Tag Archives: Professional Content Marketers

5 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Marketing Season

For many businesses, the holidays are make-or-break. Retailers, in particular, depend on a brisk holiday shopping season to reach their annual revenue goals. To ensure a successful season, it’s vital to execute a sound marketing plan—and the time to start is now.

Remember that the holiday shopping season really begins on November 1—which isn’t that far away! You don’t want to be scrambling to get your affairs in order at the last minute, so take some time to prepare for the holiday marketing season today. Here are five steps we recommend.

Plan Your Promotions

Before you do anything else, get a good sense of what you’ll be promoting this year—and how. Make a list of any particular products you want to focus on, and decide what kinds of discounts or special offers you can afford. Also think about special promotions, whether that’s a Cyber Monday sale of a free-shipping offer that extends through the end of the year.

Decide when you’re going to schedule these promotions—when you’ll announce them, and how long they’ll last. Put it all on your calendar. This is a critical first step before you start producing any marketing collateral.

Build Marketing Emails

Once you decide what your seasonal promotions will be, you can start building marketing emails to announce them.

There’s a lot of work that goes into email marketing—choosing templates, uploading images, and writing body text. Again, you don’t want to be doing this at the last minute. Pick your promotions and start developing your marketing emails today. (Our content marketing team is happy to assist with this.)

Create Landing Pages

As you promote special offers—whether through email, PPC, or some other channel—you’ll want to provide your customers with an offer-specific, conversion-oriented landing page where they can complete their transaction.

In other words, if you send out an email promoting a certain product, you want to send traffic to a page that’s all about that product—not just to your company home page.

These landing pages require some build-out, so start today. Remember to keep landing page copy brief and value-focused. Again, the Grammar Chic team can help!

Spruce Up Your Website

Hopefully, this marketing activity will result in a big traffic spike—so make sure your website looks its best. Some quick tips:

  • Audit your site for accessibility issues, such as broken links, and make the necessary repairs.
  • Run some speed tests to be sure your site loads quickly across all platforms and devices.
  • Look for any content opportunities—for instance, product guides or tutorials, tied to the products you’re promoting this holiday season.

Create Marketing Collateral

One more thing you can start doing today to prepare for holiday shoppers: Develop the creative materials you’ll require for seasonal promotions. We mentioned marketing emails already, but also consider product- or offer-specific blog posts, video guides, Web content additions, graphics, banners, and more.

The time to start preparing for a successful holiday marketing campaign is now—and our team can help. Ask us more about our expertise in developing marketing emails, blog posts, landing pages, and beyond. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Online Marketing for Real Estate Agents – Tips & Tricks

Editor’s Note: There are numerous books, websites, and other mediums devoted to assisting real estate agents who want to grow their business. Few of these mediums, however, provide substance when it comes to leveraging the possibilities of online marketing. Mary Beth Downing is a Dayton, Ohio real estate agent who has gotten off to a fast start in her career by leveraging the web. In the article below, she shares how she has achieved early success.

Breaking in as a real estate agent is incredibly difficult. This difficulty is the reason why so many agents quit within their first few years, out of frustration. I’ve seen realtor discussion boards in which many agents say that one should only expect to sell three to four homes in their first year. As of this writing, I’ve had my license for slightly over five months and I’ve put eight homes under contract. The most exciting part is that each month has been better than the previous. I’m excited to use this article to share how I’m going about growing my business.

The biggest thing that has surprised me, early on, is the extent to which many new agents entirely devote their time to trying to meet people face to face as opposed to leveraging online resources. These online resources can include paid ads as well as things which you own outright (more on this below). It’s understandable that many new agents don’t want to put money into building a website or into online listings. In my opinion, however, there’s a flaw in refusing to do so. If you take the approach that “I’m not spending any money and I’ll spend my time networking and trying to meet people” then you’re only saving money if you value your time at $0. Given that time is valuable, and can’t be replaced, I find online marketing to be highly effective.

In my first five months I’ve focused on three main areas: my website, my blog, and video. I’ll discuss each of these in turn.

