March 11th, 2014
Forrester Research has a new report that essentially tells how many businesses are still behind when it comes to digital marketing. One example that is mentioned is Staples, the office products brick and mortar store, which is getting 50% of its sales from its online store but isn’t ready to go digital yet. Say what?
How can any business be getting half of its sales from its online store and not be leveraging the Internet to the best of its ability?
Keep in mind that Amazon started out as a digital storefront and has perfected itself as an online department store. They have become the digital competitor to virtually every type of retail business in the brick-and-mortar world. If traditional retailers like Staples are struggling, then how much more so are all the rest? Where will brick-and-more retailers be in 15 or 20 years? Will they be extinct?
If you’re the owner of a brick-and-mortar store, now should be the time that you are thinking about going digital. In fact, now may be too late.
Imagine yourself being in a small town and having your retail business swallowed up by the likes of Wal-Mart and Target. What should you do? One option is to transition your small town retail shop into an e-commerce store and expand your customer base. While you’ll still have competition online, you stand a much better chance of leveraging your expertise, especially if you can find a niche that hasn’t been dominated by a big chain in the online space.
Retailers, it’s time to go digital – if you haven’t already.
March 7th, 2014
Headlines and title tags are important web page elements. Whether you’re talking about blog posts, static web pages, social media content, or something else, your headline has the potential to attract loads of traffic or to send it away to another corner of the Web. You hope you’ll attract the traffic, but to do that you need to understand some basic things about writing headlines.
Here are 5 things you should know about headlines before you start writing them.
- The headline’s job is to entice the reader to read your content. If it does that, then it’s done its job.
- Your headline should tell the reader what your content is about. Don’t mince words. Be specific and not misleading.
- A well-written headline online is optimized for both search engines and social media.
- A headline should be as long as necessary to get readers to click the link and read your content, but it shouldn’t be any longer than that. Shorter is better, but a short headline that doesn’t tell the reader what your content is about and that doesn’t entice the reader to read the article isn’t a good headline.
- A good headline has an emotional trigger. Readers are looking for benefits. Give your readers something to hold onto – a benefit – and then deliver on the headline’s promise.
Writing good headlines is an art. If you do it well, you’ll have lots of readers.
March 5th, 2014
Case studies are an underutilized method of marketing, even today in our fast-paced online world. But I highly recommend you try a few case studies for a number reasons.
First, case studies improve your credibility instantly. They’re a little bit more involved than testimonials, but like testimonials, they provide your business with an air of credibility that you can’t get any other way. That’s because people rely on the eyewitness of others to make important decisions regarding products and services they buy.
Most people will take the testimony of a close friend as a good reference versus a TV ad, billboard, or some other form of advertising – even social media. In the absence of close friends or family members, people will accept the word of a third party if that party has tried the service. That’s why online reviews are so reliable and popular. Case studies are even better.
A good case study tells the story of a customer who had a problem and solved it with your product or service. It should present clear goals with a challenge that positions your product or service as the solution to a problem. Done well, a good case study can drive steady traffic back to your website and convert that traffic to qualified leads and sales. You can perform the case study yourself or hire a freelance writer to do it for you. Either way, next to trying the product yourself, case studies are the best marketing money can buy.
February 28th, 2014
Matt Cutts was asked if clarity is important when writing content. The answer should come as no surprise to professionals who have been paying attention for a few years. Yes, he says, of course clarity is important.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use jargon.
My rule of thumb is this: If you are writing to a strictly technical audience or professionals within your industry, then use jargon. But if you are writing to lay people who will be confused by jargon, write as clearly as possible. Nix the jargon. You can mix the two if your audience is mixed, but lean mostly toward clarity and away from jargon.
The most important thing is to be understood, especially with professional business content.
If you write clear, concise content, then your audience will stick around longer. They’ll also come back and visit more often. They’re also more likely to buy your products or services. In essence, your bottom line depends a great deal on the clarity of your content.
On the other hand, if your content is so technical that the only people who can understand it are industry insiders, then you are limiting your audience and therefore your potential.
It’s important to make sure that you communicate clearly in whatever format your content is in. Anything else is selling yourself, and your customers, short.