Three ways to drive your customers to act

One of the easiest and most frustrating things for a consumer to do is put off buying your product or service until later. It could be that they’ll buy when they have more money, when they are more established, when they feel they are ready for it, after they compare what else is out there, or any number of justifications – often based around procrastination, fear or refusing to leave their comfort zone, that stops them from taking action with you now.

It can be frustrating, and not just because you haven’t closed the sale, but also because you know that your product or service could really help them, if only they would let it. So how do you create a sense of urgency to move them past their justifications? Here are three ways to drive your potential customers to act.

1. Scarcity

Scarcity marketing appeals to your potential customer’s fear of missing out, and refers to any limitation placed on a product or service in order to increase sales by applying pressure to act immediately. It could be due to limited availability or a time based deadline that is linked to a discount or bonus for acting within a short window of time. 

The whole reason scarcity works well is because it forces action, especially when there is significant value offered. If you really want it you need to act immediately, how can you afford to wait if the reduced price, bonus, product, service or package will no longer be offered?

2. Competition

Within all of us is a healthy sense of competition. We want to be the first, to win, to be the leader, to be part of the ‘exclusive group’, to achieve our goals faster and receive the recognition and status that brings. Often appealing to the desire to be the best, the first and get in when others miss out can be quite effective in the sales process. 

Of course this sense of competition comes from a place of ego, so the effectiveness can depend on how much your potential customer needs recognition, how driven they are by status and how competitive they are to what you are comparing them to. Competition can also be accentuated by scarcity. By offering limited places, you are giving them the chance to win over someone else.

3. Taking the sale away

As the old saying goes, “people want what they can’t have”. With this in mind if you take the sale away by mirroring their justifications, taking out desired features to make it cheaper or making it appear that your customer base is an exclusive group where customers are chosen like an interview process (where you make the decision not them), can actually make them want your product or service more. 

Often when a potential customer senses that you won’t sell them what they want or need they will become more proactive in their pursuit and not only sell themselves on why they want it, but also sell you on why you should have them as a customer. 

A word of warning though…

While all of these motivators work, they also tend to be what we despise most in salespeople – right? That is why they need to be handled with care and done with the right approach. You need to be focused on what is best for your customer, what they want and need, as opposed to just closing the sale, and sometimes that can mean walking away. This is the key difference between the annoying, arrogant pushy salesperson and the friend that is gently guiding because they want what is best for you. 

“But isn’t this manipulative?” you might ask. It can be yes, especially when it is used in a pushy, sales driven way. Perhaps it is just the marketer in me, but I strongly believe that if you have a product or service that could genuinely help someone, whether it makes their lives easier, saves or makes them money, gives them more time, helps them grow their business, or gets them to achieve their goals faster, you have a responsibility to share that in a way your potential customers understand, see the value and are compelled to act – don’t you?

Amanda


Six tips for quick, easy and effective content marketing

While we know how important content marketing is when it comes to generating interest and sales and have the best intentions of keeping our blogs and social media updated, the time investment can often cause these tasks to sneak further and further down our list of priorities.

Thankfully though there are ways you can minimise the amount of time you spend while still gaining all of benefits, like these six tips for quick, easy and effective content marketing.

1. Know your purpose

Most businesses get on social media and start blogging because they have heard they should be doing it. While this is true for the most part, when you don’t know why you are doing it, what you want to achieve by it or who you are targeting, you can end up using the wrong platforms, share information that isn’t relevant or engaging to readers and ultimately waste valuable time.

By working out the purpose of your content you uncover what information you should share and write about, provide a level of consistency with your writing and are more likely to increase both your readership and sales through targeted, relevant content and calls to action.

2. Theme your content 

If you find you are wasting time wondering what you should write about or share, look at theming your content around a certain topic or area of specialty. 

For example you could theme it by the day on social media like I do with “Marketing Monday” where I only share marketing tips that day, or you could have an extended theme over a week, fortnight or month that also carries through on your blog depending on what your readers are interested in. 

