April 4th, 2014 — Call to Action, website copywriter, website copywriting
Your call to action is a small, but vital element of your website copywriting.
Without it your customers will wander off in search of another site that has a call to action to direct them as to what to do next.
The simplest form is “Buy”, usually superimposed on a big red button so it can’t be missed. But is that the most effective call to action?
It would appear not.
Dell’s call to action
The computer giant, Dell, boosted their sales by a whopping $25 million by simply changing their call to action.
What did they do?
Well, on their website they were using the fairly standard “Learn more” call to action after the sales copy for their computers.
The only issue was that the people reading their website were already going to buy a computer, so the term “Learn more” wasn’t relevant to them.
However, what they did want to know was which computer it was they should be buying.
Bearing this in mind, Dell changed their call to action to “Help me choose”.
By switching to those three little words, Dell was using a call to action that actually gave their customers want they wanted – help in choosing the right computer for their needs.
What you can learn from Dell
Rather than using the standard call to action you always use, think about where your customers are in the buying process at the time they are reading your copy.
How far through the decision making process are they?
Are they still thinking about whether they need your product and want to “Learn more”?
Do they know they want your product, but are unsure of which model so they need a “Help me choose”?
Perhaps they have already made up their minds and are ready to “Buy now”.
Before you write a bog standard call to action, think carefully about the needs of your customers and choose your words carefully.
If your copy helps and supports them in their decision they are more likely to buy from you.
Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd, one of the UK’s leading copywriting services agencies.
April 2nd, 2014 — blog, blogging, blogging for business
As with everything, the more you blog the better you’ll get at it.
No one can become a world-class blogger over night. It takes time to hone your craft and find the perfect recipe for your audience.
But there are a few things you can do to help you on your way.
Below are 8 things you need to refine to create a strong and readable blog, whether you write all the posts on your own, or you have a team of contributors within your business.
1. Learn what your readers want
This is probably the most important thing you need to know.
When starting out, you’ll end up writing about all manner of things related to your particular niche. Over time, you’ll begin to understand exactly what it is your audience is looking for.
Check out your analytics to find the most popular titles and ask your readers directly. At the end of each post ask for their opinion. You can also ask if there is anything in particular they want to know about, generating further blog ideas.
2. Give a great mix
Your blog shouldn’t just consist of written blog posts.
Different people like to absorb information in different ways, so it’s important to offer a range of styles, such as:
Plus, make sure you incorporate at least one image to every post to help attract readers.
The headline of your blog is incredibly important. Your reader will make a split second decision about whether to read your post or not based on the attractiveness of its title.
Some of the most powerful headlines incorporate numbers (such as they one above), address the reader directly (using you and your, like the one above) and offer tips and advice showing them how to do something.
One of the best ways to make people feel at home on your blog is consistency. That is consistency in style, font, approach and design.
Again, it may take time to come up with a style that suits your readers (and your writing), but when you do, it’s a good idea to create a style guide for all future posts.
It’s very tempting to bash out a blog, publish it and then move on to the next task in hand. But reviewing what you write is essential, especially if you have blogs from contributors.
I’ve already mentioned the importance of consistency, well the review process will help you maintain that, check for errors and ensure that your tags are all in place.
You blog for one reason – to attract readers and, hopefully, push them towards your sales funnel.
But you’ll only attract them if they can find your blogs.
First you must find out what your target audience wants, then use the keyword in your title and content to help your optimisation. To go a step further, link to other blogs where appropriate and also to your website. Finally, make sure each post has social buttons to make it easy for your readers to share your information with their friends and colleagues.
The timing of your posts is also important. After all, there’s no point in scheduling them for publication at a time when your target audience is unlikely to see them.
Think carefully about your audience and post your blogs when they are most likely to be around.
There’s no point in writing anything if you’re not going to promote it. Yes, some people may stumble across your posts, but if you want to widen your readership you must also promote them.
Sent them out through your social media channels, email and make mention of them (and link them) in your internal communications and newsletters. Tell the world they are there and they are more likely to read them.
Each of these will get easier and clearer the more you blog. It’s like learning to walk, at the start you will take a few tumbles, but once you learn more about your audience and what they’re looking for, you’ll soon be running.
Author: Sally Ormond, MD at Briar Copywriting, lover of Pinot Grigio and toffee popcorn.
March 31st, 2014 — Content marketing
OK, before you run off for that well-earned coffee, this isn’t just ‘another one of those content strategy blogs’.
Well, yes, it’s about content marketing strategy, but it looks at where you’re going wrong. Yup, I hate to say it, but you are probably barking up the wrong tree right now.
Ask yourself something – why are you producing the content you are producing? How are you measuring its effectiveness? How do you decide what type of content to put out?
Head spinning yet?
If you don’t have a well thought out content marketing strategy, you won’t be able to get the right content in the right format out to the right audience at the right time. It’s as simple as that.
To summarise, you’re just producing content for the sake of it.
So what should your strategy look at?
Things to consider when creating your content strategy
One thing I have noticed (and I am guilty of it too) is that most of the content produced by companies is in the written form. It’s things like blogs, articles, reports, e-newsletters etc.
Granted, writing is a great way to get your information across, but it’s also time consuming to read and, let’s face it, a bit boring.
Think about your audience and what it is that they might like. Mix it up a bit with infographics, videos, animations and even music. This kind of content is very shareable (when done well) and will help widen your reach.
Talking of widening reach, how do you measure the success of your strategy?
Most companies look at web traffic as their main metric. After all, content is there to attract readers, so surely the best measurement is the amount of extra traffic it brings.
Traffic is great, but it doesn’t mean you will automatically sell more. If you plump for traffic volume as your prime metric all you’re doing is measuring an activity not results.
