Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Copywriting (page 3 of 25)

How to grow your list in 3 steps. Warning: Requires effort!

If you write a newsletter or blog and your “list” is growing too slowly, this post is for you.

Toxic advice online

The Internet is packed with bad advice on how to improve the success of your newsletter or blog. So-called content marketing experts focus on things like; the best time to publish your work, how long your articles or posts should be and what kind of images you should use, how to SEO your work, etc.

These generic tips offer the reader no meaningful value. NOTHING that will resolve the actual problem. The reason no one reads Bob’s blog posts or Barbara’s newsletter, is not because they are published on the wrong day or at the wrong time, are the wrong length or lack the right images or SEO.

No.

The reason no one reads their work, is that it offers nothing new. It’s lacking in value. So, when people find it, they are not motivated to return or share what they have found. That type of blog or newsletter will never build an audience.

The actual solution?

It’s as easy and as hard as this:

  1. Have something worth saying and say it well. (In other words, provide massively valuable information and write it in a way that inspires your readers.)
  2. Put it where people can see it.
  3. Make it easy for them to share.

If you do that, your audience will grow. First, just 5 people will read it, but that’s fine. Why? Because they will love what you had to say, then share it with their friends. Some of their friends will value what you have written and they too will share it. Repeat…

To keep that process rolling and your readership growing, you need to focus on regularly having something to say, which people will value and share. This means learning how to write and having the courage to say it in your own unique voice.

So rich. So strange. So new.

I was prompted to share this with you today, after listening to a recording of the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Before Thomas took to the stage to share his brilliance with a packed, New York audience, he was introduced to the crowd.

The MC then described Thomas’ poetry as: “So rich. So strange. So new”. You can listen to the MC here. (It’s just 10 seconds into the audio.)

And it was. No one wrote like Thomas. He had something worth saying. He shared it with, initially, very small crowds. These small crowds of people then told their friends how amazing his poetry was. The media then discovered Thomas’ work and he became a worldwide success, whose work is celebrated today, 60 years after his passing.

Dylan Thomas didn’t succeed because he only wrote works that were a certain length. He didn’t succeed because he only performed or published on certain days. No. He succeeded because his work was too good NOT to share.

If we want to grow a highly valuable audience for OUR work, we need to strive to do the same. To be too good to ignore.

4 Tips to attract more clients and customers from your website

Is your website a lead generating machine for your business? If not, here are 4 places to focus on for better results.

  1. Do not copy the conversion tactics of anyone, whose own site needs a pop-up box to attract people’s attention. If their site was optimised correctly, they wouldn’t need to smash people in the face with pop-up boxes.
  2. Your web designer may have created a beautifully designed site, but left out key elements, to make the design easier on the eye. I regularly see wonderful looking sites, which have all the main conversion elements missing or in the wrong place.
  3. Did you write the content yourself? If you did, the great news is you can probably improve your conversion rate by hundreds of percent, by hiring a professional copywriter. If your business isn’t worth investing in, you have a much bigger problem than a poorly performing website.
  4. Do you sell, sell, sell? Stop that. Seriously. Use your site to showcase your expertise and experience. Aim to be useful and approachable. Remember, people skip through the ads. Put the marketing pages of your site where they can be seen. Link to them, from pages or posts, which provide lots of free, useful information. If your site is largely just selling what you do, people will leave just as soon as they arrive.

I hope there’s at least one idea there, which inspires you to improve the effectiveness of your site.

Tip: Are you one question away from 10,000 daily readers?

How to build a extremely valuable list, without a newsletter

If you want to build a huge, extremely valuable list, this post is just for you.

I get emails every day from people, who thank me for my free marketing newsletter. Some of you will find that odd, as I don’t publish a newsletter.

So, why does this happen?

Simple: I give people the option to read this blog, via a free email subscription. As a result, thousands of people get an email with the content of my latest blog post. These emails look and read just like a newsletter.

I suggest you consider doing the same.