3. Write status updates and blogs in advance

A lot of time can be wasted in researching, brainstorming and writing daily status updates and last minute blogs. While some days you might know exactly what to write, other days you can hit a creative block and struggle to come up with something informative or entertaining to share, causing undue stress and wasting precious time stuck in writers block.

To make your life easier, set aside a day or half day to write up a month’s worth of blogs and social media updates so you are always at least one month ahead. This way you have the ability to be spontaneous if there is a blog or update you want to share that strikes during a moment of inspiration, and have the benefit of high quality information going up on a consistent basis.

4. Take advantage of inspiration

When a moment of inspiration does strike, briefly jot down your idea and an outline of the post and keep thinking of more topics. Often we get stuck writing the post from start to finish, which can lead to missing more content ideas. Instead use your moment of creativity to think of more topics and tips to share. 

Should there be a post that comes before the one you just thought of? Should there be one after? Have their been any questions about your industry or area of expertise that would make a good post? Could one tip be turned into several?

Often starting is the hardest part so when your ideas do start flowing give yourself permission to keep brainstorming.

5. Allocate set times for social media monitoring

Social media when left open can be one of our biggest productivity killers. To avoid the temptation and make your social media time more effective and targeted, allocate set times throughout the day to update your status, participate in the conversation and monitor your engagement. 

If you find you keep slipping down the rabbit hole of social media memes, updates and information set an alarm so you can keep yourself in check.

6. Schedule updates

With consistency being so important, scheduling your content can be a great way to ensure you have regular content being published regardless of how busy your schedule is, or whether you are in the office or away. 

Scheduling can also help you minimise the time you spend on content marketing platforms being able to upload in one hit and avoid the distraction of constant social media checking. 

Do you have any tips for effective and efficient content marketing?

Amanda


Turning industry stereotypes into powerful points of difference

Whether we like it or not people make assumptions about us, our business and even how we conduct our business based on the industry we are in. 

Don’t believe me? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a used car salesmen, lawyer or journalist? When you call a tradesman are you expecting them to be on time or late? Tidy or messy? What about when you meet with an accountant? Are you expecting a passionate, engaging person or a person who has less personality than their calculator?

While some people certainly do fit their industry stereotypes, many of us don’t. But as frustrating as it can be to be judged according to a perception, idea or bad experience someone else is responsible for, it can provide you with a very clear way to differentiate yourself and a very powerful method to sell. 

To show you here are four tips to help you turn your industry stereotype into powerful points of difference. 

1. Define your industry stereotype

In order to rise above the perceptions and bad experiences people have had with others in your industry you need to define your industry stereotype. To do this take everything bad (joking or otherwise) someone has said about your industry and combine it with common perceptions people have of someone in your field. 

By doing this you now have a list of what not to do, and how to differentiate yourself in the mind of your customers.

2. Create your industry “villain”

Once you have your “not to-do” list, create the “villain” of your industry to give all of the negative attributes a personality. For some industries like real estate or investment, you might paint a really shady, unscrupulous, self serving character, though for others it might be quite mild in comparison yet still appeal to common industry frustrations. 

The key is to make this “villain” realistic and relatable, because this is the person you are getting your customers to focus all their negative feelings and bad experiences on instead of you and your industry as a whole. 

For example a tradesman might say something along the lines of… 

“Have you ever been left waiting for hours without a phone call wondering where your [tradesman] was? Then when they finally arrived [x] hours late, after trampling dirt all through your home, you find out [insert frustration: the job has to be delayed/the job would take longer than anticipated/the job was more expensive than quoted/they don’t have all the materials or equipment they need/it wasn’t done the way you wanted etc.]?” Continuing on with the pain, frustration and inconvenience caused.

3. Become the “hero”

Once you establish the pain and frustration the “villains” cause your potential customers, you then need to establish yourself as the “hero” who swoops in to save your potential customers.

