Make Your Email Marketing a Summer Success

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Here’s a phenomenon you may have noticed: During the grueling hot months of summer, you’re much more likely to get out-of-office auto-responders from the people you try to reach by e-mail. It’s not that everyone’s avoiding you. It’s just that everyone’s on vacation—or so it seems, sometimes. Certainly, the summer season is touch-and-go when it comes to emails, which may tempt you to pack in your email marketing campaign for the summer, perhaps revisiting the ol’ email list when September rolls around.

That’s not an illegitimate temptation, nor is it necessarily a wrong one: Certainly, there is an argument to be made for scaling back on your marketing emails during the summer months, if not disbanding them completely.

No matter how many marketing emails you send over the next couple of months, though—just one or a baker’s dozen—we encourage you to implement some simple tweaks to your strategy, which can make those emails much more enticing to your recipients—and thus, likely to get opened and acted upon.

Get Your Marketing Emails Ready for Summer

Keep those subject lines succinct. A lot of your readers may be getting those emails while they’re waiting in line for movie tickets, a plane ride, or a trip down a roller coaster. They don’t have time for epic-length headings. Shoot for subject lines between 30 and 50 characters—never any more.

Cozy up to emojis! Summer time is fun time, right? There’s no better season to adorn your subject lines and your email messages with a few tasteful smiley faces or other festive icons. Don’t go overboard, and don’t sacrifice actual words for emojis, but do feel free to use them as they fit.

Resist the temptation toward click bait. Drop two swimsuit sizes in a week’s time may seem like a tempting promise, and if your product can actually deliver it, then good for you! Don’t fall into the trap of making cheap promises that you know you can’t keep, though, nor of writing subject headings that aren’t actually relevant to your content. You may get click-throughs, but you’ll also get a lot of annoyed customers.

Don’t let your emails fall into the junk pile. Nobody has a lot of time to sort through their junk folder, so avoid letting your emails end up there. Cut down on spam triggers, as we talked about in this previous post.

Need some further assistance getting your marketing emails summer-ready? We can help you strategize, write, format, and send. Reach out to Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Email Writing, Writing

Facebook is Changing its Algorithms. Here’s How Brands Can Adapt.

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In the coming days, Facebook will be making some not-insignificant tweaks to its newsfeed algorithms—prioritizing posts from friends and family members but reducing the visibility of branded posts. In other words, when you sign into your personal Facebook account, the first posts you see will be ones from the people you know and love. Posts from the businesses or public figures you follow will be second-tier.

For the consumer, this is probably welcome news. In fact, Facebook has said the entire impetus for this change is that so many users have complained about being inundated by branded content while missing out on the key updates from their friends and family members. For small business owners, though, this news isn’t welcome. What it means is that branded posts will be less visible on Facebook, and thus, Facebook referral traffic will likely take a dive.

Crafting Posts to Be Shared

So what’s the solution? Given how critical Facebook is to the marketing landscape, it can’t very well be abandoned. The good news is that there’s a way for companies to work around this algorithmic upheaval. Essentially, the way to get branded content into consumer newsfeeds is to have it shared by friends and family members. Engineering this kind of social connection can provide kind of a back door into more and more Facebook feeds.

In other words, we’re back to that timeless Facebook marketing question: What can you do to get your posts shared by as many people as possible? We’ve got a few tips and techniques—some of them tried and true, some a bit off the beaten path, but all Grammar Chic-tested and Facebook-approved.

Keep the narrative brief. Nobody wants to read an entire book just to get to the point of your Facebook post. Aim for text of no more than 80 characters or so, if you can help it.

Select a compelling image. Pictures are what get Facebook shares—period. Colorful, eye-catching images that provoke humor or sentiment are always going to be winners.

Avoid first-person as best you can. Make your post feel like it could come from anyone, to encourage people to share your thoughts. Keep your text to some brief, open-ended questions or short declarations.

