It is easy to get bogged down into the constant struggle of reeling in profitable business. And in a tight economy, it’s understandable why we might tighten our belt and trim off the frills. But it’s worth remembering that marketing is one of the key strategies for getting in that new business and building the foundations for eventual sales.
Obviously you need to be sensible, so think about your evergreen marketing; by evergreen marketing I am talking about a marketing idea or concept that will last beyond the next couple of hours, weeks or even years, perennially providing you with new strands of business.
The top four evergreen strategies I would recommend investing in are:
One of the top marketing tools to give your customers value or deliver a personal touch, I cannot express how much I value video. Working around the clock on platforms like Vimeo, YouTube you are able to hook business from worldwide markets.
Whether it is a how to guide, vlog, casestudy, testimonial or product overview it will certainly benefit your business. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, less is always more and you may even be surprised at how affordable it is.
If you don’t have the capacity to create a short video, think about making a slideshow animation from images or using animated GIFS to help catch your audience’s eye.
In a world of instant gratification and with many of us carrying a computer in our pockets it seems ludicrous if you do not have an online presence. A handful of pages is better than nothing. The absolute basics should be a clear message about who you are, what you can deliver and how to get in touch with you. This is often the first glimpse into your business so make the effort and make sure it gives a professional vibe.
With current online web design sites such as Squarespace or WordPress their really is no excuse. Even hiring a professional web designer is a reasonable cost for most busineses. Giving your site a facelift does not have to be expensive and often needs just a review of the text, images and search optimisation.
Don’t have a website? At the very least make sure you have an online presence using a Facebook Business page or Google My Business profile. How else will your customer’s find you?
Informative and educational articles is where you will capture today’s audience. If we want to know something we ask Google.. delving into a world where at a click of a button we can find out how to fix our washing machine or learn how to perfect a certain recipe.
Whether it’s an informative article or a more informal account of what is happening in your business. The more information you share online through articles on your site, the more this will help capture your audience. By writing and sharing something of true value you are instinctively building trust with your customer by proving that you know what you are talking about. Sharing helpful tips and tricks will make you more memorable and possibly prompt a return visit or even a recommendation.
It will also help boost your website up the Google ranks as the search engine robots favour sites with quality and relavent content as it increases the amount of time that is spent on the site, reduces the bounce rate and increases the number of pages visited per session.
Don’t forget all of the content you are gathering could be translated into a video at a later date!
You can huff and puff until the cows go home but nobody can sell your business more than your previous clients. When investing in a new venture or purchase the majority of people these days will search online and read the reviews to help them determine which company they would like to go with. If you are good at what you do, be open. Contact your previous customers and ask them if they would mind giving you a review or sharing some feedback. You never know you might find that you learn something from the feedback which could streamline your business further. Whether it is a short statement, written or filmed interview it will add an extra layer of authenticity whilst reminding them that you still exist and could even prompt further work.
It is important to be careful about what you invest in but don’t be afraid to invest in marketing ideas that are fun or novel as often that is the stuff that hooks in your audience. We are all bored and numb to so many of the mainstream marketing campaigns so think of how you can be different and about what your customers would find helpful.
Image credit: Adrenalin by Artem Bali from Pexels
- Louise Kinnaird
- November 9, 2016
Following on from Helen’s blog post last month about ROAM (Readers, Objective, Action, iMpression) and writing for business, I would like to expand a little on what it takes to get readers to take action.
Words win customers
Imagine sitting down to read some promising online content and you start to nod off, bored with the lack of vivacity in the corporate waffle you are being offered. Chances are you won’t buy what they’re selling. Am I right?
As a business owner you are concerned with selling your product or service. In order to be able to do this effectively you’ll need words. Good words. Because words win readers, and readers are potential customers only if you can interest and tempt them. Your words should make readers feel something, and make them act on those feelings. Use the wrong words and you will put off your readers from becoming customers.
The wrong words
If you put too little effort in, or if it’s clear that you have no skill with words (in which case what else do you have no skill in, your business perhaps?) then your best customers are going to walk. Perhaps they’ll walk to a business who talks a good talk, who won’t come across as pushy and who can appeal to the reader’s emotions (without them actually realising it). These are the businesses who are more likely to gain readers, and therefore customers.
You love your business, you don’t necessarily love words
OK, so you may be able to put words on the screen. Indeed, you may be as poetic as Bob Dylan, but can you write to sell?
You might know your business inside out and back to front, but do you know how to sell your beloved business using only words? (and no, superlatives like ‘fantastic’ and ‘amazing’ do not cut it). It’s not as easy as you might think. It takes a lot of practice.
What your words should do
To be effective in gaining interest from potential clients your words need to do the following;
- Hit your target audience – if you try to appeal to everyone then no-one will read, let alone respond or buy
- Engage on an emotional level – it is appealing to the emotions of potential customers that gets the sales, not lists of benefits or products
- Perfectly capture your company, its principles and its ethos
- Make the words exciting and engaging, even for the driest subject
- Be aware of trends to keep your content fresh
If you can do all of these things, then I apologise for wasting your time. If not, please understand that good sales rely on good copy, and good copy requires skill. It is not simply a matter of putting words on a screen. These days, with so many companies in your field competing for eye time on the web, your copy must stand out. Make sure you are – or have at your disposal – the right person to create that copy.
