31 percent of people ready to #DeleteFacebook, survey finds

Are people ready to turn their back on Facebook?

Are people ready to turn their back on Facebook?

The recent Facebook data breach scandal — which revealed over 87 million users’ data had potentially been improperly obtained and used by a political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to target U.S. and British voters in the close-run elections of Brexit and the U.S. Presidency — has placed a global spotlight on the value of our personal data.

To discover how this revelation has affected public sentiment around their trust in Facebook, and the use of their personal data in general, global media and technology company Pureprofile conducted nationally representative surveys across its Australian, New Zealand, British and U.S panelists, to discover if the #DeleteFacebook movement will take hold.

Results revealed that over a third (34 percent) of respondents from both the U.S. and New Zealand said they are considering closing their Facebook accounts due to the data breach scandal, along with 29 percent of British respondents.

In Australia, over a quarter (27 percent) of respondents have considered closing their Facebook account due to the data scandal, with those aged 25-34 years old the most likely to take action (37 percent).

When asked how they felt about the use of their personal data by companies who then use this to target campaigns and advertising, 43 percent of Brits, 41 percent of Australians, 39 percent of New Zealanders and 37 percent of Americans said they felt anxious about this.

The next question made it clear that the issue is not about companies getting access to people’s data, it’s more about the consumer being able to choose who they want to share this with. 38 percent of New Zealanders, 33 percent of Americans, 30 percent of Brits and 28 percent of Australians responded that they don’t mind their personal data being used by companies to target them with advertising, as long as they have opted in to its use in this way.

Pureprofile CEO, Nic Jones said: “This survey is incredibly interesting as it reveals that consumers are beginning to really understand the value of their personal data and are willing to take a stand against companies who use this without their consent. Many of our respondents revealed that they are not averse to companies using their personal data to curate advertising for them, with over a third of people saying they welcome this, providing they have opted in to receive it.

“It’s now clearer than ever that this new consumer-led personal data push back means brands need to be transparent about how they access and use personal data. We’re entering the age of the Personal Information Economy, where consumers are taking ownership of their personal data and will punish brands that use this inappropriately.”

5 Ways to Boost Your Google Ranking

Google rankings can be make or break for small businesses

Google rankings can be make or break for small businesses

You may have heard about search engine optimisation (SEO), the strategic process of making sure your business website appears when potential customers search Google for related terms. Getting that coveted #1 ranking for a relevant keyword or search term can be the catalyst that boosts your business to prominence in your industry.

Of course, achieving that goal can be difficult. SEO is a complex topic, and one that can be difficult for small business owners and even marketing managers to fully grasp. Improving your Google rankings requires not just time, but also an understanding of how the ranking process actually works. With that in mind, here are five ways you can boost your Google rankings over time and improve your business marketing efforts.

1) Find the Right Keywords

Every SEO effort has to start with keyword research. Stated differently, before you begin to optimize your website, you need to know what words and phrases to optimise it for.

A number of free and paid tools help you find the right keywords for your audience. The key to success is finding middle ground between the two most common metrics in this area, search frequency (how many searches for that keyword occur within a given month) and competitiveness (how many other companies are trying to rank for the same keyword). 

2) Create Relevant Content

Based on the keyword(s) you found in the first step, it’s time to create your content. Here, it’s vital to stay focused on a singular goal: relevance for your audience.

Trying to include the keyword as many times as possible in a blog post or landing page is considered keyword stuffing, and can actually incur ranking penalties. Instead, try to build unique content that is relevant both to the keyword for which you are trying to optimise, and the audience you’re looking to attract.

3) Establish a Link Profile

External links to your website are a major ranking factor for Google and other search engines. The more other websites link to you, the more credible your website appears, and the higher its chances of increased rankings will become.

You can establish a link profile by encouraging others to link to your blog posts or other content. However, stay away from ethically questionable practices such as link buying, which can result in penalties and lower rankings for your website.

4) Amplify Your Content

One way to establish a link profile is to simply increase its visibility – which is where your digital presence comes into play. Social media in particular is a great way to link to new blog posts, or post excerpts of your content that your audience finds interesting enough to click and read more.

Simple posts may be enough to achieve that amplification. In addition, networks like Facebook and Twitter offer brands the opportunity to boost their posts and increase their reach, which might be another possibility depending on your digital marketing budget.

5) Take the Necessary Technical Steps

SEO, in many ways, is a content-based tactic. If you build great content, and strategically amplify it, you will have a high chance of success. But without the technical background, the impact on your Google rankings might still be limited.

