Category Archives: Writing

10 Calls to Action That Will Get People Clicking

Every page of your website should have a call to action on it—whether it’s the home page, a blog post, or a product landing page.

There are a few different reasons for this. One, it helps with the user experience; you can effectively guide your site visitors through the sales funnel and help them reach their destination. Two, it helps boost conversions. You can’t simply assume people will know to call you and schedule an appointment or click a link to buy your product; you’ve got to ask them to do it. That’s what the call to action is all about.

The Elements of a Strong Call to Action

It’s important to note, however, that not all calls to action are created equal. In most cases, a good CTA will have each of these components in place:

  • Brevity; most calls to action are just a sentence or two.
  • Strong action words; generally speaking, you’ll want your CTA to begin with a forceful verb.
  • Value proposition; explain the reasons why your reader should take the desired action. What’s in it for them?
  • Contact information; assuming you’re asking someone to call you, make sure your CTA gives them the phone number!

With that said, what are some examples of good, compelling, persuasive calls to action that you can use as models? Here are some tried and true CTAs that are worthy of emulation.

Steal These Calls to Action

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  2. Reap the rewards of a robust content marketing strategy; call us at 803-831-7444 for a free consultation!
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Master the Art of the CTA

A strong call to action is the perfect capstone to your online content—and when done right, it can help you move the needle and generate more and more conversions. And if you’re still not sure how a CTA fits into your content equation, don’t fret. Get the help you need writing CTAs that convert; contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net.

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3 Ways Google’s SERP Changed Last Year—And What It Means for Your Business

Google is constantly tweaking its search engine algorithms—and often, those changes are plainly evident from the search engine results page (SERP) itself.

Why is the SERP such a work in progress? Simple: Google wants to provide its users with the best product possible—that is, quick, relevant, practical answers to their search queries. And it’s constantly devising new ways to make that product just a little bit more appealing.

The downside for business owners is that there’s a lot of fluctuation to keep up with. The SEO efforts that worked in years past may not work as well today. In fact, 2017 saw a few significant changes to the SERP—and those changes all have some implications for small business marketing efforts.

PPC ads take up more of the SERP than ever before.

There was a time when the SERP was occupied mostly by organic search listings—the kind of listings you could attain through the right mix of content marketing and SEO. But today, paid ads are placed more prominently than ever before. Users have to scroll further down the SERP before they even arrive at organic listings; meanwhile, PPC ads have infiltrated parts of the SERP they never appeared previously, such as the Google Map Pack.

Does this mean SEO and content marketing are dead? Far from it. It just means that a comprehensive approach is needed. If you want to blanket as much of the SERP as possible, you can’t rely solely on organic listings or on paid ads. You really need a strategy that encompasses both, and balances them appropriately.

If you’re not already augmenting your content marketing efforts with PPC, make 2018 the year you really get a handle on ad bidding, targeting, and copywriting.

Featured snippets occupy prime SERP real estate.

Another important change? Google wants to empower users to get the answers they seek from the SERP itself—without actually having to click through to a link. One way this is evident is in the rise of featured snippets.

You’ve probably seen these before, even if you didn’t realize what they were called. Have you ever done a Google search, and had the SERP give you a direct answer, in the form of a little “answer box” appearing just above the organic search listings?

These are featured snippets, and they occupy the “zero position” on the SERP—coveted online real estate. Getting your content to rank in the zero position can be a major boost to your brand visibility.

This is a tough thing to attain, but not impossible. The best bet is to format your content in the form of a bulleted list, a table, or a Q&A—especially when it comes to more fact-based and objective subject matter. Remember, Google wants to provide quick, clear, authoritative answers to its users, and it’s in your best interests to help it do so.

More people are arriving at the SERP through voice search.

We’ve blogged before about voice search, which is quickly becoming the most popular way to search for content on Google. But as more and more search engine users arrive at the SERP via Siri or Alexa, it’s important for your content to accommodate them.

Again, a lot of it comes down to formatting—with bulleted lists and Q&A formats being especially useful. Also remember to write your content in a conversational style that reflects the way real voice searches are done. A traditional Google search might be phrased like this: Jimmy Kimmel age. But with voice search, you’re more likely to ask: How old is Jimmy Kimmel? For content to rank well for these voice-based queries, it’s important to emulate that casual style.

