Not everyone can be the charismatic copywriter that is Don Draper. In fact, not even Don Draper was Don Draper. Unsubstantiated rumours claim the character is modelled on an amalgamation of four real people.
It may not be easy to be Don Draper but that doesn’t mean that you can't do your best at copywriting. Particularly with these useful copywriting formulas that you can use as a quick hack to writing better.
Copywriting formulas and techniques
These simple little tactics are great to use when you are stuck in your writing and can’t seem to add the necessary “punch” to make it stand out from the plethora of written communications out there.
Sometimes it’s not enough to tell your readership that you are holding a new event, you have a new or improved service or that there is a fundraising drive that they absolutely must attend.
As consumers, we’re so overwhelmed by information that a lot of what you will put out into the world (or online) as marketers or business owners will fade into the background. These days, it takes a concerted effort to make your communications stand out and reach the correct people.
Below you will find three reliable copywriting formulas that will help you write significant pieces of information that will drive your audience to do something. These writing formulas are particularly effective for fundraising or charity campaigns and I have written the example with that in mind. However, these copywriting processes aren’t limited to not for profit but are applicable for any type of copywriting. Test them out on your next content article, squeeze page or advert.
DRD copywriting formula
This is a formula that is often used in creative writing but can equally be used in effective storytelling as part of your copywriting. In creative writing, it is used to create scenes, eg character finds out husband is cheating (dilemma), character is distraught (reaction) and decides to leave him (decision). This is one of the most effective ways to get action happening in a story. Translated into copywriting, it is an effective way to move the readers along with you so by the time you have taken them through the journey of a dilemma, they are ready to agree to the decision you propose (eg, buy this service to abate your dilemma).
The problem and solution copywriting formula
The problem and solution copywriting formula is particularly effective for writing media releases or anything where you need to take people on a particular journey for them to emotionally invest in your plight. Many not for profit and charity organisations would value from using this copywriting technique.
Let’s look at these steps in closer detail:
The AIDA technique is a time tested process in sales and it is also known as the purchase funnel. You may recognise a semblance of this process in modern day sales funnel marketing – many visible bloggers and digital sellers use it to varying degrees of success.
‘The AIDA model is one of the longest serving models used in advertising, having been developed in the late nineteenth century.’
How to grab attention?
There are some surefire ways to grab attention. Words such as “free”, “discount”, “sale”, “you” and similar are very effective in grabbing almost anyone’s attention.
Develop interest with unusual statistics, social proof statements or claims, credible testimonies or endorsements or proposition your reader with a hypothetical scenario that would leave them wondering.
Create desire by proposing something that is absolutely irresistible to your reader. A new product that will eliminate their problem? Something that will boost their confidence or provide them with the comfort or luxury that they have wanted for ages?
By this stage in your copywriting, your reader is all prepped and ready to take some action to make their desire manifest in reality. If your writing is well done, they will be easy to convince at this point. Incorporate an effective call to action.
At the end of the day, you can use these copywriting formulas with some sense of success. But for truly powerful copywriting, it still takes creativity, storytelling and marketing knowledge. And I have repeated this in many blog posts but I will say it again: you must, must, must know your target audience and exactly how to write to them in a way that makes them do what you want, for example read your website, buy your product, book your service straight away!
What are meta data descriptions and meta tags?
Meta tags and meta data descriptions are the summary of what your web page contains that is implemented at the backend of your website as part of your meta tags. This is the information that search engines (such as Google) uses to index your website and web pages and displays when someone searches for your keywords. You might also notice this information when you share it via your social channels, especially Facebook.
Meta tags consist of a title (page title), meta data description (a few sentences of description) and a slug (specific URL).
Although it can help with keyword searching (mainly in the title rather than description), it’s primary purpose is to encourage web searchers to click on the link and read your website.
They need to be cleverly crafted so that they appeal to both Google's robots and to human readers to improve your ranking/SERP.
Meta data descriptions are like a mini advert or sales tools. And it’s very short so it has to be super effective. Essentially, it has to contain the absolute perfect blend of sales copywriting and SEO text.
They are a vital part of your SEO strategy and plan. Perfecting meta data descriptions is a completely important part of your website's optimisation and it really does pay to get it right from the start.
A good meta data description could be the very reason someone clicks through to your website.
