5 Copywriting Tips for Effective Marketing 0

Copywriting is a skill that all types of businesses require. Whether you are revamping your website and need a new product description page, or you’re revising your advertising and promotional materials to reflect your current services, copywriting is an essential skill that will help you convey your message to a customer.

Effective copywriting follows a few rules, especially when it comes to digital marketing and social media. For example, customers prefer a more conversational tone on social media vs. a hard sales pitch.

Below you’ll find our top 5 copywriting tips that will turn your writing skills from average to expert.


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The post 5 Copywriting Tips for Effective Marketing appeared first on LocalVox.


Source: LocalVox

Pushing Your Way (Nicely!) Past Gatekeepers 0

Call on the president.

Get to the influencers.

Sell to decision makers.

You’ve heard the message before and surely recognize its significance: If you want to get your business out of the commodity game, and into delivering higher margin, value-added solutions, you must find the people with the problems that need solving. Your sales people have to get past the gatekeepers and on to the people who can most benefit from your products or services.

But are your sales people truly successful at calling on decision makers?

And once they reach them, does your sales team know what to do?

All too often the answer to these questions is “no.” Many sales professionals (especially less experienced ones) are hesitant to call on decision makers. Fear or inexperience causes them to avoid approaching decision makers, and instead spend their time with gatekeepers—who ironically are the people that are often hardest to sell!

Which Door Should You Use?

An experienced sales trainer can certainly teach you many techniques for opening doors with decision makers. Before you reach for the doorknob, however, get prepared.

Target the right people. The first and most important step in reaching decision makers is knowing who you want to talk to. Often sales reps are pushed to call on the president, or some other “C” person (i.e., CEO, COO, CFO, etc.), but does this person really care about the solutions you offer?

Ideally, you should be targeting the highest-level person who will directly benefit from the value you can offer. The “right” person will vary greatly depending on the size of the company you are targeting.
• Target a large employer and you may have to deal with the C-suite, department heads and/or managers.
• Target small companies and the president should be on your list.

Once you’ve identified who you want to target (by name!), create a strategy for getting in the door. Here are three ideas:

The Front Door

Use a targeted, direct-marketing approach to capture the attention of the decision makers, including:
• direct mail
• telemarketing
• email marketing

…or a combination of these in your efforts. Ideally, your direct marketing should be highly tailored to each individual-with a message that matches the needs, wants and interests of the decision maker:
• If you’re selling to a manager, show how you can help save time, save money, or simplify his job.
• If you’re selling to a small business owner, show how you can increase profits.

The Side Door

Network, network, network. If you have established relationships in the company you’re targeting, start by asking these people for their assistance in providing background information about the decision maker you’re trying to reach. Better yet, ask for an introduction.

If you do not have established relationships within the company, find people outside the organization who do. This is where LinkedIn, professional associations, networking groups and community service groups become valuable. You might start with local chamber of commerce meetings. See who can help you meet someone inside the company you have targeted, and then once you’re inside, find someone who can help you get to the decision maker.

The Back Door

If you can’t get directly to the decision maker, and you can’t network your way there, consider partnering with someone who is already there. You might be able to strike up an alliance with another vendor who is working with the target company, or network with professional advisors who might see value in recommending your products or services.

Now what? – Learn How to Say “Hello”!

Congratulations! You’ve made it past the gatekeeper and have a meeting scheduled with the decision maker.

What’s the most important thing you should say?

Gatekeeper

Okay, this is a trick question. There is no one right answer, and that’s the point. The right thing to say will depend on the company and the decision maker you’re calling on. At BARQAR, when we talk to sales people, we encourage them to plan for sales calls using their “three minute MBA.”

What’s a three minute MBA?

The three minute MBA is our “secret formula” for unlocking the key to your prospect’s business. Would you like to know the formula? Here it is:

Revenue – Expense = Profit

Well, maybe this formula isn’t so secret. And perhaps it is a little basic. Regardless, it’s fundamental to sales success!

