How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy

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How do you know when you’ve raved on for too long about a product or service? It just depends on what you’re trying to achieve and the audience. Here’s the only guide you’ll ever need for when to tone it down, and where more elaboration is needed.

The Litmus Test for Long or Short Copy

The product

A good rule of thumb to follow is the more complex, luxurious, technical or unknown the product is – the longer you need to make the copy. After all, what sort of information would you need to know, if you were going to part with a lot of money, for something you didn’t understand or have never heard of?

The purpose

What do you need to do with the copy?  If want to explain the benefits of a simple and well-known product, only a couple of sentences will suffice. If you’re wanting to compare your product to the competition and state why yours is superior – more words will be required.

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Think of the end-goal for the copy, and work backwards from there

The Rules of Headlines

The rules are as bendy and flexible as Playdoe. When it comes to headlines, the more creative, pun-tastic and playful they are – the better. The 100 Greatest Advertisements by Julian Lewis Watkins is a classic study of the metrics are required for writing. Watkins believed that headlines are best abbreviated to eight words or less.  Although in recent years, this theory has been challenged.

UX guru Jakob Neilsen conducted a study about how readers’ eyes travel across webpages. This demonstrated that readers scan webpages in an F pattern. So the top of the page including the headline is crucial. As well as the first sub-heading, and any points of interest while scrolling down the page, including pull quotes and images.

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Sometimes what you think will work in copy just isn’t the case…and you need to go weirder…much weirder.

What we can take from this is that headlines are the primary pulling point for most readers. So it’s important to have rapid-fire, intriguing headlines. The eight words or less maxim may not apply. For some in-depth advice on creating effective headlines, check out Ten ways to write killer headlines.

When Less is More

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Sassy is a good word to describe going OTT or a bit extra on copy…sometimes this is needed.

Well-Known Everyday Items

Convenience products like groceries or chain restaurants offerings don’t need lengthy descriptions or much persuasion to sell. The same goes for well-known brand name products. Such as over-the-counter medicines,    Keep the copy nice and short and it will be enough to get a sales conversion.

Let the Picture (or multimedia) tell the story

Imagine that you’re selling home décor or conversely – a debut single for a band. Less copy is necessary and instead there’s a need for either audio or visual input on the product page. Think of the functionality or suitability of the item, does this need to be explained? If it doesn’t then don’t bother!

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Sometimes words can be cheap and an illustration or a photo can tell the story better…embrace those opportunities.

Tried and Tested products

This is the cousin to every-day budget items. Tried and tested products that work the way people expect them to work, don’t require much selling or additional words. Instead what they do require is a compelling and competitive price point, because well-known items are more likely to prompt people to shop around for the best price.

When More is More

Big Ticket Luxury Items

People will need more of a reason to part with large sums of money for big ticket items. There needs to be comprehensive selling points that work in association with strong branding imagery and advertising.

Products That Require a ‘Try Before You Buy’ Principle

 This includes cosmetics, skin care, shoes, clothes, hats, sunglasses, perfume and so on.

Untested items

Any items that haven’t been tried and tested on the market before, or that are unfamiliar to the chosen audience, deserve a much longer and in-depth write up, about the benefits over existing products.

Specialty or Bespoke items

These are the items that people never knew that they needed or wanted until it came along. They fulfill a need and make life easier in some way. However they need to be explained. The same goes for customised or bespoke items. These need to be explained because they have many unique variables and are costed higher than other products.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Ten Lessons To Learn About Pinterest From Top Storytellers

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Pinterest is nowhere near as popular as Instagram, however its a repository of quirky, unusual or weird art and online discoveries can cavort together. If you have images that convey a story in a spectacular or unique way – these images will do well on Pinterest. Here are ten tips for getting the most out of Pinterest from the people who rule the roost.

1. Have a sense of humour

Copywriter Tiffany Beveridge created a board called ‘My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler‘. She repinned photos from fashion editorials and created an instant cult classic in Quinoa, her imaginary daughter.  The moral of the story: don’t be afraid to be amusing or satirical, it will get you followers. Click image to see more

”Though their chances were slim, Quinoa generously invited Sauté and Gouda to bring their A-game and join the lineup of potential dates for the preschool prom”

2. Use Secret Boards

Secret boards are private and are invitation-only. This can be handy for a private collaboration area. You could leverage this by creating a VIP area for customers or colleagues to contribute to their own private board. This is perfect for businesses like landscape gardening, wedding planning, interior decorating and design.