It is a unique blend of advertising and SEO and is one of the key factors in getting people to read your site. They really do need to be compelling and an accurate summary of the corresponding webpage. Each meta description needs to be unique and match the web page’s content. It's basically a summary of what the web page contains.
Neil Patel, who is considered one of the leading experts in SEO discusses why meta data description is so important.
Here are 33 examples of great meta data descriptions.
Here's exactly why you need a content writing strategy for your website
The purpose of a content strategy is to create thorough, enticing and meaningful content writing that draws in more website traffic and ultimately attracts the right kind of customer that sees you as the best choice when it comes to your industry.
Additionally, a content strategy will provide you with a sustainable way of creating and posting content without burning out.
‘Content strategy helps organizations provide the right content, to the right people, at the right times, for the right reasons,’ Content Marketing Institute.
Content writing and creation is still super important to your marketing and SERP results. ‘57% of marketers rated relevant content creation as being among their most effective SEO tactics.’ If you’re investing a lot of time into content creation, it absolutely pays to get it right from the start and have an overarching long term plan.
Here are five reasons why you need to invest in a content strategy.
You won’t have to spend ages wondering what topic to write about
How long does it take you to come up with the perfect blog post topic? Five minutes? An hour? Twenty days? It can be either of these and if your content plan requires you to put out a weekly post, that adds up to about fifty hours a year that you spend tossing up what to write about. That’s fifty hours of the year you could dedicate to client service, meeting new clients or giving keynote presentations or completing an extra project.
Content article topics will be crafted to speak to direct goals and audience
Don’t spend six months writing about irrelevant things that don’t do anything for your website traffic or boosting your SEO. Get it right from the start.
A content strategy will also help you avoid writing about the same category of topics over and over again, ensuring there is an even spread throughout the year, in alignment with your marketing objectives, world holidays and celebrations and any industry relevant events.
Plus, a content strategy will break it down and inform exactly what each post needs to entail, the title to use and any relevant key points to cover. Each post will be keyword matched, ensuring you’re putting your best SEO foot forward!
Your content articles will speak to each other
Content articles and blog posts will never be an afterthought and you can link each post to other relevant site content, build on from other topics and create a solid online asset for your business. Relevant categories (that again speak to your keywords) will be set up and ensure there is adequate content for each.
Consistency and reliability
Picture this: you have some spare time to work on marketing in February so you post a great blog post every week for four weeks. Then the leads start coming in, so you are swamped with client work and neglect the blog content for another six months. The leads and enquiries via your website start to go quieter so you hastily add other short and poorly written blog posts that aren’t really that relevant but you couldn’t come up with a right topic quickly.
Now picture this scenario:
Your content strategy tells you exactly what to write and when for the rest of the year, so you have dedicated half a day per week (or similar) to creating the right content and publishing a regular post. Your website always has an abundance of content that is regularly updated and the leads and enquiries are regularly coming in each week. Your SEO is not only steady but it is improving with the fresh, well thought out content.
And because the planning has been taken care of and you know what research has to be done and what resources are required, the blog posts are well written and helpful for your target audience.
Furthermore, you’ve had time to carefully plot out a marketing strategy to share the regular content which means it reaches more people and a wider audience. Before too long, you’ve developed a reputation for providing consistent and reliable information that attracts regular readers back to your site.
You’ll always be clear on your why
It’s not uncommon to get so wrapped up in your next bit of creative content that you completely dismiss why you are doing it. It’s only after you’ve posted a two thousand word article on the importance of the colour blue you realise that it has nothing to do with your business marketing objectives of getting more clients interested in taking out home loans.
You’ll waste valuable time and confuse your existing audience. A content plan will list your objectives and your “why” and help you always prioritise your clear message.
'The moment we stopped saying, “We’re pool builders,” and started saying, “We are the best teachers in the world about Fiberglass pools and we just happen to install them as well,”… that was one of the most prosperous days of our lives.' Case study.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, allowing different forms of the technology to analyse data sets and make appropriate decisions for businesses. From booking flights to chatting with consumers about their insurance needs, AI is changing the way we work. Beyond the initial steps into voice recognition technology, AI is also affecting how marketers connect with consumers.
AI is the term used for technology that is able to ‘think like humans’. Below are four ways in which it is changing digital marketing, along with some of the applications that will soon become essential for any marketer wishing to stay ahead of the game.
