If you’re only using Internet based advertising to promote your bricks and mortar business, you should reconsider your marketing strategy.
First of all, using only one channel to market your business is always folly. If that particular medium fails for some reason, or is no longer available, you’ll have placed all your eggs into one basket and lost them. Continue reading →
You are doomed. Let’s face it, if you continue market your business as if the copy on your website, brochures, and sales letters doesn’t mean squat, then you’ll continue to have low response until your client base has dried up.
The problem with most businesses that have to sell their investment vehicles and services, is they don’t fully comprehend the sheer magnitude and power behind a well written sales piece.
Think about a really well written sales letter, for example. The sales letter gets delivered into the hands of your prospect directly, and instead of hearing your message on the radio, your prospect is actually holding it and reading it. Even if you only have that prospects attention for 4 seconds, that’s probably a lot more time of undivided attention that a potential client will ever give an online ad, TV commercial or some other form of advertising.
One or Two Little Things Can Make All the Difference in the World
Years ago, I sent out two groups of sales letters. One batch had just my marketing message on it, with a picture of the item I was selling on it.
The other sales message was exactly the same except for two things. The second sales message had a dollar bill attached to it, and the headline read: “Can You Guess Why I’m Sending You This $1 Bill?”
The second ad drew a much higher rate of response than the first one of course.
As the years went by and I studied more and more about the art of copywriting, I learned that not only do big changes in copy make a difference, but also little things as well.
I got this one from the famous marketer, Dan Kennedy: A company ran two ads trying to sell a musical item using very similar wording.
The first one said, “Put Music into your life!”
The second one said, “Puts Music into your life!”
The response on the second ad was much greater than the first. The reason? The first ad indicated that YOU were putting music into your life, while the second one indicated that the music was being put into your life by SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE.
One indicated effort on the part of the prospect while the other did not. So, having said all that, it’s a fairly easy assumption that it’s the little things in your copy can have drastic effects on your response rates and bottom line.
Ignore These at Your Own Risk !!!!
Narcissistic Copy —The biggest error I see on most real estate investment and development firm’s website copy, is what I like to call “Narcissistic Copy”. This is landing page copy, either written or paid for, (wasted money in my opinion) that focuses on the host business and ignores the wants and needs of the consumer. It usually tells the prospective client how great the company is, how many awards the company has won, and the pedigree of the sales team. In other words: a lot of bragging. When a client lands on your site, they don’t care about the volume of your business or how great you are. What they want to know is, “What’s on it for me?” So, your copy should almost always address what benefits you can provide for them, and the more benefits that you can list for them the more your message will resonate with your prospects.
Uniqueness —In a raft of penguins, a bright pink one will definitely stand out. You need to explore and crow about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What is it about your firm that makes yours stand out from the pack? Is there some aspect of your company that is unique or does it specialize in some aspect of your market that you can focus on?
Proof of Greatness —Probably one of the most overlooked parts of advertising copy when it comes to real estate firms, is the use of Testimonials. Nothing speaks louder than a testimonial from a happy client, especially when they are willing to put their names on it. If you have clients that have been doing business with you for years, they will more than likely be happy to give your firm their endorsement.
Use Recognized Symbols—The use of well-known symbols from organizations that you are affiliated with can be a major boost. If you’ve been featured on a TV show or given them an interview, it really helps to have their logo on your landing page or brochures with the words, “As seen on NBC’s Today Show!” Other seals and emblems on your site, such as the Better Business Bureau’s icon, can lend credibility as well.
Logos, seals, and certification icons can add credibility to your business’s copy.
Guarantees — If your company has any types of guarantees or other assurances that can be leveraged in your copy, it will make your offer so much sweeter. If your firm doesn’t offer any types of guarantees, you may want to have a brain storming session to try to figure out a way to create one.
If you are missing any of these important, persuasive elements in your copy, you may want to consult or hire a solid copywriter to craft them for you. Sure, on the front end you’ll have to spend some good money, but the copy you use can convert for years to come.
If you’re looking for a solid copywriter that will take you by the hand and give your company’s copy the care and attention that it deserves, then contact me at the info below.
Just to give you an example of the dynamic, and persuasive copy I have found on some of the major player’s sites, I have taken this opportunity to present some of it to you. You may want to buckle your seatbelts so that you won’t get sucked it to the vortex of this dynamic copy, and then find that your bank account is empty at the end of it.
I’m talking convincing stuff here!
Here is the epic copy:
“Our company has been in business for over 20 years and has won several XYZ awards for excellence. We also have 30 highly educated partners that are committed to excellence. Since the inception of our firm, we have managed well in excess of 50 billion dollars in properties around the world. Our company also closes 5 transactions every second, making it the preferred hub of real estate investors in more than 30 countries. Our leadership is world renowned for its underwriting, negotiating, analysis, and positioning.”
