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How your brand story can turn customers into brand ambassadors

Who doesn’t love a great story? We’ve been listening to them and telling them all our lives. It’s the way lessons are learned, and wisdom is passed down through the generations.


So it’s no surprise that marketers have latched on to the power of storytelling. In fact, it’s the whole strategy behind content marketing. Provide relevant and compelling content, and you’ll build loyal and engaged customers who (hopefully) will become your brand ambassadors of the future.


If you’re not telling your brand story, it’s time to start.


But first things first. Let’s start with the big one.


What’s your why?


It’s likely you went into business because you were passionate about something. You identified a consumer need and set on your way to fulfilling it.


So what is it? Identify that, and you’ve taken the first step toward creating your brand story. This story is the heart of your business and the launch point from a content marketing perspective. It’s also the thread you can use to clear away all the factual clutter and start engaging emotionally with your audience.


Talk about the conflict


A top tip is to identify the conflict in your story – people love to understand what you overcame to get to where you are today. It helps them get on your wavelength and relate to you as a human.


Make it relevant


The beauty of storytelling is that one message can be told and retold in dozens of different ways to suit a changing audience. Package up your value proposition and deliver it in a way that will relate to your different customer segments so they get to hear what they want to hear and can’t resist engaging with your brand.


And make it human


You need to fulfil the emotional needs of your customers. By putting your audience into the heart of your stories, you’ll show them, you get them, and that will lead to a sense of empathy with your brand (and lead to a band of loyal followers).


Be authentic


You need to create an honest narrative that communicates your brand values. This may be obvious advice, but don’t make it up! Your story has to be true, or it will catch up with you. Don’t lose credibility with your audience – it’s not worth it!


Keep an eye on the timing


As you start telling stories to promote your brand, ask yourself, is it the right time to tell this particular story? Think about the customer and their need – how might they be feeling right now? Use this as the gauge – this is important if your product or service is seasonal.


If you’d like some help with your brand story, please get in touch.


5 quick and easy ways to improve your website’s scannability

Have you been hearing about website “scannability” and have a sneaking suspicion, yours doesn’t have it?


“Scannability” is all about grabbing your reader’s attention. And when your readers are online, their attention span is short, scanning for information rather than reading each word.


Don’t make it difficult for them.


Get your message across quickly and concisely with content that’s brief, engaging and easy to read.


Here are five simple ways you can re-work your current web content, so it jumps from the page and drives your visitors to keep on clicking.


  1. Create white space


If you think your web pages are too text and image heavy, then it’s time to create white space. Clean, white space looks elegant, and crucially, it makes web pages easy to scan. Remember, “If in doubt, leave it out!”


  1. Use headers and sub-headers


Look at how you can separate out your current content into short sections and then write a short header and sub-header that clearly describe the content. If you know your keywords, add a few in where you can, as this will help your improve your website’s search ranking.


  1. Be concise


Break your sections out into short paragraphs. Readers may only read the first sentence to see if it’s relevant to them, so make sure you make your point straight away. Try and build each paragraph around one idea and vary the length of the sentences for added reader “scannability”.


  1. Use bullet points or lists


Bullet points are a fantastic way to transform text-heavy web pages into easily scannable text. Re-work long sentences into concise bullet point items, introducing each list with a short sentence. Try to keep the number of bullets pretty short, or it will defeat the object of using the list and make it all too much effort to read.


  1. Be engaging


When you write your online content, imagine your perfect customer sitting opposite you. Think about the words you would use to explain why they should use your product or service. Write as you speak, keeping your message clear and simple to understand, and don’t forget to remove any “weasel words” you find along the way.


Writing online content is different to writing for print so re-working your website with these tips in mind should help improve your click-thru-rate.


Good luck!

Why building a buyer persona can help you win more business

Are you ready to create a buyer persona for your business but you’re not sure where to start? Or are you asking yourself, “What’s a buyer persona?” Either way, if you want to take your marketing to the next level, this post is for you.


