Increase Brand Awareness with Clever Copy in the Nooks & Crannies

Hiding in the corners beneath the bold headlines, under the compelling benefit statements, and around the action-packed verbs are bountiful opportunities to inject your brand with personality. A recent trend is “nooks & crannies copy” as I’m calling it, because it often pops up in unexpected places. Here are three examples:

1. Yahoo Chat

Yahoo Chat Screenshot \

While it may be difficult to see in this picture, Yahoo has brilliantly introduced humor into their chat feature. Between the conversation above and the text box below is the status report indicating if the other person is typing a message. However, instead of a plain and boring “Apple123 is typing a message….”, yahoo has sprinkled clever anecdotes such as:

  • Apple123 really should learn to type with more than two fingers…
  • STAND BY FOR A MESSAGE FROM APPLE123
  • Apple123 is about to drop knowledge…
  • Apple123 is hammering out a wicked comeback…
  • Bate your breath, Apple123 is typing…

among a plethora of others.

While not directly selling anything, introducing conversational wit in this unexpected place allows Yahoo! to showcase their brand’s personality. It gives the user the impression that Yahoo! is a fun, easy to work with company that doesn’t take itself to seriously.

2. Verizon Wireless

Verizon Highspeed Internet Loading Icon

Located directly before a purchasing decision, this otherwise overlooked loading page has been transformed into a mini flash ad that reinforces the product’s effectiveness right before the sale. The ad shows an animated film strip loaded with a series of technological leaps. The last one, “From Dial Up…To High Speed Internet” subtly suggests “You wouldn’t live in a cave, would you? Then why on earth would you have dial up?” An effective suggestion, I would imagine.

3. You Need a Budget (YNAB)

YNAB screenshot

Jesse Mecham, the developer of YNAB, tells the story of how he and is wife needed a personal budgeting system. They developed a simple excel spreadsheet that over the years has developed into a sophisticated yet user-friendly budgeting tool. While the site has been dramatically improved on the design side, Jesse still maintains the heartfelt honesty in his conversational copy, as evidenced by the “Download Update” screen for his product. He is an accountant, and occasionally a grammatical error will pop up in his copy, but it doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to the bottom line. His conversational style is obviously effective due to the growth and endorsements of YNAB.

Related Links

Three Tips to Make Your Copy Conversational – by Mila Sidman

How to Make the Online Sales Copy for Your Website More Conversational – by Evelyn Lim

The Right Way to Write Sales Copy – by Anthony Vicenza

Build Your Own Credit Card – Captial One’s Card Lab

stuffed-mailbox.jpgWhen’s the last time you received a direct mail letter from a credit card company? If you’re like me, chances are you can’t remember the last time your mailbox contained only one.

Direct mail has traditionally been the cornerstone of credit card marketing and as we enter the era of customization, keeping up with the number of different offers means a mailbox full of direct mail letters.

Capital One is looking to change all that with their latest product – the Capital One Card Lab.

According to a Capital One press release, company spokesperson Pam Girardo commented how, “Consumers today want control and expect the ability to customize products to meet their needs. Instead of buying music albums in the store, people are compiling their own online – and rather than buying a car off the lot, people can now design and purchase the precise automobile they desire online. Capital One is pleased to empower our customers to build their own credit card online.”

The site is easy to navigate and intuitively designed. No doubt, we will still see a steady flow of promotional material in regards to this product, however at least now we can understand what we’re getting in plain English.

Related Links

Paymentnews.com

Mycardblog.com

Colloquy.com

Why Link Love is Bad for Your Blog

Fresh out of college I worked selling ad space for a regional lifestyle magazine. It was a tough sell because the magazine was about 80% advertising and 20% editorial – and people caught on. The lack of original content was ultimately what caused the magazine’s demise.

Similarly, I can predict the same fate for blogs who evangelize link love strategies. Simply creating a list of other blogs or writing a post to the effect of “Read this blog – it’s good” is an ineffective long term strategy for building a quality blog.

If you look at some of the best blogs out there – blogs like ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Copyblogger, or How to Change the World, you’ll notice they never re-hash other people’s ideas. If they do link to another blog it’s with a purpose. If they reference an article they state their opinion. If they use a “tactic” it’s subtle and buffered with mounds of original content.

Unsure you have what it takes to come up with original content on a regular basis? Maybe you shouldn’t be blogging in the first place.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Online Newsletters – Are they worth it?

I was cleaning out my e-mail inbox the other day and realized just how many e-zines and newsletters I receive. Some of them I subscribe to (like AAF Smartbrief, Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro’s Red Hot Copy, and various blogs via Feedblitz) and read on a daily basis.

Some I’ve subscribed to and wish I had more hours in the day so I could read them.

Then there are the unsolicited ones. Businesses I’ve met at a networking event who take my info and add it to their mailing list in an attempt to generate some sort of brand awareness. But sadly, this tactic doesn’t work.

The problem? Unsolicited newsletters are annoying, and repetitive. Most are regurgitating some “market trend” that doesn’t even apply to me (ex: I had 18 real estate agents sending me their newsletters – most saying the exact same thing and I’m not even in the market for a house!!)