Photo credit: Stefan Zdzialek, Kuba sleeping on keyboard
- Helen Crease
- October 11, 2016
My writing has been through a series of evolutions. During my A-Levels, I took pride in my ability to write thousands of periphrastic, prosaic paragraphs for English Literature essays, using a vocabularly that, most of which, I now wouldn’t know the meaning of. I was also a sucker for alliteration.
Then I started working in TV and I was devastated when a senior Commissioning Editor criticised my writing for being ‘far too floral’; I was urged to do away with the hyperbole of my youth and to become much more ‘tabloid’.
Now, as a Social Media Manager, I struggle to produce anything engaging that’s longer than 140 characters; in fact, my writing life has become one big #acronym!
Writing for business is different yet again. The objective in business writing should always be to create a change in the reader; either to change a reader’s attitude or to encourage a different behaviour.
A tool I come back to time and again when I have to write business articles is Josh Bernoff’s R.O.A.M. Bernoff, if you haven’t heard of him, is the author of ‘Writing Without Bullshit’. Grabbed by this brilliant book title, I discovered Josh’s podcasts and blog, which is where I came across the concept of ROAM. Before you attempt any business-related article, Josh insists that the author spends time thinking about the following:
- Readers: Who is the audience?
- Objective: What are you trying to do?
- Action: What do you want the reader to do?
- iMpression: What will the reader think of you?
To give you an insight in to my practise, for example, here’s how I started this blog post:
Readers: People who have an interest in marketing, business, creativity or all three.
Objective: To share with my readers some useful tips on how to write concisely for business.
Action: I want my readers to learn more about honing their writing skills, hire Rather Inventive to help them or Find the information so useful they want to sign up to more emails in the box below…
iMpression: I’d like my readers to think that ratherinventive.com is a truly brilliant oracle of information relating to marketing, business and creativity (which it is, of course!).
Follow this link to find out more about ROAM.
And as a nice little Brucie Bonus, feast your eyes on this infographic:
Infographic taken from bernoff.com – Photo credit: Ak~1 – Typewriter.
- January 18, 2012
Most people turn to a web designer when they need a new website because they know that making a good first impression is vital. But people use the content to decide whether or not to buy, so it’s vital that it’s as professional as the design.
If you’re thinking about writing your website content yourself, here are five reasons why you should consider hiring a web copywriter instead.
- A web copywriter will save you time. If you’re busy or you simply don’t like writing, you’ll never find the time to write and your website will never be finished. Brief a web copywriter and they’ll do the hard work for you.
- A web copywriter will save you money. If you’re writing content, you’re not doing business and you’re not making money. Give the job to a copywriter. Then they can do their job – and you can do yours.
- A web copywriter will have a fresh perspective. You know your business inside out. Is there a risk you’ll use jargon or structure the website in a way that only an insider will understand? The chances are your customers aren’t experts in your business. A web copywriter will make sure that your business is understandable to everyone, not just those in-the-know.
- A web copywriter is an expert in writing for the web. Writing for the web is different to writing for print. A web copywriter knows how to make copy work on screen. (See Top Tips for Web Copywriting for a few hints).
- A web copywriter understands search engine optimisation. Your content might be fantastic. But unless it’s been optimised, there’s a risk no one will ever see it. A web copywriter understands how search engines work and how to maximise the chances of your website being found. (See Choosing Keywords for SEO for an introduction to this area.)
So there you go, five reasons to use a web copywriter. I hope they’ve convinced you to consider one for your website project.
- August 31, 2011
Writing for websites is different to writing for paper-based media, so if you’re new to it all, these pointers might help.
The first thing to remember is: reading on screen is hard!
It’s a lot harder than reading on the page. Think about the way you surf the web – you probably skim-read, trying to get to the information you need as quickly as you can – it’s because it’s so much harder to read on screen that you’re doing that.
Remember that your readers are just the same as you. So it’s important to do what you can to help them find the information they want – and make it appealing and easy for them to carry on exploring.
Keep things simple
There are some things you can do from a technical perspective to make your web copy easy to read:
- keep sentences short
- keep paragraphs short
- use bulleted lists where you can
- use informative headings to break up the copy and allow people to jump to the information they want
- better still, if a page is going on too long, break the information up into separate pages so people aren’t intimidated by loads of scrolling text.
(Try this: go to the BBC News website. Pick a story and read it through. Notice how easy to read and understand it is. Now print it out and read it again. Suddenly, the sentences seem short – almost too short. That’s the difference between reading on-screen and on the page.)
Write for your audience
Keep the reader in mind while you’re writing. Ask yourself “what do readers want/need to know?” not “what do we want to tell them?” and remember that while you’re writing.
Try to write as if you’re talking to one person not making a presentation to hundreds – this will help to keep you focussed on giving readers what they need – and keep your style friendly and personal.
Keeping people engaged with your website is one thing. Getting them there in the first place is quite another. That’s where keywords come in, read our post on how to choose the right keywords for if you need help on this.