Write to Win http://www.writetowin.co.uk You never get a second chance to make a first impression Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:18:01 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/cropped-Write-To-Win-Logo-Icon-Copy-32x32.jpg Write to Win http://www.writetowin.co.uk 32 32 What is a Lead Magnet? http://www.writetowin.co.uk/what-is-a-lead-magnet/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/what-is-a-lead-magnet/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 11:22:50 +0000 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/?p=212008 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

A Lead magnet, or subscription magnet is a popular way of connecting with people who may be interested in you and your business.  The idea is that you offer some really useful information in exchange for someone’s email address.  But, why do we need people’s email addresses?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the most successful business owners nowadays all have large customer lists and social media followings.  This allows them to connect and communicate with all their prospects and customers in a timely way. You get invited into their inbox to speak with them directly. This is called email marketing.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing involves sending out emails to your subscription list. The content of these emails can vary greatly, but they need to be something that your recipient will want to hear about.  It also gives you the opportunity to send information to them about your products, services and events.

Email marketing also allows the subscriber to ‘unsubscribe’ from anything that they no longer wish to receive so it’s important to ensure that your emails are useful and interesting and not all about selling.

There are also rules around email marketing. The subscriber must ‘opt-in’ which means they freely give you their email address and in most cases, they must confirm this via email in a link you send to them.  This ensures that the subscriber does not get communications they don’t want, and that you have abided by the rules and are not just sending out SPAM. You are also allowed to add subscribers who might realistically expect to hear from you and this may be previous customers, but not just someone random that you met at a networking event who gave you their business card. These rules are usually implemented by the email service provider – for example Mailchimp or Aweber.  If you get a lot of emails not delivered, and/or a lot of un-subscribers they may suspend your account as this is an indication that you are not following the rules.

Email marketing is a very effective, convenient and low cost way of sending out marketing materials. It means that you can send targeted and personalised communications to the right people at the right time. You can even segment your subscriber lists using various criteria, so that you are sure you are sending the right kind of messages to the right kind of people, at the right time. So, for example you may have different services that you offer. By creating a lead magnet for each service, you can gather email addresses for each service, but also send out an email to everyone on all of your lists if you have a more general communication or offer that would interest everyone.

Having said all this it is important to treat your email list with care and not just send them sales content and offers.  The aim is to build a relationship and share your thoughts on useful topics to help them. This builds trust so that when you do make an offer to them, they are more likely to consider it.

Email addresses are considered a precious commodity by most of us – a bit like our mobile phone number – and because of this people will no longer part with their contact details unless there is a reward. Providing a lead magnet can be a compelling and time sensitive way of asking for and receiving their email address.

What does a Lead Magnet look like?

Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes, from a one page tips sheet to a multi-page glossy PDF.  They can also be a video, a webinar or access to a free course.  The important thing is that it provides something useful that the reader will value.  It is usually advice or how to do something.  Lead magnets are usually offered as a free resource, and provided and delivered through online channels in exchange for the reader’s email address and sometimes other details (such as their name and the industry they’re in).

You’ve probably visited websites that display popups offering a tempting ebook, tool or access to something useful in exchange for your email address. This is a lead magnet in action.

Lead magnets work because they provide an instant takeaway. Readers can respond on the spur of the moment.  However, it’s important that getting the lead magnet is quick and easy for the recipient.  If they have to jump through too many hoops they will abandon it.

Why are they called Lead Magnets?

In sales terminology, a ‘lead’ is a prospective client who has expressed an interest in what you offer. They are not just a contact who you happen to know.  They are someone who has begun the process of getting to know you.  We all know the phrase ‘people buy from people’ and offering a lead magnet is a way for people to dip their toe in the water and find out if you (or your business) are a good fit for them.  Therefore, a lead magnet is something that attracts leads to you, by providing an incentive to sign up. Hence the name ‘lead magnet’.

Can I have multiple Lead Magnets?

Yes. If you have more than one product or service it makes sense to have more than one lead magnet. It means that you can ‘segment’ people who are only interested in one or some of your services.  This helps you to make sure you are sending them useful content and also that any valuable tips or offers are tailored to their interests. It also gives you a variety of promotional material which can only help with your sales process.

