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Complete Instagram Marketing Guide

Are you using Instagram as part of your marketing strategy? Do you want to, but are not sure where to start? Instagram is a social media platform that I've only dabbled in, but have been intrigued to see how other businesses are using it to promote their businesses. In my endless search for new ideas, I stumbled across this useful post on Social Media Examiner that provides links out to the most useful Instagram marketing information on the web. If you're interested and want to learn more, follow the link below. Your Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing    

Unless you’re living search engine optimisation night and day you probably can’t answer that question in any depth. The worrying thing is that a lot of “SEO experts” don’t seem to want (or be able to) answer it either. That makes is a tad difficult for you to sift out the good from the bad. Of course, one tip there would be to never respond to the small avalanche of SEO spam emails you get every day. So, what should your SEO be doing for you? Well, their job is to get your website visible, appearing in relevant search results. Note I used the word “relevant” – there’s no point in having top rankings for keywords that won’t bring in the customers. The things you’re looking for, from the top down, are: Improving your URL structure Your URL is the web address of your web page. For example, it ...

OK you’ve heard it all before. Content is vital to the success of your online marketing strategy. Is it though, or is it just one of those things marketers and copywriters tell you to drum up business? Yes, it is important because it gets you in the search results so this happens: Joe enters “wooden dog kennels” into Google The search results show an article you’ve written about what to look for when buying a dog kennel Joe is impressed with your knowledge and looks at your profile He likes what he sees and follows the link to your website He reads about your services and takes a look at your About page Joe is convinced yours is the company he wants to deal with and gets in touch You see, when potential customers are “Googling” they normally aren’t ready to buy because they are just in the research phase. That’s why content – whether it’s blogs, articles or the content ...

You, like most of the other business owners in your field, began content marketing with the best intentions. At the start you were full of enthusiasm, but over time it’s become a chore and frequently finds itself at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. The problem isn’t that you don’t have anything to write about, it’s that you’re not seeing the results you want. You put this down to the fact that your customers don't want to read content, but it’s more to do with the fact that you’ve made at least one of the most common content marketing mistakes. Titles A common statistic that’s bandied about is that 8 out of 10 people read titles/headlines, but only 2 out of 10 actually read the full article. That would suggest all your time should be put into your headline. Whilst I agree that ...

What is it? Is it the headline? Perhaps the first paragraph? How about your offer? Or, maybe it's your call to action? No, hang on, what about the font and design that you use? What about the sign up form? If you listen to the copywriting great, David Ogilvy, he'll tell you that: "On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar." OK, so the answer is your headline is the most important part of your landing page. Actually, no, that's not the answer. In simple terms there is no single element on a landing page that's more important. You need a strong headline to get people to read on. Your content needs to be strong if you want to keep them reading. Your call to action has to be compelling if you want them to sign up. Your sign up form has to ...

Repurpose Your Content to Keep Up With Demand

This one's short and sweet so won't take up a lot of your time. Having a break from work is great, but it normally has a knock on effect. At the end of last year you had good intentions of making sure your content schedule would be ready and raring to go at the beginning of January. The only problem is all the good intentions took a back seat and now you’re faced with an empty content calendar. Before you break out in a cold sweat, take a look through your archives. You’ll be surprised how much great quality stuff you’ve already got. All you have to do is find new ways of presenting the information. Old presentations can be turned into articles White papers can be serialised into blog posts Long articles can be broken down A collection of blogs can be turned into an eBook Old blog posts ...

Who are the scanners? They are people like you and me that read stuff on the web. Selling face-to-face is easy. Your potential customer is in front of you and you can use intonation, volume, pausing and the tone of your voice to catch their attention and get your point across. When you are trying to sell on the web you don't have those luxuries; all you have are words and how you write them. You see, when a guy (let’s call him Joe) lands on your website, he doesn’t settle down to read your copy word for word. Instead he skims and scans the text to try to pick out something that will grab his attention. That’s why the primary aim of your content is to interest the reader enough to pull them in and keep them hooked; in other words, and I’ve already said ...

I've spent many hours writing about the importance of clarity in your copy. Not only that, but I have had many conversations with clients explaining to them why I will be writing their content in simple language and steering clear of the technical jargon they are so fond of. The mistake most businesses make is that they write in a style they understand. The problem is a lot of the people who will be reading their marketing don't have the same level of understanding of their industry and, considering they are the ones who will be doing the buying, its essential what they read is written in simple language that clearly outlines what you (the business) can do for them. Here's a video from Matt Cutts of Google who backs me up.   Remember, write with minimal jargon and if you have to use it, make sure you explain the ...

