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Back to blogging with the #1 rule for selling online

From the desk of Roy Furr, Wednesday, 5:03 am

So with my new son reaching a healthy 4 months old and some exciting things happening in my business, I figured it’s time to pick back up with blogging (at least occasionally).

What’s going on — been doing a bit of work with AWAI recently. Here’s a couple articles I’ve written for them that you may find interesting:

How to “Steal” Videos and Quickly Add Content to Your Money-Making Website

Unlock The Twitter Traffic Tempest – 5 Traffic-Getting Tactics For Your Money-Making Website

Not only should you read those articles for the content (which people are already raving about) but you should also read them for the format. What do I mean?

Well, those articles are both great examples of advertorial selling online.

I don’t know how much I’ve talked about this here, but I have a rule for selling online. 90% high-value content. 10% pitch. And it works like gangbusters.

Why does this work so well?

Because of two reasons.

#1 — Build credibility.

It’s easy for any hack to put up a web page. And it’s easy for any hack to talk about and try to pitch you on — well — any topic online. But if you want to be perceived as an expert, you have to prove it.

And one major way to prove it is by demonstrating your expertise with high-value, actionable content your reader can apply immediately. Then they can try it for themselves and understand whether you’re just some hack, or if you’re The Real McCoy. So providing high-value content is credibility builder like none other.

#2 — Get attention.

Do I have to quote yet another statistic about how many advertisements assault our senses in a day? It’s well into 4 figures, and it may be approaching 5 figures. And it used to work to just be louder to stand out. But even louder gets ignored today.

However what still doesn’t get ignored is the meat. People still turn on the boob tube to watch that show they want to watch… Still open the newspaper or magazine to read the article they’re interested in… Still browse the web for something informative or funny or that solves a problem in their life…

And if your advertising and promotional materials are actually meaty — meaning they solve a problem or deliver content that’s of high perceived value to the reader — then they’ll stand out and get attention far more than any yelling or screaming or bold red headlines ever can.

Now there is one place you might violate the 90/10 rule.

If you have a long-term relationship with a prospect, and have already delivered them content followed by content followed by content, you may have an opportunity to break this rule.

Once you’ve established a strong relationship with a prospect, you are then able to present them with a strong sales message online and still maintain their attention and your credibility all the way through. Because you’ve got the credibility — you’ve built it with them through time. And because your sales message is targeted to someone with whom you already hold favor — the reader — and it speaks directly to their needs in the context of the content you’ve already delivered.

Only in a situation like this should you break the rule.

Does AWAI like how those articles/advertorials have been performing? Well, they’ve asked me to present on the topic of money-making websites at their annual Bootcamp in Delray Beach, FL in November. Will I see you there?

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More than just business

From the desk of Roy Furr, Thursday, 9:34 pm

If you want to be healthy, your focus has to be on more than just your business.

I just had my first child (a healthy, happy son!), and it was a reminder that I need to continue to focus significant time and energy on building and developing my family relationships. Plus, our social connections need to be nurtured as well — the social web we weave is a tremendous support structure as we go through life, and we need to respect and build that.

Also, health is critical. Stick your nose in your business 12-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, and you get off-kilter. Take some time out to cook healthy meals. And to workout and stay fit. (I just created a new website about kettlebells — my favorite workout tool — at http://www.KettlebellWall.com.)

Spirituality too — I don’t know if you practice an organized religion, or some other type of spirituality. Whatever spirituality means for you, your life will be better if you take time out on a regular basis to study and practice your spirituality. (Meditation and prayer have been shown to have a tremendous positive effect on everything I’ve already mentioned above.)

Also, don’t let yourself get too caught up in any of this. You don’t need to worry too much.

Instead, merely attempt to balance all of it. Integrate it into regular focus, attention, and practice. And you don’t have to get it perfect either. Forgive yourself when you get it wrong. And then just jump back on. You just need to attempt to keep it all relatively balanced, and always pay mind to the different aspects of who you are.

