Blog - Page 17 of 18 - Kara Lambert

6 ways you benefit from business blogging

write to right - business blog benefitsBusinesses will either start with a website and move to social media, or will move in the opposite direction. The next logical step is to move into business blogging. Some businesses start a blog with a clear purpose, others aren’t quite certain. While there are many posts online with content suggestions, I believe that it is equally important to know how your blog can benefit your business. With an overall benefit at front of mind, then businesses are in a stronger position to develop a blog. Here are some of the high-level reasons you should have a blog.

  1. Search Engine ranking

Search Engines will give your website a higher ranking if it is regularly updated. A great way to ensure this is by writing a regular blog post. Don’t worry, you don’t have to write a daily blog – in fact my other business only posts one blog a month and it’s on page 2 of Google (without any paid promotion).

Blogs are fantastic vehicles for your SEO keywords. Pepper your blog posts with a variety of one keyword or a smattering of a variety of them. The fantastic thing is that you can test either approach for attracting customers. A word of warning, don’t bog your blog down in keywords; the Google Algorithm is wise to these tactics and will penalise you with a low search result.

I previously mentioned how internal links can benefit your site. By linking between blog posts and/or products you drive the search engine deeper into your website, opening up more pages and improved chances to return a positive search result.

  1. Education

Blog are a great way to educate your customers. Tell them your favourite ways to use your service or product. Talk to them about the feedback you have received. Let them know what the most popular item is. People love to know that they aren’t alone in using your products and to learn how others benefit; you might just solve a need with something they already own.

You can use them to demonstrate functions, benefits, or points of difference. In a competitive environment, points of difference can make a sale. It may just be you sharing little hints, but these are points of difference when others in your marketplace simply sell. With an increase in online sales and increasing imports, service is making a return and customers will often value this more than price. Many customers look for value for money; if you offer an additional service you increase the value of your item.

Make sure you remember to put your customer first, don’t make it a massive sales pitch. When writing a blog, ensure you are outlining ‘what’s in it for them’. Many blogs, and books, are written from the industry’s perspective and what will help the person selling the item or service. If your aim is to educate, you need to put your customer first, it’s about what they want to know, know what you need them to know. How will X make things easier, cheaper, more cost effective, or quicker? Time is a big issue for most people, if you can show them a time benefit, you are on a winner.

  1. List building

Don’t underestimate the power of getting directly in to your customer’s inbox. I often have a Pavlov like reaction to the ping of a fresh email landing in my inbox, and I can guarantee that I am not alone.

People generally scroll through social media, just as they scroll through email. You won’t always have them opening your emails, but if they do you won’t have to compete with sidebar ads and associated distractions. Emails can be flagged for follow up, they can be filed and easily retrieved, and emails offer the opportunity to personalise.

Emails offer the opportunity of a back-up plan. They give you a way to distribute information if social media falls or your website crashes. You can inform them of outages, changes, and promotions (who doesn’t love a sale alert by email).

Email lists allow you to target customers who WANT to receive your information. They openly agreed to receiving your message, so they are open to it. They have given you a little personal detail; they have opened a door into their private world and invited you in. It’s a more personal connection, which helps you to build a more direct relationship. It’s these relationships which lead to sales.

By asking customers to subscribe, by email, to your blog you open up a direct line of communication. Email lists are a powerful, direct marketing tool which your customer opens up to you. (tweet it) Don’t waste it and don’t overlook the power of adding it to your marketing strategy.

Write to Right also provides proofreading and editing for blog posts. Please consider our services as part of your ongoing web profile. Our proofreading schedule is available on the site.

Blogging is just one way to improve your search engine ranking, find out other ways to get your website to page one on Google by filling in the following form.

Increase your Google ranking[lab_subscriber_download_form download_id=1]

How Facebook does NOT influence sales

Meeting your client needs online - write to rightResearch just out of the US indicates that Facebook users are being turned off by hard sell in their Newsfeed. In fact, 95% of people say that social media has little to no effect on their buying behaviour. 94% say they use social media to catch up on what friends and family are up to. Only 29% say they use social media to follow trends or find product reviews. I think these statistics go some way to explaining why businesses have seen a decrease in direct sales on Facebook.

Now I know that we all have different audiences, and this research is broad, but I still believe that as social beings on social media, businesses can benefit from being social. (And this is what is recommended in the report) Now that DOES NOT mean not selling in your posts, it means not being SALES-Y.