To start, you need to submit a sitemap to Google to help the search engine better understand the structure of your website. It also makes sense to make sure your site loads quickly, and all images have ALT text included. This guide by Search Engine Land can help you take the technical steps you need to let your content do the talking and boost your Google rankings.

In the end, SEO is a complex process that takes time and expertise to accomplish. But it can also be broken down into more manageable steps, which help you more easily boost your Google ranking and increase your visibility. These steps, from finding the right keywords to amplifying your content using social media, are available and accessible even to small business owners with little to no marketing expertise. With patience and consistent effort, your business will benefit from increased rankings in the long run.

Need help producing SEO optimised content? Contact Ink Copywriting to get your content strategy started.

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How To Write A Landing Page

How to write a great landing page

Writing a great Landing Page is like walking a tightrope

Landing Pages. The problem child of the marketing world. Include too little information and people leave confused and uncertain, offer too much and they become overwhelmed and run away. Writing them is like walking a tightrope—easy to over-balance and topple into marketing oblivion.

That’s why crafting great Landing Pages takes time and careful planning. When written correctly they capture attention and drive action, but when written poorly they achieve not much at all.

This week we take a look at those pesky Landing Pages, and what you can do increase engagement and conversions using as few words as possible.

What are Landing Pages?

In simple terms, Landing Pages are purpose-built webpages used by companies and organisations to promote a particular product, service or offer. While still a part of the website, their purpose is more specific, and usually aimed at trying to encourage a website visitor to hand over their contact information in exchange for a piece of content, discount, product or service being offered by the company. This simple transaction creates a new qualified lead for the business who can then use-follow up marketing to nurture that lead through the sales funnel.

Need Landing Page inspiration? Check out these great Landing Page examples over at HubSpot.

Why Are Landing Pages Important?

Because they convert simple web visitors into genuine business leads. Anyone can drive traffic to their website, but the real magic is getting those visitors to engage with you in some way—either through buying, opting-in, signing up or downloading something from your website.

Yet according to WordStream, about 75% of businesses have a problem finding someone who can write landing page copy that does its job—which in most cases, is increasing conversions.

So, how do you craft great Landing Page content? It’s a combination of creativity, strategy and clear writing. Here’s how to get started:

Start with a Killer Headline

When it comes to Landing Pages, your headline is make-or-break. Visitors tend to scan the words rather than read them, so a strong, clear and compelling headline captures attention from the outset. Create a header that speaks to your readers, and clearly articulates the benefit of your offer. Practical tips include:

  • Keeping it short and precise
  • Don’t tell, pitch
  • Use the headline to focus on one main benefit, then use the page copy to elaborate on others
  • Triple check the spelling
  • A/B test to see which headlines get the most open rates and click throughs from your visitors, then tweak future headlines accordingly

Write About Benefits, Not Features

When someone arrives on your Landing Page, they do so with a ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality. In little more than a glance, they want to know how your products will make their lives easier. That’s the difference between features and benefits.

If you write about CRM software on a Landing Page, you’ll be tempted to talk about its functionality and superiority, but that shouldn’t be your primary focus. Instead, talk about the ways it will help companies boost their marketing power, improve customer service and how those benefits will help them increase conversions and sales.

Remember, when you’re talking about features, you’re focusing on you and your product. When you’re talking about benefits, your focus is where it should be—on your customers.

Break Up The Copy

Remember, people only have a 7-second attention span when viewing a webpage. Greeting them with a wall of text is a sure-fire way to send them packing.

Instead, break up the copy into more digestible chunks. Use headlines and sub-headlines, shorten your sentences and paragraphs and use bullet lists to make the key take-aways of your page punchy and interesting. The Call to Action button should be highly visible and, if possible, consider using imagery and video to support the text.

Keep It Simple

Your web visitors are busy, time-poor people who don’t need any extra reason to jump to your competitor a Google listing away. When it comes to Landing Page copy, the simplest words are the best.

You want to say what you need to say—and no more—and you want to say it in language that’s easy to understand and immediately accessible.

Take Optimizely for example, which creates some of the most compelling Landing Pages on the market. Their own landing page copy is surprisingly simple, but quickly manages to make its point.

Welcome to Optimizely. Sign up for a free account and test out the most popular Landing Page Optimization Tool on the planet!

