The Blog of Scott Chapman
Copywriter & Sales Conversion Expert

An update

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Hello one and all!

As some of you may have noticed, my last blog post was back in December 2015.

I know, I’ve neglected it just a tad.

But there’s a good reason for it. Along with being busy as usual with client work, I’m also in the process of writing an entirely independent marketing blog which covers regular articles with a lot more detail (and frequency). I’ll post a link up when it’s ready to go.

Other than that, I’m still here for all copywriting and conversion rate optimisation projects, so if you would like to discuss anything, please get in touch.

Regards,

Scott.


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Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Chapman Copywriting

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I’d like to wish all my clients and fellow business folk a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Here’s to a highly profitable 2016!

Scott.


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4 points you must remember during conversion rate split-testing

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A while back, after a round of successful split-tests, my client asked me this question:

“How do you do it?”

He already knew about the software and platforms I use, but he wanted to know exactly what I do to ensure that split-tests build towards higher conversion rates and more sales.

After all, the very nature of A/B testing is a pretty reliable way to increase website income, but it can go wrong, or at the very least, progress can be slow.

Here are my 4 main points to remember when conducting any website split-test:

1). Don’t act too soon

Some split-tests can go through what I like to call a “honeymoon period”. Often, within the first days of a test, conversion rates can shoot up, giving the impression that the test is well on its way to giving you a winning variation.

However, in some cases, after more days have passed, the conversion rate gradually falls back to baseline, and on the odd occasion, it can even fall below baseline and give you a worse conversion rate than you started with.

This can be surprisingly common. A winning variation with 200 visitors can become a losing variation after 1000. It works both ways, too. A variation which seems to be losing initially can return an increased conversion rate after more time.

This is why it’s vital to give tests enough time to build statistically significant results. If you use software which highlights statistical confidence, then it should be no less than 95% before you declare a test complete.

Another question frequently asked is how much traffic do you need for A/B split tests? There’s no universal answer to this, but the more the better. At the very least, most tests would benefit from a minimum of 1,000 total visitors, but preferably more.

2). Heavy-hitters first, marginal improvements later

There are always elements of a landing page which will have the largest impact on conversion rates. For example, changes to the main headline and opening paragraphs will have much more of an influence compared to button text and colours.

This is why it’s important to start with split-testing the heavy-hitters, as you’ll get larger initial improvements and unlock the potential of extra sales sooner rather than later.

Once conversion rate improvements start to slow, it’s time to put more emphasis into the marginal improvements, such as split-tests involving small text tweaks, colours and layout adjustments.

These should not be underestimated, as they can all accumulate into a sizeable conversion rate increase. For example, ten 0.1% conversion rate improvements give you a 1% increase overall, and if that results in your website’s conversion rate going from 4% to 5%, that’s a 25% increase in sales with no additional marketing spend.

3). Focus on the metrics which really matter

Bounce rates. Button clicks. Time on site. There are plenty of statistics to look at, but they should never be allowed to cloud your judgement. The statistics which matter most are those which are directly responsible for how much money you make, namely metrics like conversion rates and cost-per-conversion.

However, even these aren’t always the be all and end all. It’s important to also look at your overall sales and profit levels. For example, a split-tested variation could increase the conversion rate and purchases, but reduce average order value, so you ultimately end up making less profit overall.

4). Apply proven conversion rate optimisation knowledge

Winning variations will simply happen more frequently if you apply the proven principles of good conversion rates.

The very nature of A/B testing means that you’ll be guided down the correct path no matter what you test (i.e. bad ideas will always lose), but it helps to do your research and test what is known work well in the world of CRO. It makes the chances of finding winning variations more likely so you can make faster progress in the right direction.

Keep these 4 tips in mind when conducting split-tests on your website, and you should see faster, larger and more consistent sales improvements.


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Copywriting for your products, or copywriting for your business?

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When writing website sales copy for an e-commerce store, most people focus on selling the benefits and features of the products themselves.