Making Sense of the New SERP

As you seek to get your content ranked on this new and ever-changing SERP, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Grammar Chic, Inc. has diverse experience in content marketing, and we always have the latest SEO strategies in mind. We’d love to consult with you about your content marketing and Google search needs. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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How to Write Emails That Move the Sales Needle

It’s easy to send an email—and it can cost you basically nothing. Your company can send a limitless number of marketing emails, hoping for the best—but if that’s the approach you take, you’ll find that your emails fall on deaf ears. In fact, you’ll probably find that they never get opened at all.

Just because emails are perceived as cheap and mundane doesn’t mean you should be careless in how you send them. With the right approach, marketing emails can be more than just inbox filler. They can actually move your sales needle and improve your bottom line.

How? By accomplishing a few things:

  1. First, your emails actually have to be opened and read.
  2. Your emails need to go to the right people.
  3. Your emails need to offer something of value.
  4. Finally, your emails need to earn the trust of each recipient.

Maybe that sounds like a tall order, but with the right email marketing strategy, these goals are totally attainable. Here’s how.

Get Your Subject Line Right

Remember, your marketing emails won’t accomplish anything if they don’t get read. And that largely comes down to the subject line. Your subject line sets the tone and establishes the first impression for each email you send—and a good subject line will entice the recipient to explore your message. That’s how you get your emails to be opened and read.

So what does a good subject line look like? For one thing, it’s succinct. According to one study, the best length for an email subject line is four words. Does that mean every email you send needs to have a four-word subject line? No—but you should definitely shoot for brevity.

As for the substance of your subject lines, make sure you avoid clichés. Emoji and overtly salesy language tend not to grab anyone’s attention. Instead, convey the value of your message. What does it say, or what kind of offer does it include? How will the recipient be better off for opening your message?

That’s what you should convey in your subject line—in as brief and punchy a way as you can.

Send Your Emails to the Right People

Another key to getting your emails opened and read is to make sure they go to the right people. Before you hit send, know who you’re sending to.

Accomplish this by keeping a well-curated email list. There are different ways to do this. Maybe you have lists for low-quality and high-quality leads; for returning customers and new leads. At Grammar Chic, Inc., we have distinct aspects of our business—resume writing and content marketing, for example—where the subject matter overlap is pretty minimal. Thus, we maintain separate email lists, only sending resume-related stuff to jobseekers, not to our friends who work in marketing.

Well-curated email lists are key for ensuring that, when someone receives your message, it contains something that speaks to them.

Make Your Emails Valuable

Finally, your emails must earn the trust of each recipient. To put it another way, you need to show that you respect your recipient’s time. Remember that the people who receive your emails probably receive a ton of messages over the course of the day. They have little patience for something that simply hogs space in their inbox. Rather than sending them a bunch of cursory messages day in and day out, send messages judiciously—and make sure each one really counts.

And to make a message count, you need to make sure it offers something of value. Value, of course, can come in many different forms—among them:

  • An offer for a white paper, guide, or other downloadable offer
  • A discount code or coupon
  • A first look at a new product or service, before it’s been unveiled anywhere else
  • Carefully curated, value-adding clips from your company blog

The bottom line? Don’t waste anyone’s time. Give them something that speaks to their needs and shows that you’re looking out for them—not just trying to hock your wares.

Write Emails That Improve Your Bottom Line

Good emails don’t just get read; they convert, in one way or another. As such, they can actually move your sales needle. We’d love to show you more about how that’s done. Reach out to Grammar Chic’s email marketing experts for a consultation. Call us at 803-831-7444, or visit our website at www.grammarchic.net.

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The Bride’s Guide to Thank You Notes

We recently made our case for thank you notes—arguing that, far from being antiquated or out of date, thank you notes remain vital ways of extending gratitude and friendship. They are especially relevant during this, the season of giving and receiving gifts.

Of course, Christmas is not the only reason why you might pen a thank you note. Another reason? You’ve recently gotten married, and have a whole stack of notes to send out for all those wedding gifts you received.

This can be daunting. Let us say from the onset that we do not recommend skipping out on thank you note writing. When you get a gift, you should take the time to write a brief note; failure to do so is just rude.

As for the nuts and bolts of post-wedding thank you notes, here are some quick tips and pointers.

