All posts by Gareth L Powell

How to Communicate More Effectively, Part 5 – Build Conviction

[How to Communicate More Effectively is a series of guest posts from Gareth L Powell. In case you missed ’em, here’s part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.]

Making your audience want your product is one thing, convincing them to actually put their hands in their pockets is quite another. You have to get over their natural reluctance to buy or act. This can be done in a number of ways, the most common being the testimonial and the product comparison.

Testimonials are short quotes from celebrities or satisfied customers endorsing the product. Including one or more of these helps to reassure the reader that their decision to buy from you or use your service is a wise and sensible decision.

Comparing your product with a more expensive option also helps to encourage the conviction that the decision is correct.

Similarly, if you’re in a position to offer any sort of guarantee (“Your money back if not 100% satisfied) then this is the place to do it.

How to Communicate More Effectively, Part 4 – Inspire Desire

[How to Communicate More Effectively is a series of guest posts from Gareth L Powell. In case you missed ’em, here’s part 1, part 2 and part 3.]

Having shown the reader that your product (magazine subscription, book, story, etc) can do something for them, you need to inspire in them the desire to take the next step.

If you want them to download your podcast or subscribe to your magazine, you have to make them want to do it. You have to make the product look desirable. You have to make them want it. It’s no use having a crappy black and white sketch in your advert, you need an image that reflects what the readers want from a magazine – you need something that looks stylish and professional and good value for money. You have to offer them a discount or throw in something extra.

You have to show them how your product will fit into and enhance their lifestyle – how reading your book will make them the kind person they really want to be.

Some common things to tell people to make them want to buy or use your product include:

  • It’s a limited edition
  • It’s only available on a first-come-first-served basis
  • It’s only available for a short time
  • People they respect use the product
  • If they don’t buy it, they will lose out
  • It’s very easy to obtain
  • It’s good value for their time and/or money
  • Owning it will prove they have taste and intelligence

How to Communicate More Effectively, Part 3 – Create Interest

[How to Communicate More Effectively is a series of guest posts from Gareth L Powell. In case you missed ’em, here’s part 1 and part 2.]

Once you’ve caught your reader’s attention, you have to keep it. If you’re trying to sell them a subscription or get them to download your latest story, you need to get them interested in what you’re offering, or what you have to say. In order to do that, you’re going to have to show them that your product will bring them immediate and tangible benefits. Don’t just list your magazine’s contents and expect them to get excited. Tell them why those contents are so exciting.

For example:

  • If you like cutting edge science fiction, you’re in for a real treat this month.
  • If you’re buying Christmas presents, our book reviews will help you to separate the turkeys from the crackers.
  • Learn how to maximise your book’s chances of being published in this exclusive article from top editor John Smith.
  • This is a brand new story from the hotly-tipped young writer, Joel Smidgeon. We predict it will win buckets of awards, and this is your chance to be among the first UK fans to read it.

How to Communicate More Effectively, Part 2 – Attract Attention

[How to Communicate More Effectively is a series of guest posts from Gareth L Powell. In case you missed it, here’s part 1.]

The first thing you need to do when writing a blog post, email or web page is to snag your reader’s attention. If they’re skimming through their RSS feeds or searching on Google, you need them to notice your post; if they’re checking their inbox, you need your email to stand out from the crowd; and this is where your title comes in. The title of your article or blog post (or the subject line of your email) should intrigue them and give them a reason to stop doing whatever it is they are doing and read what you’ve written. Ideally, your headline should also communicate a benefit to the reader, letting them know they stand to gain something of value by reading on.

Writing killer headlines is hard work but worth it, as studies show four times as many people will read your headline as will read the rest of your message.

Examples of good headlines include:

  • Learn How To Write Like a Pro with These FREE Hints & Tips
  • 7 Tried and Tested Ways to Save Money This Christmas
  • Read 10 Hot New Writers – for FREE!
  • Buy Two Issues of Outrageous Tales and Get This FREE Book

How to Communicate More Effectively, Part 1 – Introduction

[How to Communicate More Effectively is a series of guest posts from Gareth L Powell.]

Are you a writer or a publisher?

Would you like to attract more people to your website? Do you need to sell more magazine subscriptions? Are you trying to write a blog post that will galvanise your readers into action?

I receive countless emails from small magazines that inevitably begin with the sentence: “The new issue of XXXXX is now available, featuring the usual eclectic mix of horror, science fiction and fantasy…”

Hardly attention-grabbing, is it?

These days, potential readers have other things to spend their time and money on. If you don’t give them a compelling reason to visit your website, read your blog or subscribe to your magazine, they won’t.

You have to communicate with them.

I speak from experience. In addition to being a published science fiction author, I’ve spent the last ten years working in the direct marketing industry, during which time I’ve written hundreds of sales letters, adverts, brochures, web pages and case studies, and I hold a qualification in Direct & Interactive Marketing from the Institute of Direct Marketing.

What this experience has taught me is that effective communication is as much of a science as it is an art. There are tried and tested techniques that advertisers have been using for decades – techniques that can be easily adapted to improve the response you get from your emails, subscription drives and blog posts.

The best known of these techniques is undoubtedly AIDCA. This formula is so powerful that it has remained in constant use since the 1950s, and has recently found a new lease of life with email and online marketing.

AIDCA stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, and Action. Over the next six days, I’ll be guiding you through each of these stages, giving you a powerful tool to use when you’re trying to elicit a response from your readership.