Blog

Competency and Best Copywriting

Best copywriting is like having a competent salesperson working on behalf of your business, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The same can be said for the content that you create for your website, guest posts, and social media channels, provided that it’s developed with selling in mind. Understanding the basics of effective copywriting helps drive the creation of a content marketing strategy which helps you achieve your business goals.

Best Copywriting

This happens in two ways. First, by putting persuasion techniques into play with your content, you’re connecting your best copywriting or content to your business goals. Second, by closely tying the content that you create to your sales funnel, you’re developing assets that support both the online and in-person sales process in a meaningful way. Here’s a general framework and some practical tips to help you sell better through your content generation efforts.

A closer look at the sales funnel and Best Copywriting

If you’re already familiar with the concept of the sales funnel, consider this a refresher. Many people in the content creation space or who are looking at developing their content strategies for the first time find it helpful to revisit the core concepts behind the sales funnel. Understand each of the steps along the way from an initial thought about a product to making a purchase. You’ll naturally derive creative ideas for content that attracts leads, nurtures relationships, and drives conversions.

The idea behind the funnel is simple. Each person moves from a space of never having heard of your product or brand to buying from you. Along that journey, there are several touch points, decisions, or potential moments of influence that good salespeople try to leverage. The funnel happens in every business, but it’s most commonly understood within the context of B2B sales.

Usually, a prospect begins a process by trying to solve a problem or fulfill a desire. On the consumer side, they may be looking to lose weight, find a date, or identify the best speaker system for their iPhone. On the business side, they may be searching for a marketing coach, an SEO agency, or a software package that simplifies their accounting efforts or increases the power of their customer relationship management capabilities. Whether they hear about your brand or begin to research solutions, they now have moved into the research phase.

The length and depth of the research phase varies, by prospect, product, and the size of the sale when it comes to best copywriting. Suffice to say that in general, buyers are seeking to understand the boundaries of the purchase, what criteria is important, and what options are on the market. They may be clarifying key factors such as budget or proximity, and narrowing down their options to what they can afford (or think that they can afford).
Recommended by Forbes

A narrower list of options emerges, and your prospects may go more in-depth on their research. If you’ve made it to the short list, this is where they really begin to scrutinize your products and your brand. They might read your website, case studies, or online reviews and comparisons and this is where it is important to have the best copywriting. Some customers will reach out to your company and open a dialogue or ask specific questions. Buyers then make the emotional decision to move ahead with the purchase.

The funnel for every company, and even every product, is slightly different. In some cases, the research phase takes months. In other instances, what you get is a micro version of the process that I just described that’s over in fifteen minutes. In either case, it’s important to spend the time to get to know your own buying cycles, and make content strategy choices that support those. Your goal is to create content that fulfills the prospect’s need at each step of the journey and encourages them to take action and move to the next step. Below, I’m going to explore a content strategy development process that’s tied to steps in a general sales funnel. As always, adapt these recommendations to your own specific needs.

1. Understand your audience

The key to moving a prospect along the sales funnel begins with understanding your audience and customers. Who is buying your product? What’s their story? Is there a specific issue, need, or pressing problem that brought them to your door? Uncovering this central motivation is critical to developing effective best copywriting and content later during the sales process. There are specific steps that you can take to help you do this:

Create a demographic overview of your core customer base. What does a typical customer look like for you in terms of gender, marital status, age, income, geographic location, employment, and similar points?

Develop a more in-depth picture of their hobbies and habits. Where does this person spend time? What do they read? Where do they hang out on the internet? What keywords do they search for?

Focus in on buying behaviors. Is this person an occasional buyer that spends on big ticket items?

Frequent online shopper?

Deep researcher or impulse buyer?

Do they buy on credit and go into debt, or are they focused on delayed gratification (e.g. saving for that vacation of a lifetime)?

The more you understand their buyer profile, the more you’ll be able to trigger the behaviors that you want them to take.

Once you’ve developed a holistic view of your customers, you’ll be able to quickly identify prospects. You’ll also be able to test any idea against this profile, and quickly decide whether or not that content would help you to convince them to buy your product. It’s also helpful in the process of brainstorming content ideas. Once you start imagining this person, you’ll find it easy to spin out your best copywriting and content ideas that would capture their interest.

