Author Archives: Richard Emmons
Author Archives: Richard Emmons
The California Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate on behalf of California businesses during the Covid-19 lockdown in California.
By Loren Kaye, August 14, 2020
California voters are understandably anxious about the health and economic crises facing families and workplaces. The California Chamber of Commerce commissioned a brief survey to better understand how voters want state leaders to address key economic issues as the clock ticks down on the 2020 legislative session.
The chilling events over the past three months have moved California voters to a more pessimistic frame of mind.
Asked if the United States is going in the “right direction” or “wrong track,” voters chose wrong track by a more than 4 to 1 margin, 82%–18%, accelerating their jaded view of national affairs, which had trended 2 to 1 negatively over the past three years.
Voters also view California affairs pessimistically. By a 60%–40% margin, voters believe the state is on the wrong track, reversing the past three years’ assessment, which averaged a slight majority pegging the state in the right direction.
Voters are similarly bleak on the condition of race relations. A strong majority (58%) believe race relations are getting worse, with 27% answering they are staying about the same, and only 14% believing relations are getting better. Among the most pessimistic about the state of racial harmony were voters living in the Central Valley and Bay Area, low income, renters and political independents.
A slight corrective to this pessimism are attitudes on personal finances. Even in the midst of a historic economic downturn, voters report only a slight deterioration in their financial well-being. Less than a quarter of voters (22%) report being somewhat or much better off, while about half (49%) report their household finances are about the same, and 28% say they are somewhat or much worse off.
In late 2019, 31% of voters reported they were better off, 43% about the same, and 26% worse off.
Asked to identify the two most important issues facing California today, voters predictably chose COVID-19 and the economy. No other issues were even close, although homelessness and housing costs/availability carved a second tier position.
Notably, civil rights/racial equality/police brutality was a third-tier issue for all voters and most groups, but rose to a second-tier status among young voters and residents of the Inland Empire.
Mirroring national sentiment, a majority of California voters indicated that income inequality is a very important issue, but with an interesting take on policy solutions. A significant plurality (43%) and most demographic groups favored “offering public school alternatives for California children in disadvantaged communities so they have a better chance to get ahead in life.” The next-favored preference (39%) was to “reduce regulations on business so they will create jobs in California.” Least favored (18%) was to “raise taxes for programs to reduce income inequality.” The tax option trailed in every demographic; Democrats favored equally this option and reducing business regulations.
The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn its 2020 session in just over two weeks. Few of the bills left on its agenda will boost the economic recovery; many will hinder it. But the Legislature should know that voters, including most Democrats, are supportive of key strategies that would improve prospects for recovery and allow employers to maintain and expand their workforces.
Top of the list is to adopt policies making it easier for businesses to allow employees to telecommute or work from home when possible. Obviously, this trend has accelerated throughout our economy, but many state regulations inhibit employers from spreading this practice throughout the workforce.
Half of voters indicated they were very favorable toward this policy, with another third somewhat favorable. Legislators would enjoy the gratitude of voters if they expanded their ability to telecommute, especially from the policy’s strongest supporters: women, low income, renters and Democrats.
Another overwhelmingly popular policy initiative is providing a shelter from litigation for businesses offering critical services, goods or facilities during the pandemic state of emergency. More than 7 in 10 voters (39% very favorable, 34% somewhat favorable) support quashing frivolous litigation from a customer claiming they contracted COVID-19 while on premises, while still preserving the ability to sue if the business was grossly negligent.
Sixty percent of voters favor accelerating the construction and permitting of new housing, a desperately needed economic boost that has been unaddressed for years.
Another 60% of voters also support pausing the creation of new nonessential regulations by state agencies, unless they are urgently needed to protect public health. State rulemakers have been resistant to reducing the yoke of regulation even as businesses have struggled to maintain their footing during the pandemic.
Voters also supported postponing for a year the automatic increase in the minimum wage. By a 2 to 1 margin (52%–26%), voters agreed that postponing the increase would encourage rehiring of unemployed workers and a quicker economic recovery.
