Brochures that Don’t Put Customers to Sleep

brochure1 (1)Attention marketing managers and small business owners: 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.

Understanding the Basics of Keyword Research and Content Creation

One of the great things about SEO is all the fun new tools that are constantly springing up. In chasing the new, however, we can’t neglect the tried-and-true basics of keyword research and content creation. It’s a good idea to regularly revisit these skills to hone and enhance them.

George Aspland, founder and President of eVision, has put together a fantastic “Back to Basics” article on the subject: Back To Basics: Getting Started With Keyword Research & Content Creation

The Five Pillars of Small Business Marketing

Times are tough for small businesses, and everyone’s looking for ways to escape that struggle and carve out a share of the market. Many are looking to “branding” as a nebulous saviour; however, branding can only be accomplished once other marketing pillars are defined.

Patrick Giammarco, social media coach and owner of PWG Marketing offers a little clarity on this topic. He delineates the five pillars of marketing: strategy, differentiation, positioning, branding, and marketing communications.

Our takeaway: don’t let your branding initiatives drive your strategy.

The Top 5 Factors for Better Google Rankings (Allegedly!)

“Some guy told me I need to put a Google search box on my site and have a 5% keyword density on each page if I want to get on the first page of Google…”

Really? You’ve got to be very careful whose advice you trust when it comes to SEO. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, much of it highly speculative or woefully out-of-date.

(BTW, my two most trusted and useful sources of SEO information are Dan Thies and Jill Whalen.)

The only people who really know how Google works are the folks at Google, and they ain’t telling.

But the next best source of infomation is SEOmoz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors survey. Every couple of years SEOmoz surveys the world’s top SEO experts to gauge their opinions on what factors are most important in achieving top Google rankings.

So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Ranking Factors from the 2009 survey:

  1. Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links – 73% very high importance
  2. External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links) – 71% very high importance
  3. Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains) – 67% very high importance
  4. Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag – 66% very high importance
  5. Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.) – 66% very high importance

See all ranking factors here

There are two important points to note:

  1. Links are the most important piece of the SEO puzzle (in case you didn’t know already).
  2. On-page factors such as keyword usage, title tags, meta descriptsions, etc., while essential, will only take you so far.