Writing Thank You Notes After Your Wedding

Don’t be late! The good news is that you have plenty of time to get all your wedding thank you notes written; etiquette dictates that, so long as you get them all mailed before your one-year anniversary, you’re in good shape. Why not set aside one evening a week to write thank you notes, and write maybe 10 in each sitting? You’ll blaze through ‘em in no time!

Get the names right. There’s nothing more awkward than botching the name of a wedding guest who you really don’t know very well. If you’re not sure about the spelling of a name, always check with a friend or loved one who knows the person better!

Include the children. If someone brings their kids to the wedding, and the gift is said to be from the whole family, the kids need to be included in the thank you note. Again, double check spellings if you’re unsure.

Try to remember who was actually at your wedding. “Thank you for your presence on our special day” is an odd thing to tell someone who wasn’t actually at the ceremony, and simply mailed you their gift. If you’re at all unsure about whether the person was present on your big day, skip this part of the card.

Personalize! A thank you note doesn’t need to be more than a few short sentences, so don’t feel like you have to write a book within each one—but do go into some specifics. “Thank you for the wonderful gift” feels generic. Make note of what the gift is, how you’ve used it, what it reminds you of, etc.

Don’t mention dollar amounts. Phrases like “thank you for the $200 Target gift card” are just not necessary. Focus on people and on gratitude, not on money.

Don’t show favoritism. Don’t slip a wedding portrait into one card if you can’t do it for all of them.

Don’t type your cards. Handwritten is always the way to go.

As we said in our previous post, the real focus should be on sincerity. Take just a couple of sentences to express your deep, personal thanks; that’s all you have to do!

For help with any writing needs, reach out to the Grammar Chic team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Are Thank You Notes a Thing of the Past?

Pretty soon, you’ll be unwrapping boxes and reveling in gifts—but as you do so, don’t forget to thank the gift giver. There is no better way of doing so than by penning a thank you note.

Yes, the thank you note—once a staple of American social etiquette, today relegated to history books and Jimmy Fallon bits. According to recent research, some 75 percent of Americans believe thank you notes to be antiquated and obsolete—though it’s worth noting that this leaves a full quarter of Americans who still expect a thank you note when they give a gift.

At Grammar Chic, we are decidedly pro thank you note. Speaking personally, my mother always carved out time for thank you notes in the aftermath of Christmas and birthdays, and would stand looking over my shoulder until the notes were completed.

They may not be “necessary,” according to most Americans, but they are polite—and what’s more, they are simple and easy ways to show kindness, to express gratitude, and to help gift givers know that they affected you in some way. People won’t always remember how you thanked them in person, but they will remember a sincere and well-constructed note of gratitude.

Consider thank you note writing this holiday season—and as you do so, use these tips to ensure that your thank you notes resonate.

Writing the Perfect Thank You Note

  • A thank-you note should always be handwritten. Remember that the whole point of this is to provide personal expressions of gratitude, and something you type loses some of that human touch.
  • Generally, it’s good manners to mail your thank you note within a week of receiving a gift. The exception is a scenario where you receive a lot of gifts at one time, like a wedding or a baby shower, in which case more time is permitted.
  • The stationery you choose matters! A nice piece of writing paper adds panache to your thank you note, and turns it into something the recipient will truly treasure.
  • Begin your note with a greeting, conveying who you’re thanking.
  • Start your message with “thank you,” and keep things fairly brief from there. Convey a few specifics if you can, making it clear that the message is personalized—not boilerplate.
  • End your thank you note by telling the person you look forward to seeing them again soon, and state your thanks once more before signing your name.

Above all, be sweet and sincere—and if you have any specific questions about proper thank you note form, reach out to our team! Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. for any of your seasonal writing needs: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Can Outsourced Content Writing Maintain a High Level of Quality?

Whether because they lack the time, the ability, or some combination of the two, more and more businesses are outsourcing their content writing; when it comes time for a new company blog post or press release, they farm it out to an agency or a freelancer, where the work is done relatively hassle-free.

This method obviously has its advantages, but there can also be compromises—especially when it comes to quality.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can get high-quality work through outsourced content writing, but to do so, you’ve got to hire the right people—and manage the process wisely.