The research recommends engaging Millenials, I believe you need to engage your ideal customer. If you have gone through your audience on your Facebook page, you will know the gender, age group, and location of the majority of your customers. If you are targeting your ideal customer, they should fall into this main group of Facebook likers. Use this data to drive your interactions. Imagine your ideal customer’s needs, problems, daily lives, or ask questions; then use this to develop content for them.

Did you notice the last part of the last sentence? “develop content for them” The key is that you need to write for your customer. You need to meet their needs, solve their problems.
People are time poor, but they do know what problems they need solved, so tell (sell) them how you solve them. (tweet this)
A list of features is nice, but it’s then up to me to work out if and how they will meet my needs.

Not sure what I mean by listing a benefit rather than a feature? In general, the benefit will contain verbs (help, stop, prevent, reduce) and the features will contain adjectives (bright, short, long, versatile). Don’t stress about making it a shopping list of benefits. I would aim for between three and five benefits (people retain between five and nine facts) per post. I like three. Why? I have a quirk about the number three, time is short (and three is small), and I was taught to present data in groups of three when trying to convince an audience. There is an added benefit to selling benefits; by doing so you are letting your customers know that you listen to their needs, you are interested, and you understand.

By showing your customers that you are listening, you allow a relationship to develop and facilitate conversations (and then conversions). I mentioned at the start that 95% of Facebook users are there for socialising. If you can bring a social aspect to your page, and particularly sales posts, you are meeting your customer’s need to socialise. Some customers are there to research, by answering customer questions on Facebook you will either answer their question and/or demonstrate that you are listening to your customers. I have previously mentioned the belief that it takes five touches before you make a sale. Being sociable will assist in making these touches and move your business closer to a sale.

Here’s an insight, all of these tips are equally applicable to your website. You can use them in your blog, just as I have here, or better still in your product descriptions. Your website is your way of reaching customers where they are, when they need your service/product; give it the best chance of meeting their needs.

Write to Right offers website checks to ensure that your site is in the best possible shape, meeting both your client’s and your business’ needs. Find out more about this quality service on the website. Alternatively, skip the queue and book your site in to gain an early advantage.

17 Facebook changes how it handles website links

Facebook monitoring business web links Write to RightIn the news this week, Facebook has announced two major changes to how it ranks the links pages share.

CHANGES

The first is the practise of ‘click-baiting’. Click-baiting is where a business will share a link to a website, but do not include descriptive or useful information about the linked page in the Facebook post. The example Facebook used was of a gossip magazine, linking to their website; the description did not accurately describe what the readers would find (they used a vague outline) and the associated photo didn’t provide any clues.

Their research has showed, the not so surprising finding, that people find this practise misleading and it was therefore unpopular with users. With this in mind they will be monitoring how long people stay on the linked page and then rank the associated Facebook post accordingly. The longer people stay on the linked page (indicating that it is interesting) the greater the ranking it will receive and more likely it will be to appear in Newsfeeds. Should the link and post be misleading (meaning people quickly follow the link and realise it’s not what they were expecting to see and leave) then the post will not be highly ranked by Facebook and it is unlikely to appear in the Newsfeed.

The second change was how Facebook would rank the way businesses posted links.

Some businesses will paste a link into their post from a website and then allow Facebook to display the associated image and description in the post. This is how I share links and I have previously described how doing this is beneficial to your page.

Other businesses will paste the link into a photo post, where they have uploaded a photo and then add the link into the description.

Facebook has done some research and found that the majority of users will click through when the business shares a link with the associated site information, rather than those who add it as a photo description.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN

For businesses who use click-baiting, you will see a decline in your reach. What I would encourage businesses to do is to be honest, accurate, and sociable. Your Facebook page is there to build a relationship. I mentioned last week that researchers believe it takes five touches to gain a customer, so use your touches wisely. Think about your core beliefs, I discussed this in finding your online voice, and if honesty/integrity/truth are on your list then click-baiting shouldn’t be in your tool box.

I admit, that before reading this Facebook article, I often deleted the link address from my posts as I thought they looked ‘ugly and clunky’. I am now leaving the links in, as a little extra information. I used to use link shortening, my website even has it as an add-on (I also used Bitly), as a way to provide the link for mobile devices (and to make my posts look tidier). I am going to rethink using shot links. If you prefer the look of the shorter links, try editing the link to provide a more meaningful link than the randomly generated list of letters and numbers.

What it means for your website content will ultimately depend on the platform you use. Both of my sites are WordPress, so my products, pages and posts all have: at least one image (I don’t always set them as featured), and a meta-description.

