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

 

3 Tips for Avoiding the Copywriting Dead End

dead end signHas your road to content development come to an impasse? Are you stuck, either dreading the copywriting process or simply drawing a blank on what to say? Take a moment to consider these three tips for kicking off your copy!

  1. Take a deep breath. One of the first steps in writing copy is simply thinking it through. Generally, what do you want to say? Outline your thoughts mentally. Sometimes, a short, mindful walk will shake some new thoughts loose. Then, return to your desk and document the thoughts in a simple bullet list.
  2. Do your research. It’s possible that lack of information is holding you back from collecting your thoughts into a cohesive form. Search your files for information about your content expertise — study it and see where it leads. Who is the ultimate guru in your company on this topic? Have coffee with him or her and talk about the topic at hand. You might be surprised how inspiring even the dullest topic becomes when the most passionate employee starts talking about it!
  3. Put the topic down and step away. Sometimes the reason you have difficulty with the topic is because you’re too close to it. This is common and often one of the greatest challenges to overcome. Of course you know your stuff, but organizing it into a cohesive marketing package isn’t your expertise! Consider hiring a copywriter who will listen to your needs, seek out the details and put them all together in an engaging, audience-focused package.

Time and time again, we help entrepreneurs, corporations and nonprofits write the copy they need. Don’t like to write? We love it and can extract the info we need from you and your staff. Don’t have time? It’s our full-time expertise, and we can quickly complete news releases, website copy, blog posts, brochures and more when time is of the essence. Please contact us today for an affordable solution to your copywriting dead ends!

The Audience Drives Website Copywriting & Editing

One of the things I live for is writing and editing for the web. I was in the industry when this medium started to lead the marketing pack. At that time, I was somewhat reluctant to write web content, as I knew I had a lot to learn. I proceeded to bone up on what it meant to write quality web copy. Today, I am still learning, mostly due to the steady changes to Google’s search engine as well as social media such as Facebook.

Today, as we approach Google’s 16th birthday, I still don’t call myself a web writing expert. “Expert” is a mighty strong word. “Web writing specialist” seems more on point. Take a look at some of the web writing and editing projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on:

These writing and editing samples demonstrate how web copy can be tailored to the entrepreneur or corporate voice while always keeping the audience in mind.

New Website Samples

For your viewing and reading pleasure, I just posted a couple of recent website samples on my website. I’m so grateful to work with design firms like Windmill Design, WDG Communications and others on websites, brochures and other materials! The latest samples highlight a refined b2b corporate website and a dramatic overhaul of a small municipality’s website.

Here’s the before and after of the City of Robins site, which was done in collaboration with WDG Communications in Cedar Rapids. As you can probably tell, it was time to reorganize the content to make it more user friendly. The designer made it look great and we worked together to improve the functionality.

Robins website before City of Robins new website

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!

Classic Smiles Marketing Updates

Classic Smiles, an Iowa City dentist, was referred my way, and they needed some help updating their logo, marketing messages, web copy and search engine optimization (SEO) for http://www.classicsmiles4u.com.

classicsmiles4u.comWorking with my graphic design partner, Amy Belice Graphic Design, we updated their logo and color scheme for a brighter, cleaner look more suited to a dentist in a diverse market. We also developed some new ads and marketing copy for online use and updated the website design and copy with the client’s web development partner.

While Dr. Nowysz had been in business for a number of years, she had understandably focused on dentistry and not on marketing. In addition, the face of marketing had changed since she first started her business, and she knew she needed help catching up with the changes. Paarlance Creative Writing took the time to help Dr. Nowysz better understand SEO and how that develops over time and with multiple media improving her search position. In addition, we talked to her about the competitive category they’re in and aligning expectations to the time they have been SEO friendly and their presence on YouTube and other sites, which enhance their SEO.

Following the initial launch of the site, we developed FAQs with the dentist. These will further improve their search engine friendliness.

 

Radio Scripts and Connections

We’re so excited, we can hardly stand it! Paarlance Creative Writing was contacted by the CIty of Waterloo to produce a traffic safety radio campaign. We submitted a proposal and won the business! We could not have done this if we hadn’t been able to include the expertise of our longtime media partner, Dirk Keller of Common Sense Advertising, in our proposal.

Dirk and I have worked together for over 10 years — almost since the beginning of our businesses. Usually, Dirk asks me to write TV and radio scripts for his clients. I give these projects the same care and consideration I give my own clients. Dirk is great at exploring what the client wants and needs. He passes that information on to me so I can write the scripts. On occasion, I ask him for the information I need to write a memorable message that puts the client in the most positive light possible.

To hear some recent radio spots written by Paarlance Creative Writing, please visit the radio portfolio page. Turn up your speakers and take a listen, and check back for more samples.

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.