Monthly Archives: August 2017

Aug 23

7 Tips for Crafting an Email Marketing Template

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

The Internet iѕ thе powerhouse of marketing today. The majority of people ѕреnd mоrе timе online than rеаding, wаtсhing TV, оr viewing оthеr mеdiа. As a result, it mаkеѕ mоrе ѕеnѕе tо invеѕt in оnlinе mаrkеting аѕ it’ѕ сhеар аnd hitѕ уоur рrоѕресtѕ dirесtlу.

If уоu wаnt to сrеаtе your оwn еmаil nеwѕlеttеr tеmрlаtе tо uѕе fоr аn оnlinе рrоmоtiоnаl оr mаrkеting саmраign, it’ѕ important tо have еngаging, infоrmаtivе аnd interesting content. Hеrе аrе some suggestion tо make thе bеѕt еmаil nеwѕlеttеr template:

  •  Fоllоw the nеwѕрареr lауоut rule. Nеwѕрареrѕ adhere to the 1-3 ѕеntеnсе раrаgrарh rulе. Tо еnаblе уоur rеаdеrѕ tо absorb your ѕhаrеd infоrmаtiоn аnd оthеr соntеnt of уоur nеwѕlеttеr, fоllоw this аdviсе аѕ wеll.
  •  Utilizе соlоr tо уоur advantage. Bаѕеd on уоur brаnd, сrеаtе a ѕtriking соlоr раlеttе fоr уоur nеwѕlеttеr аnd stick tо it. Use соlоr tо guidе your rеаdеrѕ thrоugh уоur tеmрlаtе аnd tо саll аttеntiоn to сruсiаl еlеmеntѕ likе hеаdlinеѕ, ѕub hеаdlinеѕ, аnd саllѕ tо асtiоn.
  • Alwауѕ uѕе bullеtеd оr numbеrеd liѕtѕ. Mоѕt rесiрiеntѕ rеаd thеir еmаilѕ in a hurrу. Aѕ ѕuсh, thеу tеnd tо ѕimрlу ѕсаn thеѕе nеwѕlеttеrѕ. But these same rеаdеrѕ ѕtор tо rеаd bullеtеd оr numbеrеd liѕtѕ ѕinсе lists аrе еаѕiеr tо peruse. Aѕ ѕuсh, gеt thеm hooked with ѕimрlе, intеrеѕting аnd infоrmаtivе liѕtѕ.
  • Don’t рlасе уоur соntеnt near thе tеmрlаtе еdgеѕ. Cоntеnt thаt iѕ tоо nеаr thе tеmрlаtе еdgеѕ lооk unѕightlу аnd mаkеѕ your еmаil арреаr unрrоfеѕѕiоnаl. In аdditiоn, уоur content will be hаrdеr tо rеаd bесаuѕе the tеxt running intо thе bоrdеr linеѕ оr еdgеѕ саn bе viѕuаllу соnfuѕing.
  • Select fоntѕ for уоur tеmрlаtе thаt аrе capture attention аnd аrе еаѕу tо read. Keep in mind thаt еvеrу соmрutеr and mоbilе gаdgеt is diffеrеnt аnd hаѕ ѕlightlу diffеrеnt fоntѕ аvаilаblе. Aѕ such, mаkе ѕurе thаt thе fоntѕ уоu uѕе аrе ѕtаndаrd оnеѕ аvаilаblе оn аll tуреѕ оf gаdgеtѕ оr dеviсеs.
  • Uѕе a соnѕiѕtеnt dеѕign and lауоut. Onсе you hаvе рut ѕоmе thоught into уоur tеmрlаtе, stick tо it. In саѕе уоu wаnt tо еdit оr rеviѕе it, mаkе оnlу ѕlight uрdаtеѕ оr аdjuѕtmеntѕ tо kеер уоur еmаil mаrkеting design сurrеnt and rеlеvаnt. Continuously changing уоur tеmрlаtе dеѕign will соnfuѕе уоur readers аnd jeopardize the brаnd rесоgnitiоn you аrе building.
  • Lаѕtlу, rеmеmbеr tо kеер уоur tеmрlаtе ѕimрlе. Thе mоrе соmрliсаtеd уоur еmаil nеwѕlеttеr dеѕign iѕ, the mоrе wоrk уоu will hаvе tо рut intо рrоduсing еасh iѕѕuе.

