It’s something a bit different from me this week.

You’ll probably have noticed that most of my content is delivered on video, but today I’m going back to basics and writing some words.

And there’s a good reason why.

You see, the commonly accepted wisdom is that video is the only way forward – that’s what the experts have been telling us all anyway.

The result has been every man and his dog producing video content, and lots of it.

And there’s nothing wrong with that – we do a lot of video here at Ideal Result, and get great results from it.

But here’s the fact that a lot of people are ignoring:

Plenty of people don’t want to watch videos.

Instead, they’d much rather digest their information through the written word.

They’ll skip through videos, or read the subtitles, but engross themselves in emails, direct mail and sales pages.

If you’re only doing video, you’re failing to reach those people.

Not only that, but you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to get your content digested.

To get you to digest this, all I’ve had to do is get you to open the article and pull you in with the opening few lines of copy – it probably needs a minute of your time. But to get you to digest a video requires you jumping through a number of hoops, especially as most of our audience will receive a link to the video by email:

  1. Open the email
  2. Read the teaser copy and be excited enough to click through
  3. Wait for the blog page to load
  4. Discover that the video is five minutes long and decide whether you want to invest that time
  5. Stay intrigued enough throughout the video to digest the point that I am making

Lots of hoops, plenty of friction, and loads of opportunity for people to drop off at each stage.

You might be wondering why I still bother with videos when they’re harder to get people to digest. And the answer’s simple: lots of people watch them.

But crucially, not everyone does.

Loyalty to one media is foolish – even if you feel comfortable with it – and that’s something that we’re very aware of here at Ideal Result.

Yes, my ‘go-to’ media is video, and it’s Ryan’s too, but Seb, Mark and Grace prefer written communication – across the team, we’ve got the bases covered. It’s worth considering what this means for the communication you have with your customers and prospects – are you over-reliant on one platform to get your message across?

If you are, who’s not digesting your message who could be, and how can you better reach them?

Have a great week and speak soon.

Thom

P.S. Next time you hear from me it’ll probably be on video, so if you engaged with this message, you’ll probably ignore the next 🙂

This is a statement that usually makes me pretty unpopular, but here goes nothing:

I LOVE winter.

For a lot of people, the clocks going back is a bad thing.

It’s a sign that summer is now a distant memory and that the days that stretch out ahead of us will consist of journeys home from the office in the dark, scraping the ice off the windscreen and feeling the biting cold as you step out of the house.

But for me, the period between the clocks going back and Christmas is one of my favourites of the entire year.

It speaks to me of warm pubs after walks and pints of Guinness in front of the fire, of slippers and blankets on the sofa in front of the TV, of sweet and savoury pies, cinnamon and stews.

In other words, it’s the contrast between the bitter cold outside and the cosy warmth inside that I love – the juxtaposition between the icy breeze and the blast of heating when you get over the threshold.

But here’s the thing: all of the things I adore about this season are only able to reach that level of adoration because of the context that you experience them in.

In other words, because they act as the antidote to everything that’s difficult about winter, they’re elevated in my thinking.

Using a compare and contrast technique like this in your sales copy is a smart way to elevate your product or service, and if you’re solving a genuine problem with what you sell, it’s not hard to achieve, using the ‘pain, agitate, solution’ formula to:

  1. State the pain, difficulty or problem facing your prospect
  2. Agitate and accentuate that pain by talking about it in more details, as well as drawing out the results and implications that arise from it
  3. Provide the solution in the form of what you sell, directly contrasting the outcomes that your prospect will gain from it with the ‘before’ state of pain

Prove to your prospect that you’re the cosy antidote to their winter, and your sales copy will be far more effective.

Seb

My son Jim’s nearly two now, so he’s at the age when he comes up with a brand-new word every single day.

And, to be honest, it’s very enjoyable – I went up to see him just before I went to bed the other night and heard him talking in his sleep, with the main words being “Thomas”, “Peppa”, “tracks” and “nee naw”.

Anyway, lately he’s become extremely interested in cars, and as soon as he sees ours he runs towards it and attempts to clamber into the front.

But you know what prompts him to use the word “car”?

Whenever he sees the KIA badge.

You see, that’s the car he always drives in, and as far as he’s concerned, “KIA” and “car” are one and the same thing.

I discovered this while watching the cricket with him – the KIA advertising hoarding prompted him to shout the word over and over again.

Jim’s exposure to the KIA brand means that it’s well and truly in his consciousness, so much so that it’s inextricably linked to his concept of what a car is.

Do your customers have your business so firmly ingrained into their minds that you’re the first option they consider?

When you get to a place where you’re the first business that comes into a person’s mind when they consider a specific product or service, you’re already in an elevated and advantageous position in comparison to your competitors.

And the good news is that you don’t have to buy advertising hoardings to do it – just create useful, regular and relevant content and deliver it to the right people using a couple of different medias and you can be the KIA in your prospect’s mind.