How do I set up a Lead Magnet?

If your website is hosted using a service like WordPress, you can use a number of plugins that will allow you to collect email addresses and deliver your lead magnet. You will also be able to setup a ‘landing page’ for your lead magnet. This is a page on your website whose only purpose is to persuading people to download the lead magnet by collecting their email address and pointing them to the lead magnet. Most email marketing tools like MailChimp will allow the automatic adding of email addresses after minimal setup. If you have someone who looks after your website for you, they will be able to either give you instructions or set it up for you, otherwise you can find someone to help or of course see if you can find instructions or a video online.

You will also need hosting for your lead magnet. This is basically the home for your lead magnet and the place readers are sent to download or access it.  This may differ depending on the type of content you want to deliver. You can provide links to unlisted/private YouTube videos, host the content on your own site (which may slow down your site if the lead magnet becomes popular), or use an external hosting service.

How do I design and edit my Lead Magnet?

Once you have decided on the topic for your lead magnet you can create this in a number of ways. You can write an eBook in Word and PDF it, or create something like an ‘infograph’ with a graphics package. Most decent copywriters will be able to set this up for you or recommend some great tools to help you. If you want to create and write it yourself make sure that you ask someone else to edit and proofread it for you so that you avoid any silly mistakes.

How do I promote my Lead Magnet?

The next step is to get people interested in downloading your lead magnet.  Make sure you have links to the landing page in the appropriate pages on your website. Also, social media is an obvious place to advertise. You can broadcast on your own social media pages or in any groups you belong to.  The most important thing to remember is to try and aim it at your target market. A large subscription list is of no value if you have all the wrong people on it.  When you promote your lead magnet, make sure you link direct to your landing page on your website. You can also use paid advertising streams to get news of your lead magnet out to potential prospects. If you do a lot of face-to-face networking it might be useful to include the link to your landing page on your business cards, or have something you hand out.

What next?

As you can see, lead magnets can be a lot of work, but they can also collect new prospective leads while you sleep. If you are interested in using a Lead Magnet to promote your business I can offer you a couple of options.

  1. I write lead magnets for many of my clients and make sure they are attractively packaged. Just get in touch if you are interested – the cost will depend on the length of the document and how much of the content you can give me and how much I have to research on your behalf. However, I promise you a great end product that you can be proud of and keen to promote.
  2. You can take advantage of some training I offer with a highly-experienced web design colleague. We will take you through the whole process so at the end of the day you have a basic lead magnet written, setup on your Workpress site and set up in Mailchimp. This is a process you can then go on to replicate on your own in future of you wish.
  3. If you want to write your own lead magnet, I offer an edit and proofreading service to make sure the content is excellent, suitable for your audience and contains no mistakes.

What should I do now?

Do you struggle to write the right sort of content?  Business is usually lost by your written communications rather than your products or services.

As your copywriter I can make your online content and marketing documents more powerful, persuasive and polished. Together, we will make your marketing work harder and get you better results.

Call me on 07778 657003 to talk about any of your copywriting needs or to get a free 15 minute review call to see if I can help you. Also check out my copywriting courses if you would like to improve your own writing skills.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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5 Tips for a Sizzling Business Blog http://www.writetowin.co.uk/5-tips-sizzling-business-blog/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/5-tips-sizzling-business-blog/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 23:19:29 +0000 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/?p=116728 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

For most small to medium sized businesses writing a business blog is a great way to grow your business. It benefits you in lots of ways if done well. For example, it can boost your search engine ratings, attract more traffic to your website, establish you as an expert in your field, and basically help you to find more customers. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Tip 1 – Create a list of business blog post ideas

One of the hardest aspects to running your own business blog is how to come up with ideas for content. And of course if the content is not interesting enough, no-one will want to read it. The best way to handle this is to have a list of blog post ideas that you keep handy for when inspiration strikes (I’m told you can even get notebooks to use in the bath or shower these days!).  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Think about the questions you get asked the most by your customers.
  • Use case studies from your current work to illustrate how you can help other customers.
  • Take a trip around your social media streams (for example Twitter, Facebook and Linked In) and see if there are any themes you can tap into. Linked In groups can be very useful for this type of information.
  • Think about any new stories you read and if you can turn them into an interesting comment piece.
  • Identify the main benefits that your customers get from working with you, and write around each one.

