Three Tips for Effective Direct Mail

Direct Mail Postcard

The folks at MCG BioMarkers recently contacted us, as they were thinking of buying ads for garden trade publications. In reviewing the expense of these ads, Paarlance Creative Writing and Amy Belice Graphic Design recommended direct mail instead. The cost of design, printing and postage may be more overall, but the message goes directly to decision makers, making it a better investment than shotgun-style advertising that may get overlooked.

Here are three ways to make your direct mail message more effective.

  1. Write a strong headline that appeals to your audience. In this case, the target audience includes educators at botanical gardens and nature centers. The main benefit of the product is that it is a more sustainably made plant marker. The two points become one with the chosen headline.
  2. Include a testimonial. A good testimonial from the right source can garner a lot of the right attention for your product or service.
  3. Include an offer. Direct mail is more effective when accompanied by a percentage off or something free with purchase. MCG BioMarkers loves to send out samples of their product, as there is nothing like it on the market. They also offered a percentage off to entice new orders.

We have also written postcards that serve as newsletters on a quarterly or biannual basis. Contact us to learn more about direct mail marketing, and see both sides of the postcard here!

A Bold Brand & Website for Manufacturer

It had been a few years since M’s Machine had updated its marketing materials, and they knew they needed a new website and brochure. We took the extra time to introduce them to Amy Belice Graphic Design to create a new logo that would work in many formats and media, from shirts to print materials to their website. We also recommended high quality photography by John Thomas of fisheye to ensure their brochure and website would accurately reflect services they offer and their current equipment.

Paarlance Creative Writing not only wrote the content, but also managed the project to ease the process for the client. The copy was written from scratch to better represent this manufacturing company, which works with Fortune 500 OEMs, or original equipment manufacturers.

The resulting materials make a bold statement and modernize their marketing to the next level. Click below to check out these samples!

M's Machine website screen shot

 

Let the Blogging Begin: Postings Keep Website Fresh

For several years, we have worked with Pickwick Manufacturing Services on their web content and online marketing copy. The client always talks about recent success stories in specific detail, and while metal manufacturing services may not sound fascinating, I knew this client’s richly detailed stories would make fantastic blog posts to complement the more static content on his site.

Pickwick BlogThis spring, we started editing content and scheduling posts for the Pickwick blog. We’re working on postings of information about their services and stories about how Pickwick truly is a problem-solving service company rather than a manufacturing job shop.

These posts are another example of effective collaboration with a client on developing and organizing web content. The client provides much of this information in one form, and I make it blog friendly. Some posts need only minor adjustments, others require expansion of the verbiage gleaned from conversations with the client or from materials he provides.

Blogging is great for SEO and helps clients convey more information that may be too cumbersome or conversational to include on their website.When it’s clear that a client can benefit from telling more stories beyond the info on their site, it’s time to blog!

As a side note, this client’s website was designed by one of our design/development partners, Firespike. They also converted the site to WordPress in very timely fashion.

Content Marketing: I Learn So You Don’t Have To

I help my clients with a lot of things, starting with copywriting. Teaching them some techniques that will enhance their writing or messaging comes with the territory. I also connect them to experienced designers and developers for creating eye-catching marketing materials.

Another service I provide is knowledge. This is built into many interactions I have with clients. Last week, I added to my knowledge base by attending the Content Marketing Bootcamp. I did this for myself as well as for my clients who are getting into blogging, trying Instagram and other social media and planning video additions to their marketing arsenal. It was an excellent day of learning and inspiration for my own blogging as well as my clients, not to mention a good way to get out of my office for a day and meet some folks from Waterloo and Iowa City!

Check out Brand Driven Digital, the host of this and other great knowledge-enhancing activities in and around Iowa, such as the Social Brand Forum. They’re on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandDrivenTeam. While you’re at it, follow me on Twitter, too: https://twitter.com/paarlance, and let me know what you’ve learned recently!

Collaboration: HawkeyeHotels.com

Great collaborations never get old. New collaborations are always exciting. Here’s a renewed website for a new client and developer partner, Harrison Wheeler, and his client, Hawkeye Hotels.

Hawkeye Hotels About Page

The About page for Hawkeye Hotels includes a rewritten and refreshed story about the company.

A little bit of conversation with the client and developer made it possible to rewrite the story about the company and its strategic benefits with little trouble. Because of the open communication with the developer and client, the copy for this site was completed in a fairly short time frame. We worked on making sure SEO terms were available for this corporate site targeted primarily at investors.

