5 reasons why you should add visuals to your marketing.

woman pointing to the 5th of 5 yellow stars to signify successful marketing

We know that social media posts with visuals outperform text-only posts. 

But visuals enhance other forms of marketing as well. As visual creatures, we enjoy reading or skimming material which contains graphics and images.

In fact, according to this post in Polls Everywhere, visuals increase the desire to read content by 80%. With a reach like that, can you afford NOT to use visuals in your marketing? Hardly.

Get Creative.

Smart marketers employ a variety of different types of visuals to spice up content — photos, graphics, banners, Infographics, charts, videos, clips or gifs.

The type of product or service you’re selling will generally inform the type of visuals you use. But as long as it helps clarify your copy and grab the reader’s eye, there’s no reason why you can’t get creative and try a type of visual you haven’t used before. Play with colors and shading. Do something none of your competitors are doing.

Head over to Content Marketing Institute to see some excellent examples of companies that have nailed visual content.

Since we also like material laid out in an easy-to-scroll format, here are 5 reasons why you should add visuals to your marketing.

  1. Readability.
    Blocks of text are not only boring, they’re intimidating. Not the reaction you’re looking for when you publish a new article or blog post or launch a new website.Blocks of text are not only boring, they’re intimidating. Not the reaction you’re looking for when you publish a new article or blog post or launch a new website. Your content might be groundbreaking, but that’s irrelevant if people don’t read what you’ve written. Adding visuals breaks up copy making it more compelling to read and easier to scroll.“Every aspect of your website must account for each user’s wants and needs at a given moment in time.” Alan Smith, Usability Geek
  2. Reach.
    Some people really don’t like to read. And with the success of YouTube, they don’t have to. They prefer to learn via video. Others respond better to visuals than to text.What to do? “People are 80% more likely to read content if it’s paired with colorful visuals.” Tara Johnson, “How Visual Marketing Works”.So if you want to reach the broadest audience you can, make sure you incorporate visuals (and videos where appropriate) into your copy.
  3. Retention.
    According to this post titled “7 tips for using visual content marketing,” from Social Media Today, people remember visual information 6x better than the information they have read or heard. Since you’ve taken the time to write your content, why not make it as easy as possible for people to absorb it.
  4. Impact.
    Ideally, you want your copy to have an impact on your readers. You want them to follow you, refer you, quote you, or  hire you. Or share how terrific you are on social media.  Adding visuals to your content helps make that happen.In this article from eLearning Industry titled “Visual Learning: 6 Reasons Why Visuals Are The Most Powerful Aspect of eLearning,”  author Dana Jandhyala states ““Powerful images and visual metaphors create strong impressions and lasting memories in learners.”
  5. Interest.
    Illustrations or photos support your content and enhance copy so it’s more interesting.  From PR Daily, “visual content gets viewed 94% times more than content without any visuals” according to a 2018 Social Media Examiner report. May 24, 2018

    Ready to mix up your marketing?

If your marketing efforts haven’t resulted in sufficient new business, try putting some of these tips into play.  And start to pay attention to how and what YOU read (and react to). Odds are that visually void content is not something you’re really reading either.

Learn more about how to make your website compelling.

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How to craft engaging web content.

hands typing on a keyboard

So you’ve got a brand new website, and it looks great. Well designed. Smart use of color. Smarter use of white space. Reasonably intuitive navigation. A business owner’s dream website.

But there’s one significant problem. Your website simply isn’t engaging.

It looks good, loads fast and seems to work well. But the copy is bland. No, it’s boring. It’s not written to entice the viewer but simply to provide information.

So visitors to your site just don’t buy in to what you’re selling. They don’t sign up for your newsletter or your blog. They don’t opt for your special offer. They just leave. And they certainly don’t share your site on social media.

How good is that website now? Not very.

If you think that site could be yours, it might be time to rethink your web strategy.

Think strategically. What do you want your copy to accomplish?

When we build a new website or revise a dated site, we don’t write a word of copy without a clear roadmap. We consider your goals — what you want to accomplish, the tone and voice of the content (sophisticated,  scholarly, serious,  irreverent, fun.) and what you want site visitors to do. The product or service you offer drives the content.

