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Copywriting Case Study: Building Business Success

Here's the latest case study of real-life copywriting in action graciously sent to us by Sarah Williams, the head of Wordsmith in England. Thanks, Sarah! (Check out our interview with her here.)

The project:
Bizlinx International, a business networking organization (though, for reasons that you'll learn below, business networking is really not the term I should use here) was looking to re-brand and re-position itself after four or five years of successful trading in Australia and New Zealand. (They also have a small presence in the UK.) Wordsmith was appointed to write all the new material for web and print, as well as re-write and re-brand all the existing material. We were also tasked to project manage the whole undertaking, liaising with branding specialists, designers and web developers to deliver a finished product to the client.

The challenge was that there were essentially two different markets we were addressing, with two related but distinct needs. On the one hand, there were business owners and managers who would be joining the organization to meet others in a similar position in order to grow their businesses; on the other hand, there were those who were interested in buying a license to a territory, in order to have the exclusive rights to develop Bizlinx groups within that area.

How we went about it:
The first stage was to pinpoint and hone the organization's USP, or "unique selling point" -- the one thing which set it apart from its competitors and positioned it in the market place. There are a lot of business networking organizations out there, and there are a lot of business networking franchises out there -- so what was it about Bizlinx that was different? Conversations with the client soon determined that the distinctive aspect of Bizlinx as a networking organization was its appeal to a very specific market sector -- owners of established small to medium-sized businesses with three to four employees and an ambition to grow, and decision-makers in organizations such as banks, law or accountancy practices looking to service such businesses. In this way, it became clear that Bizlinx was less a networking organization than a vehicle for building strategic alliances.

That clarified matters as far presenting the attractions for a business owner of joining a Bizlinx group -- but what about the licensees? What was in it for them? Quite simply, it was a straightforward business proposition with systems, training, support and an easily-understood pricing structure that would allow a swift and substantial return on investment given the appropriate actions on their part.

The propositions were clear, the markets were defined -- but they were very different, and they needed to be addressed in very different ways. The business owners needed to be shown in an allusive and evocative way the benefits of becoming a Bizlinx member, while the potential licensees needed to appreciate the solid financial sense of investing in a Bizlinx license.

The outcome:
Fundamentally, Wordsmith produced two different sets of materials for the two different sides of the business. The differences are perhaps most easily and clearly visible on the Bizlinx website, which is, essentially, two different websites in one. On the one side, the "membership" side, the language is all about growth and success, and building strategic alliances, set out in short, easily-read web pages. This side of the site can be characterized as a brochure site, giving a taste of the Bizlinx experience to visitors who have probably been referred to it from other sources (it is one of the distinctive characteristics of Bizlinx that membership is by invitation only).

The other side of the site, the "licensee" side, is much more of a marketing site designed to catch the eye of entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in which to invest. The home page is long, with repeated calls to action, and the language is straightforward and direct. There is altogether more repetition, both for the sake of those peckish little search engine spiders, and also because studies and experience have shown that long web pages with repeated phrases and calls to action have a significantly higher response rate than the concise and repetition-free prose we were encouraged to write in school.

Check out the website, and compare the landing page with the main "home page" under License Opportunities, and you'll see what I mean.


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Sarah Williams is founder and managing director of the international copywriting company Wordsmith, based in Oxfordshire, UK. She taught in universities, and then moved out of the academic world into book publishing, running the English office of the biggest French children's book publisher. During this time she wrote and published a number of children's books. She eventually became a full time freelance writer, and has published over 80 books. About five years ago, Sarah set up Wordsmith, a copywriting company providing intelligent, responsive answers to marketing needs. Click here to read more articles by Sarah Williams.

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Comments from our users:

Monday March 17th 2008, 12:29 PM
Comment by: Malcolm H.
It is interesting when the "product" is conceptual and I wonder what you might have done differently had there been a physical product to sell. In my case we are breaking ground with a new technology and are being met with skepticism by both target consumer and target dealer.

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