Well, women all know the feeling before waxing – the main wish is to get through it as rapidly as we can, with as little pain as we can. And this is what this billboard promises with the very clever use of “on and off”- instead of saying it will be fast and painless.
Demonstration is better than description
In sales writing one of the challenges is to demonstrate and explain processes, services, results with words instead of showing it. If people can observe something it is always more powerful than reading or listening to an explanation about it. In the above example, if I go to the salon, and see how quick it is, I would be impressed.
Picture made of words
Fortunately, words can also do that: with expressions which make us feel the impact instead of understanding and analysing it. If I say fast, it can be anything from 1 second to a few minutes or an hour depending on what process I am talking about. But expressions like ‘with a click of a button‘ imply that you just push a button and it happens, A more powerful way of saying ‘You can order online fast and easy’.
The same thing happens with ‘the blink of the eye’ – we all know it is one second and unconsciously imagine this blink and fell the speediness. The ‘on and off’ example just does the same: in one second the was is there, and in the other it is not.
As easy as 1,2,3
‘As easy as 1,2,3’ or ‘as easy as abc’ are again great picture-expressions: as we read them we feel how fast it is, and feeling is always stronger than any other understanding.
Be careful: it is not the same as idioms. If I say ‘as easy as pie’ – which is a widely known idiom for being easy – nobody will think of an actual pie, or nobody will feel the easiness. Idioms are also great elements in writing, but in this case, will not have the same impact of showing a picture in our head.
From a great night to goodnight
This Uber ad is displayed on the tube and aims to draw the attention to their better and quicker alternative for late night party-goers. And as discussed above it plays with the “great night – goodnight” word-picture, much much better than “get to your bed in 18 mins”. The good-great word couple can be used the other way round in slogans, headlines: ‘good for you, great for your children‘. Or ‘good people, great results’. Or an actual slogan of Eden Eco Solutions: ‘Good for your business. Great for our world.’
Note, by the way, using a non-round number (18) as the length f the journey. We pay attention and believe more numbers which are not round, so it becomes more credible. Even if in the example it is completely hypothetical, just wants to suggest a very short period.
We take only ‘Wow’ as an answer
If you provide services – like we do with content – we all know there are three types of reactions from our clients when we show them our work. They either say – hopefully in a very rare case – ‘no, this is not something I wanted’, or they say, ‘Fine.’ And the best is when they are impressed, and say ‘Oh wow, this is better than I imagined.’ Instead of writing on our website that we work until our clients are satisfied, why couldn’t we say: ‘We work until you say Wow.’
Use a few of these word-pictures in your copy and it will be more powerful and will clearly demonstrate what you are saying.
Words and photo by Timea Kadar, Global Head of Content at ContentBonum
Not because it is a secret but because they are so overwhelmed by pitches and emails and their daily work that they don’t have the time to tell you this. Having written for various magazines for 5 years, and having pitched successfully many others including Forbes, I can tell you what editors never tell you.
If you ever tried or thought of trying to send an article pitch to an editor (but this is true for any cold email) and it was never answered, you might have made one of the below mistakes. But don’t worry, these are easy to avoid, and you will have a much higher response rate.
#1 Too much ado about you
It is obvious that in such an introductory email you would introduce yourself or your company to justify your expertise and why they should listen to you. However, this should not precede the fact that they are interested in your idea. So even if overall politeness and chronology tell you to introduce yourself first, in a pitch to the editor this should come only after you have their attention. And even then a brief intro is enough.
#2 They have just written about your topic
You don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the paper and read everything about them, but it is nice to have an idea about the types of articles they publish and check back a couple of months what they published to avoid repetition. Look for some niche area they don’t talk about and you could.
#3 You sent a full article
It might seem obvious to show that you can write well and send the whole article they just should publish. In reality (1) editors don’t have the time to read full articles pitched and (2) they prefer to be involved creating the piece. So better to send a few bullet points about what the article would include, or you might want to write a lead.
#4 “I can write about anything that is important for you.”
In most – if not all of the – cases this often used sentence just delegates the task of finding the idea to the editor. And this is exactly they would be happy to have help with. The best help if you come up with specific ideas and show how you would write them. If you have a blog or Facebook with similar topics, you can justify the interest in them.
#5 Sending too much information
It is tempting to attach all your previous work, achievements, blogs and websites, but the editor will surely feel overwhelmed by all these and will never take the time to find out from your blog who you are. On top of that heavy attachments could block their already stuffed email box. It is always nicer to offer in the email that you can send high-quality photos, a presentation etc if they want, and it is your job to make them want 🙂
# +1 Following up
Some editors would call it crazy chasing what some writers do. Following up on FB, Linkedin etc right after sending the email if they have seen your message is not the best way to make them reply. Some experts advise following up frequently using all channels, but I would say you should keep away from that. It can easily happen that the editor misses your first email, so a reminder can be helpful, but I prefer to wait for some time and to tie it to some additional info and then use the opportunity to ask about their opinion.