They focus their message, avoiding telling their audience what their tool does that others don’t, or precisely why it’s the most popular. That’s not their objective. They simply want readers to provide contact details. All the other juicy benefits and features can come later once they start nurturing them down the sales funnel.

Give It The Pub Test

When chatting with our colleagues or friends about our latest passion projects, the conversation often sparkles. Our energy leaps forth. Yet when we try to describe it in an email to them later, our language becomes verbose and passive, usually stemming from a lack of confidence in our own words and fear of being judged for them.

The result is disastrous, and we end up not saying much of anything at all. Such an approach with a Landing Page would spell its demise before you ever hit ‘publish’.

People like getting advice and guidance from other human beings, so make sure you write like one. That means writing the way you speak, using simple words and short sentences, not being afraid to use humour from time to time, and making ‘proper grammar’ your tool, not your master.

When you’ve done some drafting give your Landing Page copy the Pub Test. Read it and ask yourself, ‘is this how I would describe it to a friend at the bar?’ If not, start editing.

Need a hand?

Writing Landing Pages that work can be tricky. It’s part craft, part art, part strategy, all working together to capture and hold the attention of your website visitors. If you need a hand crafting your next Landing Page, give Ink Copywriting a call.

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Writing great web copy is a craft, but it can be done

Writing great web copy is a craft, but it can be done

Want to get the attention of someone visiting your website? Then you have seven seconds.

Yep, that’s it. According to Tribute Media the average website visitor decides whether they want to stay on a website within seven seconds of arriving on a page.

And when you only have seven seconds to capture your buyer’s attention, you need to hit them with something powerful if you want them to take action. That’s why effective web copy is essential.

But writing great web copy is a tricky proposition. People’s ever shortening attention spans coupled with their tendency to scan webpages rather that actually read them makes crafting great web copy an art form. But it is achievable. Here’s how:

Stay in a ‘buyer-centric’ mindset.

When writing about our own businesses or organisations, the natural inclination is to talk about ourselves. How great and trusted and responsive we are. The thing is, people visiting our websites don’t necessarily care about us. Their primary concern is about themselves. They want to know how you’re going to make their lives easier, and they want to know quickly.

The solution? Stop writing about you and start writing about them. First, articulate their problem, then talk about how your business can solve it.

Here’s a fictional example of a company trying to sell their revolutionary shoe insert, the HappyHeel, to a busy professional battling chronic foot inflammation. Let’s take a look at a standard example:

Our soft-sole technology has been scientifically proven to support the heel and surrounding foot tendons, offering relief to the ankle and calf. Perfect for casual and professional wear, the HappyHeel can reduce foot pain by up to 70%.

Yawn. How about this instead:

It’s been a long day. Meetings. Presentations. Running around after the kids. You’re dead on your feet, and you have to do it all again tomorrow. But your feet are blazing and you’re not sure can do it.

We’re here to tell you that you can, with the HappyHeel.

Jab with the problem and right hook with the solution.

Tip: Aim to write as much as possible in the second person (you, your, you are). By doing so, your copy will naturally focus on the audience. The notable exception to this rule would be your ‘About’ page where it’s ok to talk more about yourself and your business.

Sell benefits, not features.

When most businesses write web copy, they focus on the features of their product or service. How many times have we seen examples like these?

  • Our oven heats to 400 degrees in less than 5 minutes.
  • We have 50 hours of online tutorials available.
  • We build the best email marketing strategies.

They’re all great features, but features alone don’t compel your audience to take action. That’s what benefits are for.

When you write web copy, don’t tell your buyers what your product or service does. Instead, show them how it’s going to make their lives easier. Let’s take another look at the examples above, but this time focusing on benefits:

  • Great dinners cooked faster than ever.
  • A learning program with unprecedented versatility and variety.
  • Effective and efficient email marketing solutions, made with precision.

The emphasis is placed on the benefit of your feature, not the feature itself. With this subtle change your visitors are coaxed further into your website, and along the sales funnel.

Address every objection.

Buyers, across every industry, will have a natural objection or barrier stopping them from buying your product or signing up for your service. It’s part of doing business. The role of your website is to help them overcome those barriers, and subtly answer any objections they might be secretly harbouring. Let’s take a look at some common scenarios:

Objection: Are they worried your product is too expensive?

Solution: Show them how another one of your customers saved the purchase price in a short time after buying, or used the extra time your product gave them to finish a long neglected project.

Objection: Do they think your product is unnecessary, and can do it themselves?

