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.

Common Mobile Marketing Mistakes

Common mobile marketing mistakesThe landscape of internet use is dramatically changing. Mobile sales are outstripping PC sales, over half of social media users are doing so from mobile devices, and approximately half of your audience is using mobile devices to read their emails. Because of this rapid and substantial change many marketers are making serious mistakes when approaching their mobile audience. Thankfully, you can avoid these issues if you just think ahead.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Creating Complicated Opt-in Processes

You can always get more information from customers later, but creating an easy and streamlined opt-in process greatly appeals to mobile users. When a customer is using a finger instead of a keyboard to click boxes and type in information, they will become frustrated if the procedure is too complicated or lengthy. Make it easy; remember that less is more.

Not Ensuring Links Work for Mobile

When you send any email link it needs to be able to be read on a mobile device because you need to assume that’s where readers will be viewing it. Can the user click through easily? Does the website work well using any device? Can the user get around the navigation?

Not Being Targeted in Your Actions

When you send out a message or put out content, know why you’re doing it and who will be seeing it. You can use your email and website metrics to determine which devices your audience uses so that you can ensure that any device can access your info.

Not Understanding Laws, Rules, and Regulations

Like with most things to do with marketing, there are laws, rules, and regulations that need to be followed. Ensure that you become familiar with these laws so that you don’t break any of them and make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be. Opt-in regulations and privacy concerns are important to most people so they should be to you too.

Using Too Much Text for the Space

Remember the size of most mobile devices is about 3.3 inches of space. If that small space is overrun with text and your user has to scroll sideways forever to read all the content, they’re going to get frustrated and give up fast. There are ways to optimize your content within the code to ensure that it automatically adjusts based on the device your audience is using.

Not Creating Ongoing Value for Customers

As important as access is, creating value is equally essential. If you’ve created an app for example, if you don’t want to lose your customer, one way or another you’ll need to remind them about the app by offering updates, extensions, and more. The value of a long-term customer cannot be underestimated so keep them engaged with your product.

Building an App without a Plan for Marketing

Apps are a great way to get involved in the mobile marketing landscape. That being said however, creating an app is like creating a whole other business and it comes with new responsibilities. You not only need to create the app in a way that people enjoy using it, but you also need a marketing plan if you want it to be successful.

Not Having Clear Calls to Action

Once you know the purpose of a message that you want to send out, it’s imperative that you craft clear calls to action. Sometimes you may need to test different CTAs to find out which ones work best for your audience.

Treating Mobile as a Separate Entity

While mobile is a huge platform and should be considered by anyone who wants to market online today, it’s also important to remember that mobile devices are simply tools for users to access your content. Much like different browsers, different devices have different code requirements. Thankfully though, by using HTML5 and responsive coding, you can make your websites work for all devices seamlessly.

Avoiding these common mobile marketing mistakes will help you become a winner in the online marketing game. Don’t ignore the statistics of a changing environment when bringing your marketing campaigns into the present. Gear yourself towards mobile or you’re going to be leaving money on the table.

Self Sabotage – How to Recognize & Overcome it

Self sabotage – how to recognize and overcome itAre you your own worst enemy? As hard as it may be to realize, maybe the reason you aren't achieving the success that you want is because of self-sabotaging behaviour. The good thing about this however, is that you are the person who can fix it, the only person who can fix it!  It’s important to identify what you’re doing to yourself and then turn it around.

Playing the Waiting Game

If you find yourself saying, “I’ll do that once xyz happens” you should stop it right now. You may have always done this and not even realized it was a bad habit. “Once I lose weight I’ll go hiking.” “When I finish this client’s work I’ll write that book I've always wanted to.” “When I do x then I’ll do y.” It all makes sense but it’s just another one of putting things on the backburner indefinitely. If you don’t take action now, nothing will happen.

You Hang Around the Wrong People

Yes, even as an adult you can choose the wrong group of people to be friends with. If you often find yourself at odds with your friends’ values and life goals, or you find yourself apologizing for other people’s behaviour, then you’re likely just making excuses to avoid the inevitable conclusion. You've outgrown your friends and they are holding you back.

