Tag Archives: business writing

5 Rules to Improve Your Email Marketing

Tired of sending emails to your subscriber list and getting nothing in return? There are some simple steps you can take to transform your email marketing campaign into a powerful, results-getting arm of your broader content marketing strategy. In this post, we’re going to break it down for you, with some foolproof tips and strategies.

Rule #1: You MUST Write Compelling Subject Lines

You’ve got a short window of time in which to make a strong first impression and to persuade your recipient to actually open and read your email. Your email subject line is where you do that, so it’s got to pop. Put some time into this. Force yourself to keep it to seven words or less. Convey value in your subject line. And make it sound personal, without including a specific recipient name. You’ll also want to keep playing around with new subject lines, A/B testing them and finding what works and what doesn’t work for your audience.

Rule #2: You MUST Segment Your Email List

Your emails need to convey value that is specific to each recipient—and while you can’t afford to write a personal email to everyone on your list, you can at least break down your list into some sub-groupings. Here at Grammar Chic, we have clients who come to us for marketing and clients who come to us for resume services, and it wouldn’t make much sense to send marketing-related emails to resume clients. That’s where segmentation becomes invaluable.

Rule #3: Your Emails MUST Offer Value

What’s in it for me? That’s what your recipients will be asking as they read your email. They need to walk away from it with something of value, whether that means news on an upcoming product, a discount, a promotion, or an actionable tip. Make sure your emails have substance. Make sure they convey value.

Rule #4: Your Email Campaign MUST Have a Clear Goal

To tell whether or not your email marketing is succeeding, you’ll need to define success. Are you looking to get phone calls? Website traffic? Buys for a specific product or service? Your email marketing objective will impact your metrics as well as your actual CTA.

Rule #5: Your Emails MUST Be Brief

Nobody has time to read a 500-word email. Get to the point. Be light and engaging. And be fun to read. Really, those are invaluable traits for any successful marketing email.

Transform Your Email Marketing

These rules will help you turn your email marketing list into a true asset. To really take things to the next level, we’d invite you to consult with our writers and email marketing pros. We can help you craft email messages that get results.

Learn more by reaching out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today, either at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Email Writing

6 User Experience Errors That Will Sink Your Content Marketing

We’re often asked about the best strategies to marry content marketing with effective SEO. The basic premise is really simple: If you want to find favor with search engine algorithms, it’s important to first find favor with human readers. Making your content easy to discover, to read, and to digest—that’s all Google really wants you to do.

An implication of this is that, if you sacrifice the user experience—if you create content that doesn’t provide value to the reader, or that makes that value difficult to excavate—it’s inevitable that you’ll see a drop-off in Google traction.

This introduces a question. Is your content user-friendly? Or, to come at it from a different angle, are you doing anything in your company blog posts and in your Web content that’s compromising the user experience—and, thus, sinking your SEO?

Allow us to point out just a few common user experience errors that can make your content difficult to digest—and thus, less likely to find favor with Google’s algorithms.

Where Content Marketing Goes Wrong

Insufficient Substance/Length

We’ve blogged recently about word count, and about how there’s no simple answer to the question of how long your content should be. With that said, the basic principle to keep in mind is that you need to offer value without fluff—and a blog post that’s just 200 words probably isn’t fully addressing your readers’ questions. Aim for posts that really tackle your topic thoroughly and substantively; skimpy posts do not provide for a satisfying user experience any more than overly long, rambling ones do.

Bland and Boring Layouts

What’s the old saying about pictures and words? Well, we’d say you need both. A boring, black-and-white layout isn’t going to capture the reader’s attention. Make sure you embed pictures, videos, and other rich and colorful content into your blog posts and throughout your website.

Misspellings or Bad Grammar

If your content is laden with typos, it’s not going to come across as trustworthy or authoritative—so you can’t expect to see much in the way of backlinks. Readers won’t put up with poorly proofed content for long.

Unbroken Content

You need content breaks to make your posts easier to maneuver—and to skim. Make sure you break things down with section subheadings, bullet points, lists, etc.

Rambling Paragraphs

Similarly, avoid unbroken streams of text that just run on and on forever. Short paragraphs are key!

No Call to Action

A good blog post or website will direct the reader to what they need to do next; it will crystalize their action steps. That’s what a CTA is all about—so don’t neglect them!

Write Content That Gets Read

Our suggestion for you? Talk with Grammar Chic about improving the user experience in your content. We know how to write content that gets read—and content that gets ranked. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net, to start a conversation.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

How to Write Great Content for Short Attention Spans

There is always more and more online content vying for readers’ attention—yet it seems like the average online attention span is getting shorter all the time.

This is something that any content marketer has to take into consideration. You need your content to be read and interacted with, yet your audience may have very little patience to sit through anything that isn’t totally optimized to keep them engaged.

So how do you optimize your written content? Here are a few tips to consider.

Start with Buyer Personas

People are going to be a lot more willing to read your content if it feels like it was written directly for them. That’s why you need to start with your audience, and ideally with a well-composed buyer persona. What are the pain points you need to address? What are the values? What kind of language should you be using—highly technical or extremely casual? And what do your readers ultimately want to gain from your content? To answer these questions, you have to have a pretty good sense of who you’re writing to.

Structure it Well

It’s also important to make sure you organize your content in a way that makes it easier to read—and, for that matter, to skim. Some ways to do so include:

  • Write in short paragraphs
  • Avoid long sentences
  • Use subject headings to break up the content
  • Use bulleted lists whenever you can
  • Make sure you end with a good summary of your main takeaways/action steps

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

A plain black-and-white page of text is inevitably going to be a little boring, and strain the average reader’s attention span. Images, infographics, and embedded videos can spice things up significantly, while also helping to break up the content and make it more digestible.

Be Clear in Your Value Proposition

Put yourself in the shoes of your reader, and ask: What’s in it for me? The reader should be able to walk away from your content with some value, some specific benefit. You need to emphasize that value up front, both in your headline and in your introduction, ideally in the first paragraph. Let readers know that they will see a benefit from reading your content.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Long

A final note: Short attention spans do not necessarily call for short content. There is still plenty of room for articles that go in-depth and provide more specific value. In fact, a reader with a short attention span may prefer these articles; a flimsy blog post may seem like a waste of time, while something more substantive may seem like it’s a lot more worthwhile.

You can create content that engages even the ficklest reader—but if you need an extra hand in enhancing your content, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Grammar Chic can help you write content that gets read and engaged with. Learn more at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content

5 Ways to Make Your Written Content More SEO-Friendly

Whether you’re writing content for your company website or dashing off the latest company blog post, you want it to be something good—something that offers value to your reader, and reflects well on your brand. At the same time, you want it to be something that’s search engine optimized. After all, great content isn’t very useful if nobody can find it.

This is a little bit of a false dichotomy, perhaps. Generally speaking, writing good, valuable content is the single best way to optimize it, and all the SEO tricks and gimmicks in the world can’t compete with the raw power of quality writing.

With that said, there is certainly a need to ensure that your content is as palatable for search algorithms as it is for human readers, and simply writing a good article is only the first step. As you seek to maximize your content’s SEO potential, here are five simple principles to keep in mind.

Improve Your On-Site SEO

Originality is Imperative

First and foremost, make sure that what you are writing stands on its own. Google doesn’t see any value in duplicate content, and as such it tends to penalize it. Regurgitating the exact same copy for each product page on your website, for instance, or simply copying text from the website to the company blog, will lead to diminished rankings. Take the time to ensure that every piece of content you write is phrased uniquely. Tools like Copyscape can help you ensure that you’re not plagiarizing yourself or others.

Readability Matters, Too

Google’s bots are more likely to favor articles that are readable to wide audiences—and that means using short sentences and paragraphs, limiting your ten-dollar words, and abstaining from the passive voice. Good, concise, punchy content—written in a way that makes it easy to read—will only help you as far as SEO rankings go.

Your Title Should Be Optimized

Writing a catchy headline is key. So is keeping the title to a Google-friendly length of 55-60 characters max. Finally make sure your URL matches the title and contents of the page; a URL that’s just random numbers hampers your SEO efforts.

Be Structured

Your content should have a structure that makes it easy for readers—and search bots—to follow along and get the basic gist of what you’re saying, even just by skimming. The best way to do this is to structure your article with H1, H2, and H3 tags to break up different sections of content. Bullet points and numbered lists can also be helpful, when applicable.

Use Keywords—Judiciously

Though you want to avoid keyword stuffing, and shouldn’t sacrifice quality for keyword count, keywords can certainly be useful in demonstrating what your content is ultimately about. We’ve blogged about the importance of judicious keyword strategy before.

Write Content That Gets Discovered

With the right approach, you can write content that pleases people and search bots alike—no easy feat, but worth it in the long run. Or, you can hire our team to write it for you. Contact Grammar Chic today to ask us about our SEO-friendly content writing services. Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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

5 Tips for Acing an E-Commerce CTA

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When you’re running an e-commerce brand, your website really has one central purpose: Yes, you want to bring new clients into your sales funnel and provide them with the education they need to make informed purchasing decisions, but at the end of the day your goal is to close the sale. You want people to click on a button in your online store and purchase one of the items you’re selling—period. You want your website to be an around-the-clock sales machine.

That’s what makes it so essential to have a good, strong call to action in place. All business websites need CTAs, which guide your leads through the sales funnel and increase the likelihood of them taking the desired action. For e-commerce sites, though, the CTA should be especially pointed and impactful: Click this button to buy our product NOW!

5 Tips for Killer CTAs

But of course, there are good CTAs and bad ones—and a feeble or unpersuasive CTA will hobble your sales and render your website impotent. So how do you ensure that your e-commerce site is working with high-impact CTAs? Consider these tips:

Make it stand out! The whole point of the call to action is to grab your reader’s attention and make it clear what step you want the reader to take next—so you can’t afford to have a CTA that blends in with the rest of the page, or that gets buried under the rest of your content. While it is possible to be too over-the-top, you do want to use larger fonts, bolds, italics, bright colors, compelling graphics, and/or attention-grabbing verbiage to draw the reader’s attention. The language of the CTA should spell out, in no uncertain terms, what you want the reader to do next.

Keep it short. Your readers want to see what you want them to do, and don’t necessarily want to wade through ten paragraphs of text to get to the point. Do you want them to click a button and buy your product? Tell them so—in a sentence or two at the very most.

Offer specifics and convey value. Just because you keep it short, that doesn’t mean you cannot offer some specifics. Adding specific offers and numbers is especially effective. Try something like: Save 30% by ordering NOW! Or, Claim your free gift card; buy today!

Place your CTAs strategically. You should have one on every page of the website—but beyond that, your placement may vary. Generally it is best to have a CTA visible on the page without the reader having to scroll—placing it either above the fold or in a sidebar can work well. Also, there’s no law against having multiple CTAs on one page, especially if the page is longer or more content-heavy.

Don’t forget to say thanks. The CTA/order page should ultimately take the reader to a Thank You page, which is an essential way for building brand loyalty. Never forget it!

For help crafting killer CTAs, of course, the Grammar Chic team is always on hand. Give us a call today at 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

How to Write Killer Meta Descriptions

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If your aim is to write engaging content, it’s important to pay attention to every single written component, from the headline down through your call to action. Of course, this also includes the meta description.

The meta description is sometimes an afterthought—in fact, some content writers don’t author one at all, leaving Google to create one automatically. Actually, the meta description is nearly as important as your headline in terms of getting eyeballs onto the page. If you’re not sure what a meta description is, go to Google and conduct a search; it doesn’t matter what you search for. Once the Search Engine Results Page comes up, look at each individual result. You will see a blue link, and underneath it a line or two of descriptive/summarizing text.

That is the meta description—basically, the summary of your content that all search engine users will see. This can obviously play a huge role in convincing people to click the link and read your content—or, you know, convincing them to do the opposite. As such, writing engaging content requires you to write an engaging meta description, and then to add it to your page. (If you are working with a CMS like WordPress, you will see a field for entering a custom meta description; if you have a professional webmaster, you can get the webmaster to do it for you.)

But what do you need to know in order to make a really killer meta description?

Tips for Writing Compelling Meta Descriptions

A few pointers:

Make it brief, but not too brief. Your meta description should be somewhere between 130 and 150 characters. If you go over that limit, you run the risk of Google clipping it, leaving you with an incomplete sentence at the end of your meta description. But if you just use 60 characters or so, you’re not really making full use of this important online real estate. Try to avail yourself of that space by hitting 130 characters or so, then wrapping things up.

Make it active. Don’t use the passive voice, but instead use strong, compelling verbs. You can basically phrase your summary like a call to action, perhaps even leading with a strong invitation to discover, explore, encounter, or something similar.

Make it accurate. Your meta description should actually summarize the content itself; don’t try anything tricky or misleading. Google doles out harsh penalties for this kind of manipulation.

Make it keyword rich. Don’t stuff it with a dozen keywords, and don’t make it sound forced or inorganic, but do include whatever keyword you are focusing on in your content—ideally toward the beginning of your meta description.

Make it unique. Don’t recycle the same old meta description for every blog you post; Google hates redundancy!

Those are the basics. Writing meta descriptions doesn’t have to be complicated: Just summarize the value you’re offering to readers, in as action-oriented a way as you can. For assistance, contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing