7 Reasons Why Your Client Communications is Failing
So much for predictions; that massive storm that had the weather people in complete ecstasy and had the rest of us scared to not have bread in the house?
Oh, I suppose an inch and a half of snow is something, but when you're told for three days to expect at least a foot, it hardly seems worth getting out the snow shovel. But it was worth getting out the snowshoes. And my lunch hour was spent outdoors in the sunshine (yep, that's how not snowy it was).
I sent out a few letters of introduction yesterday. I've been limiting myself to four a day so I can be much more targeted in my approach. Instead of using a template, I personalize every note and talk about their company a bit more.
Not everyone does that. Sometimes, writers give a laundry list of their skills, ask for the sale and sign off. Where's the benefit to the customer? The understanding of who they are and what they do?
It's Marketing 101 -- sell the sizzle, not the steak. In other words, show customers how they'll benefit from hiring a professional writer like you. But that's not the only sin writers trying to market to their customers are committing. Here are a few you may be guilty of:
Selling to the wrong person. It's not always easy to get names of the marketing leads or media contacts at a company. However, it's not impossible. If you send your carefully crafted letter of introduction to someone at customer service (who may not even know the marketing person), you've just wasted your time. Instead, look on the company website or, failing that, LinkedIn. I've often found the media contact via an Internet search.
Aiming the message in the wrong direction. If your letter is entirely about "I did this and I accomplished that and I'm known throughout the writing world...." someone is bound to say "Who cares?" And that's the right answer. Imagine how radio and television commercials speak to you, not at you. That's what your letters should be doing for your customers. Increase the reasons why customers should say yes by showing them how you can help them. Your job is to help them solve a problem -- that starts with helping them identify it.
Using questionable facts. It would be great to say "My clients have trusted me to increase tenfold their communications results." However, it may not be true, and potential clients mistrust someone who's touting percentage increases without proof.
Not asking for a conversation. It's kind of pointless to send a letter introducing yourself if you're not going to reveal the reason you wrote -- to form a business relationship. You don't have to ask to sell immediately, but do ask for a conversation.
Attaching anything. Especially if you don't know the person you're writing to, your note could land in a spam folder or be deleted as a spam. Not exactly the impression you want to start with, is it? While I think it's okay to include links to your samples, you should do so at the end of the note. And offer to send specific samples on request. One thing I don't use is the bit.ly link-shortening tool. I think it's important for clients to see where exactly they'll go if they click on that link.
Changing font sizes. Let your words do the talking. Changing fonts or colors for effect is just silly. If you're trying to capture business from a professional company, your green and pink font is going to make you look unworthy of their trust. Save fonts and colors for brochures and sell sheets. For emailed letters of introduction, stick with a personal note.
Lengthy explanation. If you get fidgety listening to a 30-second commercial, don't expect your client prospect to read through a six-paragraph note. Keep it brief -- my own LOIs are kept to under 250 words. You're a writer -- you know how to write compelling content, and you sure as hell know how to exercise brevity.
Writers, what sins are you seeing in client communication? What, in your opinion, is the best way to gain a client's attention and maintain it?
With over 15 years of experience, including risk management writing, insurance writing, and corporate communications writing, Lori is the industry's go-to writer. She blogs about risk management and even takes on workers compensation writing with gusto.