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How to Get Free Content for your Blog 29 March 2007

Filed under: News,Promotion,Small Business — worddocdooley @ 9:29am

Want to use any of the articles/posts on this blog?

It couldn’t be easier!

Simply copy and past the relevant article/post, and publish it unchanged wherever you wish (only ‘legal’ sites, please) with the following copyright paragaph (live hyperlinks, please):

© 2007 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved. Tracey “Word Doctor” Dooley of MediaMinister (www.mediaminister.co.uk) is an experienced copywriter, editor, journalist, marketing and creative consultant, and blogger (https://marketingmoment.wordpress.com). She has spent almost 14 years crafting compelling copy and ideas that successfully sell, inform, educate or entertain. =====>Get your FREE report by signing up for her business-building tips, marketing and publicity pointers, and news you can use – visit: http://www.mediaminister.co.uk

 

Let your clients sell you!

I love it when I get to use real-life client testimonials in the copy I write for my clients. Nine times out of ten, they will outsell any fact, any other ‘proof’ factor or, indeed, hype.

There really is no more effective sales element than the words of an existing customer. As well as boosting your sales, good, believable testimonials can bolster your credibility.

The thing is, most testimonials are either just not convincing or very boring indeed. These generally have the opposite effect of good, credible testimonials – ie, they actually destroy your sales message and your integrity.

So how do you make sure you get great client testimonials and, more to the point, how do you get them in the first place?

Great questions, if I might say so myself!

Here are five ways to get testimonials:

1. The first is the most straightforward: make sure you deliver on your promises. So if you’ve sold a product that claims to protect your skin from burning in the sun, make sure it has been tested and proven to do so. If you’ve sold an editing service and the client needed the finished job within four weeks, don’t go beyond the deadline… That kind of thing.

Most customers will write to you if they are ecstatic with the product or service supplied.

2. Another option is to ask them whether they were happy with their purchase and, if so, whether they would write a brief note about their experience.

3. If your clients say they’d be happy to help out, but they’re too busy, perhaps you could offer to write a few words on their behalf. Once they see what you’ve written, they will either approve it as it is, or tweak it so that their expression and experience are more accurately reflected.

4. Similar to the above method, but instead outsource the writing part to a professional copywriter, who should be able to pen a killer testimonial in no time. Often, they will interview your happy clients at no extra cost.

5. Finally, you can try endorsements – these are simply a kind of testimonial from someone famous or recognised as an authority in their field. Often, all that’s needed is for you to send an industry leader a sample of your product and ask them to provide feedback in return. People love to feel important, and to offer their opinion, so it’s worth a try.

Back to the question of how to get decent testimonials

You need to make sure they are short, specific, compelling and have a ‘signature’ – that is, a real name, with preferably the title or position they hold, the company they work for or own, and their contact details. It doesn’t have to be everything, but some form of identification will certainly help with regards the credibility factor.

Finally, be sure to get permission from the testimonial-giver to use their words for your marketing/promotion purposes.

Testimonials form some of the most low-cost, high-impact ways to gain new business. So use them!

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

 

Quick Tips for Better Email Results 26 March 2007

Filed under: Copywriting,Marketing,Small Business,Website marketing — worddocdooley @ 11:32am

It doesn’t seem that long ago when businesses and solopreneurs communicated primarily via ‘snail mail’. And if you needed something to be sent in a hurry, you would utilise the services of FedEx or other alternative – at a price.

Nowadays, people rely on email. Other means of communicating with customers or clients are still important – but the beauty of email is that its speed is great for urgent correspondence.

Thing is, with the increasing number of anti-spam filtering mechanisms (the spam and anti-spam filters are a bit like the ‘chicken and egg’ scenario – both are co-dependent, and it’s often difficult to work out which came first!), ensuring your email gets delivered and then read is becoming increasingly difficult.

Fear not, for here are a few helpful quick tips:

1. Use a consistent and meaningful ‘From’ line. For instance, an email with the ‘From’ line of ‘T Dooley, Marketing & Editorial Consultant’ is going to appear to be more trustworthy than ‘February’ or ‘Diego fox’ – especially if you have alerted your email list to the fact that your emails will always come with a particular ‘From’ line that won’t change.

2. Choose your subject lines carefully. Which of the following subject lines would you be suspicious of?

• Invoice # 7241 for PR Services from James Brown

• Here it is!

• Go a esteem!

The latter one didn’t make sense, and the misspelling makes it appear to be a ‘spam’ email. Spammers often use nonsensical subject lines, or short lines like the ‘Here it is!’ one that use lots of exclamation marks and are not relevant to the intended recipient. The first in the examples above is relevant, specific and identifiable.

3. Always include your contact information in your email message. Your ‘sig line’ or ‘signature’ is usually the best place for this. By doing so, you are showing that you are a real human being, with a real physical address, and therefore can be more easily trusted than a random email that doesn’t even include an author name.

Want to learn more about succeeding with email communications, or the whole ‘online marketing’ enchilada? Point your mouse to: http://mediaminister.co.uk/products.htm#Online

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

 

Reader Q&A: Why Is It So Difficult to Keep It Short? 22 March 2007

Filed under: Copywriting,Correct English Usage,Small Business — worddocdooley @ 10:24am

This was the question put to me by Sue Davis, of Design Advantage, subscriber of MediaMinister’s Communiqué for Success!