Mаkе ѕurе уоu’rе nоt ѕеtting uр triр wirеѕ fоr уоurѕеlf. Simрliсitу аnd ѕinсеritу wаlk hand in hаnd whеn соnѕidеring a gооd mаrkеting tеmрlаtе, ѕо ѕtаrt thеrе аnd thеn рrосееd with саutiоn. Bеing tоо соnfidеnt in rеgаrdѕ tо уоur аudiеnсе could mеаn a dоwnfаll fоr уоur оvеrаll marketing ѕtrаtеgу. Don’t be lеft in thе соld, but dоn’t get tоо egotistical in уоur рrосеdurеѕ еithеr. On the Vеrgе Writing рrоvidеѕ email tеmрlаtе design services and еmаil mаrkеting mаtеriаlѕ. For a custom quote, please call (971) 238.6256.

Aug 23

What Makes You a Mosquito Magnet

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

Traveling is one of my favorite activities to do. I love the anticipation, the planning, and the uncertainty. I love hearing new languages, sleeping in new beds, and learning about new cultures. Other than the airplane rides (which terrify me), there are few things about exploring the world that don’t get me thrilled.

Except the mosquitoes.

Ah, yes, those pesky little critters that gravitate toward me like I gravitate toward peanut butter and chocolate. I’m a constant magnet for mosquito bites and they leave me swollen, red and itchy for days after the vacation has subsided.

Sound familiar?

To be sure, approximately 20 percent of people are mosquito magnets (aka “high attractor types”). Turns out there are quite a few reasons for this. Here’s a look at why you may be bitten more than your BFF who simply cannot understand why you keep scratching until it hur

You Move

I’m not good at sitting still, and it turns out this tendency of mine makes me more attractive to the female mosquitoes who seek out extra protein for their egg-laying days. After all, movement proves I’m a living, breathing vessel of scrumptious blood.

You Have a Higher Body Temp

Mosquitoes apparently enjoy feasting on those of us who run hotter than others. I’m sure there’s an inappropriate joke to be had here, but I’ll refrain. Because of this, people who exercise are more susceptible to the pests, as are people who have a higher body mass and those that are pregnant (pregnancy elevates temp an average of 1.26 degrees).

You Emit More Carbon Dioxide

Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide emission from as far as 164 feet away using this neat organ called a maxillary palp. The bigger you are, the more carbon dioxide you tend to emit, which explains why children tend to have fewer bites when standing near more carbon dioxide-emitting adults. This is another strike against pregnancy, as pregnant women tend to emit 21 percent more CO2.

You Have the Universal Blood Donor Type

At least one small study concluded that those of us with Type O blood are far more appealing to mosquitoes than those with Type A.

You Drink Alcohol

And you thought drinking alcohol only garnered the attention of fellow humans. Nope. Although it’s unclear how the pests can detect the presence of ethanol, studies show that drinking a mere 12 ounces of beer makes the ladies (er, female mosquitoes) appear.

You Have Nice Composition of Microbes on Your Skin

“Hey, baby, nice microbes” may not be the most alluring pick-up line, but for mosquitoes, it works. We all have glorious flora microbes covering our skin. In fact, we have more microbes than we do skin cells. But some of us have the luxury of saying that the composition of our microbes is better than others – at least to mosquitoes.

In short, if you want to reduce the chances of being a mosquito magnet, there are a few things you must do, stat: Avoid drinking alcohol; avoid getting pregnant; avoid breathing; avoid moving, and oh, change your genetic makeup. Or just use insect repellant.

Aug 23

7 Ways to Make Your Sales Letters Actually Sell

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

Think direct marketing is dead? Think again.

Over 90 percent of shoppers say that they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions. The ROI of such marketing floats around 20 percent, thereby making it one of the most useful means of advertising.

