One of the worst mistakes email copywriters make is trying to shove the entire story into the email message. Think about when you open a marketing email in your inbox. Do you read every single word in there? Probably not. It’s more likely that you scan for important points so you can glean the overall message, and decide whether you want to take any action. So if you’re sending email with hundreds of words of copy, you’re making it much more difficult for recipients to decide whether they want to click through … because they can’t quickly sift through all of the information in your email!
Instead, find a way to summarize what the reader will get in a compelling way, and let them click through to a page on your website for more information. Take a look at how this HubSpot customer and Certified Partner Precision Athletics drafted a brief email that encouraged readers to click through for more information:
There are a few lines of copy used to set up the purpose of the email and, of course, thank the recipient for utilizing their free training session. But after that, Precision Athletics gets to the point of the email — delivering success stories from those who have completed the training program to motivate the email recipient.
Keeping your message on-point is the key to writing brief email copy. What’s the point you’re trying to make with your email? If you know the action your email is supposed to drive — recipient buys a grill the size of a Foosball table, recipient remembers to buy their Bruce Springsteen tickets, recipient gets motivated to work out — you’ll have a much easier time drafting succinct email copy that remains focused on that one end goal. And if writing succinct email copy isn’t enough of a motivator for you to narrow down your goals, remember that having just one primary call-to-action in your email marketing results in better click-through rates than emails with competing calls-to-action!
Use Actionable Language in Your CTA
That’s right, emails have calls-to-action, too! Well, the good ones do. First and foremost, your email call-to-action should be extremely easy to identify. Remember, people scan their emails, and if there’s one thing you want your recipient to pick up on, it’s your call-to-action. If you’re sending an HTML email, you may decide to include a button like this AmazonLocal email did below.
Looking to increase your business’ sales? Don’t spend all your time thinking about how your customers view your company. Instead, do your best to ensure that your employee view of corporate reputation is positive. And not just positive, but better than your customer view of your corporate reputation. Research suggests that sales tend to rise when employees’ views of the company exceed those held by customers, and that they stall when employee views fall below those of customers.
A good external reputation is a source of competitive advantage. More reputable firms can charge premium prices; attract investors and employees; improve customer attitudes; lower a client’s perceived risk; and create higher credibility. However, reputation is fragile – it can get stronger but also get damaged easily. Samsunghas demonstrated how oneness and collective passion can top Sony, a premium Japanese brand. Samsung is now the industry leader in terms of both brand strength and financial performance. On the other side of the ledger, sudden damage to reputation can adversely affect performance, as happened when Arthur Andersen collapsed following allegations about its involvement in the Enron scandal. These were once regarded as reputable companies in various media rankings.
It’s all about the gap
The key factor when it comes to sustainable reputation, then, is not just either its external or its internal reputation, but the nature and magnitude of the gap between the two. The internal reputation of a company is built on how employees perceive and feel about the company. This is important because these perceptions will in turn affect external stakeholders’ behavior. Our field interviews with 4700 customers and employees from 63 business units shows that when a company’s internal reputation perceived by employees falls below those held by the customers, their sales will fall. Companies with a good internal reputation are commensurately more likely to offer good service, while those with a poor internal reputation have less cheerful staff and lower service levels. Alongside this, customers have higher expectations of companies with positive reputations than they do of other businesses.
If you’re the head of your company, you have to be able to define not just what your company does, but why it does it.
Having difficulty? That’s normal. You can blame it on the way your brain works. The part of the brain that contains decision-making and behavior doesn’t control language, so when you’re asked questions about why you do what you do, it’s natural to get tongue-tied.
That’s where great leadership comes in. Leaders are required to put in to words what a group does; they’re required to cross over between the decision-making and behavior sphere and the language sphere. Leaders are great because they’re good at putting feelings into words that we can act upon.
So it’s up to you, as company leader, to define your “why.” Here are four reasons you should, if you want to survive as a company.
1. Your company’s “why” generates loyalty.
Apple can sell phones not simply because they have the smarts to make phones; every single one of their competitors can make phones too. What gives Apple permission to sell products beyond computers is the fact that it doesn’t define themselves as a computer company; rather, it is a company that stands for something. It represents an ideal: Down with “the man”; attack the status quo; champion the individual.
