Is writing still important?

By Copywriting, Writing No Comments

In a world full of images, photographs and videos, text still counts. Text is a major driving force used by search engine algorithms.

Today, when someone wants an answer, they are likely to Google it. The words that you have written online may well serve as the answer to their question.

As well as helping people to find you, text sways opinions about countries, enterprises, brands, products and services. It can come in many forms including web pages, landing pages, blogs, social media content, online adverts, e-newsletters and push notifications.

Having the ability to write clearly and engagingly will serve you well in your career and in your life. Having the ability to convey an idea from one mind to another in written form will always be a sought after skill.

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” ~ Leo Burnett

Nigel provides digital copywriting training services.

Digital marketing tools

By Internet marketing, Software No Comments

Here is a list of 34 digital marketing tools including several which are free.

Advertising management

Adroll – Self-service online advertising platform for running online ads, advert retargeting etc.

Frank.ai – Frank’s brain is connected to Facebook, Google and two million other websites. Frank takes care of the setup, optimization and reporting for your ad campaign. (Should marketers be worried about losing their jobs?)

Google Adwords – From time to time Google offers a free trial of their advertising service.

Audio recording

Audacity – Free, downloadable voice recording and editing software. Great for podcasters.

Garageband – Mac podcast production tool as a free alternative to Audacity.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

Capsule – Free for up to 250 contacts, then inexpensive to run. Integrates both ways with MailChimp.

Email marketing

MailChimp – Comprehensive email marketing platform. Free for the first 2,000 subscribers.

Forms (website)

Optinmonster – Lead capture, email marketing signup and more. Works with MailChimp.

Wufoo – Website form creation platform. Works with MailChimp.

Grammar checker

Grammarly – The free writing assistant. AI-powered Chrome browser extension that checks grammar, spelling and punctuation in Gmail, Outlook, Google Docs, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

Hashtags

Hashtagify.me – Monitor the performance of hashtags, see suggestions and identify Twitter influencers.

Image file compression

TinyPNG – Compresses PNG and JPEG images which help to improve website loading speed, newsletter performance etc.

Landing pages

Unbounce – Landing pages, popups and sticky bars.

Language translation

Deepl.com – AI-powered translation service.

Google Translate – Google-powered translation service.

Podcasting

Anchor.fm – Free podcasting distribution service.

Libsyn – For podcast distribution.

Sales leads

Leadfeeder – Leadfeeder tells you which specific enterprises have visited your website, how to contact them and what content on your website they’re looking at. Leadfeeder integrates with many CRMs and communication tools such as MailChimp.

Search Engine Optimisation

ahrefs – Long list of professional tools to grow search traffic. Learn about your competitors and more.

Alexa – Keyword research, website audit, competitor website analysis, backlink checker etc.

The Google Keyword Planner is part of Google Adwords.

Yoast – WordPress SEO plugin used by 10 million+ websites. The free version is good the paid version is better.

Social media

Buffer – Social media management software. The free version allows you to upload 10 posts. I use this for my Twitter account. 10 posts = 2.5 days. So you could use Buffer first thing on Monday morning and during Wednesday lunchtime in order to Tweet four times a day during the business week.

Sprout Social – Social media management and engagement, customer care, advocacy and analytics.

Surveys

Smart Survey – At the time of writing, there is a free option.

SurveyMonkey – Comprehensive online survey platform (no longer free).

URL shortening service

Bit.ly – Easy to use and provides basic stats.

Video hosting

Vimeo – Professional grade video hosting platform.

YouTube – One of the benefits of hosting your videos within YouTube (which is owned by Google) is that you will improve your chances of being found. It is the world’s 2nd most used website, according to Alexa (the 1st is Google.com).

Website broken links

Brokenlinkcheck – see which of your website links are not working and keep Google happy.

Website CMS

WordPress – Free to use website CMS (Content Management System) used by a third of the world’s websites.

Website loading speed test

Pingdom – Find out how long your website takes to load, from various places around the world.

Website stats

Google Analytics – Website analytics service provided by Google. Shows website visitor metrics and other stats in detail.