Customize R-E=P

The key to using this formula is to apply it correctly to the person you’re calling on. For example, if you’re calling on a small business owner, what does he care about most? Making more money. So if you can show how your products or services will increase profits, you’re much more likely to advance the sale.

And if you’re calling on a manager, what’s his top priority? It could be any number of things – from controlling costs and simplifying processes to increasing quality, speed, service quality or efficiency. Whatever his priorities are, you must be able to demonstrate how your products or services can help him achieve his business goals.

Successful conversations with decision makers begin with the decision maker’s business. You must understand the rational and emotional benefits that you are capable of delivering. As you ask questions to discover the decision maker’s challenges and opportunities, position your services by demonstrating how you will deliver the benefits the decision maker needs to overcome his challenges and realize his opportunities.

Keeping the Door Open

How often do you get a one call close? So what do your sales people do once the first call ends? Most sales people do an excellent job of concluding each call with an action step that advances the sale. They plan their next steps, gather needed information, and schedule follow-up. But most ignore one very valuable (and very easy) step – asking for permission to keep in-touch.

If your sales cycle is lengthy (i.e., it lasts more than a couple of weeks), you want to ensure that you keep your company top-of-mind until the sale is made. How often have you heard someone say, “Sorry, we just used XYZ company.

To minimize competitors’ opportunities for stealing business from under you, continue to regularly nurture prospects (and existing clients too) in between sales calls. Nurturing can be done via mail, email, phone, and/or social media. The goal is to have a plan to keep in-touch in a way that:
• adds value
• educates
• gently reminds people what you can do
• positions your organization as an authority, expert and valuable resource
• helps to strengthen your professional relationship

Tired of playing the commodity game?

Start selling solutions.

Help your sales people to get to the people with the problems to solve-the decision makers.
1. Do your homework first
– identify the right decision makers
– discover their MBA (ideally, before making any approach)
– know the value you can deliver (quantifiable if possible)
2. Plan to get in the door
– grab the decision maker’s attention – find a creative way to get the door open
– network
– partner
3. Keep the door open
– educate – teach decision makers how you can help
– add value- position yourself as an expert not a sales person
– build credibility- prove the value of the solution you can provide
– nurture relationships – stay top-of-mind between calls, until a decision is made

Change the game with BARQAR.

Need help opening doors or reaching key decision makers? BARQAR offers a full complement of digital and inbound marketing solutions to help you connect with the right people. Contact us to learn more about:
• Website development
• Social media & blogging services
• SEO solutions
• Comprehensive reputation management services

The post Pushing Your Way (Nicely!) Past Gatekeepers appeared first on BARQAR.


Source: Barqar

Ho, Ho, Whoa: Bloomingdale’s holiday catalog gets creepy 0

Bloomingdales AdPeruse the 2015 Bloomingdale’s holiday catalog and you’ll find super gift ideas, sparkly holiday sweaters, sharp party close and a bit of advice on how to top off the evening.

“Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.”

The text appears between the image of a laughing woman who is looking away and a man gazing at her with a lecherous look in his eye.

When the catalog copywriter came up with the idea, I’m sure he was thinking more along the lines of frat house fun than felony kidnapping, but combined with the images it looks a lot more like the later.

Once the catalog page hit the net, it was all over for Bloomingdale’s. The social media crowd took over voicing their concerns, their disgust and their outrage.

Bloomingdale’s has since Tweeted their apology but this faux pas goes beyond a bad Tweet. The catalog is out there and can’t be deleted or recalled. If the din gets loud enough, copies will probably end up as the prize in an eBay auction.

But how did this concept make it to the public in the first place? This wasn’t a typo or the work of some angry intern. This was part of a plan. Could it be that the entire Bloomingdale’s advertising department is that naive or that behind the times?

Bloomingdale’s could have saved themselves the embarrassment if they’d simply had the head of their social media team (I assume they have a head of social media) look at the catalog before it went out. Anyone who spends their day on Twitter or Facebook would have instantly picked that page out as gasoline on a flame.