Then you’ll see more success in all areas.

Posted in Business | No Comments »

The Lazy Man’s Way To Riches

From the desk of Roy Furr, Wednesday, 5:20 am

Joe Karbo's Lazy Man's Way To RichesYou’re not going to like me for this.

Sure, Joe Karbo made a mint off his book sold through direct response, “The Lazy Man’s Way To Riches.”

Of course, he was selling a dream. Not reality.

When you look at reality, overnight successes come after years of nose-to-the-grindstone work. Lazy people just sit on the couch every night and about all they do is throw their own pity-party, wondering why they’re not getting ahead.

And even if you’re chasing the latest opportunity… You’re still lazy. That’s still lazy behavior. You’re wanting someone else to do the work for you.

To truly get ahead you have to blaze your own trail. You don’t play the game, you create it. And you make it happen — no matter how much sweat and pain and tears and joy and happiness and passion and drive and determination it takes.

There’s no resting on your laurels until you have them my friend. And even then, that’s a good way to lose them.

Do you want to get ahead?

Try this on for size (courtesy of the late, great Gary Halbert):

The best way to get started is to get started.

Movement always produces more results than meditation.

Attack life. Wait for nothing.

He has half the deed done who has made a beginning.

The future starts today (right now)… not tomorrow.

There’s no choice if you’re serious about success. You have to hustle. You have to move. You have to make things happen.

And then, it’s funny how the results often begin to add up to be more than the sum of your effort.

Posted in Business, Copywriting, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Do Your Potential Customers Forget About You?

From the desk of Roy Furr, Wednesday, 4:49 am

Today I have a guest post for you from AWeber CEO Tom Kulzer. It’s about a marketing method I endorse highly — consistent “drip” follow up. Tom’s insight into this comes from helping thousands of online marketers make a bundle more sales by putting in place systems that automatically and consistently follow up with prospects through email. (It’s been one of my secrets to success online, both on my own projects and with clients!) And the system he describes below is a simple and proven system for making more sales, using consistent “drip” email follow up.

I use AWeber for email list management, email newsletters, and for sequential autoresponders (this is the tool that lets you do what Tom describes below). I highly endorse the service for having such a great feature set at a competitive price point. If you’d like to learn more about their service and take it for a free “test drive” check out the AWeber website.

Enjoy!

Roy

Do Your Potential Customers Forget About You?
by Tom Kulzer (AWeber CEO)

Your web business probably gets product inquiries from potential customers around the globe. Inquiries come via e-mail and your web site, and you try to send information to each hot prospect as quickly as you can. You know that you can drastically increase the likelihood of making a sale by satisfying each person’s need for information quickly!

But, after you’ve delivered that first bit of information to your prospect, do you send him any further information?

If you are like most Internet marketers, you don’t.

When you don’t follow that initial message with additional information later on, you let a valuable prospect slip from your grasp! This is a potential customer who may have been very interested in your products, but who lost your contact information, or was too busy to make a purchase when your first message reached him.

Often, a prospect will purposely put off making a purchase, to see if you find him important enough to follow up with later. When he doesn’t receive a follow up message from you, he will take his business elsewhere.
Are you losing profits due to inconsistent and ineffective follow up?

Following up with leads is more than just a process – it’s an art. In order to be effective, you need to design a follow up system, and stick to it, EVERY DAY! If you don’t follow up with your prospects consistently, INDIVIDUALLY, and in a timely fashion, then you might as well forget the whole follow up process.
Consistent follow up gets results!

When I first started marketing and following up with prospects, I used a follow up method that I now call the “List Technique.” I had a large database containing the names and e-mail addresses of people who had specifically requested information about my products and services. These prospects had already received my first letter by the time they requested more information, so I used the company’s latest news as a follow up piece.

