in other words

These simple email marketing techniques will win you customers

Coralie Fernando - Sunday, April 10, 2016

We’ve all received EDMs from companies that we either do or don’t buy from. Sometimes we open the emails and sometimes we don’t. But what is it exactly that gets us to click through and open them? And more importantly, what is it that drives us to buy?

First things first, no amount of screamy capital letters, exclamation marks and neon signposting is going to do it for me. If anything, it has the opposite effect. Sure there are a few tips, tricks and key words you can use in your subject header to entice your reader to open the email, but when all is said and done, what will get them to want to open it consistently, time and again? What will see them look forward to receiving them?!

Simply good content. Good old fashioned quality content.

So what is it exactly that makes good content good? The truth about successful content that works is: it varies from one audience to the next. And once you’ve figured out what exactly your audience want to know about:

    Be yourself

This is a pretty simple concept, but it covers a whole host of more significant details. For example, being yourself means you’re communicating authentically. It means speaking with your unique tone of voice and a personal touch. As you start to build rapport with your audience, you’ll start earning trust. In a world where we’re so frequently bombarded with superfluous advertising, a genuine voice rings true and stands out from the crowd.

    Be consistent

Consistency isn’t a new concept, and it’s just as important in email marketing as any other channel. Not just in terms of tone of voice and copy style. Your emails should be going out as regularly as clockwork too, so think about how frequently your resources allow you to send emails vs. how regularly your audience are likely to want to hear from you. Daily, weekly, monthly? It will depend from once audience to another: consider testing between email lists to gauge how engagement and opt-outs compare.

Design-wise, maintain consistency as well. Keep it recognisable, on-brand and simple. In essence, don’t make it hard for people to work out what you want them to do.

    Offer quality

Write high quality content in your emails that actually delivers on what your audience will want to know or hear about. Simple concept yes – but it can be harder to execute! Go back to the good old ‘what’s in it for me’ theory and review your content with this in mind. The email should contain links to your own content, not others’ external links if you can avoid it. And don’t forget to tell them what you want them to do, otherwise known as the call-to-action!

Email marketing doesn’t need to be intrusive, spammy or difficult. It can actually create some incredibly effective leads, win you sales and increase your brand awareness significantly. Similarly, email marketing mistakes might cost you customer loyalty too, so it’s well worth investing in how your email marketing campaign might contribute positively to your overarching marketing strategy.

Need some help? Get in touch today.

Tone of voice: why consistency is key to better copywriting

Coralie Fernando - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Consistency… Yawn.

Yes, marketeers, comms specialists and brand managers have harped on about it for years, dashing the dreams of creatives everywhere in the wake of corporate synonymity.

So why does it matter? What’s the big deal, specifically when it comes to language? Do clients really notice if you’ve happened to use a comma in the place of a hyphen? Will they care if you use the word ‘use’ rather than ‘employ’? Possibly not, but here’s why it still matters.

Brand-building is a serious and long-term business investment. While a clumsy semicolon might not be so obvious a mistake as, say, a stretched logo, over time as your business matures and your brand becomes more sophisticated, these details will become increasingly significant. Modern marketing has nurtured brands to a point where marketeers are now fiercely protective of branding usage. The details matter, essentially because they matter to our customers (though they mightn’t realise why).

Establishing a consistent tone of voice from the outset matters because it sets the foundations for a strong brand. The details, once established, will naturally lend themselves to a sophisticated brand, and ultimately a powerful and recognisable one. An identifiable and effective brand is one that will not only see your customers returning to you time and again, but referring you on as well.

Getting it right

The process of developing a tone of voice to suit your business can take time. For the most part, it’s barely a consideration when new businesses are set up. Understandably, it falls down the list of priorities. But when communication plays an integral role in each of our encounters with customers, staff and suppliers, wouldn’t you want to consider the language they’re likely to respond to?

Your tone of voice will represent the personality of your business and will contribute to the relationship with your existing and prospective customers. It should speak a language they understand, empathise with and, ultimately, motivates them to action.

Who is your target demographic? Where do they live? Why will they be interested in what you have to offer? Once you have some of the answers to these questions, you’ll start to paint a picture of how they might like to communicate, and accordingly the traits of your tone and brand personality start to take form.

This tone, once established, should be reflected across all your communications. This means your website content, your direct marketing communications, and even the language with which you verbally use with your customers.