To do this you need to paint the picture of how you, your products and services, the way you deliver them and/or the way conduct your business is vastly different in comparison to everyone else in your industry, using the proof of testimonials where possible. 

Through your marketing copy, and when you are talking to your potential customers, show them how you provide what they need and want, taking the weaknesses of the industry “villains” and turning them into your own marketable strengths. 

To use the tradesman example above, you might follow on by saying…

“But imagine if instead you received a phone call an hour before your tradesman is due confirming your job details along with his estimated time of arrival. If, when they turn up – on time – they removed their shoes, communicated clearly on how long it would take, explained what was involved, had all of the tools and materials needed in their fully fitted out workshop on wheels and delivered on time, on budget with the highest quality workmanship – guaranteed. Then after they finished, they cleaned up all of their mess leaving no trace they had been there other than a job well done. That is what you receive with [business name]”

4. Follow Through

While positioning yourself as the “hero” can generate interest and sales, delivering on what you promise is the true key to overcoming industry stereotypes and creating raving fans that will go on and sell your business for you. People can’t help but talk about someone who is breaking the mould, particularly when the person has helped them greatly. 

Have you ever found yourself stereotyped based on your industry?

Amanda


The four-step formula for more powerful marketing and advertising

Every day your customers are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages and advertisements. They are there when they turn on the television, listen to the radio, drive past a billboard, wait at a bus stop, go to a public bathroom, search online, open an email, read a magazine or newspaper and even check their letterbox. 

As a result the customers you are targeting are smarter, more informed and value driven, they research their purchases and tend to see through the marketing hype and the manipulative, pushy sales tactics. They are time-poor, have shorter attention spans, scan more than read and want to know what you can do for them before they give you any more of their time or money.

To reach them, your marketing approach needs to be different, strategic, targeted, customer-focused, value packed and concise. Not always the easiest feat, but here’s a little helping hand, a four-step formula you can follow to help you create more powerful marketing campaigns, advertisements and copy.

Step One – Know who you are marketing to and why 

High conversions and great results come from strategic and targeted marketing campaigns where you truly “get” your customers and what they need or want.

To do this effectively you need to be revisiting and redefining your target market regularly. Your customers needs, problems and priorities can change, and who you want to target can change based on your experience, price increases, product changes, the campaigns you are running and your customers’ willingness and ability to spend.

Drill down as specifically as possible so you can find the commonalities in the group of people you are targeting. This will help you uncover which pain point, solution and incentive will be the most effective. I can’t stress enough how important this is to establishing a personal message, the kind that makes your customer feel that you are talking directly to them, even though you may be targeting thousands. 

Step Two – Identify what you are really selling

In order to market your business effectively you need to know what you are selling. This doesn’t just mean being an expert in your products and services, it means becoming very clear on what benefits you are offering your customers. 

To give you an example, let’s use an accountant. Service wise an accountant may offer customers tax returns, bookkeeping, BAS lodgment and structuring, but what they are really selling is peace of mind and security. Their customers can feel at ease knowing that their financial obligations are taken care of and their assets are protected if worse ever came to worse.

In the same way, a mattress store is selling comfort and a good night sleep. A fencing company is selling safety and security for your family. When you find what you are really selling, you can find the emotional pull, motivator or persuader that will most appeal to your target market.  

Step Three – Work out how you do it differently

When you know what you are selling and the benefit it supplies, you need to work out how you do it differently to everyone else. This will allow you to shape a more powerful outcome or result that people will receive simply by choosing to work with you.

Look at what your customers want and need, and then look at what your competitors are doing and not doing compared to you. What is different? What makes your product, service, business or you as a provider different and of more value to your potential customer?

Do you have more experience or expertise? Do you have better processes or follow up? Do you have a guarantee? Do you have consistent or unrivaled results? Do you use higher quality products? Do you have a wider range of colours shapes or styles? Do you have a more personalised service or a quicker turn around? 