I would write follow up newsletters every now and then, and send them, in one mass mailing, to everyone who had previously requested information from me. While this probably did help me win a few additional orders, it wasn’t a very good follow up method. Why isn’t the “List Technique” very effective?

  • The List Technique isn’t consistent. Proponents of the List Technique tend to only send out follow up messages when their companies have “big news”.
  • List Technique messages don’t give the potential customer any additional information about the product or service in question. He can’t make a more informed buying decision after receiving a newsletter! If someone is wondering whether your company sells the best knick-knacks, what does he care that you’ve just moved your headquarters?
  • List Technique messages convey a “big list” mentality to your potential customers. When I used to write follow up messages using the List Technique, I was writing news bulletins to everyone I knew! I should have been sending a personal message to each individual who wanted to know more about my products.

What follow up method really works?

Following up with each lead individually, multiple times, but at set intervals, and with pre-written messages, will dramatically increase sales! Others who use this same technique confirm that they have all at least doubled the sales of various products! In order to set this system up, though, you need to do some planning.

First, you’ll need to develop your follow up messages. If you’ve been marketing on the Internet for any length of time, then you should already have a first informative letter. Your second letter marks the beginning of the follow up process, and should go into more detail than the first letter. Fill this letter with details that you didn’t have the space to add to the first letter. Stress the BENEFITS of your products or services!

Your next 2-3 follow up messages should be rather short. Include lists of the benefits and potential uses of your products and services. Write each letter so that your prospects can skim the contents, and still see the full force of your message.

The next couple of follow up messages should create a sense of urgency in your prospect’s mind. Make a special offer, giving him a reason to order NOW instead of waiting any longer. After reading these follow up messages, your prospect should want to order immediately!

Phrase each of your final 1 or 2 follow up messages in the form of a question. Ask your prospect why he hasn’t yet placed an order? Try to get him to actually respond. Ask if the price is to high, the product isn’t the right color or doesn’t have the right features, or if he is looking for something else entirely. (By this time, it’s unlikely that this person will order from you. However, his feedback can help you modify your follow up letters or products, so that other prospects will order from you.)

The timing of your follow up letters is just as important as their content. You don’t want one prospect to receive a follow up the day after he gets your initial informative letter, while another prospect waits weeks for a follow up!

Always send an initial, informative letter as soon as it is requested, and send the first follow up 24 hours afterwards. You want your hot prospects to have information quickly, so that they can make informed buying decisions!

Send the next 2-3 follow up messages between 1 and 3 days apart. Your prospect is still hot, and is probably still shopping around! Tell him about the benefits of your products and services, as opposed to your competitors’. You will make the sale!

Send the final follow up messages later on. You certainly don’t want to annoy your prospect! Make sure that these last letters are at least 4 days apart.

Following up effectively seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! So many potential customers are lost because of poor follow up – don’t you want to be one of the few to get it right?

If you’d like to set up a system like Tom describes in this article, AWeber will let you do it easy, affordably, and pretty dang quick. Try a test-drive at the Aweber website.

Posted in Copywriting | 1 Comment »

Roy Furr featured in AWAI Article for Measuring SEO Effectiveness

From the desk of Roy Furr, Thursday, 12:23 pm

Hey, just wanted to post an article here in which I was featured as a source. It explains how you can more effectively measure the success (or failure) of your search engine optimization (SEO) copywriting and on-page SEO tweaks.

It’s a good article, and it’s always nice to be quoted as an expert source.

Here’s a link to the article in PDF form:

How to Make Sure Your SEO Client Realizes You’re Doing a Great Job

I’ll also copy in the article here:

This article is provided by Fresh Look, Inc. marketing consulting, http://www.FreshLookInc.com. Fresh Look, Inc. President Roy Furr is referenced in this article under “Track Your Visits by Keyword” on page 2.