The Ultimate Blogging Blog

No, I'm not going to lecture you on the importance of blogging because you already know why it's crucial to the success of your business. The problem is, although you understand why, you're so busy running your business and dealing with your customers you don't have time to generate the amount of content you need because it takes so long to write. You would think writing a blog is the easiest thing in the world to do, but even if you have a great idea for an article the chances are your mind will go blank as soon as you sit down and write. Not only that, you'll be so hung up on it being perfect you'll end up writing and re-writing until you reach the point that you get so frustrated you give up. The thing is, writing blogs isn't that hard. The more you do, the easier it becomes so it's important you ...

You did it! After a lot of time and money your corporate video is finally finished. The Board are thrilled with it, but now you have to make sure your brainchild works hard and brings in customers. Your initial thoughts are probably to get it loaded up to YouTube, get it on your website and optimise it for SEO (search engine optimisation) to grab a bit of traffic. That’s a start, but there’s so much more you could be doing to get a better return on your investment. Website Yes, you’ve put in on your website, but why only use it once? For arguments sake, let’s say it's a video demonstrating your new product. Don’t just hide it away on your product pages, put it on your home page too to highlight your latest offering. It goes without saying you have a blog (how else will you build your brand identity?), so write an article about it and ...

The Triple Threat of Copywriting

You’ve heard of triple threat in the entertainment world, right? If you haven’t it relates to a performer that excels in all three skills of acting, singing and dancing. So what is the triple threat in the sphere of copywriting? Basically, if you want to excel at copywriting your writing must: Engage Educate Persuade Engage A lot’s been written about creating copy that engages. It’s not one of the easiest things in the world to pull off, just ask any one of the millions of failed authors out there. If you want people to read your stuff you must engage with them. Just as a top flight author will adopt a style that draws you in, defining their characters in such a way as to make you care about what happens to them, it’s your job to write about the product or service you're trying to sell in a ...

Is that really a surprise? OK, granted the fact that it’s the UK that’s to hit this milestone first might be a surprise, but the fact that digital marketing and online media is commanding such a high percentage of annual spend isn’t. The research, carried out by GroupM (as reported in The Drum), shows that in 2015 £1 of every £2 spent on advertising in the UK will go to digital and online media. So what’s caused this surge? According to Adam Smith of GroupM, it’s down to the British embracing smartphone use: “The British are the most enthusiastic online shoppers in the world in terms of spend per head. And there has always been a high level of credit and debit card use [online]. On top of that Britons have rapidly embraced smartphone and tablet use, all of which has fuelled where ...

One Powerful Reason Why You Should Use Google+

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – you’re already battling to stay on top of your Twitter and Facebook feeds, how on earth are you supposed to maintain a Google+ account too? It’s one of those platforms that, on the face of it doesn't seem to have done much. Having said that it gives you the power to grow communities, keep track of people by placing them in circles and it is a great social media driver for your communications and information-rich content. There’s something else too; something that can really make a difference and raise your profile to stellar heights. Want to know what it is? Yeah, got your interest now, haven’t I? OK, I’ll tell you. Hangouts. That’s right. No other social media platform can do this. Using the hangout feature, you can give your business a human face. Its video conferencing that’s free (up to 10 participants), ...

You hear it all the time. If you want stand out from your competition you’ve got to have a unique selling point – a point of difference that no other company can offer. The problem is if you sell widgets, the chances are your widgets are very similar to those that your competitors sell. Sure, you might offer a few different gimmicks, but unless they are revolutionary there’s not a lot to distinguish your product from the one sold by the guys down the road. Before you hang your head in despair, all is not lost. All you have to do is look at things differently because there is something that makes you stand out from everyone else. Know what it is? It’s you. Your company runs in a unique way. Your values are very different from your competitors. So stop wasting time trying to compete on price, or trying to convince your customers that your ...

Have you ever wondered what a copywriter actually does? Obviously they write, but there’s a bit more to it than that. The interview Before any words can be written the copywriter must meet with the client. Face to face is ideal, but geography can sometimes throw a spanner in the works there, so telephone, Skype or email is the next best thing. Although she will have plenty of questions to ask, the main thing that will happen at this stage is listening. One of the most important qualities your copywriter has is being a good listener. Not only will she be listening out for details about your business, produces/services, customers and aims, but she’ll also be listening to how you speak. This will give valuable clues as to what the right tone of voice will be (how the writing sounds when it’s read) right for the project. Back at the office Unless further meetings are needed ...