But what should a persuasive sales letter include? Of course, no formula can guarantee success for every letter. Yet there are time-tested tactics that can dramatically improve your chances. Here are seven of them.

Photo by Usama @ Unsplash

#1 Recognize Your Reader’s Problem

There are countless formats for headlines and first sentences, including making an announcement, asking a question, or telling a story.

Personally, my preference is the problem/solution format. This is the most logical, direct approach I know. After all, people don’t buy products or services per se. Rather, they buy solutions to problems. If you know your reader (and you should), you can just state the reader’s problem and offer a solution. Simple, right?

Photo by Alan Bishop @ Unsplash

#2 Hook ‘Em From the Start

How many yawning consumers snap to attention when they read your first line? How many look forward to reading the pitch you make?

Let’s put it this way: If people were in a rush to catch an airplane and stopped by the bookstore with five minutes to spare, would they choose your sales letter or the guy’s next to you? It’s the differences between these two sentences:

“Alissa Parker didn’t look like a murderer or cheat. Her pleasantly plump face fooled everyone!” Cliché.

“Alissa Parker, 12 years old at the time, began her descent into murder on a bus ride.” Intriguing.

Make your sales letter capture attention much the same way as the second sentence does. With power, with intrigue, with surprise.

While headlines are infinitely important, so are the first words put on paper (or pixels). Make sure both deliver with chutzpah.

Photo by Luca Bravo @ Unsplash

#3 Show Us What You’ve Got

The reader wanting a new app doesn’t care that the app comes with five thingamabobs. But she is interested in how those five thingamabobs take the place of five other expensive doodads to save her money and make her work easier … as well as make her the envy of all the other app-owner on the block.

Relate everything to your reader and his or her needs. Talk benefits, not features.

Photo by Jennifer Pallian @ Unsplash

#4 Make Your Product Irresistible

Just as people buy solutions rather than products, they also prefer offers much more than purchases. If you’ve done a good job of showing the reader all the benefits of your product or service, you have to make a h3, fair offer.

For example, people don’t buy 12 issues of a magazine; they accept an offer of 45 percent off the newsstand price. People don’t buy a pair of socks, they accept an offer to buy one and get one free. Your offer isn’t your price. It’s your special deal.

Photo by Glen McCallum on Unsplash

#5 Offer a Guarantee

People fear getting scammed. No one wants to be made a fool. There’s also a great deal of commitment phobia. So when you make an offer, you must eliminate any fear your reader may have by providing a way out. Most people won’t return your product or refuse your service after they’ve accepted your offer, but they want reassurance that they’re not locked into a deal forever.

If you have a solid product or service, stand behind it with a guarantee. Highlight it. The more you emphasize the guarantee, the more your reader will trust you. This, in turn, ups the likelihood of a sale.

Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

#6 Provide a Call to Action

Sure, your readers may be intelligent, but don’t assume that they’ll spend even a second pondering how to accept your offer. If you want the reader to email, say so. If you want your reader to fill out a reply card, give direct instructions of how to do so.

Every good salesperson knows you have to ask for the order. A sales letter is no different. If you want the reader’s business, ask for it. And don’t shy away from the bold. Make your phone number large and your contact information easy to read. Use a serif typeface no smaller than 10 points.

Photo by Vítor Santos on Unsplash

#7 Make it Easy-Peasy

You’ve written a h3, benefit-packed letter that persuades the reader to try out your product or service. But you’ve skipped out on including a return envelope. Or readers would like to order now, yet there’s no phone number. You lose a sale.

The more ways you give the reader to respond, the more likely it is that they will do just that… and the more sales you’ll make. Include phone numbers, email addresses, reply cards, coupons, order forms, return envelopes, and anything else that makes it easy to say “yes” to your offer.

Writing sales letters can be a daunting task. Figuring out the right verbiage along with the appropriate tone is an exercise in patience and practice. If you’d like help crafting your next sales letter, contact On the Verge Writing at (971) 238.6256 or email Sylvia@onthevergewriting.com. I have the expertise of writing hundreds of successful sales letters and would be happy to do so on your behalf.