Solution: Again, sell the benefits and how it will make their lives easier, and how the finished product would be far superior to anything your prospective customer could do themselves.

Objection: Are they questioning your skills or capabilities?

Solution: Show them testimonials from other customers who have loved your services.

Give your buyers every reason to buy what you’re offering, and help them justify their purchase in every relevant way. If you don’t, your competitor is just a Google listing away.

Another great strategy is to develop a content marketing plan that will allow your business to build relationships with customers over time, and through carefully crafted and planned content, allay any concerns or barriers.

Need Great Web Copy?

Need some help producing web copy that grabs your readers’ attention? Contact Ink Copywriting for help.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions to Kick-Start Your Content Marketing for 2018

Is 2018 the year to take your content marketing efforts to the next level?

Is 2018 the year to take your content marketing efforts to the next level?

2018 is almost here, and with it comes new opportunities to grow your business and tackle the marketing challenges that slipped away in 2017.

If you’re ready to take your content marketing efforts to another level in 2018, these five New Year’s resolutions are the perfect way to get started.

Resolution #1: In 2018, I will invest in my website.

Your website should be your star marketer. It’s the first experience that many potential customers have with your brand. As such, your website is every bit as important as a brick and mortar storefront.

You want customers who visit your website to have a great experience with your brand. This can mean everything from ensuring that you have enough white space to highlight the most important parts of your website, to checking to make sure all of your pages are up-to-date.

But it also means converting your website into a lead generation and conversion powerhouse that works for you 24/7. By committing to producing frequent content, offering free resources like eBooks and creating landing pages that can capture and convert visitors, your website can transform from a static tool to your most effective marketing weapon.

Related: Small business websites are more important than ever. Here’s why.

Resolution #2: In 2018, I will take the time to understand my target audience.

If you haven’t created buyer personas for all the potential customers who could visit your website, 2018 is the time to do it. Buyer personas allow you to understand your customers’ needs, their pain points, and their likes and dislikes. The better you understand your target audience, the better you can craft content that will address their needs and concerns while positioning your business as a trusted industry expert.

Resolution #3: In 2018, I will focus on the social media platforms that work for me.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to sample everything at the social media buffet, but for many businesses­—especially small businesses or those with a tight marketing budget—it’s unrealistic to think that you can have an effective account on every available platform. Instead, choose to focus on the social media platforms that work best for your business and are actually being used by your target audience.

Ask yourself; Where can your clients be found? How can you connect most effectively with your customers? When you focus your social media efforts, you’re able to provide better value for your clients and use your marketing dollars more efficiently.

Related: How To Choose The Best Social Media Platform For Your Business

Resolution #4: In 2018, I will produce engaging, helpful content for my customers and leads.

Your content is the ticket to engaging your customers and letting them know that your business can offer them something that they need. Whether you’re creating regular videos or growing your content library through a weekly blog post, your content should be genuinely useful to your customers. Address their concerns, solve their problems, and walk them through products and services that are genuinely useful to them. The better your content, the more you’ll build trust with your customers and the more leads you will be able to generate.

Resolution #5: In 2018, my marketing tactics will be strategic and measurable.

If you really want to see new marketing success in 2018, you need to be able to define what success looks like to you.

Good marketing isn’t a hit-or-miss strategy that leaves you simply hoping that you’ll be able to build more leads or create more conversions. Instead, it’s a systematic approach that lets you clearly define your goals, measure the effect of your marketing strategy, and discover how you can adjust your efforts to better reach your goals.

2018 is the year to take your content marketing to new heights. If you need some help planning or producing your content for next year, contact Ink Copywriting.

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The Best Christmas Ads of 2017

Christmas brings out the most creative in the big brands

Christmas brings out the most creative in the big brands

Christmas is here, and with it always comes good cheer — and some of the most creative efforts from the world’s biggest brands.

As you know, I’m a sucker for a story, and these festive advertisements really caught my eye. Here are my six favourite Christmas ads from 2017, offering a masterclass in how to engage your audience over the holiday season.

1) Air New Zealand – A Very Merry Mistake

How could I overlook anything that pokes fun at the Kiwis? Especially when they’re making fun of themselves?

In many ways, this ad has it all. Humour, emotion, and a seasonal call to action for New Zealand’s biggest airline. The ad’s long-form format, thanks to almost 3 minutes of run time, allows it to embrace a storytelling approach that draws the audience in from the first second until the last. Giggles guaranteed.

