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How to Write Effective Copy for Your Website: PART 1 – Language, style and structure

If you can write, you can write great web copy, right? Wrong. Why? Because web copy is unique. Not only do people read online copy differently to printed text, but web copy must also be powerful enough to engage, persuade and drive action before people click away. It’s a tough challenge for even the most experienced copywriter, so what’s the key to success?

In this two part blog, we’ll provide some detailed advice on getting your web copy right. First up, here are our recommended best practices for crafting effective web copy.

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Keep it Scannable

People don’t read web copy word for word, they scan. They want information fast and they don’t want to dig deep to find it. Whilst blocks of text may work in other forms of written content, on the web the more digestible the better. Section copy with headings and subheads; use bullet points; stick to a maximum of four lines and one idea per paragraph; and keep sentences simple.

Make Headings and Subheads Meaningful

What stands out most on a webpage other than visuals? Headings. That is why you need to craft them wisely. This isn’t the place to be vague or ambiguous. The best headings and subheads are descriptive and meaningful. They should clearly spell out what is on the web page, focusing on USPs, benefits and key information.

Be Concise

Keep your web copy tight. Ensure every sentence has a clear purpose, don’t say more than you need to and avoid repetition. Remove any marketing fluff including hollow superlatives such as ‘excellent’, ‘remarkable’ or ‘matchless’. And avoid overuse of adjectives and adverbs. When you do use them, make sure they’re based in fact, for example, don’t say you are world-leading if you’re not.

Get to the Point

Because people scan, your copy needs to start with the most important bits of information first. So if they only read a couple of lines, they’ll still get the main message. This type of writing is known as inverted pyramid style. It’s a technique commonly employed by journalists where they summarise first, follow with the most important supporting information and end with the background.

Benefits Not Features

A big mistake people often make when writing web copy is focusing on defining the features of their product or service – explaining what it is and how it works. But the truth is, potential customers aren’t interested in features, they want to know how these features benefit them. Because of this, your copy should be emotive not descriptive, focusing on addressing needs, values and concerns.

Speak in Plain English

Forget jargon or tech-speak. You won’t impress anyone, but you will scare off potential customers who may not understand what you’re talking about. Likewise, don’t try to create a great literary masterpiece. Whilst there is nothing wrong with a little creativity, in fact it is encouraged, ensure you write clearly and simply in plain English – you’ll get the message across much more effectively.

Write to Your Target Audience

Don’t write your website copy for a generic audience. Instead, tailor you copy so that it speaks directly to your customers or clients – one-on-one. You can achieve this by writing in the second person i.e. using ‘you’ instead of ‘they’. In addition, apply a tone of voice that speaks their language, be it conversational and chatty or friendly but professional.

Always Guide Your Reader to the Next Step

The main purpose of a website is to push prospects further along the buying funnel. Therefore it’s important that you always craft your copy with this in mind. After you’ve drawn them in with great headings and enticing benefits, don’t leave them hanging. Make sure you tell them exactly what they should do next, whether that’s go to another page, fill in a contact form or place an order.

Be Consistent

Whether it’s your sentence casing, the fonts you use or the tone of voice you employ, make sure you set a standard and apply it consistently. For example, don’t have one page with headings written in sentence case and another with headings in title case. Similarly, don’t be chatty on one page and formal on the next. These may seem like little things, but inconsistency spells unprofessionalism.

Avoid Errors

Nothing damages your credibility like copy and content errors so avoid them at all costs. This includes spelling and grammar mistakes, typographical slips and factual inaccuracies. If you can’t even get your web copy right, what kind of a message does this send to potential customers? Not a good one. In addition, some types of factual errors can have legal implications.

Write a First Draft then Edit it

Once you have written your web copy don’t just immediately upload it. Make sure you step back for a few hours then go back and edit it. Correct language errors, cut unnecessary words and reconsider if meanings are clear. Think what tweaks would make it more engaging, more credible and more persuasive. In addition, edit it again once it’s on screen as it can read very differently.

Optimize for SEO

Why is this one last? Because if you’re writing good quality web copy and following these rules, you should automatically be pleasing the Google Gods. Your long-tail keywords should appear naturally, your copy should be devoid of errors and your pages should be easy for web spiders to index. As a result, increased visibility in search should be par for the course.

Now you know what it takes to write effective web copy, the next step is getting the content right. Want to know what pages you should include on your site and what to include on each? Look out for How to Write Effective Copy for Your Website: Part 2 later in the week.

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5 Types of Content to Engage Your Customers (Other than Blogs)

When it comes to content, many businesses often start and stop at the blog. This may be due to a reluctance to venture into creating unfamiliar formats or simply down to not being aware of the other types of content that are out there. Whatever the reason, sticking to the default content type could be holding you back.

From attracting attention to engaging customers and driving more traffic, mixing up what you share with your audience offers numerous benefits. To get you started, here are some popular types of content you might want to consider.

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1. Infographics

Infographics transform data into captivating, memorable imagery and are one of the most popular types of content around today. Consumers love digesting them and businesses like the results they bring. Recent figures from LinkedIn suggest that infographics are 3 X more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content.

But why do they work? Not only are they visually enticing, but humans also process images 60,000 times faster than text. If you have a complicated process to explain or some interesting statistics to share, infographics can help you communicate them to your audience more effectively. Good infographics tell a story, include minimal copy and focus on one key message.

