As a marketer, you rarely rest on your laurels. Your next marketing campaign is always around the corner. Of course, you want to sell more – and at higher prices – but your prime goal should be to serve your customers in the best way you can, not just sell to them.
You have an obligation to your consumers. So many prospects need help with problems your products or services can solve, but many prospects are very wary about being “sold to”. They are skeptical – and it’s no surprise considering the bombardment of advertising we each face every day.
Persuasion is the key to weakening skepticism. Your marketing promotions need to motivate and engage your prospects. That’s where these 10 powerful copywriting tips can help you.
Tip 1 – Know your prospect.
This is vital. That’s because your prospect is the most important person in your business. Every marketer should know who their prospect is, their hopes and fears and dreams. What are their problems? What do they worry about the most?
You have to know them as well as a close friend. That is the only way you can tailor your products or services to their needs. You can learn about your prospect from visiting online forums dedicated to the problems your product targets. Read the messages and questions posted – it will give you invaluable insight.
You can also contact existing customers with questionnaires, asking how you can improve your service or products. But remember to offer them an incentive for helping you, whether that’s a free gift or a discount on their next purchase.
Tip 2 – Write the way you speak
Good copy is conversational – it’s like you are speaking to a friend. And like all good friendships, they take time to establish trust and respect. You need to spend time with your prospects without selling – simply offering advice, good content on your website and so on.
You must make it sound like you are speaking face-to-face with your prospect. Without trust, you can’t sell them anything. Don’t use difficult vocabulary – keep it simple and sound friendly and approachable, not standoffish and superior.
Tip 3 – Focus on their thoughts
You need to step into the conversation going on in your prospect’s mind. What distracts them over and over again? What are their nagging worries? What problem needs your solution?
Once you’ve followed their train of thought, you have to attract your prospect’s attention with an eye-catching headline that uses at least 3 of the 4 U’s (urgency, usefulness, uniqueness and ultra-specificity). Help them focus on your solution and how it will improve their life.
Tip 4 – Write at least ten headlines
Your first attempt at a headline will never be your best. You need to write at least 10 to get into the flow of producing the eye-catching headline we mentioned in Tip 3.
Compelling headlines can take time to create, but they can make or break your promotion. If your prospect isn’t drawn to your headline, there’s no chance they’ll read the read of your text.
Tip 5 – Have a powerful and punchy first sentence
The purpose of the first sentence is to get your prospect to read the next sentence. And keep on reading the rest of your sentences. The first sentence sets the scene of your promotion and tells your reader what to expect from reading your message. Long-winded sentences will simply make people stop reading.
Your prospects want to find out information fast. They want quick solutions to their problems. When it comes to improving their life, they have little patience, so you need to show them in your opening sentence that you can solve their problem quickly and easily. People are innately lazy – we don’t want to have to put a lot of effort into sorting out our problems. We all want easy solutions.
Tip 6 – Be specific about the benefits
It’s not enough to say a health supplement will give your prospect more energy. You need to be more specific, more compelling. Prospects buy on an emotional level, so instead tell your prospect that she’ll be able to go dancing like she used to…spend the day playing on the beach with her kids without feeling tired…start her own business...
Your prospect will imagine herself doing all these things – but only if she buys your vitamin supplement. She’ll start to believe that you can solve her tiredness and she’ll be persuaded to buy.
Tip 7 – Give proof
All natural health and self-help marketers must provide proof that their products work. You should never neglect this vital strategy.
Customer testimonials help, but they aren’t enough. Besides, you don’t want to wait for recommendations before you start seriously promoting your product.
For example, existing scientific proof can show that the vitamins and minerals in your health supplement provide the benefits you are promoting. Experts in the natural health industry can also back up your promotion, or you can use research trial results to provide proof.
Credible proof uses figures, facts, quotes, charts, predictions, awards and so on. Promise is important, but proof is the clincher – it reassures the prospect and convinces them your product can work for them.
Tip 8 – Offer a guarantee
A money-back guarantee gains your prospect’s trust. It removes all risk and encourages them to try your product in the safe knowledge that they can get their money back within a set period of time if they aren’t satisfied.
It’s important to give a guarantee with a timeframe, such as a 60 or 90-day money back guarantee. The longer the timeframe, the more confidence the prospect will have in the success of the product.
Tip 9 – A clear call-to-action
Your prospects should never feel confused when reading your sales communications. You need to tell them what to do next – in every stage of your promotion.
Remember that people like easy options, so telling your prospect clearly how to order your product will more likely get the result you want – a sale. Make it simple for them and uncomplicated. Place a tear-off order form with your letter. Use lots of action verbs and use the word “free” as well.