However, this isn’t always the best course of action. Often it’s equally important to focus the copy on your business and why they should buy the product from you alone.

Choices, choices, choices…

If someone already has their mind set on a product, they don’t need much further convincing to buy it. They want it, so that’s settled. However, what isn’t settled is WHERE they’re going to buy it from, and unless you have a truly unique product, there’s likely to be a number of other e-commerce websites stocking the same item as you.

In this situation, pushing the benefits of choosing your business can tip the scales in your favour. It differentiates you from your competition and gives them more reasons to buy other than price alone.

This is particularly important, as price is far from the only deciding factor. Even if you’re slightly more expensive than your competitors, you can still persuade them to choose you if they feel like they’re going to get a better service and generally feel more confident in using your business.

What’s the difference?

Here are some examples of product-specific and business-specific selling points. The product points in this example are more about the broader types as they can vary considerably depending on the product range:

Products:

– Features
– Benefits
– How they work
– Why they’re useful
– How they satisfy the needs of the prospect

Business:

– Free UK delivery
– Same/next-day dispatch
– Favourable returns policy
– Money-back guarantees
– Added accessories
– Friendly and approachable tonality to build rapport and trust
– Quick customer service by telephone (accessibility)
– Point reward systems
– Security
– Payment options
– Warranties

Now you may already offer benefits in some or even all of these areas. However, what’s important is how strongly they’re promoted on your website. In a highly-competitive marketplace, they need to be pushed hard in noticeable locations instead of being buried on some auxiliary page or flung up in the top right corner of a header.

Sure, product-specific sales copy should take priority on most pages, but the salesmanship of your online business itself should never be too far behind. It might just make all the difference when a prospect has your website and a competitor’s website on display and is humming and hawing over which one to buy their product from.

 


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12 ways to increase your sales this Christmas

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Christmas is usually a busy period for retailers and many other businesses, but even with that natural surge, it’s always nice to throw a few more sales on the pile if possible.

That’s why I’ve compiled 12 of my best tips on how to increase Christmas sales in the online marketplace. Take a look and see if you could use any of them to boost your festive profits:

1). Test your prices

I could have suggested that you discount your prices as part of a sale, but this doesn’t always result in more profit. The key is to do your maths and find the perfect balance between the quantity of sales and the value of each sale. Discounted prices may encourage more sales, but the discount from each sale could mean that you end up with less total profit overall. Let’s take a look at a basic example of that:

Discount = 0%
Original per-sale value = £10
Sales = 100
Total income = £1,000

Discount = 20%
New per-sale value = £8
Sales = 120
Total income = £960

So even though the discount has encouraged a higher number of sales, the overall income is actually lower due to the decreased value of each sale. However, it’s certainly possible for a discount to increase sales whilst also increasing total income, but it’s important to test prices and see how they perform to be sure that you’re on the right track.

2). Offer reassurances when it comes to delivery

People want to know that the gifts they’ve ordered will arrive in time for Christmas, but if there’s any doubt about that, it can kill conversions.

This is why it’s important to be clear about Christmas deliveries and reassure your visitors that their order will arrive if it’s placed by a certain date. This date should be clearly displayed on your website so your visitors understand how long they have left to place an order.

Plus, if any deliveries do miss Christmas Day and cause complaints, then you’re better protected as you can show them that you provided a clear warning of the cut-off dates in advance.

3). Explore faster delivery options to increase the Christmas delivery deadline

No matter how many Christmas rushes we go through, many people still leave it until the last minute to buy gifts. This isn’t so much of an issue in retail shops, but it is a problem in the online realm where there are cut-off dates for the courier to deliver the orders in time for Christmas.

To tap into the late shoppers market, try introducing new delivery options on a short-term basis if such options are plausible. For example, you could introduce signed next-day delivery if it isn’t currently available to your customers. This can allow you to push the order cut-off date back, so instead of the Christmas order deadline date being the 18th for example, it could be moved to the 20th, allowing your website to capture an extra 2 days worth of festive sales.