2. Video

The play button is becoming the most compelling call to action. According to recent statistics, 78% of people watch videos online very week, 92% of mobile video consumers share them with others, and 52% of marketing professionals globally name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Video content is extremely versatile. From raising awareness about a new product or service to showcasing your company culture or sharing a story, you can use it in a way which is effective for your business and resonates with your audience. Cost a concern? A do-it-yourself video, such as a vlog or webinar, can be just as effective.

3. SlideShare

SlideShare, owned by LinkedIn, is a presentation sharing platform which offers businesses the chance to showcase their expertise.  However it is the social media site that is most often overlooked. The process is simple. Whatever you want to get across, simplify it, make a PowerPoint presentation and upload to a global audience.

Not only does SlideShare play to the consumer preference for visual information, but it also offers a highly targeted audience that is interested in your content – over 80% of its 70 million visitors come through targeted search. But you have to get it right. And getting it right relies on great design, a powerful title, useful content and inclusion of keywords.

4. Useable guides

A guide is a fairly lengthy piece of content, often in PDF format, that educates your audience on a certain topic. Whilst a blog can do this to some extent, a guide can do it more effectively, enabling you to provide more detailed information in an easy to follow way. In addition, it gives you the flexibility to include value added extras such as visuals and printable pages.

To produce an effective guide, you need to first think of a useful topic to share with your audience. This could be anything from how to write a business plan to how to stay healthy – but make sure it is relevant to your business. Because of the popularity of this type of content, it is a great tool to encourage sign up when offered as an incentive.

5. eBooks

An eBook is essentially a condensed and more appealing version of a whitepaper – a ‘persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution’ (HubSpot). For SMEs, they are often a more manageable and timely option.

Why are they effective? Their main selling point is that they are a great way for you to share your expertise with your audience. Their lengthy format of at least 10,000 words gives you the opportunity to go into detail and thoroughly answer a question. To make it credible, and save you time, consider getting a professional writer and designer on board.

Using different types of content can be a very effective strategy for engaging with your audience. But it is important to ensure that the format you choose is not only fit for purpose, but is also a suitable fit for your industry, customers and budget.

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8 essential SEO tactics to boost your business website

Search engine optimization or SEO: the practice of organically improving your rank position in search engine results pages, without the need for paid advertising. Why is it important? Not only is it a cost effective way to promote your business, but it is also a crucial part of any long-term digital marketing strategy.

Although the majority of businesses appreciate the value of SEO, many are unsure how to implement it effectively. To help you get started, here are 8 essential SEO tactics you can apply to your website to begin boosting your online visibility.

1. Audit your existing website

Look at your site from a user perspective and be critical. Search engines favour sites which are well-structured, fast to load and full of relevant, error free content. Therefore, if your site falls short on any of these counts, it is likely to be positioned lower by the robots or ‘spiders’ search engines deploy to rank it.

Google Search Console is a useful tool you can use to help you carry out your audit. Not only does it show you how your website is currently being analysed and indexed by Google – the building blocks of ranking – but it also identifies key areas for improvement.

2. Choose the right keywords

Keywords – the words people type into a search box when looking for your products or services – are a crucial part of SEO. If the right keywords are not found on your website, search engines will not deem your website relevant to a particular search query and will rank you poorly.

Identifying keywords for your business is not a difficult task; identifying the right ones is trickier. Brainstorm, do your competitor research – try SpyFu – and use a keyword tool such as Google Keyword Planner. The more relevant and specific your keywords are to your business, the better.

Best practice is to go with long-tail keywords i.e. two, three or four word phrases that sum up your USPs. For example, instead of cafe, opt for organic cafe Melbourne. This will drive less traffic but traffic more likely to convert.

3. Create quality content

Simple, right? Well, only if you know what constitutes quality content. Content encompasses everything from text and images to video, audio and other file formats. When Google analyses your website content for indexing, it looks at a wide range of criteria to determine quality – much of this is based on its credibility and accessibility.

To rank well, ensure that your website content is easy to navigate, your text is digestible with clear headings, short paragraphs, subheads and bullets and the information you provide demonstrates your expertise and focuses on the solution your products or services offer. Include good quality images, with descriptions, and other media to add value and interest.

4. Apply your keywords effectively

Where and how you add your keywords on your website is crucial to SEO success. If you are creating quality content your keywords should appear naturally, but there are a number of key places you should be applying them to help improve your ranking:

  • Your business heading and description that appears on search engine results pages
  • The main heading and subheads on each page
  • The floating description over your images
  • The URLs on each page
  • Throughout your copy

It is important that you use your keywords intelligently. Too many and you might be penalized by the search engines for keyword stuffing, too few and you might not rank. In addition, choosing specific keyword phrases for each page will help clarify which should appear for certain queries.

5. Start or invest in a business blog

As well as favouring quality content, rich in keywords, search engines also favour websites with fresh, timely content. Whilst much of your website content may stay the same for extended periods, a company blog added to regularly – approximately 2-3 times a week – continually gives ‘spiders’ something new to index.

Getting your blog topics correct is vital. The more useful, relevant and entertaining each blog is to your customers the more it will add to the quality of your site.

To generate new blog topics you need to do your research. What are other similar companies writing about? What’s new in your business or industry? What questions do your existing customers frequently ask?

6. Instigate good quality backlinks

Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from another website to yours. Having good quality backlinks to your site is important as it gives search engines a way of measuring trust and determining authority. Put simply, if people are willing to link to your website you must have something valuable to say or offer.

Link building is an important SEO tactic, however it can also be one of the most challenging. How do you get people to link to you? This requires both clever thinking and subtle persuasion.

