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design & marketing blog
Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.
It’s easy to spot amateur copy.
Amateurs don’t know how to express anything other than excitement. So it’ll be high energy, full of hype, exaggeration and exclamation marks.
“Our new mouth-watering deserts are guaranteed to light your valentine’s fire! You’re in for a fun night! Hurry up and book now!”
Great copy should be conversational.
You should be speaking to your prospects the same way a friend might, if they were discussing the topic over a quiet drink after work.
There’s place for excitement. But there are so many other emotions you can – and should – express. (E.g., fear, shame, intrigue, suspense, tenderness, anger, sadness, surprise, benevolence, optimism, etc.)
We tend to do this naturally in conversation. And great copywriters know this.
But what if you’re not a great copywriter? Does this mean you can’t write great copy?
Probably. But it doesn’t mean you can’t write good copy.
There’s a simple and easy way to write compelling copy. And if you follow it, your work will be better than 90% of all the other rubbish that pollutes the Internet.
You don’t need any training. And you don’t need any specialist techniques.
Here’s what you do.
Go out and pitch your offering to as many people as you can. These must be people that are in a position to buy it.
Make sure you record every pitch you make. (There are plenty of iPhone apps for this.)
What you now have is compelling, conversational and natural copy.
You might need to clean it up a little. And you might want to add or remove a few points.
But what you have is proven to work, because it already won you the sale. Put it on your website, and it’ll almost certainly outperform what is on there right now.
Director, Bassett Providentia Ltd
Copyright © 2012, Bassett Providentia Ltd
Lewis Bassett is an online marketing consultant and speaker, and helps companies to increase their revenue. Bassett Providentia Ltd is his consulting practice. For more information and to subscribe to his email list visit www.bassettprovidentia.com.
Are you aware that how you send emails to your customers can dramatically affect the viability of your entire business? In the most extreme cases emailing to customers the wrong way can result in your entire domain being frozen or shut down.
While a successful email marketing strategy involves much more, there are a few basics that you must adhere too to protect the good name of your business and prevent potentially serious problems with your company’s ability to deliver emails of all types to vendors, clients and customers.
1. Never send to large groups using Outlook or Webmail!
Have you ever logged into your individual email account and sent an email to a group of customers by adding them all to the bcc field? Or have you ever taken a larger list of customer email address and broken them up into smaller sequential emails?
Because of the prevalence of spam, email service providers and ISP’s closely monitor emails sent to multiple addressees as well as the frequency in which they’re sent. ISP’s and service providers tend to be overly cautious and favor erring on the side of preventing potential spam. Therefore they are likely to flag your email/domain as potential spam when they see this type of group sending activity. In some cases I’ve seen email service suspended as a warning for 24 hours if too many such emails are sent, and, in extreme cases, the Website and email for your domain can be shut down. This threat exists when sending through an individual account no matter how legitimate the email is and how much your recipients want to receive it.
The best alternative is to utilize one of the large 3rd party email marketing companies, namely VerticalResponse or Constant Contact. They send millions of emails each month and have the ability, because of their size and volume, to safeguard that your domain name does not get associated with spam. Not only will your domain name be protected, for their nominal cost, there are many other advantages such as tracking and the ability to have have a custom HTML email design developed for your brand.
2. Never buy lists of email addresses from 3rd parties!
There is a good reason why Constant Contact and Vertical Response do not allow the use of third party email lists . . . they are often not poor quality in terms of relevancy, they tend to result in a much higher rate being marked for spam by recipients (thus potentially blacklisting your domain) and most importantly there is no way to verify that these lists were obtained legally. In short, they present a very high risk of damage to your domain name and the deliverablity of all your company’s email . . . just don’t do it! For more information on this topic and insight about best practice email marketing visit Word to the Wise or Deliverability.com; both great sites about email, delivery and spam.
There are of course legitimate ways to collect addresses for your email marketing—you can start with this these 29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Business provided by VerticalResponse.
3. Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act on all your marketing related emails (It’s not hard).
While admittedly The FTC is not overly aggressive in prosecuting, the fact remains that each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000. This should serve as good motivation to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
For full details on these email guidelines, see the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Facts for Business.
Some great advice from the design sage John McWade from Before & After Magazine