How to Write Headlines that WOW Your Readers

how to write headlines

These days, readers are given more choices than ever for reading.  Articles, blog posts, social media posts, infographics – you name it and your readers have seen it.  Therefore, if you want people to click through to read your content, you need to learn how to write headlines that grab your readers’ attention. No doubt you have something important to say, but whether or not your audience actual hears it lies within the quality of the headline.  In essence, give your readers a reason to stop and take notice.

With so many ever-changing guidelines for effective marketing, you want to make sure that your headlines make the cut.  When thinking about how A headline should be original and specific, stress urgency, and be valuable. But, most of all, the headline should never be misleading.  Your audience will not appreciate the clickbait-type of headlines, and, worst of all, they will lose trust for you. While tricks may increase click-through rates initially, over time your audience will stop clicking through due to caution against being tricked. To learn how to write headlines that are both attention-grabbing and effective, follow these guidelines:

How to Write Headlines that Make Readers Click – Make Sure Your Headlines are:

Original – Make each headline stand out so that you can give your audience a reason to click through and want to know more about you. Remember that your audience is smart, and they want to see something new from you. Make your business and content stand out with your choice of words and phrasing. Make what you have to offer them unique and valuable, setting your content apart from the rest.

Specific – Rather than being mysterious and clever, it’s best to be direct and give specific information to your readers to get them to click through and actually read the content you are providing to them. If you can identify a benefit to the reader for clicking through and reading, that’s even better. For example, if you can improve your audience’s weight loss success by 15 percent with the information in the content, say so in your headline.

Urgent – By conveying a sense of urgency in the headline, it will make the reader want to read the content now rather than later. You don’t have to say things like “click now” or give a specific date; just make the headline express something that might signify a loss to your audience if they don’t read it. You want your readers to feel like they will be missing out if they don’t click through your content.

Valuable – Making the value and usefulness of the content behind the headline apparent is a great way to get your audience to click through. When your readers see your headline, you want them to understand that when they actually read your content, they will come away with something they can actually use to improve their lives.  Knowing what your audience values is key in making this work.

Honest – I’ve already mentioned clickbait previously, but it is worth repeating. Tricking readers into clicking implies that your content isn’t inherently valuable.  Above all, you want your prospects and customers to trust you.  The only way to truly accomplish that is through honesty in your work.  You can get creative when you are learning how to write headlines that make readers stop and take notice, but always use honest means to accomplish that.

Following these tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines will improve your click-through rate exponentially. The concepts may seem simple, but when used consistently, you will beginto write headlines that will make your audience trust that what you put out there is good, valuable content that is worth clicking through.  Time is such a valuable thing – make sure that you are writing headlines that make your readers want to spend some of their valuable time with you!

How to Create Targeted Email Messages

targeted email messagesIt is so important that the messages you send to people who are in your database are targeted email messages. Why is it so important? So many people who sign up to get email marketing messages end up regretting that they did. They end up feeling like all they get is spam and even get to the point that they eventually stop opening the emails.  When they finally do open them, it’s only to unsubscribe. Here’s how to stop this happening to your messages.

Tips for Creating Targeted Email Messages

Study Your Audience – Never think that you know enough about your audience. You’ll need to know as much as you can know about them. If you really want to send targeted email messages to your audience, you have to know them!  Send surveys, study the particular demographic and get to know them as fully as you can so that you can better develop messages that mean something to your audience.

Segment Your Audience –- It helps if you niche down the audience into different segments to assist with writing more targeted messages. You can segment by behavior and demographics. The more niched down your segments are, the easier it will be to craft the messages, and the more targeted email messages will be to that particular group of people.

Ask the Audience What They Need – Use your email list to ask the audience directly what they need from you to make them open your emails. When you give them a say in that, they will feel more connected to you, and it will be easier to write messages because you will be sure of what they really want.

Watch and Engage with Your Audience on Social Media – Observe the interactions your audience have on social media. Watch their conversations, notice their questions, and try to give them what they need based on that interaction. Any single question can turn into a blog post, an email message, or even an information product.  Respond to them as well, because targeted email messages can also come from their responses to what you post!