Saying: “I’ll never ….”

Fill in the blank with what you’ll never say, do or feel. Much of life’s success starts with your state of mind. If you don’t believe you’re business will grow or you’ll never lose that extra weight, you likely won’t. You have to envision the success you want to achieve to make it happen. If all you see is negative, that’s all you’ll get.

“I Don’t Want to Do It Alone”

Ultimately, you have to work for yourself. If you wait around for everyone to be on the same page as you, you may miss out on a great opportunity. Whether it’s starting a business, seeing a movie, or trying a new restaurant, don’t be afraid of doing anything by yourself.

Thinking You’re Not “As Smart As….”

In reality, someone out there is always going to be smarter, prettier, or better than you. By saying that you’re not something, you’re just putting yourself in a box that you will have a hard time getting out of. Forget about who you think you are, and do what it is that you want to do. There’s no need to hold yourself back worrying about perfection.

You Hide Your Feelings

When someone asks you a question about your feelings, it is important to not simply say “I’m fine” and leave it at that – especially when you are not fine. If you avoid negative feelings like this you can actually get stuck in a certain mindset. This is true whether it’s about work or something personal. You have to acknowledge things before they will change.

“My Client Needs Me”

Everyone is replaceable. If you find that you’re working with someone just because you think they need you, even when the relationship is not working for you, you’re really wasting your time. A client who is not compatible with you will drop you the moment they find someone they’re compatible with. Don’t do anyone any favours unless it is in your best interest and you really want to.

You Lack a Support System

Support can come in a variety of forms, from human support to electronic support. If you set up a good system to help you stick to your schedule (whether it’s for work or fun) and get help when you need it, you will be a lot more successful and a lot less stressed about time management.

Being self-aware enough to notice self-sabotaging behaviour will go far in helping you reduce it. Give some thought to how you’re running your life so that you can kick self-sabotaging behaviour to the curb.

Money Doesn’t Equal Success

Money doesn't equal successSuccess means being able to do what you want, when you want. It doesn’t mean being able to buy what you want when you have enough time off work to do so. Question what success really is and you’ll quickly realize that it is more related to freedom and than anything else.

Someone once said that “While money doesn’t buy happiness, it sure does make me giggle a lot.” Obviously, this was said by someone who not had significant wealth to their name, but also had time to spend it. Because the truth is, money alone doesn’t create joy; being able to spend time on what you love, and do things with those whom you love is, what happiness and success truly is. When people want to become entrepreneurs they don’t actually think about the work and the money; they think about the freedom.

What Is Success?

Success is freedom. Success means that you can take the day off to spend it with your kids on a school field trip. Success means that if you want to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your spouse on a Monday morning, you can. Success means that if you want to take that trip to Nepal, you can. Yes, money does help you afford these things, but money is only the means by which you can purchase them and anyone can make money. Most importantly is the ability to enjoy your money and not everyone who has money has that ability. Time is finite; money is not.

The Value of Time

Timothy Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Work Week says, “To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.” That’s why if you choose to prioritize the things you do based on money, it will often backfire. Instead, base everything you do on what kind of time it will cost you. What will it take you away from that you really would rather be doing? Some things, of course, have to be done that we don’t want to do. But, most of those things can be outsourced and worked around to accommodate the most important things on your to-do list. Most things can simply wait.

People who are truly successful in life realize the reality of the limits of time and do everything they can to make the most of the time they have. That’s why some of the most successful people you know are probably so incredibly productive. Successful people often live by their calendars and schedules. This might seem unromantic but the truth is, scheduling in work and fun will make your life better by leaps and bounds.

In fact, get out your calendar right now and first schedule in all the things you want to do with your family and for yourself that are not related to work. Once you’ve done that, you can fit in work around those things. That’s the entire point of becoming an entrepreneur - to have freedom, but it’s important that you remember what really freedom really means. Freedom is time, not money. How much is your time worth?