Finally, voters also support resolving the employment status of thousands of workers employed by companies that contract with other businesses, such as an IT consulting firm that might contract with another business to upgrade a computer system. These workers are caught up in the dispute over the gig economy, even though they currently work for employers or have their own business.
A strong majority of voters agreed those workers should be removed from the uncertainty surrounding the new independent contractor law.
Even in their pessimistic frame of mind, voters are strongly supportive of affirmative efforts to improve California’s economic recovery. The Legislature and Governor should take note that the voters are unimpressed with business as usual and are looking for policies that will actually deliver more jobs and a sustainable economic recovery.
Pierrepont Consulting & Analytics (PCA) and Core Decision Analytics (CODA) conducted online interviews from July 24–27, 2020 among N=1,102 California likely 2020 general election voters. The overall margin of error for this study is +/- 2.95% at the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups.
Do you suffer from having way too much on your “To Do” lists? Do you have lots of projects “almost finished” but not completely finished so you can check them off your “To Do” list? I use Asana to track dozens of tasks and projects for my multiple companies. Too many to count. I’m glad I have them in Asana because there are too many to track in my head. Yet I find Asana lacking in getting key projects done today so I can move on to something else.
I learned about having a “Get Done Today” list from the great Dan Kennedy. This is far superior to having “To Do” lists or “Doing Lists” cluttering up your desk. The concept is simple and really does work.
If this approach sounds too simple, just give it a try and see what happens. Let me know what works for you in the comments below.
Now I’ve finished this article and can now post it. And check it off my “Get Done Today” list.
I’ve known Nathaniel for ten years now. I coached him in a speech and debate club when he was in high school. I mentored him one-on-one for a year. For 5 years we’ve been in the same Toastmasters Club. Now he is a radio announcer for the biggest radio station in town.
Along the way he started a small business helping people get more out of their computers. He considered helping people create websites. He went on to other things which ended up being on the radio each day for the four hours before Rush Limbaugh takes the afternoons.
I’ve known Nathaniel all these years and only recently found out that he is color blind. Not good if you want to be a web designer. No problem if you want to be a radio announcer.
At least Nathaniel has an excuse. Drive through any neighborhood and you’ll see houses with hideous paint colors. The word “hideous” includes the words “hide” and “us” if you look carefully. Let’s expand this to “hide from us” ugly paint choices. Sadly modern house paint can last twenty years so the color mismatch lasts a long time.
A little known fact is that ugly colored paint costs the same as beautiful colored paint. Either way there is no money-back guarantee.
Thankfully, Canva has made color selection far easier than ever before. You have no excuses any longer.
I direct you to their design article, “10 color inspiration secrets only designers know about.”
Color is an integral element of good design. With so much psychology and emotions attached to the hues you choose, it can be tricky to curate your color palette when designing. Below, we list 10 color inspiration secrets so that you can get the perfect color combination every time.
We know that specific hues can provoke different emotions, associations, and responses that affect how your brand is perceived. Put simply, color choices can make or break a design. In fact, research has shown that color can increase brand recognition by up to 80%, memory, engagement with a design piece and text comprehension, so when choosing a color combinationfor your design (especially your logo!), you want to make sure that you are saying something with the colors you choose.
Fortunately, we are far from the times when our color choices were limited to a small batch of natural pigments. Our options are no longer whatever colors minerals, animals, and plants had to offer. With such an overwhelming amount of color options, selecting a palette for a design project has become excruciating, to say the least. The Colourlovers community has indexed nearly 8 million user-named colors, while there are over 16 million possible hexadecimal color combinations.
While there are endless color choices, it’s recommended that when designing, it’s best to stick to three or four colors. This will inform create the color palette you work with.
Overwhelmed yet? No need to worry. We asked top designers from the Creative Market community to share their advice for creating stunning color combinations.
Of course, even if you’re not color blind or legally blind you probably can’t match colors like a pro. Even with this amazing article. You can invest the time needed to get better or just send Canva’s article to your graphic designer with ideas on what you need done. You’ll be armed and not quite as dangerous.
Need to paint your house? Take your graphic designer to Home Depot and let her make the final choice on colors. Your neighbors will thank you.
