In business, a lot of focus is placed on how to win new customers. This requires both sales skills and an effective marketing message. A good copywriter will have the expertise to provide web content and copy for print marketing material, delivering your message in a clear and concise way.
However, just as important as wining customers is learning how to keep your customers once they have bought your products or signed up for your services.
One of the best ways to keep a customer is to be honest in your dealings with them. If a client suspects that you are not being truthful, the last thing they will want to do is spend their hard earned cash on your services.
Imagine you’ve spent time identifying and researching a new client. You prepare your pitch and manage to sign them up. All that work will be wasted if the relationship breaks down because of your dishonesty.
Not long after I had started my own business, I attended a talk by business success story Jonathan Straight, CEO of recycling company Straight Plc. During the talk, he gave out his 10 Tips for Success, which I now have pinned to my noticeboard.
These business tips include: Tell the truth. It was good to hear a top executive of a successful company say this, as many people might presume that to do well in business you have to take a ruthless approach and “bend” the truth.
As a copywriter, I regularly have in-depth discussions with my clients and listen to their needs in order to deliver successful web content for their businesses. This principle remains the same, whatever business they are in.
From time to time, I have to suggest that a client rethink what they want to say about their business. This may be because they are making claims for their own products that cannot be substantiated or unfairly criticising a rival product. Having worked as a national newspaper journalist, I’m aware that every piece of copy should be carefully checked for inaccuracies. Not only can this cause a company to lose customers but it can also lead to legal issues.
Although writing content involves representing a company’s products or services in the most advantageous light, there are several areas of copywriting – and business – where honesty is the best policy. These include:
1. Price – a clear and transparent pricing policy will lead to a better relationship with your customers. If their final bill is substantially more than the initial quote because of hidden extras, they will think twice about using your services again or recommending you to others.
2. Delivery – whether you are providing goods or services, your clients will soon get frustrated if you don’t deliver on time. Better to give a realistic date and deliver early than to let them down by delivering late. If you cannot provide what they need immediately they may look elsewhere, but equally, they may place a higher value on something they have to wait for. Why else would people book weeks ahead for a table at their favourite restaurant?
3. Quality – if your website content makes false claims, your customers will be disappointed by the end product. You may end up having to issue a refund or they will simply not come back to make another purchase.
4. Mistakes – we all make mistakes from time to time. The best policy is to own up to the error and make recompense either by offering a refund, replacing the item or carrying out the work again.
Telling the truth is not the same as telling your clients everything. For example, while it’s good to shout about success you’ve had with other customers, it’s clearly not good policy to share company secrets that have been told to you in confidence.
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Read my monthly column in The Eye magazine, interviews with top authors in Excelle magazine, features written for Around Town magazine and a variety of articles written for the national press.
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