This ad targets a very specific audience; those who spend 20-40 minutes commuting on the tube and would need some entertainment during this time. It is clearly articulated in the ad that it is going to be short, and both the copy and the picture makes the impression that these books are impossible to put down.
The star of this ad is not a specific book but the fact that any item of the series is a good choice for commuters. What we can learn from it is to target bravely. This ad clearly doesn’t target real bookworms – probably even annoys them – but this doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter until they have a very strong, easy-to-recognise message sent to their target group, and a unique selling proposition they can point out.
How to find the right target audience for your business
These are your ideal clients, you would like to attract and talk to, so get to know them as much as you can. The best is to set up a so-called buyer persona, i.e. the profile(s) of your target group (sex, age, profession, family status, financial status, hobbies, likes, dislikes etc.).
What are their issues/problems that they look to solve when looking at your business? What are their desires you can fulfill? What is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your business they are attracted by? You can either do a market research with an online survey, or interview a few of your clients. Look at the your customer service complaints and questions, and search for keywords in google and on social media.
By talking to a niche you gain more sales instead of missing out
What kind of misbeliefs do people have about your industry and specifically about your business? During networking try to talk about your business to as many people as you can and listen to their reactions. How do they misunderstand it? What are their questions? Look in the news, media, Facebbok groups and forums dedicated to your profession, what people normally ask and what kind of opinions they share.
As soon as you find out the answers to these questions, you will be able to create your buyer personas and talk only to them. Use their language, write about their problems, and desires, and address them specifically.
Don’t worry losing some of the audience if you are not talking to ‘everyone’. You are more guaranteed to get the attention of your real target group as a reward.
IKEA is often cited in marketing blogs for its marketing solutions and the legendary catalogue which many of us can hardly wait for.
This time I’d like to point out how they inject the essence of their mission during the whole customer experience. This time in the store while we are wandering around with the huge blue shopping bag – and potentially the family – on our side. IKEA’s core mission that they put a lot of thought into each product to make it an absolute star of our home, while at the same time making it very useful. This‘confession’ by the designers displayed next to the product just does that: we learn how much energy and effort they put into this piece. Mixed with some exciting backstage info it highlights precisely in which ways it will serve the customer the best.
Mission statements are not for the CEO’s office
They stress the fact how many different viewpoints are taken into account before the customer is delivered the beautiful end product. It is much better than a simple product description, and tells us a story, makes their mission tangible and approachable.
A mission statement is not something that should be posted in the CEO’s office with some vague sentences nobody remembers. It should be a very down-to-earth articulation of why we go the office every day, why we work for, and it should be very clear to all our clients, partners and vendors.
Start by adding background info on how you come to an ‘end product or service’, how much effort you put into it to make sure the best outcome reaches your client. This kind of content is also great to be posted on social media, as it has a high engagement. People love supporting companies who care.
Probably none of the books about raising a child talk about how in fact parts of this procedure are like convincing your leads to buy from you. But while you can always bin the bad leads, and look for new ones, well…with kids all is left is to try harder.
Concise and repeated call to actions
I quickly learnt that the polite “It would be great if you could get dressed and we could leave in 10 minutes.” has a way less conversion rate than “Get out now.” And the more times you repeat the CTA, the better. The same way: no conditional in marketing call to actions, unless you want readers to contemplate what if NOT… and don’t suppose they will notice that one and only big red button – if it is there just once.
“Tell us a story! Tell it again. Tell an other.” Kids need stories like they need air and food but my sons listen only until it is absolutely engaging. If I want to get off with a very simple one, or it is not exciting enough, I can see their disappointed face and/or they tell me it was much worse than the previous one. They will wait for a new one, but your customer will not.
Give them a reason
The parenting books and articles often emphasise how effective it is to add a reason to our requests and indeed it works from an early age. Just like with adults! Still marketing materials so many times lack the argument and justification why our customer should do what we ask, why it is good for them. This, on the other hand, should not result in a very long and explanatory call to action.
A basic rule in parenting. If I promised them that we go to the adventure park during the weekend, they don’t care if it is rainy, if I have an urgent work to finish, if it is closed. They will not let me escape it, because “You promised it!” This tends to be valid for your target audience. So if you promised them a blog post each week, a pdf right after the exhibition, a Facebook live each month, keep it. It is no excuse, you are busy with product development or you are on conferences. The consequence in communication is a must.