4). Introduce gift cards/vouchers

Indecisiveness can be a big conversion killer, so what better way to solve it than by removing the need for a decision altogether!

If a prospects wants to buy a product from your website as a gift, but they’re not sure what to buy, then gift cards or vouchers can make a fantastic alternative option. They remove the need to definitively choose something and allow the recipient of the gift more freedom in what they can buy.

Giving the gift recipient a voucher means that they also interact with your website directly, which increases the awareness of your brand and encourages repeat business. For example, if a business sells fishing rods, then a friend of a fishing enthusiast may only be interested in buying the products once during Christmas as a gift, whereas the intended recipient will be interested in fishing products all year round and be able to browse your store directly to increase the possibility of repeat business.

Some of them may even decide to treat themselves and spend more than what they were given in the gift card or voucher!

5). Offer free or optional gift wrapping

Wrapping gifts is often a laborious task, and many customers will be grateful of an opportunity to bypass the entanglement of tape.

By offering gift wrapping services, you could grab more customers who are prepared to choose you to receive this additional time-saving service. You could offer it for free as a strong USP (as long as the cost figures add up), or you could charge for it and make a little bit of extra profit per sale.

However, remember that if you’re offering a professional gift wrapping service, customers will be expecting a really professional job, so that means crisp, clean lines and perhaps even a little bow for good measure.

6). Upsell stocking fillers

During Christmas, prospects are more likely to buy multiple items than any other time of the year, so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the full benefit of product upselling (i.e. showcasing additional products during the ‘add to basket’ phase or checkout process). To make this more targeted towards Christmas, try offering inexpensive stocking fillers with a small profit mark-up. This can increase the overall average value of each sale and increase profits along with it.

7). Include goodwill gestures

Some retailers include small Christmas cards signed from the business. Other retailers even throw a few sweets in each package as a token gift. It might not seem like much, but by making a more positive impression this way, you can improve customer satisfaction, build rapport and increase repeat business.

If you do include a Christmas card, the business owner could even hand write each one if time and resources allow it. This is unlikely to be feasible if your business ships out large volumes of orders, but if it is possible, then this personal touch can go a long way.

8). Use January marketing wisely

This isn’t strictly Christmas, but as we all know, January is one of the busiest retail periods of the year due to post-Christmas sales and also the sea of cash gifts which are thickening wallets and purses across the UK. With any orders made during the festive period, you should be ready to approach these customers with marketing messages during New Year and encourage them to visit you again.

This technique can be considerably improved by introducing a January sale or perhaps offering coded discount vouchers in each delivery. You could even include a few vouchers so the customer can pass them on to family and friends to encourage more sales. However, as I mentioned in point one, just make sure that the quantity-to-sale value adds up correctly.

9). Send out holiday wishes to your existing customer list

It’s common practice to send out a mass e-mail to past customers to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This is not only a nice and respectful gesture, but it also reminds your previous customers that you’re there and could contribute towards increasing awareness and improving sales.

10). Offer high value products or services? Give your best clients an extra special gift

Most of these tips apply to online retail stores which sell products suitable for Christmas gifts, but it’s possible for high-value product and service businesses to benefit from Christmas as well. If you have some heavy-hitting clients who you’ve worked with for some time, try sending them a gift such as a good bottle of wine or a Christmas hamper if your budget permits.

It is a Christmas expense, but such a personal gesture will not go unnoticed and may increase client loyalty whilst potentially reminding them of your services and increasing sales.

11). Use social media

Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, goes into over-drive during the festive period as friends socialise and exchange best wishes. To capitalise on this, use any social marketing avenues to promote discounts, offers or any must-have Christmas gifts.

12). Use effective Christmas copywriting

If you have any products which you’re specifically promoting as Christmas gifts (either on your website or via other marketing channels), then try referring to the recipient in the copy instead of the customer. Instead of using “you” and “your” to speak directly about the customer, you could try referring to the gift recipient and use emotive-selling to tell the customer how the product will benefit the recipient of the gift and how much they will enjoy it.

