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Crafting Words that Get Results.

Your Profit-Boosting web copywriting specialist for the fitness, lifestyle and travel industries.



How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling

A marketing discovery was the key…

If you’ve read much in the self-help genre, you’ll recognize the title of this blog post as the title of Frank Bettger’s classic book originally printed in 1947.  Dale Carnegie called it “the most helpful and inspiring book on salesmanship that I have ever read.” 

I’d highly recommend it to anyone in direct sales or marketing today.  The principles still apply.

But I’m not here to write a review on a 63-year old book.  The truth is, the title of this blog post is my personal story, with a twist.

Establish a personal sales record this year

If you’re not involved in selling, skip this post.  But if you’re in direct sales, and want to cut down on appointments, increase your closing rate, and make more money than ever, read on…

In August of 1997, I was spending gobs of money on a divorce attorney.  I was in a custody battle for my one-year old son.  I was trying to unload a 3,600 square foot home in a very nice neighborhood that I had just bought a year earlier.

It wasn’t the best of times.

The only thing I had going for me was my direct sales career (I was in  fundraising sales), which was humming along quite nicely.  Problem was, I couldn’t focus anymore, and I had a lot less time to go out on appointments.  But I needed to increase sales about 20% just to pay the increased bills I now had.

I needed a solution, and I needed it fast.

The power of marketing to multiply yourself

That’s when I discovered Dan Kennedy, www.DanKennedy.com.  Dan claims to have produced more small business millionaires than any other marketing person alive today. 

He didn’t make me a millionaire (at least he hasn’t yet), but what I discovered from Dan helped me have three consecutive years of 20% sales growth, from 1998-2000.

So, what made the difference?

I started going on fewer appointments.  I worked three and a half days a week instead of five.  And I stopped working evenings.

All because I learned to harness the power of effective marketing.

What I learned how to do (and have been doing ever since) is create extremely effective direct sales letters, sent out to all my prospects.

Direct response internet marketing

Today, while I still send out some direct mail on behalf of clients and for my own business, more often than not it’s an email letter or some other form of internet marketing.

Same results: work less (but smarter), get prospects coming to you, and increase your sales.

If you’re a sales rep who’s never tried direct marketing on a large scale, you’ll be blown away by the possibilities.

I hope you’re never in as desperate a situation as I was. 

But if you’re a sales rep who’s ready for the best year of your life, with fewer appointments and shorter hours, consider the direct response marketing approach. 

It worked for me.  And I can help it work for you, too.



Boost Web Sales with One Simple Technique

The small business marketing dilemma

How do you break through the marketing noise?

Yesterday I gave small business owners and marketing directors two simple ideas:

  1. Use direct response advertising (versus image ads, awareness ads, or branding) and
  2. Connect with your audience

The best way I’ve found to connect with people in a genuine way?  Speak with your customers and prospects in their language.

Sincerely.  Clearly.  In plain-English (not marketing gobbledygook or “corporate-speak”.)

Clear marketing wins customers

Speak with your readers as regular people.  Address their concerns in an honest and genuine way.  Understand their worries, needs, wants, hopes and fears.

I’m not sure who first coined the term, but marketers often refer to this style of writing as conversational copy.  Bob Bly, http://www.bly.com, considered by many to be America’s top copywriter, wrote a whole book about conversational copy.

See, effective writing on your website or in your marketing materials is like having a good conversation with your prospects.

It’s respectful and intelligent.  It builds trust.  And it’s an extremely convincing style of winning people to your way of thinking.

Conversational copy, when done right, sounds like natural conversation.  Thoughts and ideas are connected to each other in a logical way.  And it skillfully leads people where you want them to go (without them feeling like they’re being sold.)

It will help you boost web sales.  And that’s the idea, right?

New internet marketing technique?

Not at all.  Actually, it’s quite old-school.  Long before the internet even existed (back in the dark ages of 1986!), I started my career in direct sales.

Selling one-on-one, face-to-face to consumers taught me a lot.  I learned that people buy when they feel they know you and trust you.  When there is a reasonably good offer.  And when they feel they aren’t being “sold”.

Effective marketing and selling

The same selling techniques from the 80’s and 90’s apply in 2010 on the web.

Ditch the hard-sell, heavy-handed approach.  It reminds people of bad telemarketers and screaming online sales letters.  Give conversational copy a try.  Speak to your readers in their language.

Your prospects will like you.  They’ll trust you.  And most likely, they’ll buy from you.



Direct Response Marketing for a New Economy

How to break through the marketing noise

It’s a new year, a new decade, and a new economy.  More than ever before, your customers and prospects are bombarded with advertising.  By some accounts, we’re exposed to over 3,100 marketing messages daily.

As a business owner or marketing director, how do you break through the marketing noise?

Two simple (but not easy) ways:

  1. You need to use direct response marketing.
  2. You need to connect with your audience and speak their language.

These two ideas are inter-related, but let’s take them one at a time.

Direct response marketing?