Back in my Weyerhaeuser days, I’d participate in blood drives and give back some of my very positive B+ blood. One time, I finished giving my pint, grabbed a box of Orange Juice and headed back to my desk. No need to sit for a few minutes. No, just head back to my desk and power through another 10-hour day.
Working until 10pm Friday nights was fine because it meant I could stay home with my family on Saturday. Sundays were always days of rest and worship for me. Every other day was long and filled with the pressures of being a senior manager at a very junior age. Or the joys of being Dad to my four daughters.
Working holidays was a drag and lead to some burnout. What good are bank holidays if you have to work them? Yet, these days were very productive because most employees did not work holidays. That’s one of the perks of working at a bank.
When I was a newbie staff accountant with no real world experience I worked lots of unpaid overtime because I wanted to learn as much as I could. Yet this built habits that have lasted for over thirty years.
I am trying to implement something I learned from the great Dan Sullivan. He has coached entrepreneur for decades. In the beginning they all work too many hours are stressed out because there is so much to get done. Dan teaches them to divide their days in 3 categories: Free days, Buffer days and Focus days.
You can read about this strategy in this Forbes article, The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off.
Dan Sullivan, co-founder of Toronto-based Strategic Coach and co-author of The Laws of Lifetime Growth, says it’s this mentality that keeps entrepreneurs exhausted, stuck and reaping a fraction of potential profits. He has built a multimillion-dollar coaching business in part by advising entrepreneurs to do the last thing in the world they would ever think to do: take time off. His anthem is that productivity and performance start with free time, which he argues is the fuel for the energy, creativity and focus that lead to success.
“It’s not the amount of time you spend working each day,” Sullivan says. “Entrepreneurs get paid through problem-solving and creativity. You can create a solution in a shorter period of time if you are rested and rejuvenated.”
Knowing this and doing this are two different things. On many of my “free days” in 2018 I wrote my book, Marketing Survival Guide. Should I have played golf instead?
Let’s keep reading about a better way.
It can take a serious pounding for entrepreneurs to admit they can’t do it all, shouldn’t do it all and, indeed, are going to flame out if they keep trying to do it all. Sullivan’s clients often turn to him after a crisis–a marriage falls apart, they’re drained by burnout. Sullivan teaches them that the very activity they thought was necessary for success–putting in extremely long hours–was likely the obstacle to it.
In his program, entrepreneurs create a new calendar in which their weeks are broken down into “free days,” when no work or checking in to e-mail or the office is allowed; “buffer days,” for planning and preparation; and “focus days,” for high-value, goal-oriented practices. It can be shock treatment for folks who haven’t had a day off in months or a vacation in years.
But after learning how to delegate, focus on what they do best and use free time to sharpen energy and clarity, Sullivan’s clients may wind up taking a month or more off a year.
“By getting away from work and letting the mind get involved in thinking, hobbies and rejuvenation, you come back to the job and produce results faster,” Sullivan explains.
Thinking is one of the crucial benefits of stepping back. Just as quality time off fuels energetic resources on the job, reflective time is critical to producing solutions and creative breakthroughs.
You can read the rest of the article here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237446
Here’s a simple goal of mine: Take a two week vacation each year. Away from work. When I do this, it’s wonderful. We’ll see about 2019….
I wish I had known about this approach before writing and publishing Marketing Survival Guide. It would have saved me a ton of time. And my readers. Oh well.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our game-changing new product line, Quickie Books™ by Penguin Random House. Get reading! On sale April 1st.
“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” I’m not talking about NBA basketball. I’m talking about the challenges of communicating with customers who don’t speak English. Or Millennials trying to talk about Medicare with someone 40 years older.
In this article on Target Marketing, Daniel Burstein, describes this problem on many levels. He’s not joking about the challenges of language and cultural differences. Daniel warns against using humor at all. This always sound advice when it comes to public speaking. Most people won’t get the joke. Others will be offended. The rest will be laughing and texting it to an associate.
Perhaps your ideal customer speaks English and your marketing team does, as well.