Of course, the problem with this copy is that they have forgotten the overriding, galactic, and fundamental question that every prospect wants answered which is, “What’s in it for me?” Not only that, but they are assuming that everyone that goes to their website is a college educated and finance savvy prospect which is probably NOT the case.
Whenever you talk to a firm about these problems, the first words out of their mouths is, “Oh, we can’t fix that! We really don’t want to redesign our site at this time.”
I recently wrote a free report on this subject that showed exactly how to fix this problem without having to go to the trouble of getting your web designer to change things. You can access it by going to my site and grabbing it. But I can assure you here that you do not have to redesign your website, all you need to do is to have different words on the page.
I do explain how to redesign the site in case you want to go all out with a high converting make over, but it’s not necessary. Here’s a few things that I covered:
What you should know about the trends in real estate marketing online – If you’ve had any doubts, this should “blow your mind”! – Page 1
The factors you need on your landing page so that you’ll get much higher conversions – Pages 2,7, & 10
How to grab your prospects with a Great Value Proposition – Page 3
How to use language that every prospect will understand and respond to – Pages 3 & 4
Why you should ALWAYS use testimonials and how to structure them so that your audience will see you as an authority in your market – Pages 4, 5 & 6
What key element you should use in your call to action to push prospects over the edge and convert into a high paying clients – Page 8
How to completely make-over your site so that it becomes an Ultimate Conversion Machine Pages 7-11
You Don’t Have to Read a Lot of Crap!
This report is concise and gets right to the point. I didn’t want to waste your time with a 500+ page eBook that was loaded with all kinds of fluff and information that wasted your time. This report really does cut through the crap and gets right to the heart of the matter, which is how to turn a zombie-like landing page into a high converting, client magnet.
I’m sure you’re thinking that you could get this kind of information anywhere, and you’d be right. You can bounce around the Internet for hours trying to gather the same information or try to wade through a 700 page book that’ll eventually sit unread on your hard drive.
You can get just the info you really need to know and start converting prospects into clients immediately…
The choice is yours.
Once again, head on over to my site and get your free copy now here:
Usually, you hear all kinds of okeydokey about how great blogs and social media can be for getting customers, clients, and prospects into your online door. And while a lot of that hype is partly true, I can assure you that there are other methods of traffic generation that works just as well.
Before I get too deep into those waters, I just want to make sure that you realize there are a lot ways (either paid or free) that you can use to get people to your landing page; however, none of that will matter much if you don’t have converting copy on your page to get prospects to take the action that you want them to take. So please, a little respect for the copywriting industry, ok?
In the realm of real estate investment and development firms, many of the CEO’s, firm partners and players in those fields are a pretty sophisticated bunch. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about your average 8th grade internet reader here, I’m talking about highly educated engineers, investors and CEO’s that are running these companies. These people are a different mindset that regular Internet marketers.
The Hard Lesson I Learned From Sending Army Bands $1.00
To give you an illustration of what I’m talking about, I’ll draw on my own personal experience to show you what I mean.
Years ago, my wife and I manufactured and sold an item to military bands around the world. This was an easy sell, because the bands all needed the item we sold badly, so we didn’t really have to sell the item so hard. However, being the entrepreneur and marketing wannabe that I am, I decided to see if I could get a higher conversion rate out of the sales letters I was sending out.
I was fortunate enough to have gotten a list of the army bands from the department of defense that even had the names of the supply sergeants for each band as well. I borrowed an idea from the famous copywriter, John Carlton, and stapled a dollar bill to the top of each sales letter I sent to the supply sergeants to really get their attention.
To cut a long epic short, I got a lot of calls from army bands, alright. They called me off the hook to explain to me that I couldn’t send them money like that because it was considered a bribe, plain and simple.
So, the big lesson here is: Right idea…Wrong format!
It’s the same thing with the sales letters and different formats you’d use with sophisticated clients in the real estate industry; certain marketing formats will work much better with these types of clients.
If you’re dealing with high end real estate investment and development executives, then a well-researched and data driven white paper is the way to go. As it turns out, these professionals love data and information, so white papers, if they are done right can be a great marketing tool.
