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Homepage Copy Evaluations

Q:Anyone with any idea as to which of these is best or if you have any other idea as to how we can reach our target market (equipment dealers & resellers) I would appreciate any info you wish to share. Also, if you have the time could you evaluate the copy on our homepage? Looking at our logs we get a lot of people hitting the index page, but to many people are not going further into the site. We hired a consultant to help us put up the site but now I think we need to re-word it. Any suggestions of a good copy writer or ways we can change it would also be appreciated. The test is in blue, do you think it could be a turn off? Or maybe we need to make it a darker blue? We tried to give a short statement on our purpose, the benefits of equipment leasing and then our programs on that page with links leading further into the site.

A:As you stated later in your post, it is already too late for us to help you on this decision since you needed to make that decision Monday and that's the first time this was posted to this group. So what did you decide to do? Which publication was it? If we had time to get a response to you, that last one would have been one of my questions. First, you need to share more with us. Again, what are your long-established competitors doing in this regards? Booths at conventions? Traveling salespeople? Tie-ins with manufacturers? Speeches to small business groups? What kind of letters do they send out? Do they send out postcards? Fancy brochures? Expensive kits? Wacky gifts? Do they bring along a couple prostitutes to help "close" the deal over dinner? What? Business-to-business, "Advertising Age", Consulting, Marketing, Advertisements, Multi-media, Impressions, "E-Myth" by Gerber, Media mix, Demographics, Psychographics, Computer graphics, and much much More! [Sorry, couldn't get that meaningless sentence to scroll across the bottom of your computer screen so if you would just read it over and over, I'd appreciate it. What? No, it serves no real purpose or makes any sense besides distracting you from the rest of my post. Why do you ask?] Or any of the other sub-sections for that matter. Everything that should have been said has been said. Again, everything has been built to a climax with that being a call for action and that call for action being calling/emailing you. Remember, your website is an ad. You're trying to drum up business. You're not trying to service current clients ... or at least not that I could see. So it is just an ad and should be treated as such. Note not a single hyperlink. No site map. No button to another page. All one page. Don't worry about the length of the page. That means nothing. They'll have to scroll down to see a letter-length page anyway. Just remember to be concise and to the point. A climax. Write your copy with that in mind. Or, better yet, hire a real marketer to do that. If you want them to fill out an application form, email it to them. If they have a question, let them ask you over the phone or via email. Encourage them to ask you. Hell, you want them to ask you. You want them to communicate with you. So that while you're answering their question(s), you're also pitching them. The only thing else I might recommend is a photo of you and your partner at the bottom of the front page. Gives them a human face to think of when calling/emailing you. Then again, if one or both of you are ... hmmm, how politically incorrect can I do this? Let me give it a shot ... if one or both of you are ugly, don't. If that's the case, put only the photo of the attractive one up. If neither of you are attractive and you have an attractive assistant or secretary, put their photo up. This humanizes the page. Turns you from a faceless corporation into someone of real flesh and blood. Enables them to emotionally connect to you. However, again, put this photo at the bottom. You need to sell them on your business first before worrying about what they'll be imagining when they call. 1. The trade magazine: First, is there an ad salesperson anywhere who doesn't have a great deal that you need to decide about real quick? It's a modus operandi that seems standard - but one that doesn't do justice to your marketing unless you already have ads created for that market that just need to be laid out to the right size/color. It doesn't sound like you're at that point, so I would say no thanks for the moment. Then, you should figure out if the readership of the magazine is really right for you; if it is, then create an ad (or series of ads) that speaks directly to that audience, offering the benefits your company provides them specifically. As far as size goes, larger ads always have more impact than small - that's just common sense, and it's backed up by the research. In my experience, even on a limited budget, large ads run less frequently outpull small more frequent ads. For example, a half page once a month would do better than a quarter page twice a month (assumng the ads have good client-centred, benefit-oriented copy). And although you may get some improvement after a few exposures, a good ad (based on direct marketing techniques) will prove itself as a winner after just one or two exposures. 2. Direct mail: If you can identify your target market, good direct mail is unbeatable for cost-effective marketing. BUT, the type of post card / self mailers you're talking about - if they're the type I think you mean - are not the greatest pieces of direct mail marketing. In fact, if it's obvious that it IS a piece of direct mail, it's probably not the best. Many direct mailers are happy with a 1% or 2% response rate, and when Publishers Clearinghouse sends out 50 million pieces, that's not so bad, but a small business will do much better to spend the money on a good professionally written first-class personalized letter that achieves perhaps 5% - 10% response when sent to a small number of targeted prospects. (Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to get excited about the potential of direct mail for your business.) 3. Listing in search engines: Just go to Yahoo (or any other search engine) and follow their instructions for listing your site. It's really not that hard. (Yahoo's link for instructions is http://www.yahoo.com/r/ad.) Having said that, if people don't know about you and what you do, why will they look for you? At this point in time, the most reliable form of marketing your web site is OFFLINE marketing, letting people know about your site at every opprtunity. 4. Your web site: It does look "professional" as far as the look goes, although I agree with you that blue text is a little harder to read than black. I'm guessing that your consultant was a "designer" not a marketer. More importantly, I think you're hitting the nail on the head when you point out that the copy could use improvement. You say that your prospects are equipment dealers and resellers, yet your web site is oriented strictly to end users. Also, I think leasing needs to be explained in simple, jargon-free terms to first-timers, while experienced lessors probably already deal with a leasing company. Addressing those respective mindsets seem like it would pay dividends. And of course addressing your target of dealers and resellers with the benefits of sending their buyers to you.

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