As long as Apple’s products are consistent with its cause, the company has the freedom to do things other companies cannot. Those who identify with Apple’s cause, in turn, will say they “love” Apple–even if they think it’s because of the products.
2. Organizational success (or failure) often dates from inception.
Most great companies were founded by a person or small group of people who personally suffered a problem, went through an difficult experience, or had someone close to them face a tricky challenge–and then came up with a solution or alternative. That original solution to that original problem is what they formed their company around; it’s why they do what they do.
Organizations that just look to capture some market opportunity, or are born out of some market research, often fail (or else need endless pools of money to keep going). No one has passion for a problem revealed in market research. People have passion to solve their own problems or to help those they care about.
Fortunately, it’s easy to build trust in a business relationship. Here are the rules, based on a conversation with a true expert in trust-building Jerry Acuff, author of The Relationship Edge: The Key to Strategic Influence and Selling Success.
1. Be yourself.
Everybody on the planet has had unpleasant experiences with salespeople, and many have walked away from a sales situation feeling manipulated. So, rather than acting or sounding like a salesperson, simply act the way you would when meeting with a colleague.
2. Value the relationship.
If you want people around you to value having a relationship with you, you must truly believe that relationship building is important. You must also believe that you honestly have something of value to offer to the relationship.
3. Be curious about people.
People are drawn to those who show true interest in them. Curiosity about people is thus a crucial element of relationship building. Having an abiding fascination in others give you the opportunity to learn new things and make new connections.
4. Be consistent.
A customer’s ability to trust you is dependent upon showing the customer that your behavior is consistent and persistent over time. When a customer can predict your behavior, that customer is more likely to trust you.
5. Seek the truth.
Trust emerges when you approach selling as a way of helping the customer–so make it your quest to discover the real areas where the you can work together. Never be afraid to point out that your product or company may not be the right fit.
I’ve been a “quality” person after reading Pirsig’s book some 10 odd years ago, and as I try to apply the quality principal to my clients as a freelance Web designer, there seems to be an increasing swing towards measuring ROI from online marketing in terms of the QUALITY of customer delivered rather than the quantities.
This is not really that surprising as the online market becomes more saturated, competitive and consumer-savvy. The interest in the volume of Web site traffic turns to an interest in conversion metrics which turns converts into ways or how often we can keep a customer returning for more.
As the costs of gaining a new customer go up, it becomes increasingly important to get the right (quality) customers, not just any old ones. Of course, the Internet makes it potentially easy to gain customers, but it is unfortunately often just as easy to lose them as well.
All of which got me thinking: Do different forms of online marketing typically deliver different qualities of customer, rather than quantities or volume? This has been my experience thus far:
Search Engine Marketing – can deliver quantity and quality. Quality will depend on the “quality” of your keyword targeting, timing, choice of search engines, etc.
- Affiliate Marketing – perception, rightly or wrongly, that the quality of customers delivered is lower in the long-term scheme of things. However, the volume of conversions can be very high.
- E-mail Marketing – this really depends a lot on the quality of the list, the quality of the offer, the timing, the brand, etc. It is the most effective for converting existing registered users or repeat selling to existing customers.
- Interactive Advertising – for something such as banner advertising, click-through rates drop, as opposed to a PPC text-based link, but I haven’t seen anything or read anything to know about the quality of the customer that gets through. Even though volume is lower on banner advertising, perhaps the quality of the customer is higher (wealthy, frequent visitor). PPC does deliver a high quantity of click-throughs, but depending on the quality of the keywords and program choice depends on the quality of the customer.
- Viral Marketing – volumes can be very high (or next to nothing), but the quality of those customers…? Conversion rates tend to be low but of those few who convert I guess it’s a potpourri of valuable customers and not-so-valuable ones.
Most businesses, and managers with targets to hit, need a mixture of volume of sales and value of customers, so as ever, it’ll be a choose-your-best-marketing mix scenario in terms of what, how and when to use the above online marketing avenues.
