How to Use Numbers Effectively in Your Blog Posts

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/sJ1CMnoEZzk/

You’re a blogger, so hopefully you feel confident working with words.

But words alone aren’t enough.

Even if you haven’t been blogging for long (or are yet to start), you’ve probably noticed numbers coming up a lot in other people’s posts.

You often find numbers in post titles such as:

How I Made over $500,000 with the Amazon Affiliate Program (ProBlogger) Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Sleazy: 5 Real-World Examples (Copyblogger) $453k in 33 Days: A Guide to Launching on Kickstarter – Guest Post by John Lee Dumas (Smart Passive Income)

Even if they don’t appear in the post’s title of the post, numbers can be used to order a sequence of steps, when listing a series of tips, or when quoting statistics.

Why Do Numbers Matter So Much?

By using numbers in your post, you’ll come across as a more authoritative source of information.

Numbers also intrigue readers. If you mention “Ten ways”, they’ll want to know what they are. If you tell them you made $2,671 from your first product launch, they’ll want to know how.

Here are four ways you can use numbers in your blog posts.

When sharing your results (or someone else’s), whether it’s traffic, fans, income or anything else you might track. When providing a statistic. It could be a well-known one, or something quite obscure. When listing a number of steps to follow. Those steps could be your entire post, or just a part of it. When sharing several tips or ideas, usually in the form of a list post.

Here’s how they might work for you.

#1: Sharing Your Results (or Someone Else’s)

Blog posts that share real-life results are often popular because they show that someone else has succeeded, and give the reader hope that they can too. In the post titles I shared earlier, numbers such as “3,241 Facebook Fans” and “$453k” can help the reader trust your information. It sounds like it must be helpful because it’s so specific.

Tip: Sometimes it’s appropriate to round off numbers (e.g. “My newsletter has more than 20,000 subscribers”). But if you’re sharing your results in a post, specific numbers make it clear the results are accurate.

#2: Providing a Statistic

It’s easy to give advice on your blog without necessarily backing it up. You may know your niche very well, and therefore know that your advice is accurate. But readers won’t necessarily believe you without evidence. Here’s an example from Copyblogger’s classic post Writing Headlines That Get Results:

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of the headline, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.

The statistics make it clear this information is authoritative and grounded in fact, rather than just someone’s opinion about whether or not headlines are important.

Tip: Of course, your statistics need to be accurate and true. Try to find the original source, or an authoritative source such as a government or university website. It’s often a good idea to link to the source as well.

#3: Listing a Number of Steps to Follow

If your post teaches the reader how to do something, or has steps they need to follow in order, it makes sense to number those steps. The reader may well be going back and forth between your post and the task they’re trying to complete, so you should make it easy for them to remember which step they’re up to.

In this type of post, including the number in the title often works well. For instance, instead of “How to Register a Domain Name” you might have “How to Register a Domain Name in Six Easy Steps”.

Tip: Try not to have too many steps. Having 20 or 30 steps may overwhelm the reader, even if each step can be completed relatively quickly. Instead, try to group each action into five to ten separate steps.

#4: Sharing Several Tips or Ideas

This is different to the step-by-step approach in that each tip or idea in your post will probably stand on its own. The reader can tackle them in any order, and may only try one or two of them.

It’s still a good idea to number each one. Not only will it help orient the reader within your post, it will also prove you’ve delivered what you promised (if you used numbers in your title).

Tip: Big numbers can work well in these types of posts. While “100 Steps to Build the Perfect Website” sounds very daunting, “100 Different Ways to Make Your Website Stand Out” sounds like a comprehensive source readers can dip into.

Using numbers in your post (and particularly in your title) may take a few minutes of extra work. But it could result in a much more popular and effective post.

Do you already use numbers in your posts? Or is it something you want to focus on a little more? If you’ve got any good tips for using numbers, share them with us in the comments.

Image Credit: Nick Hillier

The post How to Use Numbers Effectively in Your Blog Posts appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


220: What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/NRUVjIofmvo/

What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters (and Answers to 4 FAQs About Email)

Do you email your blog readers regularly?

Maybe you put ‘set up email newsletter’ on your ‘someday’ list ages ago, but still haven’t done it.

Or maybe you have a newsletter list, but you haven’t sent one in months.

You might think it’s optional – something you can do once you’ve finished everything else on your to-do list.

You might even think email is dead (or at least old-fashioned), and that you’re better off building connections through social media. (Which is nothing new, by the way. I was talking about bloggers having similar concerns nine years ago.)

The truth is, email is still one of the best ways (if not the best way) to connect with your blog’s readers.

Email is a big part of my strategy on both of my blogs. It drives traffic, and helps us build our community, understand who’s reading our blog, and monetize both directly and indirectly.

If you’re not using it, you really are missing out. But what do you email? What is the content you include in your communications?

Email can be used in many ways, and you can sent a variety of email types. But today I want to talk about creating a regular email newsletter, which for me is the foundation of my email strategy.

A few of the most common questions I get about newsletters and email strategy: What tool should I use? What content should I put in my emails? What format should they be in – plain text, rich text, HTML? How frequently should I send emails? What other types of emails should I consider sending? How do I get more subscribers? (I’m not going to cover this today, but recommend you listen to episodes 68 and 69) Links and Resources on What to Include in Your Email Newsletters: How I Use Email Newsletters to Drive Traffic and Make Money Comparing Email Service Providers for Bloggers 6 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs an Email Newsletter 3 Examples of Content You Can Include in Your Email Newsletter Other Podcasts On Similar Topics: PB117: Case Study – How One Blogger Used a Blog Post, SlideShare Deck, Lead Magnet, Email Sequence and a Webinar to Earn Over $28,000 PB107: Affiliate Marketing Tips – What Links to Use in Your Emails PB069: Create an Opt-In to Increase Your Email Subscriber Numbers PB068: How to Increase Your Email List Subscribers By 100% Or More Today 161: 3 Things Most Bloggers Don’t Pay Enough Attention To Tools We’re Using: (These are affiliates and we get a small commission on purchases.) Drip – the current email service provider for ProBlogger ConvertKit – a tool we’re just starting to experiment with that looks very promising. Built from the ground up for bloggers.

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hey there and welcome to Episode 220 of the Problogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, a podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, and soon to come some courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about Problogger at problogger.com.

And while I’m mentioning it, sign up for our newsletter, Problogger PLUS. You’ll see calls to action to do that wherever you go on problogger.com. That will keep you in the loop in terms of our new content, but also some of the new things we’ve got coming for 2018.

In today’s episode, I wanna talk about email. It’s a fairly introductory… I guess the frequently asked questions that I get about email, particularly what should you include in the emails that you send. I think most bloggers know that they should be sending some emails and collecting email addresses, but I regularly get asked the question, “What should I put in my emails?”

I wanna talk today about what we do with our newsletters, talk about some of the questions we get around whether you should use plain text or rich text or HTML, how frequently you should send, and other types of emails that you might wanna build into your sequence as well.

We’re talking all things email today. If you haven’t yet got a newsletter or an email list, today is gonna be good for you because we’ll also mention some tools that you might wanna use. And if you have got one but you haven’t been sending, this would be the perfect podcast for you, I hope.

Let’s get into it. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/220.

Do you email your blog readers regularly? Maybe you have had this on your ‘to do’ list, your ‘someday’ list, for a long time now. It’s amazing how many blogger I meet have got ‘Set up an email list’ or ‘Start sending emails’ as one of the items on their ‘one day’ list.

I wanna encourage you today, as we approach the end of 2017, move into a new year, to put this on your today list. I really wanna encourage you to make this an essential item, a big part of what you do in 2018, because as I look back over the years in my blogging, this is one of the most important things that I ever took action on, starting to send emails.

You might think email is dead or an old-fashioned medium and that you’d be better off building your connections through social media, which is certainly one way that you can build relationships with your readers and drive traffic to your blogs. The truth is, email is still one of the best, if not the best, way to connect with your blog readers.

Things are changing all the time in the space that we’re operating in. But email is not going away. It hasn’t gone away. It one day may go away but I can’t see it going away in 2018, 2019, 2020. Whilst all of these other options of communicating with your readers do come and go in terms of their effectiveness, email is still a very effective way to reach your readers.

And it’s a big part of the strategy on both of my blogs. It drives a lot of traffic every week. It helps us to build community. We use our email to direct people to some of the social media accounts that we’re building community on, to drive engagement. It helps us understand who is reading our blog because we can get feedback from those who subscribe. And it helps us to monetize the business as well, both in terms of selling our product but also directly monetizing the emails.

We actually sell advertising in some of the emails that we do, particularly on Digital Photography School. So it’s paying for itself, and is a profitable part of our business.

If you’re not doing email, please consider it, and make it a priority for 2018 in terms of starting that email list or making your email list more effective for you.

I do get a lot of questions about email. And I wanna cover some of the more common ones today because it can be used in a variety of ways. There’s no blueprint for how you should do it but I wanna explore some of the different methods that you can use to use in email.

Particularly, there are six questions that I wanna talk about today. In fact there’s five and I wanna give you some further listening for the sixth one.

The first question is, “What tool should I use?” I get it all the time. I wanna suggest to you a few tools that you might wanna consider.

Number two question is, “What content should I put in my emails? What are my options in terms of sending a newsletter?” particularly.

Number three, “What format should they be in?” Should you be sending plain text emails, rich text, HTML, pretty, designed emails.

Question number four, “How frequently should I send emails?”

Number five is what other types of emails should you send in addition to that newsletter that you do.

The sixth question, I’ve got some further listening for you, is how to get more subscribers for your list. I’m not gonna cover that specifically, but I do have some further listening which I’ll mention at the end of today’s show.

