Questions and Answers with Jackie Barrie

Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Q. We are probably one of, if not, the most expensive in our market compared to competitors. How can we get potential customers to not always buy on price?

Being the most expensive in the market can be a great differentiating factor. Some people will buy on prestige. Without using the same words, you can use the Stella Artois approach: “Reassuringly expensive”. Others will buy on value. For them, you have to prove they will get return on their investment.

Q. Jackie – I have a magazine and we support advertisers with editorial (but not advertorial)

That’s a great idea. Readers more likely to be convinced by the editorial than the ads.

Q. Company I work for is selling spare parts for crushers. There is many similar companies, using the same worlds. How can I make it stand up? 

A good starting point would be to do some customer research. Ask them why they chose you instead of the others, and use their answers as the basis for future marketing.

Q. what about charities?

I’ve written a couple of articles about charity copywriting for Fresh Business Thinking that you may find useful:

Part 1 http://tinyurl.com/pjwuuft

Part 2 http://tinyurl.com/ohsaool

Q. If you have two very different audiences (e.g recruitment agency) would you have specific marketing rather than trying to ‘catch all’?

Yes. I would write completely different copy talking to candidates and clients.

Q. How can you call for action for a service? Where would you do this?

It depends what is your most wanted response. In most cases, the objective of written marketing for services is to prompt a phone call or face-to-face appointment where you do the real selling. That means your main call to action is: “Call today on 020 123 4567”. You would put the phone number clearly, at the top right of your webpages and the bottom right of your print marketing material.

Q. Do you have any suggestions and tips for subject lines on email marketing? thanks

Use the ‘power words’ I suggested in the webinar (although avoid the word “free” in emails in case it triggers spam filters). For example, I assessed the open rate of newsletters for the Bromley Creative Community – here are the top ten subject lines (in decreasing order):

  1. Are you based in Bromley town centre?
  2. Got (or need) any ideas? Come along to tonight’s Idea Café
  3. Send us your stuff!
  4. 7 days to go
  5. Latest unmissable news and events
  6. Oops!
  7. Creative support for your creative business
  8. Read all about it: the latest exciting news and events
  9. Thirsty Thursday: pub night reminder
  10. Tip top business advice for only a tenner

There was a difference of 20% in open rates between the first and the tenth subject line, probably because the top three all have the word ‘you’ (even implicitly) included.

Q. I’m just curious how do companies/small business generate income when they are always giving away loads of free things – its awesome dont get me wrong but how do you get paying longstanding customers?

Thanks to the Internet, people can find out anything they want to know. If they don’t get the information from you they will get it from someone else. The objectives of giving away free things include: demonstrating expertise to convince people to choose you, and/or keyword-rich shareable content to help get found on search. Many people will use your free stuff – but those would never have paid you anyway. Other people will check out your free stuff and then be happy to pay you, because they trust that you know what you are talking about.

Q. So your USP would/could apply to a company’s tagline.  Ours is cleanier, drierer, healthier. (We are carpet and upholstery cleaners)

It’s a good idea to spell out your USP in your tagline. For example, mine is “writing without waffle” because everything I do is all about simplicity.

Q. Ok, so you want a USP. BUt people are sheep and also want to know that your product is like the others. Where is the line?

In truth, nothing is truly unique – whatever you do can be copied by your competitors. The more you express your individual brand personality, the more you will filter out the people you don’t want to work with and attract the customers that are attracted to you.

Q. Would AIDA work for editorial as well as ad?

For editorial structure, follow the idea of “boxes of decreasing importance”. For academic writing and features, have an introduction followed by your main points each supported by evidence, then a conclusion.

Q. Should your Call to Action be your headline?

Usually, your call to action will be at the end not the beginning. People have to know why they should contact you before they will actually do it.

Q. More examples of a ‘call to action’, e.g. for services/training courses

– Phone now for an initial chat

– Continue reading

– Free consultation click here

– Select your training course

– Book now

Q. How do you entice people to book on a holiday without sounding desperate?

People will generally shop around for a holiday. So you have to be cheapest if they are buying on price, or best quality if they are buying on service. You can use the principle of “scarcity”. Encourage people to commit and pay a deposit quickly before they lose the chance.

Q. I’ve been told that a blog shouldn’t be ‘salesy’. How do I do this with having a call to action?

The objectives of a blog include: keyword-rich shareable content to help get found on search, and/or added value content to drive traffic to your main webpages where you do your selling. It’s fine to have a call to action at the end of your own blog posts and in the byline of a guest blog post. That’s your “take”; the rest of the blog post is your “give”.

Q. Many insurance companies try to build a picture eg family life, comedy like AVIVA with Paul WHitehouse…

It’s true that some insurance companies are using the “towards” approach in their marketing. In fact, I’ve recently seen some research done for Standard Life that found investors respond better to a positive marketing approach. It all depends what you are selling.

Have any marketing questions we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments!

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