I’d be interested in hearing from others about their experiences with online marketing venues and results – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a bibliography of writing books I recommend in my seminars. You may order most of these books by clicking the links below.
Bonime, Andrew, and Pohlmann, Ken C. Writing for New Media,
New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998.
Brooks, Brian, George Kennedy, Daryl Moen and Don Ranly. News
Reporting and Writing, 8th ed. New York:
Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2005.
Brooks, Brian, George Kennedy, Daryl Moen and Don Ranly.
Telling The Story: The Convergence of Print, Television
and Online Media. 2nd ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
Brooks, Brian and James Pinson. Working With Words, 6th ed. New
York. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2006.
Caples, John, How to Make Your Advertising Make Money. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.
Flesch, Rudolf. The Art of Readable Writing. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.
Kennedy, George, Daryl Moen and Don Ranly. Beyond the Inverted
Pyramid. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.
Kilpatrick, James. The Writer’s Art. Kansas City: Andrews,
McMell & Parker, 1984.
Ogilvy, David. Olgilvy on Advertising. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, Canada Limited, 1985.
Osborn, Patricia. How Grammar Works: A Self-Teaching Guide. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1989.
Ranly, Don. Publication Editing. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt
Strunk, William and White, E.B. Elements of Style. 3rd ed. New
York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1999.
The Associated Press Stylebook And Briefing on Media Law.
Perseus Publishing, 2004.
Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. 2nd ed,, New York: Harper &
Judy Gombita spotted this list of Great Literary Taunts:
- “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” — Winston Churchill (about Clement Atlee)
- “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” — Irvin S. Cobb
- “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” — William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
- “He had delusions of adequacy.” — Walter Kerr
- “They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” — Thomas Brackett Reed
- “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” — Mark Twain
One of the most debated questions in all of journalism is how to handle direct quotations. Journalists “claim” (what a nasty way to attribute something) that they put inside quotations marks only what a person says. That’s what I urge in a chapter on quotations and attribution in the Missouri Group’s “News Reporting and Writing” (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press). But I could prove on any given day in any given newspaper that that rule is broken as much as it is followed.
Nevertheless, it’s a whole different story in corporate communications and news releases. I have been amused in seminars to corporate communicators how shocked they are when I tell them to change direct quotations however so slightly. For example, people use “very” very often in their everyday speech. I’d knock it out in direct quotations. Shocking. These same people often have little trouble making up whole quotations. Often the direct quotes are long, wooden and pretentious. I often ask, “Does he really talk like that?” Sometimes the answer is , “Yes, you betcha.” If he does, should you let him in print?
Do you have a policy on direct quotations? What is it? Join the discussion.
Dick Weiss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does some neat stuff on writing in his Weiss on Writing at STLtoday.com. His address is email@example.com. Recently he did a nice paragraph about punctuation and then took off about the exclamation point. His title was “Ban the exclamation point — period.” It’s a bit overstated, but that’s OK. I feel even stronger about banning MOST dashes. I say beware the dasher who when it doubt dashes. If you see a dash in the first paragraph, start counting them. Dashers are even worse when they have another point to make in a sentence and can think of no way to add it except after a dash. Another sentence usually works just fine. I had a teaching assistant once who said her high-school teacher told her class that they were allowed one dash per essay. I like that. Save the dash for dramatic contrast or emphasis.
Some members of our magazine faculty here at the Missouri School of Journalism got stirred up over something the person who is teaching Magazine Editing this semester wrote. He questioned the use of the semicolon, especially in direct quotations. He doesn’t mind the semicolon to break up lists that have commas inside them, but he wonders why and how we can determine whether two complete sentences or independent clauses are closely related enough to skip the coordinating conjunction and use the semicolon instead. I think that careful writers often do want to show a close relationship between two complete thoughts. For example, “He enjoyed writing; he wrote every chance he had.” Certainly we don’t want to join two complete sentences with simply a comma. A comma alone joining two independent clauses is a comma fault or a comma splice. I don’t allow them — ever. I do allow three or more short sentences to be joined with commas.
