Well, I thought I’d be writing from somewhere else this week, but I’m still in Seattle. After my very lovely cruise to Alaska I got back with a nasty and long-lingering case of walking pneumonia.
So, as the name would imply, I’m still functioning and moving about as needed, but still finding it difficult to remain upright. And certainly not fit to be out among other human beings. I hope that when I write again that we’ll have been able to start heading south again.
If you’ve ever been on a cruise yourself — or talked to anyone who has — you’ve likely heard that the greatest thing about cruising is the food. And all the stories you’ve heard are true. You can literally eat 24 hours a day. There’s always something available and available in abundance.
The cool thing about the food on a cruise is that it seemingly never ends. You can eat just as much as you want. The only thing that might stop you would be your own embarrassment at asking for yet another lobster after you’ve had 4 or 5 already. (Not that I would actually know about that personally.)
While gorging myself on steak, shrimp and crab legs one evening, it dawned on me that there are two very important things at work on a cruise ship that can also serve as a marketing lesson to all of us.
The first being that words matter and the second that presentation is everything.
Words matter. Every evening we were treated to a sit-down, 5-course, 5-star dinner and the descriptions of every dish on the menu promised a palate-pleasing sensation like no other.
Some of the delightful selections:
Smoked Salmon with a Melange of Arugula and Baby Greens: Oak wood smoked salmon, gently minced with tender diced potatoes, seared shallot, horseradish, crème fraiche and a citrus dressing.
Noisette of Veal: On an earthy bed of Calvados spiked forest mushroom ragout, with fresh herbs and colorful crisp vegetables.
Poire: Poached pear flambéed with crème de cacao and drizzled with a dark and delicious Poire William chocolate sauce.
Dialogue of Salmon Tartare with Avocado: Cold smoked, pickled and chipotle hot smoked salmon with lime avocado tomato salsa. (What the heck is a Dialogue anyway?)
Now, I don’t know about you but I have no idea what a Noisette is, nor a Dialogue, but don’t you get the idea of how fabulous they make everything sound? One night, as they described a salad, the words “sun warmed tomatoes” jumped out at me and I had to have some of those. They just sounded so much better than regular old tomatoes.
It’s the same when we’re writing marketing copy for our websites, sales pages, blogs and ezines. Our choice of words can either turn people on or turn people off, and too often we do that without even realizing we’ve done it. And maybe the reader doesn’t know either, they just get that feeling of something that doesn’t sit right with them.
So be careful of the words you use in your marketing. If you need help in this area, two really great books come to mind. Joe Vitale’s Hypnotic Writing and Maria Veloso’s Web Copy That Sells. Read them and put what they teach you into practice in your own writing.
Presentation: One evening I ordered what I thought was a salad but when it arrived, it was a few tiny leaves of majestic red lettuce, wrapped at the bottom with a very thin slice of cucumber, standing upright in the middle of a large plate, drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing. I have no idea how they got that lettuce to stand up that way but it was beautiful and no more than a couple of bites but boy, the presentation sure was something to see.
All of the food was served in some dramatic way, everything arranged on the plate just so, and sometimes in very tiny amounts. Truly, every food presentation lived up to its colorful description. From the starter soup and salad to the unusual desserts.
And I thought about how we present ourselves through our marketing materials is something that we often don’t give much thought to. Have you looked at your business card lately? Are you presenting a professional image that is suitable for your type of business or industry? Does your business card showcase your unique personality and the uniqueness of your business? Or does it look like you’ve fallen on hard times and are about to go out of business?
Not just your business card, but everything you print or produce that showcases your business should be top notch. Your website, your brochures, your mailers, your newsletters. What kind of first impression are you making?
I once received an advertising mailer from an accountant and it was obvious that his form letter had been copied over and over and over to the point that it was no longer clear nor was the image even straight on the page. If he was that sloppy with his promotions, how sloppy might he be with my taxes?
Presentation and words matter. What are your words and your presentations saying about you and your business?
© Copyright 2009 Marty Marsh