The Two Best Ways to Market Online: Guest Post

All the Buzz is pleased to offer this guest post by William Skuba, Director of Marketing at Enable, a web design firm offering affordable web design, graphic design and marketing for small businesses.

The Two Best Ways to Market Online

online-marketing-graphicI hate the word “marketing.”

Whenever I use it in conversation, I immediately see the person I’m talking to lose interest. His or her eyes glaze over, he gives a canned response like “Oh cool,” and I know he isn’t listening anymore.

And I don’t blame him.

What does the word “marketing” even mean? I hardly even know what it means, and I do it for a living.

The fact of the matter is, the term “marketing” has become a vague, meaningless term from decades of overuse. You see self-styled gurus on Facebook offering reports on: “Top 7 Secrets of Marketing,” or “The Content Marketing Hacks That Made Me My First Million.” And you see YouTube ads trying to sell training courses and webinars about how you too can make millions from home simply by starting a digital marketing agency.

But none of us really even knows what they mean by marketing.

So let’s not use the words “marketing,” “awareness,” or “engagement,” or any other buzzword. Let’s just be honest about what we all need for our businesses.

We need more customers.

Marketing revolves around these two questions:

  1. Who do you want to reach with your service or product?
  2. What do you want them to do?

We need to find people that want our service or product, and then tell them about our business in a way that appeals to them.

Here are the two best, most universal, ways to appeal online to ALL clients in ALL industries via ALL media:

Testimonials and Video

Online Testimonials

When you think about it, how do most people bond with each other?

Answer: By complaining.

97% of people who have a bad experience with your product or service will tell their family and friends, and 57% of them will tell their coworkers. On the other hand, only 87% share good experiences with family and 40% with coworkers.

People write about the experience they have with you on FaceBook and review sites, and these reviews can be either good or bad.

What you want are more GOOD testimonials that provide a clear trust indicator for leads and prospects, showing others like them have how they have used your service or product to solve their problems. These testimonials actually target your leads and prospects.

Where do you get online testimonials, and what do you do with them?

  1. authoritative-reviews-link-google-my-businessAuthoritative Reviews
    Has an industry expert mentioned your business in a positive light, or has a local newspaper spoken positively of your business? Reach out to them and ask if they will post their review on your Google My Business review page.
  2. Post-old-reviews-Grade-usOld Reviews
    Connect with old customers. Using us, you can create a custom link that opens the review box for your Google My Business profile. You can even create a custom link with a 5-star rating already listed, just awaiting their confirmation click. Click the link here to get a feel for it.
  3. Prominent Reviews
    Post your reviews prominently on your website to show your visitors what your clients think of you, because 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends and family members.

video-shootOnline Video

Producing a professional video can help your business. Statistics show that 88% of website viewers spend more time on a website with video than without, and one-third of all online activity is watching a video.

In fact, site visitors are four times more likely to watch a product video than read a product description, and 74% of those who watch a product video go on to buy the product. Video produces results.

  1. Professional Video
    When reading website copy or viewing products online, you may be inclined to take their descriptions with some skepticism. After all, if the business owner is telling you how great his business is, you may not be apt to believe it since he is too invested in the outcome.However, if you have a conversation with the owner and he goes through his work process, showing you results and explaining why and how he does what he does, you are more likely to believe him.Video adds a level of professionalism, trust, and a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal situation (reading someone’s website). In one study, 57% of consumers say that watching a video makes them more confident in online purchases.You might think videos are too expensive to consider, however, while dropping two to five grand on professionally-shot and edited video production might be out of your budget, you can create FaceBook Live videos and video messages for little or no monetary outlay.
  1. Amateur and Live Video
    In addition to a professionally-produced video, you can also continually release FaceBook live streams of yourself working on a jobsite or giving business tips to your followers.  Most cameras have a video capacity, and purchasing a computer camera is also not a huge investment.Likes and shares grow by 20% on live video streams, according to MediaKix.com. Additionally, live videos are watched 3x longer than non-live videos.Giving your followers a glimpse of you at work or a quick look at you in person (not in polished, published form) is great for building trust with you clients.

Search Engine Benefits of Posting Online Video

Finally, Google also loves video. For example, if you have a video produced on a certain topic as well as a blog post, Google is going to give preference to the video in organic search rankings. In fact, 70% of the top 100 search listings on Google are video.

So with all the positive benefits that viewers and consumers are showing about video, why aren’t more businesses using it?