The professor questioned how we ever know a speaker means to have two thoughts closely related. Isn’t that interpreting what the speaker is trying to say? My answer is, first of all, that if the speaker does not use a conjunction, we shouldn’t insert one. Second, we always interpret what a speaker is saying or trying to say. People don’t speak using punctuation marks, except perhaps for Victor Borge. We insert punctuation marks such as commas, question marks, and even sometimes, exclamation points.
He emailed me that he thought semicolons in direct quotations looked funny. I emailed him back that he had a strange sense of humor. Of course, I don’t think we should overdo the semicolon between sentences, especially in direct quotations.
See how journalism professors spend their time?
Writing good is a big deal these days. A bigger deal then math, according to my friends and I, but I’m not hear to represent there views. But, I thank it’s important to know the English language and all it’s rules.
Did you catch all the errors in that first paragraph? The spell-check on my laptop didn’t.
The College Board – those friendly scholars who bring us the SATs and other fun tests – recently released the results of a survey by its National Commission on Writing. The news is not good. A majority of U.S. employers say about one-third of workers do not meet the writing requirements of their positions. “Businesses are really crying out,” College Board President Gaston Caperton told the Associated Press. “They need to have people who write better.”
The employers who say people need to write better are in some surprising industries: mining; construction; manufacturing; transportation and utilities; services; and finance, insurance and real estate. It seems companies want everyone to be able to communicate effectively, not just the executives, lawyers and public relations people.
This might come as a surprise not only to people in the working world, but also to people who are preparing to enter it. Students who believe the informal shorthand of e-mail and instant messages is acceptable in corporate America might be in for a shock when they lose the jobs of their dreams because of misspelled words on their resumés. I recently read a self-promotion posted by a recent graduate on a job-seekers discussion board for the public relations industry. The misspelled words, poor sentence construction and grammatical errors were enough to make E.B. White turn over in his grave. It’s bad enough that the job seeker embarrassed herself in front of thousands of professional peers (she even proudly announced the college from which she graduated). I only hope no one committed the greater sin of actually hiring her.
I have a friend who recently left the practice of business communication so he could teach it to the next generation of professionals. In just a few weeks in the classroom he has experienced something akin to culture shock. “It is disturbing how little these students know about the English language and its proper usage,” he lamented recently.
A lot of people ask why it’s important to use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation in their jobs. I have two answers:
Standards are necessary for society to function. Imagine if a construction company decided it was no longer important to follow standards of measurement. One foot might be 13 inches or 12 inches. Who cares? Just as chaos would reign in that scenario, the same would be true if we didn’t follow standards of language. Clear communication would be impossible.
Credibility is at stake. I would not trust a computer programmer who doesn’t know code, a chef who doesn’t know how to measure ingredients, or a doctor who doesn’t know the human anatomy. Just as these people must know how to use the tools of their trade, so anyone who uses English to communicate must know how to use it correctly.
Fixing the problem that the College Board survey exposes is not easy. Teachers will have to stop misspelling words on the communications they send home to parents. (Yes, I’m the parent who keeps sending those notes back with proofreading marks all over them.) Students will have to take Language Arts more seriously, like it’s a ticket to a decent job. Most difficult of all, employers will have to insist that the people who work for them – no matter what their jobs or salaries – begin using correct grammar, learn how to write well and spell words correctly. Annual bonuses should depend upon it.
By the way, my laptop’s spell check caught only one out of at least seven mistakes in the first paragraph. “It’s” should be “its.” (I believe the second sentence is a fragment, which would be an eighth error, although the laptop doesn’t think so.)
For organizations to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, leaders have to learn how to build a culture of trust and openness. Here are four strategies to help in this regard:
- Encourage risk taking – Leaders need to take the first step in extending trust to those they lead. Through their words and actions, leaders can send the message that appropriate and thoughtful risk taking is encouraged and rewarded. When people feel trusted and secure in their contributions to the organization, they don’t waste energy engaging in CYA (cover your “assets”) behavior and are willing to risk failure. The willingness to take risks is the genesis of creativity and innovation, without which organizations today will die on the vine. Creating a culture of risk taking will only be possible when practice #2 is in place.