Some suggestions include: emailing key bloggers in your industry; submitting your website to local online directories – e.g. Google MyBusiness; asking your loyal customers or partners to link to you; and being newsworthy – i.e. offering something for free.

7. Increase your interaction with social media

How your website interacts with social media has become another important factor in SEO. High interaction has been thought to help demonstrate your relevance and popularity to search engines and therefore boost your indexing and ranking.

If you don’t have any social media sites, now’s the time to create them. Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Choose one that works for your business.

Once up and running, add links from your social media sites to your website. In addition, incorporate social media widgets to encourage ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. Finally, when you create new content, be sure to publish it on your social media pages.

8. Optimize your website for mobile

Google is beginning to favour websites that are mobile-friendly – that have the functionality to expand and contract to different screen sizes. Why? Because mobile optimized sites improve the user experience. If a person has to squint, zoom or wait for a page to load they are likely to get impatient and leave.

You can check the mobile-friendliness of your web pages using Google’s mobile-friendly tool. If your website design falls short, optimization is the next step. As this is a complicated backend process it is often best outsourcing to a professional.

Successful website SEO requires continuous effort – it is not a quick fix nor does it offer immediate results. Every tactic you employ should be carefully monitored and analysed to determine its effectiveness. If something is not working, adapt and refine it so it performs better.

The end goal? More clicks and more conversions for your business.

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7 things to consider when rebranding

“Let’s rebrand!” announces many a marketing manager in an attempt to modernise their business, stamp their mark and bring in more customers. However, rebranding is not something that should be taken lightly.

Yes it might be rewarding, but it can also be unnecessary, costly and, when done incorrectly or for the wrong reasons, outright rejected. Even the big brands are not immune to branding disasters.

So before you launch into a company rebrand, consider these 7 key things. Doing so will help ensure it is a sound business decision.

1. Your motive

Never rebrand for the sake of it – you must have a strong reason for doing so. Is there a fundamental shift in your business e.g. your product or service? Have you grown beyond your current brand? Do you need to expedite your relevance in a changing marketplace? If you are changing your company strategy, offering and therefore your audience, you have a good case for justifying rebranding.

2. Your current brand equity

Is your brand currently viewed positively or negatively? Do people identify and relate to your brand? Is it in line with expectations? If you don’t know, do your research. If many elements of your brand are still aligned to your audience, you should consider a refresh e.g. modernising visuals and tweaking your positioning, rather than a full rebrand. This way can you avoid losing loyal customers.

3. What your rebrand will look like

Before you commence on your rebranding project, it pays to have a clear direction in mind. What does your company stand for? What qualities and characteristics do you want people to think of when they hear your name? How do you want people to feel? What is your brand story? How will it evolve? Once you can answer these questions, you can start developing your new brand.

4. How to reach your new audience

Once you know what your new brand looks like, you need to consider how you will reach your new audience. How and where will they interact with your brand? What channels of communication will be the most effective in expressing and exposing your new identity? For example, if reaching out to a younger demographic, social media will be a new platform you might utilise to connect with them.

5. How you will make the transition

When making major aesthetic shifts or changing the outlook or core premise of your business, it can be a confusing process for customers, clients and staff alike. Therefore, communicating your rebrand is essential. If you don’t make your stakeholders aware of the rebrand prior to implementation and keep lines of communication open throughout, the reaction might not be so favourable.

6. Your timeline

Rebranding can be logistically taxing. Every change – from your website to your letterheads and office signage – needs to happen almost simultaneously to avoid any uncertainty caused by both your old and new brand being in circulation at the same time. However, this can be difficult. Be sure to consider your timeline in advance of roll-out and focus on critical touchpoints first.

7. The cost

Last, but certainly not least, you need to consider how much your rebrand will cost. Can you afford to rebrand effectively and to the standard you’d like? Are the estimated financial returns sufficient to justify it? Unless you have the necessary time, money and resources, and the chances of a return on investment are good, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
Only when you are sure of your reason, your new audience, your strategy for implementation, and your available means should you consider a rebrand for your business.

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5 reasons why your brochure content won’t work for your website

A common mistake people make is assuming that what works for their brochure, in terms of content, will work just as well on their website. Wrong. Reworking printed content for digital purposes may seem like a good cost saving option, but it can be very ineffective. Why? Because brochure and web content are two very different beasts.

1. Brochures are linear, websites aren’t

When a prospective customer or client picks up your brochure, they typically start at the beginning, reading left to right. There is a natural linear progression, similar to a book – the content flows from page to page.

In comparison, when a person enters your website their interactions tend to be interrupted. They start wherever a searched term or inbound link led them and they are encouraged to navigate a path based on their individual needs or preferences.

Because of this, simply inserting your current brochure content will not work. Every page of your website needs to work in its own right – encouraging action without relying on other parts of your site for reference.

2. Websites must be optimized for online success

Brochures are created for humans, not for web ‘spiders’. Therefore, brochure content only needs to be one thing: a persuasive read. To this end, writing clear, convincing copy and using appropriate images and design is enough. However, for websites, there is more to consider.

The key issue here is SEO. Web content must be search engine optimized to be effective. That means that every piece of content you create needs to contain an appropriate number of relevant ‘keywords’ to be found. This, alongside quality content, improves the visibility of your website on search engine results pages.

3. Web and brochure audiences are not the same

Who are you writing for? You might think the audience for brochures and websites is the same. In fact, although they may all be prospective customers or clients, they are being exposed to your product or services in different situations and at different stages of their decision journey. Plus, where a brochure audience may be targeted, a web audience is more general.

