Category Archives for "Content & Collateral"

Sales Copywriting Secret No. 3 – Write as you would speak

Assisted Marketing , Content & Collateral , Direct Mail

This should be easy.  You speak all the time, you hold conversations all the time.

Transferring all that knowledge and experience into a sales letter should be simple enough.

It seems not.

A client called me in November last year,

“I’ll be writing all our sales letters from now on.”  He proclaimed.

“You’re too expensive.  It’s only a letter after all!”

I let him get on with it.  And asked him to let me know how he got on.

One of his managers emailed me last week, to tell me that responses to her last two mailshots were down.  Well, very down.  In fact zero.  What a shame…

She was kind enough to send me a copy of the new sales letter written by her boss.

It was beautifully formatted, factually correct and sent out on lovely, heavy, laid paper with a nice, big logo at the head:  VAT number, registered office address and so on.  Oh yes, all the corporate bumf was there.

Unfortunately, the rest of the letter was also “corporate bumf”.  It read like an old fashioned insurance policy and was written entirely in the 3rd party.

It was certainly a letter, but it wasn’t a sales letter.  It was dull in the extreme – and it was going in the bin every time.  There was so much wrong with it I can’t list it all here.  But it struck me as I read down the lines, that those of us of a certain age were taught to write letters in what they call “business English”.  Few of us actually talk like that.  And I bet you don’t read like that.  Write these letters as though you were there in the room with the reader.  A sales letter is an intimate conversation between you and a customer.  Don’t banjo the whole thing by using expressions like, “we await your advices…”.  You’ll be awaiting for a long time!

If your day is interrupted by a sales letter, what would it need to do in order to attract and hold your attention?




How George Orwell would have written your web pages

Assisted Marketing , Content & Collateral , Online Marketing , Websites

Is your web page ugly?

George Orwell, a 20th Century author, noted that a lot of printed English was ugly.Small businessman uses big words

Ugly text is useless.  It’s hard to read and doesn’t cause the reader to respond.  He used the phrase “Avoidable Ugliness” to describe the problem and gave five rules for the rest of us to follow.  So we could avoid writing ugly copy.

When you promote your business using the written word, your choice of structure and the words themselves can speak volumes about you.

Many websites are written in a way that makes the business responsible for them look stupid.

This isn’t the result those businesses were aiming for when they started work on their website.  However it is the result they get.

Question:  Is it happening to you?

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Sales copywriting secret No.2 – Use Simple Words

Assisted Marketing , Content & Collateral

How simple are your words?

You have a very short time to GRAB a readers’ attention.simple words for sales writing

Then you have the length of your article to lose that attention.  It can go at any time.

Your reader can be sitting there hanging on your every word when the phone rings, the kettle boils or the kids start arguing again.

Losing their attention is easy and not always your fault.

Unless you use the wrong words

Then it IS your fault!

What are the wrong words?

The wrong words are anything that isn’t simple.  That means,

  • Jargon – technical descriptions for example
  • Long words – omnipresence (if you don’t know go and look it up)
  • Foreign words – deja vu
  • Slang
  • Local dialect
  • Made up words

They might all look great when you’re writing your sales letter, but they don’t belong there.  Words from any of these categories will fail to hold attention.  They won’t earn their keep.

Words only work when readers understand what they mean.

In sales writing, words only work when people feel ready to read the next line.

Simple words work best.  Your readers understand simple words quickly and easily.  You don’t have to work hard to understand simple words.

Selling is easier if you use simple words.



Sales copywriting secret No.1 – Readable Text

Assisted Marketing , Content & Collateral , Search Engine Optimisation , Social Media , Websites

Is your sales copy readable?

Take a look through your website, your emails and your letters.

Does your writing style say more about you than you think?

Are you using Readable Text?

You would be amazed how many websites are almost unreadable.  And if your sales message is unreadable it’s not getting read.  Is it?

The good news is, there are tools you can use to check how readable your text is.  They are quite easy to use – all you need to do is cut and paste your text into a web page and the “readability” score for your text will be displayed.

There are some examples on this website.  Here’s how we use one of these methods to test the readability of our writing…

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Practical marketing services in Inverness

Assisted Marketing , Content & Collateral , Marketing Services , Online Marketing

Practical marketing services in Inverness

You need practical marketing services in Inverness to help you attract more customers and grow your business.

This is about much more than pretty logo and your brand image.  These are nice, but they’re all about you, which is focusing on the wrong thing.  When it comes to buying, customers aren’t really interested in you, they’re interested in what you can do for them.  Marketing is really about getting your sales message and your special offers in front of the right people and encouraging them to buy.

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Marketing Infographics

Assisted Marketing , Blogging , Content & Collateral , Marketing Services , Online Marketing , Social Media

Marketing with Infographics

An infographic is a presentation of data or information in visual form.  Making a picture out of numbers or words.

We’ve been doing it for years with “death by powerpoint” presentations.  However infographics differ in that the whole story is on one page, designed to be consumed quickly and easily.

Do people really look at the messages in infographics or are they really just attracted to the pretty pictures and bright colours?

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