Personalize Each Message with Names The software that you use to send out autoresponder messages comes with personalization features. If you get your audience to fill out their information and provide names as well as email addresses, then use it. Studies show that personalization gets more conversions.  The more connected they feel to you, the less likely they will end up dropping you. Also, instead of a business name or a cute name as the return address, use your own personal name. It will make the audience feel even more connected and trusting of you.  In addition to names, also use personal pronouns so they really feel like you are talking directly to them in your message.

Email marketing messages are important to help guide your audience to make smart purchases for themselves. Don’t be shy about sharing the benefits and the awesomeness of your products and services.  Just make sure you are hitting the target!

How Not to Annoy Your Audience – the Key to Effective Email Marketing

email marketingEmail marketing might not be as easy as it sounds.  Once you get someone on your email list, it’s important to keep them there, and keep them happy. If you send them misleading messages, too many messages, or the wrong type of messages, they’ll leave the list, and they might even report you for spam.  If your messages become an annoyance, people won’t care what you have to say or offer.  There are really good ways to avoid annoying your audience, and all it takes is being very aware of these factors in your messages. Its all has to do with the frequency and type of emails that you choose to send them.

Tips to To Make Your Email Marketing Work:

Don’t Use Clickbait Subject Lines –- Create subject lines that really mean something to your audience. Instead of trying to trick people into clicking, make the subject line be something that meets a need or serves a purpose to them. Misleading subject lines don’t work and just make readers upset. Instead, use subject lines that actually represent what you’ll be saying in the email message.

Don’t Send Too Many Email Messages – If your email marketing frequency is too much, you’ll just irritate your audience. They’ll feel as if you’re sending them spam and you don’t want that. Each email message needs to have a purpose, and it has to provide something authentic and useful to your audience.

Don’t Ignore Them for Months – On the other hand, if your email marketing isn’t providing contact regularly, that won’t work either.  You don’t want to ignore your subscribers for too long. They’ll forget that you exist, and, once again, they may end up thinking that your information is spam. You want to find a happy medium between too many emails and not enough.

Provide Great Value to Them, Not Just Offers – Sometimes you need to send emails that are simply informational in nature. Let them know about a new blog post, or tell them something interesting. Ask for their opinion about something.  Anything that communicates to them that they are important to you, and that you will provide great information to them, not just sell to them.

Keep Your Email Offers Simple – When you do send a promotional email, it’s important not to send too many offers in one email. You want to give them a clear choice of how to act and not confuse the issues by overwhelming them with options.

Grammar COUNTS, Even in Emails – Good grammar is as important in email marketing as it is in a blog post or any other publication.  Even in email messages, the grammar you use is communicates your competence and attention to detail.  It says that your standard of quality and excellence is something you value, even in your personal communication. You don’t have to use perfect English teacher grammar, but you do need to avoid obvious oversights that give the impression that you don’t check your work.

Keep Your Emails Brief –- Many times people are reading emails on their smartphones or other mobile devices. Reading a long, drawn-out email can be draining on the eyes and mind, and hard to read on a phone. Short, sweet, and to the point is best when it comes to email messages.

Don’t Forget to Check the Links -– When you send the test message to yourself, take the time to click through to the links to ensure that they work as you expect. Broken links can destroy a marketing campaign, forcing you to resend messages.

Preview Your Emails – Finally, remember to preview your emails before they go out.  Send a test email to yourself.  Does it look right visually, especially in terms of any graphics?  Does it look as good on a mobile device as is does on a desktop?  Many people use smartphones to check emails, so making sure it looks good on a smartphone is a MUST.

Email marketing is an essential piece of your marketing strategy, but be mindful of these tips when composing your emails.  It can mean the difference between, “Hey I love this…it’s good stuff!” and being unsubscribed and reported as SPAM.

 

Creating a Community; The Power of Video Marketing

video marketing

It’s easy to see the power of video marketing.  When you take it a step further and create a community of followers, the sky is the limit!  Not sure?  Just look at YouTube’’s popularity and the earning power of some of their top performers to see how important building a community is. When you build a community you can quickly get results from any new product or service as soon as you launch it, because the community is already primed and ready to respond. To make that happen, though, you’re going to have to work hard to build that community – one video at a time.