3. Aim to Thrill and Amaze

Pinterest is about adding and curating beautiful images that will thrill, inspire and amaze people. This is taken to epic proportions by Pinterest maven Karen Nyberg. She’s a A NASA astronaut, who posted images of earth onto Pinterest from space.  Now you obviously can’t pull that sort of rabbit out of the hat – but you get the point, right? Click image to view more.

4.Use Portrait Images

The way that Pinterest is structured, it gives preference to tall photos. Photos that are taller than they are wide, are going to display in a much more eye-popping way. So that means you should pin portrait photos rather than landscape and use dark borders around photos. This will make the images more conducive to repins and likes.

5. Be Prolific and Polite

Pin regularly on a variety of topics. This will increase the likelihood of people liking and following you. Also, you should repay interest by repinning, liking and following people in kind. Interior Designer Maryanne Rizzo does this very well, for her 9 million followers she curates pins and with her sharp eye for design, manages to inspire and educate her followers. Click image for more from her.

6. Target Women

Women pin the most frequently and are the most prolific users of Pinterest. Therefore targeting women on Pinterest is a no-brainer. It’s perfect for boutique and bespoke offerings in fashion, education, art, interior design, craft DIY, food, wine beauty, home décor. Case in point is Suzy Brookes who offers teacher resources and learning strategies to 15,000 followers.

Women use Pinterest far more frequently than men

7. Kill Your Darlings

Be ruthless with your products and only showcase the best ones on Pinterest

Don’t post every single product image in the inventory to Pinterest. Be ruthlessly selective in your choices. Nobody wants to see that except you! Pinterest isn’t about blatant self-promotion, it’s about adding and curating pictures that will inspire and amaze people.

8. Throw Out the Brand Rule Book

The worst thing you could do is come across as touting products or services. Instead, you should keep pins interesting and their descriptions thought-provoking. Trey Ratcliff is generous with his photo sharing and licensing rules and offers his own stunning photography to his 4.7 million followers. He does so in a warm and inclusive way that encourages people to follow him.

9. Create Image Mash-ups

Mash-up several compelling images into a vertical block. This is perfect for showing a step-by-step process or before/after shots. Sellers on Etsy do this very well.  Ren Mitchell is a crafty DIY extraordinaire who offers up step-by-step images on how to make cool jewellry and bespoke art. See more by clicking on the image.

10. Be Mysterious

A good image is like dangling a carrot in a starving person’s face. However if the description underneath provides all the information they need, nobody will click through to the website. Instead in the description, you should deliberately withhold the full story to encourage click-throughs.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content

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Email is far more personal and immediate than other forms of digital marketing. An e-newsletter is the perfect way of reaching your clients, followers and those who have varying levels of curiosity about you and your business. E-newsletters allow you to prepare customers and potential new customers throughout different stages of the buying cycle. It also allows you to differentiate yourself from competitors by offering more added value, insights, incentives and offers, with this closer mode of contact. People will be much more likely to purchase a product or service from your business when you stick to these six essential rules.

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
Don’t wait until you are drowning in BAU work…start planning early!

1. Set Goals and Plan Early

Before writing your newsletter, or creating a proper online marketing campaign, it’s important to set out goals. This will clarify the purpose of each newsletter, and also it’s placement within a broader internet marketing campaign of newsletter topics. This is when you should consider frequency, time of day for delivery, build a solid subscriber list and also the thematic or seasonal offers and topics that relate to a broader editorial calendar.

2. What does the audience want to know about?

Consider what the target audience wants to know about, not what your organisation wants to tell them. In other words, don’t go for the super-hard sell. Instead offer relevant, interesting and on-brand content through the newsletter. Otherwise it’s liable to end up in the recycle bin.

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
It’s always worth your time to investigate what your audience really wants, rather than banging your own drum.

3. Does your newsletter add value?

Put every newsletter content through a check-list. Does it offer special insights? exclusive content? a product or service discount? A great newsletter makes people realise why they subscribed in the first place. It fosters loyalty from people, because it gives them exclusive access to a secret club.

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
Does your newsletter ad value for customers? If not it may not be worth your time.

