The Irony of ‘Dear Valued Customer’

When opening those ‘Dear Valued Customer’  emails, how do you feel? Valued? Probably not. Would you email a friend with, ‘Dear person I like’? I think not.

As a customer, if I have chosen to offer my details to a company, it is with good reason:

  • I love their products
  • I love what they do
  • I believe in them

I may not wish to buy from them regularly, unless it’s sustenance I probably won’t, but I am happy to hear from them, if they do it well I might even enjoy doing so. Please don’t write to me as ‘Dear Valued Customer’, clearly I am not valued, you can’t even be bothered to use my name. If I have made that choice to subscribe to a mailing list, I am showing loyalty, that deserves some reward, or at the very least, effort.

Managing CRM – Customer Relationship Management

It’s worth the effort! A database of customer details is like gold dust and should be treated with the respect it deserves. Here’s a company’s opportunity to build relationships, to understand, to show customers that they made a good choice and that this company is exactly what the customer needs. In providing details, customers are making a commitment; they want to choose you again, maybe not regularly, maybe once in a blue moon, but it is you they choose, because they like you.

Marketing Strategy

It’s horses for courses. One size does not fit all.

  1. First, segment your list logically, this will depend on your offering but it could be by one or more: gender, age, buying frequency, product choices, geography, interests, needs…The list is by no means exhaustive.
  2. Market specifically to each sector. Your marketing strategy should be to target each sector according to their needs, speak to them as individuals, open a dialogue, demonstrate that you understand them and are there to help.
  3. Address them by name!

Relevant, Timely, Tailored

Think of your circle of friends, how often do you get in touch with

Marketing Strategy Content Marketing My Words Work For You

Email Marketing – It’s ‘Horses for Courses’

your ‘inner circle’? How about those you hardly ever see? Could you imagine writing to them every day? What effect would it have? For ‘sporadic’ subscribers who only buy once or twice a year, a monthly reminder places you in their mind, reminds them how good you are, and keeps them ‘in the loop’…and it doesn’t annoy them so much that they unsubscribe. For more regular customers, more regular emails, hitting the right spot, making them feel included and part of something special. If they are only interested in a specific range of products, bombarding them with irrelevant info is not going to end well. Show them you care, you know who they are, they matter. Well written emails (enter Content Writer), will be aspirational, evoking the desire to be in that inner circle. In the main, people like to be part of something good.

Build Your Database

Nurture your customer datase as you would your friends, you never know when you might need them or when they might need you. In another article I wrote about treating your customers as friends, I talk about the ‘long game’, building relationships with customers based on trust, they are the only relationships that last. If I trust someone with my details, they need to deserve that trust, don’t bombard me with irrelevant, nameless, pointless emails, I deserve better. Remind me why I chose you and I’ll be there for the long game.

More relevant articles: ‘Are Your Customer Relationships Flying High?Do People Believe in You?

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Content Writing to Attract an Audience

I have a theory. For some years now I have created content for a wide range of clients. Obviously, I keep the audience uppermost in my mind and ‘speak to them’ as I write. My aim is to engage them on an appropriate level and make the copy memorable, bringing products and services to life.

Psychology of Content Writing My Words Work For You

Content writing – reaching the audience on a deeper level

Scientific Content Writing

When writing content for scientific companies I am writing for an audience of PhD and above. This audience is carrying out research that could save lives, that’s no laughing matter and there is no place for humour. Researchers are faced with a multitude of companies offering the best supplies to obtain the most reliable and accurate data. Making an informed choice can be like wading through a treacle dictionary.

How do I make my clients stand out from the crowd?  

Think About Your Audience

Another intrinsic part of what I do is to ‘get into the heads’ of my audience. Studying psychology at degree level has contributed to that process, for me it’s essential. Thinking of the reader/customer/potential customer…

  • Who are they?
  • What do they need?
  • How is their day?
  • What are the challenges?
  • What are the pain points?
  • How can I make things easier?
  • What would make them believe in my client?