Real estate agents can use their website to attract and capture leads

Most agents don’t invest the time or money to create a website for themselves. This is the first mistake as having a web presence helps to validate you in the eyes of potential clients. Simply, having a website, however, isn’t enough; too many agents build a basic page for the sake of having one, but don’t truly leverage their site. You can use your website to attract clients who would have never heard of you otherwise. You can then use it to capture more of those leads and turn them into signed contracts.

I didn’t want a website that simply said “Hi, this is me. I’m a real estate agent.” I wanted something that would actually provide value to potential clients. This is why I had my webmaster integrate the MLS (through third-party software) into my site. This allows people to search listings of homes for sale through my site instead of through a service such as Zillow. One of the big benefits of this has been that individual home listings tend to show up well in organic search results on Google and Bing. So when people see a for sale sign, and search for the specific address to get more information, my site’s listing of the property shows up. People then land on my website and call me from there. This results in leads with no additional time or meaningful financial investment on my part.

Another big benefit is that the MLS integration into my website allows me to automate the follow-up process. The software I use, to integrate the MLS, allows me to add a lead’s email and other information to a database. That lead will then receive automated emails whenever a new listing, which meets their desired criteria, comes on the market. This means that, instead of me having to call someone about a new listing, they receive it automatically. This helps people to be informed of listings they may be interested in and, importantly, ensures that the information is coming from me. I could spend hours, every day, researching listings and calling people or I could have an automated system which handles this task. I prefer the latter.

My blog is crucial to my strategy of driving seller listings

As I mentioned above, most realtors don’t create a website. Of the ones who do, very few create a blog and maintain it. Blogging is crucial to my strategy going forward. The thing about a blog post is that it can be the gift that keeps on giving. Say, for example, that I write an article on “how to price your home for sale” and it gets clicked on just five times a month in search. That’s five clicks every month that I pay no money for and spend no time on after I’ve written the article. In other words, investing a little bit of time provides me with web content, which I own outright, that will continue to give me indefinite exposure to potential

clients. This is why I wrote a comprehensive series on the subject of “selling your home.” I see my blog as a crucial component to obtaining listings without expending extensive time or money.

Video is important to helping me convert leads into clients

One of the first things I did after starting my business is hire a videographer to make the following “intro” video:

This has been vital in terms of helping me convert leads into clients. This has happened in two ways.

First, the client with the highest dollar contract I’ve signed so far explicitly mentioned my video when they first contacted me. In other words, these clients found me on the web and were considering calling me. They watched my video and it helped clinch their decision. Second, and interestingly, is another call I received. I market heavily on Zillow for a given zip code. My video appears on my Zillow profile as well as on my website. I received a call from a homeowner in the zip code I market to. She stated that she had been receiving letters from realtors offering to assist with selling her home (a common tactic for obtaining listings). She went onto Zillow to get an idea of what her home may be worth as part of deciding whether or not she wanted to sell it. Since I market to her zip code, she came across my Zillow profile and watched my video. She then contacted me regarding the listing of her home and, again, explicitly mentioned my video.

The foregoing are two examples of how my video introduces me to clients and helps me to convert more leads into signed contracts. I own this video outright. That means it’s another gift that keeps on giving. It’s another way that I’m getting clients, on an ongoing basis, without having to expend large amounts of time or pay ongoing amounts of money.

I strongly believe that many real estate agents are missing out on their opportunity to leverage the web. This is actually good news. The fact that agents aren’t leveraging the web means that it’s not as competitive as one may think. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to leverage one’s time and money when growing their business.

I owe a big thanks to Amanda Clark and the team at Grammar Chic for inviting me to write on this topic.

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Grammar Chic, Inc. Earns Accreditation with the Better Business Bureau

Since 2009, Grammar Chic, Inc. has been a trusted name in written content creation. Our ghostwriters have helped countless small and mid-sized businesses develop a competitive edge through original marketing collateral, while our resume writing team has assisted innumerable jobseekers land exciting new positions. Now, Grammar Chic’s reputation has been made official, thanks to formal accreditation by the Better Business Bureau.

About the BBB

For more than 100 years, the BBB has been an icon of trust in the marketplace. Companies that go through the accreditation are thoroughly vetted and validated as businesses of immense professionalism and honesty. It’s no wonder, then, that more than 70 percent of all consumers say they’d prefer to buy from a BBB-accredited business.