I use Yoast for my SEO and a recent addition to the tool is the ability to add a Social Media description. This description, as you can imagine, is what is displayed when you link to that item on a social media platform (like Facebook). Ordinarily Facebook will take the first few lines of your content and add it as a description, with the image, when you upload a link. If you specify a meta-description, it will use this data instead of the first few lines. If you use Yoast’s Social description, it will use this data. This is handy as you can then tailor your descriptions for your audience and/or SEO.

Write to Right offer website health checks, where one of the tasks is to check the meta-descriptions on your pages/products. Now that you have read about how you can use this information to benefit your business and would like to know more about how Write to Right can help, please use the contact form and we can discuss your needs.

14 Comments likes and Facebook Edgerank

Facebook comments beat likes with EdgerankHave you seen the post around Facebook detailing how a woman stopped ‘liking’ posts and it changed her Newsfeed? I’ve recently read it and I wondered how it worked.

I have done a little research (and I do mean a little, you only need to read up about the Facebook algorithm, EdgeRank) to find out how this could work. EdgeRank determines which content goes into your NewsFeed, and it doesn’t discriminate People from Pages (no one is immune). EdgeRank has recently become an unwieldy 1 000-factor beast that includes content quality, content origin (heed the warning Hootsuite users), and completeness of page details. The main determinants of if a post appears in your NewsFeed are still: Affinity, Edge Weight, and Time Decay.

The anti-like/pro-comment movement hinges on two parts: the Affinity score and the Edge Weight.

Affinity Score
The Affinity Score is concerned with how close/related/connected you are to an action. The more you have in common with the person or page undertaking the action, the more likely it will appear in your NewsFeed. So the more friends you have in common, the more you like or comment on their posts, the more you will see.

Edge Weight

Now here’s the thing, likes and comments are not equal. Most people know that, and let’s face it – how much effort does clicking like take compared to typing a comment? This is exactly why EdgeRank rates posts (gives a greater Edge Weight) with comments or shares higher than posts with just likes. Even the lowly emoticon smiley carries more weight than clicking the like button.

Lightbulb! To all the Facebook page owners asking their fans to ‘like’ if they see your post and still not appearing in NewsFeeds – now you know why.

Comments also provide the ability to interact with your customers, engage in conversation, develop your relationship. Even at an extremely shallow level, increase comments and therefore the likelihood that your posts will appear in the NewsFeeds.

I have mentioned previously that customers buy AFTER a relationship is developed, some researchers even say that it takes five ‘touches’ before you will get someone to buy from you. (I want to explore this further in the future) By encouraging a discussion on your posts and page, you are developing a relationship. You are opening up opportunities to educate and possibilities to introduce products.

Comments can also be seen as ‘third party endorsements’. I will pay more attention to a friend’s comment on a page than their like of a post. Why? I trust what they say and I want to know more. I understand how little effort a like takes over a comment, and I appreciate that effort. So when a friend provides a comment or feedback on a business post or page, I take notice. We all know how word-of-mouth works, and its power. So a comment on a post is more powerful than a simple like.

Now here is the issue, how do you get the comments? There are fun ways like ‘what’s your celebrity name?’ or you can ask a question. You can inject a little controversy on to your page. You can ask for advice. I have tried most of these on my other business page and to be honest, some work better than others (Your Easter Bunny name was a great one this year). As I have mentioned previously, it’s all about your customer and the voice you want to portray on your page.

I do know that comments and shares are extremely beneficial to your post reach and it has a flow on effect to the talking about numbers. The best of all is that if you discover the type of content which provokes comments, then you will find that the effect snowballs. The reach of the page I mention was previously around 10% of total likes, it is currently approaching 200% of total likes. Additionally, my talking about rate has increased from a very standard 1% of total likes to 4.5% of total likes. I will add that I have made a number of other changes, that saw an initial increase in talking about, and a subsequent change which increased the reach. Though none of them have has such a profound impact as providing content that engaged my customers and increased comments and shares.

Is there anything about running a website or social media that has you wondering? Let me know in a comment below & I will investigate and address it in future.

16 Linking in your website

Benefits of internal website links - Write to RightSearch engines ‘crawl’ through websites looking for the words your customer enters into the search box. Deep, and meaningful, website links allow for more pages to be returned from your website (increasing its ranking); it also gives you the means to increase your customer relationships and sales.

The search engine looks in different places on your website to find the searched words, here are some of the places it searches:
– page title
– meta-descriptions
– keywords
– image names
– image descriptions, and
– content.

The more you use the searched words (keywords), the higher you will appear in a search. Be warned, don’t stuff all the keywords into your content or you will make the page an unintelligent mess.