2) Sainsbury’s – Every Bit of Christmas

Where Air New Zealand places Santa at the centre of the message, Sainsbury’s takes a different approach. Customers from all across the United Kingdom are participating in a karaoke-style song, performed with as much delight as you would expect from this type of environment.

The ad focuses on audience participation, made obvious by the lyrics shown on screen in a way that promotes sing-alongs. The story told here might be less consistent and tight than in the previous spot, but the feeling of togetherness (with a dose of humour sprinkled into the lyrics themselves) makes it well worth a mention for this season’s best Christmas ads.

3) John Lewis – Moz the Monster

When it comes to emotive Christmas advertising, John Lewis is the undisputed champion. And it would be remiss to overlook them in 2017.

This year’s effort starts with every child’s nightmare: a monster under the bed. What follows, however, is unexpected. A story unfolds that tells of a budding friendship, along with the unintended consequences of long, playful nights.

At the end, a twist: the Moz the monster gifts the child a nightlight, which makes it disappear when turned on. This self-sacrifice is soon rewarded when the child gets well-deserved rest, but turns the light back off anytime he wants to play with his new friend. It’s a true Christmas tale of love and friendship, told in the context of a boy who gets the best of both worlds thanks to John Lewis.

4) BBC One – The Supporting Act

In its Christmas ad, BBC shows that animation can be a powerful storytelling tool. What begins as a sad story of a girl who cannot get the attention of her hard-working dad ends with an unforgettable moment when both perform at a talent show to the girl’s delight.

The brand message here is subtle, as the story remains in the foreground. Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones, which includes sharing moments with BBC One.

5) Arnott’s – Santa’s Big Night

It’s the big night, and Santa Claus is delivering presents. But from tripping over dogs to getting chased by dogs, nothing seems to be going right. Good thing then, that a well-behaved girl left just the right cookies for him to relax on his last delivery for the night!

Compared to the other ads on this list, Arnott’s take is straightforward. But it still manages to add a healthy dose of storytelling into the mix to keep viewers engaged throughout the 90 second spot. After all, don’t we all deserve that cookie at the end of a stressful work day (or night)?

6) Myer – Elf’s Journey

Won’t anyone consider the elves? At Christmas, Santa always seems to be the star. This spot explores the journey of one little creature that got too stressed out, left, and discovered himself in the process.

Turns out, everyone celebrates Christmas in their own way. Our own family and friends may drive us crazy, but there truly is no place like home for the holidays. Through the eyes of an elf, Myers speaks to all of us with a story that everyone who has ever gotten stressed out by their family can relate to.

As we move closer to Christmas, the airwaves are full of advertisements connected to the holidays. Many of them tout sales or advocate for last-minute gift-giving. But few have the power that these examples have, and the reason is simple: an embrace of a storytelling approach.

In modern marketing, this type of approach is crucial. Connect with your audience on an emotional level, and you can generate awareness and engagement that goes beyond your competition. Christmas is the perfect time to embrace storytelling in your marketing, and build a lasting connection with your audience.

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2018 promises to be a big year in marketing

2018 promises to be a big year in marketing

As we wind up for the 2017, deck the halls and reflect on the year gone by — many of us are already wondering what 2018 will bring. In the world of marketing, it promises to be a big one.

Small business owners and marketers understand this, and each New Year is a chance to find an edge, something that will help them set themselves apart from other businesses or other agencies. That means that they like to experiment, testing out new approaches to see what new trends could drive engagement and sales.

It looks as if 2018 will be no different, with several trends promising to dominate the marketing landscape, including the following 4:

  1. The Move from Brand Promise to Brand Purpose

Every successful brand makes a fundamental promise to its customers, something the brand does — the promise that a product will do what it says it does, or that the business offers stellar customer service.

Brand purpose takes that notion one step further, articulating something your company does that no one else can. As Marketing Tech News explains it:

“Simply put, [brand purpose is] the reason your brand exists – not just what you do, i.e. sell a product, but something you can offer consumers that no one else can.”

Said differently, your company’s brand purpose reveals the ‘why’ of your business. In revealing your purpose you offer insight into what makes you truly unique. A common tactic is highlighting the social good you do, and its increasingly gaining a foothold with marketers. To be effectively leveraged, your brand purpose should be authentic and proactively communicated to everyone in your business.