Include a call to action where appropriate. Something as simple as “visit our blog for more” can be perfectly compelling.

Share content that’s actionable and advice-oriented. Make sure the blog posts you write and share have headlines that convey immediate, practical value for the reader.

Need some help crafting posts that’ll slide easily into Facebook’s new algorithms? Give Grammar Chic a call. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Improve Your SEO Copywriting Today

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a daunting topic: Because it’s ever in flux, you really never reach a point where you know everything there is to know about it—and that can be intimidating. Just when you think you’re a master, you realize how much you still have to discover.

That’s not to say that there are not some tried-and-true principles for you to lean on, though. This is especially true of SEO copywriting. The words you use to develop your Web content are crucial to SEO success—every bit as crucial as, say, page layout and navigation—and there are some reliable methods for making your SEO copy even stronger.

We’ll show you what we mean: Five ways you could improve the SEO value in your written content today.

Write for Actual Readers

This is so basic, but so important—and in many cases, so easily overlooked. You’ve got to break out of the mindset that you are writing for Google robots. You are, to some extent, but what those bots want is for you to develop content that is actionable and interesting to human readers—the people actually searching for information on the Web. That’s the audience to shoot for. As you write, ask yourself how you can answer questions and offer solutions to the people who might be seeking information on the Web.

Quit Keyword Stuffing

How many times should you use a long-tail keyword phrase in each piece of content? Two? Five? Ten? Three percent of the total word density? Frankly, if you’re getting caught up in these questions, it probably means you’re shoehorning words into places they don’t quite belong. Having a keyword or two to guide your content development is helpful, and including a keyword in titles and meta descriptions is always good, but beyond that, the best advice is to just be organic.

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

Sharpen your words and enhance the impact of your copy by sprinkling in some other rich content—embedded videos, GIFs, and above all else some strong imagery. High-quality, relevant images can make the professionalism of your writing stand out all the more.

Spend More Time Writing Headlines

Your headline creates the first impression readers will have of your content, and in many ways the headline is what determines whether your content even gets read at all. It’s arguably the most important component in your online copywriting, then—so don’t rush through it. We’ve offered some specific headline-writing tips before.

Include Meta Descriptions

The meta description—a 150-characters-or-so snippet that’s displayed in Google search queries—is an invaluable piece of online real estate, and a free way to significantly boost your online traction. Make sure to use the full character count to provide a robust summary of your content; try including a keyword and a call to action, if you can.

Of course, you can also shape up your SEO copy by hiring the pros: Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net to learn more.

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5 Trust Symbols to Add to Your Website

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Do customers trust your brand?

That’s always been an important question for businesses and sales professionals to address, but it’s taken on a new urgency in the era of digital commerce. After all, if you’re doing business primarily through your website, customers may never have a chance to look you in the eye, shake your hand, or freely question you about the nature of your products or services. This does not in any way mean that your products and services are less trustworthy, but it does mean that some customers will struggle; they will need additional reassurances.

The good news is, there are ways to offer precisely that, simply by adding trust symbols to your website. The concept of a trust symbol is pretty self-explanatory: Anything that signifies your company as reputable and reliable can qualify. The question is, what are some of the main trust symbols that can be added to a small business website?

Trust Symbols to Consider for Your Site

The answer can vary slightly from one company to the next, and your brand may not really qualify for every one of these five symbols—but it will certainly qualify for a couple of them. Adding them to your business website can make a huge difference in fostering trust-based relationships with your treasured clients.