That’s where we’re headed today.

The first question, let’s get into it, what tool should you use. There are an amazing array of tools on the market today. When I started doing email, I think it was back in 2004, 2005, there weren’t really that many tools. But today there are so many. Every time I ask in our Facebook group what tools do you use, it’s amazing how many different tools are mentioned there. They come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of features and different price points.

What I really encourage you to do is to pay for an email service. Don’t use a free one. Don’t send your newsletter from your Gmail account. It’s just gonna get you into trouble in terms of spammy practices, and it’s gonna hurt your deliverability. You do want to invest in an email service provider. It does cost, but if you use email right it should pay for itself through selling products, through selling affiliate products, through potentially even having advertisers in your email.

It’s not that expensive to start out. Most of the tools that are out there have free entry points, or they’ll give you trial for certain amount of subscribers and then they increase the price as you get more subscribers. You shouldn’t have to pay too much to get started.

This isn’t a time or place to compare all the different options out there. But what I will say is over the last 12 months we’ve looked at quite a few of the options at Problogger for our own use. For many years, I’ve been using AWeber as a tool. It is a solid option that I know many Problogger readers use. It’s been around for years, it’s reliable, it’s relatively affordable.

But over the last few years, we’ve increasingly come up against challenges that are starting to hold us back in terms of what we are trying to do with our email list. Some of the features aren’t quite there in comparison to some of the other tools out there. You can do a lot, but you kind of have to hack it together. It’s a little bit clumsy in terms of the way that it’s arranged. But it is a good solid tool if you just wanna send a newsletter every week and you don’t wanna get much more sophisticated than that.

We’ve decided to start looking around at some of the other options. It’s been years that I’ve been using AWeber. We’ve started to also notice a little bit of deliverability issues. That could be partly because of the size of our list, and because our list is quite old as well. We have a lot of people who signed up for that list in 2005, 2006 and so deliverability is kind of… there’s some issues there for us as well.

So when it came to looking at what we should switch our business to in terms of email, we considered a lot of different tools and we came down to two. There are two that I would recommend for you.

The two that I would encourage you to consider, and we’ve got links to these on our show notes, are Drip and ConvertKit. We’ll do an episode in 2018 with more detail on these tools and talk a little bit about the actual features of them, but we came down on Drip. We’ve decided to move to Drip. We’ve actually switched Problogger over to Drip in the last six months and it’s been amazing. We’ve loved using it. It’s very powerful. It enables us to do a lot more segmentation of our list and deliver different types of emails to different people to create different sorts of sequences of emails. It’s very powerful and it’s incredibly intuitive to use.

It is more expensive for us than AWeber but we’re already seeing, as a result of high deliverability and more powerful tools, that we’re going to be able to make our money back on that. And we will be moving Digital Photography School over to Drip next year. That’s a big task for us because we’ve got so many lists and so many subscribers there.

So Drip has been very good for us but ConvertKit, I would highly recommend that as well. It is a newer tool, perhaps it hasn’t matured as a platform quite as much as Drip, and not quite as advanced in some of the tools.

When we looked at the size of our list and some of the things we wanted to do, it wasn’t quite there, ConvertKit for us particularly when we made that decision ConvertKit, you couldn’t do HTML emails. That may be coming or it may have already come. You had to do plain text. I know for a lot of bloggers plain text is totally fine. We’ll actually talk about why plain text might be the best option for you anyway. But we came down on Drip.

If you are perhaps not wanting to do something quite as sophisticated as Drip and you want a tool that has been specifically designed for bloggers, ConvertKit is amazing. I would highly commend that company to you as well. Both of the companies are brilliant in terms of their customer service. Do have a look at both of them. If you wanna signup for them, I’d appreciate it if you’d do it through our links on the show notes because they are affiliate links and we do get a small commission on those things, help us to keep Problogger running. But even if you don’t, check them out. I do highly commend them to you. Both have a really good customer service as well, they’ve been very helpful for us.

They’re the two tools that I would use. I know others of you are using other tools. Most of the tools out there do have the same types of features. Again, if you haven’t set up a list yet, do pay for one. Don’t send your emails from your Gmail account. It’s just gonna get you into a lot of trouble.

Question number one was tools. Number two is “What content should I put in my emails?” And “How should I format them?”, I guess, is the third question as well. That’s where I wanna turn our attention to.

There are no rules for what you should send in a newsletter. There is one thing I would strongly encourage you to consider and that is to be consistent and to be regular, be consistent. Email subscribers are like blog readers, they like consistency. They quickly form expectations of what they’re gonna get from your list. They will signup and they’ll see your first email and they’ll see your second email. If they are similar to each other, they’ll expect your third email is gonna be like that.

If you are storytelling in your emails and then you suddenly switched to an opinion piece and then you suddenly switched to tips and then you suddenly switched to promotional stuff and you’re mixing things up constantly, some of your readers are gonna get frustrated with that. If you’re using different voices in your newsletter, they’ll begin to get a bit frustrated with that. We’ve actually found that our subscribers really like it when we do the same thing every week. I’ll tell you what we do in ours as well.

There’s a variety of things you can do in your newsletter but try to keep some consistency there in terms of how it looks, how it reads and I guess the benefits of it as well. They’re much more likely to stay subscribed and just stay engaged with your list, keep opening your list, keep looking for your emails if you have some consistency there in terms of what they get and also when they get it. Don’t stray too far from the normal, you can mix things up a little bit. Always try to keep some consistency there particularly in the way it looks, I think, is really important.

There’s a variety of things you can do with that newsletter. What I wanna do is just give you three different options, you could also probably do a combination of these things or something else as well, again consistency is the key. These are the three most common things that I see in newsletters doing. Each has their own strength. The first thing you could do is to write exclusive content especially for the newsletter list.

I see some bloggers doing this very effectively, they send a weekly or maybe every second week or even a monthly type of email. You open the email and it’s an article in the email. There’s actually a tip or there are some news or there’s a story in the email itself. You don’t have to click on it and anything to go and read the content, they actually put the content in the email. It’s something exclusive and valuable just for the subscribers. It’s almost like they’ve written an extra blog post that week just for the email.

There are lots of bloggers who do this. I’ve used the example of Nicole Avery who is one of our subject matter experts on Problogger, she has written a lot of articles for us. She’s got a blog called Planning with Kids and she does this in her newsletter. If you subscribed to it you’ll see that she’s essentially writing an extra article or blog post every week just for subscribers, you can’t get it anywhere else.

This approach works really well because it helps your subscribers to feel a little bit special, you’re giving them a reason to stay subscribed because they can’t get this valuable content anywhere else. Your emails have the value inside them. They actually begin to look for them and begin to expect them and they open them. They don’t say, “This is all just stuff in the blog.” This is something I can’t get anywhere else. They get into the habit of opening those emails. That’s a really powerful thing.

The downside of this approach is you have to write something extra every week. It is going to go to a smaller audience than potentially your blog. You write a blog article and it’s there for all time and it gets indexed by Google and it gets shared by social media for all time. It can get a lot more eyeballs on it. It feels like you’re doing a lot of work for less effort but the work that it’s doing with your subscribers can be very powerful because it can build a deep connection with them, it can make them very thankful for it and it gets them in the habit of looking for your emails because they know they cannot get it anywhere else.

That’s option number one, you create something exclusive for your newsletter list. The type two of what you could send in terms of a newsletter is where you send out your blog post by email. Essentially every time you publish a blog post, you send an email sending people to that blog post or you actually email the blog post itself. There’s a couple of different options within this one. This is something that’s possibly a little bit easier to do because you’re not writing extra content for your newsletter, you’re just promoting that content or you’re repurposing that content for your newsletter as well.

If you’re short on time, this is a good way to go. An example of this is Jon Morrow, Jon has a blog called Smart Blogger. He argues really strongly for this type of newsletter. If you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get an email anytime he publishes a new blog post. The email generally has two or three paragraphs that introduce the topic and then links to where you can read it. Sometimes he might have the first paragraph or two of the blog post and then says further reading or read the rest here. Sometimes he will rewrite that introduction and give you a good reason to go and read that article.

He’s sending out these emails every time he does a new blog post. This works for Jon because he’s not publishing everyday. Sometimes, I think, he publishes two or three times a month. It’s less regular. He’s not interrupting his subscribers constantly. It’s probably not recommended if you publish everyday or several times a day. I think on Digital Photography School, our readers will get highly annoyed if we email them every time we did a blog post because we publish 14 a week.

This approach is good for those of you who are short on time. It’s all about delivering traffic to your blog. The emails themselves don’t deliver a lot of value in the email. It’s not as good in terms of getting people used to the idea of opening the emails because there’s that little voice in the back of their heads saying, “I could read this on the blog, I don’t need to read this email.” You’re giving them perhaps a little less reason to do it. If the content is valuable on your blog and you’re only doing one a month or one a week, it’s possibly something that will work for you.

Another approach that I have seen on this is where the blogger has actually put the whole blog post in the email. They might publish the blog post on their blog but then they’ll also send that whole blog post in an article format in the email itself. This is where you do build some value in the emails themselves. This means your subscriber doesn’t visit your blogs often but for some of us, that doesn’t matter.

If you’re monetizing your blog with advertises, you do wanna get them over to your blog. Teasing them with that first paragraph or two and then saying read the rest here, that’s definitely a good way to go. If you are just about trying to build credibility, authority, you’re trying to make your readers connected to you, then it probably doesn’t matter where they read your content. This is an option, if that is your goal, if you wanna monetize your blog less directly by selling a product to them, then you maybe just wanna deliver that content in the email itself. There’s a couple options there.

