Marketing

Write a Compelling Landing Page

In the end of October, I attended the annual AWAI Bootcamp.  It was an awesome experience. I loved the camaraderie of meeting other writers.  I appreciated the skilled copywriters who shared their passion and experience.

One of the highlights was the opportunity to visit with companies looking for copywriters.  It was a great chance to hear what they were looking for in a copywriter.  They also had a variety of spec challenges on landing pages.

I learned as I started writing these landing pages that I had a system.  As you work on your HVAC websites, you may want to draw prospective clients to special reports or other valuable offers.  This system might work for you as well.   Think about selling your newest heating and cooling system.

1. Research.  I checked out the websites and the existing web content.  I went to company source pages and chat rooms on home improvement.  Books on home comfort gave me ideas for headlines.  Especially as I read the comments, I got a feel for the language of the prospective customers, what they wanted, and what they didn't want.  I learned their needs and fears.

2.  I created a features and benefits spread sheet with columns labeled: features, Why?, Benefits, deeper benefits, emotion, and rank.  As I read the website and company material, I listed features and benefits, then went back and delved deeper.  Who cares?  Why does this matter? What made these features so valuable to the customer?  I listed the dominant emotion for each benefit and then ranked them in importance.

3. I asked my imaginary customer three questions.  What do you want?  Why do you want it? and What does it look like when you have it?   These questions helped me understand the mind of the prospective client.

4. Using the features and benefits spread sheet and thecustomer's "answers" I looked for the big promise and the big idea.

5. I wrote a series of headlines to find the one that best exemplified the big idea and the big promise.

6. Once I had that, the landing page seemed to flow.  I started with the problem the customers were fearing and worrying about. It was not only keeping their home heated and cooled properly, it was also taking care of their family and being a good provider.  I positioned my client's product as the ideal solution.  I added proofs and credibility and issued a call to action.  That is, I asked the reader to DO something.  To call and learn more or to buy this newest heating and cooling system.

Doing a series of landing pages on deadlines helped me recognize and use this pattern.

Let me know if it works for you.

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Published in Marketing

AWAI—Amazing writing opportunities

Writers serious about making money: Pay Attention.  Businesses need writers… and they pay… sometimes VERY WELL!

I talked last blog about AWAI and its introductory course Six Figure Copywriting in my blog AWAI: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.

Today I want to share with you the vast resources AWAI has.  I wish I’d known this when I first started learning from them.   I don’t KNOW that they keep it a secret… But I also didn't know where to look.

Delve into the AWAI catalogue.  I signed up as an affiliate with AWAI because I thought their courses would benefit my readers.  But I was blown away at all the choices I had.

 WHAT TO CHOOSE?

If you’re like me, you think:  I could do that!  Or I’d like to try that!  And if you’re not careful, you can end up over your head in classes, courses or commitments.

So I’d encourage you to go to the AWAI catalogue page and scroll down through all the choices.  I had a friend who took The Pro Resume Writer Program.  She wanted to be able to help people in this down economy.  The teaching must be excellent, because Johanna has gotten rave reviews from her clients. Check them out at http://perfectresumeservice.com/

There are many classes for those who want to write web copy. Try Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts

Or if you want to master Search Engine Optimization (SEO) take a look at the SEO Copywriting Certificate Program.  If you love Facebook and other social media—earn money with Become  a Social Media Expert.

They have courses for those wanting to specialize in niches such as the financial, health, catalogue or Christian markets.  You can become a publicist or a speech writer or a researcher.

Are you starting to get a feel for all the opportunities for writers to earn good money out there?

 SERIOUS ABOUT MONEY?

I have been inclined toward the info-marketing course and the business to business (B2B) courses because of the sheer volume of writing needed in those areas.  There are so many clients and businesses needing good copy.

Consider Secrets of Writing High Performance B2B Copy or Writing Case Studies: How to Make a Great Living by Helping Clients Tell Their Stories.

After you take the copywriting course, you’ll look at websites and products and say. Pfff.  I could do better than that.   Or Gee, this writing really needs some improvement.

Now, if you’re inclined to exercise a bit of tact, you really can approach those businesses with an offer to give their writing the power that will attract more paying customers.  Tact is essential.

The person you speak to … may have been the one writing the copy.

So spend some time looking at the vast array of writing opportunities.  If you have skill with writing, you might be able to save a little and start writing for these markets on your own.

Even with the AWAI assistance the money will not just fall into your lap.  People won’t come begging for your services.  You will still need to promote yourself.

But.  If you learn through an AWAI course, you will gain the confidence and skill necessary to go out into the market place and say, “Hey!  I can write!  And I’m good!!” And, of course, modest and tactful, too.

So check out the AWAI catalogue.  Choose one or two of the areas you’d like to explore… and delve in deeper.   They actually have a program that allows you access to ALL the courses.

But since you can’t read them all at once… I suggest you start with one at a time.

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AWAI Review: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

After writing for a number of years, the publishing scene changed.  The internet and e-publishing reshaped the way books and literature come before the public.  No longer are publishing houses gate keepers… On the other hand, the quality of material is more varied while the quantity is unquestionably more massive.