Well, Sue, when I worked on national newspapers and magazines (first as a journalist, and then as an editor/sub-editor), the one thing that I found the most difficult was to cut overlong copy to fit the page layout.

It was difficult for two main reasons:

1. Often, I had to cut text by half, so I was aware that I needed to preserve the overall gist of the piece so that it would be understood by the its target audience (the readers!).

2. There would naturally be elements such as whole paragraphs, some quotes, facts and so on that had to go. Again, you didn’t want to reduce the impact of the piece, so this could be tricky.

In general, it took me at least twice as long to cut a long piece of copy than it was to write a story (news speak for an article or news) from scratch…

OK, I’m going off track slightly. 😉

I think Mark Twain said it best: “If I would have had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.

The point I’m making is that it generally takes a lot more skill and time to write short copy than long copy, or to cut to size overlong copy. This is chiefly because you have to pay extra attention to word usage and crafting, as well as the scope and flow or ‘feel’ of the piece. You need to end up with an item of text that tells the whole picture and doesn’t leave your readers with unanswered questions

Your readers, of course, will never know just how much time and effort went into the shorter item, because they’re looking for an easy read that is hopefully entertaining or interesting in some way. 😉

Longer copy is by and large not only easier to write (unless you’re writing a 50-page direct mail piece), but it also tends to outsell shorter pieces. See the post entitled “Does Long Copy Sell More?” – https://marketingmoment.wordpress.com/2007/01/26/does-long-copy-sell-more/

Hope that helps, Sue. But feel free to ask me any more questions on copywriting, marketing, editing or anything related to your business.

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

 

New Issue of Communiqué for Success 20 March 2007

The latest edition of Communiqué for Success has just been posted!

In this month’s issue, the main focus is on sprucing up your business writing (applicable to anyone setting up, already running or operating within a business) and making you money.

You will discover things such as:

• One of the Best Ways to Market Your Business
• 10 Easy Ways to Polish Your Business Writing
• How to Earn Money the Effortless Way
• And MORE!

Click here to read it now – approx read time = just over ***7 minutes***:

So what are you waiting for..? Click and read pronto!

Communiqué for Success March 2007 edition.

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

 

Quick Tips for Privacy Policies 14 March 2007

Filed under: Small Business,Website marketing — worddocdooley @ 11:12am

As my broken back mends slowly, my thoughts have often turned into private ones. Well, put it this way, there is often no one around (I do have helpers, to which I am grateful; not least for helping me get to the chocolate tin!) but me, save the dog – and as much as he tries I really don’t think he can quite understand my philosophy on life and healing!

Anyway, if you excuse the lead-in, I wanted to talk to you today about privacy policies.

If you’re in business and you deal with customers, clients, members, stakeholders or whoever, you absolutely MUST commit to keeping their personal information private – especially in today’s seemingly insecure web environment.

One way to reassure people that any personal data they have provided is kept secure is to keep a privacy policy on your website. This is basically a pledge, and tells others how you will use or store their information.

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) says the biggest tip they can give when it comes to creating a privacy policy is to keep it simple. They recommend that you:

1. make your policy easy to read, easy to comprehend and easy to find on your site;

2. update your policy as and when appropriate, perhaps to stay in line with changes in policies and other operatives within your organisation;

3. aim to promote your privacy policy among key stakeholders (including members, donors, board members, customers, etc);

4. distribute your policy internally so all employees are up to date with it.

For more information and to see a privacy policy in action, see:

www.mediaminister.co.uk/Privacy.htm

www.the-dma.org/privacy/creating.shtml

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

 

Two Thirds of all Websites Are Invisible 12 March 2007

No doubt the above headline is shocking news – especially when you consider we are pretty much living in a world dominated by ‘search’.

But according to Matt Paines, one of the UK’s leading search engine optimising experts, two thirds of ALL websites are impossible to market.

Even some of the UK’s major brands are not spared by his condemnation, with many of their websites deemed to be so badly designed that there’s little or, worse, no chance that search engines could find them.

Paines, one of only two Microsoft Search Engine pros in the UK, is particularly concerned that clients are losing millions because they are being ill-advised by their marketers and web design agencies:

“It is absolutely ridiculous that marketing companies and web designers are still building websites without giving any thought to how they can be optimised.

“[There are] some stunning websites which are worthy of winning awards, but they’re virtually useless,” he adds. “In some cases the cheapest option is to start all over again because their sites are that badly designed.”

So, if your site looks great or is making use of the latest whizzy gadgetry, make sure it isn’t totally invisible to the search-engine ‘robots’ – the internet spiders crawling along the web looking for useful search terms and content. Else your online efforts could be going down the drain.

For more information, point your mouse to:

www.xseo.com/pitfalls.htm

www.mediaminister.co.uk/web0b.htm

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

PS A big thanks goes to all those wishing me a speedy recovery. In true fashion, I’m overdoing things, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for this Thursday’s appointment with the ‘back doctors’. 😉