  1. Marketing Automation for the Masses

Most businesses have less trouble generating leads than nurturing them. Pulling leads through the sales funnel requires sending them useful content, and doing so automatically. In the past, however, automation tools tended to be cost-prohibitive, and for that reason they were more the province of big businesses and industry giants.

Increasingly, however, the tools that enable marketing automation have become more widely available, a trend sometimes referred to as ‘marketing automation 2.0’. Small and medium-size businesses can now afford highly-functional tools, tools like GetResponse, which will automatically push out welcome emails, social media links and newsletters in response to consumer triggers.

  1. From ROI to Customer Lifetime Value

You can’t grow your business and enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts if you don’t measure results. Typically, that includes things like web traffic, lead generation, conversions and return on investment (ROI). While ROI is a reasonable measure of how smart your expenditure of marketing dollars is, it doesn’t generally account for the fact that your customers are different. Some make weekly purchases, while others rarely buy. Some buy expensive products, while others spend less.

Increasingly, marketers are focusing less on ROI and more on customer lifetime value (CLV), which measures the net profit each customer contributes to your business over the long haul. Marketers leverage different formulas to calculate CLV. Most, however (like this one from Shopify), include in their calculation:

  • how recently a customer made their most recent purchase (recency)
  • the number of purchases made within a given amount of time (frequency)
  • the amount each customer has spent within the same timeframe (monetary value)

The adoption of CLV as a key metric is potentially a game changer for marketers, helping them make more informed decisions about the ways they spend their customer retention budgets.

  1. The Ascent of Live Video Streaming

For years, marketers have understood the power of video to move customers through the sales funnel by creating a powerful emotional bond with them. In recent years, for example, they’ve increasingly employed video in email marketing, mobile marketing and on social media sites.

In 2018, live video streaming will gain substantial traction, particularly on social media. For example, Facebook now offers a Live video option, and Instagram is tempting marketers with its Live Stream feature.  The ascendancy of live video rests on its ability to engage and excite your target audience. In 2016, 14% of marketers incorporated live video into their marketing campaigns — expect that number to grow significantly this year.

Make Sure Your Content Is Doing Its Job

Every business is different, and no set of marketing strategies, no matter how well they’re trending, is right for every company. What is consistent from one business to another, however, is the need to inform content with messaging that is informative, helpful, authentic and compelling.

Contact us today to learn more about the ways our services can help you enhance your content, drive sales and grow your business.

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Whether it's a movie or marketing, humans want to hear a story

Whether it’s a movie or marketing, humans want to hear a story

There’s a reason human beings have been telling stories for thousands of years: as a tool for engaging and entertaining, they work.

They work because they create suspense. Once the story starts and if properly told, you want to know how it’s going to end. They work because they’re easy to remember. They work because they create an immediate emotional connection between the teller and the listener. It’s the reason why politicians and preachers and pundits all tell stories.

It’s also the reason storytelling is so effective in marketing. In fact, among the most effective content marketing strategies businesses can employ is creating compelling narratives — storytelling is the perfect vehicle to link a company’s products and services to powerful consumer emotions, particularly when those stories are rendered in engaging videos. Among the best places to roll out those video narratives is on social media, a point not lost on inbound marketing and software giant, Hubspot:

“This year, we’ve seen the importance of visual content emphasised by the changes that occurred across almost every major social network, including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. At the same time, videos have become powerful tools for brands looking to communicate more easily with their readers.”

According to research also from Hubspot:

  • 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%)
  • By 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic
  • Facebook users spend 3X more time watching live videos than traditional videos
  • More than 60% of marketers and small business owners said they planned to increase investment in video marketing in 2017

Social Storytelling Done Right

Posting just any video which tells a story isn’t a guarantee of increased brand recognition. The trick is to do it right, creating engaging narratives with which consumers can easily identify, integrating those stories with brand promises and linking them to your products and services.

Here are three companies that have effectively linked video with social storytelling to deliver powerful content, boost their brands and increase their revenue:

  1. Heinz: How Can You Beat Chicken Soup for Curing Your Ills?

Heinz has a multifaceted product line, but arguably is best known for its soups. Seizing on the old idea that soup cures what ills you, Heinz and partner Agency We Are Social developed a storytelling campaign in which its Facebook fans could buy a personalised can of soup inscribed with the message, ‘Get well soon’.

The move was a huge success, not only because of the wise choice of Facebook (given its associations with warm vibes and social connectivity), but also because the campaign engaged consumers with the kind of emotion with which everyone can identify.

