1. Copy Content Anatomy
Today’s content of visuals (pics/videos), a headline, and a CTA button, have become our predominant form of selling since we went mobile. VISUAL, HEADLINE, CTA is the way we sell today. Develop and design marketing material MOBILE UP.
♦ Headline applications:
• On a webpage, landing page, microsite, eblast, ezine, ad, and most online marketing, it’s the greatest differentiator of the company (brand), benefits of the product/service, and/or offering of the campaign.
• In print advertising, it is the image FIRST, then the headline should compliment, or pay-off (not compete with) the visual.
• In radio, video, or TV commercials, it’s the first few seconds of the commercial.
• In a direct-mail package, it’s the copy on the outer envelope, or the first few sentences in the letter.
• In a press release, it’s the lead, i.e. the reason why you believe your ‘news’ would benefit the readers (and therefore the editor) of the publication you’re pitching.
• In a sales brochure or catalog, it’s generally on the front cover.
• In a sales presentation, it’s no later than the 3rd slide.
• In an email marketing message, it’s the From line and the Subject line. Sometimes, it’s even the first few words of the email itself, as many email clients show users the first few words a sentence of the email in their Inbox (before clicking on the email itself ).
♦ Types of Headlines:
• Direct— direct headlines SELL offering directly, i.e. 40% Off All Flowers; Create Your Website Free; Download 500 Images for $4.99…etc. Generally used for inexpensive; perishable or transient, like a play or concert; short-lived fads, i.e. products/services with no lasting value.
• Indirect—garner engagement with intrigue to BRAND. Generally used for expensive items that take a while for conversion to happen, like buying a Ferrari, or into a message, like conserving our natural resources is important to do.
• How-To—how-to headlines motivates readers interested in that particular knowledge to act on your CTA to receive the education. How-To headlines don’t need to start with How-To: 5 Ways to Make Millions; Earn Your MBA in 1 Year; Transform Yourself to Change the World
• Command—command headlines direct people to do what you tell them to do. Find the perfect rental. Start Eating Healthy Today. Make Money Blogging. Command heads are typically DIRECT headlines.
• Testimonials—reviews, ratings, awards, celebrity endorsements. Testimonial heads are meant to concertize the message. Usually INDIRECT heads, by implying proven value.
• News/Entertainment—for introducing new products/services or features; news announcements like interest or crime rates or pricing. Generally IMPLIED headlines for BRANDING.
—News headline: McDonald’s Introduces Gilroy Garlic Fries
—Direct headline: McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries FREE with MacDeal
• Headline Templates—proven headlines that get results, just put your information in the templates. The Last _____You’ll Ever Need; How-To_____; The Truth About _____; _#_Way to_____; _#_Reasons to_____; _#%_Discount on _____; FREE_____
►Read 177 Tested Advertising Headlines: http://www.procopytips.com/tested-headlines
►Read 100 Good Advertising Headlines: http://www.infomarketingblog.com/100-good-advertising-headlines-victor-schwab/
►Watch: Content Marketing Academy, Writing Great Headlines:
♦ Headline Best Practices:
• Put the best thing about offer FIRST—Your Sweet Fix @ 0 Calories. Diet Coke.
• Promise a solution to a problem—Stop Biting Your Nails with HOT Polish
• Target specific audiences—Nurses Care for You. Care for Them.
• Give Useful Information—Lipitor Reduces HBP and Lowers Risk of Heart Attacks
• Use numbers and stats—78% of Men Over 50 Have Noticable Hair Loss
• Use contradictory ideas—Lose Weight Without Diet or Exercise. (We all know it’s not true, but we want to believe so badly we’ll look to see, even try the product…hoping. Additionally, it piques the interest, garners intrigue, if a headline is contradictory, even if we don’t believe it.)