Grammar Chic, Inc. is proud to come out of this rigorous vetting process with the BBB’s seal of legitimacy, and we hope it further inspires trust from our customers and partners.

Our BBB Reviews

What’s more, our accreditation through the BBB means that customers who do business with Grammar Chic, Inc. can now leave us feedback on the BBB website, letting other customers know what their experience was like.

Our team has always sought honest feedback, and we’re thrilled to have another channel to hear from the clients we serve. Grammar Chic, Inc. welcomes reviews on our BBB profile, and as usual, we take very seriously the insights our clients have to offer.

Grammar Chic, Inc.’s Writing Services

With BBB accreditation in tow, Grammar Chic enters a new era of offering writing services to our clients—including:

  • Development of original, SEO-friendly website content.
  • Creation of blog posts, marketing emails, and other marketing collateral.
  • Management of social media accounts, including strategy, content creation, and reporting.
  • Editing and proofreading for business documents of all kinds.
  • Resume and cover letter creation for jobseekers at all levels.

To learn more about our trusted, value-adding writing services—all provided by in-house, salaried, native English-speaking writers—we invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Don’t Let Bad Content Ruin Your SEO Rankings

You’re probably familiar with the old SEO axiom: Content is king. That’s a little bit of an oversimplification, but there’s a lot of truth to it. If you’re trying to enact a savvy SEO campaign and achieve higher Google rankings for your business website, strong content is crucial. It’s job #1. It’s an absolute deal-breaker.

And why is that? Think about it from Google’s point of view. Like any business, Google wants to provide its customers (search engine users) with the best product possible (relevant search results). That means content that adequately answers their questions. If you want to rank well, that’s the kind of content you need to create.

But if good content can boost rankings, bad content can sink them. Unfortunately, bad content is all too plentiful. Here are a few ways in which bad content can disrupt your SEO undertaking—and not in a good way.

Bad Content Means Bad SEO

Content that’s too flimsy. While we are adamant that there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is wise to be as thorough as you can be, completely addressing the topic at hand. Just ask yourself: Would this be satisfactory to a search engine user who wants to learn more about this topic or issue—or would a search engine user come away with more questions than answers?

Content that lacks the right keywords. When it comes to keywords, moderation is key. If you jam in so many keywords that your content feels stilted or robotic, your rankings will slip. Do include a few target keywords in strategic locations, however—titles, section subheadings, meta descriptions, and sprinkled throughout your body content.

Content that’s not localized. For retail companies or brick-and-mortar businesses, some geographically specific keywords are vital. Some examples include keywords like [City] plumbing company, [City] accountants, [City] pizza restaurant, etc.

Content that doesn’t offer a good UX. User experience is a key SEO ranking factor, so make sure that any visitor to your page feels totally welcome, and that it’s easy for users to find the content they’re after. We recommend plenty of white space; bullet points whenever appropriate; section subheadings; and, of course, a mobile-friendly layout.

Content that doesn’t offer value. There’s nothing wrong with developing content to sell your products, but remember that any content you create is meant to be informative and educational; if all you write is marketing fluff, you’re not helping Google provide its customers with a strong product.

Content that lacks internal linking. One more hallmark of strong content? It makes it easy for users to navigate to related resources. Make sure to include links to relevant resource pages or blog posts whenever you can.

Get the Help You Need Creating Strong Content

SEO can get really technical, and those technicalities are important—but they don’t mean anything if you don’t have good content to offer. That’s where we come in. Grammar Chic, Inc. is adept at content creation that delights readers while also pleasing the search algorithms. And we’d love to talk with you about your company’s content writing and SEO needs.

Schedule a consultation today: Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Write Content That Improves Dwell Time. Here’s How.

Is your website successful?

There are a number of different metrics you could use to answer this question—and in truth, there’s no one factor that determines website success. As you consider different ways to evaluate your online presence, though, one you should consider is dwell time.

What is Dwell Time? And Why Does It Matter?