Tip 2 – Decide on your business blog frequency

Readers don’t usually want to read a blog post each day – and to be honest, unless the blog is your only work, you will probably struggle to write one each day. What readers are looking for is consistency and for you to cover topics that you say you will cover, so they get what they are expecting.  Generally a blog post once a week is ideal – so decide on the best day for you and schedule it onto your diary each week.

Tip 3 – Be disciplined

Once you have decided on which day you want to write your blog post, then schedule the business blog post itself, and the time you plan to spend writing it, into your diary. If you don’t do this, then something important will come up and you won’t write your blog consistently – and it’s this consistency that builds readership. The last thing your website needs is a blog which seems dormant.  You will find that even Google will stop visiting if you can’t maintain this regular posting schedule.  Don’t forget the time between blog posts is for you to decide – it can even be once a month – as long as you are consistent. Also don’t forget that most websites allow you to schedule your posts. This means you could write four together, then schedule them for one a week. This is particularly useful if you work away, or have holidays coming up – or just find the weekly grind difficult.

Tip 4 – Create a schedule

You can waste a lot of time thinking about your business blog and what you are going to write about. This is why it is such a good idea to have a blog post list so that you can add to it whenever you think of a suitable topic.  The trick then is to decide when you are going to post each idea and schedule it into a planner. The reason for this is to try and avoid random blog posts and to make the experience build into something useful to your reader that encourages them to keep them returning. By planning ahead you will find it easier to write the blog posts. There are a number of ways you can do this – I like to use Excel, but you could use a table in Word or even an app like Wunderlist or Trello.

Tip 5 – Variety is the spice of life

Don’t forget that every business blog post doesn’t have to be the size of War and Peace.  Although a good size on average is around 400 words (just under an A4 sheet of words) you can in fact have shorter and longer posts to add variety. Also have different types of blog posts – for example, you could pose a question, write up a case study, or comment on current affairs and how it affects your customers. You can also write a ‘how to’ post or a checklist post. It helps to keep to one topic if you can – which also has the advantage of giving you the opportunity of writing more posts – several short ones for example instead of one long one.

So, what to do if you just don’t have time?

Freelance-Bidwriter -Get-Help-HereSome people just don’t have time for blogging and, in any case, may not have very good writing skills. So, if you know that having an active blog will enhance your business, but you’re not in a position to do it yourself, what can you do?  You can use a ghost blogger (for example Write to Win!) to do it for you. This is where you hire someone to write the articles for you in your name.

If you decide to go down this route, it’s important to find someone who can write for you in your tone of voice so that it blends with the rest of your website. Also when people meet you, they don’t notice any disconnect between you and your writing.  Also blogging services can work in different ways. Some bloggers take your list of topics and write about each topic as appropriate doing their own research – this is more of a done for you service. Others take the list of topics and bullet points from you to create content. This is more work for you, but you have more control over the content and it is usually cheaper.  Another option is to just have an editing and proofreading service.  This is very budget friendly, but you have to do more of the work.

Just one final piece of advice – always choose a writer whose native language is the same as yours.  This means you will get a better fit with tone of voice and the quality of the writing will feel much better. This is purely because the langauge and sentence construction will match your own style.

What should I do now?

Do you struggle to write the right sort of content?  Business is usually lost by your written communications rather than your products or services.

As your copywriter I can make your online content and marketing documents more powerful, persuasive and polished. Together, we will make your marketing work harder and get you better results.