The last type of email that you might wanna send is what I do, that is where you do a digest type email. You might send a weekly or a monthly digest of what you’ve published in that last period on your blog, you might wanna send links to all of the new content you’ve published or just the highlights of what you published in that period of time. Generally, people are doing this weekly or monthly but you could do it any period as well, you could do it every second week.

If you’re publishing several posts a week like we do, you don’t wanna be emailing your readers every time a new post goes up or as people unsubscribe. This is really where you digest it all. Digital Photography School is a good example of this. Every Thursday, I sit down and I look at the 14 posts that were published over the last week and I arrange them into categories and then I plug them into a template that we have had designed for us, it’s an HTML template. It’s basically a digest of the week.

Basically if you open that email, I can put a screenshot in today’s show notes, sometimes we’ll put a little introduction of something that happened during the week or highlighting a promotion that we’ve got on. The email is essentially a list of our new posts. They’ll be 14 new posts there, we also have some messaging from advertises there if we’re promoting something of our own or have a promotion going, we will highlight that as well but it’s generally a digest of all the stuff that’s going on in the blog. Occasionally we’ll also link to our Facebook page or our Facebook group and promote the community that’s going on as well.

Problogger PLUS newsletter is similar although simpler, we only publish three posts a week usually on Problogger, one blog post, one podcast, and one Facebook live or video on Facebook. Our Problogger PLUS newsletter only got the three links. Occasionally, I’ll also highlight a post in our archives that I think is relevant still today. I usually would include an introduction in the Problogger one because I’m trying to build a connection with readers as well, I wanna give people an insight into what’s going on at Problogger headquarters or something that has been going on on the blog over the last week.

These digest type emails are good for those of you who do have a lot of content. They’re also really good if you are trying to drive traffic to your site, you wanna get people across to your site, you’re highlighting all the blog posts but you’re not annoying your readers if you’re publishing a lot of content.

Use an introduction, I would encourage you to do that as well because that’s where you can build a more personal connection with your readers as well.

Three different types of newsletters that you can do. The third question I wanna briefly cover is what format should they be in, I get this question all the time. Should you be sending your emails in plain text, rich text which I’ll explain in a moment, or HTML. On our blogs and if you get the Problogger PLUS newsletter, you’ll know it’s branded with Problogger, you’ll see the logo in it, it’s a fairly simple design but it is HTML. There’s a picture of me in it, there’s color, there’s the Problogger color, there’s the Problogger logo. This, hopefully, makes it a little bit more visually appealing but it also reinforces the brand and it personalizes it as well because it got my face in it.

We do the same thing with Digital Photography School as well, we have the DPS colors, we’ve arranged it into categories. Particular on DPS, it’s useful to go HTML because we got a lot of content in there, there’s 14 links, there are messages from our advertises as well. We wanna draw the eye to different paths of it as well. HTML is really good if you’ve got a lot going on in your emails as well.

That costs us, we actually had to pay to get those designs done, our developers did it so we pay them to do that. It does take a little bit of time to get our emails together each week, it’s not just a matter of sitting down and writing a few paragraphs. I actually have to sit there and plug it into the template to test all the design to make sure it’s all working. It’s a little bit more involved in terms of putting it together but I do think it reinforces our brand.

Plain text is another option. I see a lot of bloggers doing it. I think there are some really good reasons for just doing plain text emails as well. Firstly it’s cheaper, you don’t have to get anyone to design it, it’s quicker and easy to put together. Generally it takes me 45 minutes or so to put out newsletters together each week, a little less for Problogger. A plain text email would be a lot quicker than that, at least half that time not including whatever you’re writing. Sometimes the writing itself could take more. The plain text email would be a lot quicker.

Also, the deliverability of a plain text email could be better than an HTML one. We’ve certainly seen that when we do our promotional emails, when we promote with an HTML email, our deliverability suffers. We generally do our sales type emails in plain text. You might wanna test that, plain text versus HTML. Every time we’ve done a split test on that in terms of our sales emails, we see plain text winning.

The other option is what’s called rich text. This is where you use some formatting. You might use bold or italics or you make any links, you link a word rather than putting the full link. This makes your emails look a little bit neater, it means you can draw the eye, you’d bold to create headings. It can be more useful if you’ve got slightly longer emails as well to draw the eye down the page. They are your three main options.

I would encourage if you’re just starting out and you’re feeling challenged to buy it all and you’re tethering on the edge of should I get into email or not, start with plain text, it’s so much simpler to do. At least you’ll be sending something every week, you wanna get into the rhythm of sending that. You can always progress to HTML later. Start simple.

Fourth question, a really brief answer to this one is how frequent should I be sending the emails. Again there’s no right answer here except to say regularity is so important, your readers will get used to the rhythm that you choose so stick to it. Personally, I really like weekly emails because it becomes a part of people’s week, it also leaves enough space between the emails that you can also send them extra emails. I’ll talk about some of those in a moment. Also, they forget who you are. That’s the danger of going monthly, is that if you go monthly, some will not signup for your newsletter today.

They may not hear from you for 29 days if they sign up on the first of the month then you send your emails on the last of the month. That distance between emails, there’s a danger there that they don’t feel connected to you, that they forget they even subscribed to you. I like weekly because it is a little bit more regular than that and it keeps you in front of people at the top of their mind.

Ultimately, the frequency you choose really needs to depend upon one, how much time do you have. If you don’t have much time, less frequent is okay. The format that you’re trying to send emails in, if you’re doing HTML, it could take a little longer so it may be less frequent. If you’re doing plain text, it’s a little bit easy to do so it may be more frequent. What are you putting in your emails, are they long, are you writing exclusive content for them, then less frequent might be okay because one, it’s gonna take you longer to create those emails but two, it’s gonna take longer to read.

You don’t wanna be sending really long articles everyday to your readers because again they can’t consume that much content so less frequent might be okay if the content is a really deep content. I guess ultimately, what are your readers’ expectations and what’s their ability to consume the content as well. They’re some of the questions I would be asking. Again, I think weekly is probably a good starting point. You can always decrease or increase it slowly over time but don’t jump and change too much.

Fifth question, it’s really the last question, is what other types of emails should you consider sending as well? We send out our weekly newsletters but in between the weekly newsletters, some weeks, there’s another email. Sometimes there’s even two. There’s different types of emails that we add into the sequence of emails that we send.

Let’s go through the three types. Promotional emails, this is where we launch a new product or run a sale on an existing product or doing an affiliate promotion of some kind or a sponsored type of campaign as well. If you’ve got a sponsor, sometimes you might send an email out about that campaign or about that offer as well.

Emails, for us, result in most of our sales. This is a really important type of email for us but we don’t wanna go overboard with the promotional emails as well. If we promote something new every three days, our readers are gonna push back and they’re gonna get mad. We really try to be as careful as possible, we wanna be promoting enough that we are profitable but we don’t wanna promote so much that we lose subscribers. You’re gonna play this a little bit by ear.

One key for us is that we map out at the start of the year what promotions we’re gonna run over the next year. We are, at present, mapping out 2018, what ebooks and courses are we going to launch, which ones that we’ve already launched will we do relaunches of or promotions on, what seasonal promotions are we gonna do in 2018, are we gonna do Black Friday, are we gonna do a Christmas sale and what affiliate promotions are we gonna do. The beauty of mapping it out ahead of time is that you can space things out.

We typically run a promotion for a week or even two weeks. We know that during those times, we’re gonna be sending out multiple emails in addition to our newsletter. We wanna space those out, we don’t wanna run a promotion this week and then another promotion next week and then another promotion the week after. We wanna space them out, give our readers a bit of a break in between. That’s another type of email that you could build in.

An autoresponder sequence would be another option. This can be a really great way to bring your new subscribers up to speed with some of the other stuff that you’ve got in your archives. If someone subscribes to Digital Photography School today, they’ve missed out on over 7000 articles in our archives. What we’ve created is a sequence of emails that goes out automatically to anyone who subscribes to our newsletter. Every 30 or so days, they get an extra email. It’s time to go out on a Sunday, our newsletters always go out on Thursday, our promotional emails usually go out on a Tuesday.

We got this rhythm that you always will get a Thursday email newsletter. You’ll sometimes get a Tuesday promotional email, this is maybe one in three weeks and then one in four weeks you’ll get a Sunday email that is highlighting something in our archives. An autoresponder is where you setup that sequence of emails ahead of time. You just let it run to anyone new who subscribes up.

There is a whole episode of this podcast dedicated to autoresponders that I’ve done in Episode 70, I’ll link to that in the show notes but you might wanna also go back and listen to that. It’s a very powerful strategy to use because it’s a set and forget type of thing. You do it once, you setup that email once and then for all eternity or until you stop, I choose to stop sending that particular email, that email automatically go out to all new subscribers at the set intervals, a very powerful strategy.

The third type of email that you might wanna send as well is more of an interaction type of email. This is where you send out a question to your readers and encourage them to reply. This might seem a little bit crazy, you don’t want all your subscribers sending you emails but it’s a very powerful thing to do. For example you might send out a welcome email and then at the end of that welcome email say, “Please tell us about your experience with…” That is a very powerful thing because it signals to your subscribers that you’re interested in hearing from them.

That adds work to you because you’re gonna start getting more emails but it’s gonna give you incredible insight into your subscribers and it’s gonna make it realize that you are not just wanting to send them emails, you’re wanting to have a conversation with them.

Another option that may be a little less work is where you setup an email and it might be part of that autoresponder sequence that we just talked about where you send out an invitation to complete a survey. This is something that we do on Digital Photography School after you’ve been subscribed to our newsletter.