  1. There is no better way to engender faith in your product than to put a seal up showing that you offer a money-back guarantee. Note that there are different types of guarantee you can use. An absolute guarantee promises that your product will never break. A risk-free guarantee, meanwhile, might say that if the product does break down, all your money will be refunded. This second type of guarantee can actually be better for building trust: Promising your product will never break can seem too good to be true, while offering no risk if it does break feels more genuine.
  2. Consumer testimonials. Have other people used your products or services and responded favorably? Ask them to write a quick testimonial on your behalf. Usually, a loyal and happy customer, when asked politely and authentically, will be happy to do this for you. We proudly display client testimonials on the Grammar Chic page, and believe them to be important in showing that we know our stuff.
  3. Similarly, if your business receives five-star reviews on Google or Facebook, consider having those reviews embedded or linked to from your site. Just be sure you monitor the reviews in case you get some bad ones that need addressing!
  4. Helpful content. Does the content on your site support and educate your client? Do you have product guides, FAQs, demos, and tutorial videos? All can be vital for building trust on your brand’s behalf, and allowing the customer to move forward in confidence.
  5. A strong About Us page. Finally, you can build trust on your page by ensuring you lay out the details of what your company stands for and what value it offers. Don’t underestimate how far this can go in assuaging customer fears!

With the right trust symbols added, your website can really instill buyer confidence. To learn more about these strategies, we encourage you to get in touch with Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

CHECKLIST: Is Your Website Working for You?

 

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Your company website is much more than an online placeholder—much more than the Google equivalent of a Yellow Pages listing. Ideally, your business website is the hardest-working member of your sales team, a brand ambassador that’s tireless in its effort to draw in new leads, convert them into customers, and ultimately showcase everything that’s great about your business. In a perfect world, your website keeps your e-mail inbox full of inquiries, your phone ringing off the hook.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and it’s possible that you don’t exactly have a perfect website. Is it time to rewrite your website content, rethink the navigation, or even overhaul the site completely? Maybe. Before jumping to any conclusions, though, use our quick checklist to determine what you’re dealing with.

A Few Quick Questions to Ask About Your Website

Who are you trying to reach with your website? Who’s your target audience? Who are the people who benefit from your products/services? Who’s your ideal client? Who can you help? Think about the answer, and write down a simple, sentence-long statement about who you’re on a mission to serve. Use that as a guide for your website overhaul; you might even include that sentence somewhere on your home page.

Do you have a useful About page? A good About page isn’t really about you at all—not really. Nobody wants to read seven paragraphs of text about your company history. What people care about is the value you can provide. Does your About page suggest what’s in it for your customer?

Is the branding consistent? Does your website use a coherent vocabulary of colors and fonts—and are those branding choices reflected in other marketing collateral, like social media pages and brochures?

Do you have streamlined value propositions? Whether you have a list of individual Products, a list of Services, or something more general, you need to ensure that your website is to-the-point about how it makes your customer’s life better, how it solves problems, etc. Another way of asking this question: Does your website identify your clients’ problems, and posit your brand as the solution?

Are there strong calls to action on every page? Your site should lead customers through the sales funnel, and provide easy ways for them to engage with you.

Does your site capture leads? Are there forms on your page where customers can input their name and contact information, perhaps in exchange for an e-book or some other downloadable offer?

When was the last time your site was updated? A good website needs to be refreshed regularly with new content. When’s the last time you refurbished your page?

Use these questions to assess where your company website stands now—and perhaps start brainstorming some changes, if needed.

If you decide it’s time to rewrite the site, or simply add some new, fresh content, Grammar Chic can help. Give us a buzz at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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What are You Trying to Accomplish with Your Content Marketing?

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Suppose someone were to ask you: What are your goals for your company’s content marketing campaign? What is it that you’re trying to accomplish?

You may wonder whether there’s a right answer to this question—but the truth is, there isn’t, except to say that it varies. Different businesses bring different initiatives to content marketing. They look to do different things. And that’s okay. There is room enough in content marketing to accommodate a wide range of strategies and goals.

What we recommend here at Grammar Chic is simply this: Think about what’s most important to you. Think about what you might accomplish through content marketing, and set your priorities. Then align both your execution and your reporting to reflect these goals. If you’re not sure about how to do any of this, you can always call us for a consultation.

