Power to the people

I’ve been banging on about it for ages, that what your customers say is more convincing than anything you say yourself. Kia’s latest ad demonstrates this overtly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFURlO9bCtM Old-style advertising (“Buy me!”) is dead, so I predict more ads will tap into social proof like this (and so they should). Read more…

Writing your own home page

CopywritingHere’s an edited extract from my upcoming new book: ‘The Little Fish Guide to Writing your own Website’:

Unwelcome

Don’t start ‘Welcome to my website’ – it’s dated and unnecessary. Instead, make your main heading keyword-rich to help your site get found on search.

In my view, your home page copy should be about your customers more than it is about you, so they know they’ve landed in the right place.

So, what should you make clear on your home page? At-a-glance, who it’s for. One technique is the question-and-answer approach i.e.

NO: ‘We are X, based in Y and we specialise in Z’.

YES: ‘Looking for A, B or C? You’ve come to the right place.’

Newsletters/Tipsheets

On your home page, the main objective might be to capture the email address of (more…)

Secrets of effective communication (part 2)

WhisperScenario A.

You say: “How are you?”
Your friend is smiling and bouncy, and says: “I’m fine.”
Do you believe them?

Scenario B.

You say: “How are you?”
Your friend is quiet with shoulders hunched, and says: “I’m fine.”
Do you believe them?

Choosing the right communication channels

You might have heard of the Mehrabian Myth – it’s been widely quoted that only 7% of communication comes from the words we use, with 38% from tone of voice and 55% from body language. The research actually applied only to incongruent communication – that is when words, voice and behaviours do not match (as in scenario B). The theory has been extrapolated to refer to all communication, but it’s not true.

That’s so important that I’ll repeat it.

IT’S NOT TRUE!

In most cases, words are much more important than 7% (although, as a copywriter, I probably would say that, wouldn’t I).

You can achieve successful communication with just words – especially if you’ve already built a relationship face-to-face or over the phone first.

Imagine attending a training course in person compared with listening in to a conference call or just reading the manual. You’ll learn more face-to-face than over the phone, and more over the phone than by just reading the words.

(more…)

Secrets of effective communication (part 1)

Cascade

The information cascade doesn’t work.

Leaders in organisations fondly imagine that the information cascade works as a method of internal communication.

It doesn’t.

When they have a message to impart, senior executives think they can tell their direct reports who will pass it on to their own teams and so on down the hierarchy.

But one weak link and the chain breaks.

When I worked in corporate life, I had one boss who hardly ever bothered to pass on information because he didn’t think we needed to know. I had another boss who held weekly briefing meetings where people rarely listened because of the way the data was shared. When I held weekly meetings with my own team, they used to sing the ‘Jackanory’ theme tune at the start, because they knew I’d be telling them lots of stories.

***

Many companies think they can stick a sign on a noticeboard to communicate a message, and that everyone will read it.

They won’t.

Most people pass by without even noticing the notice on the noticeboard.

In my local gym, there’s a big display outside the fitness studio showing all the class times, but people still ask Reception what’s on and when.

(more…)