Savvy website owners, who remember the days of website crawlers, ensure that they cross-link their website. When a search engine comes across a link to another page, post, or product, it will follow this link and search the page for the information listed above. The higher the number of instances it finds for the searched words, the higher your website will be returned in the search.

Here are some useful ways to increase the links in your website:

– Recommended products
– Upsells
– ‘People also bought’
– Testimonials, and
– Links between related blog posts or products.

Recommended products

‘Would you like fries with that?’ It sounds cliché, but you’ve worked hard to get your customer to your website – make the most of it. Suggest another product, you never know they might have been looking for that too! Don’t waste their time though (remember, we are increasingly time poor), send them to products that you know will help.

Here’s a freebie hint: when you get them to the recommended product, make sure you sell them the benefits of the product AND link them off to another product.

Upsells

‘Would you like to super-size that?’ OK, so you don’t always have to sell something bigger, but make sure you sell something more. Is there a little (or large) something extra, that would coordinate with the item they are buying? Do you have it packaged in a set with something else? Both of these are opportunities to upsell. Don’t forget my freebie hint: sell the benefits & link on!

‘People also bought’

Peer pressure, kids are fabulous at it and adults aren’t immune. Customers like to know that others share their tastes. They like to know that others trust your products. They like to know that the benefits you are selling are true & others have benefitted. Please be honest though, you will lose the opportunity to have a repeat customer if you lead them up the garden path.

How do you find out what others buy? You can trawl through your sales records, but many e-commerce platforms will tell you the ‘most popular’ item on your website – so use that! Alternatively, if you use a webmaster tool such as Google Analytics, you can look at the products with the most hits and promote that item. Better still, do both!

Testimonials

Following on from ‘people also bought’, is linking to your testimonials (or reviews). One of the most powerful sales tools available is the endorsement of another person. It instils confidence in your customer that you have met the needs of others, and are more likely to meet theirs. This personal interaction helps, not only to instil trust but, to develop a relationship with your customer. Sales are founded on strong relationships (one of the key benefits of social media); testimonials allow customers to ‘hear’ what others say, foster trust, a sense of brand identity, all leading to a development of a relationship. Think of it as beginning a new friendship: you see someone you like, you hear someone say nice things about them, it sparks your curiosity, and you go over and have a chat.

Links between related blog posts or products

Blog posts are a fabulous way to create content to keep your website current (a key to achieving a high Google rank), a way to create content for your social media, a way to sell benefits, and a great way to engender trust and build relationships.

When you link to related posts, you are helping to answer more of your customer’s questions, building trust, and building relationships. When you link blog posts to products you are educating and selling benefits.

Linking across your site ensures that search engines find more of your site, if they find more of your site – so will your customers.

I hope this encourages you to dig deeper into your website. If you would like Write to Right to check your site to ensure that it has all the right words in all the right places, then contact us or have a look through our Website Health Check packages.

3 Winning customers by being consistent

consistency to win customers - Write to RightI have learnt from my other business that relationships come first and sales follow. When you are developing a brand, it’s important to ensure that you remain consistent. As a business, there are a number of things you need to be consistent with: your brand, your goals, and your customer.

A brand is much more than just your business name, it’s the experience that people associate with that name. It is this experience, which is the first step in building a relationship, which leads on to sales.

So if your aim is to have a brand that represents quality, integrity, service, and trust; if this is the customer experience you desire, then you need to ensure you are consistent. This consistent branding will help you to be consistent with your customer (and that’s half your consistency battle won).

Let’s look at your brand on your website

Most sites will have the same name, contact details, and logo across the site. If you don’t, this is a quick change for you to make. Ensure that any ‘contact us’ links are headed to the same contact page or the correct email account; any differences in these can leave a customer questioning if you will be just as inconsistent in your dealings with them.

Your name is a little more complex than just what appears on the homepage of your website. It extends to how you refer to your business and yourself as the owner. This is all dependent on the relationship your customer will want from you (professional, approachable, etc.) and the perception you want to build for the business (professional, approachable, etc.). You should have worked this out when finding your online voice, if not, I suggest you revise my blog posts on the topic. The reason being, and as you can see, these perceptions can and should align. If they don’t you are risking confusing your customers and missing the mark with your ideal customer. So when you are writing about the business, will you refer to it by name (full or shortened), using the term ‘we’, or in some other form? When you refer to yourself as the owner, will you use ‘I’ or your name? The decisions you make here need to be consistently applied across the site. This means within a page and between pages. Remember, people generally don’t like change – so keeping your website consistent will put them at ease.

