In the Japanese language, the word 'crisis' consists of the characters (kanjis) 'danger' and 'opportunity.' Shall we follow the example of the wise Japanese and try seizing opportunities when things get pretty bad?
Are there anything pros we can get out of the Corona outbreak and quarantine when it comes to our businesses? Sure, there are.
1. Go online, focus on your funnels and content.
If you can't offer your product or services online, it's time to build a solid base of followers and like-minded buddies - in other words, community. Transfer your expertise into a video or a blog. Share your knowledge, experience, and even hobbies.
Can you create a webinar, masterclass, course or an e-book that'll boost your income and customer engagement? If yes, now it is just about the time.
Think about email marketing. Do you use any? What can you improve? How?
FYI: "The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%." - Belina Weaver. Belinda has created an awesome challenge that'll start on Monday, March 23rd. I'm in.
2. Share. In these uncertain days, we all can use a boost of basically anything. Brilliant, if you sell an online service or product. But it would be fantastic if you can share something for free. Offering free content:
a) attracts potential customers;
b) builds your credibility and proves your expertise;
c) gives you a valid input into your customer's needs;
d) ignites engagement;
e) boosts your brand's visibility;
f) provides you with a sweet opportunity to test-drive a product that you would potentially be able to sell in the future;
g) brings satisfaction, as doing good always makes us feel great.
3. Work on your business. Often, we simply lack time for our own business. Up to the ears in projects, we may randomly post on social media. C'est tout. But that's not enough. Now, when the projects slow down and the clients (insert a sad 'ah' here) a lying low, it's a great time to give your own business and content priority. Mastermind your next step. Where does your focus lie on? What channels can you use? Is there a strategy in place? Copyblogger.com has tons of useful information on content strategy.
As for me, I'm working on my email funnel, an e-book and a lot of learning/ skills development.
And a big teaser - there's a free goodie coming your way, soon, very soon, my dears.
Subscribe to my newsletter to stay tuned.
We all need a helping hand in creating our written content. Here are my top 6 apps and software when writing (emails, newsletters, blog posts, invitations, presentations, to-do lists, secret protocols, your kids’ essays, love letters – you name it.)
Oh-so-fine is this app. Not only does it check your spelling and punctuation (hello missing comma!). But it provides you with some seriously on point suggestions to improve your copy based on the goal and the audience of the latter. No longer can I imagine my existence without this tool.
Tip: download the Grammarly keyboard on your phone. It’ll check any Insta post or Whatsapp message you write.
2. The Hemingway Editor
The app is, in a sense, similar to Grammarly. However, it focuses on simplifying your writing. By using the app, you create sharp and clearly written content.
3. LSI in lsigraph.com
LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords became highly important for a copy aiming to score well in Google. Lsigraph.com is a free LSI keywords generator. It’s easy to work in a program providing the results that Google loves.
This is a fantastic online dictionary, which always comes in hand when looking for the correct translation placed in the context of a professional jargon or a particular niche.
5. The Saurus synonyms
I thought everyone was in love with this website. But surprisingly it is not yet world adored. The Saurus offers a great variety of synonymous, making your writing interesting compelling, gripping and captivating.
Looking for visual material to illustrate your post/invitation/presentation/newsletter? Canva offers a massive stock of free images. You’re welcome.
Written by A. van Eck-Samarina
After all, we know small things always turn out to be the most important ones. So here it is (drum rolls, please) - by creating the following types of content, you'll noticeably INCREASE your audience's engagement and your sales!
1. Share a secret. Ok, you're reading this sentence right now, so you got hooked on my secret bait. People are curious by their nature. Telling a secret always gets their attention.
2. Show how to overcome a problem. Often, life is a struggle. People want to know that a) They are not alone, and others are dealing with the same problem (connection). b) Get some handy tips/insider's info on how to solve their problems.
3.Trigger emotions (surprise your audience, make them laugh or cry). Our emotions fuel our actions. As well, we tend to remember an emotional experience better than a neutral one. Bring joy, and people will come back to follow you/ hire you or buy from you.
4. Ask questions/conduct polls. How doesn't like to be heard? We, people, love to talk and share our opinion. And that's fantastic! As there is nothing more fascinating in this world than listening to people and their unique stories. Lend your ear to your audience. And they'll thank you.
5. Tell a story. Our life is a thread of stories, big and small. They are mesmerizing, scary, hilariously funny, philosophical, amusing, lovely, merry, shocking, eyebrows-rising, and so much more. Telling a story can help you engage your audience, take their attention, and motivate their actions.
What type of content do you tend to respond to?
Written by A. van Eck-Samarina
With Coronavirus gloriously robust and statements about the only possible survivors - freelance writers (thank you, Sam Adams) - it is the time to revisit my 'Working From Home' playbook.
So, what are the musts, stay-aways, and don't-even-dare-to-think-abouts?
1) Lock the fridge. Seriously, if you don't want to find yourself gasping while trying to zip your pants (I've been there!) lock the freakin' fridge. And throw the key away.
2) Scrolling through Instagram or Twitter and shopping online does not classify as 'staying updated on Coronavirus' and preparing for a lock-up (I tried to lull my husband into believing this explanation, didn't work out).
"The terrifying thing about an outbreak that requires people not to leave their homes ... is it means the only ones to survive will be freelance writers." - Sam Adams
3) Don't pretend you are running a laundry business. I get it. I, for once, would like to see the elusive bottom of my laundry basket. But going overboard with the laundry won't make you feel better and definitely won't get you far on your assignment (I've checked).
4) Don't forget about the proper breaks. And with these, I don't mean two hours naps and Netflix marathon. But a quality lunch or a nice 15min walk can do miracles (ah, I know, Netflix sounds waaaaaay more appealing than a stroll around the block. I'm with you on Netflix;)
5) Treat yourself with delicious snacks. Imagine you have in-house Starbucks or whatever is your favorite coffee place. Stock on good coffee, fabulous snacks, and creamy dark chocolate (my guilty pleasure). And working from home doesn't sound that miserable after all.
6) Talk to yourself out loud. Nobody listens anyway. No judgments, no lunatic diagnoses, no cocking eyebrows. Hell, sing, dance, recite "The Forsyte Saga" and definitely talk to yourself out loud. It's so much fun, and you sure are an incredible orator.
Jokes aside (however, what but the humor will lift us in these uncertain times?), wherever you work, please, stay safe and take care of yourself.
Do you enjoy working from home? Share below.
Written by A. van Eck-Samarina
Yes, your web copy needs a problem statement and - most importantly - a problem solution. Why? Well, the ultimate goal of every (commercial) copy is to sell. And solving your client’s abhorred problem is the most effective way to get your product/service sold.
What does a problem statement do? It
1) Attracts the ‘right’ customers.
i.e. genuinely interested people, thus you won’t waste your time and money in vain.
2) Creates a connection with your (potential) customer.
It builds the ‘oh, they get me’ bond.
3) Triggers interest and desire.
They know what my problem is, they might solve it; thus I may be able to sleep soundlessly through the night again!
4) Guides your customer through your web copy and encourages to take suggested actions. That lead to the customer’s desired outcome.
e.g. your product is sold, the customer’s problem is solved. He may enjoy his good night sleep once again. Everyone’s happy.
5) Lands new opportunities.
Attract businesses who want to collaborate. Besides, if your customer is happy, he may return or advise your product to a friend.
When it comes to a web copy, many make the same mistake by diving directly into a description of the product/service. Example: “Our toothpaste is the new word in dental care. It ensures gentle but active whitening while its delicious taste will make you seriously excited about brushing your teeth. Already in 5 days, you’ll see the results.” We have a few sentences full of adjectives and promises. In the age of scepticism, who will believe this copy? And what if the customer doesn’t want to get her teeth whitened but is concerned about her tooth decay? Chances are slim that such a copy will produce any valuable outcome.
Example of how a problem statement can bring in a new client
Let’s say your potential client is an IT manager and experiences problems with a new software implementation. He goes online and looks up third parties that may help. All the websites are full of the IT jargon gibberish. The client leaves. But then he comes across your website. Where his problem is described in a human easy-to-follow language and where a solution to his IT nightmare is finally offered. Well, you bet he’ll be asking your free consultation straight away.
A problem statement is crucial to the success of any sales copy. In other words, if you want to sell successfully, make sure your copy contains a problem statement and its solution.
Not sure where to start? Drop me a line here, we'll work out some ideas.
Any extra word can cost you a potential client.
With the average consumer attention span reaching the one of a goldfish, you need to be quick and resourceful in doing your pitch. On the average web page, visitors will read at most 28% of your words. By following these easy steps, you’ll tweak your copy structure to have your potential client hooked.
Lesson 1: Structure your copy with the ‘grab them by the (eye)balls’ signs
How do you read online? You scan a website while speeding forward to the next online destination. The only things your eyes are noticing are the attention-grabbing signs – the headers, sub-headers and quotes in bold. Make sure these hold the most essential information and your CTA’s.
Tip 1: Numbers, lists, questions and bold promises tend to score the highest hooking the visitor to read on. Personally, I love quotes.
Tip 2: You can start with dotting the main ideas of your copy as sub-headers; then, you fill the gaps in between.
Lesson 2: Leave out the intro
My dad always tells me: “Start from the end.” He knows the essence of what I am about to say is at the end of my message. A lot of people tend to fluff-fluff their copies with smart words. Don’t do that. You’ll lose your reader on the first sentence. Throw away the intro. Get straight to the core.
Example: Let’s say you are writing your home page. Forget about “Hello”, “Welcome”, “Thank you for visiting”, and other polite but message-empty introductions. Your visitors need to know at a glance what they are about to read.
Lesson 3: Make a good start with a summary
Explain the audience what is to come. What is your copy about? For whom is it written? What benefits will the visitors get from reading your copy? And what should they do afterwards? Keep it short, though. And don’t forget to put a clear Call To Action.
Tip 1: The first six-seven words should contain a key fact.
Tip 2: The first sentence structure must be simple: no commas, no sub-clauses.
You don’t necessarily need to make your copy short. You can write long and mouth-watering pieces of texts but keep them for the ‘body’ of your copy (second, third, fourth paragraphs).
Lesson 4: Separate your topics in paragraphs
It may sound self-evident but believe me, not everyone does it. Dedicate a paragraph for each topic you write about. Make sure you highlight every segment with an on-point sub-heading. Take a page out of journalist’s book and spice up your copy with quotes, images, graphics and captions.
Lesson 5: Repeat yourself
Message merits repetition. Don’t be afraid to say something twice. Not overdone but consistent repetition creates persuasion without annoying the reader. Depending on the length of the copy, I tend to insert the same key message twice or even three times. Plus, one extra as a quote.
Lesson 6: Make a powerful ending
An ultimate goal of any copy is to create some action: make the reader think, buy, subscribe, download, come back, etc. Your final sentence must be an art of persuasion or a glorious cliff-hanger. Whatever it will be, make sure you are very clear about what you want the reader to do next. Just say it.
Tip: Add immediacy with timely words if you are offering a service or a product.
Tap into consumers desires, tell stories. But keep your message short and clear
Bonus Lesson: Be yourself
People come to read you, to hear your voice, to find out your opinion. Give them what they came for. Remember, nobody can sound like you.
Tip: Instead of confusing your readers with multiple choices of ‘follow me here, here, here and here’; offer a single link to your absolute best marketing channel.
Not sure how to craft a copy that converts and engages you audience? Leave me a line here, and we'll work it out.
No matter how some of us may dread it, writing is an inevitable part of our lives, most certainly of our professional ones. Newsletters, emails, website texts, social media and blog posts are just a tip of the content iceberg many of us have to produce on a daily basis. Do you struggle with writing? Then these 5 easy to follow steps are exactly what you need.
1. Stick to one topic
Unless your text is an internal newsletter full of corporate updates, stay within one topic only. Firstly, it'll help you to keep your focus. And secondly, your reader won't get confused. Chances are high that if you choose to write an elaborate 'manuscript' covering many topics at once, your reader won't make it to the end of the text.
Tip: I like to create a content planning for the upcoming week. This way, I know in advance what topic I'll be writing about on a given day.
2. Do your research
Make sure you have done your research homework. What do the experts say on your topic? What are the latest numbers? Are there new developments on this subject? Don't forget the statistics (oh, God, I do hate statistics!) That said, however, share your experience and your ideas. People read YOUR copy, therefore they are interested in YOUR opinion.
3. Structure your text like a newspaper article
On point titles, attention-grabbing quotes, key notes, snappy headers and (maybe even) captivating images will ensure your reader's attention is hooked.
Tip 1: Use the newspapers' technique and load your first paragraph with the most important information. Therefore, your reader knows from the first words what's your article/blog/newsletter about. Besides, if written well the reader will be intrigued to read on.
Tip 2: On your copy completion, create a short summary of the key ideas. Spread these ideas in bold or italics through your text as the sub-titles or quotes.
4. Just write
There is only one way to write and it is: sit down and write. No matter how much you'll struggle in the beginning, after the first 10-15 minutes, you'll get into the flow.
Tip: Don't force yourself to stick to the structure. Write what you want to write at this moment, be it the ending or the quotes or the main body. You'll structure your text afterwards.
5. "Only God gets it right the first time and only a slob says, Oh, well, let it be…"
I love this quote by Stephen King. It says it all. Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. When your piece is done, leave it for a while. Come back later and read the text out loud. Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. I love working with Grammarly, a brilliant writing tool (also available free of charge).
And finally, one thing I've learned - quantity (eventually) makes quality. The more you write, the better you become at it.
Now, get your fingers dancing on those keyboards! And don't forget to share whether these tips were helpful and your own tricks (if you have some) to make writing easy. And if you simply despise writing and need some professional help with it, feel free to contact me here.
Written by A. van Eck-Samarina