How to Make Sure Your SEO Client
Realizes You’re Doing a Great Job

By Rebecca Matter, AWAI

Originally published online at: http://www.awaionline.com/2009/04/make-sure-your-seo-client-realizes-your-value/

One of the most important things you can do for yourself as an SEO copywriter is track the effectiveness of the work you do for your clients.

Why would you leave it up to guesswork?

Your income depends on it!

With concrete proof, your client will clearly understand the value you bring to his business.

Which, of course, will result in more work and more money for you.

Earlier this year, I sent out a note on measuring the effectiveness of your SEO work. (http://www.awaionline.com/2009/02/measuring-seo-copywriting-results/) Afterwards I received some additional techniques used by SEO copywriters to measure their results.

So to make sure you have all the tools you need, here are four more SEO tracking tips on ways you can prove to your client your SEO work accomplished its goal.

Have Your Client Add You to Their Google Analytics Account

Web writer Melissa Arnold uses a feature in Google Analytics that allows your customer to go in and set you up as a “view reports only” user. (In the “User Manager” section, they simply click on “Add User.”) This allows you to log in and view their web statistic reports. You can download any report you’d like to your computer (in either PDF or XML file format). Do this before you start your work and then after – and compare the results.

Use the Free Tool From HubSpot.com

This free report gives you all kinds of great information about your client’s website, such as metadata, heading and image summaries, readability level of the site, the number of pages indexed by Google, the current traffic rank of the site (according to Alexa.com), the number of inbound links to it, and so on.

It’s not as detailed as the information you’d get from Google Analytics (or other analytics software), but it’s not a bad snapshot of your client’s website.

Once again, you’ll want to do this before and after. So, after you do your SEO work, simply go to the site and run the report again.

Track Your Visits by Keyword

Copywriter Roy Furr uses the “track by keywords” statistic, which is available in most analytics packages. This shows you how many times a visitor arrives on site by typing specific keywords or keyphrases into a search engine. In Google Analytics you can even break it down on a page-by-page basis.

Before you do your work, make sure you take a snapshot of this statistic in the analytics program your client is using. After you optimize a page, track this statistic and show your customer the increased traffic that’s occurring as a result of your work. Roy cautions that you shouldn’t use the measurement alone, but it’s certainly one of the leading indicators.

Use the Free Tool at SEMRush.com

Input your client’s website into the search field at the top of the SEMRush.com website, and in seconds you’ll have the top 10 keywords and where specific pages rank with Google. If you need more than the top 10, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version (which starts at $19.95 per month). With one click of the mouse, you can export this information in Excel or CSV format. As with the other methods, make sure you take “before and after” snapshots.

Tracking your results takes relatively little time when you consider the pay off.

And to make sure you’re being consistent, I recommend you keep a detailed “before and after” journal of results for each client. Every time you make a significant change to your client’s website, print out a report (at regular intervals) and record it in your journal. Then input the data into a spreadsheet, and use that information to put together an SEO results report for your client.

A results report is a great way to prove to your client that they made a good decision to hire you. Plus, the same reports can be used to sell the value of what you do to potential clients.

If there is one area of web writing everyone should learn, it’s SEO copywriting. And Heather Lloyd-Martin, the pioneer of SEO copywriting, has made it very easy for you to learn. With her 6-hour, inhome training DVDs, you will have the skills needed to start getting clients on Monday. Learn more about the program here. http://www.awaionline.com/seo-copywriting/learn/

And if you’re already working with clients, but haven’t been tracking your results, go ahead and start taking the snapshots of their websites today, so you’ll have a benchmark to compare to in the near future.

This article appears courtesy of The Golden Thread, an e-letter from AWAI that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on how to build your freelance copywriting business. For a free subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/thegoldenthread

Posted in Copywriting, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design | 1 Comment »

The Single Most Important Question When Designing Your Website

From the desk of Roy Furr, Sunday, 7:14 am

I’ve been an insider on quite a few website designs, and it never ceases to amaze me that the first thing everyone seems to ask is, “What do we want this to look like?”