We hope you’ll check it out when you have a chance. It’s a great example of what Paarlance Creative Writing can do for web designers and developers and their clients.

Website Done Right

Theresa Bornbach has been a great client over the years. She has owned several businesses, which have all evolved over time. These evolutions have resulted in changes to her websites. Our latest creation promotes Theresa’s business coaching services and demonstrates a solid B2B brand on a WordPress platform.

www.BizSAVVYleaders.com

BizSAVVYleaders.com

Check out a recent website writing sample at www.BizSAVVYleaders.com

While a few details remain to be completed, I welcome you to check out this site, which reflects a collaboration between Paarlance Creative Writing, Amy Belice Graphic Design and Edilson Web Design. I wrote the tagline, edited the copy for SEO and marketing effectiveness and provided project management services. We took the time to do it right, and the effort paid off — we even launched ahead of schedule!

Together with the client, we have put together a quality website that offers an in-depth view of her services, provides opportunities for blogging, and makes it easy to update as changes occur.

Are You Friends with Facebook?

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become a go-to spot for DIY marketing, particularly for consumer-focused businesses. If you’re looking to dabble in this realm, take some time to think about these key issues.

Be prepared for change. One thing you’ll learn about Facebook very quickly is about their propensity for change. They are constantly changing the look of pages or the way your Facebook posts are shared with users. Tune into the websites that talk about social media marketing so you can keep up with the changes.

Show and tell. People love to watch, so give them what they want! Photos and videos make for popular posts. Think about the opportunities to show people what you do instead of just telling them about the latest sale. People buy from people, so show your people working on projects. Your Facebook friends will love it.

Be consistent. When you’re just starting out with Facebook postings, plan to put some time and effort into it. You can’t build a following unless you do. Also, be consistent with the language you use in terms of spelling and the overall feel. I find it very useful to create posts in word processing software so I can take advantage of spell check.

Make it about your friends. It’s not all about you. Do your best to make your page about your friends. Share testimonials, tips and ideas that they will find riveting. Share other content that is interesting. They say you should share other content of interest several times for every one promotion you post. So, connect to your partners and clients in your industry and see what’s worth sharing.

Remember, if you find yourself short on time or the skill to put together short posts that engage customers, don’t be afraid to outsource the work. You could work on messaging with a writer or editor, or, if you have the budget, you could contract a social media agency to make your Facebook approach more strategic and comprehensive.

While I don’t consider myself an expert in Facebook, I have worked with several clients to develop plans for posting and to write and schedule posts. Feel free to check them out:

I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions about writing or editing posts and finding ways to make Facebook feasible for your business.

The Benefits of Web Copy Edits: BizSAVVYleaders.com

Sometimes clients just need a good editor.

That’s the case with www.BizSAVVYleaders.com, the latest site update by Paarlance Creative Writing in conjunction with our friends from Amy Belice Graphic Design and Brown Wing Studio.

Editing is a service I enjoy almost as much as writing from scratch. I receive requests for it when clients want to spruce up their copy without making major layout changes, which can become costly. I help clients organize their thoughts and keep their copy short and to the point for the web audience. I also insert search terms and revamp the title and description metatags when it’s appropriate to do so. It’s good to review these every couple of years, as the search engines have changed what they view as important to their search engine results. While this site wasn’t that old, the page titles did need updated to current standards.

This site is still a work in progress, with plans to break the copy into more organized buckets so visitors can find what they are looking for more easily. Watch for an update in a couple of months.

Do you need an editor for your website copy? If you answered yes, or even maybe, let me know. Email or call me at 319-362-0777 for an estimate and to discuss what I might do to enhance your website copy.

New Nonprofit Website Copy

 

Nonprofit Website Sample

Here’s a look at the all-new donations page for JuelFairbanks.org.

Juel Fairbanks Chemical Dependency Services, a nonprofit organization located in the Twin Cities, sought a new website that was modern, uplifting and hopeful. Working with my friends at Windmill Design in Minneapolis, we developed copy and design that provides an inviting introduction to their programs and services.

As is the case with many nonprofits I’ve worked with over the years, the overscheduled staff needed outside assistance organizing and writing copy for this important communication piece. I kept in mind that their audience for the site varies from potential clients and their families and friends to county partners.

I wish Juel Fairbanks the best as it moves forward with a wonderfully functional site, complete with the online donation capabilities that are so important today!