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When Should You Fire A Client?

When Should You Fire A Client?

It had been a tough process.

A new client in a business that I loved.
A lot of enthusiasm at the start.
Extra upfront time invested by both of us (to be expected).
Then things seemed to go south.

There was a litany of client problems including:

  • Constantly changing his mind, resulting in my having to redo copy time after time
  • Requesting changes without being able to articulate why – just wanting to see more options
  • Second-guessing my advice, but expecting me to pick up the pieces when things went wrong
  • Continually missing meetings, and not willing to extend deadlines
  • Nitpicking my work and the work of the designer, thereby lowering morale

Contract renewal time arrived and – to my surprise –
he wanted to renew.

Let Me Step Back and Say –

I value my clients, dearly. They pay me money, give me interesting projects, and sometimes become friends. But ONCE, I fired a client, and this was it.

So during another difficult phone conversation, I let him know that I had decided not to continue with his work.

This is What I’ve Learned

There is a big difference between challenging projects and challenging clients.
Challenging projects help you grow, are immensely satisfying when brought to a happy conclusion, and can lead to more business.

Challenging clients are the ones who are never satisfied, never want to pay for their 22 revisions, never pleased with an idea unless its theirs, never stick to a deadline, and are unreasonably demanding. Challenging clients, in my experience, are also few and far between (thank heavens!)

When I worked for a big corporation, I had to suck it up. But as the head of my own copywriting service, I could see this client was going to continue to drive me crazy and drain my energy.

I decided to fire him.

What would you have done? I’d be interested in your thoughts. 

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

I take delight in meeting deadlines and delivering projects on time. I know it’s weird. But I truly like being organized and I’m a dedicated planner. As you can imagine this is an invaluable skill when writing copy for small businesses – often several projects at a time.

How do I project manage? It’s my Measure Twice; Cut Once Plan

1. I lay out a detailed editorial calendar that tells my client’s story and brings readers to a conclusion and a decision. I work backwards from the publishing date and measure the time it will take for each step leading up to that date (first measurement). And then I confirm all deadlines with the marketing team (measure twice).

2. The delightful part is that once that calendar is finalized, I only have to cut through the details once, without having to re-negotiate deadlines along the way. I’m happy. The client is happy.

As a business owner, you may not be creating all of your own content. Or maybe you are and, if so, this is even more important for you. In either event, you need to ensure that the people who are writing for you are on target and on time. The creation of an editorial calendar is an outstanding way to begin.

And if you would like a copy of one of my editorial templates, click here now.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.

I Get Criticized for this ALL the Time

I Get Criticized for this ALL the Time

I interrupt people. I know. It’s a horrible habit – which I’ve tried to break. And I’ve apologized over and over.

There is one time, however, that interrupting is a good thing – and that is in business writing. It’s a professional copywriter’s technique called pattern interrupt. And it will dramatically increase the chances of getting your sales letters and proposals read all the way to the end.

Here’s The Idea

When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane?

Most of us ignore it completely. Couldn’t tell you what was said. If you are used to seeing or reading something a certain way over and over again, you get trained to ignore it.

It’s the same thing in business writing. Readers expect paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. They get bored and go on autopilot. You don’t want that. You want reader’s attention. Break the pattern and insert things like testimonials, sidebars, and callouts throughout your narrative that temporarily interrupts the pattern. I promise it will help keep your readers attention all the way to the end.

P.S. When you’re looking to take the sales performance of your landing pages … squeeze pages … emails … sales letters … ads … websites … videos … content marketing … and other online and offline promotions to the next level … just call me at 917-670-3554 or email me the details to Claire@Clairestoddard.com. No obligation, of course.

Hogs, Jogs, and The Power of Blogs

Hogs, Jogs, and The Power of Blogs

For the past few days, I have been waking up and writing blog posts for my Jigsaw publication.

As a business owner, I know you know the importance of staying in front of your customer. Whether you’re a hog farmer or sell running shoes, your customers have to be reminded of your existence all the time. There is nothing better (and cheaper) than a consistent email campaign or blog to stay in front of your customer.

One Snag

This does require creating a ton of content. However, there are a few things you can do to create and keep track of content so that you don’t drop off the cliff in a month.
 