A buyer persona is a fictional person that represents your ideal customer. And being clear about your perfect customer is crucial if you want to increase conversions so your business will grow.


The role of a buyer persona is to help you shape your marketing, by pinpointing the exact needs of your ideal customer(s). If your marketing doesn’t address the needs of your target audience and fails to provide a viable solution to their problems, it’s going to fall flat, and you won’t get the response you’ve been hoping for.


So now you know why a buyer persona is crucial for business success, let’s start by creating yours.


Start with the basics


First, take a look at your customer base, and jot down the high-level demographics of your target audience: their age, gender, marital and family status, education, profession, household income, and location.


Get creative


Start to dig a little deeper. What’s your ideal customer’s personality type; are they extrovert or introvert? What are their politics? How might they spend their time: for example, where do they go before work (if they work), where do they go in the evenings, and weekends? How and when do they use social media, when and where do they shop?


Visualise how this person might look. Get creative and do a rough sketch, or flick through a magazine and find a photo. Stick the image on the wall or whiteboard, and bring the buyer persona to life by giving them a name.


What’s in it for me?


The next step is to think, “What’s in it for me?” – or WIIFM in marketing speak. This question is your next step towards crafting your marketing to your buyer persona’s specific needs. What are their goals and motivations? What are the problems they face in day-to-day life?


Write this information around their picture and think about your Unique Selling Point; what makes your product or service genuinely different in the marketplace? And what are the benefits your business can bring to the table? How will your product or service solve their problem?


Show some empathy


If you can imagine how your buyer persona feels about the problems they face, you can use empathetic language in your comms. Understand their problems and communicate using the right language, and your customers are far more likely to buy into any solution you propose.


Get the tone of voice right


It’s crucial to write using your buyer persona’s language so you can emotionally connect with them. When you begin writing, imagine you’re chatting over a cup of coffee. And crucially, bear in mind that you should only ever use acronyms or jargon if you’re 100% sure your buyer persona would understand those terms.


Segment your target market


Once you’ve completed this process, you might discover you have more than one buyer persona, so just repeat the process. By pinpointing the behaviour of each segment of your target market, you can create (or adapt) marketing material by answering specific questions, addressing any objections, and writing targeted blog posts to address their needs.


Test and learn


Creating buyer personas will result in stronger, more engaging, persuasive messaging. And that means more conversions. So why not start testing your comms using this process and see for yourself. Let me know how you get on!

5 direct response copywriting techniques that will increase your conversion rates

When you think of direct response copywriting, you probably think of the super hard sell, American school of direct response: incredibly long sales letters, a generous amount of bold or italics (or possibly both), and a heavy use of the P.S.


There’s a good reason why some companies have used this channel for decades. Because it works. And the good news is, you can take the strengths from this form of copywriting, apply them to your marketing, and see results fast!


Direct response focuses on the present moment, and its power lies in its ability to get the reader to take action immediately. The techniques can make a big difference to your response rates if you want customers to:


  • Click on “Buy now” or “Get in touch”
  • Sign up to your mailing list
  • Follow or “like” you on social media
  • Enter a competition
  • Download a freebie


Here are five lessons we can take from the “hard sell” of the copywriting world.


  1. Headlines that pack a punch


Headlines have to be enticing. They need to be simple, exciting, useful and MUST spark curiosity or the customer won’t read on. They need to state or imply the benefit of the product you’re promoting so take your time crafting them – it’s worth it. They’re the make or break of the whole piece, so you have to capture the reader’s attention in seconds.


  1. I’m talking to YOU!


You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. You have to write about the benefits of the product or service using the same kind of language you’d use if you were recommending it to a friend over a cup of coffee. You have to write in the second person, and keep your message personal. For this form of copywriting, you should probably avoid talking about why you started your business, how well you’ve been doing – the reader is likely not to care. They just want to know what’s in it for them. So tell them. Describe the benefits of your product or service, so they’re compelled to read on.


  1. Keep it simple


Make sure your copy is straightforward, easy to read and simple to follow. Don’t overcomplicate, don’t over-explain and don’t use long words. If you’re going to make claims, make sure you cite sources to build trust. Moreover, if you do decide to tell stories, write them in such a way that they clearly illustrate the benefit of your brand offering.


  1. Long or short form?


Classic direct response copy is long form but that doesn’t mean direct-response techniques will only work in this format; it depends on the channel and your particular product or service. The power of long-form copy is in its ability to persuade the reader to act through copy that builds benefit upon benefit. This results in the reader feeling that buying what you’re offering is a no-brainer. It’s well worth testing short form copy against long form so that you can find out which works best for your particular product or service.


  1. Act now!


If you’re writing “call to action” copy, use language that encourages action. For example, don’t write “Submit” on button copy, write “Get in touch.” Don’t shy away from using the scarcity principle either; this technique works. How often have you responded to offers earlier than you might have done because of language such as “Only 4 left at this price,” or “Offer ends in 48 hrs?”


In a nutshell, direct-response techniques can help you build your brand because they’ll improve your marketing. By striking a chord with your readers’ emotions, you can name their concerns and pain points, and then seamlessly introduce your product or service as the irresistible solution to their problem.



3 tips for creating effective lead nurturing emails

Lead nurturing emails are the perfect way to create an ongoing conversation with your leads. They can build loyalty and play an essential role in guiding prospective customers through the sales funnel.


And as email marketing technology evolves, there are an increasing amount of tools available to help you segment your lists and track your results with ease.


But first things first. If you want to run a successful lead nurturing campaign, you’re going to need well-crafted emails.


So whether you’re new to lead nurturing, or you’re thinking about reviewing your existing comms, here are three tips which will help you create emails that get results.


Tip #1 – Segment, segment, segment


Lead nurturing emails must resonate with your target audience, so it’s essential to position your emails addressing different groups and their specific needs at certain points in time.


You can create different emails based on information such as:


  • Buyer persona
  • Performed actions
  • Position in the sales cycle
  • Industry sector


For example, an online course provider may send one email to leads who have asked to be kept in the loop about the launch of a new course, and a completely different email to someone who has signed up for the company newsletter.


Likewise, a health coach might craft one email targeting people who read their recipe blog, and another targeting teachers. The messaging and tone of voice would be quite different.


Remember; the deeper you segment your list, the more successful your lead nurturing campaign will be.


That’s because with segmentation you can get closer to delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, which means you’re one step closer to sealing the deal.


Tip #2 – Offer valuable content


Lead nurturing is all about building relationships with people who may want to buy from you in the future. So when you’ve decided which segments you’re going to target you need to think carefully about the content you’re going to deliver.


Put yourself in their shoes; what kind of information could be helpful to each segment right now?


Think about their pain points AND their particular stage in the sales funnel. Shape your message specifically to those needs making sure you keep your message informative, short and to the point. Remember each email will be one in a series of emails, so make sure each message makes sense in the big picture too.


Keep your language friendly and helpful. Your leads want to like your brand. They’ve shown interest after all. Make it easy for them. Create content packed full of value, so they want to read your emails as soon as they land in their inbox.


Tip #3 – The power of the Call to Action (CTA)


The Call to Action is the focal point of your email, and the goal is for the reader to click it. Make sure you keep this goal front of mind as you draft your emails.


Your Call to Action could be:


  • To download a free guide
  • Share your blog on Facebook
  • Refer a friend


You get the idea. There are countless options. Just try and keep your CTA to one defined goal.


Finally, make sure your CTA button stands out. You want the reader to get to the end of your email and feel that the action you’ve asked them to perform is an absolute no-brainer.


Get that right, and you’ve succeeded in guiding your lead one step further through the sales funnel.


Good luck!

How to write a corporate brochure that gets results

Have you spent a small fortune on an impressive looking corporate brochure only to find it’s not generating new business?

And do you think the reason it failed is because print has had its day?

It’s not that. Print still has its place. And it’s as powerful as it ever was. If your brochure failed it’s likely to be because of the content.