Within Striking Distance with this Strategy
Here’s the main difference between white papers and blogs, sales pages, and other types of marketing vehicles:
White papers are written in a much more formal tone than other types of information products and they are very similar in nature to case studies and research papers
Good white papers use graphics sparingly and the use of well researched charts and graphs is a must. If you use a bar graph, then make sure you list a credible resource for the material that you are presenting
White papers can be given away liberally and it doesn’t take very long before you can actually get your study into the hands of the right people
When marketing with a white paper, make sure you keep the marketing aspect of it light so that it does not appear that you are marketing with it. If you do put any type of marketing message with your white paper, make sure that it is brief and at the very end of your report in your bio section
White papers can be great marketing vehicles, and can be used to get your marketing message out without posting loads of ads on your website of blog. If you’re interested in writing your own white paper, here are some links to sites that can get you started:
If you have skipped this important step in creating your sales material, be it your brochures, website landing page, or direct mail pieces, then the chances of converting your prospects into cash buyers or clients has been greatly compromised.
Knowing your target market and how to relate to them in your sales material is extremely important. The more you know about your prospects and what keeps them awake at night, will help you nail your copy and offer so that you will have an opportunity to gain them as clients.
You certainly wouldn’t talk to a prospective client in the real estate development business as you would talk to a software engineer; there’s a completely different voice, terminology, and desires that will have to be addressed.
A Hard-Core Marketing Lesson That I Learned from a Pack of Guru Wannabes
I sometimes frequent an online forum where Internet marketers and wannabes hang out and sell their wares. I decided to hang out in the section where many of these entrepreneurs were selling their various products and analyze the copy they were using to sell their products with.
I would then send a pitch to these entrepreneurs and tell them where they were going wrong with their copy and how they could sell their stuff better. It didn’t take very long before I got annihilated by several of these sellers.
As it turns out, many of the sellers that I contacted were doing quite well with their products and their copy, and they told me in no uncertain terms how stupid I was. (Man, do these young Internet marketers get snarky!) As it turns out, I had failed to study the people I was trying to prospect to and how their products are sold. The same copy that I was using for motivational speakers is not the same copy I could use on this bunch, which resulted in an epic fail on my part.
Writing to Everyone is a Waste
One of the lessons I just had to learn was writing copy the same way for everyone is just not going to work, just like marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.
Usually, when I’m writing for a client, I have rather extensive research form that I make the
clients fill out before I write a single word. Actually, I have several of these sheets for them to fill out, and I usually ask them to send me every scrap of advertising copy they can to include past and current brochures, radio or TV scripts, and any other types of copy they may have. If they have any demographic studies on their target market, I’ll ask for that too.
On these forms, this is what I’m basically looking for:
Who are your clients and customers? If you’re a real estate investment firm, the clients that you are probably dealing with are successful 30 to 50 year olds that are interested in passive investments and are college educated. You need to gather as much information about your primary marketing target as you can. This is an extremely important step that you cannot skip!
Are these prospects able to buy what you have to offer? Marketing to prospects that have no money or cannot see the value of your services is of no use to you. So determining who and where your best prospects are is another important consideration.
If you already have clients, what do they look like? The famous marketer, Dan Kennedy, once had to write copy for a business that sold dump truck tarps to construction companies. Kennedy actually went to the buyer’s offices and hung out with them so he could get a good idea of the language, work environment, and day to day dealings these buyers of tarps had. He even wanted to know how they ate their lunch, and he interviewed quite a few of them. This type of research is vital to getting your marketing message across.
What do your current clients and happy patrons like about your product and services? You can easily send out surveys to past clients to find out what they liked about your business. If you offer them a reason, like a free gift to fill out your survey, chances are they will be more than happy to give you this data.
Just like a good copywriter, if you do your research on the front end, you will fare much better in your marketing message and will be able to craft compelling copy at the onset. Knowing everything you possibly can about your prospects will save you thousands of dollars as well as prequalification in your target market.
Jump On This FREE Offer Now!
If you would like to know how you can easily transform your online landing page into an automatic lead generating machine, please contact me at the email address below, or give me a call. I’ll be happy to send you my FREE copy of “How to Immediately Increase Your Website Conversion Rate by 64% or more!” This is a concise report full of ideas to help you easily and quickly turn prospects into paying clients.
Years ago, back when I was stupid about marketing, I tried writing all of my own copy. For some weird reason, I didn’t even think that it mattered how I wrote an advertisement for my product, I just threw a description of what I was selling on a page, and left it to die a horrible death.
I tried making my website look cooler, and added flashy looking junk in a vain attempt to sell what I had to offer. My sales weren’t stellar, to say the least. Actually, looking back at the whole debacle, I did manage to sell some eBooks online because I had accidentally picked a focused niche that wanted what I had to sell.
But because my copy SUCKED, (and I’m using that term lightly) I only sold 20 copies at $25 apiece. I quickly got the idea that Internet marketing wasn’t as easy as I thought. If only I had actually heeded the words that were in some of the IM courses and books I had bought, I might have done some damage; but alas, I did not.