So here’s my theory… When producing scientific content writing I can make things easier for them by writing clearly. Researchers spend their working day trying to digest articles and information that requires higher level knowledge and understanding; it’s hard work! If I write clearly, concisely and accurately my feeling is, as they come to my writing it will feel like an oasis in an otherwise arid desert of information.

Long term Aims

Subliminally, my target audience will begin to gravitate to my clients’ websites as they find the experience quicker, easier and less stressful. My long term aim is for my clients to become the ‘go to’ suppliers of their particular scientific products. Clearly, the content I write must be scientifically accurate and in no way disdainful, these guys deserve respect. What I would like to do is to provide some respite from the challenging level of information that comes as standard in the scientific world. The by-product for my clients should be an increase in sales as more customers choose to visit their websites.

Aswell as providing a better user experience, in the face of stiff competition, it pays to be different…

STAND OUT 

Here’s one I made earlier about mosquito borne disease research.

And here’s a fascinating insight into clever little liposomes

Honestly? It’s been a long time since my science degree so writing articles in plain English sits very comfortably with me! I am loving the experience.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Stately Customer Service

It’s early morning, I am sitting in my hotel room in Chicago with a mint tea, admiring my view…

Chicago View Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Good morning, how are you today?

I am over here working for a client, ‘someone has to do it’. In spite of two long working days, and a bit of eating and sleeping, I’ve slightly fallen in love with this wonderful city. Ahead of me today is the ‘jolly’ day, a free day to soak up the city (literally, as the forecast is rain), and see the sights. The experience so far has been fantastic.

The Journey Begins…

At Heathrow, after a ridiculously early start to avoid the dreaded M25 rush, our compensation was breakfast at Heathrow. ensconced in the terminal 5 restaurant we awaited our order, taken by the rather unhappy looking waitress. Clearly she was not having a good day, she wasn’t doing much to improve ours either. The food arrived. This isn’t going to be good, watery porridge, one strawberry sliced in half in place of the promised ‘sliced banana’, my smoked salmon had turned into ham…the list goes on. Now none of this would stop the world turning, no lives are affected but my issue was this breakfast that had little to do with its description was delivered with no explanation, no apology, and no smile.

Let’s see how they do it in Chicago

The following morning we are enjoying a quite frankly amazing breakfast. The staff here can speak to you in 45 different languages, you are greeted with genuine smiles and they are falling over themselves to make your experience the best it can be. Frankly, the food could have been poor and I would still have left with a smile, it wasn’t.

Breakfast Customer Service My Words Work For You

A great start to the day

My cup was constantly filled, several waiters cleared every used item on the table, replenished stocks, checked we have everything we could possibly need and generally brightened our day.

Customer Service Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Customer Service Excellence

Customer Service

The restaurant at Terminal 5 don’t rely on repeat business, there’s a constant and guaranteed stream. There is another option so when I find myself there in a few weeks time, I’ll be taking it. I don’t know what was happening in the world of the young lady who served us, and I hope it was nothing bad, but she is working in a service industry and there is a lot of room for improvement. The contrast could not have been more stark, a complete dichotomy between the two restaurants, in fact between the two cities. Almost every person we have encountered here has brightened our day in some way, Eddie on security in the building we are working in wants us to go to his church to ‘get everybody singing, for sure’ Amy in the bar, who spent time marvelling at our NHS.

STAND OUT, be memorable for all the right reasons

It isn’t about resources, or gimmicks, it is about simple good service. As you go through your week, take note of the interactions you have throughout, what works, what doesn’t, how does it make you feel and what impact does it have on the outcome? If you are a customer, would you choose to go back? I know how I felt after being greeted by Eddie yesterday, on top of the world.

Have a read of a few related articles in my Blog… Flying High? 

Or maybe…Treating your customers like friends?

I must go for breakfast…whatever you are doing, ‘Have a nice day’

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , ,

The Future of Our High Streets

This is our local High Street. Behind the rather quaint façade of these properties with character is potentially, a tale of foreboding.

Future of High Street Retail Business Support

Retail cannot remain in the past, can it?

Is Retail Set to Fail?

We moved to this area almost 20 years ago.  The truth is, this particular High Street wasn’t terribly exciting then. The town is in a constant state of flux. A few of the outlets have stayed the course, mainly branches of multiples, another independent is closing its doors this month. I visited last weekend, there are now a plethora of barbers shops, charity shops and coffee shops with a definite scarcity of people. The giant out-of-town supermarket has now opened up an ‘Express’ outlet within the town, the final nail in the coffin?

Bricks and Clicks

Of course now, ‘Bricks and Clicks’ is de rigueur. A well run shop needs the backing of a well written, high functioning website and both need to be managed with wisdom and expertise. But is there hope for the small indies who don’t follow the crowd? Some outlets simply don’t lend themselves to online, the ‘Glazed Creations‘ ceramic decorating shop, the beauty salons, the art gallery, you really need to be there, but they still need to advertise. Retail outlets can do a lot to improve the experience for their customers to draw people through the door. That starts with the greeting as you walk in, the attitude of staff, it doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune on gimmicks and props to try to stand out, it can be far more organic.

Potential for Improvement

Around 13 miles away is the thriving market town of Saffron Walden. Received wisdom is that once upon a time, Saffron Walden was in a similar state, now it is a bustling town centre with a stable retail backdrop. It’s a ‘destination’, the kind of place that one goes for a trip out. The retail outlets enjoy the support of an affluent community and the backing of town planners who carefully vet the type of outlets they allow in. There are plenty of glorious independents with desirable offerings, they are quite simply ‘getting it right’. Many of the outlets are nowhere to be seen online, I dare say that may change but for now, they have no need.  I’ll finish this post here, I need to go shopping, I would love to support my local town but the truth is, I won’t find what I need there and the experience won’t be great.

Your suggestions?

What will become of the High Street? Is it time to re-purpose? What are your suggestions? Do we need to be thinking outside the box or going back to tradition and promoting the ‘tried and tested’? Maybe town planners need to swallow their pride and learn from towns who are clearly getting it right.

 

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Keep Google Happy – Quality Content

Search Engine Optimisation

In a previous post, ‘Search Engine Success – Content is King‘ I talked about ways to keep Google happy, including:

  1. Why the UX (User Experience) is a priority
  2. How the quality of your content directly impacts SEO
  3. The importance of high quality inbound links
  4. Why meta descriptions still matter (for your click-through rate)
  5. Why your site should be secure.

Here, the focus is on content, why quality matters and the benefits it will bring.

Content Writing Matters

Your content is your voice, your conversation with existing and prospective clients, your image, your message, your ethos, the face of your organisation. How well does it speak of you? How appropriately is it dressed? How easy is it to understand?  What impression does it give? Is your content the best it can be?

User Experience

Google’s algorithms get cleverer by the day. No longer can keywords be stuffed in to poor quality copy to get results, hallelujah! Apart from the mechanics of your site (speed, pop-ups. navigation, links etc.), Google focuses on how your content affects the user experience. Is it clear, concise and easy to read? Does it make you STAND OUT? Does it tell your story and that of your offering?

Content Writing Tips

  • Headlines – 4-9 words that sum up the writing beneath
  • Naturally written – Google’s RankBrain is watching (and reading)
  • Unique – Google will penalise you for copying
  • Helpful – Does it inform/help the user?
  • Readable – Why make it inaccessible? Nobody has time for that

Well-written content will reach the user on a deeper psychological level, inducing loyalty, and  inspiring belief in you and your products/services that will inculcate a near unshakable bond.

Content Writing – a Long-Term Investment

Below is a graph of the results achieved purely from writing great copy for one of my clients. The impact was instantaneous and continuous.

Content Marketing Copywriter Cambridge My Worfd Work For You

Quality Content Reaps Rewards

Your aim? To attain and retain customers. Accurate, relevant and useful content that informs, clarifies and assists will continue to work hard for you long into the future. Good quality content will represent and serve you well, it is surely worthy of investment.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

The Story of Lost Literacy

Once upon a time, I constantly read to, and with, my two beautiful children. Two ‘square days’ a week meant time could be spent with TV/gadgets, on other days they played, we read together, we talked. Thankfully they have both grown up to be literate adults who function well in the workplace. Admittedly, their domestic skills are more questionable but that shouldn’t have a hugely negative impact on their prospects.

Story Time

Now we occasionally find ourselves babysitting for friends. Last night our three young charges ranged from three to seven, we had fun. Ignoring a large pile of recently acquired birthday gifts, the children were desperate for me to read a new arrival, ‘The Detective Dog’ by Julia Donaldson; what a tremendous book.

Storyteller Content Writer My Words Work For You

Discovering The Joy Of Books

Julia uses beautifully lilting rhyme to tell the story of how our protagonist saves the day by hunting down missing books with the children who loved them. Detective Dog cleverly walks the reader through a world where the smell of books and joy of reading are cherished. Spoiler alert: The story winds up in a library…

“Thousands of books from the floor to the ceiling. The books gave the thief the most heavenly feeling….You can join if you want to – there isn’t a fee, and then you can take lots of books out for free”

Storyteller Literacy Matters My Words Work For You

Magical Words and Illustrations

The Importance of Books

Under-used libraries are closing down in front of our eyes. Children have so many other pulls on their time and attention, parents have less time. Schools educate children using an ever increasing number of electronic resources, books are slowly being pushed aside in favour of instant gratification devices, after all, there is a lot of effort needed to turn pages.

What’s the result? This list is by no means exhaustive

  • Reduced vocabulary
  • Diminished attention span
  • Inability to focus
  • Less mental stamina
  • Weaker literacy
  • Poor spelling ability
  • Impaired conversation skills
  • Quality time impacted

Content Writing

As a content writer, words are king. The ability to express myself clearly is vital for me and my clients. I use words to conjure images and thoughts in the readers’ minds, it is inherent in everything I do. I am ever grateful for a childhood spent with ‘my nose stuck in a book’.

The Future

I cannot imagine children of the future will experience a reverse in the trend. So what does the future hold? As generations of book-deprived children enter the workplace, we will never be able to measure the impact of the time spent with electronic devices rather than in the magical world of books. My guess is, employers will certainly notice the ramifications.

Have a read of some of my other blog posts, this one on storytelling is particularly relevant,

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , ,

Small Business Marketing -It’s a jungle Out There

We have had the tremendous honour of being made ‘Guide Parents’. Close friends who are non-religious have chosen us to be ‘back-up’ for their most treasured and valuable possession, their child. We love her, we have a great relationship and the feeling is mutual; nothing in life tops that.

And so to the point…

A Trip to the Zoo

This weekend we ‘moved in’ and became proxy parents as our friends took a weekend off to remind themselves of why they are a couple; everybody was happy, ‘win-win’. We excitedly planned a trip to a small local zoo, just right for our young charge. I’ll be honest, I hate zoos. I feel anxiety as I watch pacing animals, trapped in enclosures that are a long way short of ‘Africa’. For years I have tried to avoid anything less than a safari park, this weekend my eyes, and my mind, have been opened.

Zoo Marketing Strategy My Words Work For You

What will attract your target market? How can you stand out?

Supporting Small Businesses

Linton Zoo was born in 1972. Beginning as a family’s small private collection, today it has evolved to be a member of the International Breeding Programme  and is playing a vital role in the preservation of endangered species. I now appreciate the vital work they do. This family have seen change. No longer can they be assured of visitor numbers allowing them to carry on their good work. Since 1972 the competition has evolved, new and exciting experiences tempt young minds. Like many businesses, this small zoo has an uphill struggle. No longer can their primary focus be animal care, they have to focus on standing out from the crowd and attracting a good share of the market.