Getting brochure content right isn’t easy. Many companies are happy to brief a copywriter to write the content for their website, but when it comes to the brochure, they write it themselves. And more often than not, this means dry copy that sells their company’s achievements rather than the benefits they offer the customer.

That’s not the way to go.

If you’re thinking of writing your brochure in-house here are some top tips to help you create content that will get results.

Don’t lift copy from your website

Write your brochure in the second person – just like your web copy. But don’t lift your web copy and simply reuse it in your brochure. Why? Because your brochure has a different purpose. And that means a different approach.

Act now!

Ask yourself – what are you trying to achieve? When you hand your brochure to someone, what do you want them to do? Your copy has to direct the reader to perform that action, so make sure your call to action is clear with zero room for confusion.

Keep it chatty

Web copy is friendly and conversational – corporate brochure copy should be too. Keep your tone of voice similar to your web copy; don’t use business clichés, and make sure you keep your copy clear of all acronyms.

It’s a good idea to ask someone that doesn’t know your business to sense check your copy. Your business language is second nature to you, so it’s easier than you might think for terms that mean nothing to a customer to slip in unnoticed.

Use images to reinforce your message

Take care when choosing images for your brochure. Images can be a powerful tool which can help super-charge your message, so make sure they’re relevant.

You can use stock images, but if you have the budget for a professional photographer, use one. This will ensure your brochure is personal to your company, and because you’re in control, you can make sure copyright issues don’t surface down the track.

The formula for success

Don’t forget; your brochure is a sales pitch, so testimonials, case studies, high-quality images and benefits-driven copy are essential. Add in a welcome message from your CEO, a company profile, some photos of your staff, and you’ll have a winning brochure on your hands.

Done well, your brochure will attract new clients, reinforce your service to existing clients, and gain the confidence of potential investors.

Good luck!

SEO copywriting: How to use keywords in your web copy

When you’re writing search-optimised copy for your website, every word counts. Keywords are as important as they ever were, but there’s a crucial difference.


In the old days, Google didn’t penalise keyword stuffing. But today, it does. Google rewards websites for many things, but keyword stuffing isn’t one of them. That’s because Google is driven to provide relevant search results; all keyword stuffing did was lead to low-quality content nobody wanted to read.


So if you’re reviewing your website content, here are some tips to help you write copy your customers and Google will love.


Find the right keywords


Remember you’re writing content to help people discover your website. So it makes sense that the keywords you use are the same ones customers would type into Google to find your site. Think about what they might be. Type them in, and take a look at the results page.


When you’ve decided on the keywords that are relevant to your business, you’ll want to use them in your URL, headlines, metadata, and body copy.


Use your keywords carefully


Keywords are important, but it’s the way you use them that counts. You need to write compelling sentences your target audience will want to read. So write for your target audience first, and then check you’ve used all your selected keywords.


Using semantics is important because when the Google algorithm ranks your website, it will reward relevance, looking to match similar language to that used by your competitors.


So take a look at your competitors’ keywords and decide if it makes sense to use any of their terms in the context of your messaging. Would these words also speak to your target audience? If it’s a “Yes,” – use them.


If you’re keen to dig deeper into your USP to uncover specific keywords, you have lots of options. You can talk to customers, read reviews, or use one of a whole range of SEO tools available online, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, which is a great start to help you identify related search terms.


Write for humans AND Google


It’s essential to use your keywords in easy to read copy so your words engage the reader. If you’ve done your research, and know your keywords, your copy should be simple to write. Remember to cut out business jargon, use second person to open up your copy, and don’t forget, you’re writing for a human. Conversational wins every time!


Remember it’s a work in progress


Don’t just forget about your keywords. Your business needs to remain relevant to your target audience – their needs may change so the language you use may need to change too.


SEO has many facets; SEO friendly copy is just one of them, so don’t forget your strategy doesn’t start and end with your content.


Getting a higher ranking for your website takes time, but sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the everyday running of your business, you lose perspective. If you feel like this may be you, please get in touch.