In addition, understanding how people interact with these two mediums is critical. For brochures, you don’t have to get to the point immediately, for websites, you do. Online you only have only seconds to attention grab, so the content must lead with the key points and be appropriately concise. Strong titles, subheads and navigational aids are essential.

4. Brochures are static and have limited scope

Once a brochure is printed or saved as a PDF its content it static – it doesn’t change. This means its two main assets – copy and images – must work hard, despite their limitations. In addition, if the brochure is to be in circulation for a while, the relevance and accuracy of the copy for that period needs to be considered.

Web content, in contrast, is dynamic. You can change and add information depending on your requirements. On top of this, websites communicate in a much more engaging way. As well as text and images, they can include a range of multimedia and interactive features such as videos and online subscription forms. This demands a new content approach.

5. Websites can withstand more calls to action

Brochure copy peppered with calls to action would likely come across as pushy, ultimately deterring potential customers. Plus you are limited in the types of actions people can make e.g. phone or email for more information. Not so for websites. Structurally, multiple calls to action are essential. You can tell people to purchase now without seeming salesy.

Because of this, brochure content on a webpage would not be anywhere near as effective. It would not have the same urgency or persuasive power as action-orientated copy with click buttons.

Create unique but consistently branded content

Brochure and web content both serve a purpose in attracting potential customers and clients, but the ways in which they communicate are very different. Although it’s important to keep your branding the same across both to maintain consistency, always create your content with your intended media firmly in mind.

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Are You Taking Good Care Of Your WordPress Website

So you have got yourself a charming WordPress website having a great UI and all the right functionalities. You have also spent some real money for its SEO to make it stand apart in this online jungle we all live in. However, even after spending a lot of money, if you have been lately noticing that visits and clicks on your website are incessantly dwindling, then this post is just for you.

We all know that WordPress is a great platform for developing awesome websites. According to a research [1] around 23 % of the top 10 million websites available on internet today have been developed on WordPress. However, despite being an amazing platform, WordPress, in a way, needs you to regularly maintain your website. You simply cannot afford the make-it-and-forget-it approach.

You are probably thinking-WHY? Okay, let’s delve a bit deeper and find out “why”.

Enriched User Interaction & Improved Performance: Everybody is interested in new. If visitors don’t find anything happening on your website, they are bound to move somewhere else. Updates keep visitors intrigued. By regularly updating the WordPress software, theme and installed plug-ins, you can keep your website look fresh all the time. Updated plug-ins greatly improve the performance of your site as they make your website respond quicker to data queries and scripts. New updates also bring some new interactive tools, which you can use to add some new charisma to overall appeal of your site.

Error Removal:  Numerous plug-ins and the software itself have some tacit bugs and functionality errors which make your website vulnerable to hacking and spamming. Moreover, bugs may ruin the overall functionality and user experience of your site. Regular updates fix these errors, saving your site from any glitch or hack attack.

Reinforced Security:  Security, in fact, is the most important reason for maintenance of your website. Being one of the largest CMS used all around the world, WordPress has always been in the crosshairs of hackers. According to statistics [2], the number of hacked WordPress websites has increased from 81,000 in 2009 to 170,000 in 2012. This rise is expected to continue with increasing popularity of WordPress. The root cause of these hacks can be divided into four segments as shown in chart below.

Source: http://www.wpwhitesecurity.com/wordpress-security-news-updates/state-of-security-of-wordpress-blogs-and-websites/

WordPress team, however, continuously work to make their platform stronger and release fixes to plug security loopholes regularly. So, you need to keep up with these updates.

Evolving Technology & Search Rankings: Web is changing at a faster pace today than ever. New software patches, new themes, new plug-ins etc. are being developed and released day in, day-out. You don’t want your website to lag behind when your competitors are giving more advanced and more enriching experience to your potential customers. Moreover, search engines love continuously updated websites as they want their users to serve best and refreshed content all the time.

Now that you have understood the “Why” part of maintaining a site, let’s concentrate on the “How” part

Clean Up: Before updating, you need to clean up what you already have. You need to weed out the obsolete plug-ins, which at times, slow down your site. Similarly, cleaning out the junk from your website’s database also helps your website to run quickly. Faster loading improves the performance of your website. You can also install a cache plug-in such as Super Cache that decreases your site’s loading time considerably.

Back Up:  Back up is like your insurance policy for the rainy day. Take multiple time-spaced copies of all your files as back up. Do it as often as possible or at least 2 times a year. Back up is the first thing to do before running your updates or doing any kind of maintenance. Some hosting companies offer automatic backup facility or you can install third-party plug-ins to do that.

Update: As mentioned before, updating WordPress, themes, and plug-in files are crucial. You can select auto-update feature for the WordPress core if you don’t want the hassle of doing it manually.

Plug-in bugs are responsible for around 22% of hacking2 (see the graph above!). As most of the WordPress plug-ins are developed by independent people, you need to check whether a plug-in you intend to install has been developed by a renowned developer or not and whether enough active installs for it are there or not. Plug-ins may need to be updated with every WordPress update. Do install an update for plug-ins when it is prompted in your dashboard.

Similarly, you should only choose a theme that has been developed by a trusted company. Malicious themes are a major contributor (29%)2 in hacking. Install theme updates whenever they are due.

Test Functionality: Keep on regularly checking how your website renders on different browsers as browsers are themselves regularly updated. Similarly, you should keep on checking navigation from every link on your website. Broken links are very frustrating for a user. Nobody wants to land on a 404 page.