Tips for Creating a Community of Followers for Your Video Marketing

Speak Directly to Your Audience – When you make a video for your audience, make sure look right into the camera and talk directly to them. You probably have a picture in your head of who your ideal audience is. If that is the case, picture that person, look into the camera and just speak from the heart.

Show Your Softer Side – Don’t be too stiff and formal in your videos. Even if you’re trying to attract lawyers and accountants, they want to see the humanity in you with your videos. Attempt to be relaxed. Practice makes perfect, so if you need to practice a few times to get it right, do so.

Mistakes Are Endearing – Don’t worry so much about tripping over one or two words; it’’s okay. Normal mistakes made in the course of a conversation are nothing to correct or be ashamed of. Being too perfect will make you seem cold and unapproachable.

Get to the Point – Don’t take too long to make a video. More than three to five minutes is simply too long. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but break up longer videos if you can. Make a loose script if it helps you stay on topic and not get sidetracked.

Set It to Music – Put some light music in the background that signifies the mood you want your audience to feel as they listen to your video. Be sure to make it quiet and not too loud; you don’t want to hide what you’re saying and distract from your message.

Show Your Sense of Humor – The beauty of video marketing is that you can add personality to nearly any topic.  Even if you talk about serious topics in your video, being a little funny can lighten things up and take the sting out. Being funny can also make videos go viral, so be ready.

Tell Them Secrets – It’s just you and your niche audience, right? It’s okay to share something deep with them during the video. You want them to feel as if they are part of your life, and one way to do it is to be honest and transparent.

Make Some Content Exclusive – You can make some content exclusive to your audience by hiding it from others and only letting people who get the link see the video. You can also hide that content behind a membership wall. This type of content can bring your audience closer to you and also help you collect email addresses.

Respond to Others  – This works very well on YouTube. When someone makes a video that affects you in some way, make a response video and include it in a comment to their video. This can help you connect more with the entire community while bringing more people over to your community.

Building a community using your video marketing is entirely possible on any platform – not just YouTube. However, YouTube is an excellent place to start creating and hosting the videos that you make. Start with an introductory video and then keep going, sharing it on social media, then asking others to share and get the ball rolling.

Want to Strengthen Your Online Visibility? Start Here!

online visibilityMarketing locally is something that most online businesses should always do. Even if your audience is world-wide, you can make a big impact by taking advantage of improving your online visibility. Having a local presence will not only help those who are local to you find you easier, but it will also increase your expertise quotient. Here’s how to strengthen your local presence.

8 Simple Ways to Increase Your Online Visibility

SEO – Search Engine Optimization consists of a lot of different techniques to get more people to come to your website. The words on your page (keywords), as well as the words and links you earn off your page, are all important in helping to improve your online visibility.

Blogging – The more you can blog about your business on your website and off your website, the more likely you are to get local visitors. You just need to ensure that you use local keywords and a profile that mentions your location.

PPC – Use pay-per-click ads that mention location, or target people in your location using the demographic settings that most PPC platforms allow you to do. This is a great way to improve your online visibility. Facebook has an especially awesome targeting tool.

Social Media – Use social media to tell more people about your business, focusing on local people first, and then allowing it to expand out to other locations. Ensure that you mention your location on all social media sites.

Go Mobile – Have all your visitors sign up to receive text messages from you, then separate them into different locations where you can invite them to a special local-only sale. You’ll usually know who they are from their area code.

Claim Your Business – Google Business, Yahoo Small Business, Yelp and other local business directories all have listings. Your business might already be listed, so be sure to claim and verify your business listings.

Get Listed – Find local directories, including your local Chamber of Commerce directory, and ensure that your website is listed. You might have to pay for some of these, so choose wisely and pick the most frequented and professional websites for your money.

Fill Out All Profiles – This is a very important yet often overlooked step.  You need to fill out all of your profiles accurately and completely on every place that asks for a profile. Use your location to help you show up more in local searches for the best results.

Getting known locally is an important way to get more local visitors to your website, which will translate into more local business. Even if you want to do business internationally, there is nothing wrong with being known locally as well, as it can open a lot of doors for you in the areas of public speaking, coaching, and teaching – all areas that will add value to what you offer in addition to making more sales.

Click the link below to get more info on these and other steps you need to take to improve your online visibility.  This free checklist will ensure that you don’t miss any vital steps to help you get found locally!