Grammatical gremlins

Following on from keeping your brand consistent is keeping your tense consistent (past, present, future). I have read a lot of articles and sites where the author flits between present and past tense. Again, this swapping causes confusion in the reader. I encourage you to use the present tense for your writing. I choose the present tense as it creates a more conversational tone, it’s easier to read, and easier to write. That’s not to say that you can’t write about the past, it just means you need to consider how it’s written. In these circumstances I would suggest using a more active voice; where the past, and these are mostly achievements, is written in short sentences, using your key adjectives (check out the voice blog post on this), and placing your business name before any action or achievement. If you are writing about achievements, I would also place the year of the achievement at the start of the sentence. Having the date at the start of a sentence creates a simple chronology, building a picture of achievement in your customer’s mind. People are generally time poor: make it easier for them to know you.

A consistent brand makes it easier to build a relationship with your customer. It means that they know where you stand and as a consequence where they stand in relation to your business. If you consistently refer to your brand in a particular manner, it helps to place your brand in the front of their mind. If you match that brand with their experiences of the brand (consistent, reliable, quality, etc.) you will help them form an opinion around your brand. This is when you build a relationship, and you can then you can build on sales.

Building your brand takes time; consistency makes brand building over time easier. It means that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you find consistency difficult to maintain, then I suggest developing a style guide for your business. I have previously referred to having a style guide and I suggest printing it out for your reference. Style guides are useful when you have multiple people writing for your business, including employing a writer (including website developers).

Remember, a consistent brand is the foundation of a lasting relationship with your customer.

If you are finding it difficult to achieve consistency across your site, not sure where to start, or are time poor please contact us to find out how Write to Right can help.

How to use your online voice Part 2

Write to Right - How to use your online voiceNow you know how to find your online voice, use these tips to use your online voice (and not sound like a dork).

Be mindful of your medium

Now you know who your ideal customer is, you need to hangout where they do.

You have your website, you need to make sure that you promote it at any possibility. This means sharing links, linking to it from your social media profiles, and adding it to your promotional material. If your ideal customer values quality, then make sure your website reflects this, have a look at our health checks as a way to ensure the quality of your site.

Facebook, this is one of the most popular social media platforms. I have written on where businesses fail on Facebook, make sure you read these tips (or print them out). Above all, keep it positive and sociable on Facebook as people use this platform to escape from the drudgery, catch up with friends, and have fun.

Twitter, this is a great place to develop your network and share information about your business. Because you need to be brief make use of a URL shortening service, some websites have their own, when linking to your site. Twitter users love to be recognised, so don’t neglect thanking and recognising follows and retweets.

Pinterest is primarily used for people who love to DIY, travel, interior design, beauty, and fashion. If your business has a product that is for children, fashion conscious, DIYers, or home improvers/interior design fans I would strongly suggest getting on to Pinterest. Not only is it a great way to advertise your products, it is a great way to find content for your other social media platforms, and provides valuable backlinks to your website.

Be consistent

Ensure your message focuses on benefits over features, your customer’s needs over your business needs, and you remember the medium.

If you are using social media, be aware that although people (in general) are not as concerned with spelling and punctuation, you are still representing your brand. If your brand represents, values, and your customer values quality then make sure that your posts/tweets/pins/instagrams all reflect this.

Ensure you use the adjectives that you identified earlier. This subtle reinforcement will speak to your customers who value these attributes. Remember that you need to speak to your ideal customer. You can also experiment with these words to discover which ones hone in on their inner most needs and desires. These keywords will then help you drive your business. They can then be used in other marketing materials. Be warned, your ideal customers may not all hang out in the same social media circles and what works on one platform, may not work on another.

Now this by-no-means means that you should use a social media management tool and post the exact same message across all of your social media accounts. In fact, your followers can be turned off by that. Some customers will subscribe to your newsletter and follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and/or Google +. If they see the same message posted across your channels they will know that you are not being authentic, interested in their needs, and they will feel that you are simply pitching to them. By now you know your ideal customer’s likes and dislikes, remember the profile, so make them feel valued and that they are the only one you are talking to.

Include endorsements

When you write a job application, most are looking for concrete examples where you achieved an outcome, not just the fact that you know what to do. Customers are no different. They want runs on the board, bang for their buck. Show them!

Write to Right Lynda review

Customers value third-party opinions. Remember the power of word of mouth. On your website, or social media platform, you can control how these are displayed. I am not saying to remove every bad review, in fact I advocate keeping them and using some strategies I have previously shared, you can actually turn the negative experience around. You may even help others to explain your processes, a situation, or a learning just by keeping all channels of communication open.

This can be done in many ways.

