<![CDATA[Neil Dickie Victoria freelance writer, editor, researcher - Writing Tips]]>Fri, 11 Dec 2015 08:20:10 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The importance of email newsletters and four tips to write better ones]]>Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:44:29 GMThttp://www.neildickie.com/writing-tips/the-importance-of-email-newsletters-and-four-tips-to-write-better-onesPicture
By Neil Dickie

Most businesses invest a huge amount of their resources going after new customers. But marketing pros, more and more, advise their clients to take care of their existing buyers--to go after repeat business. For example, a 2013 report from Adobe Corporation estimates that online retailers would need to sign up five new customers to equal the repeat purchase value of a single existing customer.

It really pays to keep your existing customers happy.

One great way to do that is to stay in touch with them by feeding them with useful and interesting information in your general area of business. More and more, internet marketers are using email newsletters as a powerful tool in reinforcing customer loyalty.

How to write successful newsletters? Here are four tips:

1.     If they don’t open your email in the first place, it doesn’t matter how good your content is. It’s all-important to write a strong subject line. The key here is to indicate some BENEFIT in reading the newsletter. Say you’re a garden supply store:
  • Examples of WEAK headlines: “April newsletter” or “The flowers are back”
  • Examples of STRONG headlines: “Special offer for our loyal customers“ or “Non-toxic pest management tips that work . . .”
  • PERSONALIZE: but selectively. You don’t want to appear to be spam. Two things: a) be sure you’ve got cred with your list--that you’ve emailed them enough times that they know you fairly well; b) personalize in conjunction with a generous offer of some kind, otherwise, next time they won’t take you seriously
2.     You also need good headlines and genuinely useful content to keep people’s interest. Again, emphasize BENEFITS. As a general rule, just 20 percent of your newsletter should directly promote your business, the remaining 80 percent should be dedicated to giving your customers useful, interesting information that may only indirectly relate to your business area.

3.     Be sure to include a generous amount of graphical content--drawings, photos, etc. Here’s a favorite resource of mine: www.123rf.com (rf stands for royalty free). They have a huge library with 18 million photos and graphical elements on every conceivable topic, and its all professional quality. The database is easily searchable, and photos for use online are extremely affordable—I pay an average of $1 - $2 each.

4.    Regarding tone: the text must be clear, concise--and personal. Forget the formal tone of a large corporation. Sound like a smart, personable, authority in the subject area.

Your customer email list is one of your business’s most important assets. Nourish it regularly with quality newsletters and you’ll get great results.

<![CDATA[Memoir - The Pitfalls of Going Big]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2013 18:13:36 GMThttp://www.neildickie.com/writing-tips/-memoir-the-pitfalls-of-going-big By James Geddes

The art of writing memoir requires an understanding of the pitfalls of “going big.” When piecing together your pearls from the past the temptation is to “throw in the kitchen sink.” Stuffing as much as you can fit into your tale, often leaves the reader feeling lost or bored from those details that have meaning to you, but to the reader are not so fascinating. Knowing what to leave out becomes as important as what to leave in.

Marion Roach Smith elaborates on this idea in her book The Memoir Project where she tells us, “… think of memoir as laying out only a few cards from an entire deck, one at a time, each card moving forward the one story you choose to tell.” Memoir is compiling each story that stands on its own. To accomplish this, the idea is to make it small and rare. As a result you will create value for the reader.

In those small moments life is truly lived. Sifting through the stuff of your life will hopefully bring you to those rare times that illustrate truths that would become lost in the shuffle of broader sweeps of your past. Does that eliminate writing about the large life events like birth and death? Rather it involves illustrating those epic events through the lens of the smaller moment.

It’s in the small stuff, those rare collectibles where simplicity reins that the real tale can be told. When you clear away all the excess, what emerges are kernels of truth. Writing memoir that trades in going big for small and rare will do justice to your pearls from the past.

“Many people mistakenly believe that they have to write a formal memoir about their whole life, or that they need to have done exciting things, or that they need to be professional writers before their stories can be told.”

A memoir is not about one’s whole life. Rather it’s about writing a specific aspect of that life. And those aspects need not be “exciting” to pass muster. It’s been said that it’s in the small moments that life is truly lived. And many of those moments are precious, and reflect the true collectables where simplicity is the mark of the tale. True, the elderly need not be professional writers to tell their story, but for some, working with a professional writer provides the best option for creating a lasting record.  People can and do paint their homes on their own. However, many hire painters to do the work for them.  Individuals can write their own memoir with little or no help. However, working with a writer to create a memoir however short or long is a valid and appropriate service for the elderly.

JIm Geddes is an author and blogger living in San Diego

Neil Dickie Writing and Editing Services is happy to provide such a service for elders and others. The process is very personalized and takes into consideration the unique material of each client and how to best record those memories.  To learn more drop me a line via my contact page.