The CraftWrite blog has moved and now resides on the CraftWrite website.
Please visit www.craftwrite.com.au/blog for my latest musings on marketing and copywriting.
See you there!!
So why am I blogging? The truth is I want to connect with marketers and business people, and share some of my experience. My aim is give hints and tips to less experienced marketers and maybe even provide a few helpful pointers to the more practised professionals. I hope you find it useful. I'd love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to post your comments.
Monday, December 5, 2011
4 Essential Facts about Web Users
(and how to tailor your copy to them)
(and how to tailor your copy to them)
Whether you’re writing your website for the first time or revising an existing site, there are a few things you have to understand about your readers so that you can make sure your website addresses their needs. Let’s assume you’ve thought about your web strategy already and now you’re ready to start copywriting. Here are some pointers:
4 Key Truths:
1. People are time poor
· Get to the point quickly. Put the key information at the top of the page, preferably in the first paragraph.
· Your website needs to be scannable, that includes menu functions as well as page copy.
· Use headlines – this will allow people to quickly find the information they are looking for.
2. People read slower on screen than on paper
· Make it easy for your reader by breaking the copy up into manageable chunks (approx. 50-60 words in a paragraph).
· Write short sentences – 18-25 words.
· Break up the key information into bullet points – it’s easier to digest.
· Keep your page short (no more than 300 words). Lots of scrolling will irritate readers and they will switch off after a few paragraphs.
3. Web users want to quickly find the sites they need (and won’t look past page 2 of Google)
· Ensure key search engine terms are used in your headlines and page title tags, this will help with your search engine optimisation and help rank you on page 1 of Google.
· Don’t use industry jargon in your copy. Not only is it off-putting to your reader, it won’t be the words they’d use to search for your product or service. For example, don’t use the term “electronic intruder systems” if your customer is more likely to search for “burglar alarms”.
· Scatter key search engine terms in your body copy, but be careful not to overdo it or else search engines will brand you a spammer and your copy will look idiotic.
4. Prospective buyers need to feel confident before they buy your product or service
· What information do your customers need to know before purchasing your products and services? Put yourself in their shoes and make sure you answer all the questions they are likely to have.
· Include testimonials from happy customers.
· Include a physical address, phone number and any other information that is going to make prospects feel confident that they are dealing with a serious, real company and not a con artist.
Your website needs to clearly and succinctly get your organisation’s message across. Write for your readers (but keep the search engines in mind).
Was this information useful? Have you written a website recently? Feel free to share any tips.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
A loyal customer base is not a right. Repeat business must be earned and customers nurtured. Even if you work in a monopoly, it doesn’t mean you automatically have happy satisfied customers. There are many reasons why customers stay with their existing providers. Sometimes it’s pure apathy, sometimes it’s price driven. It may even simply be down to one particular friendly sales assistant.
Your customers are not only the lifeblood of your business, but their brand advocacy can also help generate new business too. Here are some tactical ideas you might want to employ in your retention activities:
1. Surprise and delight. It might be a short term strategy, but it will sure make your customers feel good. Send your customers a gift they weren’t expecting and say thank you. No strings attached. This can be anything from a discount voucher to a useful household item or a treat. Customers often remember the gesture and will talk about it with friends or colleagues.
2. Incentive to re-sign. It’s amazing how many businesses offer no incentive to existing customers to re-sign. Insurance, utilities and telcos often allow customers to roll over from year to year, putting up premiums and offering no incentive to stay, simply reliant on their customers’ apathy. While this works to a large extent, as soon as a customer becomes upset over another issue, they won’t feel valued and are more likely to switch.
3. Regular (and meaningful) communications. Talk to your customers regularly. Let them know about your new products and services. Give them some information they wouldn’t otherwise know.
4. Make your customers feel special. Airlines do this wonderfully with their frequent flyer programs and graded membership levels. Similarly some retailers offer exclusive member only evenings in their stores and give special offers for their loyalty card holders. Find ways in your business to make customers feel special.
5. Encourage feedback. Listen to what your customers are saying and make changes accordingly. You can obtain this feedback in many ways such as surveys, feedback forms, or social media. This empowers your customers and gives them a voice.
6. Show your customers you understand them. If you’re able to monitor purchasing patterns with your customers use this information to give offers for complimentary products. Write them a letter for example: we notice you regularly purchase X from us. Were you aware we also sell Y? As it happens we’ve got a special deal on Y this week, ask your representative next time you call us, etc. It’s a powerful tool, not only to drive sales but to make customers feel like they are understood.
