Brochures that Don’t Put Customers to Sleep

Marketing managers, beware of using the same tired format for your company’s brochures. Jonathan Kranz, author of Copywriting for Dummies, has come up with eight ideas for livening up a brochure and making it into something your customers will appreciate and even enjoy.

Because a brochure is meant to help make sales, Kranz suggests adding value and increasing interest by going beyond the boilerplate ingredients such as company history, mission statements and dry descriptions of products and services.

Transforming your brochure into a magazine
Create content in the form of articles and features that highlight your product’s selling points in journalistic fashion. Use the articles to show how your company is better able to serve your customers. Use glossy paper and full colour photos to mimic a magazine.

Highlight your value to consumers
Because potential customers are your primary brochure audience, create customer-focused copy. (Sounds obvious I know, but few companies actually do it.) Fill the brochure with real problems and present your products or services as the solution.

Provoke the customer to action
The world’s finest brochure is missing a key element if it fails to give a customer a reason to respond. Always tell the customer to get in touch, and include contact information. Kranz also notes that using incentives such as “a discount, a premium, a free analysis” can help to elicit a response from a customer who’s in decision-mode.

Why You Should Pay Attention to “Natural” SEO

Recently, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz gave a presentation for SEO newbies at the YCombinator SEO event and posted an online summary of his talk.

A key takeaway for business owners is the fact that you don’t have to be a gigantic organisation to succeed at SEO. In fact, the marketers who are most adaptable to the ever changing rules of search engine ranking can actually compete and win against big competitors.

Another thing to be aware of is getting the vast majority of your website traffic from Google. Because Google changes their PageRank algorithm so frequently, a website that relies on Google for the bulk of their traffic could face trouble if their rankings take a sudden dive due to an algorithm change.

Rand suggests taking a closer look at “natural” sources of SEO, such as forwarded emails, Tweets, Facebook links, and more.

Taking the steps to integrate real people into the traffic process, including links posted by bloggers, members of the media and enthusiastic forum posters, actually helps give your site more credibility in the eyes of Google.

Any site that ignores the value of “natural” SEO could eventually face unpleasant and intense scrutiny from search engines, which may result in penalties that equal major traffic losses.

Why You Should Pay Attention to “Natural” SEO

Recently, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz gave a presentation for SEO newbies at the YCombinator SEO event and posted an online summary of his talk.

A key takeaway for business owners is the fact that you don’t have to be a gigantic organisation to succeed at SEO. In fact, the marketers who are most adaptable to the ever changing rules of search engine ranking can actually compete and win against big competitors.

Another thing to be aware of is getting the vast majority of your website traffic from Google. Because Google changes their PageRank algorithm so frequently, a website that relies on Google for the bulk of their traffic could face trouble if their rankings take a sudden dive due to an algorithm change.

Rand suggests taking a closer look at “natural” sources of SEO, such as forwarded emails, Tweets, Facebook links, and more.

Taking the steps to integrate real people into the traffic process, including links posted by bloggers, members of the media and enthusiastic forum posters, actually helps give your site more credibility in the eyes of Google.

Any site that ignores the value of “natural” SEO could eventually face unpleasant and intense scrutiny from search engines, which may result in penalties that equal major traffic losses.

How to Leverage Other People’s Websites to get More Traffic

I recently came across an article by website marketing consultant Cathy Goodwin on attracting more targeted traffic with copywriting. One of her more offbeat suggestions was to “post compelling content in unexpected places”.

She suggests leaving related comments on other people’s blog posts. Make sure to choose websites and posts that closely correspond to the topic of your website and always make a quality contribution to the conversation.

In addition, she also notes that creating topically-related Squidoo lenses that link to your main website is a quick and creative way to generate additional traffic to your site, due to the fact that the Squidoo.com domain has such good rankings in search engines and receives so many visitors

Finally she recommends writing book reviews for relevant books at online bookstores such as Amazon.com. This is a great way for professional services firms to position themselves as experts where potentials clients will be congregating. David Meerman Scott has also written a blog post, Amazon as social networking, on this topic.

What’s the Best Font for Your Website Content?

FontWhen I worked at a publishing company my boss always insisted the graphic designer use serif fonts (Times New Roman was one of his favourites) for the body text in all our documents and publications.

Why? Because serif fonts are easier to read on the printed page.

But it’s a whole different ballgame online. That’s because computer screens have lower resolution than printed paper, which make serif fonts harder to read.

In an informative blog post copywriting maven Bob Bly gave a run down on which fonts are best for online marketing:

For websites use a popular serif font such as Helvetica, Arial or, my preferred font, Verdana. Use at least 12-point type.

Headlines should be two or more point sizes bigger than the body text. Arial Bold or Impact are good font choices for headlines.

Email is best written in 12-point Arial or Verdana.

I would add that it’s important to have good contrast between the text and background. Black text on a white background is the best combination in my opinion.

Read Bob’s full post here:
The Best Typefaces to Use Online

How Can You Turn Blog Subscribers into Customers?

If you’re running a business blog, a huge part of your strategy should be conversion. According to Chris Hexton, co-founder of Vero, it only takes three simple steps to get your audience on the conversion train. In his recent article on the Unbounce blog, Chris outlines his three practical ideas for setting up a marketing campaign designed to bring in readers who soon become paying customers.

Content Do’s and Don’ts From a Website Design Expert

These days, the layout and design of a website plays a huge role in whether or not visitors to your website stay long enough to get a good grasp of the product or service being sold.

Mike Smith at WDL recently discussed 20 ways to increase web design effectiveness. Even though the WDL website focuses primarily on the technical/visual side of web design, considerable focus was given to the actual site content, and business owners should take notice of these insights.

One area that was particularly pressing is the use of keywords. Though many website owners now realise it’s very important to make sure the text of their websites are search engine optimised, Mike stressed that keyword stuffing is highly unprofessional and makes for unattractive websites.

Working with awkward keywords can be frustrating. It takes practice and patience to make those long tail phrases read naturally. But once you can do this with finesse, your website’s value to the readers increases exponentially.

Last, but not least, Smith cautions website owners to stick to the point – and don’t stop at your articles, landing pages and sales letters. Every page of content needs to be honed for maximum effectiveness. He says: “Choosing the right words for sign up buttons, page headings, navigation items and calls to action can be the difference between 50% sign up rate and a 90% sign up rate.”

Content Do’s and Don’ts from a Website Design Expert

These days, the layout and design of a website plays a huge role in whether or not visitors to your website stay long enough to get a good grasp of the product or service being sold.

Mike Smith at WDL recently discussed 20 ways to increase web design effectiveness. Even though the WDL website focuses primarily on the technical/visual side of web design, considerable focus was given to the actual site content, and business owners should take notice of these insights.

One area that was particularly pressing is the use of keywords. Though many website owners now realise it’s very important to make sure the text of their websites are search engine optimised, Mike stressed that keyword stuffing is highly unprofessional and makes for unattractive websites.

Working with awkward keywords can be frustrating. It takes practice and patience to make those long tail phrases read naturally. But once you can do this with finesse, your website’s value to the readers increases exponentially.

Last, but not least, Smith cautions website owners to stick to the point – and don’t stop at your articles, landing pages and sales letters. Every page of content needs to be honed for maximum effectiveness. He says: “Choosing the right words for sign up buttons, page headings, navigation items and calls to action can be the difference between 50% sign up rate and a 90% sign up rate.”

– See more at: http://www.text-centric.com/blog/2010/06/01/content-dos-and-donts-from-a-website-design-expert/#sthash.ulbNK0jx.dpuf