- View mistakes as learning opportunities – Imagine that you’re an average golfer (like me!) who decides to take lessons to improve your game. After spending some time on the practice range, your instructor takes you on the course for some live action and you attempt a high-risk/high-reward shot. You flub the shot and your instructor goes beserk on you. “How stupid can you be!” he shouts. “What were you thinking? That was one of the worst shots I’ve seen in my life!” Not exactly the kind of leadership that encourages you to take further risks, is it? Contrast that with a response of “So what do you think went wrong? What will you do differently next time?” Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40, characterizes these incidents as “learning moments,” where planning and execution come together, a result is produced, and we incorporate what we learned into our future work.
- Build transparency into processes and decision making – Leaders can create a culture of trust and openness by making sure they engage in transparent business practices. Creating systems for high involvement in change efforts, openly discussing decision-making critieria, giving and receiving feedback, and ensuring organizational policies and procedures and applied fairly and equitably are all valuable strategies to increase transparency. On an individual basis, it’s important for us leaders to remember that our people want to know our values, beliefs, and what motivates our decisions and actions. Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, likes to say that “People will respect you for what you know, but they’ll love you for your vulnerabilities.”
Thanks to the onslaught of technology and our need to constantly rush through everything, our grammar has gotten worse. Emails, text messages and other corporate communications are being sent without a thorough and professional proofreading, and using poor grammar in the workplace can have some negative impacts on your business.
It causes confusion.
If you use poor grammar in the workplace, you could end up confusing those people who need to read what you write or listen to what you say. Causing confusion will negatively impact your company’s productivity and require additional communications to clear up the confusion.
It makes you look unprofessional.
Poor grammar makes you look unprofessional. Nobody wants to do business with the company that has spelling and grammatical errors in their marketing materials, and no client wants to do business with the representative who doesn’t know the difference between their, there and they’re.
It hinders productivity.
Read full article on Every Marketing Thing
If you’re finding that your content isn’t being shared, these are most likely the reasons why:
1. You only talk about yourself.
Everyone has been around constant self-promoters before—they aren’t fun to talk to. Part of the reason they aren’t interesting is because they don’t involve you in the conversation. You probably won’t share their stories to anyone else since the stories relate only to the initial storyteller. The same thing happens online when people keep the conversation solely on themselves.
To increase your site’s shareability, start addressing the topics your readers want to learn and talk about. People will then view you as a resource and be more likely to promote you. The Golden Rule prevails here: talk about others as much as you would like them to talk about you.
2. You pick topics that aren’t timely.
In the age of the 24/7 news cycle, the pressure is always on to write timely content. If something happened last week and you take a full week to write a reaction to it, the post isn’t timely anymore. People like to share content that is relevant to what’s going on in their community at that moment, not content that was “so two days ago.”
You don’t always have to be rushing to create posts at the last minute. If you know which events will be happening, you can plan beforehand to write a post. Use an editorial calendar to help plan out your post schedule and ensure your posts are timely.
3. Your headlines aren’t catchy.
You don’t have to have gimmicky headlines, but you need to them to be interesting and relevant enough to capture the small attention span of your audience. Keep your headlines less than eight words to make them punchy and memorable, just like your favorite tweets on Twitter. Which headline would you be more likely to share: “My Favorite WordPress Plugins to Increase Your Blog Pageviews” or “Top WordPress Plugins to Increase Pageviews”? The second headline contains some of the criteria for a great headline: It’s exclusive and specific. Keeping your headlines short and sweet will make it much easier for your readers to share your content—all they have to do is click the “post” button!
I have friends who blog on all sorts of topics: childcare, politics, and family, to name just a few. So it’s a concept I was familiar with, but not one I had considered as a legitimate outreach method for my clients – until recently. The same goes for e-mail campaigns (expect an article in a future issue) and landing pages (see the article in issue three). I think what is happening is that I am finally coming to terms with the changing public relations and marketing landscape. To remain effective, it looks like we’ll have to accept, or at the very least acknowledge, some new rules. In my estimation, this is both good and bad.
