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A call to action is essential if your marketing is to be successful. Without it there's a very good chance that your potential customer will wander off and go and buy elsewhere. Why? It's essential you tell your customer what you want them to do. You've just spent ages crafting fantastic content that outlines the benefits they'll receive by using your product or service, so don't let them disappear. Tell them to get in touch with you, to buy or to sign up for your newsletter. The most common call to actions are the simple "Buy now" or "Learn more" buttons, but are they the most effective? You see them everywhere so you probably think it is, but you'd be wrong. Even the tech giant Dell used "Learn more", that is until recently. The problem Dell had was that the people browsing their ...

Stop Trying to Sell Through Your Marketing

SELL! SELL! SELL! You know what? I hate it when companies try to sell me stuff. Whether it's over the phone, through the mail or via email, their constant "buy from us because we're really great" gets really boring. When will they learn that I'm not going to buy something just because they tell me I should. Am I alone in this, or does it rile you too? According to research carried out by Neilsen I'm not alone. Less than 50% of customers trust any form of advertising. That's not great news for business owners because it means all that pushing and over-promoting you've been doing isn't effective. Want to know why? It's because consumers want more; they want you to provide them with information, tips and advice and then, and only then, will they consider you as a potential supplier for what they're looking for because marketing ...

The Rise of The Selfie [Infographic]

The Selfie is fast becoming a popular form of marketing for companies. What began as a harmless bit of fun, taking a snap shot of yourself in an interesting (or not so interesting) place, has turned into something exploited by celebrities to grab a few extra headlines and now, something that's being adopted by businesses to boost their marketing strategies. I came across this infographic on Slideshare, created by Unmetric for The Shorty Awards, which gives a brief overview of the increased use of the selfie in business. "Year of the Selfie" [INFOGRAPHIC] from Unmetric

Are there any tricks to email marketing? In a word, no. Of course, great copy, design and images will all help your email get opened, read and actioned, but there are no 'tricks' to success. The only way to get results is to avoid dodgy practices. How to lose subscribers If you want to lose subscribers hand over fist there are a couple of practices I can recommend. 1. Sleight of subject line You want to make sure your emails get opened, so it's tempting to dabble in the dark arts. The dark art I'm alluding to here is using a subject line that will tempt your recipients to open your email. You may not think there's anything wrong with that and, assuming it relates to the content of your email, you'd be right. But the problems start when it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the email's ...

I've lost count of the number of times I've written about how to create copy that gets ranked. Time and time again I've shouted about natural copy and why the phrase 'keyword density' should never be uttered in public again. That's why I jumped for joy when I came across this infographic on ContentVerve.com. It neatly sums up how SEO copywriting should be in today's online environment. Take a look at the 13 tips is contains and give your online copy a visibility boost.

Writing Copy is a Lot Like Alpine Cycling

  Really? Trust me, after having spent the last 10 days cycling in the French Alps, I am well qualified to make that judgement. There’s nothing like cycling for hours on end up hill to clear your mind. One climb in particular, Col de Rosalend (a super category climb of 20km), reminded me of what I go through every time I take on a new copywriting project. Surrounded by stunning scenery, it doesn’t take long for your mind to be cleared of all those annoying things that have been bugging you for days. That is stage 1 of creating great copy. Stage 1 When you begin a project its important you forget who you are. The writing you create has to represent your client. There’s no room for your personality. It’s your job to forget who you are and how you would phrase things, and take on the persona of your client. That’s why its important to meet ...

Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed

The best way to get your business noticed is to blog. Writing about your niche not only demonstrates your knowledge, positioning you as an expert in your field, it also gives added value to your customers. The only problem is that’s not the best-kept secret in the world, which means that everyone is doing it. Because everyone is doing it, it can be a real challenge to make your voice heard above everyone else’s. How do you make sure your blog posts stand out and don't just disappear into the background? Variety is the spice of blogging Can it really be that simple? Yes. If you churn out the same old same old week after week, your readers will get bored and wonder off to find something a bit more exciting. Although text-heavy blog posts (like this one) are great for getting information across, they don’t suit ...

Yes, being a copywriter I'm slightly biased on this one and, if pushed, would have to say it's the copy on your website, but that's not what this post is about. That's right, I'm not going to talk about copywriting. The one thing that makes a website successful is the one thing that's constantly over looked. Thousands of websites are missing the point completely - they're trying to be pretty. Yes, I agree that an attractive website is going to make people stop and look, but if you want them to find you and buy from you there's a bit more to it than that. Function vs looks Too many businesses want their website's to look beautiful. Design is at the top of their must-have list, but often at the expense of its functionality. One of the biggest and most successful websites on the internet is Amazon. Is ...