• Give reasons reader should act— 30-FREE Trial to Find Your Match
• Give reasons reader should act NOW— FREE Coffee with Donut Today ONLY
b. Body Copy:
• Replace bodycopy with videos, presentations, and other visuals like charts and graphs where applicable. Visual and verbal (even in VO) communications describe complex software and/or systems better than a lot of complicated copy. Even simple descriptors, like the ingredients in an organic cupcake, can be shown (grains of wheat in a field, sugar on the cane) instead of written, and will get more engagement than words.
• Bodycopy must pay off headline and subheads with the benefits, or information about the products/services features that make offering unique and valuable.
• Outline writing/selling points first. Use your Creative Brief to break complex copy, like a large website with many components and pages, into manageable sections.
• Keep copy as short and succinct as possible. 3 – 15 word sentences. Vary sentence length to keep copy from getting monotonous. 2 – 5 sentence paragraphs, with lots of visual space around the copy blocks. Simple words.
• Use bulleted points not only with features lists, but also benefits/solutions, components, materials and parts, functionality. Review bodycopy to see if it can be broken up into bulleted points whenever possible.
• Referential links should open in an outside tab, unless using the link to funnel sales.
• Use popular keywords and key phrases RELATED TO YOUR OFFERING (SEO). If you use keywords unrelated to your offering you risk getting thrown off of Google search returns.
• Implied or Direct, even bodycopy must have a CTA!
c. Call to Action (CTA): words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a marketing message to take an immediate action.
• Direct CTA—Download Now; Call Today; Sign-up Here
• Implied CTA—Japan is Waiting For You; #ShareaCoke
Two clicks (a button, link, clickable pic…etc., in online marketing IS the CTA) should be maximum required of users to purchase, or get some value, like additional information or instructions (such as download to try, or take the poll, or respond to a query). All marketing material should have a CTA!
►Read: How to Write Call-to-Action Buttons that Convert: http://unbounce.com/conversion-rate-optimization/design-call-to-action-buttons/
• Define the objective of your CTA:
—to sell directly (on or offline, i.e. brick&mortar)
—get trial users
—get base users for Freeium profit model
—get people to your website from a landing page or ad
—spark interest and generate further investigation
—collect email addresses (fill in/sign-up forms for email address collection)
—build Brand awareness (sell image)
—Motivate interactivity with loyalty programs, discounts, special offers, giveaways, rewards, games…
a. Search Engine Optimization: using keywords, phrasing and links within copy content to increase your search return ranking, i.e. getting closer to the first return on Google, or other search engines. HUGE amount of SEO/SEM is bullshit, so BEWARE of SEO companies that tell you they’ll increase your ranking. A lot of these companies are off-shore, without a clue what they’re doing. They’ll stick your URL everywhere on the internet which will land your URL in Google jail!
SEO and SEM best practices are changing all the time. Look up “SEO Tips 2016” (or the current year) before developing an SEO/SEM strategy for current trends and best practices.
• Ways to Increase SEO ranking:
—LIGHTLY sprinkle Keywords and key phrases in copy content that is RELEVANT to your offerings. OVER-STUFFING of these words (aka Over-Optimizing) alerts Google’s spam detection algorithms, and Google will block you from their search returns. So DON’T overstuff or over-optimize your content. And make sure your keywords are relevant to what you are selling.
—Site is informative with valuable information related to your offerings.
—Site engages users, has a lot of interactivity.
—URL is descriptive.
—Pages load fast.
—Site drop-off is lower than other sites, i.e. users engage with site page per page, and item per item, like videos, for longer before leaving site.
—Site components, from copy to visual content, change (updated) often.
—Your site URL is being posted on other legitimate sites, webpages, and on social network feeds. (aka Linkbacks, or Backlinks).
• SEM (Search Engine Marketing)—a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization, advertising and AB testing.
►Watch 5 Best Practices for SEM:
• Keyword research and analysis—ensures the site can be indexed in the search engines. Finding the most relevant and popular keywords for the site and its products, and using those keywords on the site in a way that will generate and convert traffic.
►App: Google Adwords Keywords Finder— helps you identify keywords and key phrases to buy per click, as well as help you define your SEO strategy.