Step Four – Stop marketing your product, start marketing your value

Good marketing is not about you, what you do or even what you want to market; it is about your customer, what they need and what is going to most appeal to them in order for them to hand over their money to you. You need to get out of your ego, and into theirs.

Be the solution. Look for ways your products or services and what you are really selling can help your customers solve what they need to solve or achieve what they want to achieve. When it comes to sales and marketing “nice guys” who have a genuine interest in their customers and a desire to help them, finish first. 

Amanda


Four headlines that engage and convert customers

Whether you need to capture the attention of a potential customer on your website, convince a journalist to publish your story, increase your mailing list with your website opt-in, generate leads from an advertisement or boost your hits with a blog post, learning to write good headlines is perhaps one of the greatest time investments you can make in your business.

To help you make a start, and get more results from your marketing and advertising here are four types of headlines that can help you connect with potential customers and convert more sales.

1. The threat

One of the most powerful buying motivators is fear and pain. Generally speaking we move faster away from pain and potential threat than we do towards pleasure, so if you can pinpoint something your target market is afraid of losing or afraid of happening, you can really get inside their head and create a headline that is impossible to ignore.

Examples of a threat headline are “The shocking truth about what your child is really eating”, “the [x] lies your [person/brand] is telling you”, “The information/advice your [trusted person] should give you, but won’t”, “If worse came to worse and [specific scenario], would you/your family/your business be protected? Or “Did you know you could be personally liable/held accountable/at risk of/ for [threat], even if you [protective measure]?”

To craft a powerful threat headline ask yourself:

  • What are my target markets frustrations?
  • What problems do they have that my product or service solves?
  • What are their pain points and worries?
  • What is keeping them up at night?
  • What do they fear most?
  • What are the greatest threats to them, their family and their livelihood?

2. The benefit

The benefit headline, as its name suggests is driven by a benefit. The benefit can be positive, drawing your target market towards pleasure like “How you can generate more leads for your business without spending more time, money or effort”, or a negative benefit, drawing them away from pain, frustration or consequence like “Stop paying too much tax”.

Whichever way you go, when mastered, the benefit headline can be incredibly powerful.  The key to its success though, depends on how well you know your target market and what they need or desire, in order to appeal to their buy buttons. It can’t just be any benefit that your product or service provides though, it has to be a benefit your target market can’t ignore or must-have in order to incite action.

When crafting a benefit headline ask yourself:

  • What does my target market want most?
  • What are their dreams and aspirations?
  • What do they value?
  • Who do they look up to or want to be like?
  • What are their frustrations?
  • What do they want to avoid most?
  • What can my products or services give them, save them, help them become or achieve that will help them get what they want or avoid what they want to avoid?

3. The promise

The promise headline is like the benefit headline only more powerful because it comes with a promise of results. It could be that you can provide the desired results within a desired timeframe, or the desired result with a guarantee. Of course you MUST deliver what you have promised, so handle this headline with care.

When crafting a promise headline ask yourself:

  • What results have I generated for past customers?
  • What results will motivate potential customers?
  • Can I deliver results in an assured timeframe?
  • Can I offer a money back guarantee?
  • How can I eliminate the perceived risk people have when buying from me?

4. The testimonial

The testimonial headline is one of the most powerful headlines because it uses a customer success story and their own words to sell your products and services. It gives you credibility and proves your value long before you’ve tried to establish it.

The testimonial could be outstanding results you’ve delivered, a relatable situation you helped a customer through, a common problem you solved, a testimonial that addresses common objections people have or even a celebrity or notable person who uses your products or services.

The key to a good testimonial headline is that it needs to be specific, have high impact, connect with or be relatable to your potential customer and prove your value. To do this you may need to give the customer who is endorsing you specific boundaries and prompts of what you are looking for from their testimonial.

Have you found a particular type of headline has worked well for you?

