November 27th, 2013 — landing pages
Q: How do you create a landing page that works?
A: Write a powerful headline.
Of course, the content and call to action must be pretty damn good too, but the headline is where the power lies.
The qualities of a powerful landing page headline
You headline should possess the following 4 qualities:
- It should be focused – no waffle, get straight to the point
- It must be relevant – the headline must reflect the offer being made on your landing page
- It must show benefits – tell you reader what problem your offer will solve
- Give it urgency – make the offer time limited
I know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of information to pack into one headline.
You’re right it is, which is why you should use a combination of headline and sub heading to pack it all in.
For argument’s sake, you’re a company that provides email marketing services to small businesses and you want to encourage them to sign up for your free trial.
How can you apply the 4 qualities above?
Focus: You offer email marketing for businesses
Relevancy: You have a free 30 day trial offer
Benefits: It’s simple; customers have control and can design their own emails
Urgency: You decide to double the 30-day free trial period for the first 100 sign ups
With me so far?
I’ve underlined the important stuff.
So, from that, your headline would be something like:
Simple email marketing for your business
Create & design you own emails to forge strong relationships with your customers.
FREE 60 day trial (limited to first 100 sign ups)
That was thrown together quickly, but it gives you an idea.
The final point to remember
There is just one more thing to remember.
Your landing page is there to sell.
That’s why it’s essential its whole focus is on what the product does best and how it will help the reader not how great you and your company are.
Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
November 25th, 2013 — twitter
Twitter is all about engaging your followers.
It’s about building relationships.
Yeah, yeah, so everyone keeps saying, but how are you supposed to do that?
The problem many tweeters have, especially if they’ve been tweeting since the early days, is that they’ve become stuck in a rut. They are pre-programmed to tweet as they’ve always done, even though the platform as made significant improvements since its text only days.
What’s your Twitter habit?
Over the years, you would have formed habits in every part of your life.
Without thinking you’ll get dressed in the morning in the same way, you get into bed without giving a second thought as to which side you want, you’ll even eat the same breakfast cereal over and over, simply because it’s what you’ve always done.
Although you may be perfectly happy with all of that, you could be missing out on something better, you just don’t know it.
The same goes for your tweets. You’ve always used your 140 characters to talk about your work, blogs and life, so you carry on doing that even though there is something better out there.
Tweet with greater impact
I’ve already mentioned how Twitter used to be all about text.
Well now it isn’t.
Today you can add short videos to your tweets (through Vine) and you can even upload photos direct from your iPhone. Plus, if you do both of those things using pic.twitter.com, your pictures and Vines can be viewed directly from the Twitter stream rather than you having to click to view.
Come on, pictures and Vines don’t make that much difference
Are you going to make me quote figures?
OK, you asked for it. Buffer has been doing some testing to see what impact using images and Vines in your tweets has.
Are you ready to be amazed?
Tweets with images received:
- 89% more favourites
- 18% more clicks than those without
- 150% more retweets
That doesn’t mean to say you should now go mad and only tweet images and Vines. Use them wisely and weave them into your social media strategy. The increased engagement you will receive will help you to increase your traffic and sales.
November 22nd, 2013 — marketing
You know Christmas is coming when the new series of “I’m a Celebrity” starts.
A couple of weeks ago, the intrepid celebrities headed for the Australian jungle. For the first time in ages, I had actually heard of the vast majority of them – makes a change.
You may be scratching your head and wondering what on earth this has to do with copywriting, the answer is absolutely nothing, but it is to do with marketing.
Although all the celebs are taking part to raise money for charity, you have to ask yourself what’s in it for them?
The simple answer is promotion – they’re there to market themselves for future TV projects.
Admittedly, this hasn’t always worked in the past – who could forget Gillian McKeith’s disastrous appearance? But many have gone on to do other things.
Having watched several series (all for research purposes of course), I can’t help but notice a recurring theme.
When the celebs first arrive, those that jump and scream at everything usually end up doing the lion’s share of the trials.
Marketing to stand out
Look at this year’s constellation of celebrities; Matthew Wright became an instant target for the voting public with his jumpy shenanigans before he’d even reached the jungle.
For someone who is apparently scared of everything, he’s put up some incredible performances in the trials. So, is he really that afraid of everything, or is it a clever ploy on his part to stand out from the rest to get the most airtime?
Similarly, there’s Joey Essex. Not so jumpy, but his inability to tell the time, or blow his nose (he has learnt to tie his shoe laces though, because that’s a life skill he needed) has encouraged the British public to vote for him to do the trials.
As a result, the two of them have been hogging the TV coverage.
Then of course there’s the love interest – no prizes for guessing who that’s supposed to be (Joey and Amy) – and Rebecca Adlington’s priceless comment the other night when she and Steve Davis were subjected to the sight of Amy massaging Joey’s back – “It’s like watching porn with your parents.”
But a new pretender to the jungle throne has now made an appearance. Kian Egan has been a fairly quiet character until the ‘Hang out to dry” challenge. Desperate to get food for his starving camp mates, Kian out smarted the ostensibly unbeatable Joey to win food for his camp mates – the rise of a new Tarzan? Time will tell.
It’s all about how you are perceived
When you are marketing your business, you present it in a way that you want people to see. This is exactly what each of these celebrities are doing.
Some are quietly working behind the scenes, doing only what’s needed to get by.
Others are pushing themselves, trying to become the leader in their niche (hero, joker, scaredy-cat).