Get the checklist here!

How to Craft a Clear and Compelling Brand Message

brand messageThe backbone of your marketing message is the branding position you create. While it may seem as if the audience determines the brand message, that’s not true. You define it, create it, and publicize it through very clear and precise actions. Smart brands don’t wait around for the audience to determine their place; they tell their stories from day one and guide the discussion.

Tips for Creating a Clear Brand Message

Know Your Target Audience – Nothing is more important than understanding exactly who your audience is, what their values are, and how they perceive the world. If you can do that, and you can identify what’s important to your audience, you will have an easier time developing a brand message that resonates and gets results.

Understand Which Marketing Segment You Belong to – There are many segments your company can belong to, depending on what it offers. You could be a business coach, a copywriter, or something else entirely. But, you will need to determine exactly which segment you’re in, because it’s very specific. For example, a business coach may coach specific types of business people only, such as those trying to start a coffee shop or those trying to write a book, and so forth.  Knowing the specifics about your target audience can help you send a clear brand message to them.

Define Your Unique Value Proposition – This is exactly what value you offer your clients that makes you unique.  What do you offer that nobody else does? Do you offer them freedom, a way to earn more money, or something else entirely?

Show Social Proof – The more proof you have that you are who you say you are, and that your company does what you say it does, the better. Online, the best way to do that is with a lot of real people liking, following, commenting and otherwise engaging with you. Another way to show social proof, that can be used online or off, is to collect testimonials and raves about your business that you can share on your website and in brochures.

Always Be Relevant to Your Target Audience – Keep up the study of your audience so that you will always be significant to your audience in terms of what you offer them. Keep in mind that even companies like Dove or Coke have had to change their marketing messages over the years to better appeal to their audience.  The more value you can offer to your target audience, the more your brand message will resonate with them.

Be Yourself – The worst thing you can do is try to be someone you’re not. You need to naturally attract your audience by being yourself. Authentically show your passion for your audience and solving their problems, and they’ll become raving fans who share your message for you.

Narrow It Down – The more you can niche down your message to a single point, the better. If you can name one problem you solve for your audience and put that into a tag line so that you can spread that message to everyone, you’ll be that much closer to sending a compelling message about your brand.

Be Authentic – You don’t want to blow smoke when it comes to building your brand message. Brand building isn’t the same thing as advertising, where sometimes it’s okay to exaggerate a little bit. You must be clear and honest with yourself and others about what it is you and your business can do.

Creating a compelling brand message is not an easy thing to do, but if you take control of the message and drive it toward your goals, you’ll come out a winner in the branding game, and more importantly, grow your business.

How to Improve Your Ratings and Reviews

ratings and reviewsGetting great ratings and reviews across your social media accounts like Yelp!, Amazon, and other locations is a great way to build your business. But, sometimes business owners need a little help knowing how to handle the review process to ensure great the best possible results. Here are some tips.

How to Get Great Ratings and Reviews

Follow the Rules – Each network has its own rules. It’s important that you follow them so that you don’t get banned or let non-compliance  harm your ratings and reviews.

Fill Out Profiles Fully – Any place you can put a profile, ensure that you’ve filled it out all the way. Include all the images you can, and include as much information as possible in order to give people enough information about you and your business.

Provide Top-Notch Customer Service – When you provide the best service, you’re going to inspire the best ratings and reviews. If your attention to detail in meeting customer needs is flawless, your customers will love you.  If you encourage them to give you feedback, satisfied customers will tell people about it.  If you under promise and over deliver, people will be blown away and, as a result, give you great ratings and reviews.

Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews – It’s important to take any negative reviews and try to turn them into positive reviews. Phrase a response that is kind, generous, and helpful, and then also contact them privately to fix the issue.  Your overall ratings and reviews will still improve if you take care of negative reviews appropriately.

Check the Filters – On some rating sites, they have filters that try to prevent false reviews from coming through, but they also sometimes filter out correct and good reviews. Be sure to check those filters to ensure that the good ones truly are getting through.

Ask Loyal Customers to Help – When someone has purchased from you, you simply want to follow up with them and ask them to give you a review. Make it easy for them by giving them a link to the places you want them to leave a review.  If you want to boost your ratings and reviews, it makes sense to start with the satisfied customers you already have.