Check Security: Periodic security review of your website is almost as important as updations. You must have a visual check on random pages of your website for any unusual inserted text or image. Similarly, you need to check whether all the links are directing where they are supposed to. Meta description of all your indexed pages must also be checked regularly. You can also install a security plug-in such as Wordfence that continuously scans threats and hacking attempts on your site.

Maintenance tasks may seem overwhelming at first, but as it is inculcated in your routine, you will notice that it’s not that big a deal. However, if you are routinely noticing unwanted customization on your site or loss of functionality, it is better to approach professionals for help.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WordPress

[2] http://www.wpwhitesecurity.com/wordpress-security-news-updates/state-of-security-of-wordpress-blogs-and-websites/

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Where Will Your Website Rank After April 21 ?

Google recently announced that it is expanding its use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. From April 21 2015, Google’s ranking factors will label whether your site is mobile-friendly, and then use this information to determine where your site will rank in search results.

This change will affect mobile searches worldwide and have a significant impact on ranking. In short, this means that mobile-friendly sites will rank high on the search list – those that aren’t could free fall into the dead zone.

This is arguably the biggest change Google has made and is not something anyone with a website can avoid or ignore.

Ray Giridharan and the team from Total Marketing have been busy getting their customer’s sites mobile-friendly ready. ‘We want our clients to maintain their Google ranking status and ensure their websites are still performing to the highest standard,’ said Ray. ‘Making sure your website is mobile-friendly is more important than it’s ever been.’

To ensure your site is ‘Mobilegeddon Ready’, Total Marketing are offering a ‘Google Mobile Optimisation Package’ starting at just $600 for WordPress sites.

With 21 April on a short time away, it’s critical you and your website is ready for this change.

Call Ray on 0433399294

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Australian Versus UK Versus US Content Marketing

Content marketing is booming! It was one of the big buzz words for 2012 and this has carried forth into 2014 and beyond. Although for all of the hullabaloo, is it really worth the effort? Is it actually working for Aussie businesses? And if not, then what can you do to vamp up your content marketing efforts and take your brand recognition to the next level.

 

What is content marketing?

In case you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, content marketing is the use of content, i.e. blog posts, infographics, images, webinars, e-newsletters, video and so on to pique the interest of your audience. These are targeted and well timed communications that are generally part of a broader measurable marketing strategy. They are relevant and interesting to the end-user and aren’t merely advertising communications that operate out of a vacuum and talk ‘at’ people. Instead they form a part of a broader two-way conversation and an interchange. This aims to build up brand recognition, brand reputation and to foster long term relationships with customers online. This strong, trusting relationship between the end-user and brand develops ultimately into sales.

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The Content Marketing Institute’s Report

A recent report by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and ADMA had some interesting and mixed findings. It seems that a lot of Australian companies and marketers use content marketing (96%). This is much higher than their counterparts in the UK and USA. Although despite the prevalence, only 29% of them consider the content marketing to be effective. So why is this so? Read on to find out the report take-aways and how to select the right content marketer for your business.

 

1. Aussies Use Content Marketing for Brand Awareness

In fact we can’t get enough of it. In Australia almost every marketer uses content to communicate with consumers. 98% of B2B marketers and 89% of B2C marketers. This compares to 95% in the UK and 91% in the US.

The report indicates that in Australia brand awareness is the most important goal in 75% of B2B cases. Whereas in B2C the most important goal for content marketing is retention and customer loyalty, 80% of the time.

This contrasts markedly with the US and UK, where brands tend to use content marketing to drive traffic to their website.

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2. Aussie marketers outsource content

57% of the time, Australian marketers get content created from a freelance outsourced content marketer. This is higher than in the UK (55%) and in the US (45%). Reasons for this could include greater freedom to focus on other business critical tasks and also less risk for the business by using contractors.

Funnily enough, it’s the big companies of 1000+ employees that tend to outsource, whereas the micro businesses of less than 10 people tend to attempt the content marketing themselves rather than outsource it to a specialist.

 

3. Australian businesses are allocating a higher budget for content marketing

Aussie businesses invest heavily in great content. In terms of the total marketing budget, Australian businesses allocate 25% of all marketing budgets to content, with B2B allocating slightly more compared to B2C companies. The Aussies and British businesses are looking to increase their content marketing budgets (61%) and (64%) respectively. In contrast, the Americans don’t have any plans to increase their content marketing budgets in the next 12 months.

 

4. The most popular content marketing tactics

Australian businesses use a diverse range of content marketing tactics, although the most popular are blog posts and web articles (88%), social media interaction (83%), eNewsletters (82%). Although despite this, the tactic that ranked the most effective was in-person events and seminars. 76% of Australian marketers agreed that this was the most effective and personable way of communicating with customers. Other popular methods for engagement are research reports (59%) and mobile content (58%).

Falling out of favour by some marketers are games, virtual conferences and podcasts. These are deemed to be ineffective at reaching an audience. The biggest discrepancy between Australia, the UK and US is in how we see webinars and webcasts. These are rated relatively low (47%) compared to the American and British, who rated these tactics at over 60%.

content marketing tactics
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5. The big content challenges

The big obstacles to creating great content are

  • Producing engaging content (53%)
  • Producing the right volume of content, not too much or too little (51%)
  • Not having the right budget (43%),
  • Producing the right mix of content (41%)
  • Inability to measure content effectiveness (36%)

big content challenges
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6. Aussie marketers snub Instagram and Tumblr

Despite their relative popularity in other parts of the world, Instagram and Tumblr aren’t favoured by Australian marketers. They instead prefer Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular social platforms for sending out content marketing. Facebook ranks at 71%, followed by Twitter (67%) and Linked In (67%). This is followed by YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest with 57%, 38% and 21% respectively. Tumblr and Instagram are almost never used in Australia for content marketing, only attracting 10% and 2% of marketers respectively.