The bad, I think, is temporary. The problem I see with Internet marketing (e-mail outreach, e-newsletters, blogging, landing pages, etc.) is that none of these methods is widely accepted by the public. So while you’ll invest a lot of time and energy perfecting and implementing these strategies, you may not see the same kind of results you can expect from traditional outreach (direct mail, advertising, earned media, etc.). Yet.
It’s only a matter of time before a Web-based marketing campaign nets the same results as traditional methods. And even now, while many people won’t respond in the same way to Internet outreach, they certainly expect it. I know that I prefer an electronic newsletter to a paper one (the environmentalist in me), and I love it when I have a chance to add my thoughts on issues addressed by an organization’s Web site (usually in the form of a listserv or discussion forum, but a blog that allows for responses does the job too). And I certainly give e-mail updates or event notices the same attention I give to paper solicitations or invitations. In this respect, I doubt I’m terribly unique.
The good, I think, is intrinsic in the Internet, and therefore is here to stay. Internet marketing is one of the least expensive ways to reach your audience. Registering a Web site can cost as little as $20, and maintaining it can be free (if you have the time, talent, and inclination). Sending mass e-mails (not spam, mind you) can be done from your current e-mail program at no cost, or for larger campaigns, through a service for a small fee (see Tech Tips in issue three). Blogs require only your time and your opinion.
This effectively puts cause organizations on financial par with anyone else trying to market a product, service, or behavior change. Although I believe that more money does not necessarily make a better outreach campaign, even I have to acknowledge that it takes some capital (often quite a lot) to launch a successful, traditional campaign. So while I am a fan of nearly all methods of outreach, I have to admit that I have a particular affection for anything inexpensive or free.
In truth, these days, successful campaigns need to combine the two approaches. But in the near future, organizations with little capital will be able to focus most of their energy on Internet-based outreach methods without seeing less of a response than if they devoted time and energy solely to traditional methods. I look forward to this future, because as you might guess, I love anything that levels the marketing playing field for cause organizations.
Editor, Media Savvy eJournal
In the decade since Steve Jobs and former head of retail, Ron Johnson, decided to reimagine the retail experience, the Apple Store not only reimagined and reinvented retail, it blew up the model entirely and started from scratch. In his research for The Apple Experience, Carmine discovered ten things that the Apple Store can teach any business in any industry to be more successful:
- Stop selling stuff. When Steve Jobs first started the Apple Store he did not ask the question, “How will we grow our market share from 5 to 10 percent?” Instead he asked, “How do we enrich people’s lives?” Think about your vision. If you were to examine the business model for most brands and retailers and develop a vision around it, the vision would be to “sell more stuff.” A vision based on selling stuff isn’t very inspiring and leads to a very different experience than the Apple Retail Store created.
- Enrich lives. The vision behind the Apple Store is “enrich lives,” the first two words on a wallet-sized credo card employees are encouraged to carry. When you enrich lives magical things start to happen. For example, enriching lives convinced Apple to have a non-commissioned sales floor where employees feel comfortable spending as much time with a customer as the customer desires. Enriching lives led Apple to build play areas (the “family room”) where kids could see, touch and play on computers. Enriching lives led to the creation of a “Genius Bar” where trained experts are focused on “rebuilding relationships” as much as fixing problems.
- Hire for smiles. The soul of the Apple Store is in its people. They are hired, trained, motivated and taught to create magical and memorable moments for their customers. The Apple Store values a magnetic personality as much, if not more so, than technical proficiency. The Apple Store cares less about what you know than it cares about how much you love people.
- Celebrate diversity. Mohawks, tattoos, piercings are all acceptable among Apple Store employees. Apple hires people who reflect the diversity of their customers. Since they are more interested in how passionate you are, your hairstyle doesn’t matter. Early in the Apple Store history, they also learned that former teachers make the best salespeople because they ask a lot of questions. It’s not uncommon to find former teachers, engineers, and artists at an Apple Store. Apple doesn’t look for someone who fits a mold.