Now that I’m older, wiser, and educated in the ways of “meister word-craftsmen”, I clearly understand why I had so many epic failures in my attempts to sell my puny trinkets.
To be fair with myself, I did have an excuse. Since I had never started a business of any kind, I had very little experience at selling anything. Fortunately, I knew enough NOT to start a big business, or get a loan of any kind. If you’re going to fail, do so as cheaply as possible. With the advent of the Internet you can easily start a business without plunking down a lot of money.
So, I learned a lot without losing my shirt or living out of my car.
But I was small potatoes in the scheme of things. I’m amazed at how many accounting firms, law firms, real estate investment companies, and multi-million dollar development businesses make the same mistakes as I had made!
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Take look at Exhibit A. This is the epic copy from a rather large accounting firm. (The name has been changed to protect the innocent.)
“Once an accounting firm and now a Family of Companies, XYZ is among the fastest growing professional services firms in the state. We are recognized as a leader in every area of service and have garnered numerous awards across industries. We pride ourselves on expert business support with comprehensive services that are customized to meet client needs.
We seamlessly integrate our diverse offerings for services that are efficient, cost-effective and convenient. With personal attention, professionalism and the utmost integrity, we serve our clients in beneficial ways that keep them coming back for more.”
On the surface, this all sounds very professional and accountant like. One can only hope that accountants don’t talk like this when they go out on a date, or they’ll never “go forth and multiply” if you know what I mean.
(Get it? Accountants…Go forth and multi….never mind.)
Now, just to be fair, this is very typical of what I see everywhere in professional business copy, so I don’t want to shame or ridicule the nice folks at XYZ. I merely want to point out that their copy sucks and despite my being a genius, I too have made that mistake.
Are You Missing the Secret Sauce?
What’s wrong with this copy?
Well, other than mentioning THEMSELVES eight or so times in the copy, they fundamentally left out the most important part of the message to potential prospects. The missing ingredient that they skipped right over was, “What we can do for you!”
That’s right. People probably care more about your pets than your bragging rights.
That’s right, people looking for a solution to their problems don’t give a rat’s buns about how long you’ve been in business, how fast your business is growing, how many awards you’ve won, or any of the other impressive accolades you can give yourself. They don’t even care about how many times you tell them you’re professional, because everyone does that.
All they want to know is one or two key pieces of information:
What can you do for me, how can you solve my problem? Or, if you’re in the financial or investment business, “How do I make money?”
Learning Copy from a Salivating Blood Sucker
Apparently, the nice folks at the XYZ firm haven’t seen an episode of Shark Tank yet.
Kevin O’Leary (A.K.A. Mr. Wonderful) almost always asks the blunt questions. The one I remember from the show the most is, “How do I make money?” I love the way the words just ooze from his lips, almost like a salivating vampire.
Take a look at Exhibit B:
But he’s right, and despite his overt bluntness, he’s being very honest.
Actually, I take notes whenever Mr. Kevin speaks, because he’s asking the questions almost every copywriter needs to think about while writing copy for prospective clients. Usually people want to know stuff like:
How do you cure my itchy skin problem?
How can you help me get a better opt-in rate on my website?
How long will it take for me to get down to the dress size I desire?
How can your eBook tell me the best social media strategy to use?
What’s in it for me?
Thinking about this in real estate investment or development terms:
How can I turn a quick profit from your investment advice?
What kind of track record does your business have? (Not how long you’ve been in business, but how many impressed and satisfied clients can you refer them to.)
What’s the background of the principals of this company, or their agents?
How can you reduce my risk on this project or investment?
What can you do to make sure I’m legally safe on this development project?
How often will you update me on the progress of this project or service?
You know, stuff like that.
Most of the time, people could care less about where you’re located at, what awards you’ve won, and how professional you say you are.
If you’re hitting the prospect hot buttons things are usually much different.
The fact that you’re saying exactly what they want to hear in the body of your copy reflects the fact that you’re very savvy in your business and business dealings.
Crap in…Crap out..
There’s an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” In other words, if you buy cheap crap, you’ll get cheap crap.
It’s the same with advertising copy ― Crap in…Crap out. If you hire a cheap copywriter, chances are you’re wasting your money.
Inevitably, you’ll feel like you’ve been cheated every time, because even though you didn’t spend a lot of money, you did waste some of it. You also wasted time in your business, giving your competitors an opportunity to get it right while pulling ahead of you.
Very rarely does a solid copywriter write for money in the hundreds of dollars unless it’s for charity work or a very short paragraph or two.