I think that’s three months, we have an email that goes out automatically on the autoresponder sequence. It says, “Could you take five minutes to do this survey?” The survey has questions about their demographics but also asks them questions about their photography and it gives them an opportunity to ask questions as well about photography that they’ve got which gives us ideas for content. These types of emails are not so much about driving traffic to your archives and are not designed to get sales. They’re designed to help you understand who your readers are and also to make them feel a little bit more connected to you.

Another option that you might wanna do is adding the occasional email that promotes your Facebook group, your Facebook page, your Instagram account, these type of places as well. Again, this is about engagement, trying to get a second point of connection with your subscribers. These are the three types of extra emails that you might wanna send, there would be others as well. If you’ve got any others that you send out, that you’ve built into your rhythm of sending emails, I’d love to hear about them over in the Facebook group.

The last question that I get asked all the time from people is how do I get more subscribers to my newsletter. I’m not gonna cover this today in this episode but I do recommend you go and listen to two episodes, Episode 68 and Episode 69. These are two different strategies for building your subscriber numbers of your newsletter. I think both of those would be well worth listening to once you finish this one in a couple of minutes.

The last thing I wanna say is to make it a priority, make email a priority for 2018. I’ve seen something, the two big problems I see amongst so many blogger are bloggers who don’t have email lists, that’s the number one problem, or they’ve signed up for a service and they aren’t collecting email addresses. The second big problem is bloggers who don’t send emails. I see this all the time, people who are collecting emails everyday, they’re getting new subscribers but they’re not sending emails.

If you fall into either of those categories, one, know that you’re not alone but two, know that I’m not satisfied until you get that thing fixed. I want you to make it a priority in 2018. I really have seen the way that email has transformed my business, it has really brought a lot of traffic and a lot of income and a lot of connection with our readers as well over the years. It is a central part of what we do. Put some priorities into that. Even if you’ve got an email list and you’re still listening, make it a priority to take a critical look at what you’re doing with your email.

Do you need to change up your newsletter? Do you need to start an autoresponder sequence? Do you need to think about the design of your email? Do you need to test the format, plain text versus HTML? Do you need to do some testing in terms of the subject lines that you use? Do you need to consider upgrading your email service provider? I highly encourage you to take a critical look on some of that type of stuff.

The last thing I’ll say is if you haven’t started, start simple even if you just send a monthly plain text email once a month, a plain text email with three paragraphs that simply links to a recent post that did well for you. That is better than nothing. Don’t let the tools, don’t let the formatting, don’t let the link, don’t let the content itself hold you back, send something. Make it valuable, it doesn’t need to be long, it doesn’t need to be profound, just make it deliver a little bit of value to your subscribers and they will keep looking for your emails and it will begin to build some momentum for you.

I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of this. Remember to start simple and then let it evolve from there. You can always get more complicated with your emails but you really need to make a start on it.

Today’s show notes where there are links to Drip and ConvertKit and there’s a bit of a summary through a transcript of all the things that I’ve said and some further reading for you as well, further listening. You can find that all over at problogger.com/podcast/220. It’s the end of the year and I do wanna add my season’s greetings to those of who are celebrating at the moment and those of you who are listening in the New Year. I hope it’s been a good year for you.

We are moving now into a bit of a series of podcasts where you’re going to hear some other voices. I’m gonna introduce them but as I said in last week’s podcast, we wanted to hear some of your stories and we’ve had some amazing stories submitted. I’m really looking forward to introducing them to you in the coming weeks over at the end of the year and as we move into next year where we’re gonna start a series of content on starting a blog. I really am looking forward to that.

Those of you who haven’t started a blog yet, this is gonna be a great time for you. Those of you who wanna start a second blog, this is a great time for you to do that as well because we’re gonna give you some great content that’s gonna help you to do that, it’s free. We’re also going to help to celebrate some of those new blogs that have started. Make January a time of starting a new blog. I look forward to introducing that whole concept to you more next week on the ProBlogger podcast.

If you are looking for something else to listen to, I do recommend you go back and listen to Episode 68, 69, and 70. 68 and 69 are about how to get more subscribers for that email list that we’ve just been talking about and Episode 70 was all about auto responders. You should be able to find them all over in iTunes where I hope you’re all subscribed and have left some nice reviews for us or over on the show notes areas at problogger.com/podcast and then you just put the number, 68 or 69 or 70. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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How Local SEO Fits In With What You’re Already Doing

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/l8DkB_v8ONM/the-local-seo-illusion

Posted by MiriamEllis

islandfinal.jpg

You own, work for, or market a business, but you don’t think of yourself as a Local SEO.

That’s okay. The forces of history have, in fact, conspired in some weird ways to make local search seem like an island unto itself. Out there, beyond the horizon, there may be technicians puzzling out NAP, citations, owner responses, duplicate listings, store locator widgets and the like, but it doesn’t seem like they’re talking about your job at all.

And that’s the problem.

If I could offer you a seat in my kayak, I’d paddle us over to that misty isle, and we’d go ashore. After we’d walked around a bit, talking to the locals, it would hit you that the language barrier you’d once perceived is a mere illusion, as is the distance between you.

By sunset — whoa! Look around again. This is no island. You and the Local SEOs are all mainlanders, reaching towards identical goals of customer acquisition, service, and retention via an exceedingly enriched and enriching skill set. You can use it all.

Before I paddle off into the darkness, under the rising stars, I’d like to leave you a chart that plots out how Local SEO fits in with everything you’ve been doing all along.

The roots of the divide

Why is Local SEO often treated as separate from the rest of marketing? We can narrow this down to three contributing factors:

1) Early separation of the local and organic algos

Google’s early-days local product was governed by an algorithm that was much more distinct from their organic algorithm than it is today. It was once extremely common, for example, for businesses without websites to rank well locally. This didn’t do much to form clear bridges between the offline, organic, and local marketing worlds. But, then came Google’s Pigeon Update in 2013, which signaled Google’s stated intention of deeply tying the two algorithms together.

This should ultimately impact the way industry publications, SaaS companies, and agencies present local as an extension of organic SEO, but we’re not quite there yet. I continue to encounter examples of large companies which are doing an amazing job with their website strategies, their e-commerce solutions and their paid outreach, but which are only now taking their first steps into local listings management for their hundreds of physical locations. It’s not that they’re late to the party — it’s just that they’ve only recently begun to realize what a large party their customers are having with their brands’ location data layers on the web.

2) Inheriting the paid vs. organic dichotomy

Local SEO has experienced the same lack-of-adoption/awareness as organic SEO. Agencies have long fought the uphill battle against a lopsided dependence on paid advertising. This phenomenon is highlighted by historic stats like these showing brands investing some $10 million in PPC vs. $1 million in SEO, despite studies like this one which show PPC earning less than 10% of clicks in search.

My take on this is that the transition from traditional offline paid advertising to its online analog was initially easier for many brands to get their heads around. And there have been ongoing challenges in proving direct ROI from SEO in the simple terms a PPC campaign can provide. To this day, we’re still all seeing statistics like only 17% of small businesses investing in SEO. In many ways, the SEO conundrum has simply been inherited by every Local SEO.

3) A lot to take in and on

Look at the service menu of any full-service digital marketing agency and you’ll see just how far it’s had to stretch over the past couple of decades to encompass an ever-expanding range of publicity opportunities:

Technical website auditsOn-site optimizationLinkbuildingKeyword researchContent dev and promotionBrand buildingSocial media marketingPPC managementUX auditsConversion optimizationEtc.

Is it any wonder that agencies feel spread a bit too thin when considering how to support yet further needs and disciplines? How do you find the bandwidth, and the experts, to be able to offer:

Ongoing citation managementLocal on-site SEOLocal landing page devStore locator SEOReview managementLocal brand buildingLocal link buildingAnd abstruse forms of local Schema implementation…

And while many agencies have met the challenge by forming smart, strategic partnerships with providers specializing in Local SEO solutions, the agency is still then tasked with understanding how Local fits in with everything else they’re doing, and then explaining this to clients. At the multi-location and enterprise level, even amongst the best-known brands, high-level staffers may have no idea what it is the folks in the in-house Local SEO department are actually doing, or why their work matters.

To tie it all together … that’s what we need to do here. With a shared vision of how all practitioners are working on consumer-centric outreach, we can really get somewhere. Let’s plot this out, together:

Sharing is caring“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
– Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Let’s imagine a sporting goods brand, established in 1979, that’s grown to 400 locations across the US while also becoming well-known for its e-commerce presence. Whether aspects of marketing are being outsourced or it’s all in-house, here is how 3 shared consumer-centric goals unify all parties.

sharedgoalsfinal.jpg

As we can see from the above chart, there is definitely an overlap of techniques, particularly between SEOs and Local SEOs. Yet overall, it’s not the language or tactics, but the end game and end goals that unify all parties. Viewed properly, consumers are what make all marketing a true team effort.

Before I buy that kayak…

On my commute, I hear a radio ad promoting a holiday sale at some sporting goods store, but which brand was it?

Then I turn to the Internet to research kayak brands, and I find your website’s nicely researched, written, and optimized article comparing the best models in 2017. It’s ranking #2 organically. Those Sun Dolphins look pretty good, according to your massive comparison chart.

I think about it for a couple of days and go looking again, and I see your Adwords spot advertising your 30% off sale. This is the third time I’ve encountered your brand.

On my day off, I’m doing a local search for your brand, which has impressed me so far. I’m ready to look at these kayaks in person. Thanks to the fact that you properly managed your recent move across town by updating all of your major citations, I’m finding an accurate address on your Google My Business listing. Your reviews are mighty favorable, too. They keep mentioning how knowledgeable the staff is at your location nearest me.