Tip 10 – Offer a gift
Everyone likes a gift, a free premium. Your prospect will feel like she is getting extra value if you offer a gift with her sale. And they will especially like the fact they can keep the gift even if they ask for their money back later.
It increases your credibility and your prospect is more likely to turn into a repeat customer. And it will create good testimonials that you can add to your next sales letter.
A free gift can be a health booklet, an extra bottle of vitamins, a free teleseminar…just as long as it’s relevant to the product you’re selling.
Of course, there are lots more copy tips that will increase your sales, but if you use these 10 power-packed tips, you’ll be guaranteed to sell more products, and more often.
Two nations, one language? Well, kind of. While Britain and the USA share English as their main language, there are also lingual differences that separate them and cause all manner of cultural confusion. And then on top of that you have regional accents…
Most people know that there are several spelling differences between British and American English, as well as totally different words, but might not be au fait with them. I have spent many years as a proofreader and editor working on "American" texts and soon got to learn the variations – which were more than I first realized. (I'm from England and know from experience "American English" is more straightforward than the British English I had to learn in school.)
So, let's look at those differences. In order to make them clearer, I'll list them into categories, starting with the two most common differences, “-ise” and “-ize” and “-our” and “-or” spellings.
-ise and -ize
British people write “realise”, “visualise” and “stigmatise” and American write “realize”, “visualize” and “stigmatize”. It should be noted, however, that British English is increasingly using the “ize” spelling. You'll find many "-ize" suffixes in The Oxford Dictionary. I tend to refer to The Oxford Dictionary when proofreading and editing "British English" texts.
-our and -or
This is a common difference between British and American spellings. Britons write “colour”, “favour”, “honour” and “neighbour”, whereas Americans write “color”, “favor”, “honor” and “neighbour”. The words are, however, pronounced the same regardless of the spellings.
There are also some lesser-known differences:
-re and –er
In London you would visit a theatre in the centre of town only a few metres from your flat. In New York you would visit a theater in the center of town only a few meters from your apartment.
-ce and -se
In American English the “se” spelling is used for these words: defense, offense, pretense. However, in British English the spellings are: defence, offence and pretence.
-yse and -yze
In addition to that, there are also differences between words ending in “yse” and “yze”. In British English the “yse” ending prevails – analyse, paralyse, and in America, the “yze” endings are used – analyze and paralyze.
Oe and ae
There are further differences in the use or “oe” and “ae”. In British English, for example, we say “oestrogen” and “aesthetic” whereas in the United States the spellings are “estrogen” and “esthetic”. Notice that both words begin with “e”.
The dropped “e”
American English tends to drop the “e” in many of its spellings, preferring “aging” to British English’s “ageing” and “likable” instead of “likeable”.
-ogue and -og
In British English we refer to a dialogue or a catalogue, but in America it is a dialog or a catalog. Notice that the “ue” is skipped entirely in American English.
In Britain there are travellers who like travelling because it fulfils them, whereas in America there are travelers who like traveling because it fulfills them. Note how double consonants appear and disappear in each example.
Men in England have moustaches, whereas men in America have mustaches. In Britain people like to watch TV programmes, but in America they watch TV programs. A person in Britain will pay their bills by cheque, but an American will write a check. British people have autumn, whereas Americans have fall.
One language, many differences!
KHO LANGUAGE SERVICES and ACABUS form partnership to bring comprehensive career enhancement services to students and business professionals around the world
KHO Language Services and AcaBus Solutions are proud to announce their partnership, which combines their respective expertise in helping students and business professionals to establish and progress their careers.
The partnership will unite extensive experience and services in academic and business writing, recruitment, career coaching and consultancy – all of which ensure specialist guidance for clients throughout their academic and professional careers.
Together, AcaBus Solutions and KHO Language Services offer:
Academic Services: editing and proofreading services that ensure any type of academic text is polished and ready for publication or grading. One-to-one English language tuition is available to students and academics who use English as a second language (ESL) and wish to increase their competency and confidence, and their prospects. The extensive academic coaching and consultancy service offers tailor-made advice to help pave the way for clients’ successful academic or business careers.
Business Services: writing, copywriting, editing and proofreading of all types of business documents and for all types of businesses, from startups to established companies. The business coaching and consultancy services offer expert guidance to managers, business owners, leaders and all varieties of entrepreneurs in all fields like management, human resources, public relation, strategy, marketing, law, engineering, science etc. There is also a tailor-made business English tuition service for professionals who use English as a second language.
