Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Landing Old Clients is as Important as Finding New Ones

Keeping in touch - your key to paying the bills.

I'm sure it's a familiar scenario. Carrying out work week-in week-out for a regular client and then it all goes quiet. But why? What went wrong?

  • Maybe they're struggling?
  • Closed/gone out of business?
  • Or worse (for you at least), they've found somebody else!

What can you do?
Well, assuming that they are still in business and looking to continue, contact is the first thing needed. But be careful, although a phone call is personal, it might be too personal at this stage. If somebody's struggling in life or business, they probably don't want to talk about it. Pride is a strong emotion and the last thing you want to do is offend somebody by offering a load of advice, no matter how heartfelt.
And if they have jumped ship, it could end up as an argument if you go in guns blazing - stamping on any chance of reconciliation.

While we're on the subject of phones, a text message is a definite no-no too. Text messages are too easy to read wrongly. How often have you read a text message that could have meant two different things? I've read plenty (probably guilty of a few too).
So put the phone down for a little while and hit the keyboard, not literally, but carefully craft an email message that doesn't plead, and is not condescending or patronising.

What should I say?

As with most copywriting, pretend you're at the shops or in the pub. How would you talk to a person you've done business with in the past, face to face? Probably something like this...

"Hey, how's it going?"
"Dave, how are ya?"

Not too informal, this isn't your best mate, but friendly and easy going. Express that you haven't heard from them in a while, and hope everything is going ok. If they've just been too busy, or tied up with other aspects of their life, the very least you've done is put yourself BANG in front of them again. And that matters.
You've not been nosey, just showing genuine concern and sometimes this is enough to make another person open up. 

If money is owed to you, and it's a company that normally pays promptly, don't even mention it (not yet anyway). They might be avoiding you due to embarrassing circumstances. Give them the chance to sort themselves out - even offering to help them in the meantime. 

I've used this technique to my advantage several times. Helping a business to get back on their feet is good for future return work - don't just look at the short term because: 

  • They'll want to retain you
  • They'll tell friends and other businesses how good you are
  • One day, you might need their help

What if they take advantage?
As ever, discretion is needed. I'm always inclined to look at the past relationship and decide from there. If they've always messed you around, complained continually (while others are happy) and regularly fail to pay their bills, walk away and say good riddance. It's too taxing on your own business to put up with people like that.

Feel good about yourself.
That's what you'll get from sorting out this dilemma. Being the "bigger" person and showing that you're there, but best of all, showing you care. It'll take you minutes to write an email and send it. The rest is up to them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is Your Business Losing Money With Boring Copy?

How are you going to stand out online?

The web is full of aspiring writers just waiting to write your online content. Everyone wants to work for you, some for nothing, some want a Queen's ransom. So, how do you choose from this myriad of apparent talent, all attempting to forge their mark amongst millions of others?

Choose someone who understands being ONLINE

There's not much time - so SHOUT!
It's proven. You have seconds, literally, to grab someone's attention when they take a look at your website. Take any longer and they're off to the next website, hungry for a certain "something" and, ironically, you've probably got it - you just didn't flaunt it fast enough. 
So it stands to reason that you choose a copywriter that can get hold of your prospect and give them a virtual shrug within seconds of your website loading.

Think about what you look at when you go to a new website. You'll probably find your eyes drawn to the top left area of the screen - this is your first chance to be the business they want, and then hold their attention.

Use this space for your company name, your logo or your tagline; it must tell the prospect exactly who you are, and what you can do in a very short space of time.

To get an idea, think about these:
  • Tell them what you can do - now
  • How you can relieve their pain/problem
  • Why you're better than the next website on Google
  • How you have the experience to help them
  • Why you're number 1

My company name can do all that?
Maybe not all of it, but your tagline can.
Its bursting with potential. It might take hours to come up with the perfect slogan, but if it encourages your potential customer to browse your website and find the real gold then you should make use of it. Avoid cliches, or well-known phrases; you want to stand out and show that you're different to all the other businesses ready to provide a similar service.

The dry-cleaner  We're actually proven to remove more stains!
Great! Immediately it appears to be a better service. I'll read on.

The computer repair shop  You pay nothing if we can't fix your pc!
So either way, you lose no money. That's got my attention.

The plumber  Free call-out if we're not there on time!
Nobody wants to waste their most precious commodity - time. In fact, there's a good chance the customer will actually hope the plumber is late to save money!

You get the idea.
So take a look at your business website or, better yet, ask someone else and see if they get the gist within the first few seconds of the page appearing. It might make the difference between a sale or another bounce.

If you're a small business looking to get online for the first time, check out Gold Coast Copy for a unique, four-page website, domain name and hosting for as little as $499!