Amanda


Three tips to help you build your email list

With so much focus placed on how many likers, followers and connections we have on social media, it can be easy to lose sight of the most important number – your subscribers. 

As business owners we often spend so much time, money and effort building our databases on someone else’s platform, but what about our own? If you could no longer access your social media accounts or blogs, would you have a way of staying in touch with at least some of your likers, followers, readers and connections? 

It can be a scary thought can’t it? To make sure you are building your list while leveraging social media and blogging, here are three tips to turn your likers, followers, readers and connections into subscribers.

1. Create a killer opt-in

In order for a potential customer to give you their contact details willingly, you need to give them value and incentive. It could be a checklist, cheat sheet, fact sheet, list of resources, strategy session, ideas, a gift certificate, newsletter or a whole host of other ideas.

The key is that you need to make it relevant, desirable and where possible shareable, so there is no doubt in your potential customers mind that they (and others they know) must give over their details to get it. To do this you need to be generous. You need to give enough away so it is easy for them to see the value, yet still enough mystery that they need to buy from you. 

A good opt-in, depending on your product, service and industry of course, should inspire your potential customer, challenge the way they think or do something, solve a problem or at least start to solve a problem and/or appeal to their ambition or desire to reach their goal. Emotional engagement is key for high performing opt-in.

If it is a newsletter that you are using as an opt in, instead of saying the usual “sign up for our e-news” say what someone will receive from reading your e-news. Will there be tips, hints, ideas, and deals? Look closely at what value it provides, what will your reader be able to do or know as a result of your information? 

Also try teaming it with a great offer “Sign up for our e-news and get a $5/$10/$50/$100 (depending on what you sell) voucher to use with your next purchase” or “Sign up for our e-news and receive the [x] game-changing tips/hints/questions to ask/habits to achieve [x]”.

2. Capture details with competitions

We all love the chance to win something, particularly if it is something really relevant, desirable, luxurious or expensive (even if it is perceived value) so use a competition as a way to grow your list. Again, look closely at what your potential customers may want or need to make their life or business easier, more enjoyable, fulfilling or profitable. 

While the prize doesn’t need to be directly linked to your business, keep in mind that the more general the prize the more general the people will be who enter it. You don’t just want to grow your database for the sake of growing it, you want to attract targeted, interested people, so take your time when thinking of a prize.

3. Be an information tease

We are really lucky to have tools like blogs and social media at our disposal, so why not put them to good use by doing a little information teaser campaign. 

Once you have identified information you think your audience will really value (think golden nuggets of great wisdom, serious money saving or making tips, a step-by-step process or formula, or anything else you can think of that really gives your audience the opportunity to “peek behind the curtain” of your knowledge), do up one or a series of blog posts or status updates incorporating them. 

Ideally you want there to be at least 5-10 tips/steps/pearls of wisdom in order to get the most impact. But here’s the catch, you only release half – and not the best half, into the public domain the rest you have under lock and key available only to those who join your mailing list. 

Keep in mind though that this only works when the information is relevant, valuable and when done sparingly, when used all the time this tactic can lose its impact. So time it well, after a social media advertising campaign for instance, in order to turn those likers and followers into subscribers.

Do you have any tips for building your mailing list?

Amanda


Marketing words that boost engagement and conversions

Words are powerful. They can move us, engage our emotions in ways we don’t even realise and persuade us to take a course of action we may not have ordinarily taken.

That is why the words you use to help you tell the story of your products and services are so important. They can be the difference between telling and selling, and someone browsing or buying.

Fortunately, there are some words and phrases that have been tried and tested to help boost engagement and conversions regardless of your industry. So to help you, here are seven words I’ve found as a copywriter to be extremely effective, regardless of who or what I’m writing about.

1. “You”

No word in marketing is, or ever will be, as powerful as the word “you”. The more you can make your marketing about your target audience, and their needs, their problems, their desires and their frustrations the more effective it will be.

