Sometimes one just has to get up on a soapbox, to get something off of their chest.
Today is one of those days for me.
Do you ever wonder if folks read their own emails before they send them? Or do they stop to consider how their readers are going to react to the communication…
Here is one example: one firm is sending me regular emails on a list to which I did subscribe. I later decided that I wanted to unsubscribe. Problem: there is no unsubscribe mechanism or instructions, anywhere in the email. None. No contact information either. Hmm…
Another glaring example, pointed out in another newsletter: the ubiquitous phrase, DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. I have normaly seen it in all caps, like I’ve shown here.
Think about it for a second: is that truly the message you wanted to convey. Don’t contact us? If someone has a question, or wants to order something, what are they supposed to do? If they are having trouble with your web page, what then?
How much better would it be to say:
“In order to serve you better, please send any inquiries to one of the following (depending on what sort of question the reader has). Or include a phone number. Or even a link to a “contact us” page. Or, go all out and include all three.
If you put yourself in the your readers’ shoes, it will be fair easy to discover what reasons they might they have for contacting you.
Do your best to make a list all of these reasons, and then provide a means for them to contact you in the event they have any of these problems.
I promise you, speaking from experience as a sometimes frustrated customer, it will make a big difference for your business.
Yesterday I wrote about Ray Edwards’ site WebCopyWritingExplained.com.
I forgot to mention that if you optin to his list, he has three videos available that are really helpful.
Yes, he is going to be selling you on his course, and if you’re in the market for copywriting training you should give it a look. There’s some helpful content in the free videos if that’s all you want right now.
I think it is worth checking out just for the marketing education. Ray really knows how to put these things together seamlessly.
Here are some ideas to get the most out of Ray Edwards’ WebCopywritingExplained.com Course:
1. Buy a 3-ring binder and 8 (or 10) divider sheets. One divider sheet per lesson. I like being able to keep all of this material in one place. Also if you print out the transcripts using the freeware product “Fine Print” (www.fineprint.com) you will save paper and use a smaller, less bulky binder. I bought a 1-1/4″ binder and it appears that everything will fit. These days, I carry my binder with me almost everywhere.
There’s actually a total of ten modules, because he added two bonus sessions. So take that into account.
2. Make templates, especially for the bullet exercise. Here’s why this is important. I struggled initially with keeping track of what bullets I needed to write. What I finally did is take the Executive Summary for module 4 and converted it to an RTF. I then opened it with OpenOffice for the bullets exercise. I can now type in the three or five bullets I need for each type, right under the description and explanation. This keeps me much more focused. Everytime I start a new copy project, I will go back to my form and create my new bullets the same way.
One quick and easy way to convert the PDF to an RTF or DOC is the free service www.zamzar.com. I have used them many times and the conversion has always been flawless. There are other conversion tools available; however this one can be used anywhere since it is a web-based service.
The template model is a valid one, used and taught by other copywriting teachers. David Garfinkel comes to mind.
3. Schedule time in the future to listen to the MP3s or read the transcripts again. If you try and review too much of the material at once, you’ll overwhelm yourself. By scheduling it in advance, you can set yourself on a review plan that will ensure you continue to expose yourself to the material without melting down your brain.
If you try and cover too much at once, especially if you’re not ready to take action on what you are learning, you will quickly burn out and lose interest.
We can only absorb so much at any given time. Take action on what you need to do now, and other ideas will be become plain as you review the material at a later date.
This strategy entails going through one module at regular periodic intervals: every week, every other week, every month, or whatever schedule meets your needs. Just write it down in whatever time scheduling system you use. I have started using the Google Calendar more and more for this purpose; it will even email a reminder if I ask it to.
I plan to also schedule time to check out WebCopyWritingExplained.com after Ray starts the next class. After all, one of the selling points is that students will get lifetime access! This is really a great benefit because we will be kept up to date on what is working now.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard is this: in addition to your “productive” time every day (spending time on paying work), you will benefit yourself if you will daily or almost every day work on self education. It’s what Stephen Covey calls “sharpening the saw”.
In addition, it’s a good idea to take at least one action every day to promote your business. I heard this from Dan Kennedy, who claims he does so even after all these years of wild success that he has earned.
If you didn’t make it in on the first round of the class in early 2007, Ray will be offering it again later this year, and I presume at least once per year thereafter. Go ahead and get on his list at WebCopywritingExplained.com and at the very least, observe a master marketer at work!
When first getting started in copywriting, there’s a great deal of advice “out there” that you can easily become overwhelmed. How can you decide what is good, who to listen to?
What I recommend for you is to look at the A-level copywriters, like Gary Halbert, John Carlton, and Gary Bencivenga, just name a few.
Get on their email lists (free).
Study the materials on their sites (mostly free).
For example, Gary Halbertâ€™s site is http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com.
For Gary Bencivenga, go to http://bencivengabullets.com.
After reading their materials for a while, youâ€™ll notice a pattern for other materials that they recommend to help you learn copy.
Bob Bly is giving away four fantastic reports.
I just skimmed through them and they look like solid material.
There’s a total of 196 pages, so these aren’t the wimpy “reports” you sometimes find on the internet.
For more information, go to http://www.bly.com/reports.
I don’t know how long these will stay up, so I would check it out right now if I were you.