The problem with most companies is they don’t really understand how much revenue they’ve lost over years and years of running with the cheapest solution.
Trust me; I’m an expert at this.
Way back before I decided to learn how to write advertising copy, I had a website that just slapped together. It sat online for years and didn’t do me a bit of good. So, not only did I lose business, but I also lost years of potential prospects and clients that I could have done business with until this day.
Why I Want to Kiss a Vacuum Cleaner Salesman
For years, the wife and I went through about a vacuum cleaner a year. Most of them clogged very easy, or parts would break, or something would jam into them that you just couldn’t get out.
You can’t do without one, so I guesstimate that we went through about $3000 in vacuums over the years. When you consider that a decent vacuum will run you somewhere between $200 ―$400 a shot, it’s possible to spend quite a bit on them.
One day, we were in Sears and there was a guy demonstrating a Dyson. He went through his whole demonstration and showed how well the thing worked. I was actually quite amazed with how easy you could take the thing apart, and how you could reconfigure the different parts in a whole variety of ways.
There were no bags on the vacuum, and all you had to do was press a button on a canister and empty it. If something got clogged in it, all you had to do was get a quarter and use it to turn big plastic screws that gave very easy access to places that you needed to get a clog out.
I was very impressed with it, because it was a common sense design that any engineer would be proud of.
However, a Dyson at the time cost just over $500! Were they out of their minds?
Yep, that’s what I blurted out loud at the salesman.
“Sir…” the salesman smiled, “Are you concerned with cost, or price?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, you bought those other cheaper vacuum cleaners, and as you mentioned, they cost you all sorts of money; money getting fixed, replacing parts, and buying other new vacuum cleaners. So they cost you quite a bit, right?”
“While the price of a Dyson seems expensive, it will save you a ton of money in the long run. It’s so easy to fix a child can do it, it doesn’t require expensive bags, and it’ll last you for years. So, are you concerned with cost or price?”
I was speechless…I was without speech. (Believe me, that doesn’t happen too often.)
We have owned our lavender colored Dyson for the last decade, and despite my wife breaking a part on it by accident a couple months ago, it still works better than any vacuum we’ve ever had.
A relative even bought us a brand new Shark vacuum last month and we’re still using the Dyson because we like it better.
I swear, if I ever see that salesman again, I’ll kiss him.
So you have to ask yourself the question, am I concerned with the price of hiring a good copywriter or should I count the cost of not hiring one?
What You Should Be Looking For
Let’s say you’ve bought into the idea that maybe you will want to increase the response rate of your website or, direct mail piece by hiring a copywriter. Perhaps, you can now see the value of having very professionally written brochure that actually sold prospects on the idea or a knock ‘em dead video sales letter.
You’re going to need a good copywriter, one that knows how to write the kind of copy that your company needs. Yes, there are all sorts of copywriters out there and only a handful is the Gary Halbert type.
In case you don’t know who Gary Halbert was, he was considered to be Holy Grail of copywriters. The unique thing about Mr. Halbert is the fact that he could write just about any kind of copy. It didn’t matter what industry or product he was writing for, he always hit his mark perfectly and made massive profits for the businesses he worked for. Not very many copy guys can do that.
There are a few others out there like Clayton Makepeace, Bob Bly, and Jon Carlton that can pull this sort of thing off, but they are few and far between and extremely expensive. (Sometimes they get paid $25,000 a sales letter or more!)
So, what you’re going to need to find is a copywriter that is specialized in the type of business that you’re in. Someone that understands the real estate investment or development business and understands your prospects, language, and marketing strategies ― A real estate development and investment copywriter!
There I said it!
As a matter of fact, that’s the niche I’ve decided to work in. But if you’ve already contracted a copywriter for this particular type of niche, there are a few things you need to look for.
For one thing, you don’t need to hire someone that writes in this niche all of the time. Decent copywriters can and do write in more than one niche, but if you know that they are knowledgeable about your industry that’s a major plus.
Another thing that’ll help you is to take a look at samples of their writing. If they have copy that looks and reads professionally then chances are they should be able to do the job for you. Testimonials from other happy clients are also a major plus.
Many times you can tell if things are going wrong by the professionalism that is displayed at the onset. If you’ve displayed interest in hiring a copywriter, and he can’t quote a price to you based on what you’ve told him, then that should be a warning sign.
NOTE:In this situation, I’m talking about an email transmission or a substantial conversation wherein you have already told the writer what you want. Depending on how much work you’ve got to have written, he may not be able to immediately spit out a quote to you.
But if you’ve sent a description of what you need to have done, and he’s still grasping at straws as to what you’re going to pay, this may not be a good sign. However, If the copywriter sends you a professionally written contract with an itemized list, that’s a real good indication of his professionalism.
