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Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

It’s Easy to Spot Amateur Copy—by Lewis Bassett

August 13th, 2014

It’s easy to spot amateur copy.

Amateurs don’t know how to express anything other than excitement. So it’ll be high energy, full of hype, exaggeration and exclamation marks.

“Our new mouth-watering deserts are guaranteed to light your valentine’s fire! You’re in for a fun night! Hurry up and book now!”

Great copy should be conversational.

You should be speaking to your prospects the same way a friend might, if they were discussing the topic over a quiet drink after work.

There’s place for excitement. But there are so many other emotions you can – and should – express. (E.g., fear, shame, intrigue, suspense, tenderness, anger, sadness, surprise, benevolence, optimism, etc.)

We tend to do this naturally in conversation. And great copywriters know this.

But what if you’re not a great copywriter? Does this mean you can’t write great copy?

Probably. But it doesn’t mean you can’t write good copy.

There’s a simple and easy way to write compelling copy. And if you follow it, your work will be better than 90% of all the other rubbish that pollutes the Internet.

You don’t need any training. And you don’t need any specialist techniques.

Here’s what you do.

Go out and pitch your offering to as many people as you can. These must be people that are in a position to buy it.

Make sure you record every pitch you make. (There are plenty of iPhone apps for this.)

What you now have is compelling, conversational and natural copy.

You might need to clean it up a little. And you might want to add or remove a few points.

But what you have is proven to work, because it already won you the sale. Put it on your website, and it’ll almost certainly outperform what is on there right now.

Carpe diem.

Lewis Bassett
Director, Bassett Providentia Ltd

Copyright © 2012, Bassett Providentia Ltd

Lewis Bassett is an online marketing consultant and speaker, and helps companies to increase their revenue. Bassett Providentia Ltd is his consulting practice. For more information and to subscribe to his email list visit www.bassettprovidentia.com.

A Quick Guide to Website Content

July 14th, 2013

Quick Guide to Writing Website Content

Writing content for your Website (or any marketing material for that matter) can be quite challenging. If I had to give one piece of advice it would be to keep your content as informal as possible so it’s not refined it into generic marketing drivel. What good is a Website that sounds like a million others?  I’ve found that it’s often the first pass at writing your content that can be the best at establishing that authentic tone that truly resonates with your visitors.

The Vital Elements for your Website

Effective communication on your Website can be compared to effective Interstate highway billboard communication — your visitors are going 70mph and if you’re not concise and clear they won’t bother slowing down to read your message. Research has established that visitors to your Website will make a judgment within a few seconds regarding the credibility and quality of your business (initially based on the graphic design) and then they will want these fundamental questions quickly answered:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Where do you do it?
  • How can they learn more or try your product?
  • Why are you the best choice?

This last item is called your Unique Value Proposition and is extremely important . . . in fact it should permeate all elements of your marketing communication.

The Front Page

The front page of your site is that “billboard” that needs to provide answers to these questions or a clear one-click path for your users to get those answers. Don’t make your visitors guess about these answers or which link to click to get them, otherwise they’re apt to just leave and look elsewhere. Website visitors tend not to be very patient.

Provide Proof

For those visitors who are interested in your unique value proposition, a vital supporting section is the proof section . . . it’s one thing to say you’re the greatest at this or that, but offering your visitors credible proof is going to carry exponentially more weight than you just saying so. Examples of proof sections include testimonials, portfolios and/or photos of your staff and or customers engaged in providing your products or services to clients.

Photos as Proof

MeAs the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and this couldn’t be more true on your Website. Visitors are not going to invest the time to read 1,000 words about how great you are (even if they did, they wouldn’t believe it) but they can’t help but seeing a prominently displayed photo that, if done correctly, can instantly and powerfully communicate your values and help establish trust.

The Web is cold, impersonal and untrustworthy by nature.  Avoid at all costs stock photos with cheesy models posing. The only thing you’ll accomplish is to make people wonder if your business is legitimate. Rather, make this an opportunity to develop an instant personal bond with your visitors which you’ll find is extremely potent towards establishing credibility . . . offer photos of you in an authentic setting, whether it’s a photo that provides some personal insight on your bio or photos that show your business making real customers of yours happy.

Even if your budget is low, consider hiring a professional photographer to work in conjunction with your Web designer. While you may spend a bit more on the project, you’ll be establishing a significant competitive advantage.

I’m still amazed that with all the material we offer on our site, and the myriads of photos of our past projects, I often have prospects and clients commenting on my profile photo which shows me with my family. People want to trust the firm they’re hiring and my willingness to share this type of photo is very effective in helping to establish that bond (as you might of guessed, that’s the photo on this page).

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