Here’s why!

There’s a reason Seth Godin, the world’s most read marketing expert, also uses this approach rather than a newsletter. It’s an extremely powerful way to build a great, super-connected community of readers.

For example:

  • The blog (online) version of your posts get shared on social networks. Yes, this is technically possible with newsletters, but shares of blog posts are far, far more popular. People can then see your work and subscribe to it, knowing exactly what to expect. Newsletters are often little more than thinly disguised sales pitches and people are savvy to this.
  • The blog version of your posts get crawled by search engines.
  • Your blog posts can be found using search engines, when people need the information you provide.
    • These Top Marketing Tips attract traffic from search engines all day. A subset of these readers subscribe to the email version of the blog. It’s a list-builder all by itself, which grows the list all day every day. Again, because it shows people exactly what to expect, a far higher percentage will subscribe, than if I offered a newsletter.

Which is the best route for you?

If your newsletter is mainly special offers and promotions, a dedicated newsletter, marketed via your blog is a better option.

Otherwise, I strongly suggest you consider the benefits of offering a high quality, email edition of your blog posts instead.

  • It costs the same as a newsletter costs to send.
  • It’s a quicker way to build your list, for all the reasons already mentioned.
  • You don’t have to invest time writing a newsletter.

BONUS: It may also motivate you to publish blog posts more often, which will help your reputation, your reach, your authority AND your reader list… to grow!

Are you teaching people to ignore your marketing?

Every piece of marketing material is created from 1 of the following 2 mindsets.

  1. I wrote this, so now I need you to read it.
  2. There’s something you need to know, so I wrote it.

The first approach is selfish. It’s focused on the needs of the writer, not the reader. It’s noise, not value. People ignore these selfish messages.

The second approach is contribution focused. It’s about giving value to the reader. This unselfish approach is so rare that when people see it, it captures their attention and grabs their interest.

Whether you know it or not, every message you send fits into one of those 2 categories. You are either training people to filter you OUT or tune you IN.

Choose wisely.

How NOT to write the perfect blog post!

The Internet is packed with damaging, generic advice on how to write the perfect blog post.

Here are a few common examples you may already know:

  • Your blog posts should be a certain length.
  • So should your blog titles.
  • You should use adjectives in your blog titles.
  • You should publish your posts at a special ‘peak time’ each day.

There are around a dozen more predictable rules, churned out by content marketing experts. So, if you adopt this generic approach to blogging, will it help you build a large, valuable readership?

Err… no. In fact, it will do the exact opposite.

How to be ignored

Following the same blogging format as everyone else is not only ineffective, it’s the perfect recipe for how to be ignored.

Think about it: You simply camouflage your blog posts, when you write them based on the same, predictable format as everyone else.

Oh, and if you publish your posts at that peak time they tell you to — your posts will be fighting for attention, along with every other blog post, published at that same, peak time!

How to make it work

The key is to put your time, energy and creativity into doing things YOUR WAY. Be useful. Provide value. Show us what you know. Turn up regularly. Lead, rather than follow.

That’s what attracts people’s attention. It’s also what inspires them to read your work, share your work, hire you and buy from you.

PS: Here’s some advice on building a great readership.

5 Ways to build a massively valuable newsletter list

Here are 5 tips, to help you build a valuable newsletter readership or list. I used each of these ideas when growing my own newsletter, which had 45,000 subscribers when I published the last edition.

Newsletter Tip 1: Go easy on the pitches

Make sure it’s a newsletter and not a badly disguised advertisement. Here’s the thing: People avoid advertising. We skip the commercials on TV. We pay developers to remove the ads from the free version of their apps. We see advertisements as unwelcome interruptions.

If your newsletter reads a little too much like a sales pitch, it will be largely ignored. This leads nicely into the next point.

Newsletter Tip 2: Be useful

The more useful your newsletter is, the more your readers will value it and share it. Your ultimate goal is to build a large, targeted reader community, who become either clients, customers or advocates. None of that can be achieved with predictable, pedestrian content.