The question becomes – how much time does it take to compile these newsletters? And if people aren’t even reading them or your content is similar to your competition, are they worth the time you’ve invested?

What if you started a blog instead so people could read your thoughts when and how they wanted to. You could track which topics get the most respose via comments and page views. If you have original and interesting content, people will read it. Then, when it becomes a good investment of your time, start your newsletter knowing you have a subscription base.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

All I could say was “Wow”

Checking my blog stats for today I noticed a dramatic increase in traffic due to a single post I wrote over a month ago titled “Could you win Richard Branson’s $25 Million Dollar Prize?”

Turns out if you Google “Richard Branson 25 Million” (w/o quote marks) my blog post shows up on the second page (#12).

I sat there starring at my screen feeling a sense of both accomplishment and disbelief. All I could say was, “wow.”

It just goes to show that you never know….

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Freecycle.org – I love you!!!

Our mattress was terrible. I mean really bad. We talked about getting a new one for years and never quite got around to it. Then the other day I got my freecycle e-mail and saw someone was moving and giving away their brand new, still wrapped in the plastic, top of the line Ikea mattress. I emailed them, picked it up, and am now sleeping soundly.freecycle.org

This is the miracle of Freecycle.org – an online community where the term “trash to treasure” is brought to life. Freecycle works through Yahoo! Groups and basically has just a few rules. All items posted must be:

  • free
  • legal
  • appropriate for all ages

Another shining example of a Web 2.0 site that has turned information into an experience (and boy am I glad). I also love the name – it’s memorable, easy to say and accurately describes the services. Kudos.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Move over Google – ChaCha.com may become my new search engine of choice

Chacha.com logoIn a recent article by ClickZ.com Tess Wegert describes www.chacha.com -a new search engine that works with professional searchers (real people) or interactive guides. It’s kind of like if you threw a search engine, chat room and about.com together to help get the info most relevant to your search.

I just had to try this one out for myself. Here’s the conversation I had with my guide:

Status: Connecting …
Status: Looking for a guide …
Ring:
Status: Connected to guide: Deborah(23079)
Deborah(23079): Welcome to ChaCha!
Deborah(23079): Hello Welcome to chacha I will be helping you with your search
You: Hi. I’m trying to find the best price on fruit of the loom boxers for my husband
Deborah(23079): ok one moment while I search for that
Deborah(23079): Thanks for being patient! Rest assured I’m finding the most relevant results for your search. (this was posted after about 1 minute of searching)
You: great! thanks deborah. I think i found what i needed.
Deborah(23079): Is there anything else on this topic I can find for you today?
Deborah(23079): O you are welcome
You: have a great day. 🙂
Deborah(23079): well you have a great day and thank you for using chacha.com
Deborah(23079): bye now please come back to chacha for your next search
Deborah(23079): Please RATE ME. Thanks for using ChaCha.
Status: Session ended.

Deborah pulled up 3 very relevant sites within a matter of 2 minutes. Not to mention – its kind of nice interacting with a human being instead of an algorithm.

I don’t know about you, but when I have to do a complex search in Google, I’m almost always frustrated. Chacha.com was pretty easy and I can really see myself using it on a regular basis.

Looking for cheap pay-per-click or banner ads? Read the article from ClickZ as it outlines why chacha.com may be a good investment.

How long do you think it will be before Yahoo! and Google follow suit? I give it 6 months tops.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Sales as ethical and moral? Seriously, you can do that?

Scott Lundergan left a comment on my recent blog post 101 Ways to Market Your Small Business that addresses a key point to my philosophy.

Andrea,

Great article. With alot of the successful e-commerce businesses I have partnerships and relationships with, much of their success was built around branding and trust, rather than “hard selling”, which is similar to what you mentioned when people look at sales from an outside point of view in the beginning of your article. Like so much of your article and tips mention about providing value and building trust to consumers with great content and what customers are looking for, sales shouldn’t have the mistrusted ways it had just years ago.

More and more businesses are starting to really understand that in today’s e-commerce world where customer attention span really needs to be “grabbed and maintained”!

Great post Andrea!

All the best,

Scott Lundergan

I couldn’t agree more. The way I see it, our goal as marketers is to find those people who would really benefit from the product or service that we have. With that frame of reference, we’re not manipulating people – we’re helping people.

Don’t believe me? Think of the last time you found a product that really solved your needs. Maybe you even exclaimed it, “Wow! I’m so glad that I found this!”Zafu - Jeans that fit

I know recently I had a similar experience. I’ve always had a difficult time finding jeans that fit (like most women). A friend told me about zafu.com where you answer a few questions and they search for the brand of jeans that is most likely to fit you best. Then I went to the store and for the first time in my life tried on a pair of jeans that really fit. Lifelong problem – solved.

Now, because zafu.com happened to make a profit from the advertising on their site, does that make them manipulative? I think not. As long as your product or service offers a genuine value your mission should be to help as many people as possible.

Thanks, Scott for your comment. It’s always an adventure to hear other people’s opinions about sales and marketing.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com