Or you have an international customer base and your marketing team has English and Spanish speakers in the Americas, but French, German, Dutch and Hebrew in EMEA — then Mandarin and Korean in APAC.
So you think you have this language thing covered. Far from it. Getting translations right for an international audience is only the beginning. Your marketing team must also be fluent in the customer’s trade language, mental levers and word preferences — all lingua francas that exceed national boundaries.
For marketing leaders, the first step is being aware of the role language can play in subconsciously signaling to your customers that your brand and solution are a right fit for them.
The next step is increasing your marketing team’s “fluency.” This can be especially challenging when members of your team are in a significantly different demographic than your ideal customers (for example, Millennials marketing Medicare, which is unintentionally alliterative) or come from a different industry (marketing is marketing, but B2C luxury property marketing is a different language than B2B enterprise software sales, a lesson I learned early in my career).
Read the rest of the article here:
Language challenges come with marketing opportunities. Master the language differences and your global customers will thank you for it. Of course, if you run a local business in Los Angeles, you may have customers speaking a dozen languages.
Just remember the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It Simple Shopkeeper. It means you have less to translate and lessons the risk of offending someone.
Everyone suffers from information overload today. Just click on one banner ad and a person is followed all over the internet for weeks. Companies bombard clients with the same message everywhere. This can be on their website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more. This “be everywhere” marketing strategy can overwhelm clients and prospects and lead to marketing fatigue. Or simply a lot of unsubscribes and unfollows. This strategy is also a lot of work for you or your staff by trying to post everywhere.
You can learn more about this topic in this article written of Michael Crawford of Target Marketing, The Value of Marketing Simplicy in a Complex World.
How many times have you heard, “the average consumer is exposed to ‘X’ number of ads each day?”
The cliché often accompanies a pitch for a creative platform or placement intended to stand out in a crowd. In competitive markets, this mindset can drive growth in marketing budgets, as people become preoccupied with share-of-voice metrics and prestige placements. That’s why it’s worth remembering the subtext of the cliché is simplicity.
It’s true that consumers are inundated with commercial messages in more forums and formats than ever. Stimulating demand in a saturated advertising environment requires reasonable frequency. More importantly, however, it requires messaging based on your audience’s motivations and interests, simplified for each stage in the awareness-to-conversion process.
You can read the rest of the article here.
With this strategy in mind, you focus on mastering one or two marketing channels. Then add more marketing channels as time and funds allow. You should carefully track your ad campaigns to know which ones increase sales and which ones just cause marketing clutter.
Should you continue to advertise on Facebook? It depends. Who it your target market? If you target teenagers and young adults, Facebook is losing your market according to a recent survey.
Less-cool Facebook losing youth at fast pace: survey
With mom, dad and grandma signing up in increasing numbers, Facebook is losing younger users in the United States at a faster pace than previously estimated, researchers said Monday.
A report by eMarketer said Snapchat is drawing youths away from Facebook at a quicker clip than Facebook-owned Instagram.
Facebook is still growing in the US market, according to research firm, mainly due to increases in usage by older age groups.
The report is the latest to highlight Facebook’s problem with attracting and keeping young people, who have long been a core user base for the world’s biggest social network.
The research firm said it expected the first-ever decline in the 18-24 age group in the US, a drop of 5.8 percent this year.
It also said that for the first time since its research began, less than half of the 12-17 age group in the United States would be on Facebook, with a 5.6 percent drop in that segment.
The under-12 age group meanwhile will see a decline of 9.3 percent this year, eMarketer said.
The same trend is expected to continue into 2019 and 2020, with declines in all segments of US users under 25, the report added.
Fewer teens means Facebook may focus on making Facebook more relevant to adults. We’ll see about that. Facebook is also getting pushback from advertisers according to this article in The Wall Street Journal:
Unilever Threatens to Reduce Ad Spending on Tech Platforms That Don’t Combat Divisive Content
Unilever UL +1.66% PLC is threatening to pull back its advertising from popular tech platforms, including YouTube and Facebook Inc., if they don’t do more to combat the spread of fake news, hate speech and divisive content.
“Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate,” Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed is expected to say Monday during the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, Calif.
“We will prioritize investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society,” he will say, according to prepared remarks.
Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, is leveraging its spending power to push the digital media industry to weed out content that funds terrorism, exploits children, spreads false news or supports racist and sexist views. The consumer-products giant spent more than $9 billion marketing its brands such as Lipton, Dove and Knorr last year, according to the company’s annual report.
Companies have to be very careful to protect their brands from being associated with divisive news and groups.
Mr. Weed said that advertisers need to be outspoken about issues on tech platforms, since they are almost entirely supported by billions of ad dollars.
“One can start by not putting ads on content we do not want to encourage,” he said.
At the same time companies need to monitor the return on investment for all all advertising media. If something is not working, advertising dollars should be spent elsewhere. Because Facebook is free to users, it must please advertisers such as Unilever.
“We fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them,” said a spokeswoman for Facebook.
Yet how can Facebook do this and remain “neutral” source of news? Facebook is finding out that it cannot according to this article from Wired.com.
Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook—and the World
How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all.
This is the story of those two years, as they played out inside and around the company. WIRED spoke with 51 current or former Facebook employees for this article, many of whom did not want their names used, for reasons anyone familiar with the story of Fearnow and Villarreal would surely understand. (One current employee asked that a WIRED reporter turn off his phone so the company would have a harder time tracking whether it had been near the phones of anyone from Facebook.)
The stories varied, but most people told the same basic tale: of a company, and a CEO, whose techno-optimism has been crushed as they’ve learned the myriad ways their platform can be used for ill. Of an election that shocked Facebook, even as its fallout put the company under siege. Of a series of external threats, defensive internal calculations, and false starts that delayed Facebook’s reckoning with its impact on global affairs and its users’ minds. And—in the tale’s final chapters—of the company’s earnest attempt to redeem itself.
In that saga, Fearnow plays one of those obscure but crucial roles that history occasionally hands out. He’s the Franz Ferdinand of Facebook—or maybe he’s more like the archduke’s hapless young assassin. Either way, in the rolling disaster that has enveloped Facebook since early 2016, Fearnow’s leaks probably ought to go down as the screenshots heard round the world.
You can read this long article if you’re interested. You’ll learn how huge, successful companies have to deal with major problems just like small businesses. Small businesses have the advantage of solving most problems out of the limelight. And without billions of dollars in the bank. I get that too.
The key takeaway here is that you need to own your main digital advertising platform. That is your website. You own it and control it. You also own your email list which you can email as often as you like at next to no cost. You “rent” your platform at Facebook and your “landlord” can raise the “rent” and change your “lease” at any time. Use it while it works for you but be ready to drop it when it doesn’t.
Facebook is the advertising platform that marketers love to hate. We love it because we can target specific groups of people with a level of knowledge which boggles the minds of old-school direct marketers. We hate it because we know Facebook is tracking us and our children and knows way too much about us. To put it bluntly we want privacy for ourselves but not our target prospects. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. These European Union’s privacy regulations go into effect on May 25, 2018. European residents will get more privacy online and European businesses will face major fines for not protecting their clients and prospects privacy.
Mark Zuckerberg faced congressional committees in March over the Facebook user data getting out in the wild by their former partner Cambridge Analytics. At the time, Zuckerberg welcomed regulation. In Europe, however, he removed 1.5 billion users’ data from European to avoid the GDPR regulations for non-European users.
Some fancy footwork by Facebook saves the day for US advertisers.
Marketers may not know that they almost saw reduced ad options. If Facebook hadn’t been able to access all of its data on 1.5 billion international users outside of the U.S. and the E.U., advertisers may have seen major changes in their data availability and possibly on their marketing results beginning on May 25. As it is, they’ll likely see such changes with E.U. citizens.
You may find this strategy works for your company as well. Or you could just deliver GDPR-level privacy to all your customers and prospects. You can learn more about GDPR and how to get compliant in this timely article from Target Marketing.