Listen to your heart
There are several books and articles about parenting and millions of pieces of advice from the family, neighbours, school etc on how to raise them. But nobody knows in advance, nobody can guarantee anything. You just have to wait and see what works and what doesn’t. Do what you believe in and keep trying. Am I still talking about the kids or is it now about marketing?
The companies who bother to optimise banner ads for mobile, usually do this by taking off some of the text and adapt the scale. But this is only technical responsivity and doesn’t maximize the full potential of mobile ads. I show you a few exciting examples where the features of a smartphone were creatively exploited.
While most of us find the banners covering our full screen on the mobile very disruptive, smart mobile ads help and entertain their audience, instead of being a pain. Brands can make use of the unique features of a smartphone, like touchscreen, GPS and in-built camera. And sometimes you don’t need anything complex, just some honest words.
Did you tap by mistake?
This campaign by IKEA didn’t even need a heavy budget. They simply honestly reacted to the fact that some of us (according to some surveys 60% of us) tap the banner by mistake as an attempt to close or remove it, which is really annoying. IKEA displayed this frustration on their upfront banners: “Oh, did you tap it by mistake? It happens.” Their click rate was three times as much as usual, altogether 400,000 people landed on their page. They had a message match there: “Where life happens.”
Closing the banner is dangerous
The tablet ad of Bradesco Seguros insurance company looks like a simple car ad until you swipe it to get rid of it. At this moment the car starts and crashes, and the message appears: “The worst things happen unexpectedly.” They used the power of surprise at a moment when people were about to leave their ad.
Virtual armchair in your flat – Augmented reality in mobile ad
The AR application of IKEA made it possible for users to see how the specific pieces of furniture would look like in their flat. Users could also get additional information on products in the legendary catalogue. The application was downloaded 6,2 million times which made it the most popular marketing application of all times.
What I really like about this campaign that it didn’t only focus on the new technology per se, but used it to create a really useful service for clients and prospects. Brands sometimes can be carried away by the abundance of solutions technology offers an tend to use these without a real purpose. In the IKEA campaign, however, the technology (AR) cleverly supports the urge from customers to see the products in their own home.
People do watch (long) video banners
The launch of Nissan Rouge was promoted by a video clip showing the car fighting with evil snowmen. The 1-minute video is an intriguing film in itself, but watchers could stop it at certain (pre-announced) hotspots to learn some interesting information (e.g. that the lowest temperature ever measured in Canada was -63 Celsius.) 73% of the people who started to watch the video finished it, and 93% of watchers gave some interaction! The golden oldie “Did you know it?” technique proved itself again.
Should Sara stay in or go out?
In the mobile video by Victoria Secret, users could choose if the model should stay in or go out. The idea is very simple and basically works with the choice between two videos on top of the first one. You can imagine how many people watched both versions, again and again 🙂
#1 Disclosure: I am not at all an expert on Twitter and Instagram, in fact, I didn’t have too much to do with these channels, but for a new project it was impossible to ignore it (and it is generally impossible to ignore these). So I opened my accounts and searched for expert tips which I followed – as much as I could.
#2 Disclosure: I am still not selling anything so I can not show how these followers convert to sales, at the moment I am just building an audience.
Follow the followers
I found it much easier to connect and socialise on Twitter and Instagram than on Facebook. One common advice is to see who follows some of the biggest influencers in your industry and follow them as you share the same interest. This proved to be amazingly effective, many of them followed back and even new people followed. In my case the affinity is travel, so it attracts a quite wide range of people.
Platforms that could be useful
I also found twiends.com that shows you Twitter people in the location or affinity you want, but basically, Twitter does this by itself anyway. Twiends is free but if you pay a weekly $9,95 you are featured to more people and will have even more followers, but I am not sure how relevant they are.
For another $19,99 per month at commun.it you can save time and engage your followers by thanking top followers, sending an automated reply to fresh fans, in which you can welcome them and ask them to follow tour Instagram/blog/Facebook. The platform has many other similar features. I tried both for free, and at this initial stage I didn’t see a dramatic benefit, but at a later stage – or for an other industry – these might be useful.
To grow Instagram followers I tried a few platforms – among them Influxsocial, this again increases visibility and proved to be great, however, I am not sure how many followers came from here, or from my own activity (looking for the followers of influencers). There are a lot of providers selling tonnes of fake followers who look real, but obviously, this is not an option if you want to do it seriously.
A general advice reads that you should look at who to follow, how active they are, what they post and react to their posts, like, comment, share. Sounds great, but I was overwhelmed by the social vibe, everybody sending automated/real messages, it is impossible to spend minutes with each profile – apart from running our usual business.
But I agree, in some niche and specific areas or at a later stage it could be good. Instead, I concentrated on a few selected ones and kept engaging with them, liking, re-tweeting, and this created a mutual relationship.