On the flip side: Bad customer service is the biggest turn off to customer loyalty. All the loyalty tactics in the world won’t work if they are not backed up by first class customer service. Your customer facing staff must be polite and helpful and at all times. Work out ways you can measure this in your business so that staff will perform to a benchmark standard. Encourage good service throughout your organisation, including your internal customers.
What makes you stay with service providers or retailers? Have you had any memorable experiences with a company that has made you feel like a valued customer? Share your stories in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.
John Wanamaker, US department store merchant (1838 - 1922)
We’ve come a long way since the late1800s. Frankly there’s no excuse not knowing the effectiveness of all your advertising. These days we can measure virtually everything. And I’ll be bold enough to say that if you can’t measure it you shouldn’t do it.
In the age of internet and sophisticated telecommunications, marketers are able to accurately measure the effectiveness of all types of marketing activities. Even a good old-fashioned questionnaire can reveal lots about who is responding to your campaign.
Measuring success is vital to marketing planning and driving more from your marketing dollar. If you don’t know what’s worked before then you’re flying blind.
Test and Learn.
Sure, some marketing activities don’t work very well, perhaps for a variety of reasons. After all marketing is not an exact science. The key point is to figure out what did work and what didn’t. Then you can do it better next time.
Here are my top six measuring tools:
1. Dedicated telephone number for campaigns. As a minimum, make sure your call centre records the number of in-coming calls during the campaign period.
2. Unique codes on letters. You can measure responses right down to an individual level. At the end of your campaign you can perform geo-demographic profiling to build an accurate picture of your responders. This works particularly well in direct marketing.
3. Landing pages and online forms deliver accurate reporting for internet or email campaigns.
4. Internet analytics packages will help you profile a number of aspects about your internet traffic. Even if your marketing activity is off-line, you can often attribute a spike in internet hits to a particular campaign by looking at the date range.
5. Individually coded coupons can be used for driving traffic to stores or exhibition stands.
6. Simple questionnaires can be conducted by telemarketing or in-store staff. They can ask and record the answer to one or two simple questions at the till or at the end of a telephone call. There is some margin for error in measuring success this way, however it will give you a starting point.
Share your learnings. Don’t forget to write up campaign reviews and keep them in a central place for your marketing colleagues to view and learn from one another. Marketers often move on, and it would be a shame for this information to be lost.
What’s your top tip for measuring your marketing activity? Type your comments below and let’s share and learn!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
No-one gets promoted for turning up each day, working nine to five and doing what they are told. True, you might be seen as the model employee, and certainly a reliable staff member, but it’s unlikely to deliver you extra dollars in your pay packet.
As marketers we’re ideas people, we use our talents every day to deliver projects and add value to our customers and stakeholders. So, why is it many of us don’t apply this talent to our careers?
If you're wondering how to make an impression on your boss, here are a few tips on getting noticed and rewarded. And, if you play your cards right, a promotion to the next step of your career.
Phase: 1 Planning
Have a good look around your company. Is there anything that could be done better from a marketing perspective? These are the types of things to think about:
· A niche market that’s being ignored
· A cross selling opportunity
· Improvements to scripting or sales collateral
· A way to improve customer loyalty
· A more efficient way of doing things
Whatever it is, work out a plan of how you would tackle the opportunity. Try to make sure it’s not too large a project, it has to be something you’re capable of handling on top of your normal workload.
Work out budgets, time frames and an expected return on investment. Then draft a project plan.
Phase 2: Selling it to your Boss
Once you’ve thought through your proposal, arrange a time with your manager to present your ideas.
You will need to be positive and enthusiastic, and prepared to take ownership of the project. Remember it’s a sales pitch, you need to demonstrate all the benefits to be gained from your idea.
Be prepared for any objections, such as how you will find the time, or how you might get the extra funds.
Phase 3: Delivery
Great! Your boss loved it and asked you to implement your plan.
Make sure you stay on top of your normal day job while rolling out your project (unless, of course, your boss thought your idea was so important that they’ve re-assigned your duties so you can concentrate on it). Be prepared to put in some extra hours.
Anything that’s worth achieving is not without effort.
Phase 4: Celebrating Success
Once your project is successfully delivered, make sure you record the results and write up a review so you’ve got some concrete facts to present to your manager in a meeting. This is the ideal time to ask for the pay rise you’ve been angling for or to highlight the career path you would like to follow.
There are no guarantees to pay rises or promotions, of course. But at the very least you will have earned yourself some brownie points for your next review, and you’ll have given yourself some great job satisfaction in the process.
Here’s to your successful career in marketing!