2. Assess your publishing channels

Many writers and business people craft the blog posts or articles first, and then look to find homes for them. I advocate a different approach; think strategically about where you want to publish your content before you go about creating it.

There are two main reasons for this:

By targeting your content to channels, you’ll increase the chances of publication and limit wasted time creating content that doesn’t get picked up.
A smart channel strategy focuses on publishing your content on outlets that your prospects and customers pay attention to.

A best copywriting and content strategy that makes a clear link between where your content is published and where your audience spends time will be a success. It’s worth taking the time to understand several aspects of your prospects’ or customers’ content consumption including:

What kind of information that they go looking for?

How they use content consumption – as the basis for education, entertainment, discussion purposes, etc…

What types of information they like to consume in terms of platform – video, audio, visual such as infographics, long written such as a full newsletter, or short form like a blog post.

The general tone or voice of what they like to read or watch (for example, is it authoritative like CNN or informal like I Can Has Cheezburger?)
What brands, platforms, and approaches they trust

The more you understand about these issues on a fundamental level, the smarter the choices you’ll make regarding building your platform.

3. Choose topics tied to business goals

There are a number of different ways to choose topics for your content strategy. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Evergreen topics related to your industry (“Is Email Marketing Right for My Non-Profit?”)
  • Your customers’ most frequently asked questions (“How Do I Choose An Accounting Software Package?”)
  • Hot topics and developing trends in your industry (“The Ten Latest Trends in Prefabricated Agricultural Buildings”)
  • How to’s and tutorials (“How to Repair Your Own Frayed Jeans”)
  • Commentaries on the news and current events (“The Best Strategies to Recover From Google’s Latest Updates”)
  • Top 5 or Top 10 lists that highlight a specific insight or area (“5 Strategies for Creating Leadership Opportunities for Your Administrative Staff”)
  • Bringing insights from another discipline or domain and looking at what it teaches you about your own area of expertise (“What The Bachelorette Teaches Us About Urban Planning”).

Your sources of inspiration will be diverse, from the things you read to your customer interactions. Ensure that your topics hit two key points. First, best  copywriting and topics you select should be geared toward your target customers and not to your industry peers. This is a common mistake. Second, ensure that there’s a tangible connection between what you’re discussing and what your brand represents. Off-brand or off-topic content can be damaging to cohesive market image.

Achieving the Dream to Success

You know, over the years thousands of people dream of success for themselves – Achieving the Dream.

And yet many of them believed that success ran in just one straight line.

From point A to point B.

But that’s not exactly true or the case.

Success has so many twists, turns, situations to face just like life itself.

Achieving the Dream

In fact, achieving the dream with the journey to success feels less like a straight line and more like a maze.

For example, I’m sure at one or more stages or another you’ve become lost or unsure it what you are doing and are you going to achieve the dream you are after.

Maybe it was a shopping mall, forest or the back streets of a new city.

Either way, it probably felt very confusing many times.

You probably…

Ran around in circles…

Took wrong turns…

And even hit dead-ends, having to go back…

This is what achieving the dream is all about in the journey to success and what it actually looks like.

Yes, you can bring a map and compass with you that can keep you on a consistent course headed in the right direction mostly, but it still does not always reduce the chance of taking a wrong turn.

Make no mistake…

You will face challenges and situations that must be overcome and that is when true Entrepreneurs stay the course with steadfast determination in solving problems to achieving the dream and creating success.

That’s just business so embrace it and understand that it’s normal and keep pushing forward no matter what.

If you do, you’ll find your way out of the maze sooner and headed into something that only some dream about in achieving the highest in success.

If I had to say one thing to you in whatever you do to achieving success online or otherwise learn to map out your plan, set goals, determine the key tools and resources necessary to reach your desired end-state.

Connect with those that are already successful and find a mentor to help guide you into achieving the dream you may have in success and this will definitely shorten your time to reaching that end-state.

Mentors, coaches, and successful fellow entrepreneurs can give you key points, guide, and lead you through the maze to reach the goal of financial freedom sooner.

So remember, embrace this with a a strong positive mentality with a “Never Give Up” attitude and focus with consistency to go through the maze to achieving the dream.

Thanksgiving History and the Pilgrims

What about Thanksgiving History?