Remember your potential customer doesn’t care about you – at first anyway, they want to know what is in it for them and how you can solve their challenges and meet their needs like no-one else can.

With this in mind, one of your main objectives when writing your marketing material should be to use the word “you” as many times as possible. Customer focused words like “you” should appear at least twice as many times as self-focused words like your business name, “we”, “us”, “ours”, “me” or “I”. 

2. “Guarantee”

When you are willing to back your own product or service with a guarantee, particularly a 100% money back guarantee, you minimise the risk for your customer and give them a sense of safety and security at the time of purchase.

Offering a guarantee can also help you persuade your potential customer into feeling like they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by buying from you.

3. “Free”

While some marketers over the years have questioned whether the word “free” is still effective in marketing, the fact remains that we all love freebies. The impact of the word, however, depends greatly on what it is linked to.

“A free quote” for instance, isn’t a good “free” incentive. Let’s be honest, would you pay someone to come and give you a quote for a job if a quote was all they were giving? I know I wouldn’t, it’s just something we do in order to generate business.

The key is to offer something that is relevant and of value to your audience. So if you were looking at offering the ever popular “free consultation”, instead of leaving it at that, articulate what value they will receive in a consultation with you (and FYI a sales presentation or the opportunity to come and “find out how we can help you” isn’t value). What will you give them, or talk about in the consultation? What will they have or be able to do by the end of it?

When you start approaching your free offers like this, you will start to see just how powerful the word “free” can be in your marketing.

4. “Instant”

Let’s face it; given our lifestyle, most people you market to will have a short attention span, little patience and a growing desire for instant gratification. You only need to look at the growing credit card debt to see this is true. We don’t want to wait, we want it now and, while some of us may meet it with some scepticism, we are, generally speaking, intrigued by anything and anyone who can deliver us the instant results or changes we are looking for.

If you can build an instant element into your offering and marketing, whether it is instant access, download, delivery, implementation, value or results, it can be incredibly rewarding.

A word of warning though, when you build up a customer’s expectations like this you need to be 100% confident that you can deliver on it. If there is one shadow of a doubt – or you have to rely on someone else to fulfil your “instant” promise (like a third party or supplier) think about what else you could do instead.

5. “Easy”, “Quick” or “Shortcut”

We all want to know the easiest option or the quickest way, it forms part of our desire for instant gratification. We’re willing to look at whatever will speed up the process of being, doing or having what we want, or make the process that much easier.

Perhaps your product or service is easy to buy, easy to use or implement or has the potential to make your customer’s life easier (be specific with how). Or maybe it’s the shortcut they’re looking for that will deliver what they want in record time. The easier and quicker something is, the more desirable it becomes in the mind of your customer.

6. “Never”

The word “never” can be incredibly powerful when you are pointing out the negative benefits of your product or service. If you’re wondering what a negative benefit is, it’s something your customer will avoid (and want to avoid) by buying and using your product or service. Essentially it demonstrates how you can help them avoid pain.

Obviously how you use it depends on your business and what you sell, though some examples are “never miss a payment again”, “never worry about a deadline again” or “never pay too much in tax again”. The key is to make the negative benefit realistic, of high importance to your customers and for ultimate impact something that is weighing heavy on their mind or keeping them up at night.

7. “Proven”

By having a proven system, formula, methodology or product, or a strong track record of generating results, you take the risk and fear out of buying from you. It’s one thing to say that you are great, it’s quite another to be able to back your claims up. The effectiveness and credibility of your message amplifies when you prove you can do what you say you can.

Don’t just make “proven results” or a “proven formula” another claim though, say how and why it is proven or draw on testimonials and case studies to show that it is proven.

So there you have it, seven words that when used right can generate great results in marketing. The next challenge is to find which words will work best for you and your business.

Have you found certain words work wonders in your marketing?

Amanda


Five questions to help you tell the story

Stories are powerful. We not only remember them long than we remember facts, they engage us, appeal to our imagination and when done right, cause us to become emotionally invested. 