Facebook reviews – If you set your page to local or small business and include a physical address (don’t worry it doesn’t have to be exact), then you will get the review stars popping up on your page. Be warned, if someone accidentally gives you one star it can’t be undone and will effect your rating.
You can ask customers to leave review posts on your page. These used to be able to be highlighted on your page. They now appear in the left hand margin of your page. You can reorganise this left margin so they appear higher up. You can also hide general chit-chat posts, so they don’t interrupt the reviews.

Website reviews – There are many plug-ins you can add to your page. I have one on one of my WordPress sites which I populate with feedback customers have sent through. I have seen others where it is populated by the customer. Alternatively, you can set up an email form where customers can send feedback through to you.

Other pages will have a page of testimonials (like I have here). These testimonials can stand alone as their own page, but they are also a handy way to add credibility to a related blog post or marketing material (including a blog post).

Do it with integrity

For me, the key to all of this is working with integrity. People value honesty and integrity. We make mistakes, own them, own up to them, fix them, learn from them, and move on. This is why I believe it’s important to keep negative feedback in the public domain. Handled with tact and integrity they can prove as valuable as a positive testimonial.

In the first instance, be true to yourself. Most businesses, especially ones that come from a place of internal passion, are extensions of the owner. If you are not speaking honestly, and from the heart, you are less likely to do so with conviction, less likely to convince and convert, and when it comes to meeting the client, you are likely to be tripped up.

Be true to your customer. Now this isn’t just about owning where things haven’t gone as planned. It means being true to your ideal customer. You need to honour their needs, and place these at the core of your business. Print off your ideal customer description, find photos of them, make a vision board of them; all of these ideas will keep them centred in your work space and will remind you when you work.

Truth is easier to remember. Integrity will take you far.

Now you know how to find your online voice, allow me to help you reach your ideal customer. By using the process in this series of blog posts, I was able to focus my business and move it from page 16 in a Google search to page one. If your ambition is to have your business appear on page one of Google, then contact Write to Right about a website health check. This check will get your website in to shape and my hints will improve its ranking. Read more about the website health checks or if you are ready to be on page one now, contact Write to Right now.

6

Writing for online without sounding like an utter know it all

Write to Right - Finding your online voice part 1Ever wondered how to write about yourself online without sounding like a “complete dork” or a “know-it-all”? Finding that happy medium to sell yourself positively online can be difficult. The following steps will give you and therefore your business a strong, client-focused and cohesive online presence.

Know your business

Does your business have a mission statement? Do you know why you are spending your time in business?

If you don’t have one then this is where you need to start. These questions set the foundations of how others see your business. Here are some simple prompts to help you write your mission:
Who– who are you, are you a multi-national, family company, or sole trader? Who are your customers? Are they families, singles, seniors, small business, multi-nationals?
What– What is it that you do? What do you sell?
Why– Why do customers use your business? What is the benefit to them?
Where– Where can they find you? Are you a bricks & mortar, online, franchise?

Do you have a vision statement? Do you know where you want your business to be in one year, three years, or five years?

This is where you have to be SMARTER. Make sure your vision is:
Specific– No wishy-washy motherhood statements. Say exactly where you want to be, put a dollar figure to it.
Measurable– If it can’t be measured, then how can you look back and see if you have achieved it? It also means that it’s likely to be a motherhood statement and you are less likely to hold yourself to account.
Achievable– The goal has to be appropriate and able to be attained in the given timeframe.
Reportable– You have to make yourself accountable for the goal and the only way to do that is to make it reportable. That could be in your end of year financial report, quarterly reports, cash flow reports, stakeholder reports, or reportable to a mentor/friend.
Time-sensitive– The goal has to have a deadline. Don’t make it a moveable goal or you are less likely to set tasks to achieve the goal.
Evaluated– Is it reasonable, achievable, and how does it compare to others in your industry?
Reviewed– How often will it be reviewed so you know that you are on track?

I like the added aspects of evaluation and review. These not only speak to the quality assurer in me, they are best practice in project management. I use many aspects of project management in my own business, especially review. Many businesses underestimate the value of reviewing, especially when things don’t turn out as anticipated. I think I will write more on this in the future as I can see a whole blog post on this topic.

Know your ideal customer

Marketing experts have a number of ways to determine your ideal client. I use scripts to determine my ideal client. When you script your ideal client you write a little story about who they are. It’s like writing an online dating profile for your soul mate.
Demographics– What is their age (or age range), gender, family status, and employment status. This is all about who they are.
Preferences- What are their values, likes, and dislikes? Do they differ between the ones they hold personally, for their family, or for their business?
Daily activities– How do they spend their day? Do they work 9-5 in an office? Do they work part-time? Do they work in an office or from home? Are they running around after the kids? Are they single living a laissez-faire lifestyle? Are they retirees? Do they play sports? Write about how they fill their day/weekend.
Write up this narrative, and don’t worry you can have more than one (though it’s easiest to pitch to one client) and it can change over time. Just make sure you keep this person firmly in your sights.

Work out where these overlap

Where do your mission and visions cross? Are there any common words or themes? Where does you ideal customer meet with your mission? With your vision? List the adjectives, or find relevant adjectives, to describe these intersections. These are the words you use to drive your interactions. There’s a word of warning, they must be for your client. If you start writing about the business it becomes about you. You don’t need to sell to, or convince, you. Unless your ideal client is a competitor, don’t write about your industry either. Your customer doesn’t want to know why your industry does xyz, they have a need and want you to meet it. It’s why they are at your website/Facebook/Google+ (or other platform, more on this soon).

Go back and look at the list and where it meets your ideal client. What words help to meet their needs? What benefits are they looking for? Remember you wrote out their preferences, look to these for inspiration on how they want to be sold to and what needs you need to meet. Now, what are the benefits of your product or service and how do you meet your idea customer’s needs?

So now you have the adjectives to help describe your product or service and you have the benefits you need to include when you write those descriptions. But which tone do you use?

Finding your voice

Look at your adjectives, benefits, and your ideal customer – what language suits these best? Will they appreciate slang, a conversational tone, factual, or formal speech?

I would suggest that if your business has more than one person writing for it that you establish a style guide. While I use the Commonwealth Style Manual for proofreading, I also worked with a departmental style guide. This certainly helped when writing for different media and clients. There were guides for press releases, ministerials, client letters, and an overarching guide. Unless you are a business with a few hundred staff who communicate across many media and stakeholders, you are unlikely to need this many guides. However, a document that outlines your mission, vision, ideal client, benefits, key adjectives, and preferred tone is a great start. From here it can evolve to including which messages are distributed over particular media. You can even detail how minutes will be taken and distributed.

Style guides are beneficial for copywriters and copy editors. It allows us an insight into the back end of your business and means that we can easily support you and help you to achieve your outcomes. It also saves lengthy discussions when engaging us to undertake work for your business: saving you time and money.

In Part 2

Find out how to use these skills online. Learn how to customise your content for different social media platforms. Find out how to ensure your brand’s profile. Hear how to instil a piece of yourself into the business and online.

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1 Errors Small Business Website owners make which are killing their sales

Smart business owners know that the best place to sell, outside of their bricks and mortar, is online. Some have tried Facebook, but with declining reach, the smartest ones are moving to web sales. Sadly, it’s no ‘Field of Dreams’; if you build it, there’s no guarantee that they will come. Sound familiar? Struggling to get customers to your site?

Languishing in the back pages of Google

Google is the most used search engine. Like Facebook, Google has its own methods for working out the ranking for pages in a search result. I don’t know of many small businesses that would pay for Google rankings, and to be honest if you pay, your result is only as good as the amount you or your competitor pays (the more the better).

Focusing on the following hints will boost you through Google. How do I know? I did it. I moved my website from page 16 at launch to the first listing on page 2. I also have related content listed on page 1, this links to my website. So I am on page 1 and 2 of Google Search. Follow these steps to get there too.

Complacent about Key words

Key words are that: key. If you do not use the words in your website that your customers use in their searches then you are starting behind the eight ball. There are a number of ways to find out what these words are: trial and error, ask your customers, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, Google Analytics, or paying SEO experts.

But be warned, don’t make your website a gobbledegook mess of keywords. Google has its ways of weeding out nonsensical pages. This is where SEO experts and copywriters can fail. These businesses don’t understand the intricate details of your business, quite like you. You know the benefits for your customers, you know how they use your goods or services. You know what makes your business unique.

Skimping on spelling

Don’t think spelling on your website is important, think again.

Research shows that 59% of customers will not buy from a website with spelling errors. That’s a lot of lost revenue. Why? Quality. Customers believe that if you don’t value the basic skill of spelling, then you are less likely to value them or quality service.

But what does this have to do with Google? Have you ever misspelt something in a Google search? It autocorrects. I’m sorry to say Google will not autocorrect your website. If you type words incorrectly in your website, then that is how they will be indexed by Google and how people will have to type them in a search. Small problem, Google autocorrects searches. See the problem?

Skimping on links

Remember how I said I was on page 2 AND page 1, well my page 1 results are my social media pages (Google + and Facebook). I know many businesses start on Facebook and with the declining reach they develop a website, you might be one of them.