After all, one of the major buying decisions when it comes to gifts is recipient satisfaction. People obviously have an innate urge to please their family and friends with these gifts, so the happier they’ll make the recipient, the more appealing they will be to the customer. This is why it’s so important to sell the product as a gift and use this angle correctly.

And there we have it

12 tips on how to increase Christmas sales in 2014 and beyond. I hope that your Christmas is a highly profitable one!

Scott.


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Write your copy and THEN check your competitors to get more sales

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When writing new sales copy, it’s always important to see what your competitors are saying. By looking at their selling points and how you could counter them, you can adapt your copy so it comes out on top when prospects are browsing through multiple companies and making a decision on which one to choose.

Many people prefer to check their competitors’ websites or marketing materials before they even put finger to keyboard. However, the big issue with this is that it can overly influence your own style and approach to writing – even on a sub-conscious level. In trying to differentiate your copy, you can inadvertently make it more similar and thus less effective in helping you stand out.

The best approach is to start writing without any outside influence

Simply let your own unique ideas flow out without being bent or warped by what someone else has written. Each word is fresh from your mind and could be drastically different to what any other company has produced, but that’s a good thing. It helps you to be unique, helps you put your own stamp on your business presentation and helps you to stand out ahead of the rest.

Once you’ve done that, THEN look at your competitors

You want your sales copy to be unique, but you also don’t want to miss out on any powerful selling points which may not have even crossed your mind. Once you’ve produced some sales copy you like, you can THEN take a look at what your competitors have written.

Your stuff might be better, or they might have included some fantastic benefits or features which would be worth including in your own copy (without directly stealing their work, of course). They may have even mentioned some key features which your business can personally do better, so you can then work that into your copy to counter-act it.

With this approach, you have unique and uninfluenced copy combined with key pieces of inspiration and counter arguments put forth by your competitors. It’s a win-win situation and should help you increase your sales conversion rate, so give it a try today!


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My top 10 ways to increase your Adwords CTR

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Increase your advert’s click-through rate and you’ll get more targeted visitors out of your impressions for more sales. It’s as simple as that.

Pushing the CTR percentage up as high as it will go can not only increase sales, but also improve your advert’s quality score and bring the CPC (cost-per-click) of your Adwords campaign down.

Whilst you can improve your CTR with changes to your keywords and bids, your advert generally has the most influence, and this is where copywriting plays such a crucial role.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 ways to increase your Adwords CTR and also increase your sales conversion rate in the process.

1). Include your keywords in your adverts

In your advert text, include the keywords which people will be searching for when they see your advert. For example, if you’re selling strawberry jam and have that phrase in a keyword, then also include it in your advert copy.

This not only helps your advert to grab the attention of people looking for this product, but it also helps your advert to be more relevant to your keywords – thereby improving your quality score for reduced CPCs.

2). Use dynamic keyword insertion

When you include the term {KeyWord:#######} in your advert’s headline, Adwords will automatically include the keyword which the person has searched for within the advert’s copy. If you replace the hashes with a similar keyword, then Adwords will display this default keyword if the search keyword the person has used is too long to be displayed in the advert.

For example, if we use chocolate this time:

Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate}
chocolatewebsite.co.uk
Creamy milk chocolate
Free UK delivery

If someone searches for ‘dark chocolate’, their advert would appear to the searcher as follows:

Buy Dark Chocolate
chocolatewebsite.co.uk
Creamy milk chocolate
Free UK delivery

However, if someone searched for “Gourmet chocolate variety box”, then the advert would only display the default keyword you’ve chosen as the keyphrase searched for is too long for the headline:

Buy Chocolate
chocolatewebsite.co.uk
Creamy milk chocolate
Free UK delivery

3). Use numbers

Tests have shown that numbers are a fantastic way of bringing attention to your adverts. Include numbers relating to quantities, savings, discounts, improvements and anything else you can think of.