If that’s the first question you’re asking when you’re designing a new website — or even a new page on an existing website — then you’re asking the wrong question.

Instead, let’s think about it this way…

“What’s the single most important action my visitors can take when they hit my website?”

  • Do you want them to sign up to download a piece of software, or a special report?
  • Do you want them to subscribe for blog updates?
  • Do you want them to watch an informative video?
  • Do you want visitors to share your content with a friend?
  • Do you want them to purchase your product?

What do you want them to do?

Once you have the answer to that question for every page on your website then designing the pages and the site as a whole is a simple two step process:

  1. How can we design this to make it as natural and easy as possible for our website visitors to complete our desired action?
  2. What should it look like?

And step 1 is more important than step 2.

Most web designers will disagree. However if you’re looking to grow your business this is how you ensure high ROI from your website.

Posted in Business, Marketing, Sales, Website Design | No Comments »

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

From the desk of Roy Furr, Wednesday, 5:35 am

”If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.” –John W. Gardner

Quick post today talking about respect and persuasion. If you’re interested in moving someone to take a certain action that’s in your best interest (like… buying your product), it helps immensely to start with complete respect for them.

Respect for where they’re at in life. For their accomplishments that have gotten them this far. Respect for the importance they see themselves as having. Respect for the difficulties that have prevented them from being even closer to their dreams, desires, and destiny.

This is not a show, either.

Your respect must be real.

Starting from this fundamental position of respect, it’s easy to get what you want.

Of course, when you respect someone you have no choice but to sell them a product or service that is in their best interest to purchase. When you respect them, you must believe that what you’re giving to them is of equivalent value to them as what you’re asking for in return.

With respect and something valuable to bring to the table, the sky is the limit.

Posted in Copywriting | No Comments »

Usability, Functionality, Appearance

From the desk of Roy Furr, Tuesday, 4:49 am

If you want to improve conversions on your website, there are 3 things you can tweak.

Here’s a quick 6 minute audio where I explain what they are… and how you can improve them for more conversions and more profits from your website.


(download)

Let me know what you think!

Posted in Copywriting, Google Website Optimizer, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design | No Comments »

“Should my business have a website?”

From the desk of Roy Furr, Tuesday, 8:39 am

In the article below I reveal a surefire (and remarkably simple) technique for finding out if people search for your type of business on Google. Use this technique before you spend a penny to determine if building a website for your business will be a profitable investment.

Internet marketing firms and website builders will usually tell you every business needs a website… especially when they’re trying to sell you something.

Well… Contrary to popular belief…

There are still a solid cases for some businesses not to be online… yet.

In fact today I’d like to show you a simple method for determining if people search for your type of business online. This can be the key determining factor in deciding whether or not to invest in a website for your business.

We’re going to use a tool called the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. It’s free to use, and located at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.

This tool exists to tell you a few things. One, how many people search for specific terms, or keywords, that you’re interested in. Two, what keywords are similar to the ones you’re interested in. And three, what sort of advertising competition exists on the keywords you’re researching.

I’m going to show you how to use it to find something else.

I’ll show you how to discover how many people search for your type of business on Google. Because if nobody’s going to Google to search for your type of business, it’s probably NOT worth putting a website online for it. However, if there ARE a lot of searches on Google for your type of business, then you absolutely SHOULD have a website so you can be found over your competitors.

So let’s jump in and check out this tool…

When you first hit the website you see something like this:

google-keyword-tool-1

We’re going to do our work on the right-hand side of that box.

Start in the box where it says “Enter one keyword or phrase per line:” and enter a general word that describes your type of business.

Start very general here.

If you have a Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant, type in just “restaurant.”

Below that you could type “Chinese restaurant” and “Dim sum restaurant” too, if you’d like. But be sure to include the general overarching category for your type of business.

Also leave the “Use synonyms” check box checked and the tool will give you a more general picture of your market online.