 

7. Tips for optimising content marketing strategy

  • Create diverse types of content and use many different tactics
  • Allocate a bigger share of your budget to content marketing
  • Use more social media platforms to distribute content
  • Tailor your content and ensure that it’s relevant to your target audience

 

Find out more about marketing strategy by speaking with the experts, Total Marketing Australia. We can help you.

 

References

https://econsultancy.com/blog/62530-analysis-australian-content-marketing-vs-uk-and-us

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Ten Marketing Hacks for Creating Dynamite E-newsletters

Email marketing has long been overlooked or written off as a primary way of communicating with one’s target audience. With the advent of incredibly thorough email sorting algorithms in gmail and other email clients, it has become increasingly harder for marketers to reach their audience through email. Although all is not lost. There are ways to optimise your email marketing strategy to ensure that it gets read by your key audience. And also that you have an effective and air-tight email to go out. Here are some of the key important things to remember when planning your email marketing campaign.

1. Timing is everything

Key take-aways from a recent eConsultancy webinar were based on the data from 9 billion Mailchimp emails –yes you read that correctly, 9 billion. Emails that are sent over the weekend have a much higher click-through rate compared to emails sent during the weekdays. Also, unsubscribe rates tend to peak on a Tuesday. Presumably people are grumbling and upset that the working week has only just started and so get trigger-happy so to speak. The same goes for both B2B and B2C emails.

Along with this, you should consider sending eNewsletters in the early morning. The Mailchimp survey revealed that click-throughs peak between 6 – 7 am (local time). Unsubscribes also peak in the morning and peak late in the evening when readership presumably nods off.

timing is everything
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2. Optimise for mobile

Email marketing surveys indicate that 80% of email recipients read their emails on mobile devices. So it’s important to not alienate these readers by providing eDMs that are unable to be read on mobile devices or aren’t optimised for small screens.

3. Hyperlink often

It is also critical to include relevant links in your e-newsletter. According to the eConsultancy webinar, it’s important to use loads of relevant links to your website or social media. This directly correlates to a higher click-through rate. Data also demonstrates that the no. of unsubscribes also falls as the number of links increase in the email, possibly because the unsubscribe link is harder to find.

messages in tunnel
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4. Avoid spam words

Have a look in your spam box for the common trigger words that are often the catalyst for being black-listed into the spam folder.

5. Create continuity

It’s important to serialise or categorise your regular email correspondence. So Newsletter 1: October 2014, Newsletter 2: October 2014. You get our drift. This makes it easier for recipients to archive, keep or search for your emails when necessary.

6. Send them regularly

When you send out e-newsletters once in a blue moon, recipients will feel confused and often unsubscribe straight away, as they don’t recognise your correspondence. Instead focus on sending regular emails once per week or once a fortnight instead of once a month.

7. Your newest subscribers are your best

There are benefits to nabbing new subscribers. They are more likely to click-through and read the entire email and they are less likely to unsubscribe.

8. Give your subscribers special offers

This is an important one. By offering the occasional incentive you ensure that people aren’t going to unsubscribe. They are going to stay abreast of your news if you offer them a reason for doing so.

important message
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9. Ask people to subscribe, not share

Anybody who receives a shared e-newsletter probably won’t read it. Also, social sharing means that it is one-off interaction. A much more effective way is to ask people to follow you on social media and subscribe to your blog or newsletter. This ensures that you are building a much more sustainable and long-term relationship.

10. Tips for e-newsletter copy

Make it scannable and keep it brief and succinct. Nobody really properly reads their emails anymore. They scan because they have so many other more pressing things they should be doing. In order to make writing scannable write in the following way:

  • write in short sentences and statements.
  • Use shorter paragraphs and highlight key points in bold.
  • Don’t overdo the bold type as this will overwhelm the reader, use this sparingly.
  • Use only one idea per paragraph
  • Use bullet point lists but keep each point to one sentence or one line and nothing more.
  • Succinctly and briefly outline your idea in a statement instead of a long sentence or paragraph. This will make it much more likely to be read.

e-newsletter tips
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Total Marketing Australia specialise in creating complete 360° marketing campaigns for businesses. This includes email marketing that is compelling and interesting. In the lead up to EOFY now is a fantastic time to consider a dynamite email marketing campaign to engage with your clients and bring in new business. Speak with Total Marketing Australia to find out more today!

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How to Launch Absolutely Anything

Test the Market

Begin by dipping your toes into the water; even while you only have a rough outline for the product or service. At this early point, you need to establish yourself with online communities, industry think-tanks and key influencers. Do market research by looking at competitors websites, their product offerings and target audience. Then try to identify any gaps in the market. How can you do things differently from your competition?

Take an Inventory

Similar to a camping trip, you should make sure you have all of the right supplies before you embark on the exciting launch. In terms of marketing, after your preliminary preparations, you should take an inventory of every connection, blog post, recommendation, subscriber list or anything else of value to the launch.

Even if you’re starting with a small financial budget, you may have 180 blog subscribers, 520 Twitter followers, 1,010 Facebook fans. If so, lucky you! This will all be a powerful way to get the word out. It’s a different kind of currency that’s just as valuable to your success as money.