5 Steps to Stellar Copywriting

You know what it’s like. You’ve spent hours creating copy for your latest project, the deadline is looming and you quickly finish it, compose a covering email and then hit send. Was it really your best work? Does the headline really stand out? Have you really given the reader what they want? The answer is in the return email you get from your client – no. Not only do you have to be a great communicator to be a great copywriter, you also need to know how to effectively evaluate and edit your work before your client sees it. Let’s take a look at 5 steps you can take to make sure (or as far as possible) your copy is smoking hot. Keywords and phrases I0f it’s SEO copy you’ve been working on, you must make sure you’ve exploited all opportunities for using your keywords (and associated synonyms), ...

Maximising Your Email Marketing Open Rate

Email marketing remains one of the most popular forms of marketing. When things get a bit slack, it doesn’t take long to put something together and send it out to the thousands of opt-in contacts in your customer database. The only problem is most industries have an average open rate in the low 20 per cents and a click through rate that barely scrapes 4 per cent. Even if you hit those averages, it doesn’t matter how big your list is, your not really being effective. There are numerous articles out there that claim to have the magic formula to higher open rates, but there’s nothing magic about email marketing. All you need to do is be yourself. 1. Be you Even though you want your customers to buy from your company, it’s you they are really dealing with. That’s why you should always write like a human. Even if you are in the B2B ...

Are you a small business owner? Are you looking to build your business online through content marketing (a horrible term, but one I’ll stick with for the purpose of this blog)? Are you currently looking for a copywriter to create the blogs and articles for you? Stop right there. The sole purpose behind content creation is to position yourself as the “go to” person in your field – to become a thought leader. I appreciate that you’re a busy person and there are never enough hours in the day – blaa, blaa, blaa – but how can you be seen as a thought leader if your thoughts aren’t the ones people are reading? Making a connection You’re right, time is a huge issue for you and yes, if you’re not used to it, sitting down and writing an article or blog can take a while, but ...

Create a story. How many times have you heard that when it comes to coming up with new marketing ideas? As usual it’s one of those things that you hear, nod because it makes sense, but when it comes to actually putting it into practice your mind goes blank. One of the masters of this is John Lewis. Once again their Christmas advert tugs at our heartstrings as the little boy realises his penguin needs a companion. Well, rather than me tell you about it, take a minute or two to watch the story. Why do stories work? You’ve been exposed to stories all your life. For centuries people have listened and told stories so it stands to reason they are one of the most powerful communication tools you have. They are a great way to get your personal brand out there. Think about how you started in business. There has to be ...

How Good is Your Social Media Privacy?

You use social media all the time, whether for work or for personal use, so are you concerned about your online privacy? Checking your privacy settings is essential, so I was really pleased to come across a post on Social Media Examiner that takes you through the basics. Here is a summary of what they say:   Facebook Facebook is the most popular social media website, topping 1 billion active monthly users. There are three places to set privacy on Facebook: the Privacy tab, and your profile and photo settings. Facebook Privacy Tab Go to the Privacy Settings and Tools tab by clicking the lock icon on the upper right. First, change the default setting on your posts under “Who can see my stuff?” You can share things with Public (anyone on or off of Facebook) or with Friends. You can also do a custom ...

The marketing trigger that will increase your sales Marketing – you can’t run a business without it. Whether you’re a social media fanatic, blogging hero, content writer extraordinaire, or a wizard at email marketing there’s one thing you must do in order to get your customers to buy. Finding out what interests your customers is vital if you want them to take notice of the constant stream of messages you’re putting out. So what is it? What is the mystery thing that all your customers want to know about? What is it that really interests them? The answer is simple; the answer is they’re interested in themselves. That’s right – they don’t care about your business, where your premises are, whether you’re the market leader (everyone says that), or a great innovator (yawn), all they want to know is how you are going to help them. How selfish! You’ve spent years building up your business. You’ve weathered economic downturns, fluctuations ...

I have never encouraged anyone to write about their own business. The quality of the marketing collateral you produce is key to your business’s success. I know you’re sitting there reading this thinking yeah, right. You would say that, you’re a copywriter. Granted, that’s partly the reason because if I encouraged you all to write your own stuff I’d be out of a job, but that’s only a teeny-weeny part of my motivation. Something strange happens when you run a business – you become knowledgeable. After a while you have come across just about every scenario you can think of, the information you have amassed is stifling your objectivity and you start to communicate less effectively. No, really, you do. Because everything about your business is like second nature to you, you begin to assume a certain level of knowledge in your audience. As a result ...

8 Sure-fire Ways to Out-Tweet Your Competition

The gloves are off. You’re tweeting like you’ve never tweeted before to make sure everyone knows you, what you do and what you can do for them. But are you being listened to? Are you standing out in their Twitter feed? Are they reading your tweets? I won't bore you about how amazing Twitter is for business ‘cause you already know that, but it’s important to keep up with the best ways to make an impact. Here are 8 smoking hot ways to make sure your tweets are seen. 1. Lists Are you using Twitter’s list feature? No? OK, let me ask you this – when you do your email marketing, do you segregate your mailing list? Of course you do, because that’s how you make sure the right message gets to the right people. You can use Twitter lists to do exactly the same thing. Once you’ve created your lists you ...