The answer is unfamiliarity. People are afraid to use what they are unfamiliar with. While video is not a new technology, it might be a new online marketing tactic that more business owners need to employ. The payoff for online visibility and credibility is worth the effort.

Will-Skuba-EnableWilliam Skuba is Director of Marketing at Enable Web Design. He is passionate about sales and marketing, and is always looking for more efficient ways to do both. When he’s not creating new content for Enable, you can find him spending time with his family and friends.

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Don’t Hire an Amateur | Writing Quotes

fountain-pen

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

–Red Adair

Do You Have Passion For Your Business? Take This Quick Quiz.

Do_it_with_passionIf you don’t love your business, you probably dread going to work every day. It’s a bad feeling. And unfortunately, it is not only you who feels that way, your customers pick up on it as well.

They say that those who are passionate about what they do never feel as if they are working. Their passion is what drives them, and what makes them successful.

Wonder if you’re still passionate about your business? Take this quick quiz to find out:

The Passion Quiz

  1. Do you have a strong curiosity about what you do, and a desire to keep learning more about it in order to get better?
  2. Do you have a sense of excitement and energy when you are working?
  3. Do you want to seek out others who share your interests so you can talk about it?
  4. Do you literally dream or daydream about it?
  5. Do you secretly fantasize about being on the top of your profession, or envision taking it to a new level never before reached by anyone?
  6. Do you feel a sense of loss or like something is missing when you’re not doing it?

How Did You Do?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re on the right track. If you answered, “no” then your business is probably passionate-less as well.  You may want to re-look at the business you are in, and perhaps make some changes.

The good news is that if you have lost your sense of passion, you can get it back. Step back from your business and return to the “why” you chose this profession in the first place. There was some reason that has somehow gotten buried along the way.

Entrepreneur Richard Branson advises, “Go back to that ‘aha!’ moment and try to understand what motivated you to think in that direction in the first place — the passion behind your idea might lead you to the business or industry you truly care about.”

Translate that Passion into Sales

Once you have rediscovered your passion, use this information to translate it into sales materials, website copy, and interactions with your customers. There is nothing more appealing than someone who is truly passionate about and sincerely believes that what they do can make a difference.

As Branson puts it, “When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.”

Think about the last time you interacted with a customer. Were you merely going through the motions, or was there a spark in your voice and a twinkle in your eye as you described your product or services. Your passion can make all the different between a sale and a so-so experience.

–Passion Quiz excerpted from “Protecting Your Passion,” by Robin Todd, Motivated Magazine.

 

Google’s Rules on “Duplicate Content”

Do_Not_DuplicateAny good web designer or web copywriter will tell you that you cannot have duplicate content on your site. They’re right–in most cases.

According to Google, “Duplicate content refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” This means that when writing good web copy, each page should be original and blocks of copy should not be repeated within your site.

This also means that blocks of copy cannot be lifted from other sites and used on your site. Besides, this could be considered plagiarism without consent and attribution.

Google instates this rule to avoid deceptive practices by which content can be “deliberately duplicated in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic.” This also results in a poor user experience where a visitor sees the same content on various pages of your site, and can lose you credibility in their estimation.

“Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information,” it reports. If you are caught and determined to be guilty of deceptive practices, Google will make “appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the site may suffer, or be removed completely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”

The Exceptions

There are times, however, when duplicate copy cannot be avoided, such as with PDF-formatted items, printer-only versions, discussion forums that generate both regular and stripped-down pages for mobile devices, and store items linked via multiple distinct URLs. These are recognized by Google as “non-malicious” duplicate content.

Trust the Copywriting to the Experts

Professional copywriters, like those at All the Buzz, know the rules Google applies, and we work hard to provide unique and keyword-rich content to each of your online pages, whether they are web pages, blog posts or social media listings.

Navigating search engine optimization can be tricky, and although you can do it yourself, it is best left to the experts. You don’t want to make a mistake with something as important as your online business presence.

Contact All the Buzz for expert website copywriting.

–excerpted from Google’s rules for Duplicate Content

Washington Post Reports Writing Skills Rising on the List of Job Requirements But Failing in Candidates

Washington_Post_logoThe Washington Post published an article on Sunday, August 13, 2017 titled “Writing skills are rising on the list of job requirements–and falling in candidates,” by Jeffrey K. Selingo.