The Colombo Factor Should Be Present!
If you don’t know who the iconic character Colombo is, you need to get on Netflix and watch a couple of episodes. He’s a 1970’s detective that’s chronically asking questions to people he suspects of committing a crime. As a matter of fact, he just about drives them nuts with his questions alone.
Well, copywriters need to be just like the lieutenant. They should be asking a lot of questions.
For my copywriting business, I have prepared questionnaires that I send to my clients even before I’m contracted.
What’s the reason for this?
First of all, I’ll need to know all sorts of things like:
What the goal of your marketing is
What type of traffic driving strategies you’ve been using?
What other types of marketing has your company been using?
Were these strategies effective?
Usually, the initial questionnaire is several pages long.
The other reason for this is to prequalify the prospect before they sign the contract.
Many times when the client is faced with a questionnaire like this, they balk at it. Perhaps they were thinking that the copywriter was a mere hobbyist that was going to perform these services dirt cheap.
Once the prospect takes a gander at the preliminary question sheet I send them, they know I mean business.
By the way, that’s just the preliminary questionnaire. After the contract is signed, they will get another rather large questionnaire asking all kinds of questions about their services and especially their clients. If the contracted party can supply me with a list of happy past clients, I’ll send them a sheet to fill out too.
So, if you are hiring a copywriter and they aren’t asking you all sorts of questions…RUN!
He has to analyze your site, consider your marketing strategy, think about how you’re going to follow up, and investigate your competition, just for starters.
So, if you get a bunch of questions from a copywriter that you’ve hired, that’s a good thing. Make sure that you answer all of the questions he asks you, because it’ll make your copy a bazillion times better.
Other Factors That Are Muy, Muy Importante!
(These are so important, they warrant 2 Muys!)
The one thing I always try to impress on my clients is the personal touch they’ll receive from working with me. I don’t like working on copy without keeping the clients “in the loop”. Since they’ve contracted me to write the very best copy that I can, they need to get daily updates from me by phone or at least email.
This lets clients know what I’m doing, while letting them know how the progress is coming along. It also gives me the opportunity to ask a few more questions if I need to. As a businessman, I understand that the more contact I have with my client, the more familiar they will be with me and they’ll understand my writing process. They’ll also see how much care I am putting into their copy.
The more they hear from me, the more they’ll trust me and let me know their concerns. Not only that, but we will probably develop a working relationship that can go on for years.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas on what to look for while shopping around for a copywriter.
If you’re in the professional real estate development or investment business, please keep an eye on my blog at: www.ElmoCopy.com
I’ll be writing many in-depth articles on copywriting and marketing for this industry, and I look forward to reading your comments and answering any questions you may have.
I recently performed a search for the term “marketing processes” and discovered something interesting. In almost every one of the articles I read, the focus was on the front end of the sales process. There was great detail on how to create a sales funnel that gets the clients in the door and the services sold, but very little thought about what happens after the sale is made.
What I enjoy doing for companies is helping them set up processes; I think this is what sets me apart from many other copywriters. Instead of just writing a single direct mail piece, I like to show my clients how to have a process in place that gets results over and over again.
True Story from the Crypt
It seems like companies really don’t count the cost of client and customer retention.
A few years ago, I had an account with a communications company for home services. I had purchased all of their broadband services on a bundled account, and did so for the better part of a decade.
Through this company, I was using, telephone, cable TV, and the Internet; my monthly bill was significant and I didn’t mind, because their services worked fine. Since my billing was paid by credit card, they got their money every month like clockwork, and I never missed a payment.
One day, right out of the blue, my Internet was cut off. At first, I thought the service might be down for updating or repairs made somewhere in the system. However, when I checked my email, I noticed that there was a message from my broadband company informing me that they were shutting off my Internet. According to them, (I say “according” because this was never proven or verified) one of the computers in my home was sending out some sort of spamming or advertising virus that my computer had contracted form someplace on the net.
Thus began a month long battle to find out where on my computers the mysterious virus was. The company turned my Internet back on and within a week shut it off again, sending me an exact duplicate message like the first one.
I spent days trying to get this resolved. I consulted with their online techies, each one having their own ideas and theories as to why and where the mystery virus was coming from. I bought the best and most expensive antivirus software on the market and came up nada. I enlisted my son who performed IT work in the U.S. Air Force to examine my computers and he couldn’t find a thing.
I called the folks up at my cable company and told them all I had gone through. Sheepishly they told me they were sorry, but if my computer emits this virus one more time they were going to have to cut me off for good.