Recognising the unmatched potential to boost customer loyalty with appeals to social responsibility, Heinz took it one step further, pledging to donate money for every one of its personalised soup cans purchased to Starlight, a charity dedicated to helping terminally-ill children.

Heinz achieved success by combining the essential elements of social media storytelling: an engaging narrative with which consumers can identify that triggers powerful emotions and a call to social action.

  1. Dove: Operation Homefront

Dove has been a pioneering brand in the art of social storytelling, especially when you consider that what they’re selling is soap — not hybrid cars or travel to exotic locations or smartphones — but soap, not exactly a commodity which easily lends itself to compelling narrative.

For several years now, Dove has overcome that challenge by focusing on the women who use its product — authentic, easy to identify with, and exuding a beauty that comes from within.

The center of Dove’s social success has been its ability to tap into women’s preference to feel beautiful for who they are and what they do, not for their beauty defined in more conventional terms. Like all good marketing ideas, this one needed occasional refreshing.

Dove’s solution for ramping up its emotional appeal was as incisive as its original campaign: it decided to reframe and enhance its definition of “inner beauty” by focusing on the men in these women’s lives — specifically a compelling story about a serving father who simply wants to see his new child — and linking the emotions implicit in that experience to the healing, reuniting power of its product.

  1. TOMS Shoes: Asking Customers to Take Off Their Signature Product

Footwear giant TOMS set out to educate its customer about the importance of shoes, not as a fashion statement, but as a necessity of everyday life. While its cause was noble, it’s strategy was truly bold: by encouraging people to take off their shoes for a day, they very product they usually try to sell.

It all started in and has since grown into the company’s annual ‘One Day Without Shoes’ campaign, focused on children around the world, living in poverty and unable to afford the shoes we so readily take for granted.

As part of the campaign TOMS pledged to donate one pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair one of its customers bought.

Last year, TOMS updated the campaign, agreeing to donate a pair of shoes every time a customer (or social media follower) tagged a photo of their bare feet on Instagram — no purchase required. In removing the purchase requirement, TOMS demonstrated unequivocally its social concern, and, in the process, allowed customers (and prospective customers) to feel better about themselves for the good they were doing.

Conclusion

To achieve their objectives, content marketers need more than anything else to understand their target audience — who they are, what they care about, and what they need. Armed with that essential knowledge, content marketers can reinforce their brands with engaging content that triggers powerful emotions in readers and viewers, and links those emotions to their products. Deploying storytelling videos on social media is one of the best ways to create engagement, build customer loyalty and establish trust.

The Secrets of Successful eBooks

eBooks have become a crucial content marketing tool

eBooks have become a crucial content marketing tool

Over the past few years, eBooks have become a crucial content tool for a wide range of industries. Well crafted eBooks allow you to delve into a topic of interest to your audience, developing your thought leadership and credibility. When used strategically, they can also act as a lead generation tool that moves your potential customers and clients through the sales funnel.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just start writing. To be successful, eBooks have to be strategic. And to accomplish that goal, there are six common rules that most successful eBooks follow.

1) Start With Unique Value

First things first: you have to make sure that your audience wants to read what you’re creating and that there is a genuine need for the information. That requires three components:

  • Value, particularly as it relates to answering your audience’s pain points and questions.
  • Interest, making sure that the content revolves around a topic your readers actually want to consume.
  • Originality, positioning yourself as a leader in the space rather than regurgitating content your audience can get anywhere else.

2) Develop a Clear Structure

Next, it’s time to start working on an outline. eBooks are primarily consumed online, which means that you have to contend with the fact that your readers will have an attention span averaging just 8 seconds.

Structure can help avoid that problem. A wall of text is never a good idea; instead, create an outline that includes several sections and sub-headers, breakout boxes and pull quotes that revolve around your core topic. Breaking up your content and ideas into smaller, more digestible segments will hold your reader’s attention longer.

3) Get the Length Just Right

There is no single perfect length for an eBook. A well-designed and laid out 1,000 word document with plenty of graphics may perform better than a 10,000 word tome with fewer tangible takeaways.

Instead of shooting for a golden word count, ask yourself a simple question: what’s the minimum length I would need to convey everything I want to present? Shorter tends to be better, but only if you can actually fit enough value into the document to satisfy step #1 above. Of course, infographics can be a great way to increase that value without increasing length.

4) Do the Research

eBooks differ from blog posts and other short-form types of content in that your readers expect at least some tangible insights and takeaways. That, in turn, requires thorough research into the topic at hand.