GDPR regulators are going to want to know that the data brands have on private EU citizens came from those consumers opting in to become customers and selected their preferences regarding how they wanted their data to be used. Marketers will need to obtain this consent before using customer data. EU citizens also have a right to be erased from databases.
So lists are a huge caution.
“We marketers don’t own customer data — we borrow it,” Nance says. “Customers trust us with it and expect that we use it to provide them with personalized and relevant content that engages and delivers interesting products they may purchase. But one too many brands have exploited their customers’ data, selling email lists; opting customers in for dozens of email communications; and not providing safeguards for consumers to opt out. Simply put, companies should not be marketing to consumers who haven’t given them their consent.”
I encourage you to read the rest of this article even if all your customers and prospects are from the US. You may face similar regulation in the future.
The New York Times reported that these new regulations may actually strengthen Google and Facebook against future competitors. We’ll see.
Giovanni Buttarelli, the European data protection supervisor who was involved in the creation of privacy rules, said much of the impact would be determined by regulators who enact the law and who will be up against well-funded teams of lobbyists and lawyers. Google and Facebook will be overseen by the Irish data authority because their European headquarters are in Ireland. Mr. Buttarelli noted that Europe had staff of about 2,500 across all the countries working on the issue.
“That’s peanuts compared to the lobbyists in Brussels and Strasbourg,” he said, referring to the cities where the European Commission and Parliament operate.
He said large technology companies had advantages but would also be under a microscope. Enforcement of the law is skewed to companies that handle the most personal data.
“There are pros and cons to being a tech giant,” he said. “We want to treat small and medium-sized businesses differently.”
In this article by copywriting great John Forde, you’ll learn ten ways to minimize getting chargebacks from dissatisfied customers.
In early 1974, nobody wanted to use credit cards. And this, my friend, would have been a problem if it had never changed.
Mercifully, however, it did.
Today, we’ve got plastic galore. And lots of other ways to pay that are credit-card adjacent, like Apple Pay, Paypal, and so on.
It sure makes our jobs easier, yes? Anything, after all, that streamlines the sale can’t help but be good for selling.
What you might not know, though, is how you owe a lot of that good fortune – and today, a big problem – to a big change that arrived that very same year.
It’s called the “chargeback.”
This, in case you’re unaware, is the regulatory beast that lets customers contest charges by calling up their credit card company to say “I didn’t buy that.”
This was huge. Suddenly, all or most fear of deceptive merchants, surprise charges, and the rest evaporated… and the use of credit cards skyrocketed into the mainstream.
Here’s the thing…
Decades later, it’s gotten so easy to contest charges, it’s perhaps TOO easy. Even for merchants who try to run an honest business.
And yes, as a copywriter, it’s something you have to care about. Because in ways you’re about to see, you might be part of the problem. But you can also be part of the solution.
See, part of the reason chargebacks are a growing business problem is that they’re now so much easier to initiate.
Customers can go to their credit card website and click a button. It’s a kind of “lazy man’s refund” policy. No customer service to call. No question of when you’ll get charges reversed.
Just instant protection.
On the seller’s side, however, it’s no small thing. It’s not just the sale that gets canceled. There’s the risk of losing money on products you’ve already shipped. There’s also the risk of banking your business on sales you thought were completed.
And then this – you might actually lose your merchant account as punishment from the credit card company if your rate of chargebacks runs too high. And “high” is a pretty low percentage of overall sales, maybe 2% or so of orders.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Processing chargebacks involve fees. They might also involve lost shipping and handling costs. Plus, costs for restocking. On average, US merchants can get hit with about 206 chargebacks per month. And every $100 in chargebacks can eventually cost the merchant $240 total. Of course, it’s not so bad for some but worse for others.
So what’s that got to do with you, if you’re “only the copywriter?” It turns out, plenty. Check out this list below. It includes 10 possible ways to cut down chargebacks. And it could make you a hero with clients. Here we go…
1) MAKE YOURSELF “KNOWN” – According to the folks over at PayPal, one of the biggest reasons customers initiate a chargeback is because they just to recognize your company on the bill. Be very, very clear about who you are when you deliver your products or show up on the bill. Try creating a very descriptive URL that will show up on bills and in your welcome letter.