This was my last chance with the Internet. If I couldn’t find out where the mystery virus, I couldn’t have Internet services anymore. Bear in mind that at the time, I had a full-fledged ecommerce business running and it was getting close to Christmas, my busiest time of the year.
So, in one last desperate attempt, I replaced all of my computers and held my breath.
They cut me off.
I called one of the executive managers with this company about all that I had gone through and detailed everything I had done to correct this problem, but all she could say was, “Sorry.”
Finally, I told her, “Look, I’ve spent what would be the equivalent of a new car with your company, why don’t you send one of your tech people over to take a look at my system, so we can all figure out where this problem is coming from.”
“I’m sorry we just can’t do that.”
I could feel the frustration swelling up in my face.
“You mean to tell me you won’t even roll a truck out here for a customer that has never missed a payment for over 10 years?”
“You do realize that if I can’t have Internet connection I’m going to cancel all of my services with your company. That’s phone, TV, everything.”
“I’m sorry, “she said flatly, “There’s nothing we can do.”
“I’d like to cancel my account, right now please.”
And so, the broadband company I had relied on, told all of my friends and neighbors about and paid on time for over 10 years and I parted company. I will never, ever go back. As a result, I found a cheaper Internet service company that never complained about my computers emitting a mystery virus, and I tell everyone I know to go with THAT company.
This company failed to count the cost. They should have looked at how much it would run them to send a truck and a techie to my home versus how much money they’d lose over another 10 years of monthly payments for all of their services.
Really stupid, don’t you think?
Now, why did I tell you this story?
First of all, this company, which was in a very competitive market, failed to have plans in place to take care of situations like this. When you’re in business for as long as this company was, you should have a well thought out plan to handle contingencies like this.
There are many situations in your business that are very similar. Yeah, there are some instances where you have to fire the client; however, if you have a system in place you can retain good clients and avoid losing piles of money that have been slipping through your fingers.
The Part Where You’re Hemorrhaging Money in Your Business
Okay, let’s take a less extreme example.
Let’s say you get a new client and you perform a service for that client. What’s the next step? Do you put that client into a database and forget about them? Or, would it be better to have a procedure in place that lets them know you’re still thinking about them?
And while you are keeping in touch with them, you can educate them about other benefits, services and products that you have that they may be interested in. This can be done many different ways, from newsletters to birthday cards.
The usual objection to this is, “Well, that sort of thing costs money.”
But think of the advertising dollars you’re saving by making a direct hit on your target market. If someone has spent or invested a large amount of money with your company, that means they probably know and trust you. If they know and trust you, there’s about a 70% chance that they’ll spend money with you in the future, or refer you to others that will spend money with your firm.
Your easiest and best clients are always the ones that have already done business with your company. Try getting those results with websites, ads, and other forms of marketing. You need to have a mapped out strategy in place to continue soliciting and reminding happy clients of the other services and products your company offers.
To go back to our original client scenario, I’ve prepared a sample graphic of how mapping out and executing a process can help boost your sales tremendously.
In this example, you’ve completed the entire sales process, and your client has skipped happily out the door, happy with the investments or services that you’ve completed for them. However, right after the sale has been made, you automatically swing into action. Using your client database, you send out automated emails every week giving your happy patron great information that they couldn’t get anywhere else.
Also, you send out birthday cards, Thanksgiving Day cards (not Christmas cards, because they’ll get buried in the piles of other Christmas cards) anniversary cards, and whatever else you can do to remind your serviced clients that you’re still thinking of them.
It wouldn’t hurt to call them once every couple of months too, even if you’re just going to leave a message on their answering service.
The Hidden Opportunity
The reason for the methodology behind this madness is to not only have your prospects/clients remember you and stay familiar with your business, but also to EDUCATE them.
Salt and peppered throughout your correspondences you’ll be giving these people great advice and giving them tips on how they can make even more money by doing business with you.
For real estate investment companies, you could easily tell clients about different investment vehicles and how they could improve their portfolios. If you’re a real estate development company, you could easily talk about the ways in which your company could save them more money on their next project. You could also point out steps you could take to ensure that they’ll get exactly what they needed to have completed on time.
Of course, you could hire a good copywriter who would craft a message like that so it didn’t sound like you were selling to them, but letting them in on “trade secrets”.
The point is, if you don’t have processes in place for your marketing, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table that could easily be replenished whenever you needed it.
Developing a Well Thought Out Plan
Since writing a blog post that explains how to market your business would probably take volumes and several years to write, I’m only going to talk about a small section of your business.
For the sake of this post, I’ll tell you about what I do for my clients immediately after my initial contact with them. Now bear in mind, this has all been thought up well ahead of time, because I don’t want any lag. I like to give my clients momentum right out the starting gate so that they can feel my expertise and enthusiasm.
