Friday, March 12, 2010

How to Write Your Own Copy

I just got an email asking why in the world I keep linking people to Copyblogger.  It is, after all, a blog devoted to writing sales copy.

There are a couple of reasons:
  • They're better than me. I have to be honest. These folks have been doing this a lot longer than I have, and they have multiple authors with multiple foci and innovative ideas.
  • Most people don't have time to learn copy writing to the depth it's necessary to get the results they want and need; they prefer to have a professional write it for them.
  • Finally, I believe there enough people out there who are looking for my unique set of skills and attitude that Copyblogger isn't a threat to me.  In fact, I don't see copy writer as a threat to me. There's enough for everyone. 
Please feel free to study as much about copy writing as you want.  It's always good to be able to make a suggestion to your copy writer if you've read something that makes total sense to you that wasn't included in your copy.  Don't assume your copy writer will automatically agree with you but at that point, you're on your own; I won't make any suggestions for how to work with your copy writer.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No More Overdraft Fees on Debit Cards

I used to be under the impression that if there wasn’t enough money in my account to cover a purchase made using a debit card, the transaction would be rejected.  In fact, I’ve had it happen quite a few years ago so I had no reason to believe it had changed.  When I moved from the Seattle area to Minnesota, I discovered that was no longer the case.  When I arrived at my destination and had a chance to check my bank balance, you can imagine my shock to discover I had not one, but THREE overdraft charges.  I was, to say the least, distraught! 

When I called the bank, they were kind enough to refund the overdraft fees but the customer service representative told me that a debit card is not different than a check and if it is used when there aren’t funds to cover the transaction, an overdraft fee will be assessed.

That is about to change—well, at least for Band of America customers.  This morning, in a story from NPR, they announced that starting July 1st they will no longer do that—they will simply deny the charge. Hurray Bank of America!  I can’t help but think there will be a significant number of people flocking to their banks to open an account.

Not only is this good customer service, it’s a great marketing. It’s going to cost them almost no revenue and gain them much good will. I was told by my banker that the fees charged just barely cover the administrative costs of handling the overdraft. Simply denying the transaction is a simple computer program update.

I’m not quite prepared to change my account from the bank I love but I sure would if I were on the fence about whether to stay with them or not. Besides, I’m certain my bank is savvy enough to follow suit in short order. Actually, I think I may just call them this morning to find out when they plan to do that--hmmm, and while I'm at it, perhaps an email to their headquarters might be in order as well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dan Kennedy Books

Recently I've posted about Copyblogger and their 3-part series on Dan Kennedy (Copyblogger Updates Dan Kennedy and Dan Kennedy Translated To Online-Speak--part 3 isn't out yet but you can count on me letting you know when it is).  It occurred to me this morning that I haven't given you even one Dan Kennedy book recommendation.

The one the Sean Platt is using as his inspiration for this series is The Ultimate Marketing Plan: Find Your Hook, Communicate Your Message, Make Your Mark, but there are more that can be amazingly helpful, especially once you've seen how to turn his direct marketing ideas into online methods.  Enjoy the reading (he has a ton of books out there and I don't think a single one of them is bad).

Look forward to the next installment of the Copyblogger post in the series--I'll be telling you about it right here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quotes, Fear, and Safety

I’ve been “harvesting” quotes lately.  I love quotes and I like to use them to express what I believe to be true in a way that keeps me from going on for whole paragraphs about my feelings and beliefs.  Oh, and sometimes I like them for their humor or silliness.  Today, as I was finding little gems in my Twitter feed, I came across four of them that were so appropriate for my clients, their clients, and my readers that I decided to clump them together and write whole paragraphs about them—OK, not whole paragraphs but at least whole sentences.

Here they are:
  • "A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for." Grace Murray Hopper
  • Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby.
  • Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomfort. - Arnold Bennett, novelist
  • Love is random; fear is inevitable. -Orson Scott Card
You will notice they all have to do with safety and fear.  It’s so easy to get fearful about our businesses and what might happen if we do this or that or the other thing.  It’s natural—we all want to have the calm of a safe harbor but, paraphrasing Grace Murray Hopper, that’s not what we’re built for.

I’ve been thinking about how much fear has been holding me back and how much being safe has kept me from more success and, who knows, greatness?  How about you?  Are you letting your fear hold you back, too? Step out of your comfort zone a little. You can start with baby steps—don’t jump off a bridge when leaping into a swimming pool will do nicely.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dan Kennedy Translated to Online-Speak, Part 2

A few days ago I shared the beginning of a series of posts by our friends at copyblogger.  Part 2 of  how to put Dan Kennedy's direct marketing strategies to work online is available for your perusal. If you like the first one, you're going to love the second; Lessons 6-10 from One of the World's Highest-Paid Copywriters.

Didn't see the original post? Not to worry, here's where to find 14 Lessons Learned from One of the World's Highest-Paid Copywriters.

Copyblogger has always had posts of the highest caliber and it's definitely one of my favorite blogs to read. I hope you enjoy them as well.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Social Media and the Women It Loves

Mashable wants us to know Why Social Media Means Big Opportunities for Women.  Take a look at what they're saying and chime in on how you feel about it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Which Social Media Should I Use?