What do you think? Is there any scenario where that line of text is funny and appropriate? If not, is a Twitter apology enough to make this right?


Source: Reputation Refinery

Online Reviews: Ten Things You Should Know 0

Whether you like them or not, it is hard to ignore online reviews. For many businesses, online review pages and ratings are displayed prominently in Google and Bing searches. And many brick and mortar retail stores have “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers displayed on their doors or windows. Online Reviews

Speaking of Yelp, according to the latest data, the site/app has 90 million cumulative reviews (since its 2005 launch) and it is averaging 89 million mobile unique visitors and 79 million unique desktop visitors per month. Of course, Yelp is just one site/app that features online reviews, albeit the leading forum and one that generally appears high in search results.

Online reviews are not only increasing in number and being widely read, but they are also being relied upon by many people. According to a recently published Moz study, which surveyed 1,000 consumers through Google, 67.7 percent of the respondents indicated that online reviews had impacted their purchasing decisions.

And online reviews are frequently making headlines, from the controversial Yelp filter to the recent crackdown on fake reviews and legislation about “gag clauses.”

In short, there is a lot more to online reviews than a simple one through five star rating. Here is a brief overview, in no particular order, of ten things consumers and businesses should know about online reviews.

No Surprise, But Many Online Reviews are Fake

Fake online reviews can be both negative (intended to harm a company or product) or positive (intended to help a company or product at the expense of competitors or competing products). In 2011, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor said up to 30 percent of online reviews for certain products may be fake. Meanwhile, 20 percent of Yelp reviews are fake, according to a 2013 Business Insider article.

There is Value in 3-Star Reviews

Related, as much as people tend to trust online reviews, there is also lots of skepticism, and many savvy consumers will look past the one-stars and five-stars. “Nobody leaves a fake three-star review,” said Nicholas White of The Daily Dot. This is not to say there are not legitimate reviews on either end of the spectrum, but oftentimes the most genuine reviews lie in the middle.

Competitor-Published Reviews Can Give Rise to Numerous Legal Claims

When a business competitor poses as a customer and unlawfully submits a review of a business, this can give rise to not only a defamation claim, but also potentially claims for unfair competition under state law or false advertising under the federal Lanham Act.

How to Spot Fake Online Reviews

There have been numerous articles published online about spotting potentially fake reviews. Among the common characteristics: the authors have not published any other online reviews; the reviews are overly enthusiastic; certain keywords, such as company names, are overused; and the reviews are unusually specific, such as fact-heavy narratives.

Review Pages Often Suffer From a Sampling Bias

Online review pages for businesses are often not representative of actual customer bases, oftentimes due to review pages having a small number of reviews (meaning a single bad review can carry significant weight). According to a 2013 study published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, specifically about online hotel reviews, review pages and their ratings tend to be disproportionately negative but level out as more online reviews are posted.

Difference in Star Ratings on Yelp = Potential Revenue Change

According to a 2011 Harvard Business School study of restaurants, a one-star rating change on Yelp can result in a difference in revenue of five-to-nine percent.

The New York Attorney General’s Office Targeted Fake Reviews

In 2013, The New York Times reported that New York regulators settled with 19 companies for $350,000 in total fines in a crackdown on fake reviews. The New York attorney general’s office had spent a year investigating both companies that were creating fraudulent reviews and those who were buying them.

Non-Disparagement Clauses Subject of FTC Lawsuit

In September 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit in a federal court against two companies and their principals over “gag clauses” aimed at preventing negative reviews. This was the first time the FTC filed suit regarding non-disparagement clauses.

Amazon Sues 1,114 “John Doe” Defendants over Fake Reviews

In October 2015, Amazon.com, Inc. filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 unidentified Fiverr.com users who allegedly offered to publish fake positive reviews for others. In its complaint, Amazon alleged the Fiverr users had helped companies “gain unfair competitive advantages,” which has harmed both Amazon customers and the Amazon brand.