What is dwell time, exactly? Simply put, it’s the amount of time readers spend on your website. In a sense, it’s almost the opposite of bounce rate—that is, the rate at which website visitors navigate away from your site. If you have high dwell time, it means your readers have found some reason to stay on your site for longer chunks of time—probably because you’ve produced some sort of content that’s engaged them.

Dwell time is by no means a vanity metric; it has real impact on your marketing efforts. For one thing, it’s an SEO ranking signal. If your dwell time is high, that tells the Google algorithms that your website is providing readers with something valuable—and that’s something Google loves.

It can also be good news for conversion rates. If someone’s staying on your site for long periods of time, that person is obviously interested in something you’re doing.

The question is, how can you improve the dwell time on your website?

How Can Your Content Improve Dwell Time?

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind:

Write a compelling headline, with content that matches. The first step to keeping people on the page is attracting them to the page—and that means writing a headline that promises real value. Don’t do clickbait, and don’t do bait-and-switch; make sure your headline offers something substantive, and your content delivers on that promise.

Go deep. While there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is important to always do your subject justice; a quick and surface-deep post isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for long. Take the time to go into real depth, offer some concrete illustrations, etc.

Make your content digestible. It’s also important for your website to be easy to read—and that means plenty of white space, section sub-headings, bulleted lists where applicable, and some images to break up the text.

Do some internal linking. One good way to keep users on your site is to provide a trail of crumbs that leads them from one topic to another—specifically through internal linking, providing a clear path between relevant topics.

Update your content as needed. A blog post about Google algorithms circa 2014 (for example) is hardly relevant in 2018—and thus, there’s little reason for readers to spend any kind of time with it. Make sure you freshen up your content as needed to ensure it maintains some value and resonance.

Get the Content You Need to Keep Readers on the Page

As you seek to keep your readers engaged, consider hiring a content partner with ample experience in SEO-driven copywriting. Grammar Chic, Inc. can provide you with the words you need to improve dwell time, Google search rankings, and customer engagement.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation: Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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3 Things That Blow Your Social Media Credibility (And How to Avoid Them)

Small businesses use social media for different reasons—to share content, to engage in dialogue with their customers, to boost online visibility, and to preserve their online reputation, among other things. One of the most critical reasons to be on social media is that it can give you credibility; by sharing valuable information, you can build thought leadership and earn trust.

Yet, in some instances, social media activity can have the opposite effect—actually detracting from your credibility rather than enhancing it. In this post, we’ll guide you through three of the biggest offenders, and offer some suggestions for staying on the straight and narrow.

Only Sharing Links to Branded Content

To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to share company blog posts, videos, or sales pages.

The problem comes when that’s all you share—because, quite simply, it makes you come across as salesy, only interested in tooting your own horn rather than adding value to your customers’ lives.

And on top of that, the all-branded-content, all-the-time approach can make your social media presence become static and uninteresting. No matter how you slice it, it’s a bad approach.

But what can you do instead? Our suggestions:

  • Aim for a balance between branded and curated content; ideally, only about 20-30 percent of your content should be branded material.
  • For curated content, look for articles, blogs, videos, editorials, and infographics that convey meaningful information about your industry and add value to the reader’s life.
  • Focus on educating rather than just selling all the time; treat your content like a product in its own right and keep the emphasis on benefits to the end user.
  • Make sure you balance your links with other kinds of content, too—like images, polls, or posts that simply ask questions or offer tips.

Seeking Followers Through Illegitimate Means

As you may have heard, fake Twitter followers are abundant—but now, they are also being investigated by the government. Many big brands, including celebrities and politicians, are losing followers fast.

Don’t try to buy followers, no matter how tempting it may seem; it’s not going to work out in the long run, and when you lose millions of followers overnight, it will cause you to look pretty hapless.

Instead, we recommend:

  • Focus on organic growth! Don’t buy followers but earn them. Use the value-focused, balanced content marketing approach we outlined above.
  • Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint—and you’re not likely to win a ton of followers all at once. Instead focus on patiently building relationships and developing credibility.
  • Finally, remember that 100 real-life customers, who might actually buy your products or recommend you to a friend, are far more desirable than a million bots.

Trying to Please Everyone

There’s nothing wrong with sharing memes or funny videos on your social media profiles—so long as they’re somehow relevant to your core business offerings.