The Need to Stand Out

So when finances are stretched and you have a team that excels in the dietary requirements of an Eastern Quoll (see below) or the mating habits of a Snow Leopard, what do you do? This business needs to thrive, the Quoll, and all the other species at the zoo depend on it. The pressure is immense, the quoll was extinct in Australia, snow leopard numbers have dropped by 20% in 16 years, time is running out. Every penny of their budget is needed for the upkeep of the animals yet they need to attract visitors, increase revenue, be a visible presence in the face of high-tech, new and exciting offerings.

Quoll Small Business Support My Words Work For You

Like The Quoll, This Business Needs to attract attention

Playing to Strengths

With little or no marketing budget…It might be that there is hidden talent among the staff,  a creative individual who is able to write regular blog articles. Guest articles in local magazines, competitions to win a trip to the zoo, features in local newspapers…What resources are at their disposal? Local businesses could sponsor an animal, providing funds for its care. Gift packages of high perceived value ‘Keeper for the Day’ etc could be auctioned at events, raising funds and profile. These are all temporary fixes, the park needs to come up with a solid, pragmatic and long-term content marketing strategy, a holistic approach that will improve SEO, attract visitors, increase funds and enable the Linton Zoo family to do what matters most, conserve and care for the diverse and precious species we have managed to endanger through our greed and neglect.

Reach Your Target Marketing

An experienced, knowledgeable marketer would develop a content marketing strategy to create revenue that can be re-invested. Recognise the target market and appeal to them, what else could be on offer? Begin to think outside the box, get in the heads of your potential customers, what would they love to see/do? What resources do you have that could be repurposed? (See my article) What could be developed that will ensure repeat business?

Marketing Strategies

Clever marketing involves imagination and creativity, not necessarily ‘big bucks’. Bolder marketing strategies need to include long term aims akin to producing own-branded merchandise, national awareness, social media engagement promoting the story of the brand and all that it has to offer. Each animal at the zoo has a story; its origins, its struggles and triumphs, its daily life, its future. I am seeing story books of each animal ‘Quincy Quoll Saves The Species’… OK, that was off the top of my head, but with backing from Quantas or similar, who knows, it could happen!

Good luck Linton Zoo, you are a treasure that deserves preserving.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Are Your Customer Relationships Flying High?

This week I have booked over £5,000 worth of flights with a well known British flight operator. Myself and a client will be travelling to the United States, twice in the next two months. Usually, if I fly for personal travel, I am happy to book with one of the budget airlines, squeeze my belongings into a tiny bag and squeeze my back-side into a tiny seat, which I expect to pay extra for. Now here’s the thing…

Customer Expectations

As I was paying around quadruple the price for the pleasure of flying with a well-known airline, I fully expected the extras to be included. In fact, if I am paying around £1,500 for my ticket, I kind of expected my seat would be part of the deal, not an extra; standing is not an option. I am aware that the budget airlines charge for the bare minimum, then add for every single crisp (obviously not peanut) that one eats.

Customer Relationships Best Content Marketing My Words Work For You

Leave Your Customers on a High

Managing Expectations

So I arrive at the stage of the booking process to choose my seats , exciting…until I realised that my seat would cost a minimum of £22, each way! I can understand why this particular airline would not publicise the fact that once you have shelled out for your ticket, you are then invited to pay for your seat, but I do think I would be less ‘put out’ if I had been prepared.

Customer Satisfaction

Imagine if the price of the seat had been included in my ticket price. The airline are already making a fortune compared to other airlines, yes a meal is included, but the cost of that won’t be eating much into the ticket price. I would go through the process of booking without experiencing the sting in the tail as I fed the scorpion my money. I would feel OK.

Present Your Offering Well

How is your customer experience? Do they get ‘what it says on the tin’? Or are there nasty surprises? Go through the process of buying, really imagine how your customers feel along the way. I am feeling more than a little disappointed, so much so, I wrote this article…that can’t be good for PR for this well-known British airline!

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Radio Uplift #mentalhealthawareness

I have had an idea! I have lots of ideas, some good, some less so, some exciting. This idea has got legs…

Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought’ this morning was in response to someone choosing to extinguish the lives of 22 children and parents at a concert in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected, wishing you courage, strength and support in the time ahead.