  1. Brainstorm all the topics about which your customers would like information. Be sure that these topics relate to your business so that you have the creds. to offer advice.
  2. Categorize the topics. This makes it easier when you’re writing. Once you’ve written one tip on email marketing, for instance, it doesn’t take a lot of time to write a second tip.
  3. Select low-hanging fruit. For which topics do you already have easily-obtainable information – emails, articles, employee expertise, etc.? Write these first.
  4. Create an editorial calendar and map out a realistic publishing schedule in advance
  5. Include calls to action for every blog post – whether a link to another piece of free information, a product for sale, or an invitation for a free consultation.
  6. 2 productivity hacks that work:
    • Go someplace where there are no distractions – I don’t write in Starbucks, for instance;
    • Take regularly scheduled breaks for 15-20 minutes, usually after every 60 or 90 minutes of writing. I actually set an alarm clock to remind me to stop. This does 2 things – it gives me something to look forward to so that I keep writing and it clears my head so that I can write more. Plus it makes the whole process more fun!

P.S. If you would like to talk to me about writing your blog or newsletter, give me a call. I love writing this stuff. 917-670-3554

Can You Honestly Say “We Love Our Website?” Here Are 2 Quick Fixes

Can You Honestly Say “We Love Our Website?” Here Are 2 Quick Fixes

As a copywriter who specializes in writing websites, I’m here with the one thing that drives me NUTS about professional websites – and 2 ways to fix it FAST.

It drives me absolutely NUTS when I can’t find what I’m looking for QUICKLY. That’s when I click off and go someplace else.

To make sure YOU aren’t losing valuable clients from such a simple oversight try these two great fixes:

  1. Figure out the top 3 things someone wants to learn from your site, and then make them super obvious.

  2. Put the most relevant information – like your phone number – on every single page, toolbar, header, or footer.

And remember, websites are the foundation of your marketing efforts. If you need help evaluating YOUR website, or writing your own WORDS THAT SELL, email me at Claire@ClaireStoddard.com to see how I can help.

5 Things to Look For When Hiring a Copywriter

5 Things to Look For When Hiring a Copywriter

The heart and soul of marketing is the sales copy.

Writing compelling, congruent, persuasive sales copy is a skill, hard-earned over time.

“Great copywriting gets readers focused on the message, and then
deftly carries them along on an emotional journey – cleverly disguised
as the presentation of facts – until it delivers them at the choice point (to buy, or not to buy), ready to make a commitment.”
-Entrepreneur Magazine

When it comes to great copywriting, it is better to hire a professional copywriter – unless you think you have the time, energy, and flair to give it a try yourself.

The question is, who do you hire and how do you know it will be a good fit and you’ll get your money’s worth?

So let’s cut to the chase.

Here are 5 top things you should look for – and some of this might surprise you.

  1. First of all, a great copywriter needs to have stellar SALES writing skills. They need to know how to write with a marketing twist. This is different than writing books, or articles, or white papers. Sales copywriting, sometimes called direct response copywriting, is a very specific specialty. You need to determine if the copywriter you’re considering has a marketing and sales orientation.
  2. A great copywriter needs to have excellent RESEARCH skills.
  3. They must be able to write with EMPATHY – to really be able to speak to the emotions of your buyer and demonstrate an understanding of the user experience.
  4. They need to be able to create something NEW and IMPACTFUL, even if it’s old news.
  5. Most of all, copywriters tell stories – your story, which requires CREATIVE MINDS and the ability to spin a narrative – even for the most technical business.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.

Do You Know The First Thing to Do When Creating A Website?

Do You Know The First Thing to Do When Creating A Website?

Readable … Navigable … Remarkable

That’s what every website must be to grab – and keep attention.

If you think your website has become outdated, doesn’t reflect your current business, or is just BORING, and you really want to revise or start over, you’re in luck. I write TONS of website copy, and I love to pass on some of the things I’ve learned to my readers.

I have a whole process that I take my wonderful clients through before getting started. There is one thing, however, that I insist on before I begin writing and that is to ESTABLISH SMART GOALS. What is a SMART GOAL? This is an acronym for the 5 elements of successful goal-setting, which are:
 

  • SPECIFIC – that is well-defined and focused – e.g., increase leads among millennials in the northeast
  • It should have a MEASURABLE outcome. You might say a 5% increase in leads among millennials in the northeast
  • ACHIEVABLE – in other words it should be realistic, not an outlandish dream – like 50% increase in leads among millennials in the northeast in a month
  • It needs to be RELEVANT to the current business climate – so while you might want to have your best year ever, if a recession is looming, and a couple of new competitors have moved into the market, this might not be realistic
  • And TIME-BASED. The reality is things don’t get done and goals don’t get attained unless you put them in a time frame and establish a deadline
     

So whether you have a bunch of employees or are an awesome powerhouse of one, your business success depends on your ability to set and achieve goals. Put your website – and your business – on the fast-track by applying the principles of SMART goal setting.