But when funeral homes tweet out funny kitty memes, that’s obviously a little weird, to say nothing of off-brand.

Tactics like this make it look like you’re desperate to win everyone over to your brand—but remember: You don’t want everyone. You just want your targeted audience—the people you’re trying to reach with your products and services. (See your buyer personas for more!)

Use Social Media to Boost Your Credibility

With the right strategy, you can use social media to offer value, entertainment, and engagement—building your credibility in the process.

We’d love to show you how. Contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team for a social media marketing consultation. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Manage Your Online Reputation with These Four Essential Assets

When’s the last time you made a major purchase without first doing a little online research? If you’re like most of us, you spend a little time online doing some due diligence before you ever commit to a high-priced product or service. And after all, why wouldn’t you? Googles makes it quick and easy to do meaningful consumer research, potentially saving yourself from a big, expensive blunder.

For consumers, online research is invaluable; for business owners, things are a little more dicey. After all, you can be certain that your consumers are using Google to vet your brand, your products, and your services before they give you any of their hard-earned money.

Your Online Reputation is One of Your Most Valuable Assets

As an exercise, you might take a minute to Google your brand, and see what comes up. If it’s all good, positive stuff, then congratulations—you have a solid online reputation, one that should encourage potential customers to buy from you in confidence.

But if your Google results are less than stellar—if they include negative reviews or unwanted news headlines, for instance—then you may actually be losing customers at a fairly high rate. We’re not exaggerating, either; online reputation can be truly make-or-break.

That’s why we recommend taking a proactive approach—something that’s not nearly as difficult as the high-dollar online reputation management firms will claim. Actually, a dedicated content marketing effort—focused on a few key assets—can help you preserve and even enhance your brand’s online image.

Online Reputation Management: A Four-Pronged Approach

Your Business Blog Provides Thought Leadership

For starters, if you want people to find positive listings when they Google your company name, it’s important that you actually create those listings. Positive content won’t write itself!

A regularly-updated business blog is helpful for a few reasons:

  1. It provides regular updates to the Google search algorithms—feeding the content monster and keeping your brand’s listings fresh.
  2. It allows you to display thought leadership—earning the trust and confidence of your customers.
  3. It provides opportunities for social media shares—another important way to generate some positive online mentions.

Press Releases Create Buzz

Getting some local news coverage is another important way to boost your positive Google listings—and that’s why we still recommend press releases for many of our content marketing clients. While this is seen as something of an old-fashioned approach, the reality is that it’s an easy and effective way to build buzz.

The important thing is to send out news releases about actually newsworthy events—such as:

  • New products or services
  • New locations
  • New hires
  • Involvement with a local charity or non-profit

Social Media is an Avenue for Customer Services

Something else you’ll want to do is maintain some active social media accounts—and not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, social media channels make it easy for you to distribute positive, brand-enhancing information—but they also provide a way for you to engage with your customers directly.

This can be either a blessing or a curse. To use social media effectively, it’s important to check in every day and respond to questions and complaints professionally—essentially viewing it as a chance to flex your customer service muscles. This can help minimize the occurrence of bad reviews or negative listings; if your customers see that you respond to their issues, they may not be as tempted to vent about you on Yelp or Foursquare.

Online Review Sites Add Luster to Your Brand

That brings us to the last of our vital assets—and that’s online review sites. To many business owners, these review sites are a scourge and a threat. Certainly, they pose a risk to your brand—but they also offer some opportunities. Here’s our advice for tangling with these site:

  • Above all, make sure you monitor your online reviews; always know what people are saying about your business.
  • If you spot some positive reviews, take a minute to say thanks.
  • If you come across negative ones, pause to offer some customer service. Coolly and calmly try to make things right.
  • Actively seek positive reviews; ask your best, most loyal clients to help you out by offering some positive feedback.

Take Your Reputation Seriously

Given the centrality of online research to the consumer experience, you can’t afford to think of online reputation as secondary, or as optional. Your brand will have a reputation, whether you like it or not; it falls to you to make sure it’s a good one.

And we can help! Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss any and all of your content crafting needs—including blogs, social media, press releases, and beyond. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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