Jetpack WordPress plugin – Jetpack includes website analytics.

Which digital marketing tools have I missed? Please reply below and let me know!

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Search Engine Optimisation

SEO keywords

By Internet marketing, SEO, Websites No Comments

Search engines analyse the words on a web page, in order to learn what the page is about.

They do this by using bots (AKA crawlers).

Having found a web page or blog entry, say on a gardening website, the bot will ‘read’ the content, look at the SEO meta data and decide that this page is all about lawn care.

It will file the page amongst the millions of pages that it has found on this subject.

On this basis, ‘lawn care’ would be a keyword phrase, containing two words: lawn + care

Luckily for the website owner, ‘lawn’ is clear.

People think of the word lawn and associate it with a grass-covered area, probably within a garden.

The word ‘care’ has many other associations, besides lawns.

Therefore the website owner would need to think of synonyms such as:

lawn maintenance, lawn upkeep, lawn repair, looking after my lawn

They could use this website: https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/synonym

It is a good idea to have an up-to-date list of keywords.

Include the name of your enterprise, brand names, products, services and geographical places that you operate in.

Think about the phrases that your target markets are likely to use within the search engines and include these in the list.

As this list is meant for you, organise it in alphabetical order.

Print it out and keep it somewhere where you can see it.

When you are writing content for your website, refer to your keywords list.

As time goes by, refer to Google Analytics and use the information there to refine your keywords list.

Nigel offers SEO consultancy and SEO training.

LinkedIn content ideas

LinkedIn content ideas

By Copywriting, LinkedIn, Social media No Comments

What should you write about in LinkedIn?

Are you ever stuck for LinkedIn content ideas? Here are some ideas for you:

* Blogs that you have written.
* Case studies describing how customers have benefited from your products / services. People love stories and they remember them.
* Client / customer information and news.
* Events that you are running including open days, open courses, webinars, in-house workshops.
* Exhibitions, where you are exhibiting.
* Exhibitions, where you are attending as a visitor; you can tell your network and ask whether anyone else is attending.
* Feature announcements: you don’t have to wait until the next product launch.
* Images containing numbers / statistics displayed in interesting ways.
* Industry news (i.e. the industry that you work in).
* Job postings (full time, part time).
* LinkedIn questions, ‘Can someone tell me how I do this…..?
* LinkedIn tips and ways of getting more out of LinkedIn.
* Milestones including 1 year, 5 years, 10 years etc that your business has been trading and personal milestones (“I was surprised that, between us, our management team has been working in this industry for XXX years. Some of the changes we have seen include….)
* Photographs including customers using your products / services in interesting ways.
* Predictions are always interesting, as people want to know what is happening next.
* Podcasts, new.
* Products that you sell: tips and ideas for getting the best out of them.
* Products that you are launching.
* Public speaking engagements for yourself / colleagues.
* Research that you have produced.
* Services that you provide: tips and ideas for getting the best out of them.
* Services that you are launching.
* Thought leadership pieces.
* Trends for your industry and the products / services that you market.
* Videos that you have created. Either one-off or a series. They can be short, i.e. one minute or less, or much longer. Yes, I know that many people say not to post long videos, however, if the subject and delivery are interesting, you will be surprised at how many views they receive. It is said that videos work five times better than other forms of content.
You can either post brief ‘status’ updates or articles, which can be long form (i.e. high word count).
* Photographs including customers using your products / services in interesting ways.
* Predictions are always interesting, as people want to know what is happening next.
* Podcasts, new
* Products that you sell: tips and ideas for getting the best out of them
* Products that you are launching
* Services that you provide: tips and ideas for getting the best out of them
* Services that you are launching
* Trends for your industry and the products / services that you market
* Videos that you have created. Either one-off or a series. They can be short, i.e. one minute or less, or much longer. Yes, I know that many people say not to post long videos, however, if the subject and delivery are interesting, you will be surprised at how many views they receive. It is said that videos work five times better than other forms of content.

You can either post brief ‘status’ updates or articles, which can be long form (i.e. high word count).