The best marketing strategy your business can have is a varied one. Just publishing high quality content, although important, isn't enough. Your customers are all very different (even though they face common issues which bring them to you) and like to receive information in different ways. That's why the content you produce should be in a visual, audio and textual format. For the purposes of this post I want to look at video as part of your marketing strategy and in particular, explainer videos. What is an explainer video? It's basically what it says: a video that explains the benefits of a product, service. Google, as you know, loves video, so getting a video on your website, YouTube channel and social media platforms is going to be a very smart move. Here are a couple of examples. The first is one I produced for my business and the second is one I scripted for a client.

Before you turn pale, I’m not talking about a whole redesign. Yes, it’s great to have the most modern looking site with all the latest bells and whistles, but there are far cheaper ways of helping your website continue to perform well. Think of it like a cyber spring clean. 1. Take a look at your code OK, you may not be a techie, but that doesn’t mean you should over look your site’s coding. If necessary, get someone to help you on this one because it’s well worth the effort. A website with clean, organised code is a site that will load quickly and make the life of the search engines easier because it will be a synch to crawl. 2. Tags and descriptions You must be familiar with these because your SEO strategy will demand the constant tweaking of your title tags and META descriptions. Just in case you’re not up to speed with these little ...

How do you Engage People Through Copywriting?

You see it mentioned all the time - your writing must engage your reader if it is to do it's job properly. Great, but that doesn't tell you how to write it to make it engaging. Simplifying things, there are two main types of content: that which asks the reader to take an action (i.e. "buy now") and that which encourages them to interact with you (i.e. social sharing, blog commenting etc.) Both require engaging copy, but the latter is the one that gets conversations started. And it's conversations that lead to strong relationships. OK, that's great, but how do you write in an engaging way? How to create engaging copy that works Before you can master engaging copy, you have to know who your audience is and what they want. The idea behind generating content that will kick start a conversation is to give information that your audience is interested in, needs to know and will ...

Write With Creativity and Dare to be Different

It’s often said that it’s impossible to have an original thought. What do you think? Everything we hear, see and read has an effect on what we do. I remember writing a sick note for one of my boys many years ago. At the time I was studying for my OU degree, looking at the 19th century novel. The note I wrote could have some straight from the pages of Jayne Eyre. Without realising it, the style and voice of Jayne Eyre had wheedled its way into my subconscious. You’ve probably experienced it yourself at some point. Perhaps you’ve found yourself writing like a favourite author or speaking like a favourite actor? That’s why it’s so difficult to come up with an idea that is completely original. So where does that leave your marketing strategy? What follows in an excerpt from a blog I wrote last year that helps illustrate this point and how you can ...

Encourage More People to Read Your Blog

If your blog doesn’t get traffic, it’s just a space on the internet with a load of thoughts scribbled all over it. The power of blogging comes from the people who find, read and share your stuff, so how do you attract them? Here are a few ideas to get you started. 1. What are they looking for? People read blogs because they are looking for something. It could be information, ideas or inspiration. But whatever it is, if you can provide it, they’ll find you. Although that sounds obvious, there are a number of bloggers out there who insist on writing stuff about the things they’re interested in rather than what their readers want. That’s not to say there’s no room for personal blogs that are about random things, but if you’re using your blog to promote your business you must write about what ...

Make Your Offer Irresistible

Offers are what bring your customers flocking, but only if they hit the spot. How do you make sure that happens? Simple – you must understand your audience. These 7 tips will help you discover who your audience is and how you can make them buy. 7 ways to create a must-have offer 1. Audience You can’t create a winning offer if you don’t know whom you’re selling to. For example, if you wanted to sell washing machines you’ll have more luck aiming at homeowners, newly weds and families than teenagers. Make sure you do your homework and work out who you are selling to, what challenges they face and what they really, really want. 2. Your offer’s value I’m not talking about the cost to you, but its perceived value in the eyes of your customer. They’ll only be tempted if they believe its value to ...

Creating Powerful Press Releases [Infographic]

How good are you at telling the world about your achievements? Press releases seem to be dying. Few companies use them to their full potential. Regardless of whether you want to use them on line or off, they can generate a huge amount of interest in your company and don't have to cost the earth to produce. Having said that, one of the main problems editors have with them is the vast number of poorly written releases. Common mistakes that create poor press releases The first thing to remember about press releases is that they are there to announce news. That seems to be the major stumbling block for many companies. Intent on selling, they create press releases that are really nothing more than a thinly veiled sales pitch. Editors aren’t daft, they will be able to spot that a mile off and the press release will end up in the bin. Another problem is that they are frequently ...