Don’t get caught up trying to fill Facebook or G+ (or any other platform) with new content, link to your website. Links on Facebook are not just a simple way to populate posts, they are actually a highly respected (and ranked) post type for the platform. Using links to your site drives traffic to where the sales take place. (You can also set up a tab to import your shop into Facebook, more on that another post) Google likes inbound links (coming in to your site) as they are third party endorsements.

Link within your site. Linking within your site allows for cross promotion and cross or upselling. Internal links also work as when Google searches your page the internal links direct it through your site. The more pages Google sees, the more pages it knows of to put in its search results, the more often you are seen in Google.

Like to know more? Not sure you could do this all yourself? Don’t have enough time to go through it all yourself?

Based on my experience managing websites and proofreading and copy editing for the federal government I am offering my skills to businesses to improve their website results. Having your website appear higher in Google search results will mean more customers to your site (most people will stop searching at page 3 of Google).

What is involved?

Write to Right offer two levels of health checks. The first is for larger sites or those businesses after a more comprehensive service; the second is for smaller sites or those looking to brush up their essential pages.

To book you website health check, contact us.

What do others say about the Website Health Check?

“Kara has provided me with feedback on many aspects of my business page with regard to professional written communication. She is very knowledgeable, helpful and does not miss a thing! I know I can rely on her to pick up on my typos, spelling errors, punctuation and even grammatical errors. It is worth having Kara take a look at your written communication, whether you are in business and would like to appear professional, or whether you are doing a job  application that needs to be perfect! Highly recommended!” – Jacqui, Celestial Photography

Comprehensive Website Health Check

This health check is for businesses looking to grab those 59% of customers who are put off by errors on their website. It’s for businesses that rely on their website to sell their products and services 24/7. It’s a check for businesses that pride themselves on their excellence and attention to detail.

This check will:

• Focus on the top ten non-product pages on your site
• Advise if your content achieves its aim
• Includes at least ten, researched, keyword suggestions for you to use to help increase your search engine ranking
• Assess your content for optimal layout, helping to get your message across sooner and potentially reduce ‘bouncing’ from your site
• Ensure links on these pages are functional and appropriate
• Check for your social media integration and offer suggestions for your site as a whole
• Include an Excel spreadsheet report for you, or your developer, to keep for implementation, and
• Free email follow-up one month after the report is delivered.

This premium service is offered to you for the introductory price of $185. It is a small price to pay when it has the potential to turn up to 59% of your web traffic into paying clients.

 Book your comprehensive website health check by contacting us.

 Essentials website health check

This health check is for those smaller sites with fewer non-product pages. It is perfect for those businesses just starting out but still pride themselves on how their business is presented to the public.

This check will:

• Focus on the top five non-product pages on your site
• Advise if your content achieves its aim
• Includes at least five, researched, keyword suggestions for you to use to help increase your search engine ranking
• Ensure links on these pages are functional and appropriate
• Check for your social media integration and offer suggestions for your site as a whole, and
• Include an Excel spreadsheet report for you, or your developer, to keep for implementation.

This essentials health check is a wise investment at $95 and a fantastic way to ensure you are starting out on the right foot.

Is your site larger than average or do you want more?

If your site has more than ten non-product pages, or you would like to include your product pages, we can perform a more comprehensive check for $80/hr and includes all of the elements in the comprehensive website health check. Write to Right is able to offer proofreading & copy editing for all other documents, please contact us for our full list of fees.

 To book your website in for a health check contact us.

 

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Facebook insights fail

Anyone else seen this on their Facebook Insights?
Known Issue
There is a discrepancy in the engagement and reach metrics for all Page Posts and Boosted Posts between 5/30 and 6/30. We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
I hope they increase and/or discover the posts since June 30 are also affected.

What are the implications of the #facebookfail?

Decreased reach means that fewer customers see your business in their Newsfeed. But don’t panic just yet. Your reach only affects your page for two weeks after the post is made.

What do you need to do?

If you don’t know what your fans like, then look through your posts and see where you have great engagement. Now plan, plan, plan.

Keep an eye on the Write to Right Facebook page for updates on the Facebook fix, but in the meantime draft some posts, build some collages, and take some new photos.

Here are some great tips for your Facebook posts:

  • Make your posts less than 40 characters
  • Ask questions
  • Use Canva, picmonkey or ipiccy to build great graphics
  • Keep it positive (read more on our recent article)
  • Respond to comments, and
  • Keep it in line with your business’ online image/tone.

Comment below and let us know your favourite Facebook hints and how you fare the insights bungle.

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