By Andrew Neitlich

From the eye of the hurricane (almost)

By Andrew Neitlich

Hurricane Charley is a few hours away from testing the skill and integrity of my home builder here just south of Tampa, FL. Before the lights go out, let’s get down to business….


The last blog (link above) showed you a tool for getting your message out to prospects in an educational way. If you want to attract more leads, it is essential that you know how to craft good educational marketing materials. Here are the elements:


1. A strong headline (see http://www.sitepoint.com/blog-post-view.php?id=186087)

2. Content that matters to your target prospects, and is as specific as possible to their industry and job function. An article format with a “top 5” list is a common example. Or, describe a framework that you have created (i.e. “A Nine-Point Assessment of Your Ecommerce Capabilities”).

3. Short paragraphs, broken up by curiosity-generating subheads, to get people to read more.

4. Content that gets into their problems, and also shows how they can solve their problems. For instance, if you get into 5 common problems with web sites, then explain how to overcome those problems.

5. An offer that compels them to learn more. In the last blog’s example, there is a survey at the end of the presentation offering a coupon for a discount on a book. You could also offer something for free, like a free 5-part assessment of their web presence, etc.

6. Unique and creative media. You can take your content and create CDs, Webex presentations (or Flash presentations), tele-seminars, pre-recorded messages, videos, etc.

Also, some quick notes on Webex:What I like about it is that, as a non-programmer, I can quickly upload my presentation to their hosted application, and then record voice by phone. It makes it easy for people like me (and my CEO clients) who don’t have the technical skills or time to do anything other than speak into a phone and press the # key.

But Webex is not inexpensive, with a monthly hosting fee. I’m using it because my clients are, and they don’t mind me taking up an extra spot on their account until they need it.

Designers: Think about creating a Webex practice. You can get an account (or wait for a first client). Then you can help your clients create great presentations, script them, and help them get attract leads via their web site and email. Could be a nice stream of revenue for you, and at least a good “value added” service.

Okay, time to prepare for the 110 mile an hour winds that are fast approaching….I hope to write to you again soon!

  • I also prepare for the winds, but I am on the other coast.

  • aneitlich

    What possessed either of us to reside in Florida?

  • Miami, here. I think you’ll get more of the blow than I.

    Which brings up a point… if your title strays too far from your topic in order to catch attention, sometimes you draw attention AWAY from your message.

  • Added: same applies to images. If you put a picture of a pretty girl on your technology site to try to get people to stay on the page, odds are they’ll spend more time looking at the girl than reading the content. That’s not a good way to sell people!

  • Nice points, although I feel you may have come across as overlooking how important the Headline/visual are. I’ve been reading something titled “The Copywriter’s Handbook” and it says that once you’ve got a headline, you’ve done 80% of your work – which is perfectly valid. You should spend as much time as it takes to get a great headline.

    Great copy is nothing without a catching headline. Also I think this quote is very relavent

    If you have to choose between being clever and obscure or simple and straightforward, I advise you to be simple and straight forward. You won’t win any advertising awards. But at least you’ll sell some merchandise[/qutoe]
    The same theory can be applied towards selling web design of course. I think that kind of illustrates transio’s point. While an image might be really “cool” looking, it might not portray the product – which is what you want.

    Now of course, Andrew, you’ve done a great job with your headline. It makes me (as an IT Professional) want to read it to see what mistakes I’m making. If you had titled it something like “Reasons why you’re not selling” I probably wouldn’t have read it. Sure, it’s a relavent headline – but it’s not catching and not specific.

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