How to Write a Sales Letter That Wins Every Time

OK, let’s start at the beginning. The title of this piece is a wee bit misleading because there is no single formula that will ensure every sales letter you write will be a success. So why did I start off with a big fat lie? Because I think it’s important for you to understand that. Yes, you started reading this in the hope you were going to get a free template for the world’s best sales letter, but you must understand that the success of your mailing is going to depend on: Your audience How they are feeling on the day they get your letter Your offer The time of year Their journey into work that day… You see it’s not all about your sales letter, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. Although there’s no winning formula, there are some tried and tested tactics you ...

Things Not to Do With Your YouTube Marketing

Video marketing? Yes, you know it’s something that should be part of your marketing strategy, you’ve read all the blogs that tell you so, but do you know why you should be doing it? First off, Google owns YouTube. Secondly, it’s the second largest search engine on the internet (Google is obviously the biggest). These are two very compelling reasons for using it as part of your marketing. Not to mention that more and more people look for videos to help them research products or do everyday things. Sold on the idea? Great, but don’t charge in half-cocked otherwise you could fall flat on your face. You see using YouTube isn’t as straightforward as it would seem. Granted, the actual usability of the platform is very easy, one of the reasons why it’s also easy to get it wrong.   What not to do with ...

What Exactly is “Tone of Voice”?

Tone of voice is one of those terms you hear bandied about by marketers and copywriters, but what does it really mean? How can a piece of writing have a voice? It doesn't make sense...or does it? For a moment I want you to think about your marketing writing, or copy. What does it do? You probably think "well, it sells." OK, to a certain extent that's true, but it does more than just sell. Take a look at your website. Now put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. They don't know anything about you, so why should they buy from you? Because your website tells them to? No. They will only buy from you if they: Like your product Like the price Like you That last one is the most important one. They have to like and trust you before they'll buy from you. If they were stood in front of you, it would be easy. You'd greet them with a warm smile, ...

Don't you just love email marketing? No stamps, no paper and no ink costs - just instant sales messages that can reach thousands of people in an instant. The only problem is, because it's so easy, you have a tendency to jump in without thinking. Don't worry, I'm not just singling you out, most businesses do exactly the same. You see, email marketing has developed a bad name over the years. Your in box is probably a good illustration of why. How many spam emails do you have to delete every morning? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? There lies the problem - because email marketing is so easy, companies send them out blindly without thinking about the recipient. Who are you emailing? I'm going to pause there for a moment and consider the person who's in box your email lands. Why did you send it to them? Have they opted in to your ...

The Reasons Why Spam Emails Fail

This blog first appeared on our sister site, Freelance Copywriter's Blog, however we wanted to share it with you too.   You may think it rather odd that I’m writing about the failure rate of spam emails. Well, the reason for my madness is that you can learn a lot from the spammers about how not to do email marketing. When you send out emails to potential clients, do you think carefully about your subject lines, presentation and content before hitting send? I’m not going to go into detail about how to make your email marketing work, if you follow that link you’ll find a post that tells you all about that, instead I want to take an example of a spam email and highlight the areas the sender has got wrong. You see if you get the same areas wrong your emails could end up looking like spam and that’s something ...

The Hidden Value of Your About Us Page

You already know that the most effective website copywriting is completely focused on the reader. It should talk about them, tell them how you can help them and how their lives or business will be improved when they become a customer of yours. Although that is widely regarded as the best approach, it leaves many companies frustrated. When do they get to talk about themsleves? After all, it's their website so there should be a place for them to shout about how amazing they are. For many, the About Us page is seen to be the place to launch into the "We are market leaders...." spiel, shouting from the rooftops about their amazing credentials. Granted, to a certain point that is what the About Us page is for. After all, it may not be the page on your website that gets the most traffic, but it is one that many people will check ...

Don’t Outsource Your Social Media Activities

What is social media about? Customer interaction, showing your human side and getting your thoughts out there for all to see. Did you notice that I used the word "your" in that sentence? If you get someone else to deal with your social media how can the comments be your thoughts and how can you react quickly to your followers and fans? Social media = relationships At the risk of repeating myself, social media is about building relationships with people. It's not a direct sales channel. The only way you can build those relationships is by interacting with people. That means you need to be there, monitoring your social media channels so you can respond in an appropriate and timely manner. If you outsource, it's a but like going out on a date but sending someone else in your place because you'd rather stay in and watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey. You probably think it's going ...