Elizabeth Inniss. Copywriter. Scriptwriter.

Attract your dream clients. Stand out from the crowd.

Stepping into the client's shoes: a 3 minute exercise

How's your website working for you?

I've worked with over a hundred clients now and something that often trips them up is getting stuck in their own heads.

The internal (and sometimes expletive-laden external) dialogue goes something like this:

What should I say?

How should I say it?

Will the clients be interested in this or that?

How much of myself should I put in the words?

Why is this so hard??

 

Quickly the process becomes overwhelming. The website either doesn't get written or it takes AGES to write. Then, after painstaking creation, the content can still be bogged down with detail or, just as ineffective, there's too little detail or the wrong detail. 

If you can relate to this, don't fret! You're not alone and there IS a simple solution. Firstly, what you need to know is this:

If you understand what you're offering and who you're offering it to, these questions will answer themselves.

 

So, before you do anything, you need to understand what product or service you're marketing.

I mean, truly understand it. For instance, I provide copywriting, but that also translates to increasing my client's confidence in their offering, saving them valuable time, effort and stress. I also help them connect with their ideal clients and subtly put off the time-wasters.

Your task is to get into the nitty gritty, list ALL the benefits, a few 'before and after' ideal scenarios, the process of working with you and why you're providing your service/product. Some of this may end up on your website, but for now, it's just for you.

Next, do some research into the kinds of clients your product or service serves best.

If it's a diet programme, then yes, it will be for those who are overweight, but what else? What age group? Gender? Socio-economic status? Delve deep. What are their fears about the problem? What stops them from solving it? What are their aspirations? How do they feel now and how will they feel when they reach their goals?

Understand that by doing this, you're already ahead of the curve. So many people don't bother - and it shows in their copy, ethos and sales.

Finally, armed with this golden information, do this little exercise.

This is something I do with clients with a draft website waiting to go live, but you can do it with your current website too.

When they act on the answers, they never fail to improve their prospects, attract better clients and increase engagement, queries, sign-ups and sales.

If you'd like that too, take 3 minutes to do this:

Pretend you're the client seeing your website for the first time.

Put yourself in her shoes (remembering the research you've done on her profile, motivations and fears) and imagine what she's looking for when she first arrives on your website. Bear in mind, she's probably busy or looking at multiple options and will have limited time. 

Now ask yourself:

  • How easy is it to find what I want? (Consider clear menus and navigation)
  • Does the main headline and sub-header explain what is being offered simply and clearly or is it just clever and vague?
  • Does the text look appealing and can I read it/do I even want to read it? (Consider font size and type, bite-size paragraphs, bullets, headers etc.)
  • Does this site speak to my concerns and needs or is it too generic?

If you find you can't distance yourself enough to answer these questions, ask someone (your ideal client preferably) to have a look and answer the questions for you. Make sure you and they take no more than 3 minutes.

Why three little minutes?

In reality, a visitor will only take a few seconds to decide whether your site's for them, but if they like what they read they'll be there longer so 3 minutes is fair for this exercise. Also, if you take longer than 3 minutes you're starting to analyse and go deeper than any time-pressed visitor would which won't give you an accurate real-life client snapshot.

If it isn't easy, clear and fast to see what's being offered and the benefits, and if it isn't a delight to read, then you'll have to make some changes in line with what the client needs.

But this is a good thing!

It is all too easy to write without thinking of the end user, but this should be your one and only concern. In fact, it makes it all much simpler. It helps you get out of your head and target your words just for them. That's also one of the reasons you'll find marketers and copywriters advocating narrowing your audience down to one type of client - the words become more direct and powerful. And it still doesn't preclude other types from taking an interest either.

So, if your website isn't working for you right now. Try this exercise and let me know how you get on. 

To your wonderful words,

Elizabeth x

p.s. If you'd like me to give you a more in-depth opinion of your site check out my copy critique page.

 

 

  

 

8 Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Great words help you sell, that’s for sure, but they don’t work alone. If you write the world’s most enticing sales page and the only thing you do is stick it online, it’s unlikely people will see it. 

I'd replace advertising with marketing...

I'd replace advertising with marketing...

What you need to do is tell people about it and drive traffic to you. 

Firstly, I’m going to assume you’ve done your market research and have created an amazing product or service your clients actually want. If you haven’t, go away and do that, then come back – otherwise read on for some marketing savvy that will help you sell more.

Telling people about your stuff

1.    Network 

Not all networking events are created equal. You need to find one that aligns with your business and client group, then get mingling. The key is to build relationships rather than sell wares. If people like you they will think of you when they need your services, or refer you to someone who does.

Bonus tip: There's been a bit of a backlash against the trusty business card which I think is rather premature. I personally need your business card or I'll forget your name and business, and I think many people feel the same way.


2.    Email marketing

If you have a mailing list* it's prudent to communicate with the people on it regularly and provide useful content. Firstly, it helps to build a relationship with them. Secondly, it keeps you and your biz more fresh in their minds. 

Bonus tip: I recommend you email at least four times with useful content before you do a sales pitch. A ratio of 4 or 5:1 is fair. Your list dwellers are aware you need to sell, but they didn’t sign up to be sold to relentlessly. 


3.    Advertising

Whether it’s in your local paper, on a billboard, TV or Facebook (to name but a few), a well-placed and enticing advert can do wonders for your business. An ad needs to be laser-focused on the solution(s) you provide for your clients.