Aug 22

Simplifying Your Sales and Marketing Approach

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

If you’re not getting the sales numbers you desire, why is that? Chances are, you subscribe to one of the many fallacies of sales and marketing. Here’s a look at why traditional methods are failing and what you can do to change it.

What Isn’t Working?

The reassuring news is that some of the most tried-and-true methods of marketing are still effective. People continue to love video advertising. To be sure, video accounts for nearly 70 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Cisco Visual Networking. However, many other marketing strategies are falling flat. Take a look at the numbers.

  • Direct mail is expected to experience a 19% declineover the next 12 months (2016 DMA Response Rate Report);
  • Only 13% of people who read print publications report ever looking at the ads;
  • Nearly half of direct mail is never opened;
  • 70% to 80% of online users don’t look at online ads, preferring to focus only on organic search results;
  • 86% of people ignore television commercials.

Effective Sales and Marketing Ideas

As buyers become increasingly underwhelmed by advertising gimmicks, innovation becomes even more important. It is the role of businesses, then, to ensure that information is delivered to prospective customers at the right time, in the right format, and on the right platforms. This is where an inbound marketing strategy becomes crucial.

Research

There’s no need to spend copious amounts of time drudging up case studies. Instead, ‘research’ refers to time spent understanding the company and its goals, understanding the industry, and understanding the customers. This is where savvy business owners focus their attention.

  1. When it comes time to determine what your business stands for, ask the following questions:
  • What does it mean to ‘grow the business?’
  • How will I know if I’m successful?
  • What are my long and short-term goals?
  • What is the sales process?
  1. Check out the industry

As time passes, industries evolve. Each year brings new insights, research, and/or tools. As this occurs, it’s important to stay relevant. This is where industry research comes in.

  1. Determine your customer base

Speak to the salespeople—those who directly communicate with customers—to better understand the customer base. As a business leader, it’s important to give the sales and marketing teams time to sit together, collaborate, and also vent frustrations (trust me, there are bound to be some!)

Capitalize on the defining quality of your brand’s identity

It isn’t enough to say your company is “good” or that it solves problems. Instead, figure out what makes it unique and market your business on that platform.

GoPro is a stellar example of this. Their strategy revolves around synergy. By crafting a strategy based on a theme that adeptly complements their product, they have achieved excellent results.

The key to many successful campaigns is innovation. As Harvard Business Review analyst Niraj Dawar said, “Com­pet­i­tive bat­tles are won by offer­ing inno­va­tions that reduce cus­tomers’ costs and risks over the entire pur­chase, con­sump­tion, and dis­pos­al cycle.”

Utilize email marketing

Once upon a time, the phrase “You’ve Got Mail” brought shrieks of joy and excitement. After years of spam, Nigerian prince schemes, and assurances of undeserved wealth, it’s understandable to look at email marketing with a skeptical eye. Yet is it effective?

The short answer is Yes.

With an effective email marketing campaign, the possibilities for growth are endless. It is one of the lowest-cost, highest-return marketing techniques around.

Yet let’s say that your time is short and drafting email campaigns sounds cumbersome, here’s an alternative approach: Piggyback on third-party e-newsletters that reach qualified subscribers. For example, let’s say you want to reach moms of toddlers. You could research the most popular parenting websites, then choose the most cost-efficient and effective one to advertise in. This would guarantee that you’d reach parents or parents-to-be. Since subscribers opted-in to the newsletter, you’d score a good open rate and earn some credibility by being associated with a reputable publication.

While there may seem to be as many sales and marketing techniques in the world as there are people, keeping it simple and manageable is key for most start-up businesses. Start with these three tactics if you’re just starting the entrepreneurship adventure. Then, once you become more established, keep them in your back pocket in case the well runs dry.

Aug 22

Leaving Your Acoustic Watermark With Sound Branding

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

Sound is a funny sense. It weaves in and out of space, invisible to the eyes, yet oh-so-powerful to the ears. Along with sight, it accounts for 99 percent of all brand communication. Despite impacting our mood and psychological state, however, audio branding is surprisingly underutilized in marketing. While some industries have capitalized on the power of sound, other industries have been a bit reticent in adopting its principles. Here’s why that may soon change.