Step One:First of all, any of the people I get initial contact from, I immediately ask them if they would like to get placed on my mailing list. I politely inform them that I will not bombard them with loads of spammy email trying to sell them junk, and that at most they will probably only hear from me once a week to let them know about my latest blog posts.
Of course, this initial email is professionally written and ready to send out ahead of time. The reason for this is simple, like any other sales oriented business, copy writing has a lot of tire kickers. There are loads of people that will ask you questions, act interested and then leave.
However, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever do business with me, it usually means they’re really not ready AT THIS TIME. So, keeping them in the loop is a really good idea. If they receive regular messages from me pointing out valuable resources or articles, they will see my professionalism and remember me.
Think about the industry you’re in for a second. Do you know anyone that keeps in contact with prospects that have contacted them over a long period of time? If there aren’t, you may have a clear advantage over your competition.
Step Two:If the prospect contacts me for extensive information on my services, I‘ll send him a sheet that outlines the process I use to write copy. (You can read it here: “Before I Write a Single Word…”) This is still prequalification of the prospect, because until he has seen my quoted price and signs a contract, he is still just a prospect.
Back when I was new to writing advertising copy (and stupid), I’d be so eager to write for someone I’d start their project before they signed a contract. I got a lot of practice, but I also wasted a ton of time on these people.
Step Three:If the prospective client wants to pursue my services further, I’ll send him a professionally written contract with my quote on it for him to sign. If he balks at my price, I’ll remind him to take a look at the sheet I sent him outlining my writing process and the care he’ll receive from my services.
Step Four: Once the contract has been signed, I have more documents in place to send him, to include an initial questionnaire to begin collecting vital marketing data. I actually have a series of questionnaires to send clients, but I usually space them out over a two week period so as not to overwhelm them.
Some of the other documents I will send at this point explain in great detail my process for writing his copy. Writing great, knock-your-socks-off copy takes a lot of time, and letting your client see the research, writing, rewriting, testing, rewriting some more, counseling, etc. is important. It will show them the entire process while letting them see what care and professionalism I’m giving them.
Step Five: Now the client is on my “A List”. He receives daily email from me keeping him up to date on the progress I’m making on his copy and shoring up a few other questions I may have for him.
The Point of All This Is…
If you don’t have processes like this in place for your business, then you’re probably going to have a long, hard road ahead of yourself in terms of marketing.
The really cool part about this is that it’s so cheap. Sure, it takes time to put a system like this in place, but think of all the money you’ll be wasting by not having a system in place like this. You could use a billboard or run a pay-per-click campaign online, but that alone won’t cut it.
The famous marketer, Dan Kennedy always points out that you can have great marketing on the front end, but what’ll you do once you get them in the door of your business?
The Secret Edge That Most Copywriters Have
Good copywriters understand processes like this. They know full well that just writing a sales letter or a squeeze page isn’t enough. You have to have well written email follow ups, direct mail correspondences, brochures, etc.
And each one of these pieces has got to sell, Sell, SELL!
If your company is handing out brochures that aren’t written by a copywriter that deeply understands the sales process, then you’re wasting your time and money. You can’t imagine how many business people I’ve dealt with in the past have gone out of business because they never considered putting a process in place.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a high end consulting business either.
It Doesn’t have to be This Way!
Years ago, I was helping a man that had a catering business. He had a great service and products but his business never grew beyond being just a small enterprise.
So I gave him a few processes to follow that would definitely help him out. One of the ideas was to give out a few chicken wings to everyone that got on his mailing list. He would ask his customers for their home and email addresses, and in return when he verified their email address he would send them a free coupon in an email that they could redeem for free chicken wings.
This way, he could send well written marketing messages and offers to these people informing them of all of his specials and new products, thus increasing his customer base.
Alas, he never implemented any of the common sense ideas I gave him and he got burned out. His business never moved forward; it was not profitable enough to keep going, and it wasn’t any fun just spinning his wheels endlessly.
Get Your Processes in Order
If you take a little time each day building marketing processes for your business, you will see a major transformation. First of all, your company will be immediately perceived as a professional player in the field you’re playing in, whether it’s real estate investment services or development. When clients think of which company they’d rather do business with, they’ll think of the company that looks the most professional and knowledgeable.
Second, your business will have a smooth, automatic process that will make your marketing much easier and cheaper. You’ll hit a target market that is far more interested in what you have to offer.
Third, the market place and prospects will see your name and message over and over again. You won’t be a stranger like everyone else in your niche. You’ll be the go to guy or business that has the most name recognition without spending Mega-Bucks on advertising.