Wednesday, 15 November 2017


“ I think we should, but I don’t have time…”

As part of a corporate CRM, the blog is a great way to keep the sales communications plate spinning at the simple push of the return key.

Remember the days of the Newsletter when we used to fell and pulp forests to print and post interesting collections of headline-driven words and illustrated articles to remind clients and prospects of the breadth of service genres we had to offer ?    Well, now we blog it.

I don’t need to tell you how many stamps, trees and envelopes you save and how many dustbins now avoid the thud of the wasted mailing. But, perhaps I do have to tell you how the blog helps drive your CRM and how little of your time (practically none in fact) is required to make it happen.

Words, style, frequency, contents 
leave all that to ASPIRUS Words.

By way of an example, let me show you how it works with JMS Engineers.

They engineer solutions for Civil and Structural developments. Their projects are many and varied, each presenting several highly technical problems to be resolved, cost- efficiently and managed. Their 40 staff operate out of seven offices in Britain and Greece, they barely have time to brief me, yet alone write the blog themselves.

So we research it, write it, visualise it, publish it and publicise its publication through a proactive strategy of E-CRM.

We embed technical solutions corporate personality

From half a dozen bullet points detailing the hurdles particular to the project to be covered in the blog, we research and write the appropriate technical contributions, check it with JMS, then write it in a style developed to reflect the ethos and character of the company.

The CRM is an internal communication to their 40 staff. They then share the story with their own connections - LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (if the latter is a corporate site). 

Head office does the same for their corporate followers, networking the message instantly.

Incredibly, even though the initial mailing is to just 40 staff (and not all of them open it!), the page hits on the newsletter / blog are far far higher that could be expected.

To see their blog, click the image (right) or here.

What JMS gain:
  • Strongly branded regular communications.
  • Regular illustrated case studies.
  • Pragmatic examples of application, problems and solutions.
  • A growing archive of brand / product examples they use to illustrate solution possibilities.
  • Regular soft-sell communications with clients and prospects. really do not need to use your own time to gain the benefits.

Add real life to your own CRM - 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Your pitch - are you a ‘we’ or a ‘you’.

Your pitch - are you a ‘we’ or a ‘you’.

That’s to say, in your promotional materials – web, brochure, blog, e-mails, correspondence etc – do you wax lyrical about yourselves, your skills, your corporate longevity, the latest XY 31/B casting machine you have just installed and so on.

Or do you tell your audience, customers, prospects, readers how much they’ll benefit in terms of their own success, security, value, loyalty by buying the product or service from you.

[This as a 'we' copy example - but not quite. This landing page knows it is 'we we'ing' - but in order to emphasise the 'you' as you'll see below.]

There may well be a place and justification for corporate specifications to be stacked up and compared by the reader, but it’s not the headline, front page news you thought it was. You might be excited about your new XY31/B casting machine, but why should I be.

The lead proposition prospective clients want to know is – have you thought about us, the client, do you really know what we need? And why we need it? And how, with it, our lives / businesses will improve?

[Agreed, this is B2C, but there is no reason why B2B should ignore it - your prospects and customers are people too.]


Corporate websites, particularly B2B, are often overlooked linguistically. The message is too often ‘we’ ‘we’ ‘we’, set amongst a list of ISOs and professional associations. Yes, important, but it ‘docks the sale’ not ‘floats the boat’.

Most towns and cities have a particular street where all the estate Agents, Solicitors or Building Societies have offices / outlets. The Internet and the Inbox are the same. Drive past and try to spot the difference. Which do you choose? What distinguishes one from another?

Well it’s branding, headline, message.

Your branding is the ultimate corporate ‘we’. But your headline and proposition can change, pitch, consider, with that all important empathy turning the ‘we’ into the ‘you’.

Your business will enjoy a positive difference and increased inbound activity if you use ASPIRUS Words to review it and your e-mail CRM.