If you know your site could use some help but writing new content sounds daunting, here are six easy tips that might make it easier:

  1. Think about the problem your products or services solve. Are you telling visitors to your site how you can help them? Don’t make them guess.
  2. Have you defined your target audience? The way you “speak” to Millennials is not the way you should “speak” to Boomers. Your copy style is important.
  3. Never  “assume”. If you want visitors to your site to do something, tell them. Sign up. Click here. Order now. Call now. Tell your friends. Short little sentences. Easy to write.
  4. Make it easy for visitors to absorb your content. Is your product one that can be marketed with humor? Create a short clever video or hire an illustrator or animator to create original cartoons to get your point across.
  5. Be relevant. Do you offer services for a serious issue…..for example, one that’s health-related? Easy-to-understand charts, infographics, copy with clear steps or bullet points and explainer videos are smart ways to share important or detailed information.
  6. Make it easy for visitors to share your content. If you’ve succeeded in bullet points 4 and 5, this should be a piece of cake. People share what they think others in their world will like. Content that’s interesting, amusing, informative, exciting, compelling. But don’t forget to tell your visitors to share your content. Share icons are important but saying “be sure to share this with your friends” is just plain smart. Here’s an article from OptinMonster that shares some great CTAs (calls-to-action). 

Your content needs to engage visitors.

Your website may look good but if visitors aren’t engaged once they land there, you’ve got a lousy site. Make sure your content is clear, well-written and speaks to your audience in language they understand and can relate to.

If you can’t write engaging content yourself, hire a professional copywriter. It’s well worth the investment.

Do you know what you want your content to accomplish? If your answer is “not really”, maybe you need to tighten up your positioning.

 

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7 Things You Can Do Now to Get A Jumpstart On 2021

5 professionals jumping up in the air with joy

2020 has been a difficult and crazy year. Understatement ;).

We’re all looking forward to a fresh and hopefully healthier year in 2021. So rather than waiting to do a goals list for January, let’s get a jumpstart on 2021 now.

Here are 7 things you can start implementing in your small business right now.

  1. Finalize your 2021 marketing plan.  Don’t wait til year end. Do it now so you’re ready to rock’n’roll on January 1.
  2. Shake up your marketing. Try something new.  If your tactics-to-date have been soft sell, try being more forceful. This article from Click Z has some good hot-to tips.
  3. Focus on relationship building with your clients.  One way to do that is committing to being more authentic and being relatable. Let customers know there are real people behind your brand.
  4.  If you have products or services that have been sorely affected in our Covid-impacted world (think restaurant buffets, movie theaters or anything that doesn’t allow us to social distance), replace them if you can. Or pivot. There are certainly enough examples of companies doing that successfully. Like these three small business success stories in Inc Magazine.
  5. Cut yourself some slack. Most of us are too hard on ourselves. Learn to lighten up and appreciate the things you’re good at. This article in Medium has some smart advice to help you.
  6. Hire a business coach or a sales development consultant to help build your business. Getting fresh input can be the difference between blah sales and soaring numbers. If you need some suggestions, call us. We’re happy to recommend someone.
  7. If you don’t already have a robust email program, put your database to work.  Ramp up your email marketing with fresh offerings and enticing copy. Read this article from Campaign Monitor for some great tips on how to build a cult following.

Hopefully, these tips resonate with you and give you some ideas on how to jumpstart your own marketing.

The small businesses that will survive these shaky times are the ones that are being proactive about moving forward.

We think that’s a really good group to be part of.

 

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If your website isn’t functional & secure, you’re losing business.

happy website client

September signals the start of fall. A time of new beginnings — change of season, a new school year, for some companies a new fiscal year.

For small business owners, fall is often the time to think about ramping up business. Maybe you need to refresh dated marketing material. Or spruce up your website with fresh content.

It’s also the perfect time for a digital tune-up to ensure that your website is performing efficiently. Is your site’s backend functionality where it should be? Is current content? Are plugins up-to-date?

To help you assess your site’s performance, we present 5 ways to make sure your website is functioning efficiently right now.

  1. Keep your SEO (search engine optimization) up-to-date. If you’ve been writing blog posts or adding new content without optimizing that material, it’s like forgetting to tell customers you’ve got new merchandise they’ll be interested in. They won’t know if you don’t tell them.
  2. Check that all images have an alt tag or alt text. Aside from helping with SEO, this enables visually handicapped visitors to “read” images via screen readers. Learn more about alt tags here.
  3. Is your content current? Dated content not only makes it look like your business may be suffering (not surprising in this time of COVID-10 closures, but also something you want to avoid). Keep your content fresh and compelling if you want visitors to return regularly and refer your site to colleagues and friends.  Here are some quick and easy content development tips.
  4.  Is your site loading quickly? There are several things that make sites sluggish and slow to load — overly large or high rez images, plugins that are no longer being used but are bloating your site, or your ISP (internet service provider) to name a few reasons. Whatever the cause, the result is not one you want. Slow loading sites mean lost visitors. When we’re so used to speedy connections and quick downloads, few people want to wait more than a few seconds for a site to load.
  5.  Is your site secure? If your website url starts with https://, it’s secure. If it still says http://, it’s not. And it’s not SSL (Secure Sockets Layered) encrypted so it may be vulnerable to hackers. Something you definitely don’t want! Getting an SSL certificate is something your developer or IT person should do. It’s something we handle for all the sites we build.