2) MAKE YOURSELF WELCOME – Speaking of welcome letters, have one. Have a series of them, in an auto-responder “here’s how to get started series. Try having a quick start-up report or CD or DVD or webpage full of welcome videos too. On high ticket items, try sending a snail mail welcome letter too. Plus, a gift that guilts them into sticking around. Or even a promise of a future gift, which they’ll get “when it’s ready.” That way, you also leverage anticipation.
3) FEATURES, NOT JUST BENEFITS – We all know that selling is about putting the benefits out front. But there’s one place you want to emphasize features — that is, what the customer will get, much more — and that’s in the close. Or at least, on the order form. Spell it explicitly, so nobody is confused or feels jilted by what they receive, both of which are also frequently the cause of credit card chargebacks.
4) BE VERY EASY TO REACH – How infuriating is it when you buy something, want to know about something you want to buy, or whatever… and the company you’re trying to reach makes has a “Contact Us” page that’s more impenetrable and unwelcoming than Fort Knox? Yes, exactly. So don’t be that client. And make sure your client isn’t that client either. Be easy to reach for questions, complaints, or comments. Contact forms, phone numbers, or — my favorite — live customer chat.
5) BE QUICK TO RESPOND – Speaking of customer service, there’s a story about how Jeff Bezos tested customer hold times on the phone. In a big meeting, he asked how fast those times were and an exec replied, with no proof, they were less than a minute. So Bezos dialed in to test the claim, using the conference room speakerphone. Four and a half agonizing minutes later, a customer service rep picked up. The exec resigned shortly after. Guess what customers do when they can’t get through. That’s right, they cancel orders.
6) CHECK THE WAY YOU TAKE CARDS – If your order form doesn’t ask for that little code on the back of the credit card, require it. And, per Forbes, review other ways to step up card authorization too. Adding the Visa Account Updater, for instance, will automatically update cardholder info and cut back on authorization declines. Asking for a delivery address can help, though that’s not going to make as much sense on a digitally delivered product.
7) NO HIDDEN CHARGES – It’s fine to charge a monthly fee. It’s fine to charge shipping and handling. It’s fine to charge service fees, restocking fees, and all the rest. Even if all of those might be slightly off-putting. Because you might find they just make for good business. However, it’s NOT fine if you’re not completely and actively upfront about those charges existing. As a copywriter, that goes for us too… hiding the charges will only come back to bite us in the end.
8) DON’T KEEP THEM WAITING – In the age of Amazon, FedEx, and even overnight postal packages, the days of “six to eight weeks” are pretty much over. If you or a client take someone’s money, make sure they get what they’ve ordered ASAP. Lots of chargebacks happen in that dead zone of “where the $@#%& is my order!”
9) MAKE PROMISES YOU INTEND TO KEEP – This is otherwise known as “sell good stuff” and sell it honestly. We all know, yes, that promise is the soul of persuasion. But here too, if you’re trying to promise the moon but only intend to deliver moon pies… you’ll eventually pay for that too. Unhappy customers cancel charges at a greater rate. They go tell friends to cancel them too.
What’s the number one way to avoid chargebacks? I personally know some folks who won’t like this last suggestion, because they balk at the idea of creating a nebulous future obligation, but…
10) OFFER REFUNDS AND GUARANTEES – Yep, this is highly controversial. Some say offer the biggest, most generous refund policy you can stomach. Others say that’s reckless, like creating a black cloud of future obligations and uncertainty. But in the end, guarantees do easy buyer anxiety. And well-written, they can protect the customer’s butt too.
This last one, of course, is worthy of in-depth coverage all its own. Maybe in a future issue. Maybe even in the next issue. We’ll see, until then, see you next week!
P.S. There are so many other anti-chargeback tips I could mention. But let’s just go with a link like this one:
52 Tips to Reduce Chargebacks from the Experts | Soarpay.com
For more copywriting and business advice (and get $78 in free gifts), sign up for John Forde’s Copywriters Roundtable. http://copywritersroundtable.com