Imagine if you could cause this same reaction in your target market after they read your website or promotional material? How many more enquiries would you get? How many more sales would you convert? To help you, here are five questions that once answered will help you tell the story of your products and services and emotionally engage your target market.

1.    What is your target market’s biggest need, frustration or problem? 

People always move faster away from pain then they do towards pleasure, so pain is a good place to start your story. What problems do your target market experience without your product? What limitations do similar products or services have (without naming and shaming) that could be causing your target market frustration? 

What is keeping them up at night? What is costing them money, time or limiting their growth that can be related to not having or using your product or service?

2. Why haven’t they been able to solve it? 

Once you’ve established their pain, look at why they haven’t been able to solve it until now. Was it due to a lack of time, money or knowledge? Have options or availability been limited until you or your new product or service has come along? 

3. What would their life be like if their problem was solved?

Paint the pleasure. Describe the life of your target market once their problems have been solved, their ideal “imagine if…” scenario. How much more effective, efficient or profitable will their business be? How much easier and happier will their life be? 

4. How does your product or service solve their need? 

Once you’ve taken them to a place of pleasure and hope, show them how you or your products or your services make it possible. How are your products or services different? How have they helped others achieve the same ideal scenario? 

5. What do they need to do now? 

Now it’s time for your call to action. What steps do they have to take now to start making their ideal scenario a reality? Is it to call, email or buy now? Do they need to go to another web page, book a consultation, request a quote or download something? 

Work out exactly what action you want them to take then call them to do it while offering them an incentive or emotional pull.
 
By taking your target market through this process, you allow them to have an emotional experience with your product or service before they even try it, a very powerful marketing technique that will result in more enquiries and conversions.

Amanda


Questions to ask when writing or reviewing your website copy

The words on your website can be the difference between a website browser and a new customer. With more and more potential customers heading online to find and buy products, your website copy has never been more important.

To make your words count, here are seven questions to ask when you are writing or reviewing your website copy.

1. Does your copy appeal to your target audiences?

Are you writing for your target market or about you? Good copy is all about your target market, it addresses their frustrations, solves their problems, gives them the benefits and answers their question “what is in it for me”?

Once you have written your copy, read through it and count how many “you’s” you have versus how many “we’s”. You should be talking about your customer at least twice as many times as you are talking about your business.

2. Is there a benefit driven or emotionally appealing headline on each page?

Don’t underestimate the power of headlines. With 5-10 seconds to capture the attention of your target market, your headline will help you make an impact and connect with your reader, and if done correctly, encourage them to keep reading.

3. Are sub-headlines easily identifiable and do they guide readers through the page?

Most of your website readers aren’t readers at all, they are scanners. This means they will be scanning through parts of your copy to find what is relevant or of interest to them. Sub-headlines are great for drawing attention to certain parts of your copy and make it easier for scanners to find what they are looking for.

4. Is the critical content above the fold?

In sales copy your most hard-hitting, benefit-driven information needs to be first, with as much appearing above the fold (where your reader doesn’t have to scroll down) as possible. When your reader lands on your website they want to know “what’s in it for me?”, good copy will always give them the answer straight up.

5. Are testimonials or case studies used to prove the value?

To back up claims you make in your copy, include testimonials that demonstrate benefits and results you have generated for past and present customers. Remember, no-one sells your business better than a happy customer.

If you claim your products or services can boost sales or minimise expenses by a certain percentage within a particular timeframe, provide a testimonial or case study that proves your claim. You will add credibility and build trust with your readers if you do.

6. Is there a call to action on every page?

Are you creating a sense of urgency by giving a compelling reason to act now on every page? Your website should be an extension of your sales team and be converting readers into leads and buyers. To do this, each page needs to have a strong call to action.

When establishing your call to action, ask yourself “what do I want my reader to do once they have finished reading this page?”