And that turns out to be true. At first, I’m disappointed that I don’t see any Sun Dolphins on your shelves — your website comparison chart spoke well of them. As a sales associate approaches me, I notice in-store signage above his head, featuring a text/phone hotline for complaints. I don’t really have a complaint… not yet… but it’s good to know you care.

“I’m so sorry. We just sold out of Sun Dolphins this morning. But we can have one delivered to you within 3 days. We have in-store pickup, too,” the salesperson says. “Or, maybe you’d be interested in another model with comparable features. Let me show you.”

Turns out, your staffer isn’t just helpful — his training has made him so well-versed in your product line that he’s able to match my needs to a perfect kayak for me. I end up buying an Intex on the spot.

The cashier double-checks with me that I’ve found everything satisfactory and lets me know your brand takes feedback very seriously. She says my review would be valued, and my receipt invites me to read your reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook… and offers a special deal for signing up for your email newsletter.

My subsequent 5-star review signals to all departments of your company that a company-wide goal was met. Over the next year, my glowing review also influences 20 of my local neighbors to choose you over a competitor.

After my first wet, cold, and exciting kayaking trip, I realize I need to invest in a better waterproof jacket for next time. Your email newsletter hits my inbox at just the right time, announcing your Fourth of July sale. I’m about to become a repeat customer… worth up to 10x the value of my first purchase.

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”
– Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn

There’s a kind of magic in this adventurous mix of marketing wins. Subtract anything from the picture, and you may miss out on the customer. It’s been said that great teams beat with a single heart. The secret lies in seeing every marketing discipline and practitioner as part of your team, doing what your brand has been doing all along: working with dedication to acquire, serve and retain consumers. Whether achievement comes via citation management, conversion optimization, or a write-up in the New York Times, the end goal is identical.

It’s also long been said that the race is to the swift. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch appears to agree, stating that, in today’s world, it’s not big that beats small — it’s fast that beats slow. How quickly your brand is able to integrate all forms of on-and-offline marketing into its core strategy, leaving no team as an island, may well be what writes your future.


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Designing a Page’s Content Flow to Maximize SEO Opportunity – Whiteboard Friday

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/DDV0w9zu_JE/page-content-flow-to-maximize-seo

Posted by randfish

Controlling and improving the flow of your on-site content can actually help your SEO. What’s the best way to capitalize on the opportunity present in your page design? Rand covers the questions you need to ask (and answer) and the goals you should strive for in today’s Whiteboard Friday.

Designing a page's content flow to maximize SEO opportunity

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

<span id=”selection-marker-1″ class=”redactor-selection-marker”></span>Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about a designing a page’s content flow to help with your SEO.

Now, unfortunately, somehow in the world of SEO tactics, this one has gotten left by the wayside. I think a lot of people in the SEO world are investing in things like content and solving searchers’ problems and getting to the bottom of searcher intent. But unfortunately, the page design and the flow of the elements, the UI elements, the content elements that sit in a page is discarded or left aside. That’s unfortunate because it can actually make a huge difference to your SEO.

Q: What needs to go on this page, in what order, with what placement?

So if we’re asking ourselves like, “Well, what’s the question here?” Well, it’s what needs to go on this page. I’m trying to rank for “faster home Wi-Fi.” Right now, Lifehacker and a bunch of other people are ranking in these results. It gets a ton of searches. I can drive a lot of revenue for my business if I can rank there. But what needs to go on this page in what order with what placement in order for me to perform the best that I possibly can? It turns out that sometimes great content gets buried in a poor page design and poor page flow. But if we want to answer this question, we actually have to ask some other ones. We need answers to at least these three:

A. What is the searcher in this case trying to accomplish?

When they enter “faster home Wi-Fi,” what’s the task that they want to get done?

B. Are there multiple intents behind this query, and which ones are most popular?

What’s the popularity of those intents in what order? We need to know that so that we can design our flow around the most common ones first and the secondary and tertiary ones next.

C. What’s the business goal of ranking? What are we trying to accomplish?

That’s always going to have to be balanced out with what is the searcher trying to accomplish. Otherwise, in a lot of cases, there’s no point in ranking at all. If we can’t get our goals met, we should just rank for something else where we can.

Let’s assume we’ve got some answers:

Let’s assume that, in this case, we have some good answers to these questions so we can proceed. So pretty simple. If I search for “faster home Wi-Fi,” what I want is usually it’s going to be…

A. Faster download speed at home.

That’s what the searcher is trying to accomplish. But there are multiple intents behind this. Sometimes the searcher is looking to do that..

B1. With their current ISP and their current equipment.

They want to know things they can optimize that don’t cause them to spend money. Can they place their router in different places? Can they change out a cable? Do they need to put it in a different room? Do they need to move their computer? Is the problem something else that’s interfering with their Wi-Fi in their home that they need to turn off? Those kinds of issues.

B2. With a new ISP.

Or can they get a new ISP? They might be looking for an ISP that can provide them with faster home internet in their area, and they want to know what’s available, which is a very different intent than the first one.

B3. With current ISP but new equipment.

maybe they want to keep their ISP, but they are willing to upgrade to new equipment. So they’re looking for what’s the equipment that I could buy that would make the current ISP I have, which in many cases in the United States, sadly, there’s only one ISP that can provide you with service in a lot of areas. So they can’t change ISP, but they can change out their equipment.

C. Affiliate revenue with product referrals.

Let’s assume that (C) is we know that what we’re trying to accomplish is affiliate revenue from product referrals. So our business is basically we’re going to send people to new routers or the Google Mesh Network home device, and we get affiliate revenue by passing folks off to those products and recommending them.

Now we can design a content flow.

Okay, fair enough. We now have enough to be able to take care of this design flow. The design flow can involve lots of things. There are a lot of things that could live on a page, everything from navigation to headline to the lead-in copy or the header image or body content, graphics, reference links, the footer, a sidebar potentially.

The elements that go in here are not actually what we’re talking about today. We can have that conversation too. I want a headline that’s going to tell people that I serve all of these different intents. I want to have a lead-in that has a potential to be the featured snippet in there. I want a header image that can rank in image results and be in the featured snippet panel. I’m going to want body content that serves all of these in the order that’s most popular. I want graphics and visuals that suggest to people that I’ve done my research and I can provably show that the results that you get with this different equipment or this different ISP will be relevant to them.

But really, what we’re talking about here is the flow that matters. The content itself, the problem is that it gets buried. What I see many times is folks will take a powerful visual or a powerful piece of content that’s solving the searcher’s query and they’ll put it in a place on the page where it’s hard to access or hard to find. So even though they’ve actually got great content, it is buried by the page’s design.

5 big goals that matter.

The goals that matter here and the ones that you should be optimizing for when you’re thinking about the design of this flow are:

1. How do I solve the searcher’s task quickly and enjoyably?

So that’s about user experience as well as the UI. I know that, for many people, they are going to want to see and, in fact, the result that’s ranking up here on the top is Lifehacker’s top 10 list for how to get your home Wi-Fi faster. They include things like upgrading your ISP, and here’s a tool to see what’s available in your area. They include maybe you need a better router, and here are the best ones. Maybe you need a different network or something that expands your network in your home, and here’s a link out to those. So they’re serving that purpose up front, up top.

2. Serve these multiple intents in the order of demand.

So if we can intuit that most people want to stick with their ISP, but are willing to change equipment, we can serve this one first (B3). We can serve this one second (B1), and we can serve the change out my ISP third (B2), which is actually the ideal fit in this scenario for us. That helps us

3. Optimize for the business goal without sacrificing one and two.

I would urge you to design generally with the searcher in mind and if you can fit in the business goal, that is ideal. Otherwise, what tends to happen is the business goal comes first, the searcher comes second, and you come tenth in the results.

4. If possible, try to claim the featured snippet and the visual image that go up there.

That means using the lead-in up at the top. It’s usually the first paragraph or the first few lines of text in an ordered or unordered list, along with a header image or visual in order to capture that featured snippet. That’s very powerful for search results that are still showing it.

5. Limit our bounce back to the SERP as much as possible.

In many cases, this means limiting some of the UI or design flow elements that hamper people from solving their problems or that annoy or dissuade them. So, for example, advertising that pops up or overlays that come up before I’ve gotten two-thirds of the way down the page really tend to hamper efforts, really tend to increase this bounce back to the SERP, the search engine call pogo-sticking and can harm your rankings dramatically. Design elements, design flows where the content that actually solves the problem is below an advertising block or below a promotional block, that also is very limiting.

So to the degree that we can control the design of our pages and optimize for that, we can actually take existing content that you might already have and improve its rankings without having to remake it, without needing new links, simply by improving the flow.

I hope we’ll see lots of examples of those in the comments, and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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The Three Content Types That Most Influence E-Commerce Purchases

Originally published on: https://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2017/33209/the-three-content-types-that-most-influence-e-commerce-purchases

Consumers say detailed product descriptions, images, and customer reviews are the three content types that most influence their purchases on e-commerce websites, according to recent research from Clutch. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Google Releases Life Events Targeting to Everyone!

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/zXLoPtuwv0s/adwords-life-events-targeting

Keywords don’t buy your product – people do!

It’s no wonder that Google is investing more into allowing advertisers to target audiences instead of keywords – whether that’s with remarketing, RLSA, similar audiences, demographic details, or even their newly improved customer match.

Earlier this year, Google perked heads when they first announced that they would allow us to target based on users going through a major life event, such as getting married. Well, as of today, all advertisers (and agencies) can take advantage of this exciting new life event targeting feature within their AdWords accounts!