Why Content Quality Matters

First, a quick word about quality. It can be tempting to approve of any half-decent writing that’s sent your way, but business owners can and should be pickier about what they accept. There are a couple of reasons for this, and the first is branding. The writing on your website or blog reflects your brand, and as such you want it to be authoritative, clean, and helpful; you want to provide value to your customers, without errors or typos. Sloppy writing makes you look like a sloppy company.

In addition, you need quality because Google demands it—and if you want your blog or website to rank well within Google searches, keeping the algorithms happy is a necessity. Google wants its search engine users to have relevant answers to all their quandaries, so to ensure high visibility, you have to be helpful and solutions-oriented.

Hiring Quality Writers

That’s a high threshold for your writer to meet—so how can you ensure that they rise to the challenge?

  • First, make sure you hire the right people. A writing company, as opposed to an individual freelancer, can offer a real business track record, including reviews and testimonials. Always ask for work samples, too. Of course, checking out the company’s own blog helps you see what they are capable of.
  • Always make sure you’re getting your writing done by native American English speakers.
  • Do your part to provide clear directions. Be ready to offer topics, a sense of your voice/desired tone, and any SEO keywords you’d like the writers to employ.
  • Also be prepared to educate the writer about who your audience is, and what you wish to accomplish with your writing. Clear goals are vitally important.
  • Provide constructive feedback whenever you can, which will help your writers better understand your voice.
  • Finally, make sure you know quality work when you see it. This goes beyond just checking for typos and grammatical errors. Also make sure the writing that’s submitted to you is tailored to your audience and advances the goals or agenda you’ve set forward.

At the end of the day, good writing is something you can offer to customers and potential customers—and optimally, it will offer both value and professionalism. Or, to put it more succinctly, it will offer quality­—and yes: That is something you can get through outsourcing, so long as you approach the process shrewdly.

To learn more, reach out to the writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. Be sure to ask us about our own standards of quality. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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4 Ways to Make Your Copywriting SUPER Persuasive

Good online copywriting does more than just fill up the page, or offer fodder to the search engine algorithms. It also persuades. It encourages the reader to travel further down the sales path, either signing up for an email list, buying a product, or picking up the phone.

Or at least, that’s the way it should happen. We all know that much online copy just doesn’t move the dial; it doesn’t motivate the reader; and it certainly doesn’t improve the bottom line. That’s because it fails to persuade, often because it’s too steeped in tired, clichéd used-car-salesman tactics, or else bogged down in generalities.

So how can you make your copy not only pristine, but persuasive? Here are four steps to take right now.

Cut Meaningless Phrases

Consider this copywriting example: Our company produces world-class products that are bound to delight.

What does world class mean in this sentence? If your copywriting includes words or phrases you can’t readily explain, then it’s just not very good copy.

Specificity should always be your goal. Consider this rewrite:

Our products empower customers to increase their lead generation by 200 percent, representing the highest return on investment of any company in our industry.

Now that means something to your customers—and it’s better copy, because of it.

Use Numbers

Our second tip once again hinges on the idea of specificity. Simply put, using numbers and statistics is almost always more persuasive than speaking in generalities.

So, rather than saying that countless customers love your product, say something like, more than 200 businesses have trusted us with their email marketing needs, and we maintain an average 4.7-star rating among our clients.

Again, the specificity is eye-catching. It’s meaningful. It’s persuasive.

Get to the Point

A good rule of thumb with calls to action: Be direct, and tell your customer what to do next.

Consider these two variants:

If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to contact us at your convenience.

Or:

Call us now to start improving your lead generation by as much as 200 percent.

Which is more direct? And, which is more persuasive? The second, we’ll contend, is the option that conveys the most urgency and the most value.

Focus on Value

Your copy isn’t really about you. It’s about your customers, and the benefits they can gain from choosing your product or your brand.

Focusing on those benefits is the best way to persuade. Again, consider two variant CTAs:

Contact us today to learn more!

OR:

Contact us to empower your sales team and start capturing more leads.

Only the second option lays out a reason for your reader to take action—and that makes it by far the more persuasive of the two.

Get Help with Your Copywriting

Good writing should get results. At Grammar Chic, Inc., persuasive writing is our bread and butter. We can help you beef up your sales copy and start increasing your leads and conversions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and start filling your website with compelling sales copy.

Reach Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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