Looking for more tips on being a better marketer? Follow me on Twitter: @CraftWrite
Thursday, March 17, 2011
“No man is an island”…. and no marketer works in a vacuum.
If you’re managing a marketing campaign you know how busy it is. You’ve got to make sure all the elements of the campaign come together. Is your messaging right? Have you got the media mix correct? And there’s a heap of deadlines to meet. But did you think beyond the marketing elements, to all the people within your organisation who will be impacted by your campaign? It’s important to work closely with your internal stakeholders to get them on-side. It will improve the success of your campaign and provide a positive and seamless experience for your customers.
My advice is to understand the workings of the different departments within you organisation. Get to know key people and take an interest in their jobs so you know and understand the impact of a sudden increase of sales or enquiries. Campaign management can be a lesson in diplomacy, with many people to please.
Here are a few departments and internal functions you need to consider when rolling out a campaign, particularly a high profile one:
Call Centres: consider the time of day for your campaign. If your call centre isn’t open on a Sunday, don’t run a TV commercial on Sunday unless you can negotiate with your call centre to put on staff that day. Provide scripts for handling calls and Q&A for any tricky questions.
Complaints Handling: if this is a separate function to your call centre, make sure the people handling your customer complaints are aware of your campaign. No-one likes to think anything going wrong – but it’s best to be prepared, just in case
Mail Room: if you’re running a direct mail campaign, think about return mail. Ask your mail room what they can handle. If your volumes are going to be large – arrange for your mail house to handle return-to-sender mail.
Order Processing : Check that your order processing team can handle an influx of new orders, give them plenty of time to arrange extra staff if necessary. If you’re using a new form or there’s something out-of-the-ordinary for your campaign, be sure to make sure it will work with existing processes.
Warehouse/Dispatch: Check you have adequate stock and/or people to pick, pack and ship orders.
In-Store: if you have retail stores, make sure your floor staff are aware of your campaign. You can be sure customers will come in to stores and ask questions. If there are any last minute changes to the campaign, you’ll need to keep store staff informed.
Web Enquiries: whether you’re running an on-line campaign or not, you need to be prepared for the fact that customers will visit your website. Besides ensuring the details of your campaign appear online, you need to make sure that whoever handles your website enquiries is aware of your campaign and is equipped to handle an increase in activity.
Reception: even if you’re not using your main reception phone number for your campaign, inform your reception staff that they may receive calls and where they should be directed.
Sales teams: your sales staff will be impacted the most by your marketing campaign. It’s important to work closely with the sales people to ensure they are fully informed of the campaign offer and any special order processing arrangements if necessary.
Senior Management: although their daily work is not usually directly impacted by a marketing campaign, you should give your senior management team a briefing about any high profile campaigns. This will ensure they are across it for general conversation both in business and socially.
Have I missed anything?
Have you ever forgotten to include an important person or group of people in your campaign planning? What was the impact?
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Your R&D department have developed a new fandangle product (or service). It cost thousands of dollars in development time. Now the CEO wants some return on investment. It’s over to you to create some noise and get people interested in buying it. What’s the best way to go about it?
Here are a few tips on how to make a big splash with your product launch.
A product launch is a perfect time to garner media attention. A new product is after all, ‘news’. You can hold an event, or reveal it at an exhibition, both of which are fantastic opportunities for a touch/feel experience, particularly if you do not sell your product through retail outlets.
If you’re holding a glitzy launch event, it’s an ideal opportunity to try and get a celebrity endorsement while the cameras are flashing and the media attention is fully turned on your new product.
Traditional methods of marketing such as advertising, bill boards, web, DM work very well for new product releases and it’s advisable to use a combination of these methods for maximum impact. You may also want to consider a social media or viral campaign to generate some attention.
You’ll probably already have a name for your product by the time you’re launching it (see my earlier blogpost: Naming your new product – top ten tips). Alternatively you may consider launching a competition to name your new product to generate some consumer involvement. This would then generate a two stage launch plan where later on you will reveal the new name.
Assess the availability and distribution outlets for your new product. Try to avoid a situation where people have to wait to receive their product. It’s a poor customer experience after all the hype. Of course, you could turn over-demand to your advantage, whereby owning the product becomes a status symbol. This won’t work with every product and is usually confined to luxury goods or technical gadgetry. You know your product – judge stock levels carefully prior to launch.
Make sure everyone in your organisation is pumped about your new product or service. Sales people will need to be well genned up on it as well as call centre staff and service/technical support people, in case of any issues with it.
What techniques have you tried when launching a new product or service? Was your launch a success? I’d love to hear your comments below.