Elias Sander, Managing Director of AcaBus Solutions, said: ‘At AcaBus Solutions we are excited to join forces with KHO Language Services, as this venture will leverage our expertise by providing a more holistic range of solutions for our growing base of students and professionals seeking a more rounded range of services. This strategic partnership will also enhance the presence of AcaBus and KHO Language Services in our respective spheres of influence, supporting the growth of the venture and our companies in the process.’
Kay Hutchings-Olsson from KHO Language Services said: ‘The partnership is exciting because together both our companies provide a combination of in-depth services that help our clients progress throughout their academic career as well as their business life. We can help them every step of the way.’
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Punctuation is something that even native English speakers get wrong from time to time. However, punctuation is a vital part of your writing; it's not something to be careless about or use incorrectly. If you use incorrect punctuation, you run the risk of completely altering the meaning of what you write, and confusing your reader.
Here's a little exercise I use with my own students to show why correct punctuation is important.
Take a look at the letter from Jill to Jack and decide, using punctuation, whether she is in love with him or is trying to break up with him:
I want a man who knows what love is all about you are generous kind thoughtful people who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior you have ruined me for other men I yearn for you I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart I can be forever happy will you let me be yours
Now compare your changes with those below:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy — will you let me be yours?
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
As you can see, there are two versions: Jill is in love with Jack AND trying to break up with him, depending on the punctuation used. So bear in mind next time you write something that punctuation is not just about a few dots and dashes – it has the potential to alter the meaning of your work if you use it incorrectly.
Click here for a guide to punctuation.
Emails are an effective and convenient means of communicating information and have revolutionized how we operate in the business world.
Less intrusive than phone calls and faster than letters, it’s hard to imagine how any company could now operate without email. Business letters are becoming a thing of the past as more and more of us use emails as our primary means of communicating with clients, suppliers, customers and colleagues.
Although emailing can be as “chatty” as telephoning and far less formal than letter-writing, there are still some important rules to follow in order to make a good impression. Email etiquette is vital if you want your company to appear professional, helpful, approachable and, most of all, worth doing business with.
Follow these rules for email success:
• Always write an informative subject line – never leave it blank
• Make sure the email is personally addressed
• Separate each paragraph with a blank space so the text is easier to read
• Be clear and concise – long sentences are distracting and boring
• Quickly get to the point of your email
• Check your spelling and facts
• Never use only CAPITAL LETTERS
• Don’t use smiley faces or other emoticons (unless you know the recipient very well) or write your text in bright colours
• Never use emotive or offensive language
• Use a legible font and font size
• Make sure that all necessary files are attached
• Think twice before you click Reply to All – do you really want everyone on the list to read your reply?
• Don’t use email to discuss confidential information – no email is private
• Don’t use the abbreviations often found in text messages (i.e. “I would like 2 C U.”)
• End the email well with the next step clearly stated (i.e. “I look forward to your reply.”)
• Always proofread before you click Send!
Remember: your email can be forwarded to many people – that is why it is vital to make a good on-line impression. Use correct and courteous business language and take a little time to construct your message. After all, once you have clicked the Send button, it is too late to make any changes.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to start or end a business email or letter.
Should you be fairly informal or use a more formal (and polite) salutation? And what about "Yours sincerely", "Yours faithfully", "Best wishes" etc? When do you use them and are there set rules?
Well, there are certain rules to follow when beginning and ending a letter and formal emails, especially when writing for business matters.
While it is okay to write "Hi John" or "Hello Sue" to certain colleagues and end your correspondence with "'Bye for now", "Regards" or simply your name, for more formal situations it is best to following the rules set out below:
• When you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to use "Dear Sir" (for a man) or "Dear Madam" (for a woman). Sometimes, you don’t even know the gender of the recipient of your letter. In this case use "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam".
• Each of the above salutations, because you have not used a name, must end with "Yours faithfully".
• If you know the name of the person you are writing to, for instance, “Dear Mr Brown”, then you can end the letter with "Yours sincerely", "Best wishes", "Kind regards" etc.
Thanks to emails, the way the language is used in business has changed. It is now acceptable to use semi-formal or informal greetings and endings. It is likely that most people never use "Dear sir" or "Yours faithfully" in an email. It is seen as rather old-fashioned and overly formal.
However, it is still good to understand the rules, because you never know – one day you just might need to write a formal but very important correspondence.
KHO Language Services
You might not be a blogger, but this article from Boost Blog Traffic gives you a great easy-to-read lesson on how to self-edit your writing when it comes to the fundamentals of English grammar.