And if you would like to move even faster and smarter, call me
for a free consultation and I’ll share some more tips. 917-670-3554

It’s Come to This!

It’s Come to This!

We’re all marketing to goldfish.

The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

Human beings lose interest after 8 seconds.

That’s right – the digital age has left us all with less focus than goldfish.

And every single minute there are:

  • 1400 new blog posts
  • 204 million emails
  • 2.5 million new social media shares
  • 277,000 tweets
  • 72 hours of new video on YouTube

How can you possibly compete? It is almost overwhelming to grab and keep reader attention for more than 8 seconds.

But it can be done – by following 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Grab attention with a splashy headline (punchy … provocative)
Step 2: Keep attention with a killer first paragraph
Step 3: Follow the 3-sentence rule (no more than 3 sentences in each paragraph)
Step 4: Use images and graphs
Step 5: Abide by the 3S’s – short sentences, short paragraphs, simple words

PS. And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article. 😊

Not quite sure whether your copy is breaking through the constant barrage of content every minute?

My Copy Critique Service can help you eliminate mistakes, strengthen headlines and copy, and launch your campaign with greater confidence. Just call me at 917-670-3554 or email me the details to Claire@Clairestoddard.com for a free estimate. No obligation, of course.

When It’s Gone, That’s It! – Rule #6

When It’s Gone, That’s It! – Rule #6

It’s a quirk of human nature. Even when something has little appeal, it becomes more attractive when we think we might miss it.

6 weeks ago, I began a series on the concept of psychological triggers in human behavior that lead to predictable outcomes – remember my Mama Turkey example?

There are what we call the 6 Pillars of Persuasion (behavioral triggers) that bring people to ‘yes’ – a huge benefit when trying to convert prospects to your product.

I use them in my copywriting business all the time and the results are startling.

This is the 6th and final Pillar of Persuasion, and it is known as Gone.

FOMO
The Fear Of Missing Out plays a large role in human decision-making. There is evidence that shows people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than gaining something.

Homeowners told how much money they could lose from inadequate insulation are more likely to insulate their homes than those told how much money they could save.

When creating your own Words that Sell, here are some trigger words that implant the idea in readers’ minds that they could miss out if they don’t act NOW:

  • When it’s gone, that’s it!
  • Limited number left
  • There is a deadline
  •  Limited availability
  • Call NOW
  • Pop-up sale only today
  • Don’t Wait

How many more can you name?

Previous Persuasion Pillars
1. Take and Give
2. Doubling Down
3. Social Proof
4. How Can I Get You to Like Me?
5. Authority

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project
No obligation, of course.

Converting Readers to ‘Yes’ – Rule #5: Authority

Converting Readers to ‘Yes’ – Rule #5: Authority

The 5th in a series on psychological triggers that bring people to ‘yes’ – a huge benefit when writing copy that converts. This week’s psychological trigger is called Authority.

Nothing triggers confidence quite like believing somebody knows what he or she is talking about. In fact, it can be downright liberating. To a certain extent, you can suspend disbelief.

Similarly, establishing your business as an authority in its field can get prospects to trust you and ultimately buy from you.

Writing expert content is a great way to:

  • Be seen as an authority
  • Build a brand
  • Stand out among competition
  • Influence prospects to try your product

Getting Started
It’s simple – and it’s not. You need to create content that is helpful to your target market, and appeals to their wants, needs, and challenges.

It’s simple because, as an expert, you can easily draw on the knowledge that you need to create content.

It’s not so simple because, to make an impact, you have to create a ton of content. And that is time consuming!

Nevertheless, it’s critical to establish your business as knowledgeable, innovative, and leading-edge.

As we look to 4th quarter 2018, why not choose one of the following authority-driven pieces of content, and resolve to create it by the end of the year?

1. Write a book
2. Publish articles, white papers, workbooks – and post them to your website
3. Send information-driven emails – weekly
4. Develop two or three signature speeches and speak – everywhere
5. Create a catchy tagline that claims your expertise

Previous Persuasion Pillars (triggers)
1. Take and Give
2. Doubling Down
3. Social Proof
4. How Can I Get You to Like Me?

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project
No obligation, of course.