Entries from July 2011 ↓

Email Marketing Is For Life

Hmmm…that sounds rather scary. Email marketing is for life – but that doesn’t mean you have to do it forever and ever even once you’ve retired to your Caribbean island paradise (I can dream).

The ‘life’ I’m referring to is the life cycle of your customer.

Yes, it’s great to have regular newsletters or email offers that go out updating your customers of new products, great advice and the occasional not-to-missed offer. But it would be even better if they received emails that reflected their relationship with you.

Matching your email marketing to relationship status

To make your emails resonate with your customers it is essential you send timely targeted emails. By that I mean your emails should be tailored to the stage in your relationship you are at with your customers.

Some examples would be:

1. Welcome

Once someone has signed up for your newsletter or made their first purchase from you, send them a Welcome email.

It doesn’t have to be a long communication just something that welcomes them, tells them the type of emails they’ll receive from you and perhaps an introductory offer – perhaps offering 10% off for one day only.

2. Conversion

You are bound to have customers who receive your emails but don’t take any action. Perhaps they’ve only ever made one purchase from you and you need to tempt them back to buy again. They may never have bought from you.

If that’s the case this email needs to encourage them to open their wallets and buy. A great way to break down the barriers that’s preventing them from buying is by making them an offer they can’t refuse. Perhaps a buy one get one free, or 20% off your next order if made within a week.

By making your offer time limited you’ll encourage them to take action quickly.

3. Come back

On your mailing list you will have a lot of people who have gone cold on you.

They probably signed up a long time ago but have never made contact or bought anything.

Many companies spend a lot of time and effort attracting new customers but don’t lose sight of your existing customers.

The best way to tempt them back is a win back offer – tell them they are important to you and you want them back. Make them an offer they can’t refuse, something so tempting they’ll just have to buy.

As you can see, tailoring your email marketing campaigns to your customers is a great way of developing relationships and showing your customers they are important to you.

Standard emails are all well and good but by tailoring your communications to each individual type of customer you will strengthen your relationship with them.

Remember to look at your marketing list not as one entity but as several different types of people. Work out where each person is within their marketing relationship with you and send them emails accordingly.

That may sound like a lot of work but many email marketing systems these days offer you the flexibility of running these types of campaigns.

Give it a try.

Perhaps you’re already splitting your marketing like this. If so, leave a comment below and share your experiences. Do you find it works?

SEO Copywriting – How It’s Done

There’s a lot of great SEO copywriting out there but there’s a lot of bad stuff too.

Once upon a time it was considered that the only way to get your website to rank well was to create content that was purely targeted for the search engines. Inevitably, this resulted in a mountain of websites (and articles) that were stuffed to the rafters with keywords rendering the text unreadable.

Such as:

Brian is an SEO copywriter. He has been working with SEO clients for many years and excels in producing SEO copywriting that works. Through SEO copywriting he gains exceptional rankings for his clients. His SEO copywriting skills have been applauded the world over with his SEO clients the first to recommend his talents. “SEO is the way forward” said Brian, “SEO is what helps my clients get in front of their customers. Without SEO many didn’t get great online sales but now I have worked on their SEO copywriting they are getting more traffic.”


The sad thing is there are still a lot of people out there who think this works.

As more and more people realise that content marketing (articles, blogs and website copy) is the best way to get noticed, more and more badly written content is appearing.

If you want your content to get ranked and attract readers, here are a few things to bear in mind.

How to get your content read

1. Write for people

You may well be scratching your head thinking “Who else would I be writing for?”

Well most people, who generate content like the example above, don’t write for people. They are writing for the search engines by over stuffing their copy with keywords.

Writing for your reader is the most important thing. Naturally, you will include your keywords anyway so there’s no need to stuff them into every sentence you write.

2. Don’t be boring

When you try to boost the frequency of your keyword within your article you end up with something repetitive and boring. Plus if great rankings came solely down to the number of keywords you’d included you’ll end up in a ‘frequency war’ to see who can add the most. Therefore nothing that appeared on the web would be readable.

Therefore it is much better to keep your writing natural and concentrate on getting your keywords into other prominent on screen areas.

3. Maximising on screen SEO

To explain that last statement in number 2, the key on screen areas are in your headings (H1 and H2 etc.) and ALT tags for images.

Basically that means breaking down your article by using sub headings.

This not only gives more prominence to your keywords it also makes your article easier and more attractive to read.

Remember, the search engines will read every word of your articles but your reader will skim read and look at the sub headings.

4. Link out

Although you are trying to generate inbound links to your website through your content, it’s always a good idea to link out to other information.

After all, to create your article you would have probably done some research so why not link to it? Providing your reader with this extra information will add value and enhance your status as an expert in your field. And, with a bit of luck, might encourage more inbound links to your site.

5. Be natural

Last but not least, be natural.

As stated in number 1, you have to write for your reader first and foremost. But make sure the way you write is also accessible.

If you write in jargon and industry ‘speak’ you’ll reduce the accessibility of your work. Writing in simple language and in the second person (so you actually address your reader directly) will make it easier to read for everyone.

At the end of the day, natural copy will always do better than obvious SEO stuffing. Use simple language, plenty of sub headings and talk directly to your reader if you want to create content that ranks and is accessible to your reader.

Do You Know What Your Brand Is?

Do you understand what your brand is?

You do? Great, write it down as succinctly as you can.

Now you have your idea of what your brand is written down, let’s look at what a brand really is and see if you were right.

Knowing your brand

If you run a business you probably spent a huge amount of time thinking about your brand when you started out. That would have equated to spending hours with a graphic designer to come up with a cool-looking logo.

Once that was done, you’re next job was to find a web designer and begin work to create a funky website that had all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Your logo was inserted into the header and there you go, your business was launched.

Was that it?

You have a logo, you have a website and therefore you have a brand?

[Take a look at what you wrote down at the start of this post – did you say logo?]

It’s not necessarily that straight forward.

Your brand is a lot more than just your logo. Branding is all about colour, graphics, words, design, perception, and it’s about you.

Are your values shining through?

Let’s go back a step or two.

Before you even begin to think brands, you have to understand your business and its values and who your customers are and their needs. That’s a lot to get your head round but it is vital if you’re to position yourself correctly in the market.

If you don’t understand your customers how can you position yourself correctly to attract them?

After all you’re aiming your products and services at them so the way they are ‘packaged’ has to meet their needs and expectations.

This packaging includes:

– Your website copywriting and look
– Marketing materials
– Business cards
– Logo
– You

Surprised by the last one?

You shouldn’t be.

When in front of a potential customer, you are your business and your brand. If you don’t match the image your business portrays online (or through your literature) the disparity will be unnerving for your customer and give off mixed messages.

Let me elaborate – if your website projects a classic, well presented image and you turn up in jeans and a t-shirt your ‘brand’ won’t gel.

A consistent and well thought out brand will instil trust. If your website reflects your business’ values and activities through its words and design, your customer will instantly understand what you are offering them. It will give them an idea of how expensive you are likely to be, how open and approachable you are and whether you are a progressive company.

A fluid brand

Your brand will also be fluid.

If your business has been going for a few years I bet your customer base has changed. That means your brand must also reflect that change.

Therefore it is a good idea to revisit your brand every few years to ensure it is still giving a true picture of your business. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change your logo, although it may be something to think about if it no longer represents your business’ ethos.

This is me at the moment:




As you can see my marketing materials and website aren’t singing from the same hymn sheet anymore. Although my website has done me well over the past few years, my client base has moved on since it was designed.

Now I have to rethink my image and market position to align my brand with the market I am now working with.

It’s a scary process and, at times, uncomfortable. Take my logo for example. I am rather attached to it and want to keep it. My proposed new website design is far more contemporary than my present one and I feel it would sit well within it. Especially as my new site will be more ‘social’ (i.e. more focus on social media). After all, if you look at my logo it has the appearance of a social media ‘button’ – very forward thinking considering it was designed over 3 years ago!

Take a good look at yourself

Once you realise the complexity of your brand you can then start to work on your image and that of your business to project a uniform message.

Branding isn’t something that always gets the attention it deserves. In fact this post was prompted following a recent branding workshop I attended. As usual it’s not until someone else points these things out to you that you realise there’s a problem.

Branding is so much more than a logo.

Does your personal and company image gel or are you sending mixed messages? Please leave a comment and share your take on branding and how you arrived at the look you have for your business.

Are You Bored Of Marketing?

Every business has to do marketing in some form or another.

Large corporations have their own dedicated marketing departments who take care of everything leaving the big boss to concentrate on other more important things…like golf.

But what happens when you are small business or a one-man-band?

You are unlikely to have an enormous marketing budget so most of the work will probably fall on your shoulders.

All of sudden you have to be everything to everyone – you’re the Finance Director, Operations Director, Marketing Director etc. And, unless you happen to be a very rare breed of superhuman, you’re not going to be an expert in all of these fields.