Examples: relieving stress or stiff shoulders (a masseuse), easy, low-cost childcare (a local nursery).


4.    Word of mouth

Giving your clients a 5-star service is the first step to getting them to spread the love. But, I’m sorry to say, they don’t think of you that much when they return to their busy lives. I know, heart-breaker. So, to remind them what a lovely time you all had, why not give them an incentive? 

Examples: 10% off their next spa treatment if they recommend a friend, or a commission if they invite a pal to your conference.

Bonus tip: you should also grab a testimonial from them and stick it on your website before their enthusiasm (and memory) fades.

Driving people to your stuff

5.    Plan a pathway

Understanding your client's typical journey to buying will ensure you strategically direct them where you want them to goConsider where your clients will first make contact with you, then plot a path.

A simplified client pathway: 1. attend networking event 2. receive contact details/business card 3. visit website or social media profile 4. sign-up to list 5. get emails and start to like and trust 6. see offer and buy.

Bonus tip: If you have a freebie to entice people to sign up to your mailing list, make it really useful to them. And, if you’re clever, make it linked to one of your key services/products so they get a taste of what you have to offer.


6.    Narrow down the options

You may feel having an array of services means lots of lovely choice for your clients, but it can also be confusing - and a bit stressful. Narrowing down the options can help drive prospects to the ones you want the most, and it saves them a headache. You can do this by blending separate services together into more powerful packages. Or by showcasing only one main service until you get the numbers you need. This works really well for businesses such as coaching, photography and website design.


7.    Limited offers

Hourglass.jpg

Time-sensitive offers and discounts are very effective at driving traffic to your sales page or website. Just bear in mind that people need reminders, so don’t be shy! Remind them there’s only 48 hours, then 24, then the last 12, then the last 1. As long as you’re not selling ALL the time (see point 2 about the ratio) then your clients will understand.

How many times have you forgotten about that fabulous offer and were grateful for the reminder? How many times have you signed up in the last hour? Yep.


8.    Push your links

Add the link to your mailing list sign-up (or key sales page) to your email signature, social media profile, at the end of your blog or wherever people will see it.

So there you have it. Some marketing tips to increase your visibility and help shepherd the good buying folk where you want them to go. 

If you have any golden marketing tips that have worked for you, please share them in the comments below!

x

If you'd like to know when I publish my next blog (and for special discounts and beta services I only offer to my list PLUS a cool freebie) sign up here

*list refers to your mailing or email list. This is a database-style list of names consisting of prospects, clients, warm leads and so on. 

 

Local SEO

I wrote a post about SEO back in July which focused on the importance of writing great content. I got some great feedback from my lovely readers (thank you!) and my online pal Michael Ofei wisely said, 'Great post! Having said that, there is a place for SEO strategy if you're running a local business.' 

So I went and talked to some SEO experts on the matter. While they agreed with my focus on great content (phew!) they told me about the importance of local SEO to increase rankings in a geographical area. For those with premises or customer-facing roles this is crucial, but it’s also good for us online biz folk too.

So, it’s my pleasure to introduce a guest post from the lovely folk at Kimberley-Jane Design  (my fellow finalists in the Venus Awards I might add) about going local...

Local bar in Capurgana, Colombia

Local bar in Capurgana, Colombia

KIMBERLEY-JANE DESIGN WRITES...

There are hundreds of thousands of companies on the web today and rising to the top of them all can seem (and can be) an impossible feat. But research shows only 25% of ‘Googlers’ search beyond page 1, so it’s certainly important to be as high as possible in the rankings.

One way of solving this issue is by simplifying your SEO and going LOCAL.

By focusing your SEO on your location it’s much easier to rise above the competition and become a top ranker in Google (and other search engines) for those searching using your geographical location. Why? Your location is naturally finite, they’ll be fewer people competing and so you'll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. 

How to go local

Add geographic key words to your:

  • posts
  • content
  • meta description
  • and (if possible) your web address

Example: Here at Kimberley-Jane Design, our web address is www.graphicdesign-birmingham.co.uk so anyone searching for graphic designers in the Birmingham area will find us higher up on their search list.

Am I abandoning the rest of world?

The great connectedness 

The great connectedness 

Not at all! By focusing on your locality you are more easily found by those searching for that location, but it won’t stop people finding your business if you’ve paid proper attention to your biz keywords too.

Also, don’t forget you can still advertise, promote and tweet about your business to the whole world.

The world isn’t usually put off by your local keywords. These merely help you obtain a footing in the SEO rankings war and hopefully gain customers from your local area.

Example: Again, our web address- www.graphicdesign-birmingham.co.uk includes Birmingham which is local, but those searching for graphic design in any other area will find us in their search too.

There are many more graphic design companies out there, but using this search term throughout our site (without merely repeating the words over and over, Google doesn’t like that) helps boost our national and international rankings.

Reach the top in your local area

So we know few people venture beyond page one of Google, but by localising your SEO you can push yourself to the top of your sector in your area. It’s a great start and certainly better than no one ever seeing your site…

As your business grows, and by gaining more links to your site from across the web, your SEO grows too. However it takes time to raise your rankings and with so many other companies out there in the world, it can be tough. Localised yet market specific SEO is a simple and effective way to get you on the right path to visible victory!

If you'd like to know more about Kimberley-Jane Design check them out here.

And if you’d like to know when I publish my next blog (and for special discounts and beta services I only offer to my list PLUS a cool freebie - phew!) sign up here