John E. Fike Copywriting Services; Copy, Content & Custom Publications for Companies Who Make Life Worth Living

Be Clear on Your Goals

Reading a recent entry on Seth Godin's blog: Are we solving the same problem? It struck a chord with me. Everyone sees things through a different perspective. When you ask someone to solve a problem or give their opinion without defining the desired result or the kind of opinion you're seeking, then you get an answer based on the person's own motivations.

For example, I recently wrote an award entry for a client. They are trying to win an award based on a project they completed. When I finished with the first draft, my contact with the client passed it out to everyone who worked on the project to get their opionion. There are several things wrong with that approach, but the biggest one was that my contact didn't qualify the kind of opinion they were looking for. What we needed was a review of the facts to make sure nothing was misrepresented or forgotten. What we got back were largely comments on the literary style of the entry. And one crew leader was just about outraged at how little of his crew's "passion" for the project came through.

While grand literary style and a story of "passion" would make a great magazine article or short story that would attract readers, that wasn't our goal. We had to win a contest based on four distinct criteria. The entry would win only if we showed how my client excelled in all four criteria. Unfortunately for a certain crew leader, "passion" wasn't one of the criteria. It certainly was an important part of what made that project important to the client and their customer, but it wasn't what the judges were looking at.

Actually, the draft that was passed around at my client's office was the second draft. The first one I wrote with the kind of style and grandeur that makes a good profile or story. Unfortunately it came out twice as long as the contest allowed. So what got cut? Everything that didin't directly support my client's case for winning according to the criteria. That meant that some of the literary grandeur that folks in the office would have liked to see got sacrificed. I kept the language simple and easy to understand so that judges could clearly understand the excellence of the project, but to get all the facts and supporting information in there it wound up reading more like a hard news story than an article fit for The New Yorker magazine.

It's not that the feedback we got was "wrong". It's just that they didn't know the criteria by which they needed to judge the piece. Once I reminded the client of the particular goal we were trying to achieve and what we needed to do achieve that goal, we found that we were actually on the same page.

So, the lesson is, when you are asking for feedback, opionions or solutions, make sure that everyone understands what the goal is and what is required to get there.

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posted by John E Fike @ 6:01 AM, ,

Don't Fog Their Vision: Be Clear About the Commitment Your Customers are Making

My wife and I are investigating online charter schools as a way to educate our children. All the programs we've looked at tout the value of parental involvement and the flexibility of working online. But they fail to answer two of our most basic questions: 1) how much time is likely to be required of us, and 2) Will our child have to be online at certain times for scheduled activities?

It all comes down to one question: "If we sign up with you what is our commitment?"

No one should be expected to do business with someone until they know the answer to that question. That goes for online charter schools; that goes for copywriters (that's me) and that goes for you and your business.

Most of us know that we need to talk about the benefits of our products or services, but how many of us talk about what our customer's commitment is?

Our customers' commitment isn't just price. For retail, often the commitment is obvious or simple in that they have to follow instructions for the product. But have you ever bought something and found out it needed an additional product in order for some of the features to work or that you had to assemble it, but didn't realize it? Those sorts of things cause frustration.

This is even more true in service fields. Will your customer have to fill out a questionnaire? Will they have to meet with you? How often and for how long? Will they have to train their staff differently to implement your service or recommendations? Will their be costs besides your fee?

Don't suprise your customers. Be up front about the amount of commitment required on their part.

Will that scare some customers off? Occasionally. But remember: a satisfied customer tells 5 people about you, but a disappointed customer tells 500 people.

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posted by John E Fike @ 6:11 AM, ,

Announcing: Our Who’s-Afraid-of-the-Big-Bad-Wolf-Anti-Recession Event to Celebrate 5 Years in Business


Get up to $1,000 in FREE Copywriting, Content, Multimedia or Marketing Services from John E. Fike Copywriting and Fikopy.com


Copywriter John E. Fike is celebrating his fifth year in business by helping fellow businesses market better and market more to overcome effects of the current recession.

For August and September 2009, all customers of John E. Fike Copywriting and Fikopy.com will get $250 in free services for every $1,000 purchased. This Who’s-Afraid-of-the-Big-Bad-Wolf-Anti-Recession Event is ongoing through September 30. Customers must buy a minimum of $1,000 in services to qualify and each customer will receive a maximum of $1,000 in free services.

“Being in business is a good thing and staying in business is even better,” Fike said. “This Anti-Recession event helps other people stay in business by multiplying the effect of their marketing dollar. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this 5-year benchmark of success.”

A Better Way to Combat Recession than Downsizing or slashing budgets
Downsizing puts more pressure and more stress on your remaining employees, which inevitably leads to decreased efficiency that hurts profitability. It also leaves a business unprepared for post-recession growth. Slashing budgets, particularly the marketing budget, leaves a business with fewer resources for acquiring more customers and slows growth rates.

But taking advantage of John E. Fike’s Who’s-Afraid-of-the-Big-Bad-Wolf-Anti-Recession Event boosts your marketing power and sets your business up for growth in three ways:

Stretch your marketing dollar: You get 25% more free—so you get more services for your money (up to a maximum of $1,000 in free services).
Your marketing is more effective: John Fike tackles every project, from advertisements and sales letters to web sites and white papers, to generate better results than your previous marketing efforts.
Refocus on higher-profit markets: John Fike can show you how to target markets and product lines that will widen your profit margins rather than shrink them—even during a recession.

All Services Apply
Do you have a writing, marketing or multimedia project in mind, but don’t see it listed here? John Fike says, “Give me a call and tell me what you need and I’ll tell you how much more you can get.”

John E. Fike Copywriting Services was launched full time in June of 2004. The Fikopy.com brand was launched in the spring of 2008. John E. Fike and Fikopy.com deliver high quality writing, marketing copy, online content, custom publications and multimedia services designed to increase the success of your business. John Fike has experience serving a wide array of businesses and industries, but places particular emphasis on the following industries:

· Health & Fitness
· Healthcare
· Nutrition
· Personal Growth & Development
· LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health And Sustainability)
· Education
· Wealth building
· Business Building
· Christian Spirituality
· Sustainable/Green Lifestyles
· Sustainable/Green Business

###For more information about John E. Fike Copywriting Services and Fikopy.com, please call 419-371-2302 or send email to john@fikopy.com. We are also available online at http://www.fikopy.com/

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posted by John E Fike @ 2:53 PM, ,