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!

Eight Ingredients for Creating Landing Pages That Work

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If you’ve recently invested in an online marketing strategy, that includes some combination of affiliate marketing, Facebook advertising, PPC, social media, and SEO –  then you should be expecting an onslaught of traffic to your landing page, right? Wrong!That idea works great in theory. However, in reality a landing page needs to be handled with kid gloves. Here are eight essential principles for building a landing page, as a part of a broader web marketing strategy.


1. A concise and clear call to action (CTA)

6 ways to stimulate social media engagement for the real estate industry
1. A concise and clear call to action (CTA)

This is the end goal – the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Therefore it needs to work hard for you. It’s more than simply words, ‘Sign Up Now’, ‘Start a Free Trail’ or ‘Shop Now’.

There should be no distractions and extraneous data that obfuscates the main goal. The best landing pages are simple, and accentuate one goal, and one goal only.

Consider what should remain above the fold. This means the information that appears on the site before scrolling is required. This part of the web page should have everything in a nutshell.


2. An offer or promise

2. An offer or promise

Visitors to your landing page will be thinking, what’s in it for me? There’s no other way with web marketing. Also, that’s just the psychology of human beings. This is why it’s important to have an offer or discount in place, in exchange for getting what you want from website visitors and getting their personal information.

Effective landing pages, with incredibly high conversion rates, move the customer deep into the conversion funnel. These sites gather information from visitors, in exchange for an offer or discount. After a time, the visitors can unsubscribe without a fee. In every sense – this is a win-win.  You can foster a sense of urgency by making the trial offer for a limited time.


3. Keep it simple

This TED talk below is about the paradox of consumer choice. Research has shown than when consumers are given too many choices, they ultimately take longer to make decisions, and often are put off completely.  Therefore, the simpler you make your landing page, the more effective it will be.  Narrow down the focus, be brief and succinct, and reap the benefits.

The paradox of consumer choice

4. Give me one reason to stay here

5. A catchy and memorable headline

In the obscure and largely forgotten 90’s song by Tracey Chapman, he asks us to ”Give me one reason to stay here…you gotta make me change my mind”. This is precisely what we must provide visitors to a landing page. Think of benefits, features, and how the product or service fulfils a need or solves a problem for customers.


5. A catchy and memorable headline

Visitors to your landing page got there for a reason. It’s the job of the headline to get them to pull up a chair and stay there a while. It takes a fraction of a second to decide whether or not to stay on a landing page.  See this example from Treehouse

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6. An Intuitive Layout for Multiple Devices

Eight Ingredients for Creating Landing Pages That Sell!
Consider how the website user will navigate through your website – UX or user experience

Bear in mind that the landing page that’s visible on your mammoth HD monitor, will be different from what other visitors see on older or smaller devices. Therefore, keep this in mind with the design. Keep the vital messages in the centre top of the screen, such as the headline, logo and call to action.


7. Appropriate and engaging visuals

Sometimes visuals can work well to express an abstract emotion

Don’t fall for crappy gifs, stock photos or poor quality videos. Visuals can be powerful when used correctly and sparingly. Sometimes visuals can be used to express an abstract emotion or theme of a blog, but only in a way that will make this obvious to the reader. Also you should avoid including videos that start automatically when the user opens the landing page – This is a cardinal sin. It’s intrusive and annoying, and guarantees that people will exit the landing page as soon as possible.


8. Badges of social authority

8. Badges of social authority
8. Badges of social authority

Always include social media links. If you have been established a while, then it’s also a good idea to include links to press clippings, testimonials, and a portfolio of work. This establishes credibility, authority and verifies that your business is a respectable player.  Don’t overdo it with self-aggrandizement though. Instead aim for simplicity and plenty of white space, with links to more information, should the visitors want to dig further.


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

Getting on the blogging bandwagon: How to create interesting blog content

Getting on the blogging bandwagon: How to create interesting blog content

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Every business from start-up to multinational has a blog. You need to get on the blogging bandwagon, or feel its wheels rolling over the top of you! The challenge with blogging often isn’t the budget constraints, it’s coming up with engaging ideas that are going to resonate with your audience.

Everyone has a unique perspective and insights to share

The great thing about blogging is that everyone has many stories to share. Bring together a bunch of people with similar interests and challenges in life and you can build a supportive online community.

Create and Curate

No matter your blog topic – you can bet that somebody somewhere has already laid the groundwork, with an abundance of content written any topic under the sun. So take inspiration from this content, and then write your own story.

Curating lists is also a great idea. You could recommended blog posts, sites, books, podcasts or videos. This helps other people in the community and adds depth to your blog posts. People are more likely to stick around and read when the content is interesting, relevant and informative to them.

Guest Blogging

If you’ve enjoyed reading articles by certain bloggers then ask to interview them for our blog.  Most bloggers or subject matter experts will relish the opportunity for exposure. Firstly, make some editorial guidelines clear.

Don’t allow them to directly promote a specific product or service. Also, in many cases, you can avoid having to pay for a guest post, unless the blogger is enormously famous. Their pay-off comes at the end of the guest post, with an included brief about themselves, their expertise and a link to their own website.

A guest blogger’s writing can be like a breath of fresh air to a business blog. The guest blogger automatically becomes a powerful brand advocate, sharing the post all over social media. It’s a powerful way to immediately increase the reach and virality of the post.

Repurpose Your Existing Content

Use your existing collection of content to create a video tutorial, slideshare presentation, infographic, magazine article or any other type of new content. Most of the work will have already been done, it’s just a matter of tweaking the content for the new format.

Industry round-ups

Collect all of the interesting and industry-relevant research, quotes, and insights you can find from other popular blogs and websites. Then combine this with your own content that’s created in-house as well as industry research nuggets. When combined together this can be turned into long-form content for your blog.  and other little golden nuggets of information that you find elsewhere on the web. Posting this in a steady, uninterrupted flow onto social media is going to keep up the momentum of interest.

Think Telephone Not Loudspeaker

Make sure that your social media communication is like a telephone and not a loudspeaker or PA system. Social media is about engagement and getting people involved and interested in your story. People want to see you as a friend on social media, not a brand or business. So keep the content entertaining, light-hearted and amusing – as you would to your friends.  And don’t sell to your followers and fans, they will abandon you quicker than you can say ‘Sign Up Now’.

Quality content is the door, ingenuity and creativity is the key.  Speak with me today about how I can bring your blog to life!