7. Is there a way to capture your readers contact information?

Have you provided an irresistible offer that compels your reader to give up their contact information? In addition to wanting your reader to respond to your call to action, you also want to get their contact details. This way, you are in control of how regularly they hear about your business.

To do this, you need to offer them something of value. It could be a checklist, an e-book, a cheat sheet or a template of some sort. Whatever you choose, make sure it is easy to sign up for, if there is too much effort involved you may limit your sign-ups.

Amanda


Six usability mistakes businesses make with their web copy

When it comes to writing for the web, to make your copy truly effective there is a lot you need to do in a small amount of time. You need to be compelling and establish your value quickly, though you also need to make sure your copy is easy to read, easy to understand and leads your web visitor somewhere – preferably to a sale.

Unfortunately for most businesses their web copy doesn’t even come close to doing this. To make sure you’re not in the majority, here are six usability mistakes most businesses are making with their web copy and how you can avoid them to make sure you get the results you want.

Mistake #1 – Choosing pretty fonts instead of practical fonts

With a wide range of fonts to choose from it can be tempting to go for a font that will look more attractive to make a statement or differentiate you from other sites. The only challenge is many of these fonts can be harder to read, particularly on a computer screen that is hard enough to read on.

When it comes to the web (and really the same applies across all your marketing material) fonts like Arial, Calibri, Tahoma and other smooth rounded fonts make your text easier to read for your visitors. Also keep in mind the size, colour and spacing of your text as this will impact readability too.

Mistake #2 – Not having critical content above the fold

The space above the fold (where people don’t have to scroll to down to see text or images) is prime real estate on your website so be sure to make the most of it. Instead of sticking a large image that doesn’t establish your value or what you do, place your most critical and compelling information there so your reader has incentive to scroll down.

It could be a paragraph, a sentence or a headline, there is no rule as to how much text there should be, just as long as it gives your reader a reason to read more. The less you rely on your reader scrolling the better.

Mistake #3 – Not giving mobile users access to your full website

You’ve no doubt experienced the frustration of using your mobile to access a website you regularly use on your desktop only to find you can’t access what you need to. So don’t disadvantage (or annoy) your mobile visitors by giving them a limited version of your website. Mobile users should have the same usability and search ability as desktop users.

It is important to check your website on your mobile and see what your website looks like to readers and what they can see above the fold as this can often vary depending on the device they are using.

Mistake #4 – Not having a clear sales process or navigational path

One of the first steps you should take when planning your website is to work out what you want your readers to do on each page and where you want them to go next. Do they need to be guided through a number of pages in order to make the sale or will they get everything they need to purchase off the one?

Ask yourself what path would you ultimately like them to take through your website? What page should they visit first? What page should they visit second and so on? Once you have worked out where they should go, make sure it is easily signalled in your copy along with a call to action that allows them to act now if they want to.

Mistake #5 – Not having website pages that are easily digested in 5-10 seconds

On the web you have 5-10 seconds to grab the attention of your reader – the time it takes to read a headline and maybe your first sentence. You don’t have long at all to establish what you do and what value you can provide, but you need to find a way.

It used to be just your home page you had to do this on as that was the main point of entry to your website, but now your reader’s search could land them on any page from your blog to your service page, your about us to your contact page, so every web page needs to establish your value, start solving a problem or provide the information your reader is looking for within 5-10 seconds.

Mistake #6 – Not making it easy for a visitor to get in contact with you

So many businesses are becoming faceless online, only allowing their web visitors to contact them through a designated contact form, while this can work with some industries and businesses, most consumers want to be able to get in touch with you in a variety of ways like phone, email, social media and a contact form.

Minimise your web visitor’s frustration by making it easy for them to get in touch with you. Where possible include your phone, email and social media contact details on every page or in your side bar so regardless of what page your web visitor is on they can get in contact with you easily. If you are worried about listing your email because of spam, then spell it out in full like amanda(at)velocitymedia(dot)com(dot)au.

Amanda


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