Before setting your goals, though, it’s good to have a sense of what all content marketing can do. You might actually be surprised by this.  There are plenty of good and worthy achievements you can reach through your content marketing efforts, and knowing some of the options can help you to set lofty yet attainable goals.

Let us show you what we mean.

Content Marketing Goals to Consider

Here are just a few of the things you might set out to do with your content marketing efforts.

Brand awareness. People aren’t going to do business with you if they don’t know what you stand for, or are unaware that you even exist. Good, original content can address this problem. The idea is that a consumer might stumble upon your company blog post and like it so much they ask, Who wrote this?

Website traffic. A more conventional and easy-to-track metric, one thing content can do is send people to your site. Intrinsic to this is having a site that is ready to capture and convert leads—meaning good content on the site itself, forms and e-mail list to grab hold of people, etc.

Educated clients. Something else you can strive for: Preparing your clients to do business with you. Use content to inform them about your industry and products; to make them aware of problems and solutions. This can smooth your sales and customer services processes.

Retention and upsells. Good content can help you get customers, but it can also help you maintain them. Content marketing can be a form of ongoing product support or client involvement—keeping them tuned in to what your company does and letting them know of new products or services that they can use.

Trust. Content speaks to authority; when done right, it shows that you know what you’re doing. In an age of e-commerce, where many consumers are still just a little wary of doing business online, this is an important way to reassure potential clients and customers that you’re trustworthy.

We’ll ask again, then: What are you trying to accomplish with your content marketing? Let us help you though some of the possibilities, and figure out a way to turn your goals into realities. Contact Grammar Chic to learn more: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing

6 Lessons for Any First-Time Business Blogger

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Are you just starting out on your journey into business blogging? If so, congratulations! You’re taking your first step into the broader, brighter world of content marketing—and in due time, you’ll start to see some positive effects.

Just consider some of the statistics: Four out of five U.S. online consumers trust the information they see on business blogs; companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links than those who do not; the overwhelming majority of companies that blog regularly have acquired customers directly because of their blog. And that’s to say nothing of the less quantifiable, but still significant, advantages of brand recognition and thought leadership.

But all of that is based on the premise that you’re not only blogging, but blogging well. The latter is by no means a given! So what do you, as a business blogging novice, need to know in order to get it right?

We’ll list six things we think everyone should know when launching a new company blog.

No. 1. Your blog setup matters.

It’s not enough to write compelling, enriching content. The actual, technical setup of your blog matters. A WordPres.org blog will offer more options than a WordPress.com one; above all, however, you want to make sure your blog is hosted on a reliable server and that it’s easy to find from your company home page.

No. 2. You should schedule some time for blogging.

Blogging only works when it’s consistent—and you’re simply not going to be consistent if you have an “I’ll blog whenever I have a free moment” mentality. You need to actually schedule some blocks of time on your calendar to devote to blog content creation.

No. 3. You never blog in a vacuum.

Hopefully you have e-mail marketing and social media marketing instruments in place—but if not, that needs to be a top priority: You simply won’t get the kind of blog readership you’re hoping for unless you share posts to your social media followers and your e-mail newsletter subscribers. Content distribution is really just as important as content creation.

No. 4. You’ll have a hard time measuring your blog’s success without Google Analytics.

Make sure you install Analytics and review them regularly; for help interpreting your data, you can always contact Grammar Chic.

No. 5. There’s no formula for blogging success…

… but if there was one, it would probably be something like this: Quality + Consistency = Success. Write compelling and actionable posts that provide real value to the reader, and update the blog on a regular basis. That matters much more than just throwing up new, possibly shoddy content every day.

No. 6. You don’t need to freak out about SEO…

… but you should make sure you write meta descriptions for each post, and use some general topics and ideas as keywords, guiding you in your writing of lean, focused posts.

Note that if you have any trouble setting up an effective, value-adding blog, or posting new content with consistency, you can always contact the Grammar Chic team. We’re around when you need us: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing