4 Ways to Make Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Emails Stand Out

Is it too soon to talk about the holiday shopping season?

Not if you work in advertising, marketing, or digital commerce. After all, Black Friday and Cyber Monday— two of the biggest shopping days of the year— will be here before you know it. The time to prepare is now.

In this post, we’re going to offer some email marketing tips. You’re certainly going to want to take advantage of these prime time shopping days, sending emails to your customers and clients and stimulating some interest in current products, specials, and holiday promotions.

But here’s the thing: You’re not going to be the only one to have this great idea. All your competitors are going to be sending Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails, as well, and your customers will be deluged. The question is, how can you make your emails stand out?

We’ve got a few simple suggestions.

How to Differentiate Your Holiday Emails

Send a Teaser

First, note that you don’t have to wait until the big day to hit SEND on your marketing email.

In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to show that sending a teaser or two, a few weeks before Black Friday, can actually be really helpful.

You can send your teaser email any time now, really, letting your readers know to watch their inboxes for BIG sales and promotions.

This can increase the odds that your actual email gets opened when the time comes. And, it can give your customers and clients a reason to stay subscribed!

Emphasize Urgency

Another suggestion? Underscore the urgency of your promotions and offers. Let your readers know that they need to act now to take full advantage of your offer. Some examples of this:

  • 24-HOUR FLASH SALE!
  • One day only to save 25 percent!
  • LAST HOUR of our Cyber Monday sale!
  • Order today to ensure Christmas delivery!
  • FREE SHIPPING if you order by December 1.

Make it clear to your recipients that they can’t afford to set your email aside for later.

Extend Your Offer

Cyber Monday and Black Friday can be stressful days, even for the most seasoned shoppers. It’s not unusual for people to simply forget certain offers.

One thing you might consider is offering an extension. Send an email a day or two after Cyber Monday and tell readers you have a special surprise for them; by popular demand, you’ve decided to extend your sale or promotion for another week, etc.

Define Your Differences

Another strategy we recommend: Use your emails to outline the things that make your business different.

You’re probably not the only company to offer a particular product or service, but maybe you are the only company to offer free shipping, or moneyback-guaranteed satisfaction, or expert installation, or a 24/7 support line, or whatever else.

Make these differences clear! Give shoppers a reason to choose you over the competition.

Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing Efforts TODAY

The bottom line: Some of us are still trying to decide what we’re going to be for Halloween this year… but remember, the holiday shopping season always arrives sooner than you think. Don’t be caught off-guard. Start planning your email marketing strategy today.

Our team can help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. if you’d like to chat. Hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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6 Content Marketing Metrics to Keep an Eye On

Are your content marketing efforts really working? It’s not a rhetorical question. Content marketing requires a real investment, both of time, money, and brand capital. It’s only appropriate to assess the return on that investment using real, hard metrics.

There are a variety of statistics and numbers you can look at to get a sense of how your content marketing efforts are trending, including metrics available in your email marketing platform, your Google Analytics, and the social media dashboard of your choosing.

Amidst all the possible data and reporting options, here are six metrics we think are especially noteworthy, often quite revealing as to the true merits of your content initiatives.

Email Clickthrough Rates

Start with your email marketing. When you send out your weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter, how many of your recipients not only read the content but also click through to your business website? One of the main purposes of email marketing is to encourage more website traffic, and if your emails are actually accomplishing that goal, it’s a pretty clear indicator that your content is doing its job.

Email Subscription Rate

You can also look at the rate at which your website visitors are subscribing to your newsletter. If the subscriber base is steadily growing, it shows that somehow or another you’re enticing them… and that can’t help but involve some strong, persuasive copy.

Dwell Time

Dwell time references the amount of time visitors spend on your website before they head elsewhere. If most people reach your site, stick around for two seconds, then leave, that’s obviously not a great sign. But if your website users can spend a good long while on the site, that means your content game is solid.

New Leads

Content marketing can serve many purposes, but one thing that’s always nice is when your content actually yields new leads. There are a number of ways you can measure this: Email subscriptions, sign-ups for a white paper or other downloadable offer, basically anything that provides you with the name and contact information of an interested customer or client.

Social Shares

This one’s obvious: If your content is getting shared on social media, it means that the content is valuable, and it also means you’re growing your audience size. Note that likes and comments are great, but shares/retweets are especially helpful. Email forwards are also beneficial!

Anecdotal Evidence

For all this talk of hard numbers, we’ll close with something that’s not as easy to measure, but is still worth noting: If you have new clients/customers who actually reference your content (“I saw your latest blog post and it made me interested…”), that may be the best indicator of all that your content marketing is connecting with people

Content That Works

Ready for a content marketing effort that really works, and helps you see those metrics surge? We’d love to chat. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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7 Reasons to Hire an Editor for Your Business

We live in a golden era of outsourcing. (Thanks, Internet!) It’s never been easier for small business owners to connect with subject matter experts and vendors who can provide their services on a limited, cost-effective basis. For example, if you have a graphic design project, it’s pretty simple to find a talented designer with a robust portfolio, commissioning the work you need without having to hire someone on a full-time basis.

Our premise for today: Editors, like graphic designers or PPC consultants or Web gurus or SEO experts, are professionals whose services may be invaluable to your business, whether as a one-time thing or as a long-term relationship.

Whether you’re putting together a business blog, a press release, or a whole new suite of written website content, it may be in your best interests to engage the services of an editor, like those at Grammar Chic, Inc.

Here’s why.

Why Hire an Editor?

  1. You need a fresh set of eyes. How many times have you read that blog? How many hours have you spent staring at the words of your new company home page? Sooner or later, it all becomes a bit of a blur, and it may be impossible for you to truly see what’s right in front of you. You need an outsider’s vision, and that’s what a professional editor can offer.
  2. You also need objectivity. Your document may be a true labor of love for you, which can be a blessing and a curse: It’s good to feel passionate, but not at the expense of objectivity. An editor, who has no emotional attachment to the document, will be in a better position to accurately assess it and propose changes.
  3. Editors can save you time and frustration. Nothing is more maddening than reading the same document over and over and feeling like you’re still not quite there. An editor’s job isn’t just to make your document shine, but to streamline the revision process, quickly fixing spelling and grammar errors and providing straightforward guidance regarding any conceptual issues. All of this allows you to finish the project and pour your attention into other things!
  4. An editor will help you with clarity. Sometimes, there’s a distance between what you think you’re saying and what you’re actually saying. It happens to all of us, but when it comes to your business communications, clarity and precision are key. A professional editor knows how to articulate ideas in a way that’s unambiguous.
  5. Working with an editor can be a boon to your project development. Trying to figure out the best way to implement your white paper? Unsure of whether your new blog should be one long post or a couple of smaller ones? Part of the editor’s job is helping you develop each project in a way that’s efficient and intuitive.
  6. An editor will enhance your professionalism. Anything you publish or send to your clients is going to be a reflection on your brand… on your standards of quality, accuracy, and professionalism. As such, you naturally want each document to be superlative. An editor will help ensure that you’re always putting the best foot forward!
  7. Professional editors are versatile. Just take it from the Grammar Chic team: We’ve worked on everything from books to resumes, from blog posts to brochures; our clients span a full spectrum of industries, including HOA management and used car sales, manufacturing and personal fitness. We have the skills needed to furnish you with a sterling document, no matter the line of work or the nature of your project.

Enlist an Editor Today

Whatever the specifics of your editing project, Grammar Chic, Inc. is here to lend professionalism, precision, and clarity. Contact us directly to learn more: Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Workflow and Content Automation Defined: How to Get Started

Managing content for your website and social media accounts takes a lot of time and expertise. Like everything else these days, companies are looking for ways to get technology involved to help reduce time and costs when it comes to their content generation. Workflow and Content Automation (WCA) has been a rapidly growing industry for the past few years. Experts estimate that this industry will grow to be a $6B market by the year 2023. But what is it exactly and how can you utilize it?

When we say, “content automation,” we don’t necessarily mean hiring a robot or computer to write your company’s blog and social media posts. While such technology exists, what we mean is applying tools to help you create the most impactful content possible. Continue reading to find out the ways WCA can help you and how to integrate it into your daily routines.

Basics

You have a few options when it comes to automating your content marketing, which can be done at several different points in the content marketing pipeline:

  • Curation

Content curation tools are not there to create content for you, but rather they rely on algorithms to mine content from across the Web, and to then recommend content that would be most relevant to your audience.

An example of an automated content curation tool is DrumUp, which makes quick work of sorting through the billions of pieces of content that are online. Other tools like Google trends are great if you have access to those accounts. Tools like these take the guesswork out of content ideation and allow creators to rely on data to make better decisions.

  • Distribution

Content distribution tools help to ensure that the most relevant pieces of content appear in front of the right people. Email marketing software, which sends out messages to customers based on their past behavior or purchases, is one example of automated content distribution.

What we’re really talking about here are ads. Getting your tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram stories and more, out in front of targeted audiences is key to social media marketing. Using paid advertising tools takes advantage of these platforms’ user data, to make sure the content you’re trying to promote is ending up in front of the right people.

Best Practices

  • Define your problem

The first step in implementing an automated content generation process is to think of your goals or an area of content marketing where you’re struggling. Maybe your content sinks like a stone once you publish it, or maybe you need to find ways to get it in front of the right audience. You might have an internal resource issue where you just don’t have enough people who can produce the right content. Whatever the problem is, make sure it is properly identified.

You also want to define your audience, so that you know what tools will best reach them. Email marketing might not work so well if your customers largely hang out on social media, for example. Make sure you know who you want to talk to and where they are spending their time online.

  • Find a product

Once you’ve determined what your internal struggles with content are, determine the best tools available to fix those issues for you. There are plenty of options out there that specialize on the generation, scheduling, and distribution of your content. We’ve mentioned some here in this article, but make sure to do plenty of research.

Talk to the salespeople at any company you are considering. Make sure they understand your unique situation. No two organizations are the same so ensure they aren’t treating you like everyone else. Does their program offer specific solutions to the problems you’ve identified? If not, continue the search until you’ve found something that does.

  • Iterate the process

Once you’ve chosen a tool or tool set to use for your content automation, the job isn’t over. It’s imperative to continue to monitor and adjust the process until you are seeing positive results.

Also, do not forget to benchmark current content performance. How much traffic do your blog posts typically receive? What is the average number of engagement events on your social platforms by channel? Without this data, it will be impossible to tell if you’re making progress.

Compare your success metrics with the automated content generation in place to your benchmark data. Continue when things are improving and adjust when metrics dip.

Workflow and Content Automation is an industry on the rise and can be a huge help for a growing organization looking to streamline their blog and social channels. Be sure to figure out where you need help and find the tools to correct course. It’s not as scary as it looks, so get out there and create!

Author Bio: Amanda Peterson is a software engineer and regular contributor at Enlightened Digital. Based in New York City, she enjoys Netflix bingeing with her Puggle, Hendrix, and shopping in record stores.

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How Data Visualization Can Enhance Your Content Marketing

There’s never any shortage of online data. For marketers, this can be both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, if you want to quantify the reach of your content or identify trends in your social media engagement, there are metrics available to give you the illumination you need. But at the same time, the process of setting benchmarks, establishing core measures, mapping the data, then interpreting it properly can be incredibly time intensive. When you’re already struggling to keep up with your routine content creation efforts, handling data and analytics may feel all but impossible.

But the answer isn’t to forgo the data-driven approach. Rather, it’s to implement the processes you need to make data-mining as simple and intuitive as can be.

Thankfully, there are some options available for small business owners, including both the incredible technological resources of Google Data Studio as well as the consultative services of agencies like Analytics Clarity.

It’s worth taking just a moment to examine how each of these vendors could help automate your data and analytics efforts, and ultimately make your content marketing more streamlined and focused.

The Benefits of Data Automation and Visualization

Google Data Studio is a unique platform that allows you to take different kinds of analytic data, both from Google as well as from compatible social networks, and turn that data into fluid, dynamic reports.

This may sound a little mundane, but actually, it’s a revolutionary service. Just some of the benefits include:

  • Through Google Data Studio, you can have key data automatically turned into a report. And that report will change in real-time, ensuring you always have ready access to the metrics you need.
  • You can choose to display the data in whatever visual format you like, making it easy for you and your team to understand the big picture.
  • You can share the visual report with key partners, vendors, and stakeholders; it’s as easy as sharing a Google Doc or a Google Sheet.

Meanwhile, when you work with a firm like Analytics Clarity, you can ensure that you’re always rightly interpreting the data, capturing even the subtlest trends, and making informed decisions about how to tweak or adjust your content marketing campaign.

Indeed, the kind of data solutions available today have really been game-changers for content marketers, who can now work with a much clearer understanding of how their content performs with target readers as well as Google Search algorithms. This has implications for everything from topic selection to CTA development.

Take a Data-Driven Approach to Content Marketing

It’s vital that you use data to guide your content marketing efforts; Analytics Clarity, a proud partner of Grammar Chic, Inc., can provide all the expertise you need to make smart use of Google Data Studio.

And, as you use that data to guide your content efforts, you can always reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. Speak to one of our content professionals by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Types of Content That Can Wreck Your Rankings

By now it’s hardly controversial, nor even surprising, to note the close ties between content marketing and SEO. As we noted in one recent blog, Google has come right out and said that the best way to achieve impressive SERP rankings is to provide the end user with valuable, relevant content.

