5 quick 'n' dirty marketing and content tips

a petrol blue number fiveHere’s a handful of quick-fire marketing inspired tips to help you get your on-site marketing house in order, from asking the most basic SEO question to the right and wrong way to go about content creation.

5 simple marketing and content tips

1. Do you really want to be on page one of Google?

Do you need to be on page one of Google’s SERPs? Getting onto page 1 is such a challenge these days it’s worth thinking through carefully. In my case the answer is no. If you’re freelance or run a very small service-focused business it might prove a bit much for you, too.
When I started freelance copywriting I made damn sure my site was on page 1 for all sorts of keyterms. It was great at the time, giving me the push I needed to drum up a good-sized customer base. Nowadays it’d be disastrous. I don’t want to turn people down, nor do I want to be swamped. My current off-page one positions are just right, delivering enough new customers to fill any gaps left by my regulars and word-of-mouth referrals.

2. Write content like New Scientist

How do you speak to potential punters? People are people, whether you’re talking B2B or B2C. As a business, the best way to talk to your fellow humans is to write like New Scientist.  They’re adept at explaining horribly complex concepts in simple terms, which is exactly what’s needed almost all the time.
With their help a total physics and maths numpty like me can grasp the concept of quantum physics and even take a dim stab at some of the intricacies.  Do the same with your business and you’ll strike the right human chord: succinct, professional, intelligent, entertaining and clear.

3. How much information do you put on web pages?

It’s tempting to include everything you have ever known and ever will know about your subject. But it’s a bad idea from a marketing perspective.
Say you’re a business support organisation. You provide six core services, all of which you talk about on the ‘our services’ page. Do you need to go into the fine detail of each service too? If you do, you risk over-egging your sales message, which should shine out loud and clear without being interrupted, obscured or buried.
You need to give people enough information in the main pages to make a buying or contact decision, no more and no less. When you do, the majority of people will have what they need to make an informed decision.
Those who prefer to dig deeper before taking the plunge should be pointed towards the fine detail, deeper in the site, and it’s your job to provide really clear navigation.

4. Communication skills no-no… whatever you do, don’t do this!

National Parks are brilliant. We walk the South Downs a lot, sometimes more than thirty miles in a day. I love it. But the organisation’s communication skills could do with a boost. I scratched my head for ages over these paragraphs and I’m still not sure what they mean.

“Thank you for your communication regarding the application at Nine Acre Copse (planning reference SDNP/13/05896/CM).  The Authority will accept further representations on the case up to the date of committee (11 September 2014).  Please be advised that online submission of comments is the only medium that will receive acknowledgement.
If you have received an email referring to the scheduling of committee, you will already have made representations on the case. If you wish to add additional comments, you may register (if not done so already) and comment online by clicking the following link.”

It’s a fine example of how not to communicate. Even worse, although they have my full name they’ve called me ‘Dear Madam’. Urgh. And the email title is RE: Application SDNP/13/05896/CM – Nine Acre Copse. Double urgh.

5. Great communication skills in action – do it like this!

In complete contrast, here’s an excerpt from an email by a US crime writer I’m very fond of. That’s more like it. If you’re going to write to a customer or prospect, do it more like this:

“Hi Kate,
I’m not Martha and the Vandellas (♪ Dancin’ in the Streets ♫), but I have an invitation for you to do some “virtual” Dancing in the Streets in exchange for some freebies… if you’re interested.
Maybe you’ve heard that it takes a village to sell a book today. It’s true, and many authors, myself included, have begun to use Street Teams (they originated in the music industry) to help spread the word about their books.
I’m looking for a few, select, enthusiastic fans to do some minor tasks online, in-person, or both to help get the word out about my books, audios, and short stories.  Examples include: writing an honest review, doing the occasional social media share or post, and maybe even asking a library or bookstore to carry one of my books.
In exchange for these undertakings — things that you might do anyway, I hope — the Street Team will have daily access to me and other members of the team. You’ll also get some fun goodies from time to time.
You’ll be the first to learn about my upcoming books and events, get an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of my latest novel, and generally be “in the know” about my goings on.
Ready to learn more?”

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