Then follow the instructions and type in the characters you see in the picture — this is Google’s way of making sure you’re a human using their tool and not just a computer program designed to yank out data and abuse the system.

You do not have to use the “Filter my results” link.

Then click “Get Keyword Ideas.”

Next, you should see something like this:

google-keyword-tool-2

Now we’re going to do a very minor but important step, and that’s sort the results. Click on the words “Approx Avg Search Volume” at the top of the second column from the right to sort by that stat (it’s my preferred stat to sort by because it represents search trends over time).

So that should give you something that looks like this:

google-keyword-tool-3

Now we’re getting somewhere!

Like I just said, I like to look at the “Approx Avg Search Volume” column because I think that represents the most reliable data over time. The number you see is an approximation of how many searches are done on Google in a month that contain that keyword.

So in an average month, people will type “restaurant” into Google 24.9 Million times…

In an average month people will type the words “italian restaurant” into Google 550,000 times…

And one of our keywords, “chinese restaurant” will be searched for in an average month 450,000 times…

That’s a lot of people searching for restaurants!

Of course, based on my default settings this is a snapshot of the entire United States (sorry, can’t drill down any further) so you have to take it as what it is.

However, if you consider that the population of the United States is about 300 Million people, that means every month there’s roughly 1 Google search for restaurant for every 12 people you see out walking around.

Of course, when you look at “Chinese restaurant” specifically, there’s only 1 search for every 660 or so people every month (.15%). However, let’s imagine that you’re the first website that comes up when someone searches for “Chinese restaurant” in your local area. If you can leverage this position to get .15% of your local population to visit every month, you’re getting incredible ROI from your website.

Let’s do some quick math.

.15% of 250,000 (small local population) is 375, multiply that by a $30 average ticket — because they didn’t come alone — and you get $11,250 per month from your website. Even if only half of those are new customers who come because of your website, that’s $5,625 per month from your website. Now that math won’t work out 100%, but it starts to make an investment of a few thousand in a website seem very reasonable.

I would say unequivocally that if you have a restaurant — whether it’s Italian, Chinese, or some other cuisine — that you should have a website.

Now let’s look at another — smaller — industry

Let’s try this same thing for “pet grooming.” I’ll include “cat grooming” and “dog grooming” too because those are the two primary niches within pet grooming. I’ve gone fast forward through the steps above to get the sorted results:

google-keyword-tool-4

Because this is a smaller industry, let’s take my technique one step further.

In the restaurant industry I omitted this step because it quickly became clear how much opportunity there is for a local business to build a business website that would return high ROI.

In a smaller industry like pet grooming, taking this extra step will help you determine how much opportunity is actually available — when a quick snapshot doesn’t give you the confirmation you need.

It’s as simple as adding it up.

So at a quick look, here are the relevant keywords with their approximate average search volume (I’m omitting keywords that look like “do it yourself” searches because these are not customers for a pet grooming service):

  • pet grooming – 368,000
  • dog groomers – 60,500
  • dog groomer – 49,500
  • pets grooming – 33,100
  • dogs grooming – 22,200
  • pet nail grooming – 22,200
  • mobile pet grooming – 14,800
  • groom dog – 12,100
  • mobile dog grooming – 9,900
  • cats grooming – 8,100
  • pet dog grooming – 8,100
  • groom pet – 5,400

If my math is right, that’s 591,700 searches per month across these keywords. Which is more than the 450,000 searches I based my math for “Chinese restaurant” on above. So even though 368,000 is smaller than the number for Chinese restaurant, it becomes clear quickly that there is a lot of opportunity for a local business to put a website online in the pet grooming business.

Quick side note: If you have a high customer value (let’s say $5,000 per customer instead of $30) then you don’t need traffic anywhere near these levels to make your website pay off. In a case like that just getting one or two customers from your website can make an investment of a few thousand be worth every penny and more.

And now for an industry that may not need a website.