But if the right content can make your SEO, it can also break it… and there are a few types of content that are especially toxic to your ranking efforts.

Here are just a few examples of content you’ll want to avoid.

5 Types of Content That Can Ruin Your SEO

  1. Content that’s unoriginal. This is largely a problem with ecommerce stores, or with websites that have a lot of individual product pages. It’s tempting to employ standard, boilerplate copy on each product page, rather than writing new product descriptions from scratch… except, Google really doesn’t like that. The more duplicate content you produce, the more it dilutes your SEO efforts. Work with a professional content writing team to come up with sharp, wholly original text for each of your products and services.
  2. Thin content. There’s no magic word count for achieving Google success, and sometimes it’s wise to opt for short and sweet. Remember, though, that the end goal should always be to say something valuable and substantive… and for most topics, 50 words probably isn’t going to cut it. If your content is short, rote, and lacking in real substance, Google may not give it much credit.
  3. Content that misleads. This goes back to our recent post on relevance, where we warned that the bait-and-switch technique never works. Simply put, your content needs to make good on the promises of its title. If your post is titled 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car, that’s exactly what it should offer the reader.
  4. Fluff. You probably know what we mean by this. We said before that you didn’t want thin content, but if you’re just repeating the same thing over and over again because you think your blog needs to have 700 words in it, well, that hardly offers value to the reader, and it hardly aligns with Google’s algorithmic interests.
  5. Content that’s hard to read. Finally, remember a little thing called user experience, or UX. Your content needs to be valuable, but also easy to digest, and that means using section subheadings, lists, bullet points, and small paragraphs. Leave plenty of white space and make it easy on the eye.

Content That Does the Job

You need content that works on every level… appealing to readers and also winning over the algorithms. And we can help you develop it. Talk with a professional content writer today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Here’s How to Write Content That Ranks Well

The Google Search algorithms are notoriously complex. There are dozens upon dozens of factors that Google considers when assessing a site’s ranking; those factors are weighted differently, and the exact algorithmic make-up changes on a regular basis.

Thankfully, Google has made it surprisingly simple for content writers to do their job and to create content that achieves search engine visibility. Google’s own search engineers have conceded that, for all the algorithmic complexity and churn, there’s essentially one huge factor that overshadows all the rest. Content writers who can capitalize on that one huge factor are positioned well for SEO success.

So what’s the secret?

In a word, relevance.

That’s not just a buzzword. It’s something that the Google algorithms actually measure and quantify. And according to Google’s internal experts, it’s the one thing that content writers should focus on as they pursue SEO-effective copy.

What is Relevance?

But how can Google possibly categorize something that sounds so nebulous?

The definition of relevance isn’t as fuzzy as you might think. Essentially, it boils down to user-centered content that serves a purpose.

That is to say, is the content useful?

Does it provide helpful, clarifying, and/or actionable insight to the user?

And is it related to the intentions of the search user? Does it meaningfully address their search query?

If you can honestly say yes to all of these questions, then there’s a good chance your content is indeed relevant in the eyes of Google.

Simple Steps for Writing Relevant Content

If you’re still uncertain about the relevance of your content, you’re in luck: Google’s Webmaster Guidelines actually offer some best practices for content writers. We’re going to summarize and paraphrase them here, because not only do they represent a good recipe for relevant content, but they also reflect good online content writing principles more generally.

Google’s advice is as follows:

  1. Write content primarily for the search engine users, not for the algorithms. If you’re thinking about how to appease the search bots, you’re going about it all wrong. Instead, step back and ask yourself how you can connect with the end user, answer their questions, and fortify them with good information. Using buyer personas may be valuable here.
  2. Don’t be deceptive. If your headline promises 5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Credit Score, the article should provide five simple steps for readers to improve their credit scores… plain and simple. Bait-and-switch routines will kill your relevance ratings.
  3. Avoid anything that’s designed to trick the search engines. Before attempting some sort of SEO gimmick, ask yourself: Would I do this if Google didn’t exist? If your answer is no, then it’s probably not worth doing.
  4. Consider the things that make your business or your website unique. What are some of the unique benefits and value points that you can offer? Make sure your content captures those things.

The bottom line: Relevance is the most important characteristic of digital copy, and it’s not as nebulous or as unattainable as you might think.

We can help you write content that’s truly relevant to your audience. Are you ready to talk? Reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. Connect with us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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