Yes, You Can Get to Where You Need to Be.
"My greatest joy is watching businesses and entrepreneurs get to where they want to be. My greatest professional passion is helping them down the path to achieving more. When they do it's good for all of us; the business owners, employees and families and the communities they are a part of. Can you think of a greater reward?"
Take a closer look. You'll
like what you find.
New Direction, New Frontiers
One specialty chemical manufacturer had two problems:
Too many skus for too many special applications which led to small orders.
Because of the large number of skus their sales force was spending too much time selling those small orders.
After listening to their sales force and doing some research, I suggested we bundle skus that fit together for common applications and markets.
I had application sheets and cut-away illustrations drawn to show where various chemicals could be used together within commonly used manufacturing processes, and matching TDSs took care of the technical data.
Case studies were completed to show previous success in several markets.
A sales presentation which highlighted the company's technology and formulas, plus a polished "leave behind", were created.
As one of the sales people for the company headed out the door for a sales call he said, "I finally have something I can show the streets!"
Two problems solved:
Order size went up because customers now knew they could "one stop shop".
Sales people spent less time on small orders and more time selling complete lines of chemicals bundled for customers.
Furthermore, new markets in other continents opened up. Distributors from Central America happened to find this company's materials and asked to open markets for bundled chemicals in their territories. This also led to markets in South America. Armed with confidence and the ability to duplicate success, the company then found distributors in China that were eager to sell this small company's products.
The whole process ended up as a win for them...while taking a bite out of their international, big boy competitors!
It's Not Beginners Luck
A B2B with a high ticket service asked me to divise a new strategy and sales funnel and copy from scratch. After only 3 months of development and 2 months of promotion they enjoyed the following results in months 6, 7 and 8:
$168,000 in their first new contract
$120,000 in their second contract
$210,000 in 3 new contracts
...proving that kind of roll isn't luck; it's sustainable because of a good plan and copy.
When 1+2 Doesn't Add Up to 3
Every once in a while things don't work out like people had planned. A mega-sized law firm believed they were seeing the drain of do-it-yourself online legal services erode their billable hours - and their confidence about their traditional future. They had contacted a technology firm to build an online tool much like the biggest online vendor of legal services had developed. About 1/3 of the way into development they brought me in to write and market a message for use of the free tool. Their goal was to have "free" turn into "billable" when user's questions fell outside the capabilities of the online software.
The problem? Their assumption about the drop-off in billable hours being tied to online services was only a guess. It wasn't grounded in fact. My market research proved people use online tools to AVOID lawyers, not be introduced to them. There was no proof what so ever that their assumptions would pan out - that "free" would lead to "billable" - because online users typically abandoned their plans if they could not complete them by themselves.
I reported my findings to a conference room of lawyers. Plans were dropped for the online tool before:
Any more money in development was spent.
Any costs in marketing the tool were incurred.
Any more time, which wouldn't lead to anticipated results, was wasted.
Instead I showed them how to develop a marketing campaign which would accomplish their real desire: To capture more clients for high ticket specialty cases by segmenting that part of the legal market, rather than trying to find it through the "free" back door.
The morale of the story: Good market research can save companies thousands of dollars and months of wasted time if it is done early.
Reaching the Difficult to Reach
A discount travel aggregator that offered a membership rewards program was having a hard time getting noticed by their target audience - banking executives. They wanted me to find a way to have large bank executives visit their website which hosted details about their rewards program for credit card users. Since the numbers of executives in their target audience was small I knew a passive online campaign would not attract enough attention. I suggested a direct approach and wrote a direct mail piece which included:
A "grabber" piece to get the letters opened.
A unique URL to a landing page to track activity from the letter to the landing page. This page had the ability to let the executives put in any destination they had visited or had knowledge of to see what they would save on airfare, hotels and restaurants using the program - usually over 80%.
A download which allowed executives to figure out the cost of the program based on their own membership data, along with statistics the company had compiled regarding membership loyalty when using the program.
An offer for an online demonstration showing how the program worked...basically a sales call.
Even from typically aloof bank executives the results were astounding:
49% of recipients read the letter and then went online and logged into the website.
75% of those downloaded the worksheet.
25% asked for a sales demo, which translated to 9.2% of this company's targeted audience turning into qualified leads.
Why You Can't Write Copy in a Vacuum
In the UK and Europe favorable leveraging and hedging rules make Forex investing something almost everyone does; from retirees to college students, for the the wealthy to those wanting to be wealthy.
This Forex training company had developed a new indicator which went on Forex charts. It had the advantage of combining multiple indicators into one with colored symbols which summarized when all things were favorable for a profitable trade. It was easy to use, highly visual and had a high degree of accuracy across multiple time frames. In Beta it did well and current users loved it...but wasn't selling in the real world. The company thought they just needed new copy.
A Hole In Their Strategy
Upon digging into it, however, I discovered the company had built the indicator to go on a charting system they were selling, while the rest of the financial world used a free charting system offered by every brokerage. When I asked, "How many charting systems do you sell outside of those to your own students?" they replied, "Very few." I suspected the addition of their charting system to the indicator was a roadblock to sales, so it was decided to quickly rework the indicator to go on the free charts used by millions. It wasn't a monumental shift in strategy, but research showed it could be a game changer.
Long Form Copy - Yes It Has It's Place!
I then wrote an online sales page for the indicator which covered every detail; how it worked, why it was so easy to use, why it was accurate and how others were making money with it. I had testimonials, screen shots and even a video showing it in action. The sales page was long...v-e-r-y long, but it played right into the mindset of Forex traders - all of their unprofitable frustrations, the benefits of having an easy to use, all-in-one indicator so they didn't have to jump from screen to screen or look at multiple indicators. In case you're wondering who would read such a long thing - those that are interested will always gobble up information if it hits their hot-button issues, solves a common problem and the copy resonates so the purchase is a no-brainer.
It was initially launched with just a cold email to their database instructing recipients to "check it out". Although the indicator was at a high price point, it sold well, way beyond company expectations. From this we decided to write copy for two-day training sessions for the indicator to be held throughout England in high-end hotels. Again, the sessions sold out for several thousand dollars and became booked months in advance, and although this was done several years ago the same copy and game plan is still in use today.
Even when asked to "just write copy" I always take the time to get to know the product, the company behind it, it's target audience and the competition. Sometimes the slightest insights or changes make all of the difference in the world.
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
- Mark Twain
I strive for the right words written the right way to the right people on every project. Your audience is not stupid. They have a brain and emotions. They know the difference between fluff and thought. But they are actually begging for someone to help them make a decision or they wouldn't be looking at you in the first place. That is the job of the right words.
So if you want the right words, you talk...I'll listen. Tell me about your project and your goals. Then let's go to work and get it right.