I had to rack my brain and do a few searches and I could be wrong on this, but I did find one industry that my technique suggests may not need a website for your local business.

If you run a business that exclusively teaches aerobic fitness classes (not a gym with classes, just classes alone), then the opportunity may NOT exist for you to create a local website for your business that will be profitable.

Here’s a snapshot of traffic stats for “fitness classes” and “aerobics classes” and related keywords:

google-keyword-tool-5

As you can see, the numbers there just don’t add up to anything that makes sense. So I wouldn’t suggest building a website to promote a business that exclusively offers aerobic fitness classes — at least not without some more research.

So there you have it!

Use this technique as you decide the answer to the question, “Should my business have a website?”

It’s a definite way of finding out if people are searching for what you’re offering online. And if there’s enough traffic you can be reasonably confident that your local business can build a website that will pay off dividends.

Of course there’s more to the story.

How to do it? What to put on the website? Who to have help?

Those are questions to be answered a different day. Stay tuned.

- Roy Furr

Posted in Business, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design | No Comments »

White Papers and Email Marketing: How To Fail Miserably

From the desk of Roy Furr, Wednesday, 5:31 am

I got an email this morning with a subject line that said:

Receive a free white paper if you act by March 31st!

white-paperDELETE!

Failure. Failure to connect. Failure to inform. Failure to sell. Wasted investment of time and energy and probably money.

And another marketer left scratching their heads saying…

“I used the word free, how come it didn’t work?”

As my reader, I’m sure you’re smart enough to spot the error in that subject line, and certainly would do better yourself. But just in case you haven’t had your morning cup of coffee, I’ll take a moment to explain… and then tell you how I’d do it differently.

Wait…

So as I’m writing this I go back to my trash basket to pull out the offending email.

And…

It turns out it’s not trying to get me to download a white paper at all. Bigger fail! It’s for a service provider who among other services will write white papers for me.

Here’s why this is a great big failure. I thought — from the moment I read the subject line — that this was an email trying to get me to download and read a white paper.

My original complaint was…

… that I had no clue what the white paper was about…

… had no clue how reading this white paper would benefit me…

… and no clue why the heck I should waste my time even opening the email to find out what they had for me if they wouldn’t tell me up front!

Still all completely relevant feedback… if the email is selling a white paper download. However, now that I know the email is selling something different…

Back to the actual content of their email…

Here’s the real offer (rephrased to protect the still-guilty — I’ll explain in a minute):

We’re a great company with a new lead nurturing program. Give us a lot of money and we’ll put all this together for you:

  • eBook on a topic you choose
  • Syndication and promotion of eBook and weekly leads report
  • 3 custom white papers to compliment eBook and sell product
  • Minimum lead guarantee

… And if you act now, receive a fourth white paper at no charge (which they waited until the end of the email to explain). Call me for more information at…

As an aside — a couple of my colleagues and I joke around hard… I mean wit-and-sarcasm-that-hurts-more-than-a-gut-shot hard… and because of some of the blows I’ve been able to land they joke that I should own the website IBelittleYou.com. If I did this post would be on there. But truly, I break this email down in order to teach, not to insult. I’m sure the person who wrote the email is an incredibly intelligent person who regularly gets results from their marketing — I’m just trying to provide insight into how I would get more and bigger results using the same offer. I mean this analysis in the most productive, least destructive way and hope it is taken as such.

Back to the assault…

So I have three major complaints with this email — and can offer three major revisions that I believe would drastically improve results.

My complaints:

  1. The subject line is not clear enough. I assumed they wanted me to act now to download a white paper, instead of having them write for me. That’s the writer’s fault, not mine.
  2. The subject line is not paid off until the end of the email. As soon as I open an email I should be reassured that what was promised in the subject line is covered right away, or at least will be if I read the entire email.
  3. They’re not drinking their own Kool-Aid. There’s no reason to respond now unless I want to move forward with what I perceive to be a rather expensive service. What about offering a white paper?