Up to speed or just chugging along

On a speed awareness course last week (46 in the 40 limited A14 road works at Kettering, 11.30 at night, quiet road…) the group of about 20 was asked … on a scale of 1 to 10 how good a driver do you think you are? Where 1 is ‘leave your keys and walk home’ and 5 is the average driver’.

Now, this was interesting for a number of reasons. When I have been asked the ‘on a scale of 1 – 10’ self-awareness question before to measure, for example, health, sporting activity, pensions adequacy, or just to feedback on the quality of hotel staff – I and I’m sure you have been told how poor the 1 is and how exemplary the 10 is.

But this course left its delegates to consider the values of 6 to 10 – just how good is 10 and how do you realistically measure it? Is excellence achievable?

This utterly mixed bag of social, age, sex, occupationally occupied and retired driving offenders answered 4, 5, 6 and a couple went as far as 7 – but nobody dared admit levels of perfection beyond that … and I’m an exemplary driver, it was just bad luck / one of those things / a lapse of concentration that I got caught.

In driving, the rules are clear and they even put signals and signs up all over the place to remind you and keep you on the straight and narrow…

…but in business management, there are no rules and signs, or if you see one (from the bank or solicitor) it’s probably too late.

Now try this question from the business driving seat:

On a scale of 1 -10 where 1 means you shouldn't be running a business and 5 means you’re just chugging along ‘but know you could do better – it’s just one of those things, but you haven’t been caught out … yet!’:

How well do you run your business?

Is it as profitable as it should / could be?

Are you generating enough qualified enquiries?

Are you converting the right type of client or customer?

Are you maximising the profitable returns on business turnover?

How good are you at stepping back to review the way you manage your affairs?

(And here’s a possible 10…) How much does business success equate to lifestyle achievement?

We can help you make a profitable difference to the business you run in exchange for a little of your time – time to work ON your business rather than just IN it.

At a recent seminar I was introduced to the magic 7, aka the & Step Profit Multiplier

These are 7 determinable, manageable, changeable points each of which a relatively small change in business and marketing attitude / effort will increase the profitability of your business. Changing all 7 could (and we do mean could) increase your profits by 86%.

‘Hmmm’ – I hear you say (amongst other un-bloggable comments) and so did I when I first saw it. But it is very difficult to look at the platform without at least being intrigued and at best being inspired.

One thing the first 4 keys and the 6th have in common is that they can and are all affected (and manipulated) by WORDS - the words you use to represent your business, how you package them and how you deliver them.

Could words alone take my 5 score, to a 10 … well via the 7 it just might.

Well, we’re OK with the theory, but in practice every business (even within a sector) is different. We have different keys representing different pivotal opportunities where positive change equals growth.

It is precisely because of these differences that, in Kent, intime PROFIT are introducing a 7 Step Business Builder programme. This assumes / accepts that you are a business owner wanting to unlock the hidden profitability of the business you run. The Business Builder then starts with an initial interview with an intime PROFIT (ITP) Partner at which ITP and the business owner / manager effectively vet each other’s suitability. The Business Builder member then joins a programme alternating a series of Boardroom events with One-to-One meetings.

Great opportunities here for businesses in Kent, but what about everybody else?

At ASPIRUS Words we focus on the quality of the message and its delivery. We work with clients who are good at what they are doing - the service is perfect; the mechanics are tip top; and the figures all add up ... 'if only more people knew about us'.

Our clients businesses are driven by their owner whose lifestyle is directly affected by profitable turnover. Often it is their personality that differentiates them from the competition and it's that personality that we write into every element of the message. 

From the website to the brochure; from the e-mail campaign to mailshots and general correspondence; and across social media too, the message is congruent and represents the personality and passion of your business.
Take a look at our website for a better idea of what we do and how - just click on the image above.

Back to driving, but in tandem with driving your business. Just as Stopping Time is made up of Thinking Time and Braking Time, so Sustainable Profitability is a combination of Thinking Time and its affect on Profit.


Making our website fit for purpose

In the same way that a builder’s own extension is the last to be finished, so too was our website the last to be reviewed and declared UNFIT FOR PURPOSE!