4). Ask questions

Asking a question to the searcher engages them and can draw more attention to your advert. For example, instead of saying “buy dark chocolate” try “do you want to buy dark chocolate?”.

5). Capitalise the start of words

Capitalise the start of words to make them stand out and get noticed more. You can either capitalise the headline only or all of the text including the two description lines underneath.

6). Use negative keywords

When you’re on your keyword list, click “Details” and then “All” under “SEARCH TERMS”. This will show you exactly what people have searched for to find and click your advert. If you notice any keywords which aren’t relevant to your product or service, simply add them to your campaign as NEGATIVE keywords, and if a user includes this word in their search, your advert won’t be displayed.

One good example of this is the use of “jobs” in service-based searches. For example, if you’re selling an telemarketing service, you want your advert to appear for “telemarketing” but you don’t want to waste clicks on people searching for “telemarketing jobs”.

7). Tightly focus your ads

Use campaigns and ad groups to make your ads as relevant as possible to your keywords. If you have a product or service which goes by a few different names, then create an ad group for each name with adverts and keywords tailored to each one.

8). Use your USPs

Tell searchers why they should use you by explaining your unique selling points in your adverts. Good examples include free delivery, same-day dispatch, free estimates and anything else which makes you stand out over your competitors.

9). Use ad extensions

Adding advert extensions can increase the amount of space your advert occupies, thereby making it more noticeable. Ad extensions can also improve the usability of your advert by helping searchers find what they need in a more efficient manner. For example, you can include your telephone number and site links within your advert.

10). Split-test!

Always split-test your adverts. Run at least 2-3 different adverts in every ad group and compare their CTRs to find one which one performs the best. If you keep doing this, with subtle changes to each advert, then you can slowly but surely push the click-through rate higher and higher. Many of the tips in this article present easy ways to split-test alternative versions of your adverts.

However, remember that a higher CTR doesn’t always mean more sales

I could create an advert which says “OH MY GOD LOOK AT THIS!” which would probably get a lot of clicks due to sheer curiosity. However, this doesn’t mean that the clicks will be targeted visitors who are interested in my products or services.

When each click costs money, you have to look at quantity AND quality to strike that perfect balance. Make sure your advert brings in as many clicks as possible, but also make sure that your advert screens every potential visitor, so they know exactly what they’re going to see when they visit your site. This increases the likelihood of bringing in target prospects who will be interested in buying your products or services.

One good example of this which I spotted a while back involved high-end kitchen refurbishments. The advert actually stated “from £10,000”. At first, this may seem like Adwords suicide, but whilst it may reduce the overall number of clicks from the advert, at least the owner will know that every visitor who has clicked the advert is willing to pay at least £10,000 for a kitchen refurbishment. This avoids any clicks being wasted on people who are only willing to pay a much smaller amount.

Whilst I can’t say how successful this Adwords campaign was in-terms of sales, it’s certainly a technique worth exploring to make sure that your website visitors are the right kind of visitors you’re looking for.

Check back for more Adwords improvement tips coming soon.


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Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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Scott here.

I’d like to wish all of my website visitors and clients a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Let’s hope that 2014 is the most profitable year yet!

As always, I’ll be sharing free copywriting tips and advice on this blog throughout next year and beyond, so feel free to check back for some great new ways to increase your business sales.

I’ll also be launching some new services focused on increasing your business sales which require absolutely no up-front or lump sum payment, so pop back for that too.

I’ll be in my office for at least a few days between Christmas and New Year, so feel free to send me a message if you would like any free advice or a quote for copywriting. However, if I don’t speak to you before then, have a great time!

Regards,

Scott Chapman
Chapman Copywriting


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Try this simple trick to help your bullet points draw in more sales

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A lot of people assume that bullet points are the king of easy-to-read content. After all, why create big paragraphs of text when you can simply add snippets of information to a list?