AI for GDPR compliance
AI excels at gathering and analysing large sets of data to find insights. Much of a marketer’s job is to tailor advertising and digital marketing campaigns for specific buyer personas, segmented demographics, or on insights gleaned from the buyer journey. Given this information, AI is the perfect partner for these tasks.
Through the collection of data from a range of different platforms – like social media and a company’s own website – AI can be used to sift through the vast amounts of information. The technology is able to spot consumer behaviour patterns that will aid a marketer’s decisions when building a digital marketing campaign.
This is expected to help in a number of ways, from tweaking campaigns as they run to better engage an audience or even customising ads so individuals are more likely to take the requested action.
‘Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing…’ Larry Page.
Voice search and speech recognition
62 per cent of British people are already happily using voice operated technology for shopping, music, and searching the web. AI can enhance a range of different searches, including voice recognition, by remembering user history.
This impacts marketers in a number of ways. Firstly, voice searches often take a different form to typed searches. We tend to use a more conversational tone when speaking, whereas typed searches encourage economy with words. Long tailed keywords will become more useful as voice search becomes the preferred way to use the internet for getting information and shopping.
Speech recognition can also be used to heighten consumer security. Similarly to how the UK banking system has adopted a “my voice is my password” approach to phone banking, businesses can ensure purchases made from a customer’s account were in fact requested by them. Even better, users will no longer need to rely on complex passwords.
Generating new leads
It’s no secret that AI can be used to sort through the data you have already gathered and provide additional insights to support a digital marketing campaign. However, AI can also be used to find more ideal customers, new clients and even work colleagues.
For B2B communications and certain B2C interactions (depending on the individual EU country’s consent requirements), AI can save you copious amounts of time. When it comes to searching for new leads, advanced tech can provide you with more time to craft the best pitch or email outreach campaign you can. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and Node are two programmes which can be used to help generate new leads for your business.
AI is moving forward at a surprising speed. Understanding how to use the many applications of this technology ethically and effectively will allow marketers to remain on the right side of the law. It will also provide more opportunity to reach consumers in the ways they wish to connect with businesses.
This has been a guest post from Blue Label Labs.
Email marketing is still a reliable advertising medium for over ten years now even with the introduction of newer digital advertising technologies. According to a recent analysis by Vertical Response, about 72 per cent of consumers say that they prefer to hear from businesses via email. Email marketing still continues to be one of the most cost effective ways to reach potential clients and customers.
Not only that but it has a flow on effect to social media as well. ‘Email subscribers are three times more likely to share content on social media than leads who came through another channel,’ QuickSprout tells us.
Not everybody who engages in email marketing gets it right and with so many businesses competing for inbox space, sending lacklustre emails isn’t enough to make the desired impact. Keeping up to date on the best practices ensures email communications stand out and offer a successful campaign.
Fortunately, email marketers develop new ways to make EDMs even more powerful every year to stay on top of their game. To ensure that you stay on the cutting edge, here are some of the email marketing trends for 2018.
Make personalisation and segmentation a priority
2018 is set to be the year that email personalisation will be a significant player in email marketing campaigns. Personalisation within the email marketing context means creating uniquely tailored experiences which make users feel valued by your business. For example, one of the most common forms of email personalisation is using the recipient’s name instead of the standard “hello” or “dear customer”. But now, more than ever, it’s up to you as a marketer or business owner to enhance personalisation even more. By implementing comprehensive list and client segmentation, email marketing will be able to reach new heights of personalisation that extends beyond addressing your clients by name.
People are more likely to respond to emails which have been tailored specifically to them than to generic emails. By creating a personalised experience for your customers, you can also boost continuous engagement through dynamic content.
Segmentation is simply the process of carrying your personalisation efforts further by segmenting your mailing and contact lists into customer groups based on various distinctive criteria ranging from birthdays to time zones to when the last time they opened your emails were. This provides acutely relevant content to your recipients and its importance cannot be overestimated. According to a 2017 DMA report, about 79 per cent of email marketing ROI came from segmented and targeted campaigns. By segmenting your mailing lists by age, gender, geography, interests, education level and so on you can provide more relevant emails and boost engagement. And customer service is consistently refined and implemented through email marketing.