We want to share some of the key considerations that lead us through the review and on to the new site. To create this: we considered this - QUESTIONS:

When you last closed the office door and took your phone off the hook to read your website (what do you mean you don’t review it?) did it say the right thing, in the right way, in the right order, to be clear to an audience you’d be pleased to do business with, so they can action the right levels of contact?

Let’s consider those key points again:

Does your website say the right thing;
We all spend time reviewing and refining the corporate message – from a succinct elevator pitch, to finely tuned correspondence, e-mail marketing, advertising, corporate literature and blogs. But is the message on your website still singing from the same hymn sheet?

In the right way;
‘It’s not what you say but how you say it.’ When we physically make a face to face presentation we know that tone, style, posture are as if not more important than the content. In the same way, tone and structure can add enormous power to the words you say on screen. Line breaks, paragraph lengths, column widths, font, colourways and … punctuation. Is your message written in such a way that the viewer will be able to actually read it.

In the right order;
This is crucial to a website and there are two sides to this coin. Imagine yourself standing by the podium about to present your business, services and ethos to a room full of prospects. You start with a sensible summary of what’s to come, then move logically through the process from one theme to the next, ending with a closing summary and chance for the floor to ask questions. So, that’s the home page, service development ‘chapters’ and contact call-to-action.

The flip side is that we do not know which page the viewer will start at, or where they will go next. Because of this, each page must have its own start, middle and end with a clear, single-proposition opportunity to act and make contact.

To be clear to an audience you’d be pleased to do business with;
It‘s really very simple. Your web copy, structure, content and style should be built with your audience profile, needs and authority in mind – as should any corporate message and language.

So they can action the right levels of contact?
For the viewer to confidently click that all important contact button, the benefits they’ll gain by doing so must be clear and appropriate. We know what we want them to do and how, but how do we impart what they will gain and why? What’s in it for them? 

Again we need to properly understand our intentions and our audience needs. If we are just list building then perhaps free gifts, information and discounts might be appropriate. But if we are talking to senior decision makers for mutually beneficial corporate benefits then it’s the ‘benefit to need’ clarity that counts.

This is the process. Follow it and you won’t go far wrong. Consider the same steps in the context of all of your communication materials – correspondence, emails, brochures, newsletters, blogs etc etc and your marketing / CRM / customer relations will improve enormously. Not only will you know you’ve clarified the message, but they will understand the message too.

It's been a warm summer - beware the cold winter

I underlined the key part: ‘Starting a business is easy, growing a business is the tough part.’

Because it’s tough and because it is all too easy to take your eyes off the ball – whether you are Tesco or the corner shop – you should take nothing for granted. Step back (try sitting on the opposite side of your desk, it offers a great perspective), take the phone off the hook, grab a sheet of paper (not a tablet, paper) and jot down the pivotal factors of your business.

Pivotal factors are key events that individually can swing business one way or another independently of other events.

What are the key (basic) elements of PROFIT:




Now bring in the fulcrum for each event. QUESTION:

1.     How much can you increase the price of your goods / service to clients without affecting SALES?

2.     How do you increase the FREQUENCY? Is your marketing effective/ Are you communicating clearly? Could you articulate your proposition better?

3.     Is the COST of each SALE as good as it could be? Could you ‘buy better’ or do you need to buy your office inventory at all?

4.     Is your Accountant doing their job? Could you be more TAX efficient in the way you manage your money?

I hear you. There’s nothing new here. But how often have you been to a business seminar, read the agenda, raised your eyes to the ceiling in despair at the thought of wasting a whole morning here - then rushed back to the office after lunch inspired by the three bright lights that taking time out to consider even the basics, just lit in your head.

Each of the above, particularly SALES and FREQUENCY can be broken down further to identify their own pivotal events.

If you do nothing else, grab another sheet of paper (if only to doodle - you know who you are), identify three fulcra for SALES and three more for FREQUENCY and consider the effects of change on each.

It’s an exercise worth doing to avoid a cold winter.

A wise man once said.

Well, indeed, wise men are always saying something or other.  