- Unleash inner genius. Teach your customers something they never knew they could do before, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. For example, the Apple Store offers a unique program to help people understand and enjoy their computers: One to One. The $99 one-year membership program is available with the purchase of a Mac. Apple Store instructors called “creatives” offer personalized instruction inside the Apple Store. Customers can learn just about anything: basics about the Mac operating system; how to design a website; enjoying, sharing, and editing photos or movies; creating a presentation; and much more. The One to One program was created to help build customers for life. It was designed on the premise that the more you understand a product, the more you enjoy it, and the more likely you are to build a long-term relationship with the company. Instructors are trained to provide guidance and instruction, but also to inspire customers, giving them the tools to make them more creative than they ever imagined.
Some companies out there will charge you thousands of dollars to look after the SEO on your ecommerce website. In this article we’re going to look at some top tips and “quick wins” for ecommerce business owners in order to get websites as high up the rankings as possible with very little work.
Use lots of unique content: Don’t be tempted to use bog-standard manufacturer product descriptions. It might save time but your website won’t rank at all well.
Commission someone to write you a solid set of unique product descriptions of at least 300 words each. Unique content is the lifeblood of SEO so don’t go without it!
Use pictures: Buyers will buy with their eyes in a lot of cases – they won’t read your product description – instead they’ll look at the picture when making a decision.
Use pictures and lots of them on your website – don’t forget to fill in the alt tag section of the picture though – this helps greatly with SEO.
Pictures are great for search engines and visitors alike – throw in some other media like embedding related YouTube videos if you have time.
Fill in META info on every page: Make sure you fill in the META title and description on every single page on your website.
A crazy amount of sites out there are missing META data which means that they don’t sit as well as they should in the search engines.
Writing a short META description takes seconds – as does putting in an appropriate title. If you don’t have time to do it all, outsource it!
Here are five powerful ways online video interviews can help you grow your blog.
1. Create an opportunity to converse with your niche’s most interesting people
Getting on the radar of influencers in your niche is a great way to establish who you are and put your blog on the map. This can be done by asking influential people in your niche to allow you to interview them. With typical in-person interviews, it’s more difficult to secure because they may be in a different city, have a jam-packed schedule, or both. Either can make interviews unfeasible, especially if they aren’t familiar with you.
Conversely, the option of an online video interview is often more appealing. Essentially, you’re just asking them to sacrifice a few minutes sitting in front of their computer, rather than traveling to a specific location or totally rearranging their schedule.
2. Create a differentiation point between you and your competition
I alluded to this earlier. Think about the websites and blogs in your niche. Chances are only a few (if any) are creating content via online video interviews. How great would it be to separate your brand from everyone else’s? Online video interviews may be your ticket to do that.
3. Create compelling content
Online video interviewing gives you the opportunity to create compelling content. It is an awesome alternative to someone who wants to make a mark online, but lacks the writing skills or desire needed to create text articles. Or you may simply enjoy conversing with people, rather than emailing them the typical question-and-answer document that’s often reproduced on blogs. An online video interview will appeal to people who enjoy learning through an interactive conversation.
One of the most unique features of Google+ is the “circles”. Circles allow users to group followers into different groups for communicating different things.
This means brands are in a better position to share more relevant information with their followers, as against churning out the same information to everybody.
A good example of this can be seen with Intel, who invited users to select the photo which best represents the circle best aligned with the interests. This subtle but very effective move proved to be the right one as it ensured that people were getting exactly what they wanted.
Google+ is set to introduce more features very soon and if these stories are anything to go by, it’s about spotting an opportunity and going for it. It is important to keep a keen eye on these developments, as the opportunities are limitless.
Here are some thoughts on creating content in today’s always-on world. Rather than a how-to guide, these are simply some observations on what impacts the process.
It’s entirely too easy to feel the lure of social networks. The immediacy of Twitter, the connectedness we feel with friends on Facebook, the endless boards of pinned images on Pinterest and the hipster art on Instagram – these are all false idols when it comes to creating content. We’re more likely to be consuming content on those sites. As such, they qualify as distractions.
But just as the martial artist knows how to absorb energy from an enemy’s attack, we too can learn to pivot with these tools. Asking a question on Twitter as I did was a diversion rather than a distraction. While my question focused on the challenge I was having, it allowed me to focus on the conversations instead.