How to Set Up Life Event Targeting in AdWords

Life event targeting must be set up at the ad group level in either a video campaign or a Gmail-only campaign. Under the audiences tab within an ad group, select the middle option for “Intent and life events”:

adwords life events targeting

From there, you can choose to add any number of in-market audiences or life events. Life events can be drilled down to between users preparing for a life event (about to graduate college, get married, moving soon) and immediately after the event (recently graduated college, got married, moved).

Life events can be layered with in-market audiences, affinity audiences remarketing lists, or similar audiences to further refine your target audience.

how to target life events in adwords

Within Gmail, an audience can either be added as a target (restricting the reach of your ads) or as an observation (allowing you to adjust your bid for this audience experiencing a life event). Similarly, Life event targets can be added as exclusions. Exclusions can be added at either the campaign or ad group level.

Targeting Important Life Events

Today, Google has three main life events for users to target: College Graduation, Marriage, and Moving.

College Graduation

Targeting students entering the “real world” has obvious potential for businesses advertising job-hunting services or companies that are looking to attract new talent (by the way, all the kids are applying to work at WordStream), or potentially settle or refinance their student debts.

targeting recently graduated audience

However, as people graduate college, there’s also a lot subtle needs that advertisers can capitalize on. Apparel advertisers may find this young “newly professional” demographic has an increased demand for clothes that are appropriate for interviewing or the workplace.

Most education advertisers may want to exclude those graduating college from their campaigns, however – unless they offer a graduate school program, in which case they may find this a particularly important audience to get in front of.

Marriage

I got married in September and the experience taught me two things – first, that I’m so happy that I found my sweet, lovable husband (who I know doesn’t read my blog posts). And secondly, getting married is a LOT of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of shopping!

mark irvine wedding

It’s my blog post, so yes, I do get to put my wedding pictures in it. Photo credit Josh London Photography

Obviously, users about to get married are in market for a number of different products and services – and wedding planners, event organizers, venues, DJs, caterers, florists, jewelers, rental suppliers, photographers, videographers, and so many card providers have a stake in the $54 billion industry in the US.

Not only that, but while many are planning their wedding they’re also planning their honeymoon – so travel advertisers have an interest in this audience as well!

And of course, while I was planning my wedding I certainly looked more at kitchen appliances and home goods for my wedding registry than I ever have in my life, so even retail advertisers were smart to get in front of me at the right time! Bryant Garvin at Purple had success driving attention to their mattress ads among those planning their wedding.

life events targeting case study

As I begin my life in the “Recently married” audience, there’s still no shortage of things that I suddenly need. Now, we get to go through a period of heavy nesting and home improvement – buying new furniture to match all those new gifts, clean up and renovate our apartment, and plan for our lives together.

That also means that we have all the fun of setting up a joint health care plan, retirement, and new taxes, and every step of the way, Google’s serving potential for those advertisers to influence us. Hypothetically, we would also be talking about buying a home together or planning to become parents, but luckily, we have avocado toast to keep that far off our minds.

Moving

Moving is one of the most stressful times in someone’s life and people planning their move are certainly a target audience for advertisers who provide moving or storage services. But likewise, there’s unique opportunity for real estate clients to capitalize on this audience too! By layering Google’s In-Market audiences, they could potentially serve their ads exclusively to people who planning a move and looking to either rent or buy a new home!

targeting life events in google adwords

Of course, after the big move, many users will also be searching for services in their new home city – and this has promise for countless local advertisers on Google! New residents will have an increased demand to find local places to eat, shop, and go to the gym, as well as the need to find a local doctor, dentist, school, and tons of other services!

By targeting these audiences, you can acquire new customers much easier and keep them loyal much longer.

About the author:

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream, focused on research and training for the everchanging world of PPC. He was named the 5th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2017 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and SkillShare.


10 Must-Know Holiday Marketing Stats

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/KL4iYKxs4qA/holiday-marketing-stats

The ho-ho-holidays are upon us, and there is no escaping the madness of shoppers, decorations, lights, food, and holiday madness for the remainder of 2017. You might be rolling your eyes at the fact that you started hearing Christmas tunes blast through your radio as early as October; not to mention that every store in the mall has been decorated in red, green, silver, and gold since September!

Holiday Marketing Stats

If you are not a holiday lover, do not worry, you have ALMOST made it to the finish line. On the other hand, if you are a marketer, this is fabulous news! You have a few more weeks to capitalize on this time of increased online shopping, researching, and spending via your digital advertising campaigns.

Google recently provided us with some fascinating statistics that should help inform your holiday strategy. Check out the top 10 holiday marketing stats below.

#1: 8 in 10 holiday shoppers are influenced by the internet before making a purchase (with search engines being the most influential).

Impressive, right? Basically 80% of shoppers are influenced by something online before making a purchase. This typically starts by typing a keyword into a search engine, like Google or Bing.

To be honest, this statistic was not very shocking to me. I can say that almost anything I buy, whether in the store or online, starts with a Google search or visit to a website. Google also reported that this was 13% increase since 2015. 

Holiday Marketing Stats Leo

#2: 76% of mobile shoppers change their mind about which retailer/brand to buy from after searching online.

As all of us are walking around with a mini computer (aka a phone!) in our pockets nowadays, making it easier then ever to research a product on the fly. If you are not guilty of looking up reviews on a product before buying it then I’m impressed! I have found myself in the aisle of Target many times reading review after review before making a purchase.

This can often lead a shopper to change their mind if they find a more competitive product while searching on their device. Google found this to be true, with 76% of shoppers changing their mind after researching online. Moral of the story: bid on competitive keywords, and outshine your competition with more compelling ads and better offers to turn their leads into your customers.

#3: 64% of smartphone shoppers turn to mobile search before heading to the store.

This statistic again reinforces the importance of mobile search has during the holidays, as well as how closely it ties to in-store shopping. Whether it is ensuring the items on sale at a store are in line with what a shopper is looking for or even discovering new stores to get their holiday shopping done, smartphone shoppers are searching before hopping in their cars to drive to the nearest storefronts. This goes to show how important it is to have an online presence that is easy for searchers to discover, especially during the holiday season.

#4: 68% of shoppers visit YouTube on their smartphones to determine what to buy.

Holiday Marketing Stats Mobile

This one surprised me a bit! While it is undeniable that video has become a critical part of a modern day marketer’s strategy, who knew that YouTube is used so often to shop?

Since videos are much easier to process than text, this does make sense. For instance, if you’re looking to buy either a MacBook or a Dell, would you rather read an e-book comparing and contrasting the two or watch a two-minute video review?

So marketers, don’t forget about having a YouTube presence, and more importantly having a robust mobile video strategy for the holidays.

#5: More than half of shopping-related searches happened on mobile in Q4 of 2016.

Clearly, your mobile search strategy cannot be ignored this holiday season! With over half of the shopping-related searches occurring on mobile devices in Q4 of 2016, this holiday shopping season is likely to have even more mobile searches.

We’re all addicted to our phones, and it shows. Therefore, your business needs to be there to capture these on-the-go shoppers and compel them through their mini-computers. Take some steps to ensure your ads are mobile-ready with ad extensions (like call and location extensions), mobile-responsive websites and landing pages, and clear and concise ad copy for smaller screens.

#6: Bid prices can increase by 140% over their yearly average during the holidays!

Yikes! A 140% increase in bid prices might sound like a lot, but unfortunately, with more people shopping comes more competition, therefore higher prices.

This probably is not super-shocking to you, but it does mean that in order to be competitive it may be smart to increase your budget and bids for this time of year, especially on top-selling seasonal products. Don’t let an uncompetitive budget ruin your holiday season.

#7: One-third of shoppers report holiday weekend purchases were driven by promotions.

Why would you put items on sale during peak selling times (i.e. the holidays)? While it might seem counterintuitive to run a promotion or discount during the holiday season, it can greatly benefit sales in the long run by increasing the chances of a higher pool of leads clicking and converting on your ads.

If someone is comparing your product to another, they will clearly choose yours if it’s being sold at 25% off. While it’s probably not realistic to run crazy promotions on all of your offerings, do take advantage of the ones that you do put on sale by highlighting them in your ad copy. Utilize ad extensions, visual display ads, and discount language in your ad copy, and watch the sales come in! 

Holiday Marketing Stats Mobile2

#8: Conversions fall by up to 20% for every second delay of mobile page load time.

You probably understand by now that mobile is critical to achieving holiday marketing success, but nailing down a killer mobile ad strategy while ignoring some of the fundamentals of mobile performance can really hurt your holiday sales.

For instance, as this statistic shows, ignoring your mobile page load time can lead to a 20% drop in conversions! If your mobile landing pages aren’t quite cutting it in terms of load times, take a step back, and fix this before focusing on your ad strategy; this is critical to achieving mobile holiday sales success.

#9: Retail ecommerce sales are predicted to increase by 15.8% during the 2017 holiday season.

If you run an ecommerce business, this data is for you. The olden days of driving to a shopping mall or a strip of stores in the city to turn into Santa for the night are long gone. Why bother when you can do all of your shopping without taking your slippers off?

While of course many people still shop in store, ecommerce holiday shopping continues to grow at a rapid right. This just proves that the chances to capitalize on advertising during this season are tremendous.

You should be advertising on the search and display networks, remarketing, taking advantage of social ad platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and ensuring that you maximize this opportunity to bring in as many holiday sales as possible.

#10: Mcommerce sales are predicted to increase by 35% during the 2017 holiday season.

Again, mobile is the star of the show this holiday season. Ecommerce businesses need to ensure their mobile strategies are in top shape because more and more people are opting to purchase on their devices. Google predicts that mobile ecommerce (or mcommerce) will take over in 2017 by a whopping 35% increase in sales in 2017!