9 Steps to Powerful Copywriting

Writing is the easiest thing in the world, isn’t it? You’ve been doing it since before primary school. Your skills have developed from the scribbles and lines your mum swore blind was your name to lengthy essays about the fermentation of yeast. It’s something you do every single day so writing for your business can’t be that hard. Really, you think? In that case why is no one finding your website, no one ringing you and no one responding to your ads? The problem is you, and many others like you, splurge your thoughts onto a Word document, give it a quick scan and then publish it. Big mistake. You haven’t written anything. All you’ve done is put a few random thoughts in a document along with a scattering of connecting words to create paragraphs of text. That’s only the first stage of creating copy; that's the ...

How many times have you been roped in to trying something new? It could be a new sport, event, food or hobby. Sometimes you hit it right and love it; sometimes it turns out to be the worst decision you’ve ever made. As a keen cyclist, I was ‘talked’ into trying my hand at crit racing (closed circuit racing). I only started cycling in 2012 and since then have mainly done sportives and endurance riding like the 300 mile in 24 hour challenge I completed at the end of last year, cycling from Newcastle to London. I love that type of challenge and get a real buzz from it. If you’ve ever watched professional cycling you would have noticed that the vast majority of participants are men (same for sportives), so with our club’s growing female membership it was decided it would be ...

“Ah, it’s great you’ve found yourself a nice little job.” Argh! That’s the type of comment I had to deal with all the time when I set up my copywriting business 7 years ago. Yes, I was mum to two small boys (now mum to two hulking great teenagers) at the time and yes, I wanted to work but it had to be something that allowed me to stay at home and care for my family too. It makes my blood boil though when men (sorry guys, but the comments were always from men) think that just because I’m a mum who refuses to compromise on the care of my family, I’m not serious about running a business. In their defence, there are a lot of women out there who run ‘lifestyle’ businesses. They love attending networking events – several a week – because it makes them feel part of a business community (sorry if ...

At every stage of your life you’ll have a hero. I’ve flitted from Hartley Hare (Pipkins) to the Banana Splits, to Duran Duran and all manner of movie stars I shan’t bore you with. You want to be like them…no scrap that…you want to be them. You want their lives, their personalities; you want to look like them. Why do you get so infatuated? Perhaps because you think their lives, in some way, are better than yours? Perhaps on the surface they are. Their bank balance is undoubtedly bigger, they probably go to better parties, but would you really want to live in a goldfish bowl like they do? It’s human nature to think the grass is always greener elsewhere, but if you stop and look hard enough, you might just realise that it’s not so bad where you are after all.  

Last night I watched the Channel 4 documentary “The Complainers”. No one’s impressed when things go wrong, so some of the reactions of the people on the programme were understandable (although I do have an issue with the guy who was a professional complainer who’s sole aim was to get compensation from every company possible), but what was more interesting was how they were dealt with by the companies. Last night’s focus was on utility companies, one of which was the energy giant E.ON. Channel 4 was given exclusive access to E.ON’s customer service centre to show how they deal with some of their most challenging customers.  It wasn’t the massive customer service team that caught my eye; it was their social media team. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but they have a team of about 20 (forgive me if that’s wrong) customer service agents just to monitor their social media channels. Every ...

How much thought did you put into naming your company? It’s not something I’ve really considered before, but a recent question on a Facebook group got me thinking. Everyone wants a name that’s memorable, but is that the only way to get your business noticed? I don’t think so. Granted, a catchy or clever name may stick in the mind, but surely your whole brand is more important? Brand versus name People may well remember a name if it’s quirky enough, but that doesn’t mean they’ll remember what the company does. Your brand will say a lot more about you. I’m not just talking about your logo or website and stationery design, I mean the whole shebang. Your brand incorporates the look, feel and ethos of your business. Let’s face it, I’m sure you’d rather your company was remembered for its exceptional service rather than it’s bizarre name. In my view, and feel free to disagree with me, the ...

    There’s no getting away from the importance of social media has on B2B marketing. I was intrigued to come across this infographic on Smart Insights from B2B Marketing and Circle Research. Following a survey of 288 client-side marketers they discovered: LinkedIn was the platform that generated the most revenue Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook came out as the top 3 platforms for brand awareness Most content (75%) is posted by the marketing team, followed by key experts and then the management team The main challenges associated with social media are ROI and the time involved I’d love to hear your comments on this. If you run a business, to you agree with their findings?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

How to Refresh Your Facebook Marketing

After your initial surge of enthusiasm, your Facebook marketing starts to take a slide. You used to get countless shares and likes for your posts and fans flooded through your virtual door. But something’s happened. Your posts are falling on deaf ears, your fan base has stagnated and you’ve not had a share in months. Why isn’t it working any more? Facebook marketing is difficult. You have to constantly engage your audience and provide them with loads of great content that they love. Being that brilliant all the time gradually wears away at you and before you know it you’ve slumped. How can you turn it around? Breathing life into your Facebook marketing There are several things you can do to get your Facebook mojo back. 1. Start at the beginning – ideas Facebook marketing needs lots of varied and engaging content. Try this: Brainstorm content ideas. Get as creative as ...

