Why a Well-Done Intake Interview is Vitally Important to Writing Copy
When working with a new client, we always perform what we call an “Intake Interview.” This interview is valuable in a number of ways.
Get the Facts
First, it provides us with the facts we need about a company’s products, services, customer service policies, history, background, target customer audience and goals.
Get the Tone
Second, it gives us the opportunity to “hear” the company owner. We listen not just for the facts but for how the owner represents the business. Does he or she speak using technical language? Are the sentences long or short? Is there humor? This helps us to write in “their voice,” not our own, and is especially helpful when writing a speech the interviewee will be delivering. Most of the time our client remarks, “It sounds just like me!”
Get the Customer
Listening also helps us to uncover problems the owner may be having in the business, or issues their customers might be having. These can and should be addressed when creating good copy. Continue reading →
Seeing the Sale From the Other Side of the Desk
When I was director of marketing for a national company, my office was situated right next to that of the president’s. One day, he walked by my door and saw me sitting in the visitor chair at the opposite side of the desk than my normal chair. I was just sitting.
The president stopped in the doorway and asked me, “What are you doing?”
I answered, “I’m looking at the company from the customer’s point of view.”
We are often so busy working at our own jobs that we can overlook the point of view our customer sees. Therefore, it is good to either take a moment to “sit in their chair,” or hire an outside eye (trained consultant) who can identify just what it is the customer sees…and needs.
As a hired marketing consultant, I have made the tiniest tweaks in someone’s presentation, look, office, retail space or marketing strategy that have made huge differences the next time they Continue reading →
Value is What You Get
Price is what you pay.
Value is what you get.
I love this quote from Warren Buffett because it truly describes what sales and marketing is all about.
If your clients or customers are complaining about the price of the services or goods you are offering, they probably don’t understand the value of what they are buying. And this is where you need to beef up your marketing efforts.
We’ve all heard how we must feature the benefits of an item, not its features when selling. This concept takes that credo to a new level. People will pay — and pay handsomely — for something they value.
Within the past few months I had the opportunity to work with a start-up company in creating its brand and new website. We went round and round with the pricing for copywriting on their new site. If it weren’t for the fact that I was referred to them by someone they respected, I’m not sure they would have hired a copywriter at all. They simply didn’t see the value in good writing or the need to pay for it. But in the end, Continue reading →
Do You Have Passion For Your Business? Take This Quick Quiz.
If you don’t love your business, you probably dread going to work every day. It’s a bad feeling. And unfortunately, it is not only you who feels that way, your customers pick up on it as well.
They say that those who are passionate about what they do never feel as if they are working. Their passion is what drives them, and what makes them successful.
Wonder if you’re still passionate about your business? Take this quick quiz to find out: Continue reading →
Washington Post Reports Writing Skills Rising on the List of Job Requirements But Failing in Candidates
The Washington Post published an article on Sunday, August 13, 2017 titled “Writing skills are rising on the list of job requirements–and falling in candidates,” by Jeffrey K. Selingo.
Selingo continues to reports hearing an interviewer from government contracting firm, looking to hire proposal writers for federal agencies, complain about “how difficult it is to find good writers these days.” Continue reading →
What is it You’re Truly Selling?
I was listening to a TED Talk today that offered to teach people how to find their true calling in just five minutes. In it, the speaker, Adam Leipzig, asked the audience five questions:
- What is your name?
- What do you do?
- Who do you do it for?
- What do those people want and need?
- How do they change as a result?
Want More Sales? Writing in Active Voice Gets Others Excited
Even as a professional writer, I have to review everything I write to make sure I am writing in “active voice.” I review for it in my professional writing as well as my everyday correspondences via email or letters, and believe it or not, I usually find at least one place where I can make my writing stronger.
What is Active Voice?
When using active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed in the verb: The girl brushed the dog. An example of this same sentence in passive voice would be: The dog was brushed by the girl. One tip for identifying a passive sentence is to look for the word “by.”
Why is Active Voice Important?
Active voice sentences are preferable in writing because Continue reading →
Does Your Marketing Copy Tell Your Story?
Are you using plain, nondescriptive words on your website and marketing materials? Words that everyone else is using? If so, you might be falling into the copy dead zone.
I learned a technique as a magazine writer. As an exercise, we wrote a sentence or paragraph using ordinary words, as in this example:
- John went to the store to buy bananas.