4. Consider the time of delivery

Heavy internet users usually check their email at least five times per day. Even people who are constantly busy, will check their email at least once per day. In the morning between 8 and 10 am is often a popular time, also after dinner at around 8pm. Catch people when they are relaxed and have time to browse. Groupon often send out lunchtime offers and this works very well.

5. Call to Action

Click here for more information. Click here for the limited offer. Check availability now.

A newsletter should have plenty of ways to ”find out more”. There should also be plenty of one-click options so that people can follow the business on social media. Make it simple and impulsive for people to stay in touch in many ways!

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
A hummingbird’s heart beats at 1,263 beats per minute. What is your superpower? And therefore what should your call to action be?

6. Think Seasonal and Topical

Plan the newsletters around local holidays, the four seasons, industry news, legislative changes. When this is stuff that people want to hear about it’s online marketing gold!

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Seven content creation tips for startups and freelancers

Seven content creation tips for startups and freelancers

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Your website is a central hub and locus where people can engage with your business. Although it can also be a benign and wasted opportunity depending on how you manage changes to the website. Although making changes to the website can be baffling if you don’t know where to start. But don’t worry! Here are seven areas where you should focus your efforts to ensure that you’re making the right changes to your site, and not just aimlessly pushing pixels around.

1. Feedback, feedback, feedback

Customer feedback is gold. Collate your feedback from focus groups, phone conversations, the CRM, salespeople, social media and the website itself. Even when the feedback is negative, it provides the nuts and bolts to become better at your product or service. Take this feedback and use this to build and improve a digital services strategy and a marketing strategy. Use this feedback to improve customer service, customer satisfaction and improving products and services..

2. Keep on top of FAQs

Likewise, you should look upon your FAQs section as a work in progress. Look at questions that your customers have asked you recently through email, telephone and in person. What are the burning questions they want to know about? Build the FAQs around these questions. Always keep them up to date with information and further queries. If repeated questions aren’t being addressed with the FAQs, then you will likely require a full-blown content strategy in order to explain the information to customers.

3. Competitor’s websites offer cautionary tales

Investigate what your competition are offering to their customers. Can you see a gap in the market where they are under-performing or under-delivering on their services or products? Use these lessons to modulate and improve your own offering. Where you see the gaps is a place to provide a superior and high value offering which may mean their clients come to your business instead.

Seven content creation tips for startups and freelancers
When it comes to content marketing and design – everything is connected

4. Your website is not finished, it’s a testing ground

The main way that you can investigate the efficacy of different products and services on your site is by analysing the traffic and conversions through Google Analytics. There is no definitive end-point where everything is hunky dory and working fine. Your site is a work in progress that requires constant analysis and then shifting the goal posts according to how people use your site. Broad changes to the design and navigation on your site should be undertaken by skilled developers and UX specialists who will know how to make the site user-friendly, and how to optimise the page elements for conversion.

5. Information should be free

Don’t withhold information from customers and ask them to pay for an ebook or webinar behind a paywall. Instead your blog and web presence should provide insider tips on how you can do things better for free. By sharing knowledge and techniques for free, you will win over your customers with your candid and honest help.

Don’t try and obfuscate or confuse users….clear and simple communication is everything

6. Case studies are gold

Provide customer case studies about how you have helped clients in the past. This will give your potential new clients an overview of your workflow, working style, and a clear roadmap about how you helped clients in the past with practical, measurable outcomes.

Position your brand with storytelling from previous customers

7. Use your blog to position yourself as a thought leader

Definitely it’s good to share your personality and stories with your clients. But they don’t want to hear about your trip to Brisbane in March or the fact that your dog is sick on your business blog. Don’t overshare personal information with clients on your website in order to build rapport. People visiting your site will either be left baffled or indifferent to a blog with personal reflections on it.  Instead use your website to position yourself as a thought leader and feature advice, tips and support on your site which people will find useful and interesting.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Given that around 2.35 billion people will be using social media after 2020, it no longer makes any sense for businesses to ignore the importance of social media. No matter what part of the social media journey you're on, just starting out or a veteran – there's always room for improvement. With that in mind, here's ten ways to ramp up your social media presence.

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts

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In a crowded online landscape, some SME and mid-sized organisations get lost in Google rankings.   No longer can organisations sit by idly on the internet and wait to be noticed like a coy teenager at the school dance. When it comes to targeting localised target audiences using content and digital strategy, there are nine key strategic maneuvers to make in order to outdo the competition.