Call me on 07778 657003 to talk about any of your copywriting needs or to get a free 15 minute review call to see if I can help you. Also check out my copywriting courses if you would like to improve your own writing skills.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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Executive Summary – Most Important Part of your Bid? http://www.writetowin.co.uk/executive-summary-important-part-bid/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/executive-summary-important-part-bid/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 21:54:32 +0000 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/?p=116724 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

When you have written and submitted your bid, the only page you can guarantee will get read is the first page – the executive summary.  So, if you don’t capture your reader’s attention and interest on the first page, your bid won’t be successful.

The traditional approach to bid writing just doesn’t tackle this. I’ve read dozens of bids and trust me, many could be the antidote to insomnia.

How long should an executive summary be?

We know that we have to start our bid with an executive summary – the question is how long should it be?  Research suggests that it should be no longer than two pages. Yes, just two pages – or around 1000 words maximum.

Strangely, almost all advice suggests that you should write your executive summary last of all, even though it appears at the start of your bid.  Well, I couldn’t disagree more.  When writing a bid, I think that you need to start at the beginning by making a bulleted list of all the benefits you want to bring out in your executive summary (you can flesh it out and update it later). The most important part of your bid is the first paragraph, followed by the first page. If you can’t capture your reader’s attention quickly, you lose that initial advantage.

Bid Writing: A Simple, 4-Step Structure

The purpose of your bid is simple: to prove to your reader that your product or service will provide the best answer to their problem.  Because of this, I have found the following simple structure works best:

  1.  Elevator Pitch (first paragraph). The elevator pitch is the big idea (one minute reading time).
  2.  Executive Summary (one or two pages). An executive summary proves to your reader that your big idea is viable (five minutes reading time).
  3.  Main Body (as short or long as it needs to be – but the whole story). Your main body supports the claims made in the executive summary.
  4.  Appendices (the supporting act). The appendices support the main body.

And don’t be frightened of calling a spade a spade. Title the first section ‘Elevator Pitch’ – readers will know exactly what that means. It has to grab attention. In fact – make sure you use headings in your executive summary because it helps people to skim read your content.

Remember that it’s impossible to write your executive summary without knowing what the elevator pitch is. Equally, it’s impossible to write your main body without knowing what executive summary you’re trying to support.

I’ll be writing some more blog posts to help you write your executive summaries, so keep an eye out for more help on this soon.

Find out how to write better elevator pitches and executive summaries by giving me a call.

What should I do now?

If you have a bid, tender or proposal or even a quote that needs writing, why not give me a call on 07778 657003 and talk to me about what might be involved? Once I’ve had a look at the documents I can give you an idea of the cost involved in having me write the document for you. You can also check out my bid writing training and download my 10 Golden Rules for Bid Writing. If it is a proposal you are writing, you can download my free proposal writing template.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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Using a Technical Writer: Why Outsource? http://www.writetowin.co.uk/using-technical-writer-outsource/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/using-technical-writer-outsource/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:33:44 +0000 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/?p=116716 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

Have you considered outsourcing some of your documents to a technical writer?

Here are the benefits for using a professional technical writer:

  • Out-sourcing the writing means that your developers, engineers and marketing staff can concentrate on their main responsibilities – the jobs they are good at. You get top quality documentation from a specialist.
  • When you use a professional technical writing service, you only pay for the technical writing resources you need, when you need them.
  • You can purchase a small quantity of top-quality, professional expertise, without having to commit to a long-term high salary.
  • You can buy in different kinds of expertise to meet differing needs. For example, bring in an expert writer to write your web page content, and use a specialist website designer to handle the presentation. No need to compromise – you can get the best in every field.
  • Even if you have in-house technical writing resources, you can manage the peak workloads by buying in professional help.

Finding a Technical Writer

There are many options you can investigate to outsource your technical writing needs.

Option 1 – Contact a specialist documentation agency.

Advantages

  • Good availability
  • Normally supply experienced authors.

Disadvantages

  • Cost – the agency mark-up makes this expensive.
  • Can’t always get the same techical writer so more familisation time.
  • Lots of paperwork.

Option 2 – Pick a freelance technical writer on the internet.

Advantages

  • Usually very cheap, no overheads or mark-up.