This is the million dollar tip that you can read everywhere and is quite obvious, but the fact is that there are thousands and thousands of unbelievably engaging content out there – especially in travel. So what I did is posting the photos that had a positive feedback earlier in my other channels, and I posted a lot. I tried to figure out what people like but the volume of likes was not enough to judge it. I also studied what others did and just went on my own posting as much as I could, and on Twitter re-tweeting with some own comments.
This is also a popular advice and makes all the sense. However just getting into it, messaging with people back and forth takes an enormous time, not to mention writing the piece itself, and eventually, it can easily get sunk in the threads. So what I did was asking for interviews, I just had to send a set of questions and I usually got back great content and pictures – and some good partnerships.
I admit it was a pain at the beginning, and for someone who loves writing, it is a struggle to talk in hashtags. The expert tip is to choose the right hashtag as these are your “keywords.” Well, easier said than done. Again I experimented with these, there were some I always used, some I selected from the suggestions twitter offered, and I also looked out for what others did. By the end, it was quite fun.
After all the best advice – that by the way, nobody gives – is that you should enjoy it and explore how the content, the people, the interactions from the thread.
Price is always a crucial part of any marketing communication, there is a pressure on the writer that this is the point where the deal will make it or break it. While actually, this shouldn’t be the only point, it is admittedly a delicate issue we should have a closer look at.
At the end of the landing page
Traditionally, on the landing pages, it is somewhere towards the end after the value proposition is explained, all the benefits are clear and excuses are treated. The reader consciously and unconsciously balances between the values and the price, so it is the writer’s job to make the value side very strong.
However, as users got used to this traditional way of presenting the price, some of them scroll right to the price presentation to find it out, skipping the value proposition. And this is not the only reason why we should shortly list again the benefits and what the price includes (even things that are evident to you but probably not for the customer.)
How much it is worth
A popular technique is to say how much the product could be sold for, how much it cost to create it, but it is only x. Even better if the cost and the higher price is scattered throughout the whole page in the relevant copy. Like if you offer a course, you can say earlier on the landing which conferences and schools you attended to get the knowledge and how much it cost. Or how much you spent on experimenting until you got to the best conclusion you are sharing now.
Right after stating the price you can explain how you came to that amount.
You can use it for segmenting: if it is a high-end price in the industry, you can say that the product is not for everyone, and you segment with this price. Users will feel tempted to belong to those qualified customers who can afford it.
If the price is low-end, you’d better avoid users think that also the product/service is low-end. Give them a reason why you want them to have access to it at such an exceptional price (your mission e.g.).
You should be very careful with this, though, as you can end up over-explaining the price and seeming to think that the product is not worth it.
Start with the price
A brave and advanced technique is to start with the price. It can as well as be in the headline: “Get back to your pre-baby size in two months for just $xxx. “
With this, you position your offer right at the beginning as a good deal, and the customer will not worry about the price but read on to find out what is in. Obviously, this technique is recommended if you have a good price, but it doesn’t mean it has to be cheap. It just has to be well-priced compared to what you offer. Going forward, it is crucial to justify that the price is a good deal.
Emphasize the losses
An other aspect is to show the customer how much they lose by not buying your product. It is difficult to imagine the future and especially accept that things can turn out bad, so you have to specifically explain what might happen with them without your service, and how much they will regret not to have spent this amount of money and save with it.
Say that it is expensive
An amazing technique for advanced writers. You can come up with an excuse one of your earlier clients made, saying “It is bloody expensive.” This will definitely catch the attention of the user and make them read on. Here you really have to explain and prove why this excuse is dull and how your client later found out that it was the best deal of his life. To reach this your value proposition has to be excellent.
Better to avoid
There are a few things to avoid when presenting the price:
– Hiding the price or part of it. You should be clear about all the additional costs, package and handling, and if it is a membership, it should be clear.
– Still, many sites use the ‘Ask for a quote’ formula which pushed the reader to make the extra effort by contacting you. Even if you can not say a definite final price you show price ranges or some examples.
– Saying “Only today”, or “Only for you” if it is not true. You lose credibility if these statements are there for weeks.
– Exaggerating the value of the product or service. Use statements about how much it is worth you can justify.
A brilliant content marketing idea: a real estate agency publishing an article as the diary of an agent.
It starts with a cute story of a fox stealing the high heels of one of the prospects during the flat viewing. Great opening the catch the attention.
Then it goes into more details – but not in a boring way – how they successfully closed deals, rented flats which are very difficult to rent, and how smoothly they handle their cases.
It is a perfect mixture of the ‘behind the scenes’ factor to keep me reading and the implication of how professional they are. Unconsciously I feel by the end, I really want to work with them. Isn’t it the easiest way to get me there?