Selingo continues to reports hearing an interviewer from government contracting firm, looking to hire proposal writers for federal agencies, complain about “how difficult it is to find good writers these days.”

“According to national surveys, employers want to hire college graduates who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data. But the Conference Board has found in its surveys of corporate hiring leaders that skillful writing is one of the biggest shortfalls in workplace readiness,” Selingo said.

“That’s why so many employers now explicitly ask for writing and communications skills in their job advertisements. Experience in writing and communications are the most requested job requirements across nearly every industry, even in fields such as information technology and engineering.”

Need a Good Writer–or Writing Training? Contact All The Buzz

The most successful businesses realize that how they communicate with their customers can either make–or break–their sales, so they don’t leave the marketing copywriting up to their staff. They bring in an expert to write their website, sales materials, brochures, direct mail, proposals, and other important marketing collateral.

All the Buzz has conducted corporate training classes in how to be a better business writer, and worked with executives to assist with their writing skills. If you need writing training, or desire a great (and award-winning) business copywriter, contact All the Buzz.

–excerpted from washingtonpost.com/news/gradepoint

Why Keywords Matter for SEO

why_keywords_are_important_for_SEOAlthough the rules of search engine optimization (SEO) change frequently, one thing remains constant: the need for content that is keyword-relevant.

Not 20 years ago, it was easy to get noticed with your own website. But now that there are more than 1 billion websites on the World Wide Web, it is increasingly difficult to grab your audience’s attention and get them to click on your site.

Good Use of Keywords

Keywords are those words that are entered into a search, and that indicate just what a person is seeking. It makes sense, then, that the more specific the information that is entered, the more closely a match will be created in the search. When writing your copy, be sure to include keywords that not only generically describe your product or service, be specific.

Make a short list of your top keywords, and pepper those throughout your copy. Pay attention also to long-tailed keywords, which are three-to-four keyword phrases that are very specific to what you are selling and what your prospect is searching for. Most people enter more than one word when performing a search query. For example, if they were looking for a dentist for their child, they might enter, “pediatric dentist fairfax virginia.”

Even if you don’t have the exact keywords on your page, search engines are smart enough to recognize your content as relevant enough to rank you highly in a search. You might rank highly for “jogging” for instance, even though you use the word “running” in your content.

Bad Use of Keywords

Stuffing your site’s pages with keywords, especially when they do not naturally refer to the content on a page, leads to a bad visitor experience. Not only do they not find the important information they need, and for which they came to your site in the first place, it junks up your content as to be annoying and irrelevant to the user’s needs.

High Keyword Rankings are Not an Indicator of High Sales

Just because you rank in the top listings for your keyword does not mean that you will automatically receive more sales. Your copy must be written in order to fulfill the expectations of your visitor, and must convert visitors to sales. Track those keywords that bring in visitors, and track again which visitors convert to inquiries or sales.

Copy that excites people enough to make an inquiry is what you actually desire.

There are a number of online tools that can help you determine your keywords and track your SEO rankings. There are also expert copywriters, like those at All the Buzz, who can help you create copy that not only attracts visitors, but sells.

Have Your Reviewed Your Web Copy Lately?

If you haven’t updated your web copy in a couple of years, you have probably dropped off the search engine radar. Let us check your existing site to ensure that your copy is relevant and keyword rich. We can review and edit your current website, or create entirely new copy that will sizzle.

Contact All the Buzz today for professional web writing services.

The Language of Leadership | Writing Quotes

fountain-pen

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

–James Humes, author and former presidential speechwriter

The Difference Between a White Paper and an E-Book

Many business owners are told that they need to create a downloadable document that can help them explain their business, support their findings, provide education, set themselves apart as an expert in their field, or used as a free giveaway to help build a list. This can be a white paper or an e-book.

In speaking with business owners, I find that they are often confused about the differences between a white paper or an e-book and which is the appropriate item to create and offer.

White Papers

According to David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, a white paper is an authoritative report or guide addressing issues and how to solve them. It is used to educate, and can come in the form of a research report, summary or tech brief.

White papers can be considered old-school, and tend to be boring, with extensive detail. They are generally used for more technical explanations, and can highlight an expertise in your field in a longer format. They do not make good link bait and are most often used in the B2B market.

E-Books

An e-book, on the other hand, is looser, more playful, with an engaging theme, appealing design and layout, and bold text treatments, he explains. They are written in small chunks that can be easily skimmed through or scanned. They can also be concept-centric based on ideas and trends. Preference is given to visual layout, with callouts, bulleted lists and illustrations.