But it’s the wiser person still, who makes and takes time to listen.

Words spoken are meant to be heard.

But what about words written?

Logically they’re intended to be read. That is asking a lot of your audience. People read in different ways – that’s if they bother reading at all. Some start at the top left and hang on every word, guided by articulate punctuation all the way down to the end.

Actually no. Not many, if any bother reading it at all – certainly not all of it.

Now, if you write, articulate, pitch your message knowing, understanding and respecting the readers’ limitations, then it really is possible to wrap your proposition in a sensible handful of words and deliver it in such a way that your clients and prospects will know:

What you do

Why you do it

And the benefits they’ll derive by embracing the relationship you are trying to develop.
By breaking the text into bite-sized portions of interest and fact, they’ll practically h e a r  the words they read and listen to the message in digestible mouthfuls.

Click on the image (left) and even at its original size, a page of blocked text with no paragraph breaks has no chance.

The words themselves need to be the right ones and all in the right order. But their delivery and presentation needs to be right too.

Little paragraphs.

Short sentences. With occasional rolling sequences of sensually sparkling alliteration bouncing across the page as a butterfly bobs along a border of asters on a balmy late summer’s eve.

But. Do please make sure the balmy’s not barmy and your apostrophe’s in the right place. And yes, if it helps get the message across, then start a paragraph with a ‘but’ and the odd sentence with an ‘and’.

A wise man once wrote ... so the wiser man could read, understand and know what to do next.

What I would now like you to do is ‘phone or e-mail me; invite me to meet you; let me listen to your own wise words; then allow me to cost-effectively re-package them to an articulate corporate presentation of you and your what, how and why.

Say it with an S not a Zeeeeeeee

If you are involved in the Financial Services industry, perhaps a busy IFA (Independent Financial Adviser), you will have your sleeves rolled up preparing for RDR (Retail Distribution Review). Perhaps you are set already or possibly one of the rather too many who have yet to effectively respond to the FSA's calls to change.

We have been working with Greycoat Financial Services who, like many, have taken RDR by the horns and used it as a positive marketing opportunity.

It has been an excuse to use someone like me to sit across the desk and totally re-evaluate the business.

What is it?

What could it be?

And how do we move it from here to there?

Whether you are several in partnership operating joint and severally, or whether you are one or two independents fighting the business prevention hurdle of Compliance and the FSA (Financial Services Authority), there is still an awful lot you can achieve to face 2013 with ambition and drive. Long sentence, sorry.

Fortunately, thanks to organisations like Tax Briefs and Three Sixty workshops – there’s a lot of material out there to help you write your own RDR changed business and service propositions.

Whichever route you choose to take, please ‘say it with an S not a Zeeeeeee'.

Too much ‘off the shelf’ solution and text is available to cut and paste where the language is over-Americanized. Some comes from across the pond, but much is simply written by folks relying on MS Word spell-check … set to English (USA) rather than (UK).

RDR is providing the British consumer with a more professional, fee-based Financial Services market. The gloves are off. Commissions have gone. Competition is endemic.

Now is the opportunity to review what you say and how you say it.
Personalise your proposition and lift your game.

Your clients now have to pay up front for advice, pensions, investments, retirement planning, estate planning etc etc. As discussed in Money Box a couple of weeks ago, consumers are used to paying fees for legal and accounting advice and service, so may not be too averse to paying for financial advice – as long as it lives up to its heightened status of ‘professional’.  

If promotional materials presenting your corporate proposition looks and says the same as 70% of your neighbouring IFAs, then competition will simply come down to price. Build individuality and substance into your image and you’ll stand out - justifiably professional.

It’s time to lift your game.



Greycoat have their core services and procedures re-structured and presentational / fulfilment materials written ready to go. The database has been re-structured to support the new service levels and client status. And we are putting the finishing touches to investment services, service pricing and product / value segmentation.


Clarity, vision, creative support from ASPIRUS and not one single Zeee.

Plain English, plain speaking, pure correspondence. Words that work.
07500 896 783