Actually, many of my days now actually are about writing, because writing is one of the best ways to promote a service business. In addition to writing for my clients, I spend a chunk of every day writing copy related to my businesses in some way.
With the right words, you can, among other things:
- Demonstrate your expertise.
- Give your prospects and clients useful information they can put to immediate use.
- Make yourself relevant to your target market.
- Establish yourself as a thought leader in your market.
- Influence prospects and clients to buy from you.
The list of vehicles for your promotional words is long. Web copy, articles, white papers, audio/video scripts, client case studies, email campaigns, telecourses, speeches—you get the idea, right? In all of these vehicles, in whatever you write, there is one question to answer for the reader:
What’s in it for me?
Whatever you are writing, this is the question to answer. WIIFM. If you are writing an article, what benefit will the reader get from reading it? Ditto a white paper? If you are a writing sales-oriented pieces, what will the reader get out of buying from you? Be clear, specific, and honest. Avoid buzzy "market-speak" that sounds good but says nothing, or, worse, says the same thing all your competitors are saying.
As you write, keep these three principles in mind:
- Be personal. Writing is communication and communication is about people. Even if your business sells to other businesses, businesses are just a bunch of people. You are not an institution, and you are not talking to other institutions. Talk like a person, and infuse your message with your own personality.
- Be positive. There is a sales copy writing that uses fear, uncertainty, and doubt (the FUD factor) to get people to buy. The idea is to imply how much worse off the consumer will be if they don’t buy from you. This kind of negativity may work in some instances, but it’s not useful if you want to keep your customers over the long term. Reinforce the positive aspects of doing business with you, paint the picture of success to be gained through your partnership, and you are far more likely to have a long term customer than if you scare them into buying.
- Be creative. Consider how to communicate in interesting ways, ways that address what you know are the issues, needs, and concerns of your target market. Eliminate clichés, find a way of saying it that’s different from the competition.
What if you aren’t a writer? No problem. You don’t have to forgo writing as a promotional strategy if you aren’t into writing. Check out online resources like Elance (www.elance.com) or Craig’s List (www.craigslist.org), and you will find a number of knowledgable, good value copy writers who can put your messages, your personality, and your offers into the right words and the right vehicles.