I decided to check out the writing possibilities in copywriting. You can find many books on the subject.  Bob Bly has some good ones out.  I decided to go with AWAI—American Writers and Artists Institute—and enroll in their Michael Masterson’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. I had seen a copy of his program several years ago and been impressed with its thoroughness.

AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
Six Figure Copywriting

 Here’s the good:

  •  The course is directed to the novice and takes baby-steps to get you to a professional level.
  •   Part1 throws a whole lot of material at you, but the next sections take each aspect of the copywriting skills and break them down into manageable chunks.  If you follow the program step-by-step, at the end, you have a polished sales piece.
  •  They cover, IN DETAIL, the skills needed to write selling copy.
  •  They are very encouraging.  You have a cheering section within each chapter.
  • You join the AWAI members area with a forum for support and with daily emails giving you more information on the writing life, the tips, skills, methods, and goals of copywriters.
  •  You get up to 4 editorial reviews on copywriting you produce and turn in.  This is extremely valuable and something you just can’t get from a book!
  • Y0u are exposed to the wide field of copywriting
  •  AWAI posts a jobs section where you can search for jobs in your area.
  •  You learn how writing sales copy differs from other kinds of writing.

The Bad:

  • You are immediately sold to!  Every email is encouragement to sign up for another course.  Every email says… well, maybe you don’t know enough, if you REALLY want to make big bucks, sign up for this… and this… and this.
  •   Jobs will not just fall into your lap. (Well, okay, so I was excited enough to talk about my copywriting… and leads did come easily.)  But no one walked up to me and said, “Please write for me and I’ll pay you 6 figures.”

 The Ugly:

Here’s what I wish I had known:

Michael Masterson’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is excellent and outstanding at teaching you how to write sales copy—most especially direct mail.  If you want to write letters to people explaining the desirability of a product and driving clients to want to buy what you offer—this is the course you need… and you CAN make big bucks doing it.

I am more attracted to persuasive writing—soft selling, encouraging.  The copy writing field is WIDE OPEN!  There are massive areas for making money!  You can do search engine optimization (SEO), writing white papers, e-books, reports, newsletters, online copy that’s simply informational, blogging, speeches—the list is mind boggling.

You can choose your niche according to format: Online or print.  You can pick whether you want to write to the consumer or business to business.  And most important, you can choose your niche according to  field, career or hobby.

For example you might decide to write in a specific field: finance, health, food, automotive.  And to specific consumers: dentists, attorneys, realtors.  And to people who enjoy a hobby: hiking, golf, travel, antique cars, quilting.  And the highest paid copywriters may narrow their fields down further: financial planning for dentists, travel for realtors, or attorneys who specialize in dental legalities.

This kind of niche marketing makes Masterson’s program a stepping stone.  Yes, you need AWAI’s Six Figure Copywriting course as an introduction.  (This is an affiliate link.) You need to understand the structure of a “sales letter,” what motivates people to want to buy, headlines that capture attention, why guarantees are important-- even if it appears as copy on a web page.

But most likely, as you progress, you’re going to want to choose a niche that appeals to you and focus on that.  Then you will need additional courses or books.

In the next few emails, we’ll cover some of the other courses they offer and why you might… or might not… want to take them.

In the mean time... take a look at Six Figure Copywriting and decide if it's for you.

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How to Get Happily Published

You've had that perfect story dancing in your head.   Or that powerful how-to you're sure will make you millions.  Now, you're ready to go for the gusto.  I want to recommend one of my favorite books.  It's sensible, thorough, and packed with information.  I know, I've made it sound pedantic.  But actually, it's a good read.  It's especially good if you really want to check out your manuscript and see if it's truly ready for publication.  Then it helps you navigate the publishing field-- chose a house, write a query letter, send it in proper format, and in total-- look like a professional write while you do it.

Writing for publication is much different than simply writing... or writing for your (or your family's) enjoyment.  There are treasured places for that kind of writing, however writing for publication requires you consider the audience: first of the editor and the house he or she represents, and second the audience of the publisher.  You must take into account their goals, wants, and needs and make sure your writing exceeds those goals.  Published writers understand and love those readers.  They charm and delight them.   They speak with a voice so unique it can't be dismissed.  Judith Appelbaum, author of How to Get Happily Published, helps you review your manuscript with an eye to these ultimate readers.

Once you've determined your audience and insured you will, indeed, charm them, it's time to connect. It's SO important to make a good first impression.  You only have one chance.  How to Get Happily Published helps you make that good first impression.  Judith walks you through the steps of a proper introduction.  She guides you through the formatting process so your manuscript looks polished.  She covers different publishing options so you can be confident you are choosing the best one for you and for the material you are presenting.  You will feel like you've got a friend with you during this sometimes daunting process.  I encourage you to get to know her.

Judith Appelbaum has extensive experience in nearly all phases of the publishing industry.  She's spent many years asboth editor and author. You can check out more about her and her helps at: http://www.happilypublished.com/  (Affiliate link.)

 

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Published in Marketing, writing aids