Useful content is what gives your newsletter wings. It’s what inspires people to subscribe, share and make purchasing decisions.

So, before you hit send on a newsletter, make sure it’s packed with valuable, useful information. Offer answers to your reader’s problems. Share useful tips. Point your readers to useful resources.

Newsletter Tip 3: Get the design right

Even if your content is wonderful, people won’t take it seriously if the design looks poor. The first bite is with the eye. So, pay a designer, the best you can afford, to design your newsletter template.

Always remember, whether your newsletter looks amateurish or is presented professionally, it all reflects back on you.

Newsletter Tip 4: Ask readers to share it

Even if readers think your newsletter is great, it may not occur to them to share it. By reminding them, you plant the idea of sharing the newsletter in their mind at the exact point, where they have just read it and enjoyed it. I used to have a section at the bottom of my newsletter, which said:

“If you have found this newsletter interesting, please share it with your friends”.

When I added that short message to my newsletter, the results were immediate and measurable.

Newsletter Tip 5: Help it spread

Convert people who had your newsletter forwarded to them, into subscribers. Imagine your friend had just forwarded a great newsletter to you. You’d want to get a regular copy, right? You don’t want to have to rely on your friend, remembering to forward each edition to you. So, I added the following sentence to the above message:

“If you have had this newsletter forwarded to you and would like a regular copy, click here.”

Never underestimate the power of a subtle, non-pushy reminder.

In summary

Newsletters can be an extremely valuable marketing asset. Take your newsletter seriously and invest in it accordingly. The rewards for getting it right are huge. No. Bigger than that!

PS: I strongly recommend you read this3 Tips From a World Class Newsletter.

4 Inspiring reasons to write regularly

There are many compelling, commercial reasons to write regularly. For example, blogging and newsletter writing can be hugely valuable.

Here are 4 less obvious benefits to writing regularly, which seldom get mentioned. In many ways, these are just as valuable.

  1. Writing makes you a better observer. As a result, you notice more of the world around you. You experience more from life.
  2. Writing helps you think with greater clarity. The process of getting ideas out of your head and onto the page, is a wonderful antidote for foggy thinking.
  3. Writing is a powerful development tool. To write effectively on any subject, you need to know about that subject. Even better, to write about a subject regularly, you need to constantly learn more.
  4. Writing is an act of contribution. When you share your ideas or stories with others, you invest in them.

PS: Here are 25 reasons to write a business blog.

What every business owner needs to know about promises

Have you ever seen a business, which markets itself as being average? No, neither have I, yet that’s exactly what most businesses are.

Instead, businesses are marketed as offering great, amazing or exceptional products and services. Whilst lofty marketing promises are effective at attracting the attention and interest of your marketplace, they need to be delivered on.

Here’s why this matters

After the marketing has motivated someone to make a purchase, they are left with 3 possible outcomes.

It looks like this:

  1. They are delighted. The reality was even better than the marketing. Their expectations have been exceeded. They are impressed and the vendor now has a very happy customer. The kind of customer that tells their friends about how amazing the vendor is.
  2. They are satisfied. They got what they expected. They are neither happy nor disappointed. It’s certainly not remarkable enough to share with people.
  3. They are disappointed. They got less than they expected. The marketing was overstated. The vendor has a customer who feels like they were tricked. If they do tell their friends, it’s a negative, damaging story about the vendor.

The most successful business owners increase the value they provide, then market that value accordingly. They focus on delighting people and building a great reputation. They know that it’s pointless to attract disappointed clients and customers, with overstated marketing promises.

What can we learn from this?

By committing to match our marketing promises with services and products that delight, we become truly exceptional. We retain more clients and customers. We attract more word of mouth referrals and build a massively valuable reputation.

Yes, it takes a lot of effort and energy. It’s worth it though. In fact, it’s essential for any kind of meaningful success.

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