Disadvantages

  • No proper technical writing experience.
  • No affiliations with professional bodies.
  • Probably don’t have good project management skills.
  • No back-up.
  • Long-term continuity may be a problem.
  • They just want to pay the mortgage at any cost.

Option 3 – Use Write to Win – an experienced, established supplier of technical writing services.

Advantages

  • Good availability.
  • Loads of relevant experience
  • No agency overheads on the cost.
  • Wants to build long-term relationships with clients.
  • Affiliations with the ISTC – the main professional body for technical writers.
  • Access to other experienced qualified technical writers if required.

Disadvantages

  • Sorry, we can’t think of any.

Write to Win has provided technical writing solutions for a wide range of business, industrial, scientific and commercial enterprises over more than 30 years. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

What should I do now?

I have been providing Technical Documentation solutions to customers for over 30 years… "Good documentation makes your product easier to use, easier to maintain, and easier to sell" says Alison.  Whether you have policies and procedures that need writing, online help, or white papers I can help.  Take a look at my technical writing page to get some background, you can then call on 07778 657003 to talk about any of your technical writing needs or to get detailed course outlines for my training. If you want to be informed of any occasional public training courses I run, please sign up to my email list.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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Benefits of a Bid Writing Training Course http://www.writetowin.co.uk/benefits-bid-writing-training-course/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/benefits-bid-writing-training-course/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 11:39:22 +0000 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/?p=116709 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

The way that bids are planned, structured and written is very different from any other sort of writing.  A bid writing training course is a great way for anyone who is writing a bid, or contributing to it, to improve their bid writing skills. An improvement in the way the bid is written will inevitably lead to a higher win rate.

Have you noticed how things have changed in the bid writing market in recent years?  The Internet has caused major advances in communication and greatly improved the degree and quality of the competition within the bid process. Many organisations do not have the resources to employ dedicated bid writing staff. They also have to use other contributors in the organisation who write parts of the bid.

It is important for even qualified bid writers to take a bid writing training course so that:

  • they stay on top of all the latest standards and techniques.
  • if there is a team they all write in a coherent way.
  • non-dedicated bid writers, (I like to call these people my subject matter experts or SMEs) can learn how to write clear and concise bid text, thus saving the bid writing team a great deal of time.

A good bid writing training course will make a huge difference to your bid success rate.  Subject matter experts have all the technical knowledge they need to make a serious contribution to any bid document, however they often lack the skills to communicate this information to non-technical readers.  This means that someone else has to rewrite or edit their content – or try and enlarge or reduce it to fit the requirements of the bid.

To be a great bid writer, you must stay updated on the latest techniques, tips, and tricks to stay competitive and increase the number of bids your organisation can win. Bids must include the usual price and delivery time frames, but they must also explain your organisation’s key messages. The objective is to convince your reader that regardless of price variations , your organisation will be the best choice to deliver the product or service they need.

Having well trained bid writers in your organisation can only improve your win rate and build more confidence with your prospects. In addition, you can turn around bids more quickly which means you will be able to bid on more contracts.

My bid writing training course is delivered by a highly-qualified bid writer with over 20 years’ experieince. This is usually at your company premises. The course can be either a one day intensive course or a two-day workshop with time to work on your own writing.  The training can be geared to any experience level and massaged to make sure time is spent on the most important areas for your business. So, whatever your requirements, there is a bid writing training course available to suit you. I will even prepare customised exercises, using your own material, to make sure your staff get the most from the course.

Write to Win training courses provide a professional resource for business owners and managers looking for help with business writing.

What should I do now?

Want to improve your writing skills or those of your team?  You can find a whole list of my training courses here, or why not give me a call on 07778 657003 and talk to me about what you need? I create lots of customised courses in addition to the current off the shelf options.  I can send you a detailed course outline.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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To Bid or Not to Bid http://www.writetowin.co.uk/bid-not-bid/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/bid-not-bid/#respond Sun, 22 May 2016 15:50:03 +0000 http://www.writetowin.co.uk/?p=116153 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

Understanding the ITT

The most important first step is to study the ITT (invitation to tender). This should tell you whether you should be writing the bid in the first place.  There is no point spending time and resources submitting a bid for work which is not profitable or does not add something to your business. Mostly we want to work to make a profit, but sometimes we want the business because it adds to our experience, or it opens the door to more lucrative work.  The first stage of the process should always this bid/no bid debate to make sure that your time is well spent.