Ask Friends and Family to Help – For some communities this is a rule breaker, so be careful and follow the TOS for any platform. But, if your friends and family can drop by and give good comments about you, that’s an easy way to help improve your ratings and reviews.

Remove Obvious Spam – The one exception to ignoring a bad review is when it’s obvious spam. The best course of action for spam is to simply delete it without comment and, if possible, block the person.

You can improve your ratings and reviews with just a little extra attention to the process. It will help immensely if you ask others for help to get more good reviews. Good reviews can even bury the bad reviews. Don’t forget that you can even turn bad reviews into good reviews by having a good response.  Being intentional about these tips will pay off, and you can quickly improve your ratings and reviews.

How to Come to a Win-Win Agreement

1200x628Finding fair compromise can be a daunting task, especially if you’re dealing with a particularly difficult or emotionally charged issue. But one thing power negotiators know is that you have to give a little to get a little. Sometimes you have to make concessions when required to reach an agreement. Both of you lose a little, but this is considered a win-win agreement.

Before you go into any type of negotiation, it’s important to ask yourself these key questions to help you be fully prepared.

Questions You Must Answer to Ensure a Win-Win Agreement

What Are Your Goals? – The only real way to come to any type of agreement is to know in advance of the negotiation what exactly your goals are. In addition, make it a point to consider what the other party wants out of the negotiation, too.

What Can You Give? – Before you even go into the negotiation process, it’s important to already have an idea of what you can comfortably give up. You don’t want to go in and immediately give up those things, but you want to know in advance how much you can give and still be happy.

What Happens If You Can’t Make an Agreement? – If you can’t reach an agreement, consider what that will mean for you. Will bad or good things happen based on the agreement that you do come to? If you fail, what will happen? If the other person “wins”, what will happen? Play these scenarios out to determine the importance of coming to a win-win agreement.

What Is the History of Your Relationship? – Before going in to discuss the potential negotiation, you need to analyze the history of the relationship with the other party first. If you know the person, then you probably already have a good idea of how things will be resolved. If you do not know the person, you need to find out as much about them as possible in advance in order to be fully prepared.

Do You Have any Expected Outcomes? – What are you thinking the outcome will be before you even start your negotiation? Are there others who are worried about the issue, and do they have expectations too? Knowing this can affect the decisions you make on the negotiation.

Which One of You Holds the Power Position? – If you hold the power position, then you need to be very understanding of the other person when going through with the negotiations. If the other person holds that position, keep that in mind as you move forward. Knowing the importance of which side of the power you are on will determine your choices during the negotiation process.

What Are All the Possible Solutions? – Go through a list of all possible solutions that could happen, and how each of these would affect you and others. Write down the different scenarios that could happen based off possible agreements so that you will not be surprised by any outcome.

What Are the Consequences? – Determine the costs and benefits of each potential decision. That way you know in advance the ramifications of each choice you make in the negotiation process.

If you both feel positive at the end of the negotiation, then you’ve succeeded in making a win-win agreement. Neither of you had to give up more than you wanted, and you both got what you wanted after the end of the negotiation. A truly successful negotiation will be win-win, and asking yourself these questions ahead of time will help you get there.

How to Write an Effective Press Release

Effective Press ReleaseA press release is more than an announcement about what is happening in your business. It is a sales tool, and it works especially well if there is a newsworthy story behind it. You can write an effective press release if you write it as if you’re an outside reporter, provide some good quotes and information from top movers and shakers within your company, customers, or field. Once it is written and contains the content that is appropriate for your needs, you need to figure out who to send it to in order to make it worthwhile.

Getting the content just right for a press release is key. The process is fairly simple if you are intentional about your content. The set-up of a press release is standard throughout the industry. You really must write your press release in the following way in order for any news organization to take it seriously.

How to write an effective press release:

Headline – The headline is the key to a successful press release. If the headline doesn’t look a certain way, nobody will care how good the content is. Headlines need to be in bold font, with the first word capitalized, carry the right key words, and grab the attention of your audience as well as the gatekeeper.

Body Copy – You have to put the name of the city and state, as well as the date, on the first line. Include an attention-grabbing first sentence that leads the reader to want to read more about the story. You want to avoid using filler words and make the body copy as compact as possible. State only facts, and save the fluff for other marketing venues.