Don’t be afraid to go on the hunt for studies and statistics that support your cause. Articles from experts in your industry might make for great quotes to enhance the content. Rely not just on your own writing, but existing research to provide a new, valuable, and relevant conclusion to your readers.

5) Invest in the Design

We cannot stress this enough: even the most well-intended and well-researched eBook can fall apart if it’s not visually compelling. Value, structure, length, and research matter little if you don’t spend the necessary time to write, proof, and design the actual document in a way that engages your readers.

Avoiding typos and grammar issues is an obvious first step. But every sentence also needs to be engaging, designed for readers on digital and mobile devices. That can be relatively simple for a blog post, but gets more complex for an eBook.

Finally, your design should allow readers to easily skim the content, and still come away with its most important takeaways.

6) eBooks Should Maximise Lead Generation

Finally, have a strategy in place to make your eBook an avenue to generate high-quality leads. eBooks tend to be free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t derive real value from them as a lead generation tool. For instance, simply gating them behind a sign-up form allows you to gather the contact information for anyone who wants to read them. They receive your beautifully crafted eBook and you get their email address – a ready-made lead to add into your sales funnel.

If you’ve followed the above steps and highlight the value that your content can provide, this offer will be attractive enough for relevant members of your target audience to at least hand over their name and email address.

Follow these six steps, and your next eBook could become your most successful content marketing initiative. Of course, you might not have the resources needed to generate a document that truly engages, convinces, and converts your audience to your brand. If you need help with your next eBook, contact Ink Copywriting to find out how we can help you.

How Video Became A Marketing Powerhouse

Video has become a marketing superstar

Video has become a marketing superstar

Over the past few years, video has grown from a tricky online messaging tool to dominating the digital airwaves. It’s not difficult to remember a past in which every video posted online had to be highly produced and edited, differing little from television commercials and other spots on more traditional screens.

Today, much of that has changed. Video has truly taken over digital marketing, becoming a powerhouse in the process. Consider the statistics:

  • More than 1 billion YouTube users watch more than 500 million hours of video every day.
  • The average 30-day period sees more videos uploaded online than the previous 30 years combined, with 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube alone every single second.
  • 45% of the U.S. population watches at least an hour of digital video on YouTube or Facebook per week.

Given that rise, marketers are beginning to rely heavily on video to reach and engage their audiences. Today, almost 90 percent of businesses use some kind of online content to promote their brand. That’s because they consider video to have the highest return on investment of any digital marketing message or tactic.

Understanding the Rise of Video

So what has led to this rapid rise of moving images on the web in recent years? The answer could fill volumes. In short, there are 5 key reasons that have played an especially large role in the growth of video marketing.

Videos are Easy to Produce

First things first: online videos in particular are increasingly easy, quick, and cheap to create. The average smartphone now has a camera that out-performs professional models from just a decade ago. Software tools like iMovie are free, and allow anyone to edit videos or add text and create slick little videos in a hurry.

Videos Get Attention

Of course, cost and ease of production would matter little if this type of content didn’t resonate with audiences. Videos tend to get your audience’s attention almost immediately, as humans are inherently drawn toward moving images over static pictures or text. With the right video, your brand can easily stand above all of the content that surrounds it.

Videos Allow for Quick Communication

Crucially, video doesn’t just grab attention, but also holds it. Our average attention span online is now at 8 seconds, and shrinking continually. Text can be clunky, especially if you’re looking to explain your core brand benefits or value proposition. An image might be worth 1,000 words, but a video is worth up to 1.8 million.

Videos Combine Words and Images

Your brand needs to be visual. But you also need to make sure that you clearly communicate the rational benefits of becoming a customer or lead via text. How do you combine the two? Image-based graphics are an option, but tend to be limited in the amount of content you can include. Video, on the other hand, combines words and images in a way that engages your audience and conveys information quickly and efficiently.

Videos Connect Digital Marketing Channels

Finally, videos have become immensely successful in digital marketing because of their innate shareability – the can be shared and spread at the click of a button. Every marketer wants to create the next viral sensation, which will reverberate across your target audience. But even if you don’t get to that point, an effective marketing video can help you reach a larger audience across marketing channels.

In short, video can and should play a major role in your marketing efforts. However, success depends on creating a product that combines compelling imagery with well crafted words. That process starts with the scripting process. If you need help in getting started on the next great marketing video, contact Ink Copywriting to start the conversation.

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