While there are only a few fast weeks left of holiday madness, it is never to late to capitalize on the potential sales that will likely fly in. Take advantage of this time, and get working on some impactful holiday marketing campaigns.

About the Author:

Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on:

Twitter: @margotshealthub

Instagram: @margotshealthhub   

Blog: http://www.margotshealthhub.com/

 


[Success Story Saturday] From Not Knowing How to Generate Leads to Selling His 1st $10K Product!

Originally published on: https://blog.myleadsystempro.com/success-story-saturday-not-knowing-generate-leads

“I went from not knowing how to generate leads to actually selling my first $10K product!” on Powell got a nice shoutout from Steve C. Krivda this week inside the MLSP community. And well deserved. Going from zero to selling your first big ticket product is huge. But that’s not the only thing that’s been […]

The post [Success Story Saturday] From Not Knowing How to Generate Leads to Selling His 1st $10K Product! appeared first on My Lead System PRO – MyLeadSystemPRO.


7 Ways to Write More Engaging, Compelling Website Copy

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/VtZ1vSmCpoM/website-copy

Kurt Vonnegut, one of the heavyweights of 20th century literature, once said that every single sentence of a story should either reveal something about a character or advance the action.

website copy tips

You might not be crafting traditional narratives on your website, but Vonnegut’s timeless advice still holds true whether you’re helping people learn a new skill or selling plumbing fixtures.

Every single line of copy on your website should help your visitors accomplish or learn something, and in this post, I’ll show you seven ways to write more engaging, compelling website copy.

These tips and techniques aren’t specific to any one particular type of website, so whether you’re in ecommerce or run a nonprofit, there’s something here for everyone.

1. Emphasize Benefits Over Features

One of the most common mistakes companies make with their web copy is spending too much time talking about how great they are. While it’s understandable to want to highlight the accomplishments, distinctions, and aspects of your organization that make it great, this is not why your visitors came to your site.

We’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – people don’t care about your company, they only care about how your company can solve their problems.

Website copy I don't care rainbow illustration 

That’s not to say that none of your visitors care about your company. Some, like your fiercely loyal brand evangelists, may in fact care about your company quite deeply. That doesn’t change the fact that most visitors are looking for a solution to a very real problem.

Let’s take a look at the differences between benefit-driven copy and feature-driven copy.

Feature-Driven Copy

The screenshot below was taken from the Infinity website.

Website copy Infinity rear parking sensor illustration 

As you can see, this particular page tells the reader about Infiniti’s rear-view camera and proximity sensor technology, and features several high-resolution images showing this tech in action.

This is all well and good, but the copy – and the overall framing – doesn’t mention any benefits explicitly. You could argue that the benefits of this technology are obvious or implied; having a 360-degree field of vision around the entirety of the vehicle will definitely make parallel parking easier, but the copy doesn’t tell us that; we’re left to assume what the benefits of these features are.

The Hyundai ad below, however, makes the benefits of this kind of technology abundantly clear, which makes for a much more compelling demonstration of the underlying tech: 

Benefit-Driven Copy

The screenshot below is taken from Slack’s website.

Website copy Slack benefits illustration 

As a communications platform, Slack could have focused on the bells and whistles that people like about Slack, such as private chat rooms, emoji responses, and the service’s many integrations. However, Slack knows that its ideal customers aren’t interested in that – at least, not as much. No, Slack’s potential users want to save time and hassle, which is why Slack’s primarily benefit-driven copy is so persuasive. Who wouldn’t want to receive almost 50% fewer emails or spend 25% less time in meetings?

By leading with the benefits, Slack is answering the user’s most important question – how will this make my life better or easier?

Emphasizing the benefits of your products or services doesn’t stop you from mentioning features completely – it’s just a simple matter of priorities. By all means include copy that tells visitors how great your products are, but don’t do so at the expense of explaining clearly and concisely why using your products or services will make visitors’ lives better.

How this improves your website copy

By showing visitors exactly how your offerings will make their lives better.

2. Use The Voice of the Customer

Tone and style are crucial when it comes to website copy, as they define the voice of your brand across multiple channels. However, as important as style and tone can be in establishing and maintaining editorial consistency, we can take it one step further to serve as a powerfully persuasive way to reach prospective customers with your copy, known as the “voice of the customer.”

What Is the Voice of the Customer?

As Brad McMillen explains in his excellent primer on the technique, the voice of the customer is a technique commonly used in market research, which “focuses on customers’ (and prospects’) wants and needs, then prioritizes them into a hierarchical structure before prioritizing them in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives.”

Simply put, VOC is a way to describe your customers’ experiences with and expectations for your products or services in their own language.

What does this mean? Let’s take a look.

Website copy FreshBooks voice of the customer example 

An example of web copy written using the voice of the customer

You can find examples of your customers’ real language in a number of different ways; for example, reading customer reviews and conducting surveys are two of the best ways to gather this data, as they provide customers with ample opportunity to tell you about their problems in their own words.

Before we can create a profile to begin crafting our voice of the customer, we need to identify several key data points, including:

The problems that frustrate people who could benefit from your products or services What they would like to see as a potential solution Customer desires and expectations for companies like yours Powerful or memorable quotes based on actual user experiences

Identifying common pain points should be among the first things to look for in your customer research data. This likely includes the frustrations that are common in your industry; think labyrinthine automated customer service helplines, hidden fees or opaque pricing structures, lack of competition, that kind of thing.

Following on from this, you should identify the things your customers want in a company or service provider like yours, such as responsive customer assistance from an actual person, or a simple, easily understood pricing structure.

Once you have this data, you can write copy that addresses each of these elements in order of importance. All the information on your site – from your About page to individual product descriptions – should address one of the dimensions you identified in your market research. This means that, wherever a user happens to be on your site (or within the traditional marketing funnel), your copy is speaking to something that your prospective users have identified as a priority for them.

In the example above from FreshBooks, the copy mirrors common customer pain points, such as the time-intensive nature of some bookkeeping workflows, as well as the solution that these customers want, which is simplified, streamlined accounting software that lets them get on with actually running their business.

How this improves your website copy

By showing visitors your speak their language, you’re on their level, and you understand their problems.

3. Conduct Customer Surveys to Determine Brand Values

These days, many companies have jumped firmly on the “corporate values” bandwagon in an attempt to attract top talent. However, brand values aren’t just what you say they are – they’re just as much a byproduct of how your customers and audience views your business. How can you discover what values people associate with your brand? By conducting customer surveys.

Website copy customer survey illustration 

Image via Lynda.com

Similar to the market research you conducted to gather data to create the voice of the customer, surveys and questionnaires are an excellent way to learn how people perceive your brand with regard to brand values. Just as there is often a considerable disconnect between how we think users behave and how they actually behave, there can sometimes be a similar gap between the brand values you think your company exemplifies and how prospective customers actually see your company.

At the heart of this process is a concept known as “brand attributes.” This refers to the characteristics that people associate with your brand. For example, philanthropy and charitable giving is a brand attribute of companies that have embraced ethical marketing, such as TOMS shoes. Similarly, glamour and opulence are brand attributes commonly associated with brands such as Rolex or Swarovski.

Conducting Brand Value Research

One of the greatest challenges of conducting brand value research is that it is primarily qualitative, meaning that the responses necessary to create this kind of profile are often much more in-depth and personal to the person taking the survey. Quantitative research, on the other hand, usually relies on larger data sets often involving standardized questions, typically presented as yes/no or agree/disagree scenarios or multiple choice questions.

Website copy qualitative research concept illustration 

This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Although this type of qualitative research can be tremendously valuable, it’s also significantly more time-consuming to gather than quantitative research data, and it asks a great deal more of your respondents. To offset this, many companies offer incentives such as discounts, coupons, freebies, and other goodies to tempt people into completing these surveys.

However you decide to structure your questionnaires, consider the following:

Don’t just ask respondents which brands they like – ask them why they like those brands Invite participants to explain how their perceive those brands and the characteristics they share Ask speculative questions about not only the brand attributes your audience already associates with your brand, but the attributes they want to associate with your brand in the future Embrace negative feedback – it can be just as valuable (if not more so) than positive feedback Ask open-ended questions that give respondents ample opportunity to answer A Real-World Brand Values Case Study

Fortunately for you, WordStream recently conducted this research for our own use, so I can show you exactly what this process looks like.

We asked respondents to select five brand attributes that they associate with the WordStream brand. Here’s what they told us:

Website copy WordStream brand attributes 

As you can see, the top five attributes respondents associated with WordStream are:

Knowledgeable Helpful Educational Influential Friendly

This data was not only immensely useful to us, but also very rewarding. Our aim is to make digital marketing and PPC accessible to businesses of all sizes – small businesses in particular – by providing valuable, actionable, and insightful content. The participants’ responses tell us that we’re succeeding in this goal, which is awesome.

We didn’t stop there, however. We also asked participants which attributes they want to associate with the WordStream brand in the future:

 Website copy WordStream desired brand attributes

This is almost as revealing as our initial results. Based on these responses, we know that the top five brand attributes people want to associate with WordStream in the future are:

Creative Trustworthy Influential Helpful Friendly/Educational

This tells us several things. For one, people want to see WordStream as a creative brand; we like to think we’re on our way, but it’s clear we still have room to improve. Secondly, trust remains a highly desirable brand attribute, and it’s one that we’re constantly striving to cultivate. Finally, this data tells us that what we’re doing is working and that we need to not only diversify and branch out into more creative avenues, but also that we need to continue to develop the influential, helpful, and friendly/educational brand values people already associate with the WordStream brand.