What is Audio Branding?

In short, audio branding refers to all of the aspects of sound that a company uses to convey its brand. As described by Karlheinz Illner, “The key elements are: sound logo, brand song, sound icons, brand score, brand hook line, brand voice and even soundscapes. These elements should reflect the brand values and brand personality in their acoustic dimensions and should acoustically distinguish a brand from its competition.”

Retail’s Use of Sound Branding

Like all marketing tactics, it is often those that sneak into our subconscious that leave the greatest impact. Chances are, you’ve experienced the nuances of this phenomena. After hearing a commercial, the ditty that the actors hummed stays lodged in your brain all day. Or maybe you’ve walked into a store and promptly walked out because the airwaves were filled with annoying music. (I have a hunch you know what I’m talking about.)

The most well-utilized form of sound marketing is through the use of jingles. The retail environment has manufactured this form of branding more than any other industry. The first network jingle appeared in the 1940s when Austen Herbert Croom-Johnson and Alan Bradley Kent developed the jingle “Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot.” Placed in jukeboxes around the United States, the Pepsi jingle became infectious. Jingles are especially effective because they use short sound clips and repetitiveness, two components that make memorization frustratingly easy. They seem to get stuck in our thoughts like an inextricable weed lodged between cracks in the sidewalk.

Other times, sound branding envelopes far more than a short ditty. Clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch knows this well. The stores are designed from a multi-sensory perspective in an attempt to encourage people to spend more money. To maintain their younger clientele, the stores play music at a loud volume and in genres that appeal to this demographic. They also spray a specific fragrance throughout their stores in order to attract certain shoppers, and utilize attractive models to garner a particular reputation. Likewise, the Volkswagen Cabrio in 2000 enjoyed increased sales with the popularity of their commercial set to Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon.”

The Power of Sound

Audio branding works by awakening one of the five fundamental senses: hearing. While we can close our eyes to ignore visual advertising, we can’t very well close our ears, thereby making this form of marketing ever more powerful. Sound serves as a way to make an emotional connection to customers and create memories.

Most of our purchases are based on emotions. Sound can be used to define, differentiate, and communicate. Carefully selected music generates more revenue by creating a positive atmosphere, thereby encouraging customers to stay in place and make more purchases.

As if to underscore this point, George Lucas once said that 50 percent of Star Wars’ success came from its music.

Audio Branding in the Hospitality Industry

The same concepts that can be applied in the retail industry can be applied to the hospitality industry — both online and offline.

Studies show that we associate sounds with certain memories. Since a mood is readily associated with specific vacation experiences, it’s important for those in the hospitality industry to choose sounds that manifest positive emotions. Yet it’s also important to be consistent in the sound used. It would be confusing to customers to hear a variety of sounds associated with a hotel’s brand. Although it’s appropriate to use variations, it’s critical that customers identify the brand with a specific style, just as in the case of visuals.

The first decision, then, is to define where sounds will be used and what styles of sound are most suitable. Ideally, the sounds inside the hotel will align with the sounds used on the website, when people call in to the hotel, and in advertising. The music program should have an emotional resonance with customers that reflects the brand’s personality. A notable example of this comes from Bahia Principe. They have a unique melody for their videos that corresponds with the tune heard if calling in to the hotel. This same melody is heard throughout their hotels and a similar tune plays when their logo is displayed. In other words, they have effectively crafted a sound brand that attracts a particular type of customer.

Equally important is choosing the right music to incorporate. Often, hotels make the mistake of using the same types of music as one another, such as the top hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s, or a mix thereof. This generic compilation ensures that most hotels sound identical and cheap. It also shows a disregard for the appreciation of the quality and power of music. Instead, it’s important to choose music that shapes the emotional investment visitors have to the hotel and helps usher in positive memories.

Branding in Your Industry

Whatever industry your business embodies, rest assured that it can benefit from a little branding TLC. When you’re ready for branding that electrifies,, contact On the Verge Writing. I know how to create branding campaigns that attract new customers and retain the old.

Aug 22

Hiring a Freelance Writer Makes Cents

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

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