California Has Banned Anti-Negative Review Clauses, Congress Could be Next

In September 2014, California’s governor signed into law a bill that subjects businesses to fines for contracts/agreements intended to prevent customers from posting negative online reviews. Congress is currently considering similar legislation regarding anti-negative review clauses, the Consumer Review Freedom Act.

For more information, contact Whitney Gibson at 855.542.9192 or wcgibson@vorys.com. Read more about the practice at http://www.defamationremovalattorneys.com/.


Source: Vorys

How to Remove Your Name from Datingcomplaints.com 0

How to Remove Your Name from Datingcomplaints.com

written by: Jake Lawson

When it comes to dating, defamation is not a new thing. People have been making false and hurtful allegations about other people as a way of getting back at them for failed relationships or dates. However, spreading these lies and rumors has become much easier with the revolution of the internet, especially with websites such as www.datingcomplaints.com.

Datingcomplaints.com is an open forum website, which claims to help people stay safe while dating by allowing users to post complaints about people they have dated before. According to the website, these posts and comments help users to avoid bad dates or relationships. However, datingcomplaints.com is just a forum that allows, and to a certain extent, encourages people to post unfounded allegations about others.

For starters, the website does not verify the accuracy of the information posted. For a website that claimDating Complaints logos to help people, one would think they would encourage and ensure that the information posted is accurate, so that the users viewing it can make informed decisions. According to their About Us page, they categorically state that the posts are the opinion of the authors. People with malicious intent can therefore post false information about innocent people without any consequences on the website.

Another issue with the website is that the posts are anonymous. Anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection can therefore join the website and post unfounded accusation about someone else, without the victim of the intended post receiving the benefit of the doubt. Anonymous posting also makes it nearly impossible for the victims to confront their accusers, since they hide behind the veil of anonymity.

Datingcomplaints.com also take somewhat an aggressive stand against anyone seeking to have their information removed from the site. On their website, they have stated that people should not “bother them” or their content providers, but only deal with the person who posted the information. This is nearly impossible considering they allow anonymous posting.

In addition to making it almost impossible for victims to have their information removed from the website, they also threaten to have anyone threatening to take action against them or contacting their service providers about abuse of service discussed openly by the site audience. They have clearly stated that there are many web hosting companies they can use, and thus it is impossible for the website to be taken down. Such a bold statement on their website seems to encourage users to post information with impunity.

Another problem with websites such as datingcomplaints.com is that they hide behind the First Amendment rights, and other acts such as the Communications Decency Act, which shield interactive computer service providers from prosecution as a result of content published through their forums. This makes it nearly impossible to seek legal redress, even if the information posted is false.

Why should you remove your name from datingcomplaints.com? 

1) The information is visible to anyone

Datingcomplaints.com posts are visible to anyone connected to the internet. If your name is in one of the post, anyone searching for information about you will definitely come across it.

2) It can damage your personal reputation 

The information posted on the website can greatly ruin your reputation. Most of the users who post on the websites are people with a personal vendetta against the victims of their intended posts; most of them are either jilted persons or exes, and thus tend to say very nasty things in their posts.

Having that information out there for anyone to see can therefore ruin your reputation among friends, family and colleagues. It can also make you miss on important personal and professional relationships that would have otherwise worked out.

3) It can ruin your professional life 

Another reason why you should remove your name from datingcomplaints.com is that it has the potential to ruin your personal life. You can easily get fired from your job if your employer comes across negative information about you on the internet.

How to remove your name from datingcomplaints.com 

If you are facing defamation from websites such as datingcomplaints.com, you do not have to suffer in silence. RemoveNames.com is an online reputation management services provider, and they can help you remove your name and information from the website. They also help to prevent the derogatory from appearing on search engine results when some searches your name on sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

RemoveNames.com provides victims of online defamation with an easy and fast process of taking down negative information about them. Instead of trying to have your information from the website by yourself, simply contact RemoveNames.com for a full removal.


Source: Removenames