♦ WATCH OUT! Google will block you from their search engine if you SEO too aggressively! Avoid “Unnatural Links Notices” and other infractions only known to, and ever changing by Google!
►Watch: 5 SEO Tips, Ecommerce Web Advice:
• Google’s “Bad Neighborhoods”— will get you blocked from Google if the external links to your website appear on websites Google considers bad.
• Unnatural Links—as defined by Google: Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site, or outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the quality of our search results, and as such is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
• Google Penguin—an algorithm update aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
• Disavow Tool—”If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site. You should still make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site. Simply disavowing them isn’t enough.” —Google (This is Google’s disclaimer, and it’s bullshit. Once Google blocks your URL, it is extremely difficult to get unblocked.)
♦ ♦ Follow the foundation of effective marketing, and continually sell features and benefits of your product/service or offer, that fulfill the desires/needs of a specific group of people, you won’t have to worry about landing your startup’s URL in Google jail, which could take months, if not years to get out of, and potentially destroy your new company if no one can find it with search.♦ ♦
►Watch: Best Practices in Marketing SEO & SEM:
3. Common Online Marketing Myths
♦ Google is going to make you a lot of $$ with PPC ads on your website or blog. Not likely. Google makes the real $$$$, not you.
♦ “IMPRESSIONS” are going to launch your startup. The more IMPRESSIONS and ENGAGEMENTS received, the more successful your company will be. Bullshit. IMPRESSIONS, even ENGAGEMENTS, like Retweets or Shares, will NOT get people to actually purchase your offerings, or sign up for your ezine. LINK CLICKS on your CTA will SELL (or get sign-ups).
♦ Google is going to skyrocket your startup to stardom from IMPRESSIONS buy Google PPC ads to market your offerings on other people’s sites. Bullshit!
• PPC (Pay Per Click)—an internet advertising model used on websites, blogs…etc., where advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked on.
►Watch How Does Pay Per Click (PPC) Work:
• PPC by Google— BEWARE of PPC advertising models! VERY often, Google is the only one making money (YOUR $$$, as the advertiser) with PPC ads, and similar ad models. IMPRESSIONS do NOT SELL! CLICKS ON YOUR ADVERTISING SELLS your offerings! Don’t listen to the ad agencies selling you PPC’s, as they are making $$$ on YOU! To realize the greatest ROI with your ad dollars and marketing material, RESEARCH RESULTS from the platforms you are considering advertising on. AND TRACK YOUR RESULTS FOR SALES INCREASE, NOT IMPRESSION INCREASE, as impressions are relatively meaningless.
►Watch Google PPC Advertising: Explained (this video starts simple, but gets complex, Google’s way of selling more PPC ads to clueless consumers they are about to rip-off):
• Cost per click (CPC)—the sum paid by an advertiser to search engines and other internet publishers (newsites, blogs…etc.) for a single click on their advertisement which directs a visitor to the advertiser’s website.
• Cost per impression (CPM)—the $$ an advertiser agrees to pay per 1,000 views of an ad. The user does NOT need to click on the ad, as each appearance of the ad in front of a user counts as one impression. CPM is bullshit. Don’t buy it! IMPRESSIONS don’t sell anything! ONLY CLICKS on advertiser’s LINKS SELL products/services.
• Cost per action (CPA)—(aka pay per action, PPA, or cost per conversion, CPC) the advertiser pays for each specified action. Example: an impression, click, form submit, i.e. newsletter sign up, registration, free trial, or purchase.
• Cost per lead (CPL)—advertiser pays for an actual sign-up from a consumer/user. It is also commonly called online lead generation, and is the best of the PPC models, because it is one of the few ad models that gets results!
♦ If I post it they will come. Bullshit. You must market what you put online, get attention, while literally competing with billions of other advertisers these days, both on and offline, globally.
♦ Flooding social media with my messaging will help sell my product/service/message. Bullshit. You must target what you are selling to specific markets, and individuals—the tighter the better! Example (for my novel REVERB): Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Contemporary > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Psychological Thriller