Over on Facebook, you’re probably likely to have surrounded yourself with people who share your hobbies, beliefs, geography, etc., and therefore you may not be inspired by a diversity of thought. Seek out people you might not have interacted with in a while. Change your feed settings from Top Stories to Most Recent. This will mix up your content a bit. You can also create Interest Lists and visit these customized feeds with a specific purpose in mind. These small actions could provide a little variety to what you’re seeing and from whom.
Understand who you’re trying to reach
Kind of a no-brainer, but when you’re tasked with creating content that needs to live somewhere, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about that somewhere and the people who frequent it. It could be your corporate website, a Facebook page, recipients of a white paper or email, viewers of a video, etc. If you don’t understand a little bit about them, you may miss the opportunity to connect with them. Based on previous interactions, what kind of content do they like? Have they indicated other brands or interests that matter to them? What have their comments told you? All of this should help fuel the content you’re making.
Look to industry leaders
There are others who are doing this well. Let them inspire you. About a year and a half ago, Mashable took a look at a handful of leaders in content marketing (How 3 Companies Took Content Marketing to the Next Level), highlighting Mint.com, HubSpot and American Express. And just this week, Forbes ran a piece titled 5 Big Brands Confirm That Content Marketing Is The Key To Your Consumer. Their list was made up of Virgin Mobile, American Express, Marriott, L’Oreal and Vanguard. All respectable brands. But one stood out to me.
Read full article via Scott Monty’s Social Media Marketing Blog
Here’s a few things to remember when you’re creating a strategy:
- Social media thrives on interaction, so make sure you’re giving your fans and followers something they can’t just read off your website.
- Add some personality to messages so that your fans know there’s actually a person on the other side of the connection.
- Remember that different communities have different personalities, so don’t just spam them all with the same line. If you’ve done your job correctly, people who belong to more than one social community may be following your account on each, so it is a red flag to see the same line of content on each. That flag says you’re spamming me.
2. Turn blog posts into advertisements.
If you’re blogging consistently, you’re on the right track. But if all your blog posts are about your own product or service, you’re really just advertising. Don’t do this! Provide value for the readers of your blog. They didn’t come to your blog to read about how awesome XYZ service is, although you can definitely link to that service or even mention it at the end of a post. The more in-depth and interesting your blog posts are, the more people will realize that a) you know what you’re talking about, and b) you’re not just giving them a used car salesman-type pitch. The best blog posts get the reader to think highly of the author, which makes them think highly of the company, which makes them remember that company when they have a need for your product or service. Be subtle. Give readers the perception that you’re awesome, but don’t shove it down their throats.
When you think of social media marketing, you may only consider the potential for introducing new customers to your products and services through social interaction. However, social media marketing is an effective way to keep your existing customers happy – and happy customers drive repeat sales that can significantly impact your bottom line.
Here are five easy tips to help you increase your revenue stream from existing customers with social media.
1. Reward frequent purchases
Since it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, why not increase revenue by encouraging your customers to make purchases more frequently? If you sell products, you can entice customers to come back more often, and if you sell services, you can promote add-on services and upgrades.
Offer exclusive deals and specials to your social media community, basing the discount on the customer level or frequency of purchase. For example, you could offer a coupon to your Facebook community, providing them with a discount off their fourth purchase.
2. Encourage more spending per purchase
Another way to increase revenue from existing customers is to encourage them to spend more at each purchase. You may set a goal to increase each transaction by 25%, for example. Once again, create exclusive deals for your social media community. For example, offer a coupon for $40 off a $150 purchase to increase product purchases.
For service industries, consider bundling your offerings together, providing a discount for multiple services that will entice your customers to spend more. You could use Twitter to drive awareness of the deal with a call to action.
3. Continue engaging customers to keep your communities strong
No one wants to see an endless stream of deals and promotions with very little customer interaction or information sharing. Be sure to continue with your engagement strategy as you add deals and promotions to your tweets and postings.
The rule of thumb for an effective content mix is 20% company-related content and 80% relevant third-party content and direct engagement with your fans. So mix in the promotions carefully, and you will continue to have a thriving community.