Category Archives: Marketing Tips

Value is What You Get

Warren_Buffett_quotePrice is what you pay.
Value is what you get.

I love this quote from Warren Buffett because it truly describes what sales and marketing is all about.

If your clients or customers are complaining about the price of the services or goods you are offering, they probably don’t understand the value of what they are buying. And this is where you need to beef up your marketing efforts.

We’ve all heard how we must feature the benefits of an item, not its features when selling. This concept takes that credo to a new level. People will pay — and pay handsomely — for something they value.

Within the past few months I had the opportunity to work with a start-up company in creating its brand and new website. We went round and round with the pricing for copywriting on their new site. If it weren’t for the fact that I was referred to them by someone they respected, I’m not sure they would have hired a copywriter at all. They simply didn’t see the value in good writing or the need to pay for it. But in the end, they ended up hiring me for the job and accepted the completed copy for their new site.

I Didn’t Realize Your Value

I recently received an email from this client whose very words were, “We have gotten such great feedback on our new website. I didn’t realize the value that a professional copywriter could bring.”

Since then, I have run into this client at a networking event and in their introduction of me to one of their alliances, they bragged that they had hired me and what a difference I made. Not only did I provide excellent website copy that was already getting them leads, they told this new company that I saved them from what had been hours and hours of labor trying to come up with the copy themselves. This I had not known when I first met them. Multiply the lost revenues of the hours an executive can spend agonizing over the rights words vs. the comparatively small cost of hiring a professional and you’ll see the value too.

You Just Can’t Write About Yourself

One of the most difficult things you can do is write about yourself. You’re too close to it. Even I have difficulty writing about myself although I write about others all day long. Part of the value a professional copywriter brings is the ability to stand outside your company and look at what a potential customer might need and want from you and translate that into copy that sells. In fact, by looking at a client’s website from outside eyes, with a consumer mindset, I most often see obvious things that the client missed if they wrote the copy themselves. This is a truly valuable insight that some business owners neglect.

Through our interview process, analysis and research, along with a plain old consumer attitude, we can create value not only for our customers but for their potential clients and customers as well through the right words, delivering the right message at the right time.

Be Prepared to Talk About Value

The next time someone counters your price or complains about your fee, be ready to counter with value. Have concrete examples of how you provide that value in terms they can understand–often the bottom line. If they see and understand the value, they will have no problem accepting the cost.

If you need to have your website copy written or reviewed by a professional copywriter, contact All the Buzz. We’ll be glad to bring value to your organization.

 

 

 

 

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Warning: Google’s October 2017 Deadline for SSL Certificates

Google-not-secure-warningIf your website receives text input (like eCommerce) but does not have an SSL certificate, come October 2017 Google Chrome will begin “punishing” sites by posting a red “Not Secure” warning visible to anyone seeking out your website.

This means that your website address must read “https” at the beginning of its address, rather than “http”. When secure, the “s”, along with a lock icon will appear in the header bar in your web address.

Sensitive text input such as passwords and credit card information are vulnerable on unencrypted sites, and the “Not Secure” warning is a reminder to those using the website that their private information is vulnerable to interception.

Read more about SSL certificates.

To obtain an SSL certificate for your website, contact your web hosting company.

As the Google safety initiative continues, all websites will eventually be required to carry the SSL certificate. Website owners should upgrade sooner rather than later in order to avoid risking business loss from the “Not Secure” notice.

Definition of an SSL Certificate

Defined as a Secure Sockets Layer, SSL creates an encrypted link between the server and a website in order to ensure that all data passing the server and browsers remains private. Without the SSL certificate, your website is vulnerable to scammers and hackers. Encryption ensures that only your intended recipient can read sensitive data.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

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 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.

 

What is it You’re Truly Selling?

raising-hand-in-a-crowdI was listening to a TED Talk today that offered to teach people how to find their true calling in just five minutes. In it, the speaker, Adam Leipzig, asked the audience five questions:

  1. What is your name?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Who do you do it for?
  4. What do those people want and need?
  5. How do they change as a result?

When he asked the first question, of course everyone in the audience knew the answer, however, as he progressed down the short list, the responses became fewer and fewer. Although most people knew what they did, they knew not why they did it.

The last question, #5, is the most important, he said. Knowing how you make a difference in someone’s life or work is how you should answer the question, “What do you do.”

In other words, instead of saying, “I do bookkeeping,” you could answer, “I keep people’s monthly accounting up to date so they know exactly how their business is doing at any time.”

Look for the real reason people rely on you and your service, and engage and intrigue your audience with the benefit.

All the Buzz Can Uncover Your Real Value

If you have difficulty defining what it is you really do in terms of its benefit, that’s where we come in. Let a professional writer, like us, look at your website copy and your marketing materials. We’ll uncover the real benefits of doing business with you and help you share them with the world with more compelling sales messages that get results. Contact us today.

Want More Sales? Writing in Active Voice Gets Others Excited

eliminate-passive-voice-in-writingEven as a professional writer, I have to review everything I write to make sure I am writing in “active voice.” I review for it in my professional writing as well as my everyday correspondences via email or letters, and believe it or not, I usually find at least one place where I can make my writing stronger.

What is Active Voice?

When using active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed in the verb: The girl brushed the dog. An example of this same sentence in passive voice would be: The dog was brushed by the girl. One tip for identifying a passive sentence is to look for the word “by.”

Why is Active Voice Important?

Active voice sentences are preferable in writing because Continue reading →

We Made a “Top 10” List!

top-10-graphicOne of the companies for which All the Buzz writes blog posts is listed as one of the “Top 10” blogs in their industry. We’re excited by the listing and the client is thrilled. Not only does their listing (holding its own against the big national companies) give credibility to their company, it elevates them in both online searches and credibility in the eyes of their customers. In addition, the client, 123JUNK, has seen a significant rise in their web traffic with regular blog posting.

The industry itself isn’t glamorous, it’s junk removal. But is an essential service that everyone needs. Here is how the listing is noted:

Top 10 Junk Removal Blogs On The Web Today

123 Junk Blog – 123 Junk was started by a college graduate who is noted by the Washington Business Journal as turning “junk heaps into gold mines.” Their blog is very business-centric and has some great posts that focus on building the customer-business relationship.

Not bad for a regional company that just opened their second location!

If you’d like to see your online traffic increase, Continue reading →