Every advert, blog post, tweet, infographic and video should pay homage to your established tone of voice.

Being a trusted brand

Brand and style guardianship cease to exist if their application become selective, even if ‘in the real world’ we treat the details as irrelevant. But ultimately, poorly crafted copy that gracelessly ignores a consistent style is not what you want to be putting out in the public forum. Don’t confuse your audience with conflicting styles and personalities. Imagine meeting someone several times, and on each occasion they assume different character traits. Would you trust them? Would you give them your hard-earned cash?

Me, neither.

Can I help you define your tone of voice? Get in touch today.

 

Ten habits to make you a better copywriter

Coralie Fernando - Saturday, March 12, 2016

Creating copy that engages with your audience and inspires can take time. I’ve written a post about spring cleaning copy, but as a lover of lists, I wanted to share my own checklist that I look to if I’m having a bad pen day. Motivating your audience into action is the ultimate goal, but if, at minimum, you generate a positive branding experience and entertain, so much the better.

1. Could you read your copy out to a good friend without them feeling like you’re preaching a sermon?

This is up at number one for good reason. Think about how your target audience normally communicates and craft your copy accordingly. Engaging copy shouldn’t be hard to understand, condescending, or self-interested. Ask questions, entertain, and make it clear what’s in it for them. Avoid jargon or acronyms if you can, as you’ll likely lose attention extremely quickly.

2. Check your sentence lengths.

Sometimes there’s a temptation to include all the information in one sentence because you have so much to say and you don’t want to have to cut and slice, but in doing so you’ll lose your readers’ attention and interest so it’s not really worth it, especially as by the time you get to the end of your sentence they’ll have completely lost interest so you could be describing the most exciting facts about puppy dogs tails, snails, whales or curly kale but they won’t even know.

3. Does your copy have an impactful ending? If not it’s.

What do you want to leave your audience with as a lasting impression? What’s your call to action? What do you want them to think, or do?

4. Plan properly, and be true to your intended format.

Don’t start your piece of writing as a listicle and deviate idly halfway through towards a written article. The laziness will permeate.

5. Are, you? Prone. To punc:Tuation?

This was my biggest failing in English. Don’t ask me why, but I loves me a comma. Try to resist over indulging on the punctuation marks if you can - you’ll lose your audience and dilute your sentence structure.

6. Grammatically, do you know what is going on?

Get it right. Your audience might not forgive you if you don’t.

7. Know when it’s time for something glorious and when it’s time for something that gets the job done.

I’m all for bells and whistles, but a 94 page website can’t be ringing and whistling all the way to the contact page. If your audience is looking for information, make your copy functional.

8. Get a proof reader

Also known as fresh eyes, an objective point of view or critical eye. Frustrating and unfathomable though it continues to be, but I still can’t pick up on each and every last inconsistency and typo. Get a good proof reader who will relieve you of the stress.

9. Have you brought ‘it’ to life without relying on clichés like ‘brought it to life’?

This is a tough one, particularly when the creative juices are running thin. Go to bed and attack again on the morrow.

10. The final test: if your copy was out on show for all to see, would you point and smile, your heart bursting with pride and contentedly proclaim ‘I wrote that’?

Whilst I sincerely hope your copywriting improves as a result of these few pointers, I nonetheless unashamedly offer my services if you’d like a bit more help.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Kim

Ten Things to know before creating your company website

Coralie Fernando - Tuesday, March 01, 2016

There are a plethora of things to consider when starting a new business, but having an effective website up and running is one of the most important investments you can make. Setting up a website isn’t an ego-massaging exercise. If you do it right from the outset, your website can become your single most important source of business leads and sales.

Here are my Top Ten Tips on what to consider before setting up your website:

    Domain name

If you’re a start up and have your business name registered, buy a domain name and load a landing page with your contact info asap. For SEO reasons, ideally your domain name should also include a relevant word to your chosen profession: For example, if you bake croissants and your business name is Dave the Baker, you should consider a domain name like www.davethebakercroissants.com.

    SEO strategy

When Google assesses a site, one of the ways in which it calculates its relevance (and therefore page rankings) is via key words. These key words inform the search engine what you do if you’re any good at. With that in mind, creating pertinent copy is an absolute must if you want to rank and be found by potential customers.

    Content marketing strategy

I’ve written more in-depth posts on this previously but the concept is fairly straightforward: Content marketing is the practice of planning your published content to the world as part of your marketing strategy. It means thinking about how all of your content ties in to one central vision that engages with your audience.

