Groo-vay!

Just a few more thoughts… Microsoft has a new office product for 2007 called Groove for collaborating work groups, hmm …

Plus what do you think of when somebody even says the word groove? I instantly want to chair dance. Grooving is good… people like it, it makes them FEEL good. Wasn’t there a movie titled, “How Stella Got Her Groove?”

Anyway… Mary liked the direction this was taking, although somehow combining the words groove and performance made her think of a personal lubricant. (That never even crossed my mind, but as they say… sox sells!)

So, consider this while I dance and get groovy around my office… (my web cam is turned OFF! ha!)

“Are you one-of-a-kind, or one-of-many?
When you’re one of a kind, there is no competition.”

– Sam Horn, POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd

Web Coach Tip: The Single Most Important and CRUCIAL Element of Your Web Site

Here’s the single most important part of your website: YOUR WEB COPY!

And remember: Your website isn’t about YOU, it’s about THEM!

Again, it’s NOT about you, it’s about THEM!

*Note: May I add, this is an area where most of my clients get stuck…If you find yourself at a total loss when it comes to writing, please let me know.

Write/gather/compile; prepare copy for your main pages:

  • Answer questions. Frequently asked questions woven into your copy will give your visitor confidence in you because you answered their concerns right away. Think of questions you’ve been asked and document them providing the most detailed and complete answer you can. This will save you lots of time in the future.
  • Focus on the ~pain~ your prospect is experiencing. Your client is looking for someone to take away their pain or help solve their problem. What’s bugging them? What keeps them up at night? Why are they looking for you? If you don’t get in touch with your prospect’s emotions they are not going to connect with you, or hire you. Give a positive outcome for each pain they have.
  • Your copy needs to be as specific and clear as possible to the kind of client you want to attract. Why? TO WEED OUT THE WRONG TYPE OF CLIENTS, that’s why! (what an amazing idea… eliminate the tire kickers immediately!) Why waste your valuable time on a comp session with a ambitious college grad who wants a career coach when you’re a parenting coach? If parents with potty training issues are who you seek… make your home page’s message crystal clear, prospects will determine right away if you are right for them before they contact you.
  • Remember to be personable and approachable. Even go as far as to write down 10 characteristics of your perfect client and make up a fictitious individual who has all these characteristics and write your copy as if that person were sitting right next to you. Your prospects want to learn more, and be closer to you. They will love reading about your human side. People do business with folks they like as your business is built on relationships!

*Hint* Most everything I write goes to my senior editor first—my 10 year old daughter! If she can’t understand the concept of what she’s reading, I need to start over. In other words: write in simplest terms. Big words don’t impress and make some folks feel stupid! Myself included!

Write so that your information is “scan-able”. People rarely read word-for-word. Their eyes scan down the page when reading a sales letter or ad copy. Bolding key phrases in your copy, makes your information scanable and lets this person know immediately if they want to read further or bail from your site.

You MUST have a killer opening line. Something to snag your prospects attention right now! Start paying attention to articles and ads in your local paper…or if you’re feeling adventurous, take a gander at the tabloids in the grocery checkout. You’ll see some pretty interesting headlines AND as corny as they sound, they SELL like crazy!

Here are 3 examples:

How to…

…..“How to lose 15 pounds in 15 days”

….. “How to meet the love of your life!”

7 secrets… (any number will do)

…..“7 secrets to attracting better clients”

….. “21 secrets of master coaches.”

If and Then…

“If you have an itchy scalp, then get Head & Shoulders.”

GO HEAVY on the BENEFITS. List all the benefits of doing business with you and OVERCOME OBJECTIONS. When you’re finished with your spiel, give a clear and concise CALL TO ACTION.

For example:

• “Subscribe now and receive a free doo-dah”, “Click here to buy now”.

• Tell them EXACTLY what to do.

o “Click here to schedule a complimentary coaching session”

o “Click here to get our free e-book chock full of powerful interviewing tips”

o “Take out your credit card and purchase now using our secure server”