Thanksgiving History

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving history celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth in Thanksgiving history.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans in Thanksgiving history.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Check out the Thanksgiving by the Numbers infographic for more facts about how the first Thanksgiving compares to modern holiday traditions.

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast in this Thanksgiving history. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country for this Thanksgiving history.

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving history developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving history falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

5 Tips to Think Huge and Even Bigger

Think Big and 5 Tips to Think Even Bigger

Think

Are you one of those  who always limits yourself?

“Of course not,” or so you say. You might not even realize you are  preventing yourself from being able to think big. 

Do you only think of one tracked on a single solution to a problem?

Do you sit back let others step into the role of “big thinker?” 

Does your internal voice prevent you from trying anything brand new? If you are doing any of this, then you are definitely limiting yourself, even if you’re doing it unaware.

It can be hard to think big and then even bigger if you aren’t staying in the right mindset.  It can be even harder to think huge if you’ve developed limiting beliefs or certain type behaviors.  Some examples that can limit you and that you want to avoid are:

  • Procrastination
    • You think you might be taking a rest or a breather but in reality, it’s  preventing you from exelling forward.
  • Short-Term Thinking
    • Just take the time and a little bit longer to find another solution that will work both long and short term.
  • Negative Thinking
    • Do you ever catch yourself saying I can’t do it, then think first before speaking because it will hold you back and it prevents you from ever trying.
  • Being Perfect
    • You won’t reach a certain state of perfection if you keep waiting around to take any action to reach that perfection, you’ll still remain in the same spot without positive change.

Obviously there are many other things that prevent to think big and beyond but these are some most common.  Instead of going through all this, let’s focus on tips that will help to think huge and even bigger so you can reach your ultimate desires, dreams, and goals.

Everything Usually Starts Small

Now, this may seem like an odd tip to think big but it’s important.  When you want to start thinking big, remember everything starts small.  That doesn’t mean set limiting or small goals but rather, do not become let down if your bright idea doesn’t happen immediately as you expect.  And it’s really important that you don’t let your starting place limit or hold you back, no matter its size.  Some of the world’s greatest inventions and highly people started out small.  Bottom line: If they can do it, so can you.

Set Right Goals

Sure, you want to set huge goals but just because you want to “think huge” doesn’t mean that you should set too extreme with the goals that you would struggle to reach.  Be realistic but optimistic.  If you set a goal that’s massive and nearly impossible to reach, you’ll only end up being disappointed and will likely fall back into those thoughts or action that will limit you.

Recruit Others Like-Minded

If you want to think big, then it is necessary to think about including others on your journey.  The greatest entrepreneurs didn’t do everything by themselves.  When you think you only need yourself and can do it all alone, everything will remain small.  It never grows into anything more than that.  Instead, recruit other people to help you think big and help you achieve your huge idea or ideas.  You likely may not have all the skills for everything required to reach what you intend and because of that its where having a team will be highly useful.  Focus on your skills and let them focus on theirs.  Work as a cohesive and synergistic team that will make it happen. You can’t reach your goals on your own—you have to build a team to support your ambitions.

Have a Supportive Team

This tip goes along with tip #3.  When you recruit others to help with thinking outside the box, you want encouragement and support of those ideas, but you don’t want them to simply agree on everything.  The value of a supportive team lies in their ability to help you look beyond.  No one needs a team of yes men.  You want a team that challenges you to think bigger and outside the box.  

Set a Special Place and Time Aside to Think

One of the barriers to thinking big is finding the first solution to a problem.  What is needed is to have the special place or set place and time to think through any issue.  Whether that time is 2 hours, 5 hours, or a whole day, use the entire time to enlargen your thinking. Dive into discovering and searching out that long-term solution for creating that big idea. As with most it is time that is needed to allow your thoughts to build on each other and if you simply choose the first thing said, you will miss out on a lot of good ideas. 

Time to Get Busy and Start Thinking Bigger

There is never any reason you should limit yourself.  With all that is available with today’s technology, you literally can reach across the entire globe. Stop sitting around and waiting or procrastinating, stop trying to be perfect, and just take the simple step and get started.  Use these tips to build within you the habits you need to think bigger and beyond.  By doing so, you might just be surprised on what you can accomplish and never know it might be something that changes the world.

Call to Action – What is It and How to Use It!

Call to Action – So what is it?