1. Create a geo-location strategy

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
1. Create a geo-location strategy

According to eConsultancy, in the second quarter of 2019, consumers downloaded more than 30.3 billion mobile apps globally. This generated 22.5bn for Google Play and a 10% increase year on year profit. Although consumers spend up to 80% more on apps for iOS compared to Android.

Make a plan that includes relevant and popular search queries and keywords and that’s mobile-first, optimised for mobile ecommerce and localised. When analysing keywords, it’s important to make sure that they are relevant to your organisation and its services or products.

Also, identify if there are long tail keywords that include the particular region or state that you live in, and not just the city.

2. Talk about your area in the blog

It’s not just about using SEO tactics. Humans have to read your blog too. So use SEO best practices for geo-location and make reference to local areas in the posts.

To capture a local audience – speak their language. This can include references to local events, local celebrities or local issues of the day (only if this is relevant to the topic). You could even take it to the next level and use colloquial terms that will resonate with this local audience, and signal that you’re from this particular area, in a genuine way.

3. Have an active presence in the real world

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
3. Have an active presence in the real world

We’re not talking about the online community, we mean the real world. Businesses should be concerned about the local community. The smartest PR move that businesses can make, is to tie their products or services to the activities of a local community charity, in a tangible and meaningful way.

For example yoga schools could offer a local mental health association a discount, for those affected by mental illness to join yoga classes. If you run an auto repair shop, then invest in supporting a local ‘drive safe’ campaign for teenagers.

This has many positive benefits, including increasing online and offline brand awareness, business contacts, and creating a positive impression of the brand in the local community.

4. Showcase local events on your site

Another easy way to get some local traffic to your site, is to showcase local events in your blog. This is a clever way to tie in products or services that businesses offer, with the activities of the local community. It can drive a lot of traffic to the site. Keep posts informative, entertaining and light-hearted and don’t go for the hard-sell.

Find out about opportunities to partner with or sponsor local events. This means a higher number of quality inbound links coming to the site. This will drive up the search ranking in a sustained and long term way.

5. Localise and personalise your website content

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
5. Localise content with seasonal offers

New research by Monetate has revealed that personalisation strategies are helping companies exceed revenue expectations and get 3 x the ROI and customer lifetime value compared to companies not employing content personalisation.  

In much the same way, it’s possible to localise and personalise your website content by using CRM integrations. It’s possible to localise and customise your content so that it’s relevant to the particular season, location and even the weather. Although talking about this further is beyond the scope of this article, you may want to go to the Hubspot website to read their white papers on personalisation.

6. Localise your SEO keywords

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
6. Localise your SEO keywords

Google’s search algorithm has moved on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Steer clear of translating plays on words, turns of phrase or other expressions in English into other languages with your Adwords campaign. These puns often end up sounding awkward in other languages. Instead in order to connect with customers in localised areas overseas, enlist the help of a local copywriter who can convert the message in the right way.

7. Localise your PPC landing pages

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
7. Localise your PPC landing pages

Just as it’s important to localise your Pay Per Click ads, it’s also important to localise your landing pages. This ensures a consistency of messaging from the PPC ad campaign through to your targeted landing pages. For this you will need a local copywriter to translate puns and turns of phrase into the local lingo.

8. Socialise Your Blog Content

This doesn’t mean take a print out of the post, sit in a pub with a pint and talk to a piece of paper! What it means is promoting the blog posts on social media channels to an extended network of stakeholders like customers, potential customers, staff, family, friends and other interested third parties. Only then will the content begin to work hard for you.

Here’s a TED talk by mother bear of the blogging revolution, Mena Trott, creator of Movable Type. She talks about how the essence of blogging is building a much more friendly and connected world. This applies in just the same way to businesses, as it does to people writing about their own personal lives online. Although remember not to conflate the two. Business blogs need to stay on message and on brand, whereas personal blogs are free range and able to roam wherever they want.

Remember that when it comes to blog posts, the recipe is one part SEO, one part excellent and engaging writing.

Bonus Tip: Target localised users on mobile

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
Bonus Tip: Target localised users on mobile

In 2019, smartphone has overtaken desktop in terms of ecommerce sales. According to the latest Capgemini IMRG research. This means you should amp up your mobile location based personalisation. It’s also important to invest in a mobile-first website that drives sales conversions.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!