E-books are generally engaging and can include links, videos, or surveys, or can be used to encourage readers to take action. Offered free, they make excellent link bait and subscriber bonus giveaways. If offered freely, they can spread like wildfire through sharing. They are most often used in the B2C market.

Creating a landing page for your e-book will help people find it. And be sure to include your website, contact information, and a call to action within your e-book to build your brand and let people know how to contact you.

What to Include in your White Paper or E-book

For either publication, follow a format that uses these elements:

  • Title page
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Body Content
  • Conclusion
  • Call to Action (invite readers to take the next step)

If you need help creating a white paper or e-book, contact All the Buzz. We’re experts at writing content that sells.

 

How Can You Charge That? It Only Took You Five Minutes!

Pablo-PicassoPablo Picasso was sitting in a restaurant one day when a woman walked up and asked if he would draw her a sketch. He said OK, and jotted down a quick sketch. When the woman went to take the drawing, Picasso held back and said, “That will be $10,000.”

The woman was outraged. “How can you charge me $10,000 when it only took you five minutes!”

Picasso politely answered, “No ma’am. It took me 50 years.”

I love this story because it reflects upon my own life as a marketing copywriter. People often wonder why I charge the rates I do, especially if the copy is short.

Here’s where they’re missing the connection:

Like Good Art, Good Writing Take Years of Preparation and Practice

I have honed my craft for more than 40 years, studying and learning how to write professional marketing copy for all the different mediums and outcomes: print, online, web, social media, white papers, grants, sales letters, advertisements, etc. It isn’t something I take, or do lightly. It is a talent as well as a profession, as it was with Pablo Picasso.

It’s not a fluke that I’ve won a prestigious Clio award, and other writing accolades. Those type of results only come from serious study of the art form.

When someone wants a job done well, they go to a professional. For example, if you need a heart transplant, you want the best, most experienced heart surgeon possible, and you’d expect to pay top dollar for an excellent result. Right? Would you trust the heart surgeon that didn’t charge a professional rate? I think not.

It’s the same with your business. Why spend the money on shoddy work that could actually stop the heartbeat of your business? Wouldn’t you rather have the best, most trained person possible to help you create a healthy flow of business?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of “wanna-be” copywriters out there. I know, because I get a lot of their work from my clients who ask me to “fix it.” My poor clients sadly then have to pay double for the same work–once to the not-so-good copywriter, and once to me, when for a lot less money, they could have gotten the best the first time. Think about that when you’re comparing writing costs.

Short Copy is Harder to Write than Long Copy

Short copy must deliver your entire message in the fewest words possible. This means that each and every word must carry weight and importance. Finding the right words to convince, influence, enlighten, or persuade also takes years of practice honing the skill. And a good writer can do it quickly. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. In fact, short writing is the most difficult type of writing.

In a writing class, I was asked to write a short story containing only 10 words. It was a wonderful exercise in storytelling that I’ve used many times when writing marketing copy for clients.

Pablo Picasso may have been controversial, but nobody could say that he wasn’t a true genius. I hope someday people regard my work that way, although I doubt it will ever appear in a museum — hmmm,  unless I’m hired to write the art descriptions, catalogs, sales copy, promotions… Come to think of it, maybe my writing WILL appear in a museum someday.

If you want the best marketing copywriting, please contact All the Buzz.

One Space or Two Between Sentences?

keyboard-typingWay back when I was in school, we were taught to put two spaces behind a period before beginning a new sentence. Writing for the web, however, is different. You only use one space between sentences.

When we used to use typewriters, in order for the copy to be read clearly, it needed two spaces to set it apart. There was only only font, after all, and it was not as easy to read as our modern proportional fonts found on computers.

Today, every computer is proportional, and good writers know to only put one space following a sentence. Even the style guides, like the Chicago Manual of Style, dictate that a single space should be used. Likewise, only one space should be used after a colon or semicolon.

Nothing looks more amateurish on your website than copy containing double spaces. Take another look at your website and other written materials to make sure you’re up to date on publishing style.

When is the Last Time You Updated Your Website Copy?

If your website is dated, or you haven’t refreshed your copy in several years, it may be time to call in a professional copywriter, like All the Buzz. We’re experts in creating compelling copy that will highlight and illuminate your company, and get you noticed on the web.  Contact us today.