Far more effective forms of measurement are:
- Sales lead quality and quantity
- Direct sales
- Product awareness
These metrics give a direct correlation to the effectiveness of your content strategy and sales.
Let’s face it all the traffic in the world is useless if it doesn’t convert into sales.
The top 3 goals for any content strategy should be:
- Lead generation
- Customer acquisition
These are the only 3 things that matter.
Right, before you get back to work think about your own strategy. Make sure you are putting out a variety of content formats and measuring its impact using the goals above.
By focusing on the things that matter (i.e. the needs of your audience and tangible results) your strategy will become incredibly powerful.
Author: Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter, MD at Briar Copywriting and cycling nut.
March 28th, 2014 — social media, social media marketing
Social media changes faster than a fast thing. It’s important to read up on the latest comings, goings and techniques if you want your social media strategy to continue to work well for you.
A recent post on SocialMediaExaminer looks at some surprising social media research findings that will affect your social media strategy. Below is a summary of the findings (the link above takes you to the whole article).
1. Facebook – the social login favourite
Research by eMarketer shows that the majority of people prefer to use their Facebook (51%) credentials when logging into websites.
How does that affect you?
Well, if your website requires the user to register before accessing information you could enhance your number of registrations by offering a Facebook login option.
There is a concept known as password fatigue – 92% of shoppers will abandon a website rather than go through the laborious process of recovering a lost or forgotten password. But if you offer a social login, 65% of shoppers are more likely to return.
2. Twitter is the place for social customer service
Twitter is the consumers’ preferred platform when they want to reach out to brands.
Recent research undertaken by Socialbakers shows that 59.3% of customer questions are asked on Twitter, compared to 40.7% on Facebook.
Social media means consumers are used to getting feedback quickly, so it’s important that you train your staff to be responsive to any questions that come through Twitter (or any other social media channel).
Answer their questions quickly (within the hour) and make sure you personalise each tweet with your name or Twitter handle, especially if you use your company logo as your avatar.
When you monitor mentions of your brand name be prepared to jump in and help. If they are having a problem get in tough straightaway and ask if you can help. If they are paying you a compliment, say thank you.
3. Younger audiences don’t unfriend Facebook
There’s been a suggestion recently that teenagers are turning their back on Facebook, but research by eMarketer would suggest otherwise.
Sure, there are other social sites out there that they are attracted to (such as Snapchat, Instagram and Vine), but Facebook appears to remain a firm favourite.
The truth is they are multi-platform users. There’s no need to panic, just broaden your use of social media to enhance the experience for them.
If they are cross-platform users, you become a cross-platform user. Offer them information and stories that are relevant to them and that show how other teenagers are engaging with your brand.
Above all, make sure everything you do is mobile friendly.
4. Instagram is rapidly growing
TechCrunch announced in January that Instagram was the platform to watch, doubling its active users in 12 months (180 million in January 2014).
Why do people love it so much? Well, images are creative, interesting and instantly shareable.
You could share your followers’ photos and make them instant stars, create videos that capture the ethos of your brand and ask your fans about their lifestyle likes and dislikes.
Generally, all these platforms allow you to interact with your customers and fans instantly and in an ‘intimate’ way.
You can get instant answers to questions helping you plan future campaigns, provide excellent customer service and generally create a ‘family’ atmosphere that will endear your brand to them.
Hopefully, these stats and survey results will give you some fresh ideas about how to refine your social media strategy.
Over to you
What’s the biggest takeaway for you?
Will you now be changing your social media marketing strategy?
Leave a comment below or share this with someone you think may find it useful.
Author: Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter and MD of Briar Copywriting – once cycled 300 miles in 24 hours for charity.
March 26th, 2014 — Link Building
You’ve probably heard a lot about unnatural links. Google is getting pretty hot these days at penalising sites that use them, so what exactly are they?
In basic terms, an unnatural link is one that exists purely to manipulate the page rank or search engine results of your website. Plus, any links that are placed on a website without the site owner’s permission.
Example of an unnatural link
If you’re still unsure, this illustration should help.
You’ve just been to a health spa and had a fantastic time. You decide you want to tell other people about your experience and write a blog about linking to the health spa, that’s OK. But if you wrote about it because they were offering you a free weekend or set of treatments, that would be classed as unnatural (unless you mark the link as a nofollow).
So the best way of looking at it is so long as you’re not being financially motivated to use the link, you should be OK.
It’s not all amount money
Having said that, there are other motivations that can cause people to use links unnaturally.
When your website needs an SEO boost, it’s very tempting to hunt out websites to link to that will give your search results a much needed lift.
This is equally bad as the scenario outlined above.
That means that if you are linking to another website purely to improve your search results you could be on shaky ground.
Before you link ask yourself whether you would still want to recommend the company or blog if the search engines didn’t exist. That will help you decide on what your true motivations are.
A level playing field
The whole point behind Google’s linking policy is to create a world where everyone is equal.
If it didn’t exist, the only websites that would feature highly in the search results would be the ones that could afford to buy the best links and that’s not good for the consumer.
But what about Google Adwords?
But as it is Google’s accepted form of selling links it’s likely to remain. The main distinction between this and other forms of buying links is that it is open, above board and involves an invoice. Plus, because the links are segregated from the organic listings in the search results, it is obvious to all that the companies involved have paid for their link.
Link building will always remain a contentious issue if people try to fiddle the system. The guidelines are very clear, so what’s the point in trying to pull a fast one? Sooner or later Google will find you and penalise you.
Don’t be tempted to flout the system. Link build with dignity.
Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter at Briar Copywriting and cycling enthusiast.