Search Results for: sme

Think you’re doing marketing, SME? Sorry. Chances are, you’re not.

When you talk about marketing your small/SME business, do you really know what you’re talking about?

I’ve listened to people running new business startups saying, “oh, we haven’t got much money, so we’ll get a smart student or recent graduate to come in and do our marketing.”

do you know what marketing means

This misinterpretation of marketing and how it contributes to businesses is a BIG problem for them

Just how stupid is that?

Let’s take a good look: this may be something you find surprising but then – enlightening.

Marketing is NOT about writing ads, blogs, press releases, etc.

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A horsey smell to your writing?

How to write better horse humour! If you love horses … or even hate them … you’ll appreciate some of the jokes I have curated – and written – in both of my humour books about these noble creatures: this one about horses, and this one about ponies, but essentially they work as a pair in helping us find humour despite the damned animals costing us fortunes while capturing our hearts.

A horsey smell to your writing?

Big brave horse … LOL…

Many of the jokes I have shared are traditional ones (i.e.out of copyright and free for us all the share.) But, many of the other gags and sequences are original. Hope you like them! And if you want some tips on how to write, curate and adapt jokes, check out this category here. Writing and curating jokes and other humour is a part of professional writing that I truly love, and that seems to attract a lot of interest here on HTWB.

Meanwhile, here are some of my favourite written horsey jokes…enjoy!

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Marketing writing: why features smell and benefits sell

Time and time again I look through all my posts here on HTWB and see references to the old “features and benefits” issue in marketing and commercial business writing. But still, people ask me what I mean, how it works, why it matters, etc.

A long time ago in one of my earlier books, articles, blog posts et al about marketing writing (and in subsequent ones) I came up with this rather clumsy phrase which despite it containing a rhyme – surprisingly – many people have taken up with a smile and much gusto:

FEATURES SMELL. BENEFITS SELL

Why is this so relevant when it comes to writing for marketing or even other, less sales-focused business writing?

Because it’s true (OK, metaphorically.)

In many ways I feel guilty even posting about this topic on here when the “features versus benefits” issue has been wallowing around in marketing and advertising circles for not only years, not only decades, not only generations, but probably not short of centuries now, too.

But still, there are some people who don’t understand the difference. And many of these are people who are trying to market products and services into an increasingly complex and, indeed, overworked marketplace in which folks are so bloody tired of hearing about features, they just want to scream. Why?

FEATURES ARE WHAT A PRODUCT OR SERVICE IS.

BENEFITS ARE WHAT IT DOES FOR YOU, THE PURCHASER.

BENEFITS SELL IT. FEATURES ON THEIR OWN DO NOT.

Easy. Yet why are so many marketing exercises blighted by the features virus, when it ain’t so hard to turn a feature into a benefit which actually does stand a cat’s chance in hell of selling your product or service fairly and squarely?

Here’s how to do it

I’ll go back to a pretty basic example, once again extracted from one of my earlier books (I don’t do complicated, OK?) Here we’re talking about a garden chair:

Feature: AL-alloy metal frame with HK-147 PVC compound, polyurethane seat and back rest

Benefit: You can relax in comfort knowing that its sturdy frame and durable seat back are not only comfortable, but also that they’ll last for many years

Feature: Fade-proof coating withstands sun and heat up to 35°C constant for 72 hours. Factory tested for efficacy

Benefit: Looks good for years to come even in strong sun and sizzling summer temperatures, thanks to fade-proof, factory-tested coating

Feature: Delivered in flat pack with full assembly instructions. Pack suitable for long-term storage prior to assembly.

Benefit: Arrives in convenient pack for you to store for the winter… then assemble in minutes, ready for spring!

But what if features are objectives, not nuts and bolts?

No problem. You simply apply the same criteria to the objectives as if they were nuts and bolts: what’s in it for the recipient? Some examples…

If you want to inform people (feature), their benefit is that they increase their own knowledge resource.

If you want to train people (feature), their benefit is that is improves their skills and abilities to do their jobs better and gain skills which will be useful for them in their future.

If you need to rebuke people (feature), their benefit is to understand that no-one’s perfect but you can learn to overcome a problem and so be better at your job.

If you want to entertain people (feature), their benefit is to feel appreciated and valued.

If you want to energize/motivate people (feature), their benefit is to see why it’s worth their while to go the extra mile and be recognized for it.

And how does this fit in with current 21st century “marketing think?”

Answer: it fits right in there so tight it can’t even squeak. Just as it always has where marketing and – let’s face – a great deal more in the way of business communication is concerned. No matter how much old advertising and branding strategies have been dissolved by the here, now, up-your-nose (and very welcome) nature of online marketing in particular, the old features versus benefits issue hasn’t changed one tiny jot.

So if you need to write for marketing or even more general purposes, remember my clumsy little mnemonic

FEATURES SMELL. BENEFITS SELL.

Make sure your marketing writing sells, not smells:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

How to make your self-published book look like it’s been traditionally published

How often have you looked at a self-published book and seen straightaway that it’s a DIY job? It’s not just poor content that gives it away; in fact many truly good books are ruined by goofs which mainly are simple and cheap to correct.

article about self-publishing books

Can you tell if a book has been traditionally or self-published?

Here are 11 key points to watch out for:

Is the cover attractive and designed so when its image is shrunk down to a small size as it would be on Amazon or other sites, you can still see the key points? Make sure your book’s cover is properly designed: it’s well worth paying for a professional cover designer to do it. [Read more…]

Promoting your book (or other product): what marketing REALLY means

I agonised for a long time when a very bitchy and pompous (and dishonest, as it turned out) editor I was working with sneered at me for only writing a few chapters on ‘marketing‘ in my forthcoming book, How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book. article on the four Ps of marketingSurely he knew that marketing is something you do in parallel with creating the book’s concept, right from the start, even – to an extent – with fiction? With his two redbrick university degrees and the conviction that he knew everything?

Nope, he didn’t. What his scathing barbs did achieve, however, was to make me conscious of the fact that I needed to emphasise the real meaning – and importance – of marketing in my book, so I have done just that. The number of times I’ve had to bite my tongue when someone talks about ‘marketing’ when they mean ‘marketing communications‘ or ‘promotion’ adds up to many hundreds. [Read more…]

How important are grammar and spelling? Really?

Now that the mass media with its “newspeak” vocabulary has been part of our lives for several generations we really can’t afford to be pompous about spelling and grammar any more.

Even the stuffiest of academics has had to admit that stiffly formal writing is not clever; it’s boring. They may look down their noses at the language of popular websites, social media, blogs and so-on, but that’s the language nearly everyone speaks today.

article about spelling and grammarI won’t waste your time with my theories on why that has happened, but the bottom line is that English as a language has become simpler and less complex than it was 100 years ago.

And quite right, too. I’ve never understood why some people get so uppity about the fact that a language has evolved.

Well, you and I haven’t got time to mourn the relegation of Shakespearean English to the theatre, even if we want to. We’ve got work to do here and now, and these days we write as we speak.

“Writing as people speak” is not a cop out

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