Marketing melee

What do you think of when you think marketing?

The promotion of your business can take many forms:

  • Website
  • Brochures
  • Email marketing
  • Press releases
  • Case studies
  • Direct mail
  • Blogs and articles

And that’s just for starters. But what do you really know about each of those? Probably not a lot other than what you’ve read on blogs like this one.

The words that you use within your marketing materials are vital. Most people put graphics and images first not realising that it’s the words that will do the selling. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you hit the right tone. So to help inject some life and zest into your marketing materials it’s a great idea to find yourself a professional copywriter who can take the burden from you and create amazing copy that will really work.

Going it alone

If you decide to go it alone, marketing can seem an endless job. No sooner have you finally revamped your website copy you realise that your brochure is now out of date.

The launch of a new product or service means press releases, new website copy again, email marketing, perhaps even flyers.

Marketing is a constant merry-go-round.

So what happens when you wake up in the morning and really can’t face doing any marketing?

Do you just sit back and take the day off?

Although tempting, it’s unlikely to do your business any good. If you really can’t face it, be productive with your time and do something else; something that is equally important and that your customers demand.

Going the extra mile

Marketing will obviously get your message out into the marketplace and get your business noticed. But there is something else that your customers want that will really set you apart from your competitors.

What’s your customer service like?

Let’s go back to the morning when you wake up and really can’t face doing any marketing. Rather than nothing, invest some of your time in enhancing your customer service.

What do customers want? That’s easy to answer. You are a customer so think about what’s important to you.

When approaching a new company, their attention to detail is what will get them noticed over and above everyone else. You want a company that welcomes you, one that offers advice, one that isn’t pushy and one that has great after sales service.

So if you want to stand out that’s what you have to emulate.

Exceptional customer service

If you’re exceptional customers will come back again and again and recommend you to others (how about that for a marketing idea).

What do you do once a customer has bought from you? Do you wave them goodbye and hope they come back or do you keep in touch?

Whether you get their permission to send them your emails or newsletters, or send a ‘how are you?’ card, keeping in touch with them and sending them advice (as well as future offers) shows that you’re a company that cares about its customers and is willing to go that extra mile to ensure they are happy.

So the next time you really can’t face writing your marketing materials, take a break from them and review your customer service instead. Making small changes within your business (such as creating an advice sheet that can be handed out with every sale) can make a huge difference to your customers and their perception of you.

Let’s face it customer service and marketing go hand in hand. Make a great impression every time you interact with a customer and they’ll spread the word generating new business for you.

Do you use any innovative customer service techniques to drive business? If so why not leave a comment below and share them.

Social Media – To automate or not to automate, that is the question

Whenever I speak to people about social media, the question as to whether or not you should automate your activities usually divides opinion.

There are those who believe that social media should never be automated because, after all, it’s supposed to be a social activity.

And there are others who believe that, to be effective, you have to schedule updates so that there is a constant stream and therefore a constant presence.

My own personal view is that it shouldn’t be automated, or at least not all of it.

The key to social media

I’m about to make a bold and obvious statement: Social media is about being social.

So if you don’t like people then it isn’t going to be for you.

It’s all about listening, engaging and conversing. You can strike up a debate or offer help and advice. But if you automate it, you can’t be reactive because you’re not there.

Earlier I said not all your social media activities should be automated which would suggest that I’m not totally against it.

Normally when you see me tweet that means I am at my desk working and keeping an eye on the Twitterverse ready to drop in when something interesting pops up. But my blog posts automatically feed into my twitter account through RSS. Therefore when a new post is published an announcement is automatically sent out with a link to the post.

No one’s home

If you automate 90% of your tweets you can’t engage with others.

Just think about it for a moment. If you set up a load of tweets to be scheduled and one of your followers responds to one or asks a question, what impression of you will they have when you don’t reply?

I’m not saying that your followers will expect an instant reply but an acknowledgement within an hour or so would be welcome.

Some people also tend to schedule the same tweets over and over. Even if you vary between half a dozen or so, it’s going to get very repetitive and could lose you followers.

So I guess what I’m saying is, if you want to automate your social media activities keep it to a minimum.

To get the most out of it you need to listen and participate. Show your followers you are a real person and interested in what they have to say by engaging with them.

Have fun with it – after all it is meant to be social.

Have your say

How do you use social media?

Leave a comment and share your tips with us.

Sally Ormond – freelance copywriter, social media addict and blogger

Twitter – @sallyormond