The Need For Support

This morning it got me thinking about support, and the important role radio plays by including features like ‘Pause for Thought’. I had a friend who began to suffer from depression, it was a long time, and a huge struggle before it was diagnosed. In that time my friend’s behaviour changed, judgement was impaired, a catalogue of poor decisions and irrational behaviour led to the deterioration of business and relationships. In self-imposed isolation, my friend had little or no support.

Support For All My Words Work For You

A Constant, Freely Available Resource For All

Wide-Reaching Support

Here’s my idea, ‘Radio Uplift’ (or similar). A radio station that is dedicated to provide a positive source of support. Not cheesy, over enthusiastic DJ’s with corny, superficial lines, I mean a constant, ever-present, ubiquitous source of support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With a massively over-stretched NHS and severely depleted mental health resources, turning on the radio could be a valuable and viable option available to everyone.

How Would ‘Radio Uplift’ Look?

Small Business Support Radio My Words Work For You

Support Through Music

  • Purely Music with a positive message
  • Guest spots with relevant professionals
  • Stories of Hope
  • Examples of human kindness
  • ‘Tried and Trusted’ – what has worked for others
  • Take Action – Positive Steps
  • Publicity for support mechanisms/groups
  • Listener input
  • Content driven by need…

My radio station would need to be an under-stated source of calm that provides a blanket of warmth and kindness for anyone who needs it, for whatever reason.

  • Non-judgemental
  • Undidactic
  • Informed and informative
  • Trustworthy
  • Reliable

How Do You Start A Radio Station?

So, all we need is some available bandwidth, some volunteers with skills, a bit of PR/advertising…What do you think? Know anyone who could help? Watching my friend suffer has been painful, I was unable to help. This problem isn’t going to go away, if tuning in to a radio for a 10 minute boost could make any difference, it has to be worth it.

“Thousands of people are suffering in silence; we could fill that silence with positivity.”

Please Like and Share, this could become reality.

#headstogether #mentalhealthawareness

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , ,

Why Product Personification Increases Sales

personification
pəˌsɒnɪfɪˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1. the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
    “Peter heard the last piece of pie calling his name”

Product Personification

I’ve seen some cool examples of personification recently. Before the customer has had time to think, that ordinary skirt has leapt from the screen, right into their psyche because it isn’t just a skirt, it’s a ‘sassy skirt’… It has attitude.

Why are you more likely to buy a sassy skirt? You can identify with it, it speaks

Personification Content Marketing My Words Work For You

Allow your customers to identify with your products

to the inner you, (who secretly, would love to be ‘sassy’). Giving products a personality brings them to life and evokes emotions in the buyer. Name them, add some adjectives, give them a character that ignites a spark…. anyone can sell a skirt, not many think to sell a sassy skirt. Joe Browns is a company that does it well, I have fallen for the charms of their products on more than one occasion, and I should know better!

Persuasive Content Writing

As a Content Writer, much of the work I produce aims to persuade potential customers to click/buy from/call my clients. My words need to capture the readers’ attention, to be emotive, reaching them on a subliminal level, creating a bond between the customer and the product, and ultimately, the customer and my client. I have learned over the years, it is far easier to write for something I believe in. If the product or service I am writing about has something to show off, it is very easy to give it a gregarious personality.

Let Customers Identify With Your Products

For one client, I simply gave names to a particular range of products as I put them online, sales increased. These products jumped out of the page and off the shelf. My emotive words evoked a human response, a bond between this now animated object, and the customer. The supplier noticed the dramatic increase in sales, it stood out from any other seller, they loved it. It doesn’t have to be names, adjectives and descriptions that give a product ‘personality’ will work too. Let’s give it a try…

bold, daring, quirky, cheeky, strapping, fun, adventurous, mighty, outrageous, attention-seeking…

This coffee machine longs to grace your worksurface and be admired.

The shirt that shouts, ‘This guy’s got style’

More ideas to support small businesses can be found throughout my Blog, here’s one to be going along with… How Attractive is Your USP?  Enjoy!

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,