There are so many new ways to get into the social media marketing mix that you could spend all day, every day, keeping up with all that updating and and responding to your existing/potential clients.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.  In fact, it's pretty much the tip of the iceburg:
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Blogging
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Discussion boards
  • Ning
  • Squidoo
  • Twitter
As I said, by no means all the ways of reaching an audience.  What's an entrepreneur to do?

You have a few choices:
  • Spend more time marketing and less time sleeping
  • Have your VA do it for you
  • Pick the options that are best for you and develop a routine
If you have the time to spend more on your marketing efforts, great.  You might even discover you like it.  If you have more money than time, have your VA do it for you.  If, however, your budget doesn't stretch quite that far, think about the third option.  Pick the 2, 3, or 4 that will get you the most bang for your buck.  I can't imagine anyone not taking part in the Facebook phenomenon, blogging is where you get to build rapport with your audience, Twitter is the buzz word of the day. These three can be a great place to start or to focus on your marketing until you have enough business that you can easily pay someone else to do it for you so you can go back to working in your business rather than on your business.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Copyblogger Updates Dan Kennedy

Sean Platt over at has started a 3-part series on 14 Lessons Learned from One of the World's Highest-Paid Copywriters.  Dan Kennedy gets more money to write one page of advertising copy than any other copywriter anyone knows of and that's because he's the best at what he does.  In his book, The Ultimate Marketing Plan, he lays out how to market just about anything--using direct mail-style marketing.  There's definitely nothing wrong with that and there is still a huge place for that in the marketing world.  We, however, are primarily focused on online marketing and Sean helps bridge the gap between Dan Kennedy's style and our needs.

The first part of the series is great--I'm looking forward to the next two and I know you'll want to read them--and put them into practice--too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

If it's Good Enough for Coca-Cola...

According to a news story that hit the internet last month, Coke and Unilever are using social media marketing enough that they're cutting their "regular" marketing budget. 

Here's the story from New Media Age:
Coca-Cola and Unilever are shifting their digital focus away from traditional campaign sites and towards community platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, as social media begins to dictate their marketing activity in 2010.
The FMCG giants are moving away from sites created on a campaign-by-campaign basis in favour of investment in existing communities. While both companies will continue to create campaign sites for certain brands in the immediate future, they have said the long-term future lies with social media on platforms populated by their target consumers.
Coca-Cola will position its official Facebook and YouTube pages as the lead online channels for upcoming international activity for its Coke Zero and Fanta brands, new media age understands.

Prinz Pinakatt, the Coca-Cola Company’s interactive marketing manager for Europe, said, “In some cases some of our campaigns won’t need a site. In most cases these will still exist as it’s the most obvious destination for a consumer, but it might only be a page linking to YouTube encouraging people to join the community there.
“We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform,” Pinakatt added.
 My question: If it's good enough for Coca-Cola and the folks who bring us such products as Dove, Lipton, and Slim-Fast don't you think it should be good enough for the rest of us? 

I know--if it's so good for you, why don't I do more of it?  It's very possibly the biggest cop-out there is but the truth of the matter is that I don't want my business to grow to a point where I need to hire people.  I'm very happy with the way my business is going.  If I wanted to do marketing and grow my business I'd be doing the whole social media marketing gig.

"Ah, but now you have a blog," I hear you saying.  Yes, I do, and the reason I do is something you want to think about as well.  While most of my clients have blogs to get their name out there and show people why it would be a good idea to do business with them, many of them are also utilizing the system to help keep their current clients up-to-date on information that will help them in their fields.

Back to the whole Coke and Unilever thing.  When the big boys start using social media we know it's not just a fad--it's big and the sooner you get on the band wagon, the sooner you can take advantage of its many benefits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine’s Day movie review

I’m sure all you guys out there are looking for a movie to take your favorite gals to see and the gals are looking for something to be taken to.

Along comes Dear John, last weekend’s biggest money maker.  Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  Maybe it is.  I thought about checking it out so first I checked out the reviews—not so great.  There a ton of them out there—a quick google search will bring up more than any sane person would want to read—but here’s the one I chose to share with you. 

Whatever you do, wherever you go, have a great day—I know I’m going to and I don’t even have a honey to share it with.  Many years ago I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to do a little of that self-love thing.  If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to buy chocolates, flowers, and have a restaurant meal that includes cloth napkins.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Facebook Becomes Spamming and Phishing's Number One Hot Spot

The Times of London has been tracking the problem of spamming and phishing on Facebook. "A tidal wave of spam has been predicted this year as cyber criminals are increasingly targeting social networks such as Facebook." (Facebook Spam) Chances are we've recently all gotten some kind of spam on our Facebook accounts but according to this article, "In 2008 there were virtually no Facebook phishing messages. Today Facebook is the second most phished organisation online and, if current trends continue, is on track to take the top spot in 2010."

I don't know about you but I'm not thrilled about this.  The article doesn't tell us what to do about this invasion of our online privacy.  I'll be looking into this and reporting what I discover.  In the meantime, if you know of articles or other information that will help us keep the spammers at bay, let me know and I'll pass it along.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Advertising Money is Going Into Social Media

Mashable, the Social Media Guide, says, "Money spent on social media-related advertising is already expected to grow significantly this year" and they have the survey to prove it. Take a look to see what the buzz is all about.