The amount of time you can spend on making sure you know what is required will vary, but even for lower-value bids it is worth making sure you are clear exactly what the client wants. For major bids, it is worth having the team read the Invitation to Tender (ITT) independently and confer on their understanding of the requirements.

There are some basic checks you can make to ensure you are a good fit and these are:

  • Relevant experience – do you have the right experience, quality of work, performance criteria, case studies and references?
  • Qualifications – do you have the relevant certifications, accreditations, industry standards, trade memberships, policies and procedures? If the answer is no at this time, be positive and use this experience to make a list of what you need in future and make it happen.
  • Price – do you have to ability to deliver at the right price (many ITTs will give a guide price these days), what added value can you offer, and are you competitive?
  • Are you a good fit? – is there a comfortable fit in terms of management style, communication methods, reporting requirements and so on.

Planning

You have probably head the phrase ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’.  Read the ITT closely, with a highlighter in hand, several times if possible, and make sure you have answers to the following questions.

What are they asking for?

Most ITTs will detail the service that is required in addition to any SLAs (service level agreements) that are required.  Check that you have recorded every requirement within the ITT, and that you are able to deliver as required.

Why do they want it?

Understanding the client’s need will help you to focus on solving their problem. Research the organisation to find news items about any issues they’re facing, any mergers or acquisitions they’ve made, or read annual reports. All of these will give you a better understanding of the reasons behind their need for services.

When do they want it?

This relates to both the completed ITT and also the service they have asked for.  You must be sure you can hit all key dates for deliverables, and more importantly demonstrate to your prospect that you have evidence of delivering your service on time and to budget.

What are they asking for?

This may seem obvious, but make sure you know the location for the deliverables. If the delivery of the service is outside your normal area or even country, can you delivery the service in a cost effective way and can you demonstrate this?  If it is not clear in the ITT don’t be afraid to ask.

There are two very good reasons to do this planning:

  1. It ensures that you are confident that you can actually deliver the service the client has detailed in the ITT.
  2. You can make sure that you don’t include anything irrelevant just because it is part of your standard offering.

Also check you know what format the deliverables need to be in. Can you prepare your own document, or do you have to complete a form or an excel sheet? Or, even type your answers into some sort of online portal.

Do they know what they want?

If you understand your client’s needs, you may be able to suggest solutions that haven’t been considered. Your research might indicate a better way to resolve the issue, or that there is an opportunity to offer additional services. Sometimes this can mean you have to submit an alternative bid. If you can, make contact with people in the organisation to discuss their requirements to help you put this in context and identify any potential misunderstandings. You may find your solution can solve the problem – just not in the way expected.  Do check first that this is permitted!

What is the delivery schedule?

This is critical to planning your work on the bid. Also check any fine print, as your bid may not even be read if you have missed the submission deadline, it is in the wrong place or in the wrong format.

Competitors

You might know who else is bidding for a project, or be able to make an educated guess. We all have a pretty good idea of who are main competitors are.  When considering how to approach parts of a tender where you cannot supply exactly what is required, it might be worth asking if the competition could do better or not.

Bids are won by the company making the best overall offer, and sometimes this could be a bid which cannot offer everything the client asks for, but which can offer more of it than any other bidder.

Other Reasons

There are many other reasons not to bid, for example:

  • You don’t have the resources to fulfil the contract without significant investment (taking on more staff, TUPE, buying more equipment, IT services, vehicles etc.)
  • The contract is worth over 25% of your current turnover which would make this client too large for you.
  • You can’t offer a competitive price against larger competitors.
  • You’re already bidding for other contracts. If they all accept, you’ll won’t be able to fulfil them all.
  • The contract is taking you away from the future direction for your business.

What should I do now?