Source:http://pixabay.com/en/puzzle-play-puzzle-piece-particles-97544/

Teach What You Know

Set the pivotal and all-important launch date some time in the future. The further you can push this, the more time you have to work on building your reputation now. A key part of the launch process is reputation building. The best way to do this is to teach what you know. This may sound ludicrous, but it’s not. Essentially, you have special knowledge and key insights into your product or service. So you should actively show this off. A word of caution – this doesn’t mean blatant self promotion. Nothing is more repulsive than a person clearly on a sales mission!

Offer training articles, how-to articles, blog posts and webinars for free in the lead up to the launch. This builds your profile as a thought-leader and guru in your field, before you push the launch button.

This may sound counter-intuitive in terms of making money. However, it’s the giving away for free of information to a captivated audience, that will make this audience eager to part their with money, as soon as you give them the opportunity.

Create a Landing Page or Microsite

A few months prior to the big ‘kaboom’ moment of launch, you should invest in a microsite or landing page that is dedicated to the product or service. This will contain all relevant information about the benefits of the product/service, your contact information, and the offer in simple terms. Don’t overcomplicate this microsite with too much information, colours or busy design. However, you need to make it compelling enough for the site visitors to want more. The most important aspect of your microsite will be an email opt-in form. This makes it easier to execute the next phase – email marketing in the lead up to the launch.

Share, Curate and Blog

Once the microsite has gone live, it’s important to promote it on social media and on your extensive industry connections. Create conversations with people on social media about related topics and blog profusely about the product or services you offer. In terms of email subscribers, make sure that you email them at least once a week, to create anticipation in the lead up to the launch.

You should also give your subscribers access to at least three posts per month, that are relevant to your product or service and provide real value to them (not sales spin). You must keep the email subscriber list hot with access to new information. Letting the list to go cold with a lack of new posts, is the sure-fire way to get your email filtered into the spam mailbox, before the launch date.

Here’s a brilliant TED talk by Rachel Botsman, about how sharing information through technology can transform your business and improve your reputation.


Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_botsman_the_case_for_collaborative_consumption.html

The Big Bang

Get the support of key influencers in the industry, media contacts, friends, fans, subscribers and other associates whom you have met along the way. Do this by promising them VIP access to the product or service after launch date. Invite the media to profile you and your project. Remember to have all of your logistical and technical elements in place for the launch date.

In terms of an online service or e-commerce site, by this stage you should have a fully functional website, buyer journey and a shopping cart ready for action. Along with this, have a fully fledged social media response unit ready, to field any questions or queries in relation to the product or service.


Source: http://pixabay.com/en/cape-canaveral-florida-launch-pad-92191/

Total Marketing Australia wish you all the best with the launch of your product or service. We understand that there’s a lot more than meets the eye, to launching a new business or product. That’s why we offer comprehensive end-to-end support with online marketing, search marketing, web design, email and content marketing, along with a proven success rate. Speak with Total Marketing Australia today!

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Four Online Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014

Trend 1:  A Lack of Direction From Ad Agencies

According to online marketing gurus eConsultancy, there’s a big yawning gap between a coordinated marketing efforts and results. A report recently issued by the Australian Cross Channel Marketing Report showed of 200 businesses surveyed, 57% felt that ad agencies lacked a clear online marketing strategy.  According to them, this was the main reason that their campaign wasn’t working. Other reasons CEO’s pointed out were: a low budget (42%) and poor technology capabilities (38%).

It’s crucial to create an air tight internet marketing campaign that will take your business to the next level. A ripper marketing strategy should contain all of the following elements.

The Right Mindset: Your business vision, brand values and the marketing plan should all be  working in alignment. In future posts, we will be exploring how to align your marketing plan with your brand in a more in-depth way.

The Right Tools: Address all of the key technical aspects of your internet marketing strategy. It should fit together, like tiles in a giant mosaic mural. Elements such as domain registration and hosting, email marketing, copywriting, graphic and web design, paid search marketing like PPC should be seamlessly integrated. The whole is greater than a sum of its parts in this case.

A Compelling Value Proposition: Work out how your offering is going to be valuable for your clients, as opposed to what’s currently out there. This is where market research is crucial for assessing what competitors are offering. Without a level of differentiation, the plan won’t work.

Cross-Reference, Measure, Adapt:  Equally crucial is the measurement of your online marketing strategy and subsequent adjustments that you make to the plan, this will help it to thrive in the long term.


Source: http://pixabay.com/en/tiger-and-turtle-duisburg-52691/

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that! For comprehensive and intensive help with building a formidable web marketing strategy, speak with Total Marketing Australia. We offer a customised marketing plan that’s completely affordable and effective.

Trend 2:  The Rise and Rise of E-Commerce in Australia

Did you know that by 2017, Ecommerce will account for 10% of all Australian sales both online and offline? That explains why traditional bricks and mortar shops like Myer and David Jones are gathering a mighty presence online. Aussies are increasingly spending more via internet marketing channels. By the end of 2013, it’s estimated that the Aussie average shopper will spend $1,750 online per year. It’s never been a better time to get an e-commerce website.

Work Around:  Firstly, assess whether or not your business is viable for an e-commerce or online shop roll out. Some particular businesses need an offline approach. If you need a responsive and mobile friendly e-commerce website, then Total Marketing Australia can help with that.

If you want to get some inspiration about how to make your ideas catch on like wildfire, take a couple of minutes to watch online marketing guru Seth Godin in this TED talk. 


Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

Trend 3: Monetising Mobile 

According to a recent report from Econsultancy, 72% of businesses reported a 10% increase in mobile traffic (an increase of 52% on 2012). These are promising figures for businesses looking to expand into the mobile website arena. This is where the vast majority of retailers aren’t yet fully realising sales. The moral of the story is, it’s the perfect time to build a mobile app or e-commerce site that’s mobile friendly. Doing this would be taking a giant leap ahead of the competition in 2014.

Work Around: Speak with Total Marketing Australia about getting an engaging and powerful mobile app, that will facilitate e-commerce on mobile devices. We can create robust mobile friendly websites and e-commerce sites, that make it easy to monetise your business for mobile users.

Trend 4: The Loss of Faith in Ad Agencies

When a bunch of CEOs of global companies were asked about how their ad agencies were faring, 76% weren’t too complimentary. They felt that ad agencies were too opportunistic and didn’t focus on real quantifiable results. 70% of CEOs surveyed, said that big agencies tended to focus more on technicalities like not getting paid on time, to justify not delivering good results.

Work Around: Total Marketing Australia have a highly skilled and talented team who are adamant about metrics and trackable results for our internet marketing campaigns. We also have low overheads due to our virtual office location. We create incredibly affordable and intricate marketing campaigns that don’t cost the earth.  Speak with us today!


Source: http://pixabay.com/en/pressure-degree-equipment-16691/

References

”Australian businesses say lack of strategy is main barrier to co-ordinated marketing campaigns”, Econsultancy. David Moth. 17th July, 2013. http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/63093-australian-businesses-say-lack-of-strategy-is-main-barrier-to-co-ordinated-marketing-campaigns

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Six Ways to Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence

Given that around 1.4 billion people are using social media as of 2012 (eMarketer), it nolonger makes any sense for businesses to ignore the importance of social media. No matter what part of the social media journey you’re on, just starting out or a veteran – there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, here’s ten ways to ramp up your social media presence.

1. Choose Your Social Media Platforms Wisely

If you’re running a corporate business consultancy, there’s probably not much point being on Facebook. Likewise if you’re running a largely B2B enterprise. Your organisation would be better off on LinkedIn. However, if you are running a B2C enterprise where the end user is the consumer, then Facebook makes complete sense. This is where consumers spend a lot of time interacting with consumer brands.  As a general rule, if you are a visually-oriented field such as design, photography, art, food, fashion or travel – then platforms geared for visual triggers and sharing like Tumblr, Flickr and Pinterest might be for you. Twitter is suitable for any business that requires fast moving interactivity and conversation about products or services. That’s why banks, news agencies and transport companies tend to have a strong presence and following on Twitter.


Source: http://pixabay.com/en/facebook-system-network-news-140903/

 

2. Keep Content Timely, Newsworthy and Visual  

We can define newsworthy content as being what the audience wants to hear about. So for example, if you were running a home décor company, then you would profile some fashionable trends in lounge furniture this year.

Also important is timeliness. Create a calendar of relevant holidays, seasons and key dates for the general population and the industry. Integrate these into your content as well. In this case, write about trends in lounge furniture that make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift! Or track down the birth date of the person who invented the chesterfield sofa, and offer a competition on that day.

Don’t be afraid to ask your fans what they enjoy hearing about. Social media is a conversation not a one way street. Finally, keep the ratio of pictures and videos high – social media is predominantly visual.

3. Tell a Compelling Story

With the time line functionality of many social media platforms such as Facebook, it’s become easier to showcase the bigger picture of your business, including milestones in the company history, employees, changes and innovations and community activities. All of this can be great publicity for your business and be a compelling story on social media.

In this TED talk, grand daddy of online marketing, Seth Godin talks about how social media has sounded the death knell of mass marketing and signifies a shift in power towards tribes of ordinary people with dispersed passions and interests.



http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html

4. Be Authentic

When interacting on social media, make sure that you use a tone of voice that’s appropriate for the interaction. This isn’t a place for stiff boardroom professionalism.  Think of the community you’re dealing with, as being your friend’s friend. You would be friendly, warm and yet polite and respectful. The key to being social media savvy, is truly listening to what the community says and learning from it. The key is being a real person and not a cardboard cut out.


Source: http://pixabay.com/en/alphabet-doughnuts-love-facebook-94828/

 

5. Treat Social Media As An Arm of Customer Service

Social Media nowadays is becoming more and more important to the daily running of organisations and small businesses. The more that you make your presence visible on social media, the more likely that your customers will find and interact with you there. After all, it’s cheaper and quicker than a phone call and it’s also publicly visible.

There is a risky part of social media for businesses. If a complaint or gripe goes unanswered, it will reflect badly on that business in terms of customer service. So always stay vigilant on social media and have a polite, helpful and useful response ready. Don’t be tempted to be apathetic or less than helpful – as you’re responding on a public forum, this will only have a negative impact on the brand’s image.

6. Measure Your Impact

There’s no use in having a social media presence without measurement, to ensure that it’s effective. Use Google Analytics and third party applications to track and measure your performance across time frames and with different campaigns. Only then can you accurately gauge the success of your social media campaign.

Effective social media marketing can be a lot more tricky than meets the eye. For comprehensive advice on how to improve your presence on social media, speak with Total Marketing Australia today!


Source: http://pixabay.com/en/ball-networks-internet-network-142738/

Here’s a TED Talk by Alexis Ohanian of Reddit who tells a hillarious story about how a popular internet meme of a whale called Mr. Splashy Pants helped Greenpeace to halt the Japanese Whaling industry, all done via the power of social media sharing and virality.

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