My revisions explained:

  1. Make it clear in the subject line that “We want to write a white paper for you.”
  2. Pay off the subject line up front, stack the benefits, and lead into the description of the offer.
  3. Offer a free white paper to interested parties. Why not offer a white paper on white paper best practices (so existential!) to anyone who responds for more information about the offer.

With those recommendations, do you want to give it a try and see how your email comes out?

I have, and here’s my email (admittedly my first-draft):

(Before we get started I’ll point out — I wrote 2 headlines for split testing purposes. Test one to 200, test another to 200, and if there’s a clear winner roll that one out. If there’s no clear winner I’d either test again to an additional 200 each or go with the safe, offer-related, non-”creative” headline.)

SUBJECT: Would you let my experts write a Free White Paper for you?
SUBJECT: How Lack-Of-Information-Itis is killing your sales

BODY:

Dear Roy,

I’d like to have one of my IT experts write a free white paper for you. But first, I have to let you in on a disturbing trend.

Let me explain. There’s a real problem sweeping through the IT industry. I call it “Lack-Of-Information-Itis.” It’s a condition that happens when a buyer thinks they want your solution… but doesn’t have quite enough information to make the purchase.

The tragedy is how quickly this disease is killing sales — even though it’s completely preventable.

Luckily, there’s a simple cure and it will take you almost no effort to implement. In fact, our new Lead Nurturing Program annihilates Lack-Of-Information-Itis at the source. It presents customers that are ready to buy to your sales team on a silver platter. And it saves them days of time and effort because the buyers we bring you are already fully educated as to how your specific solution will benefit them.

This leads to more sales, and also happier customers who are easier to support because they understand what they’re buying before they get it.

Here’s what we do for you:

  • Our team of experts will write an eBook on a relevant topic to your customer base, to attract interest of qualified prospects.
  • We’ll manage the syndication and promotion of your eBook across our network of sites to actually do the work of bringing qualified prospects into the fold. When prospects download the eBook we’ll collect their information and send it to you while they’re still hot.
  • Normally my experts also write 3 custom White Papers to supplement the eBook and teach the prospect exactly what your product can do for them. These lead your prospects down the garden path directly into your sales cycle, fully informed and free of Lack-Of-Information-Itis. Respond before March 31st and I’ll have my experts write 4 White Papers for you — the 4th one is on my dime!
  • We shoulder the risk. We have guaranteed lead minimums determined before we start, and if we can’t live up to our promise of a predetermined number of qualified leads that makes sense for your business, we’ll refund your entire project fee. It literally is ZERO risk to get started.

This integrated treatment for Lack-Of-Information-Itis has proven itself over and over again — including for other tech companies like Joe-Blow Technotronics and MegaBucks Techno Corp., as you can read about on our website at www.example.com/case-studies/. (Of course, we could show you success stories all day but the most important thing is to prove it for yourself by giving it a try in your business.)

What to do next:

I want you to get a hold of me. I want to show you how this whole program works — and most importantly how this whole program will work for you.

If you’ll call or email me to start the conversation, I’ll give you a free white paper I’ve put together called “How to Use Lead Nurturing and White Papers to Make Selling Easy and Fun (And Make A Lot More Sales While You’re At It).” There’s no obligation with this white paper — it’s designed to inform whether you bring in my team now or later. (And if you really wanted, this white paper gives you enough information to put together a program like this on your own and start making more sales immediately.)

Here’s my email … example@example.com … and here’s my phone number … 123-456-7890 … I want you to get a hold of me now, so I can send you the free white paper and start our conversation.

I expect to fill up quick.

There’s only so much time in the day, and although our tech experts verge on genius, they haven’t figure out how to stretch time yet. So we can only take a limited number of businesses right now to put together a lead nurturing program for you. Call now because I’d hate for you to be the one I have to say “no” to.

Bill Smith,
XYZ Publishers

What do you think?

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