Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Writing to Communicate VS. Writing to Sell

writing imageEvery successful business owner will have to write, or hire someone to write, at some point in time to promote their business. It’s important to recognize what type of writing will need to be performed in order to communicate your message effectively. Ask yourself the question; am I writing to communicate or am I writing to sell? Yes, there is a difference!

Writing to Communicate

When writing to communicate what you’re really doing is writing to share information. This could be with a current customer or it could be with a potential customer. Think blogs, white paper, advertorials, eBooks, eReports and other platforms that allow you to share important information about you as a business owner or your business. When writing to communicate your goal should be to teach, inform, engage and inspire. It is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge while providing value and if done correctly you will open the channels of communication with customers and potential customers.

Writing to Sell

Writing to sell is different and often referred to as copywriting. When writing to sell your focus is usually on your sales pages, sales emails, direct mail, websites and brochures. In this case you are writing to tell people exactly what it is you do, how you do it and why it will help them. You will use emotional trigger words that leads the readers to a conversion.

Content Marketing

In content marketing you are developing a strategy to promote your business by distributing valuable, relevant and consistent messaging via various media platforms. In this type of marketing you will lean more towards writing to communicate. You want readers to learn who you are and what it is you do but you do not want to come across as overtly selling. You may want to do this through placing your content on websites, guest blogs, online articles and offline magazines.

Sales Page Writing

The writing on a sales page is all about the conversion. Your writing will need to persuade the reader to take action. It will be copywriting heavy and that is ok. Along with display advertising, banner ads, and emails this writing will be strong and it will need to be compelling. It is very different from content writing.

Combining Writing to Sell and Writing to Communicate

I hope that you have found this blog valuable so far. I hope that you have learned a couple of things and I really hope you will consider a response to what has been written. If that is the case then I have successfully achieved my ‘writing to communicate’ goal thus far. Now, could this blog turn into a writing to sell piece? The answer is yes. As I approach the end I could shift the focus and the language to influence you into a purchase or to sign up for something. By doing this I am mixing both styles of writing.

 
Even though I said earlier that copywriting is more often used when writing to sell, it can help with every type of writing you do for your business. You will find it in blog headlines and in email titles. It is the words used and the sentences formed that will entice the audience to continue reading and leave them with the desire to learn more.

 
You want people to want to read what you have to say and to do this you need copywriting or they won’t read at all. It will lead you to conversions and results you are looking for. Best of luck on your journey to learn all you can about the various types of writing out there. If it isn’t your thing, you may want to consider hiring an expert.

 
Click here for your copy of my ebook "Straightforward Strategies for E-commerce Success" a great guide full of ideas and practical tips to get you started and on the path to e-commerce success!

Do You Need a Coach?

CoachingToday, more and more people are hiring life and business coaches. Coaches can help you set goals and create a plan for you to work towards achieving them. Similarly to fitness or athletic coach, life and business coaches help you develop your strengths and work around your weaknesses while getting you to a point where you are at your best.

Almost anyone could benefit from having a coach, but people who operate their own businesses from home may reap more rewards than those who work in offices. This reality is partially due to the fact that working from home will generally make you more isolated. If having someone to bounce ideas off or brainstorm with is something that you’re missing, a coach should be something to consider.

Coaches will also hold you accountable for your actions. If you are in direct sales for example, and your goal is to sell $400 worth of product each week, your coach will help you set mini goals to accomplish what you set out to achieve. When you meet with your coach and they ask you what you have done, you need to be honest. There is no convincing yourself that failing to reach a goal is no big deal when someone else is holding you accountable.

To name just a few, coaches can also help you with time management, leadership, and customer service skills. If you tend to procrastinate or struggle with fears of success or failure, a coach can help you work through it. Some other issues that coaches can guide you through are: creating a better balance between work and life, becoming more organized, and improving your communication skills.

Good coaches will also give you truly honest feedback. They will let you know where you are lacking and give you tips on how to improve. It can be hard to hear criticism, but if it makes you a better business person in the long run, it is worth it. And if dealing with criticism is something in-and-of-itself that you struggle with, a good coach will help you with that too!

Many coaches will offer a complimentary session or trial period to help determine if your personalities mesh well or not. Different coaches have different styles, so you may want to talk to several before you choose the right one for your needs. You may also want to ask them about their accreditation and experience. If you are having specific issues with a certain aspect of your business, ask if they have experience in that area.

A coach may choose to work with their clients via email, one-on-one telephone calls, or group calls. If you feel intimidated to speak up in a group session, let your coach know. Many people however enjoy group sessions as it allows them to see what other people are going through.
Coaching rates can vary quite a bit. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50/hour to several hundred per hour for the more accredited names.

It is important to remember that a coach is not a therapist and cannot fix your problems directly. They can guide you along the way to success, but you will need to be fully committed to making a change if you want to see real results.

5 Powerful Mind Strategies for Success

Mind Success StrategiesCreating a business can be a fantastic and challenging experience. You can wake up energized to begin the day and go to bed feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. The key to preserving your sanity through all of it is to maintain a positive mindset.

Easier said than done, right? Here are 5 key tips to help you create and sustain a positive mindset so you can attain the success you desire.

 

1. Surround yourself with successful and positive people

The influence people have over our own personal energy is amazing and often overlooked. Moods and attitudes are so easily spread. Think about how influential a simple smile from a stranger can be on your day and multiply that by 1000 to put into perspective the power of all of your interactions with friends, family, and associates. When you are surrounded by people who inspire you, believe in you, and want you to succeed, there energy radiates into you and helps you with everything that you do.

2. Create a mantra or an affirmation

Repeating positive affirmations has been shown to get people through tough times and to actually help them truly believe what they’re saying.

To find the right affirmations for you consider writing a quick list of your doubts, insecurities and complaints. These can be easily turned into affirmations that will help inspire you every day.

For example, if you write that you’re always feeling disorganized then your affirmation would be, “I am organized and in control.”  Repeat your affirmations several times a day or whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, and feel the power of positive thinking.

3. Capture negative thoughts

We all have negative thoughts from time to time but if they become too strong, negative thoughts and emotions can derail us and prevent us from achieving the things we desire. Containing such negativity takes practice and persistence. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or having negative emotions, find a trigger to turn them around. The affirmations mentioned above are a great way to turn the negative into positives. You can also find quick pick-me-ups like a favorite song, a walk outside in the fresh air, or some exercise to help improve your mood.

 4. Set goals/intentions and then be willing to let it go

The law of attraction says that we attract what we focus on the most. What most people forget however, is that this also applies to negative and desperate things as well. Set your goals and intentions, and then let them go. A certain amount of faith in yourself and in the power of attraction is necessary. Give it a try.

5. Be grateful

Gratitude is perhaps the single most powerful and positive tool for success. When you’re grateful for all of the wonderful things and people in your life the challenges you come across seem far less significant and easier to deal with.

Consider keeping a gratitude journal and make a practice of writing in it every day. That way, when you’re facing challenges a quick peek at all the amazing things in your life will give you a boost of positivity and make you feel as if you can tackle anything.  Also, knowing you have a journal to write in will make you more aware of the positive things that do happen in your life so you can appreciate them in the moment.

Success is always within your reach and with the right attitude you can accomplish anything you set your sights on.  Embrace these five powerful strategies and you’ll build a better business and live a happier, more satisfying life.

The Key to Continual Growth and Expansion

The key to continual growth and expansionIf you want your business to be successful in the long term it is important to continually strive to grow your customer base and expand incoming revenue. If you’re not growing and expanding, you’re stagnating or moving backwards. There are many ways in which you can experience continuous growth and expansion in your business, as well as in your life.

Here are just a few:

Start a Joint Venture Partnership

Although it may be out of your comfort zone, get out there and work on a project with someone who you might normally see as a competitor. If you know someone who promotes complementary products and/or services to yours, get on board with them to promote something jointly. The more often you participate in JVs, the more markets you will be exposed to.

Create More Products or Services

Diversifying your offerings can help you expand and grow in many ways. For example, if you currently run an online course on how to do something, you can expand to offer one-on-one coaching services to delve even deeper into that expertise. This does not require any new skills on your part and it can bring in more money for you.

Outsource More

A fast and simple way to grow your business is to take on more clients. Of course you’re only one person, so you might need to outsource some of your work to others to ensure that you can accommodate this added workload.

Teach What You Know to Others

If you have a specific skill that you can share with others to help them become successful like you, don’t keep it to yourself. You may see this as a way of helping your competition but in fact it is a way to set you apart from them. You’ll not only get more customers but you’ll also be seen as an expert in your field.

Write a Book

If you already have knowledge for something specific the best way to establish your expertise is to write a book on that topic. Then going forward, you can use the book to promote your other products and services. You’ll earn extra money from the book and from the added promotional opportunities the book exposes you to.

Get on the Speaking Circuit

Once you have a book, a course, and a coaching program, you can easily get out and begin to speak about your expertise at various events. Through paid speaking engagements you can get the word out about your business to even more people and solidify yourself as an expert.

Be Consistent and Persistent

If your business is already growing and expanding don’t just sit back and relax; it is important to keep doing what you’re doing. At the end of the day, dedication, consistency, and persistence will pay off for every business model.

Network More Efficiently

Networking is essential for any business to expand. Take a look at how you go about networking and who you’re networking with. Make sure to network strategically with potential joint venture partners, potential customers, as well as colleagues. Especially at events, there will often be limited time to network so make sure you spend it wisely.

Growing in the right direction requires self-awareness and a vision for what you want to accomplish in the future. Occasionally assess your goals and where you are at to ensure that you are on track to be where you want. If you’re succeeding, keep on doing what you’re doing. If you’re behind, it’s okay; you just need to adjust.