First off, what is a call to action? In marketing, a Call to Action (CTA) is a directive to the visitor to incite an instant answer or choice, most often by using an urgent message such as “Act Now!”, “find out more” or “visit a store today”. A CTA doesn’t need to be so bossy however. It could just be a simple request like “choose a style ” or “watch this short video”.

Call to Action

An obvious Call to Action would be inviting the website visitor to buy a product or give personal details and/or contact information to the company/website. Brilliant marketing tactics often use a combination of several consecutive small CTAs. This chain of CTAs forms a pattern of behavior or choices making it easier for the viewers to complete with just one last CTA. This is a much more gentle way to direct consumers to a complete a larger, more difficult request.

An example could be the purchase of a designer handbag. The website could request you choose a color, a size, a material preference, and a style you would like the purse to have. Once you get to see all of your personalized choices combined into your “dream” designer handbag, you’re more likely to purchase it.

By going through those steps, you have completed all of the company’s Call to Action requests—including the final one, which was purchasing the designer handbag! If you had been asked to buy the handbag first thing, without making all of the minor choices leading up to the purchase, would you have done it?

In website designing, a call to action is usually a button, pop-up, banner, or some type of text or graphic on a website designed to prompt a viewer to click it and continue down a “conversion funnel”. A Call to Action is a necessary part of inbound marketing and permission marketing in that it actively tries to convert a website’s visitor into a lead and then, finally, into a customer.

The ultimate goal of a CTA is a click, or a scan, in the case of a QR code (quick response code, or a matrix barcode), and its success can be measured in a couple of different ways, which will be discussed in greater detail later.

There are several different forms of Call to Action buttons, and while each type’s goal is to get visitors to perform a certain action, the kind of action can vary greatly. E-Commerce websites’ most commonly used CTA is the “add to cart (or bag, or basket, etc)” or “buy now” button. The main goal of this button is to persuade consumers to purchase an item, and the button is generally found on individual product pages.

Once you have filled your cart with all of your desired purchases, you can then click pay and buy the items. A similar type of CTA button is the “download” button as they both encourage the visitor to click the button. Sometimes these buttons will have additional information on them, such as what version of the program is going to be downloaded, etc.

Next Call to Action is a “trial button,” which tries to entice their site’s visitors to sample their offerings—usually in the form of a free trial. Whether it is a free download or a free account, its main goal is to get you “hooked” on the product so that you will want to purchase the whole program (or product) once the trial is over. This button doesn’t usually have more text on it other than “try XYZ,” but some sites choose to offer more information.

The “learn more” CTA button is most generally used at the end of a teaser paragraph, or an introduction paragraph. The buttons are generally simple, but are often large in order to attract the reader’s attention. When the button is clicked, it usually leads the reader to the full website, containing much more detailed information such as pricing, processes, promotions, etc.

The last common type of CTA buttons is the “sign up” button. This one comes in two general versions- one that is usually directly associated with a sign up form, and another that acts as an “add to cart” button. The second type allows visitors to purchase or sign up for an account or service before they actually reach a sign up form.

First of all, there are two types of CTAs that are proven to be inefficient. The first kind is a weak CTA, or a lack of call to action all together. Second kind is too strong, or too forceful of a CTA. If neither of these problems applies to you, then there are two ways to find out if you have a successful call to action.

The most accurate way to check is to use conversion rates, which calculate the number of button clicks divided by the number of times the CTA was seen. Another way to test the effectiveness of your Call to Action is using A/B testing. This is when several graphics are presented to users and the graphic with highest success rate becomes the default.

Sometimes it is just a minor tweak that could change the effectiveness of your CTA, here are a few suggestions that could help increase the success of your button! One possibility could be changing the color of your CTA button- is it currently blending in with the background?

Make sure your CTA is near the top of your webpage so visitors don’t have to scroll down to see it. Make sure your call to action button is the right size- if it is too small it may go unnoticed. Lastly, your CTA should have an element of urgency—use words like “now” or “today”. Reminding people to do something now can increase the chances of them actually doing it right now.

An efficient call to action is the cornerstone of a successful site and includes drawing together best practice in creative visual design, usability, and influential copy writing. When your Call to Action is done right it can generate measurable conversions. This in turn leads to a high return on investment, which is what every website is looking for!