Just like it sounds, it’s marketing designed to elicit a direct response from your prospect.  Marketing that gets them to move.  Take action.  Buy.

It’s not an image or awareness ad, or the very 2003-ish concept of branding.  Unless you’re Coke or Nike, there’s no need for that.

In this economy, every advertising dollar counts.  You’d better be skillfully persuading your readers to buy your product or service.

Now, you know your business better than anyone, right?  Since we’re watching our advertising dollars, it probably makes sense to write our own ads, doesn’t it?

Maximize your return on investment

Well…maybe not.  If you can afford a professional copywriter, you’ll get a bigger return on investment.

A good copywriter will break through the marketing noise.  Grab the attention of your readers.  Connect quickly with them.  Understand their hopes and fears and needs and concerns.  Get them to act by buying your product or service, or bring them into the “pipeline” so you can build trust, and make a sale down the road.

So, how does a copywriter do this?  That’s a topic for a year’s worth of blog posts!

Suffice it to say, it’s a rare skill and a refined art at the same time.  It takes years to get somewhat good at, and probably a decade or more to master.

Copywriting is selling

But realize that copywriting is basically selling, online or in print.

A good copywriter will connect in a genuine way with your prospects, speak their language, and skillfully and smoothly help them to buy. (Notice I said “help them to buy”, not “sell them”. There’s a difference.)

Tomorrow we’ll look at one technique used by many top copywriters to connect with readers and generate sales.  Infuse this technique into your marketing materials, and I promise your small business will grow.

For now, remember: Using direct response marketing and connecting with your audience will help you break through the noise.



Quick Fixes for 7 Common Web Mistakes

Are you making these web copy mistakes?

Want your site to produce better results in 2010?  Overcome these 7 common mistakes, and you will…

  • Get more visitors to your site
  • Keep visitors on your site longer
  • Convert more of them to customers

That’s the bottom line, right?  More customers.

Useful content and strong copy = more sales

Your site may be in excellent shape.  But if you’re making any of these 7 mistakes, a minor tweaking can bring big results.

  1. Writing your content strictly for the search engines, not for humans.  There are a lot of great tools out there for determining what keywords your prospects are looking for, like KeywordDiscovery.com, WordTracker.com, or Google.AdWords.com.  Proper keyword usage will bring people to your site.  Problem is, you can’t just stuff your content full of keywords.  It has to be interesting enough so people stay on your site.  Quick fix?  Have someone (not necessarily an SEO “expert”) with a flair for writing compelling copy re-write your pages.
  2. Not finding out ahead of time what your prospects are searching for.  As indicated in # 1 above, you first need to do some keyword research.  Quick fix?  Go to http://www.KeywordDiscovery.com or http://www.WordTracker.com or https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal to find out what keywords are best for your site.  Don’t have time?  Hire an SEO copywriter.
  3. Confusing layout.  Do readers know how to find what they’re looking for?  Is it logical?  Quick fix?  Lead them where you want them to go.  Put your tabs in the order that you’d want a reader to flow through them.  And have a strong call to action wherever appropriate.
  4. Too much information.  The life story of your VP may be interesting to you, but is it helping you attract and retain customers?  Quick fix?  Consider dropping any pages or content that doesn’t add true value.
  5. Too little information.  On the other hand, some sites don’t have enough content.  Visitors need to have a good idea of who you are and what you’re all about.  They need to trust you before they’ll take a chance on doing business with you.  Quick fix?  Add useful, relevant content.  Don’t have time, or a flair for writing compelling, valuable content?  Consider hiring a web copywriting specialist.
  6. One-sided content.  What do we mean?  Some sites we see have excellent, useful content.  They give out great information, but prospects don’t buy anything.  On the other hand, some sites (we’ve all seen them) have an overly “hypey”, heavy-handed sales message from top to bottom.  Quick fix?  This one is easy: balance valuable, useful content with a well-written sales message that gets readers to act.
  7. No call to action.  Believe it or not, a lot of sites don’t ask their visitors to do anythingQuick fix?  What do you want your visitors to do?  Ask them to do it. 

Do you have to use all seven of these ideas?  Of course not.  You may already have 5 of the 7 down.

Web Content Copywriting gets you results

If you’re not sure exactly how to do it, well, that’s what we do here at Web Content Copywriting.  Keep reading our blog posts, or email us or call us and we’ll see if we can help make your site stronger.

Here’s to more website visitors for you in 2010, and converting more of them to customers!

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About Steve Roller

Steve Roller started Web Content Copywriting to help you maximize your web content and get more customers.

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"Steve Roller came through for me with solid research, sound insights and valuable input for a major copywriting project of mine, involving direct-response advertising encompassing every medium: print, direct-mail, internet, and broadcast."

- Dan S. Kennedy, Consultant/Copywriter, Author, NO BS series - www.NoBSBooks.com

"Steve Roller is a ‘go-to’ copywriter. When you need copy that connects with your prospect … that persuades him to take action … Steve’s the copywriter to turn to."

- Katie Yeakle, Executive Director, AWAI, www.awaionline.com