New website shaping up nicely!

I’m so excited! I’ve been a bit under the weather over the last few months but I’ve used the time productively by bringing my html and website coding skills bang up to date. I’ve been using my own website as a ‘guinea pig’ and it’s shaping up really well. It looks so much simpler and more modern than my existing website – and, of course, it’s responsive meaning that it works across all platforms.

So watch this space for news on when it will be going live!

Why it pays to regularly check that your contact form is working

Recently I contacted two small businesses – a health spa and a gastro pub – to make bookings. Neither has got back to me, presumably because their website contact forms aren’t working as they should be. As a copywriter that also dabbles in html on occasions, I know how tricky contact forms can be; they’re the part of a website that I leave until last. Getting them to work can be time-consuming, especially if you’ve added a Captcha code to avoid spam. Continue reading “Why it pays to regularly check that your contact form is working”

Visually stunning – but a marketing tool it is most definitely NOT!

Yesterday I took another look at a website that is, without doubt, one of the most visually stunning websites I have seen in a long time. Widgets that glide smoothly around like some state-of-the-art sliding doors wardrobe… Massive images obviously taken by skilled photographers… Indeed the first image you see takes up the entire ‘above the fold’ area on my desktop with a flowery animated tagline that screams out ‘advertising creative department brainstorming sessions’. In the corner is a tiny menu of the kind you find on mobile phone websites, almost as an excuse, as if ‘we had to put a menu in somewhere, so let’s make it as small as possible so it doesn’t get in the way of our hugely CREATIVE opening shot’. And when I click on it, the website goes into overdrive with things sliding across the screen from the left and then the right, widgets springing open and whizzing around. Quite frankly, I feel seasick. Continue reading “Visually stunning – but a marketing tool it is most definitely NOT!”

The sweets have stopped!

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Star Wars Xmas jumper I knitted for my student son

Back in the summer I wrote a post The cheapest, easiest loyalty-building technique known to man? which talked about LoveKnitting.com who pop a simple, cheap boiled sweet into the package every time you place an order.

Well I’m sad to report that the sweets seem to have stopped – and believe me I noticed!

Which immediately made me think “Cheapskates!” and love LoveKnitting.com a little less. Continue reading “The sweets have stopped!”

Pitch your website at the laziest customer

Many of us are guilty of it – creating bells-and-whistles websites that look amazing yet fall at the first post when it comes to doing what a website is there to do: generate business. Often it’s because key information and benefits are tucked away in an almost invisible navigation at the foot of the page. Or they’re camouflaged in a laid-back navigation right at the top which risks being confused with the browser task bar. Or they only appear on secondary pages, not the Home Page. Or the phone number is difficult to see. And so on. As a result, critical information that sets a business apart from the competition can be easily overlooked. Lazy customers won’t click past your Home Page. Or even bother to scroll DOWN your Home Page. So it’s vital that all your key information is easily and obviously accessible from the Home Page, preferably above the ‘fold line’ (a term that comes from the days of direct mail) which is the first thing customers see when they click onto your site. Continue reading “Pitch your website at the laziest customer”

The cheapest, easiest loyalty-building technique known to man?

Today I received my umpteenth parcel from LoveKnitting.com, my favourite online knitting yarn store. (I am a serial knitter.) Despite the fact that regular customers tend to get 10% off their next order (by a certain date), free delivery over £25, fast next-day delivery by a very friendly delivery driver from Hermes, regular special offers, a great range of yarns and no-quibble free returns, I was somewhat put out. Why? Because, for the second order running, they’d omitted to include a boiled sweet in the parcel! Continue reading “The cheapest, easiest loyalty-building technique known to man?”

Listening to the ‘listening bank’

IMG_20150114_095352550HSBC’s move to shift UK-based IT jobs overseas to Poland, China and India as part of its grand plan to cull 8,000 UK staff – AND get some of them to train their overseas replacements!!! – reminds me of the ‘good old days’ of the UK-based Midland Bank, before ’employer of choice’ (as it likes to be known) HSBC took over. (BTW the photo is of a Midland Bank advertisement from my school magazine circa 1972, in the days when banks were recruiting UK staff, not dumping them for overseas recruits.)

Back in the early 1980s (before I became a copywriter), one of my friends acquired a floppy 45rpm record produced by the Midland Bank as part of an advertising campaign to promote its tagline: The Listening Bank.

Following on from TV commercials and radio ads featuring the Midland Bank’s famous jingleCome and talk, talk to the Midland, come and talk to the listening bank – the bank had put together this promotional record comprising a stack of different versions of the jingle, in varying musical styles from heavy metal and punk to country-and-western.

It was hilarious and one of those brilliant publicity campaigns I’ve never forgotten. What a fabulous idea! Shame I can’t find any reference to it on Google. And shame HSBC, the ’employer of choice’, can’t be as creative in the way it treats its UK-based employees, hey…

Another sales letter that’s pulled in business!

I love it when a client tells me that one of my sales letters has generated loads of business. Like this email from a client not too long ago: “We sent out a stack of sales letters last week and within 48 hours we’d already had 8 people on the phone – and that’s even before our sales people started following up with calls. I know that every time I talk to you, Bev, I’m going to make money which is great!”

And another from a client yesterday who’s been so pleased with the response from his sales letters that he’s asked me to write another letter. Today I wrote the draft and this is his response so far: “Thanks Bev, I’ve had a quick look at the draft sales letter and my first impression is good (as I’ve come to expect from you!)”

You can read a stack of client testimonials on my website, many of which are about sales letters. I also have a dedicated sales letter website which you can see here>>