Nigel Temple provides LinkedIn training.

startup

Startup marketing checklist

By Business, Marketing strategy, Startups, Success No Comments

If you are a startup or if you are thinking of launching a new business, here is a marketing checklist:

  1. Have a written marketing plan. Writing it all down will make you think through the key issues.
  2. Create a visual brand identity, including a logo, font and brand colours.
  3. Build (or review) your website after you have created your marketing plan.
  4. WordPress is a free website CMS (Content Management System) that looks good from the start and will grow with your business.
  5. Your website has to: a. work as an online brochure and b. bring in sales leads / sales (if you have ecommerce).
  6. Choose your promotional mix carefully. You can get a free ebook containing 300 promotional techniques when you join:
    The Marketing Compass
  7. Write something every day. This could be a blog, new website page, newsletter content, press release or social media piece.
  8. Start working on your in-bound marketing using SEO as soon as you can. Start with a keywords list.
  9. At the same time, start to reach out and contact potential new customers. For example, this can be done via Facebook and LinkedIn. Be aware that legislation (such as GDPR in Europe) frowns upon unsolicited messages to people who have not given you permission to communicate with them.
  10. Use MailChimp for your newsletter. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and it integrates with the software that you are likely to use.
  11. Start to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) as early as possible. A CRM that works well with MailChimp is:
    Capsule CRM
  12. Start talking to journalists. Tell them why you are launching your new enterprise and what is different about you (take this from your marketing plan).
  13. Have a system for improving your conversion rates.
  14. https://ctt.ac/G9mgoGet some external advice on marketing.

WordPress plugins – how many can you have?

By Internet marketing, Websites, WordPress No Comments

There is not a clear cut answer to this question.

However, in general terms, the answer is: ‘the fewer, the better’.

The Marketing Compass recommends that you don’t have more than 20 plugins (there is a WordPress Group there). Even this number feels quite high.

At the time of writing, there are some 50,000 WordPress plugins available.

Popular plugins include Akismet (anti-spam); forms (numerous plugins offer form creation capabilities); Google Analytics (so that you can get analytics working throughout your site): Jetpack (site performance and many helpful features); MailChimp (email marketing); Yoast (which helps with SEO); and WooCommerce (ecommerce).

There are 7 plugins in the above list and it is easy to keep adding new ones. This happens when you think of something that you would like to do within your website. I know, as I have nine WordPress websites.

The challenges of having too many plugins start with website loading speed.

This is a Google SEO ranking factor.

If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load you have a problem.

Many website visitors will not hang around waiting for your site to appear.

What is more, plugin conflict can occur: i.e. one WordPress plugin can upset another plugin. If this happens to you, it is a good idea to backup your website before you start working on it.

Nigel Temple is a digital marketing consultant.

How to increase email click through rates

By Email marketing, MailChimp No Comments

Best practice within email marketing avoids the wording ‘click here’ as click-through text within email marketing campaigns.

Many subscribers won’t click if you do this, as it is unclear where the link goes.

It also leaves out important information that disabled users require and suggests clicking a mouse, whilst many subscribers view emails using a touchscreen on their smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Ensure that your link text is descriptive. It is better to have compelling and long click-through text, rather than uninformative, boring and brief text.

Point the click-through URL to the most relevant information currently available. Tell the reader that this is what you are doing.

For example, if you are referencing a product or service, send the link directly to the most up-to-date web page or resource. Write something like:

Click here to see the latest version of product XYZ

Include multiple links to the same content within a single campaign.

This is relevant for MailChimp campaigns with a single call to action (other email marketing platforms are available).

Place CTA (Call To Action) buttons within several campaign content areas.

For example, towards the top and the bottom of the campaign.

Try wording the text links differently.

Treat the click-through text as you would a headline.

Experiment with questions, use trigger words and make it so interesting that the reader feels that they must take a look at the end of the rainbow.

Then look at the MailChimp campaign report to see which version of the click-through text were the most effective.

Don’t worry about having multiple links to the same content: this will help to increase your click-through rate.

Nigel Temple provides MailChimp email marketing training – click here.