Whilst bullet points are highly useful in certain circumstances, they can actually be overused to the point where they cause more harm than good. Big, long lists of bullet points can end up being more difficult to read than normal paragraphs and cause readers to zone out or skim read over important points.

If you have a big list, turn it into a mini-list

Let’s take this example of a bullet point list about a widget delivery company:

• Free UK delivery on all orders
• Upgrade to special delivery for only £2
• Same day dispatch if you order before 2am
• First class customer service if you have any issues with your order
• Choose any colour, shape or size widget
• Some of the UK’s best prices to help you save money
• A full 30 day money back guarantee on all orders
• Bundle your widget with added features from our site

Now lets break it up into smaller lists with a simple break:

• Free UK delivery on all orders
• Upgrade to special delivery for only £2
• Same day dispatch if you order before 2am
• First class customer service if you have any issues with your order

• Choose any colour, shape or size widget
• Some of the UK’s best prices to help you save money
• A full 30 day money back guarantee on all orders
• Bundle your widget with added features from our site

Why this works

Tests have shown that the eye is instinctively drawn to the start and end of bullet point lists. Prospects are actually more likely to read the first bullet point and the last one before they read any points in-between. You may have even noticed this when reading the above list.

By splitting a list up, you create more of these focal points within the list, allowing more of the bullet points to be readily absorbed in bite-size chunks.

Smaller lists also look less daunting to read. A prospect is more likely to read a section of 4 or 5 bullet points than a long list of 9 or 10.

Is it really that important?

It might seem like a very simple trick, but it could easily draw a prospect’s attention towards a key selling point of your business which keeps their interest peaked when they would have otherwise left the page.

Sales conversion is a fickle old game, and you never know, it might just draw a prospect’s attention to one key feature of your product or service which nudges your business ahead of your competitors. Not bad for a 5 second fix, is it?

 


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Does leaflet marketing work?

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I get asked this question a lot, and whilst I’m not one to usually blow my own trumpet, I find that this testimonial from one of my recent clients sums it up nicely:

 

“After a couple of failed attempts at designing and writing my own leaflets I decided to hire a professional. From the very start Scott was informative, understood my needs and provided exceptional advice on design features and copy to include.

Most importantly, the leaflets he designed provided an immediate return on investment. In the first week I recouped all the money spent on the campaign (including design, printing and distribution) and the lifetime value of the clients acquired will mean a ROI in the 100’s of %.

I would fully recommend Scott to any company looking to improve conversion rates from their leafleting campaigns and get great advice on what they were doing wrong before.

Jake Lawrance, Director, Endurra Fitness

 

However, despite a lot of clear evidence that leaflet marketing can work very well, people are still uncertain. I tend to find that this is more to do with the method of application instead of the application itself. Leaflet marketing can bring in a lot of sales, but if it’s done incorrectly, it can fail to bring in a single customer or client.

What I included in Jake’s leaflet to make sure his leaflet campaign was a success:

You might be wondering what you need to do and what you need to avoid for a successful leaflet campaign which ramps up your sales. There is an awful lot (if it was easy everyone would be doing it), but if I were to condense it into a few key points, it would be as follows:

1). Use a big, bold headline which will grab the attention of the type of people who will buy your product or service (never use your business name as a headline).

2). Clearly explain what you’re selling within the first few sentences.

3). Clearly explain the benefits of what you’re selling and remember that people ALWAYS buy based on emotion over logic.

4). Tell them why they should buy it and why it’s so beneficial to them.

5). Include a clear call-to-action and contact details.

6). A time-sensitive offer isn’t essential, but it helps.

7). Spend more time on the content than anything else as it completely dictates how successful the response will be.

So the answer to ‘does leaflet marketing work?’ is a big YES, and if you can tick off all of these points when creating your next leaflet, then you’re far more likely to have a successful leafleting campaign which gets your phone ringing.


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Posted in Copywriting, Marketing | Leave a comment

 

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