Who, What, When, Why, Where and How – As you write, try to answer the five w’s and the h, too. This will help you keep your copy short and to the point. You want to put the most newsworthy information at the front, and again at the end, of the press release. At the end of the day, the purpose of press releases are to get information out there. You have to make sure the details are the focal point of this piece of writing. Make sure it is written in third person, as that’s how news is reported.

Make It Press Ready – Remember that no one is going to edit your press release for you; it needs to be ready to print, and already be edited. Double check your spelling and fact check the information you include in the press release.

Give Them More – At the end you can include links or even a QR code that directs people to more information about your event or business. Providing that little bit of extra information can be the difference of getting your press release published or not. Because effective press releases are short and to the point, having a link to more information is vital.

Send It to the Right People – The key to getting your press release published is that you send it to the right people. So many press release companies are disingenuous when it comes to this part. They blanket out the press release without any regard to where it’s going. Don’t do that; send it to the right people. That may mean that you need to do some research first, but the time you put in will pay off when it gets in the right hands.

Just the term press release itself can seem intimidating, but by following these guidelines, you can write an effective press release that gets your business noticed by the right people. Including just the facts, providing contact information, and sending it to the right people will get your press release, and your business, the attention it deserves.

How to Know if Your Marketing is Working!

Marketing is WorkingDo you really know if your marketing is working and what is not working? Many business owners and marketing managers have no clue and keep on pushing forward blindly into the

STEP 1 – CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Drucker means that you can’t know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked. The first part of that is to clearly define your ideal audience. This is something we have written about many times in this blog, but if you need a refresher course this post will help tremendously: How to Find Your Ideal Clients.

STEP 2 – KNOW WHAT YOUR END GAME IS

Most would agree that you have to know what the end game is – what you want to ultimately achieve when it comes to your marketing efforts, which of course varies business to business. Most often the answer is sales, and while that should be the ultimate goal of any business when it comes to marketing there are other goals you should be striving to achieve along the way. Goals such as: email sign-ups, website visitors, annual revenue, social media engagement etc. Here’s a great article in Entrepreneur on how to set this up for your business: This Is How You Come Up With Marketing Goals.

STEP 3 – SETUP A SYSTEM TO MEASURE YOUR EFFORTS

Once you have those parts of your marketing strategy nailed down it’s time to focus on ensuring it is effective. The key to that is to look at your content and find out what is working for you right now. You probably have already figured it out, but what is working right now is based on stats that you can glean from analytics software like Google Analytics. If you’ve not installed any analytics software, it will be hard for you to determine what is working so far. Here’s a link that will show you how to set it up on your site: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008015?hl=en.

If yo are not sure how to use Google Analytics to see what is and in not working right now, you might want to take a look at our course on Google Analytics in the Strategix Marketing School – this course covers the essentials you need to know in order to see what is working and what is not working on your website. For a limited time, you can register and take the class for 85% off, when you click on the image below.

We recommend measuring the following 3 things as a starting point:

  1. Who Is Already Visiting Your Site?
  2. Where did they come from?
  3. What content are they engaging with once they are there?

However, if you don’t have it setup or very little data at this point you can still look at which blog posts have garnered the most comments, and which social media posts have gotten the most likes and shares. Keep track of this information on a spreadsheet so you can more easily analyze the results.

If you’re just getting started, and have nothing to compare, that’s fine. Just get set up right so that you can track your goals. Everything starts with a goal. Your goals should be specific and trackable. When you have a set goal in mind for each piece of content that you create, then you’ll be more likely to experience success.

Aside from that, you should make it easy for your readers to consume, share and engage with you through your content. Add share buttons, encourage and ask for comments, respond to comments and more. As you learn what works, do more of what is working and less of what is not working.

Test different versions of the same piece of content. For example, if you have an email message that you want to send to your audience, try sending it with two different subject lines. Send different versions of the email to each half of your list, and see which one gets opened more. Then, in a week or so, send the one that got opened most to those who did not open the first one. This is how you’ll act on what is working. Knowing what works helps you improve everything you do in the future.

Once you know what to measure is becomes significantly easier to determine if your marketing is working or not and then make the necessary course corrections.