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Archive for February, 2009

Your sales are soft. People aren’t buying as much. Purse strings are pulled tight, double knotted, then knotted again. 

Need a fresh perspective on your customers’ thriftmeister ways?

Check out what Andrea Learned (author of Don’t Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy — and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market) has to say. She writes: 

Could you blame consumers for not wanting to join a tribe of woeful and anxious peers, but instead choosing to see themselves as enduring the current hardships with a smile? Enter the Frugalista! 

Now, she may not sound like a marketers dream. After all, her MO is to scrimp and save, cut back on her gym membership and forget about name brand products for the duration. But, the fact is that our Frugalista represents the women you are all now trying to serve. Her more determined, super savvy approach to consuming truly does represent your toughest customer (women, in general), but on steroids (as it were)!

Click over to Andrea’s blog to read the rest of Frugalista Appeal. Enjoy!

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copycat1

My face is red.

I’ve logged onto Biznik, my favorite social networking site, several times a day for months. When I Google them (try it; you’ll like it!) this description comes up: “Grow your business faster and more profitably with Biznik, the local, independent business networking community where collaboration beats competition.”

Fast forward to this blog. My tagline? “Marketing to women to grow your business faster and more profitably.”

Crap!

(Hold on a sec. Whew. Just changed it to: “Smart marketing to women to grow your business.”)

 Who knew you could plagerize and not even know it? I once invited you to delve into the unconscious mind of your customers. Perhaps diving into my own isn’t a bad plan!

See if people are copying you without permission with Copyscape, a free service that scours the internet to find your content. All you need to do is type in the address of your web page.  

It’s a snap to use – takes all of 30 seconds, tops. Try it, and tell me what you find.

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marketing-shebang_hp_product

 

Check out what HP thinks women want in a computer.

Their Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam is a laptop that looks as “stylish and alluring” as a clutch. A combo computer/clutch? Hmm. And stylish is okay, but alluring?

The women I know don’t buy computers that entice while dangling from their hand but computers that are as smart and hardworking as they are.

 

marketing shebang_hp_pc4

 

And lest we think it’s only the laptop that allures (which means “to bait,” by the way), HP dreams up a marketing message that tells women they can play the temptress.

Their ad shows a model in a vampy pose wearing a thigh-skimming dress and go-down-on-me stiletto heels. The small print says this is “the first designer notebook to dazzle runways – and boardrooms.”

Gross.

I guarantee you some guy dreamed up this marketing concept, because it reads like a blatant male fantasy. I also guarantee you HP lost a lot of savvy women who might have bought a small, flowery laptop had it been positioned differently.

Besides, baiting men in the boardroom? HP, women own the boardroom.

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women-engaged-in-computerI love clever website design. Bells and whistles are cool, too. But the fact is, without solid content, a website fails at its most basic level: attracting and converting customers.

Here are half-dozen ways to ensure your writing has what it takes to engage online readers.

Make your point–pronto
You have mere seconds to convey what your company does or sells. Flowery language, long-winded mission statements and technical jargon send customers clicking onto the next site faster than you can say, “Bye!”

Make online copy half the length the same material would be in print form. Half. Befriend your delete button.

Speak your readers’ language
Hable el idioma de su mercado objetivo, o esta hundido/a.

Or, let me put it this way: If you don’t speak the language of your target market, you’re sunk.

Using words or a tone of voice that doesn’t resonate with your readers is as off-putting as speaking a foreign language. Online surfers are famous for their impatience. Learn their language to keep their attention.

Write at an eighth grade level or lower
Keep your reading level low to keep your readers. Write short sentences. Choose short words, too, preferably under three syllables. (It pains me to write that, because I’m a dork who likes big words.)

You can check the reading level of your content easily in Word.

  • On the Word menu, click Preferences, and then click Spelling and Grammar.
  • Select the Check grammar with spelling check box.
  • Select the Show readability statistics check box, and then click OK.
  • On the Tools menu, click Spelling and Grammar.

When Microsoft Word finishes checking spelling and grammar, it displays information about the reading level of the document.

Provide a call to action
People read your website for information. Once you’ve made clear what you have to offer, invite your prospect to take the next step with a call to action. Be sure it’s simple, clear and concise.

  • Call our 800 number for more information
  • Click here!
  • Add to cart
  • Sign up today

Keep the design clean
Studies show that readers ignore content that looks like a big fat promo, such as words with ALL CAPS and LOTS OF !!!! placed in a red banner. Plus, it’s annoying and hacks people off. Bad idea.

Proofread
This section contains 3 misspelled words. Can you find them? Ready, set, go!

Write amazing content but load it up with errors, and your credibility tanks.

So proofread, and proofread well. Use your spell-check, but use your eyes, too. (We’ve all seen what spell-check does running amok down a page. A “pair of shoes,” might end up a “pare of shoes” or worse, a “pear of shoes.”)

Read your content backwards, which forces you to slow down and see each word. You can also team up with a buddy and proofread one another’s copy.

Oh, and I lied. There are no errors. But guess what? You were proofreading, not merely reading. Nicely done (and kudos to Copyblogger.com for this idea).

Photo credit: Marcio Eugenio

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