Of course, there are other things you can do to keep your website secure and functioning smoothly. We’ve just highlighted the “musts”. Most of these are best left to professionals who work with websites on a daily basis.

We’re happy to chat with you about whatever’s keeping you up at night keeping — whether it’s making sure your website is secure, how to give your site a fresh new look…..or any marketing issues you might be having.

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Why I won’t open your emails. Ever.  

My inbox is still overflowing with post-holiday savings, offers and other errata. You’re probably dealing with the same email overload.

No surprise when you consider that the average office worker receives 120 emails every day (source: TechJury).  Who has time to look at all of this?

If you’re like most people, you scan your inbox looking for important emails – from clients, colleagues, key business journals and resources you’ve subscribed to. The rest of the email gets ignored or trashed.

I write email subject lines as part of the content development work I do.  So I’m always on the prowl for clever copy. A good way to discover subject lines that work is to take note of the ones you open vs. the ones you ignore or delete. What is it about them that sparks your curiosity?

What Makes A Good Subject Line?

A good subject line speaks to a need, want or desire. Something to make you say “Yep. I need that.” A lousy subject line, on the other hand, speaks to nothing. It’s boring. Blah. Nondescript.

Here are some actual subject lines that went immediately into my trash bin last week:

  • This is for rickey
  • Your request has been granted
  • We Need Your Confirmation ASAP!
  • what I’ll do for you
  • Next Steps
  • How are you doing?
  • You are so Kind and Down to Earth.
  • Happiness
  • Please Please Forgive me
  • Hello from the other side…
  • I’m personally asking…
  • I have one question

As you can see, none of them speak to a need or want. Most are stupid.There’s not a single reason for me to open any of these. So I didn’t.

Subject Lines That Work

On the other hand, here are some subject lines that caught my eye and got my click…..and why:

WIN: A Yoast plugin of your choice
Why? I use Yoast. It’s an SEO tool that I like a lot. A free plugin would be lovely. Actually. I click on ALL emails from Yoast. Their products helps me do a better job of optimizing web content.

Nice, You’ve Earned A Reward
Why: The sender is Kriser’s Natural Pet. The reward is a $10 voucher on products or services. I have a dog. We like and use Kriser’s food, grooming and daycare services. Who doesn’t like rewards!

Here’s your year in music, all wrapped up
Why: It’s from Spotify – my favorite source for streaming music. It was a kick to see the 754 different songs I listened to last year.

Anatomy of a Unicorn Business and How to Become One
Why: I’ve heard the term but don’t know much about it and am eager to learn more. The sender, Small Business Trends, is one I subscribe to because I know I’ll always learn something new.

This exercise can boost your memory by 30%
Why: The sender, mindbodygreen, is a good source of articles on living healthier. Who doesn’t want to live healthier?

PW#709 – How to make more time for writing
Why: As I mentioned before, I’m a writer. I ALWAYS need more time to write. I subscribe to this — Daphne Gray-Grant’s Power Writing newsletter. I learn something new from every issue.

Rickey, these 7 videos will transform your business ??
Why: I’m on the  sender’s email list. Denise Wakeman is a super knowledgeable online marketing pro. I am always eager to learn about new or better tools and tactics to grow my businesses.

Obviously,  emails that come from trusted sources — business associates, clients, colleagues — will generally get opened despite the subject line. These people are already in your database of valued senders.    But for everyone else, your subject line needs a hook.

6 Tips To Help You Write Better Subject Lines

If this is the year you’ve vowed to ramp up your email marketing, keep these 6 tips in mind:

  1. Spend time on your subject line. It’s the difference between your email getting opened or trashed.
  2. Make it clever or creative, ideally both.
  3. Speak to the needs or wants of your recipients.
  4. Create a sense of urgency.
  5. Keep it brief.
  6. Segment your lists for your various target markets.

For more info on ramping up your emails, here’s a blog post we wrote last year on how to create effective marketing campaigns.

And if you still need help, call us.

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