    Be authentic!

Research shows that increasingly, consumers are looking for a more meaningful and personal connection with brands. That means having consistent and authentic tone of voice throughout all of your website copy. Don’t be formal in one place, and colloquial in another - it will come off as insincere. Your tone of voice is as distinctive as your visual design and identity. Get it right.

    Blog

A blog is crucial to the SEO success of your site and an easy way of updating your content. It also provides a great opportunity to interact and engage with your existing / potential customers.

    Keep it simple

Lose the jargon when you write and don’t assume everyone knows the various acronyms and terminology that exist within your sector. It shouldn’t be hard for people to work out what you do. The best rule of thumb I can give here is to write in a similar style to how you’d chat to a friend over a coffee. Likewise, keep your sitemap simple too. It should be really easy for people to navigate their way around and find what they’re looking for, quickly and easily.

    Get in touch

It’s incredible how many sites don’t do this well: make sure your contact details are prominent and easy to find. When the purpose of your website is to drive people to get in touch with you, make it as easy as possible for them to do just that.

    Design and style

Engage a good designer and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come. It goes without saying that an unprofessional design will speak volumes about the credibility and professionalism of your business – and in our experience, will cost you more in the long run too.

    Analytics

Google analytics are free (yay!) and offer fabulous insight about your site performance. Analytics reports will tell you all the things you need to know about what works so you can stop doing what doesn’t.

    Hosting

A secure hosting platform goes a long way to help with the protection of your site. The higher the quality of the hosting provider, the better equipped they’ll be to minimise potential risks to your site.

The above points offer a simple taster of the things to consider with a new site set up but if you have further questions, please do get in touch!

 

Four tips to help you kickstart your content marketing strategy

Coralie Fernando - Monday, April 06, 2015

First things first, and I don’t want to tell anyone to suck eggs here but, let’s define content marketing quickly. It’s essentially the practice of planning your published content to support the business’ wider marketing strategy.

Why is it important?

Content has always been significant to your marketing, of course. But today, technology uses content in ways the Mad Men wouldn’t even be able to conceive; the (free!) tools available to us now have significantly narrowed the gap between the big players and the small start-ups. Whether it’s twitter, YouTube, a blog or an article, content is key to getting you noticed. How you curate that content depends on your audience and where they’re likely to be hanging out.

So, here are a few little pointers to hopefully nudge (and by ‘nudge’, I mean ‘propel’) you in the right direction:

1. It’s ok to start small

An effective content marketing plan doesn’t need to be a complex plethora of spreadsheets and reports. The most important thing is to make a plan that you feel will meet your goals, and then persevere to stick to the steps in order to meet them. This could be as simple as maintaining your website and blogging regularly. As long as you do these few things well, with a little bit of strategic thinking behind you, you’ll achieve what you set out to.

2. Create a strategy

As with any objective in business, the best way to achieve your content marketing goals is to create a strategic plan that paves a step-by-step plan of how you’ll get there. This needs to dovetail into your existing marketing strategy and be clearly measurable against the wider objectives so you can easily see what’s working and what isn’t, and subsequently adjust accordingly. Your strategy will naturally evolve over time, so ensure you re-visit it regularly to review its progress and fine-tune where needed. Your strategy is where you’ll define how to drive leads, sales, acquisition or retention among your clients.

3. Share your knowledge

The beauty behind content marketing is the… content! Increasingly, consumers are looking to brands to publish related information that adds value and is relevant to them. Herein lies the art behind the science. By curating content that stays ahead of trends and is of personal interest to your customers, you’ll naturally evoke brand confidence, deepen relationships and position yourself as a market leader. This bit requires research, and a lot of trial and error. Once you’ve completed the research, think about your narrative and how you’ll tell the story: it’s the storytelling that produces the spark in the flick of the wand.

4. Make your content easy to find

The first step to making your content discoverable is to share it loud and proud across your own channels – this might include e-newsletters, social media posts, your website, direct mail, articles etc. Rather than pushing and shoving your product message in your prospective consumers’ general direction with vague hopes you’ll be noticed, carefully planned content will do all the hard work for you: your loyal followers will share all the right links online, pointing everyone back to your website.

Want to know more or find out how I can assist with your content marketing? Get in touch today.

image courtesy of twylo