In just two slides of actual audience response data, we’ve gained incredible insight into how our audience perceives us, highlighting how useful and actionable this kind of market research data can be.

How this improves your website copy

By ensuring that your writers reflect the brand values that your valued customers want to see on your site.

4. Create a House Style Guide to Establish Brand Voice

You’ve probably heard of news agencies such as The Associated Press, or AP. The AP began as a newswire service, meaning that it provided newspapers around the world with syndicated news content produced in part by regional reporters known as stringers who work exclusively for news agencies rather than newspapers themselves.

Website copy AP style headline with corrections 

TFW an Associated Press story doesn’t adhere to AP style

Since the AP was founded long before the advent of online content, space in newspapers was (and still is) at a premium, meaning no space – typically measured in column inches – could be wasted. This necessary brevity resulted in the creation of the AP Stylebook, a bible for journalists and copyeditors alike that states how certain things should be written and formatted.

Of course, your own brand style guide doesn’t need to be as detailed as the style guides that newspapers use. Instead, you want to use the brand values you established in the last exercise to create some guidelines for all your content writers and creators to follow. This can help them make decisions like how formal to be, and whether it’s ever OK to swear (say, on your blog).

Getting Started with an In-House Style Guide

The first thing you need to do when creating an in-house style guide is to meet with your editorial team and relevant stakeholders and identify the priorities to be addressed by the style guide.

Voice and tone have an incredible impact on the entire experience of using your site, so it’s important to settle on an appropriate brand voice for your company that aligns with the business goals of your copy and content.

MailChimp has a particularly good in-house style guide that covers a range of content types including technical documentation, social media content, general copy, and also features a section dedicated to voice and tone. For example, it includes this list of guidelines for how to nail the MailChimp voice:

One way to think of our voice is to compare what it is to what it isn’t. MailChimp’s voice is:

Fun but not silly Confident but not cocky Smart but not stodgy Informal but not sloppy Helpful but not overbearing Expert but not bossy Weird but not inappropriate

This is an excellent resource for marketers hoping to create their own style guides, and should give you an idea of the kind of things a solid style guide should cover.

How this improves your website copy

By establishing brand standards that all your writers can reference for a consistent user experience.

5. A/B Test Copy on High-Value Pages

Nobody knows your customers better than you do, but that doesn’t mean you should gamble by making decisions based on how you think your visitors will behave. Just as you would (or should) test crucial elements of your campaigns such as landing pages, you should be regularly A/B testing the copy on your highest-value pages.

Website copy A/B test concept 

Not All Copy Is Created Equal

Before we go any further, it’s important to mention that even if you have the resources to do so, it’s probably unnecessary to A/B test every single word of copy on your site – you just need to focus on the pages that really bring home the bacon. Maybe your product overview page has a killer conversion rate, or maybe it’s your FAQ page or product documentation. Whatever your strongest pages are, those are the pages you should be testing.

Some web copy elements you might want to test could include:

Questions versus statements in headlines Headline length Short-form versus long-form copy Language and/or word choice Points of view (i.e. first-person versus third-person)

Actually conducting an A/B test on your web copy is largely similar to the way you’d split-test pretty much anything else. Begin by identifying those high-value pages using Google Analytics or similar data, then create two versions of the page, each with its own unique copy. Send approximately 50% of your total traffic to the control version of the page (the original page as it exists today), and send the other half to the variant (the page with the new copy). Allow the test sufficient time to ensure you’re working with a statistically significant data set, and see which page converted better. Easy, right? Well, kinda.

Website copy A/B test concept 

Image via VWO

Since you want to figure out which copy performs more strongly, you need to test copy that actually asks the user to do something. This could be a prompt to download a guide, sign up for a free trial, subscribe to a newsletter – some kind of clearly defined call to action. If you don’t focus on actionable copy with a true call to action, it’s harder to determine if the variant of your copy is any better than the control page. However, since your highest-value pages are likely already associated with a defined conversion pathway, this shouldn’t be an issue but it’s worth bearing in mind.

How this improves your website copy

By giving you data, rather than assumptions, on what copy really resonates with potential buyers.

6. Think About Intent At All Times and Write From the Perspective of the User

We’ve talked about commercial intent before (as well as the wider topic of intent marketing), but it amazes me how few websites seem to factor in user intent into their web copy.

What Is User Intent?

User intent refers to what a given person intends to do when they reach your site. Sometimes this intent leads to a clearly defined action – such as buying something – while other times it may not.

Although the underlying problems your users are trying to solve are likely quite diverse, there are only a few reasons a person visits a website. These align with one of the three primary types of search – informational, navigational, and transactional – and include:

To learn about the industry in which your company operates To learn more about service offerings in your industry To learn more about your company in particular To comparison shop and compare products, offers, prices etc. To buy something

Obviously, it’s impossible to account for every user’s intent in your web copy, and you definitely shouldn’t attempt to. However, considering user intent should inform every aspect of your web copy.

How to Write Web Copy with User Intent in Mind

Whether you’re writing the copy for your website yourself or hiring someone to do it for you, it’s crucial that you consider user intent from the outset.

Picture yourself in your prospective customers’ shoes and ask questions about your copy:

Is it immediately obvious what your company sells or does? Is your web copy benefit-driven, and are those benefits clear? Does your website assume prior industry knowledge on the part of the visitor? Is this knowledge necessary to understand and navigate your site? Does your site’s navigation allow different kinds of users at different stages of the funnel to quickly and easily access the information they need?

Considering user intent can be challenging, because it can be difficult to truly divorce yourself – and your considerable industry knowledge and expertise – from the reality of the experience of using your site. To this end, it may be worth conducting qualitative market research by asking laypersons who aren’t familiar with your business to use your site and provide feedback. This can highlight gaps in both your web copy and your awareness of these gaps, allowing you to craft web copy that better addresses these issues.

Website copy user intent diagram 

Image via SuperX Growth Hackers

Writing from the perspective of the user, on the other hand, is a little easier than trying to preemptively solve for user intent. Whenever you’re writing any copy – or content – ask yourself whether your copy follows our variant of Vonnegut’s rule: does every single sentence of copy reveal some useful information about your products or services, or advance your visitors’ understanding of what you do?

Many people mistakenly assume that focusing on user intent or benefit-driven copy means there’s no room to talk about their company’s achievements. This isn’t true at all – you just have to consider where and when to wax lyrical about how great you are.

For example, if you’d never heard of a company and weren’t familiar with their goods, you probably wouldn’t care about how that company is a great place to work, or how many awards it has won – none of this information answers your questions or helps you solve your problems.

If, however, you’ve already done some research into the company, like its products, and can visualize how patronizing this company will make your life better – essentially at any point during or beyond the “consideration” stage of the classic sales funnel – information about how great the company is might be a powerfully persuasive tool. That’s when you want to hit your visitors with your innumerable accolades.

It all comes back to thinking about the user and what they want, rather than what you want.

How this improves your website copy

By giving your visitors what they want to see, increasing their satisfaction and encouraging them to stick around.

7. Include Statistics, Quotes, and Original Data to Increase Your Site’s Authority

Not so long ago, blogs and bloggers were rightly seen as amateur ventures whose passion and enthusiasm were faultless, but whose actual credibility and authority were suspect. Not so today, when some blogs and independent bloggers have become on par (or even surpassed) “traditional” journalism and media outlets.

However, the little guys still have to work harder than the bigger players, and one of the best things you can do to establish (or enhance) your credibility and authority is to use statistics, quotes, and original data in your web copy and content.

Website copy WordStream original data 

An example of WordStream’s original research data

One of the reasons that the inclusion of statistics, quotes from industry experts, and original data is so persuasive is because it strengthens the points you make in your copy considerably. It’s one thing to make a vague assertion about, say, Facebook’s growing ad revenue, but it’s another thing to say that Facebook’s total revenue increased by 56% and ad revenue increased by 59% in 2016.

This technique works so well because it’s an established journalistic convention, and readers expect this kind of citation in their content. However, it’s not without its downsides.

The Dangers of Overreliance on Third-Party Data

There is no doubt that including statistics, quotes, and original or third-party data in your copy can significantly increase the authority of your site. Overreliance on this kind of data, however, can have a detrimental effect.

Website copy how many citations is too many PhD comics 

Image via Jorge Cham/PhD Comics

You’ll already know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever read a blog post in which every other statement is cited or begins with, “According to…” Relying too heavily on cited stats – no matter how well-sourced or relevant – can dilute the authority of your copy because it suggests either an inability or reluctance to make an assertive, original statement. People don’t want to read copy or content that reads like a book report written by a nervous high-school student – they want to hear original thoughts and opinions that challenge their ideas or help them learn more about a topic.

One way to offset this without losing the authority that comes with including and correctly citing statistical data is to use original research. Here at WordStream, we devote a great deal of time and energy to producing original data and research. This isn’t just a ploy to increase our authority; it’s a way to reinforce our copy and content with research that other publications want to link to.

 Website copy WordStream original data

Granted, creating original research requires sufficient data to draw from (which we’re lucky to have in abundance, something not every business has) or the financial means to commission professional researchers to produce original data, but as far as assets go, it’s hard to beat in terms of return on investment. Our original research has generated millions of unique visits and hundreds of inbound links over the past several years, making it one of our most consistently valuable and strongest-performing content assets.

How this improves your website copy

By making your brand more trustworthy and dependable.

Better Copy, Better Results

Writing web copy that converts like gangbusters is a lot harder than it looks. However, by making just a few adjustments to how you view and approach web copy, you can provide your audience with a much more useful, relevant, and ultimately actionable experience.