Have a great week,

Seb

I had a rare evening alone on Monday.

Grace was out, Jim was in bed and I was wondering what to do with myself.

And that’s when I discovered Gary Neville’s Soccerbox on Sky Sports.

(Don’t worry if you don’t like football, there is a point that transcends sport here…)

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The premise of the show is very, very simple: Gary sits on a sofa with another ex-pro, watches games from ‘back in the day’ that both players were involved in and chats about them.

What makes the show so good is that it’s incredibly candid.

It’s a world away from a usual robotic post match interview that most players give, where they’re so scared of getting tripped up that they don’t give a straight answer to anything.

Both Neville and his guests are incredible truthful, and as a result you get an insight into some of the behind the scenes stuff that was going on at the time, what players were like as individuals and what life as a footballer is really like.

A lot of business owners fail to emulate this in their marketing and the way they write copy.

They’re so focused on maintaining an air of ‘professionalism’ that they fail to realise that their prospects are people just like them.

Their copy is really formal, often in the third person and more at home in a broadcast than a conversation.

They don’t include anything personal because they’re labouring under the misapprehension that it’s unprofessional.

They wouldn’t dream of ‘peeling back the curtain’ and letting you know what they’re really like as people.

Your marketing doesn’t have to be like this, and there’s one easy way to ensure it doesn’t in the way you approach your copy:

Write as if you’re writing to one person (pick a prospect or a customer that you know relatively well and write to them)

Follow this one step, and I can promise you that your copy will be more captivating, compelling and effective than the boring corporate junk you see in a lot of marketing these days.

Give it a go?

Seb

P.S. I used to really dislike Gary Neville as a player, but I’m finding myself really enjoying everything he does on TV now. I can’t say the same about Sol Campbell though…

I was out for dinner with a few of our Private Clients yesterday.

As usual, we had our roundtable meeting at Hogarths and then took them all out for a bite to eat at The Farm in Solihull.

It was a good choice – last month we ended up waiting an unreasonable amount of time for a curry, the wait only made worthwhile by seeing Keith Crockford’s face when his naan bread arrived…

But this time, Smithy nailed the restaurant, and it was a really good night.

Conversation flowed, relationships were forged and a good time was had by all.

You want to know something interesting though?

We barely talked about business.

We talked about where we’d like to go on holiday, our attitudes to children and alcohol and a whole variety of other subjects, but business barely got a look in.

When people are marketing to business owners, they tend to assume a few things:

1. They think they need to talk purely about business
2. They think they need to speak in a ‘formal’ way
3. They think business owners won’t be interested in personal things

Each of these assumptions is incorrect.

Business owners are people too, people with kids and cars and houses and relatives, just like you, and recognising this in the marketing you put together will help you get more engagement, build more relationships and bring your prospects closer to you.

Seb

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”https://idealresult.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/larry-david-curb-your-enthusiasm-season-eight-1483466881.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]My favourite TV show was back on the other night after a six-year break.

If you’ve not seen it, Curb Your Enthusiasm is a largely improvised sitcom featuring a fictionalised version of Larry David (the co-creator of Seinfeld) and it’s very awkward and very funny.

One of the best things about Curb is the way “loops” are opened to maintain interest all the way through an episode, and there’s a lot to learn here for anyone who writes copy.

In every episode, Larry inserts strange scenes that don’t seem to have any conclusion to them.

But the more you watch the show, the more you’ll realise that each of these scenes has a point – they’re integral to the plot, but you don’t realise why until later in the episode.

What Larry taps into here is what’s called Ziegarnik effect; the idea that if you leave something incomplete, people are more likely to remember it and pay attention to it.

It’s why cliffhangers at the end of soaps work so well.

Why JK Rowling introduces plots and ideas into the Harry Potter books that require more information to truly understand.

And it’s why smart marketers harness the power of the Ziegarnik effect to make their marketing more effective. Here are four ways to do just that:

1) Use short sentences. Short sentences force your reader to read on or feel a sense of incompleteness. For example: “Last Sunday, something happened that shocked me to the core.”

2) Tell stories. We’re hard-wired to listen to stories, and because we’re familiar with narrative arcs, we naturally want to reach the conclusion and resolution of the story.

3) Introduce cliffhangers. Whether it’s a promise to tell your subscribers something in an email tomorrow, or explaining that your reader will have to ‘read on’ to discover something specific, using cliffhangers encourage your readers to keep reading your copy.

4) Use numbered lists. When you introduce a list of things in your copy, tell them the specific number of things you’re going to share – once we’re told there are ‘five things’, our brains will want us to check out all five.

There’s a particular technique that works really well for getting your readers to read all of your copy – it’s explained in more detail in this book HERE, which is one of the best copywriting books I’ve ever read.

Talk soon,

Seb
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