Why Time Limited Offers Work So Well

  You see them everywhere. “Offer ends Tuesday.” “Hurry, this offer is only available for 24 hours.” Why is the time limited offer so effective? In general your customers (and people in general) are procrastinators. If they can put off making a decision – especially one that involves spending money – they will. That’s why time limited offers are so great. Your customers are faced with countless decisions every day. They are stressed and tired, so if making a decision is going to take effort they won’t bother. But, if you ask them to make a ‘yes/no’ decision and make them do it quickly (i.e. because the offer is only available for a finite amount of time), the decision they make is more likely to be in your favour because they won’t want to miss out. How to make your time limited offer irresistible It takes more that just ...

Sales Letters That Sell

Sales letters have been around for a long time. The way they are constructed has changed very little and, being an off line form of marketing will remain that way. That said there are a lot of really bad sales letters out there. Many are inward facing – by that I mean they focus on what the company does rather than what the company will do for the customer. Let’s face it, people don't really care about your company (that is at least beyond whether you’re trustworthy or not), all they want to know is that you’re going to provide the solution to the problem they have. Getting the most from your sales letters The following 7 tips aren’t revolutionary, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but they are essential to make sure you get the most from your marketing. 1. Strong start If you ...

What’s Your Favourite New Word?

English is a language that's constantly evolving. Yes, you have the pedants in one corner that believe change is bad and that we should still be speaking ye olde English forever more and that grammar should never be fiddled with. But surely change should be embraced. After all, today's world is a whole lot smaller than it used to be. Our culture is being constantly influenced by others bringing with it changes in our language, outlook and society. And let's face it, Latin never evolved and look what happened to that - it died. Evolution has shaped (and continues to shape) the flora and fauna around us refining it to cope with its environment that's also constantly changing, so why should we be in uproar when our language evolves? Personally, I'm all for change. The language of days gone by is no longer suitable for today's world. I remember my parents telling me that ...

What’s the Number 1 Aim of Your Email Marketing?

If you’re dabbling in email marketing you must have an aim. What is it? If you just said, “to get my emails opened”, you’re only partly right. Getting your emails opened is part of it, but it’s way more important to get the reader to act on it. After all, getting your email opened alone won’t generate you any income. That means the copy within your email has to wow the reader and convince them to do what you’re asking them to do. Sound simple? Of course it’s not. If it were you wouldn’t be reading this. How do you go about creating an email that will make your reader act? For starters you can’t actually (remotely) make someone do something. Again, if you could you wouldn’t be reading this, but you can write something that will persuade them to consider it (if your ...

Marketing Your Marketing

This post first appeared on our sister blog, FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com, but we wanted to share it with you too. Everyone knows that content marketing is the way to go. With SEO becoming more social, it’s essential that businesses start to get great information out to their potential customers, to remain visible in the search results. But what do you do when it’s ‘out there’? Do you tweet a link and leave it at that? No, you must engage in smart marketing. It’s up to you to produce marketing that your customers want - useful information that builds trust and engagement. Shouting about what you’re doing through social media will help get that information out to a wider audience. You’ll know if you’ve hit it right because your followers and Facebook fans will then share it. Why? If your information is useful, relevant and valuable to them, then they will share it for you. This will get it out to ...

What is a Bad Sale?

Surely every sale is a good one, right? It means money in the bank, a (hopefully) happy customer and a bit more stock off your shelf. But not every sale you make is necessarily going to make you money. Confused? What if I were to mention the word 'coupon' or 'voucher'? Are you beginning to see now? These are great for the consumer because they get a stonkingly good deal. On the face of it they're good for you because you get more customers through  the door and more sales. But are they right kind of people and sales for your business? The science of selling I've already established that coupons bring people to you , but what sort of buyers are they? To be honest, they are unlikely to be the ones that will return to you again and again, wanting to build a relationship with you and ...

Benefits-led Copywriting

As a copywriter I'm always telling clients that the best copy focuses on the benefits of their product or service. Customers are only interested in what you can do for them. They don’t care about you, your company or even what you sell (apart from to make sure you're trustworthy). They just want to know how you’re going to make their life easier. But when it comes to writing the copy, focusing on the benefits is tricky. The first thing you have to work out is what the benefits are. Identifying your benefits When it comes to the features and specification of what you’re offering, you’ve got loads to write about, but the benefits? That’s a whole different ball game. Before you start writing you need to work out who is your ideal customer. Who are you writing for? If you could pick your ideal customer, what would they be like? Think about their age, occupation, likes and dislikes, ...