The jungle is a microcosm of business marketing – which are you? The quiet business working away in the background and getting by, or the one that stands out as the leader in your niche?
November 20th, 2013 — Google, Google algorithms, Google search, search engine optimisation, website copywriter, website copywriting
The end of September saw yet another Google algorithm update – the Hummingbird.
At the heart of this little bird is the difference between what people are looking for and why they are looking for it.
Search engines have always delivered ranked results by matching the keywords typed in the search box to the keywords on a web page.
The problem with that is that words can have different meanings, as illustrated by Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal when talking about the Taj Mahal: “Was the search about the monument in India, the musician, or a local curry house? What was the intent behind the search?”
Hummingbird’s semantic search capabilities are an attempt to clarify the context of queries. In other words, it tries to understand how we use language and how the meaning of words varies depending on context.
Hummingbird and search marketing
With all the Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds in the world, it’s hardly surprising that the face of search marketing is constantly changing.
In fact it was only recently that Google announced it would no longer be providing webmasters with data about which keywords were driving traffic from search results to their websites.
Google’s explicit message being that webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share. In other words, engaging website content.
Hummingbird and website content
It’s important you understand how to make sure your website copywriting and content align with Hummingbird’s aim.
What does your customer need?
It’s important to think about why customers want or need your product or service. For example, if you have a travel site, do you offer information about travelling to the destination, what there is to see, local customs, restaurants, galleries or where the best beaches are?
Look at your analytics to discover what people are searching for when they’ve reached your site, but can’t find immediately. This will help you understand what they are looking for and optimise your website content accordingly.
Blogs aren’t the be all and end all
Think about varying your content. Great information doesn’t only come in the form of a blog post; it could also be video, graphics, an eBook, report or white paper.
Just make sure its form and function match.
Don’t just go for an exact keyword match when describing what you do/offer. Use synonyms too, which will provide alternative phrases that people may use when searching for what you offer.
Make sure the language you use isn’t dry and dull. Show your personality through your writing so it informs and inspires.
Make sure all your content is easy to share.
Above all, make sure the content on your website complements your sales strategy by being relevant to your products and services.
A well written website should already have all those features, but it’s worth checking yours out to see if it can be improved in any way.
It may, at times, seem as though Google is playing God with your business, but all these changes are there to make the search experience more rewarding and relevant. Provided you abide by Google’s rules and aren’t tempted to take any short cuts, you should be able to weather these changes with minimum fuss.
November 18th, 2013 — Content marketing, Content writer
Just because your online marketing strategy demands content, it doesn’t mean any old thing will do. And definitely not something that was out sourced to a far-flung part of the world for a couple of dollars.
When marketing your business online you must think like a big brand.
If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will.
The content you produce must be interesting, well written, and relevant to your audience and it must offer them something – a nugget of information they can take away with them. Basically, if they haven’t learnt something from reading it, there was no point writing it in the first place.
What makes content valuable?
I’ve pretty much already summed it up, but as far as your online marketing goes and the effect your content has on your overall strategy, it must be:
Let me explain.
If people can’t find your content, they can’t read it.
Your content should contain an H1 tag headline and at least a couple of H2s (one small caveat here though, as you know Google is always moving the goal posts, so although this is a basic requirement now, its importance may change in the future).
All the images you use should have Alt tags and it should be written with your keywords in mind. That doesn’t mean cramming as many as possible within the content. Oh, and by the way, if anyone tries to tell you keyword density is important, do me a favour and punch him or her very hard.
Writing in a natural, conversational style is essential.
Don’t write your article as one long block of text.
It looks horrible and people won’t want to read it.
If you want people to give up their valuable time to read your words of wisdom you must write it in an appealing way:
- Lots of white space
- Short paragraphs
- Simple language (put your thesaurus away)
- Bullet points and numbered lists
As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter a jot about how educated your audience is, always write using simple language and a simple structure.
Forget trying to shoe horn in your latest favourite multi syllabled word, it will not make you sound impressive. You’ll just come across as trying too hard, or being ignorant because, let’s face it, anyone can throw big words at people (in the vain hope they’ve got the context right), but few people are able to explain concepts and ideas in simple terms.
Talking of which, avoid jargon and industry-speak (especially really annoying marketing jargon), it’s not big, it’s not clever and it makes you sound like a complete ******* (insert your own favourite uncomplimentary term).
The idea about generating content is to build relationships with your readers.
If you just keep posting stuff, the only thing you’re developing is a one-way conversation. So, if you want people to interact with you, you’ve got to ask them to.
Just like your website copy has calls to action, your articles and blogs should also have an actionable request. It could be asking them to sign up to your newsletter, a link to relevant content on your website, an invitation to share, or asking for their opinion by leaving a comment.
If you want people to interact with you and share your content, you’ve got to give them a reason.
Write something that your readers can relate to on a personal level, so they can pass it on to friends and colleagues.
Make sure you include all the usual social sharing links to make it easy for them and ask them to share it for you (if you don’t ask you don’t get).
I can see you nodding your head – nothing here is new, but it should be common sense.
I say ‘should’ because it obviously isn’t considering some of the content I’ve read online.
Hiring a copywriter isn’t essential (wow, that hurt), especially if you don’t want your business to be taken seriously. But working with someone who understands online content demands will give you a huge advantage.
So if you want to be seen as a trustworthy, reputable company that cares about its customers you know what you should do.