6 Things that Must Be in Your Next Newsletter

For many businesses, the regular newsletter is the primary way they communicate with past, current, and potential customers. For authors and publishers, it’s the main way they connect with readers. Unfortunately, if your newsletter is missing crucial information, it may not be as useful as it could be at engaging readers or stimulating business. In fact, you may even create a negative reaction in your readers, achieving the opposite of the effect you want.

I’ve copy edited newsletters for many of my clients and subscribed to dozens of others, and here are some things I’ve realized are “must-haves” when you are trying to make the most of your email list.

1. Link to website.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received newsletters without links to the sender’s website. Sometimes, there aren’t even links to the products or services being offered. If I read your newsletter and can’t easily click from it to your website, chances are I’m not going to close the email, open my web browser, open a search engine, search for your business name, navigate through the search results to find your company’s website, and then click to visit it. You’ve just lost a potential customer. Are you an author or publisher announcing a new book? If you don’t provide a link to the book or your website, there go your potential sales. Continue reading

Are You Wasting Your Social Media Profiles?

When someone stumbles upon your company’s Facebook page or Twitter account, what will they immediately learn about you? Take a moment to look. What do you see on your profile? Are you wasting this valuable space?

I recently scrolled through the list of new followers on my Instagram account and noticed that some of the business accounts following me had no information about their companies in their profiles. None. Not even a link to the business website.

The name of one of the companies was sort of nondescript, and one of its posts was a big cloud with the words “Expand Your Business, Call Today” across it. Well, at least there was a phone number listed for people to call. So, it was no surprise to see that, while they followed more than 1000 other Instagram accounts, they had only a little more than 100 followers themselves. Continue reading

The 5 Whys of Website Traffic

5_whys_website_traffic

“If you build it, he will come.” So goes the memorable line from the movie Field of Dreams. Often, this is also what people think when they build a website – “If I build it, customers will come!”

Whether you are a small business, a nonprofit, a consultant, or a creative writer, you might think that having a website will automatically make you visible to potential customers or readers. But is being visible enough to convert website visitors to actual sales?

If your website is the most important part of your online marketing efforts — and yet you find yourself wondering why you don’t get enough traffic or why you just can’t seem to get your website visitors to buy your products, books, or services — it helps to think your way through what you really want your website to do for your potential customers.

Here are five “Whys” you should ask yourself, to determine if your website is meeting the needs of your potential customer, and if it’s making the case for them to buy your product or use your service. Continue reading

A Few Words about Jargon

In the great sea of online information about how small businesses, nonprofits, and freelancers can use social media to reach more customers, I’ve noticed a troubling thing: most of the information is geared towards people who already know the lingo.

Those who make it their business to write about or teach online marketing need to make sure they’re not excluding professionals who aren’t familiar with the jargon.

Jargon Blog Post ImageImagine walking into your first beginner ballet class and having the instructor say “Alright class, get into first position,” without actually explaining or demonstrating ‘first position’ to newcomers. You’d likely find yourself looking at the other students to see what they’re doing. What if they’re not setting good examples to follow? Continue reading

Why Aren’t We Clicking on the Links You Post?

You spend time creating blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, and other content on social media. It’s completely understandable to be frustrated when you look at your stats and see that no one is clicking on the links you post.

Why is that happening? You’ve got valuable content just sitting there waiting to be of use to someone.

There may be a very good reason why people aren’t clicking on your links. Here are five possibilities, and how you can address them. Continue reading

My Website Has a Hero Space?

Take a look at the home page of your website, or at the home page of any website you visit regularly – perhaps this website, or your favorite restaurant, etc. What’s the first thing you see?

What you are looking at is frequently referred to as the website’s ‘hero space.’ The hero space is that large section that fills the top of the home page when someone lands on your website. Often, the hero space consists of the single, prominent ‘hero image’ – a graphic that has only a few seconds to influence your visitor into checking out more about you, responding to a call-to-action, or hitting the ‘back’ button to look at a different site.

What is your website doing with its hero space? Are you making the most of it to immediately engage your visitor?

Let’s take a quick look at 6 things to consider when deciding the best way to use your hero space. Continue reading

Get Your Bloggers on the Same Page with a Style Guide

Many companies have several employees who regularly contribute posts to the company blog. But how do you make sure that all of your bloggers are “on the same page” when it comes to frequently used terms, corporate lingo, and tone?

SamePageI copy edit blog posts for several clients, and I recommend the use of a “Brand Style Guide” that can either be distributed to all of the bloggers, or simply used by the copy editor (whose job it is to ensure consistency throughout all of the company’s marketing text – both digital and print).

What goes into the style guide? Here are a few of the things I regularly include for my clients, and which I highly recommend if you want to start setting up a style guide for your own company. Continue reading