If you have a bid, tender or proposal or even a quote that needs writing, why not give me a call on 07778 657003 and talk to me about what might be involved? Once I’ve had a look at the documents I can give you an idea of the cost involved in having me write the document for you. You can also check out my bid writing training and download my 10 Golden Rules for Bid Writing. If it is a proposal you are writing, you can download my free proposal writing template.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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5 tips to speed up your Bid Writing http://www.writetowin.co.uk/5-tips-to-speed-bid-writing/ http://www.writetowin.co.uk/5-tips-to-speed-bid-writing/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:32:28 +0000 http://thebidwriter.com/?p=274 Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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Write to Win - You never get a second chance to make a first impression

So, you know there is a bid coming up for some work you really want to win – here are five tips to help you plan for the bid writing process. If you do this preparation beforehand you have much more chance of winning the bid and making the bid writing process a lot shorter.

Tip 1 – get your finances organised

Firstly most PQQs will ask for some financial information – usually two-to-three years accounts. If you haven’t been going that long, you could provide a cash flow forecast, management accounts, a statement from your accountant, or a bank reference. Essentially, potential customers want to make sure that you are financially secure and will be around long enough to fulfil the contract.

Connected to your financial position, you should also consider what is called the 20% rule. This states that generally you shouldn’t expect to win a bid that is worth more than 20% of your turnover. There are good reasons for this – you may not have the infrastructure to cope with the new contract, it could lead to cash flow problems, or there is a risk that your current projects could suffer. One way to get around this is to bid as part of a consortium, taking care that whoever you hook up with can add value to the service you are offering.

Tip 2 – Make sure you have the right insurance

Secondly, there are a number of insurances that you must include in your tender writing. These are:
  • Public Liability
  • Employer’s Liability
  • Professional Indemnity
Don’t forget – if you are bidding as a consortium ‘Joint and Several Liability’ may be something you can offer to reduce risk for the procurement managers.

Tip 3 – Do you have the right policies written

Thirdly you will need to have some policies in place. Make sure these policies showcase your business.  For example, does your corporate responsibility document tell the story of all the good activities your business supports.  The following are usually a requirement when writing a bid:
  • Health & Safety Policy (even if you have less than five staff)
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Quality Management Statement (QMS)
  • Environmental Policy
  • Confirmation that you are registered for Data Protection
Then there are other policies which may be requested depending on the type of product or service you provide:
  • Ethical Sourcing and Sustainability Policy
  • Sub-contracting Policy
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Business Continuity (or Disaster Recovery) Plan

Tip 4 – Do you have references and case studies?

Tip four is to source and have ready suitable references and case studies to prove your credentials.  Case studies used in the bid writing process will basically describe a similar service you offered to another customer and the benefits they derived from it – they do not necessarily include customer contact details. Understand the difference between references and testimonials. Basically a reference includes specific details of the work carried out and how much it was worth together with the contact details of a referee in the customer’s organisation.  A testimonial is an unsolicited written comment from a satisfied client. For example, “Write to Win provided a very successful bid writing training course and tender writing service which enabled us to win the bid – FB, Service International“.

Tip 5 – Do you have the resources?  Check before you start.

Lastly remember that a tender can be a real commitment both financially and in terms of management time.  You must be willing to allocate resource to the bid process which could potentially include a PQQ, Bid and Presentation.  The whole process could take many man-days of hard work and possibly the direct cost of preparing drawings, printing and binding your offer, delivery by courier and travelling to give a presentation. Don’t forget that a bid document is a binding contract and you will be expected to fulfil the terms of the contract regarding delivery of your product or service – whilst not forgetting your existing clients…….

 

What should I do now?

If you have a bid, tender or proposal or even a quote that needs writing, why not give me a call on 07778 657003 and talk to me about what might be involved? Once I’ve had a look at the documents I can give you an idea of the cost involved in having me write the document for you. You can also check out my bid writing training and download my 10 Golden Rules for Bid Writing. If it is a proposal you are writing, you can download my free proposal writing template.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

Email me on alison@writetowin.co.uk

Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

Visit my website: www.writetowin.co.uk

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