This is essential knowledge regardless of what you sort of texts you write. Some of the English grammar you learnt at school may seem outmoded now, but there are of course still rules to follow!
How to Write Correctly: The Busy Blogger’s Guide to English Grammar won't apply to academic or formal business writing, but if you have your own website and want to write in a more conversational tone, this article is very helpful reading.
Read the article here.
A contraction is simply a shortened version of a word – the contracted form.
We often contract or shorten words when we speak and nowadays contractions are popular in everyday spoken English, where the contracted form of “to be” is the most widely used. For example, “I am” becomes “I’m” and “We are” becomes “We’re”.
There are, of course, many examples of other auxiliary verbs that are also contracted in colloquial English. To avoid any confusion over how to use contractions, check the list below for the most common examples:
Am: I’m not going to work today.
Is: She’s coming to the party.
Susan’s at the office.
Who’s at the door?
There’s no need to shout!
Are: You’re my best friend.
They’re on holiday in Thailand.
We’re going on holiday tomorrow.
Has: She’s been to Thailand twice before.
It’s been ages since I last saw you!
John’s gone to the office.
What’s he been up to?
Who’s been told about the cancellation?
Have: I’ve finished the report at last.
They’ve got three dogs.
We’ve been to Thailand twice before.
Had: She’d been waiting all day for his call.
We’d better hurry!
They’d better be on time.
I’d better be on time.
Will: I’ll get you a cup of tea.
Susan’ll get the cups.
What’ll we do now?
He’ll be there in five minutes.
They’ll wait for you at the station.
That’ll be the day!
Would: I’d like a cup of tea, please.
She’d love to travel to Thailand.
They’d prefer to travel to India.
We’d like some tea.
It is important to remember that using contractions makes whatever you say more informal and for that reason contractions are more commonly used in spoken English.
However, with the growing use of emails and text messaging, it appears that English is becoming more informal in general and therefore the use of contractions is increasing.
Nonetheless, it is important to remember that contractions should be avoided in all types of formal writing, including business letters, essays and exams. In these situations you must use the full form of the auxiliary verbs otherwise you risk your work not being taken seriously.
What did the Romans do for us? Well, apart from straight roads and central heating, they also left us the legacy of Latin.
Latin is an ancient language that risks dying out for good but you would be surprised at how often Latin words appear in everyday English usage. You have probably heard many phrases and perhaps wondered what some of them mean. Well, check out this list for the most common Latin phrases used in the English language.
Ad hoc - For this purpose, improvised, made up in an instant
She had to do the filing, photocopying and printing as well as lots of other ad hoc tasks.
Ad infinitum - Without a limit, endlessly
He talked ad infinitum about his holiday in Scotland.
Agenda - Things to be done
Right, let's look at the meeting's agenda.
Alias - Otherwise
John Brown's alias was John Smith.
Alibi - elsewhere
Her alibi was that on Saturday night she was at a friend's party.
Alter ego - Other, an alternative self
It was almost as if he had an alter ego when he played guitar.
Bona fide - Genuine, sincere
He said he was a bona fide plastic surgeon.
Carpe Diem - Seize the day
Their school motto was Carpe Diem.
Circa (c.) - About
He said it was circa fifty miles to London.
Ego - Consciousness of one's own identity
He has such a huge ego!
Et cetera (etc.) - And the rest
He likes chocolate - milk, dark, white, truffles, nougat, fondants, et cetera.
In flagrante delicto - In the act of committing some sort of offence
He was caught in flagrante delicto with the manager's wife.
In vitro - In a test tube (literally means "in glass")
They conceived their baby through in vitro fertilization.
Per annum - Per year
She gets paid only $20,000 per annum.
Persona non grata - A non-acceptable person
After his antics at the party, he really is persona non grata.
Pro bono - Without charge, for the public good
The plastic surgeon said he would do pro bono work for the charity.
Rigor mortis - The rigidity of death
The corpse was now in the state of rigor mortis.
Terra firma - Solid ground
After the boat trip she was glad to be on terra firm again.
Status quo - The current state of affairs
He was keen to keep the status quo at work.
Vice versa - The order being reversed
Cats hate dogs and vice versa.
So, as you can see, there are many Latin words still in use today when we write and speak English, showing that it has certainly greatly influenced the English language. Perhaps you might like to add a few Latin phrases here and there to your writing to help keep this fascinating language alive.
The Key Blog
Hello and welcome to The Key Blog! This is where you'll find information and tips on writing, proofreading, and the English language in general. Feel free to use the articles in your own e-zines, blogs or websites etc., as long as you include the resource box. Thank you!