Create interactive content
Have you come across an email message with an embedded GIF image or a survey attached to it? This is interactive content. Interactive content allows users to interact with the email interface keeping the digital content interesting and unique. Additionally, they also help companies increase customer research, engagement and even retention. Email marketing interactive content may include:
Marketing Sherpa data reveals that the use of GIFs in email can increase click thru rates by 42 per cent, conversion rates by 103 per cent and revenue rates by 104 per cent.
How to make a GIF.
Erica Stacey from Scout Digital Marketing and Training says,
'While social media understandably continues to be the bright, shiny marketing tactic for many businesses, email marketing activity is increasing year-on-year and studies show that email marketing has an average return on investment of 122 per cent. That’s four times higher than other digital marketing activities!
Huge consumer trust is involved when someone decides to subscribe to receive emails. It is a piece of contact information that you own, far more valuable than a like or a follow and it should be treated as such.
Additionally, a comprehensive email marketing strategy, that sits within an overall digital marketing strategy should be a key consideration for most businesses.'
Want upskill in email marketing? Scout Digital Training can help.
A new marketing funnel
Also, there will be shifts in the traditional marketing funnel and it won’t appear as linear as we are used to. Emails will need to be of higher value and automated campaigns will need to be ramped up as this is where the revenue comes from. Remember the timeless customer process:
The world is constantly evolving and new email marketing strategies are being implemented every day. It has, therefore, become important to seek out and integrate the latest trends into your email marketing strategy to achieve the best results in 2018. Email marketing is still one of the strongest assets in your marketing arsenal!
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Content articles are one of the most pivotal parts of not just your content marketing plan but your overall marketing plan. Statistics show that the more content your site has, the more Google will rank your page.
Content articles are not only important for your SEO but for your customers and sales as well. 82 per cent of customers have a more positive outlook on a company after reading custom content. And seventy per cent of people would prefer to learn about a company from content articles than adverts.
Is it shareable?
Would you personally share this content? Or would the leader of your organisation share it with their networks? This simple test is often a quick objective way to determine whether the content is of good quality.
SEO content articles
Is it search engine optimised? Use this Yoast plugin SEO checker tool to check if your content follows best practice and is web ready.
Call to action strength
Does it have a strong call to action? Relevant and well placed calls to action has been shown to increase revenue by a whopping 83 per cent. Here's how to write call to action.
Content writing keywords
Include your target keywords in your heading, subheadings, first paragraph and throughout the article. But avoid keyword stuffing. How many times should you write your keyword?
There's no hard and fast rule but try to include it multiple times in your content article. But this should never be at the sacrifice of brilliant copywriting. If it sounds unnatural, then it will hinder SEO performance and turn away your readers.
Are there clear takeaways and action steps that you offer your reader? What do you want your reader to do exactly? Spell it out.
Include some tangible information. That means including statistics, facts, research and links to sources. This will add to the content article’s credibility and help convince the reader when they come to the call to action. Never sacrifice brilliant writing. The average reader only spends 37 seconds reading an article or blog post (NewsCred Insights).
End and begin well
Top and tail your posts really well. Write a clear and informative introduction and a succinct paragraph at the end of the article that provides them information about with what to do next.
Heighten your assets
Make your content articles part of your assets.‘Ninety two per cent of marketers said their organization views content as a business asset.’ Ensure your content writing is of a high enough quality to add value to your asset pool.
You might like to read more about content writing.
Did you know that 44 per cent of companies outsource their writing? Take a moment to get a no obligation, easy copywriting quote today.
Not sure what topics to write about? Get a content strategy.
As a copywriter and content marketer, I offer a range of services including marketing retainer packages. A business may only need a copywriter for on a project basis, which is great and something that I love as I love the variety in my client work. But there is enormous value in hiring a marketing professional on an ongoing basis. Here are eight of reasons why you should consider a marketing retainer.
It ends up being so much cheaper for you
As a service provider, I often prefer offering a retainer service as I thoroughly enjoy watching success. It’s a treasure to watch marketing activities unfold over time and I don’t have to learn a new business, business’s objectives, customer journey, strategy, target audience and so on every week. And I will reward the client for this by including hefty discounts on a package of work.
Long term potential
This copywriter will be more invested in your long term growth and success if you, the client, purchases a retainer package.
Knowing that you’re enthusiastic about using a copywriter’s services long term means they are very inclined to go the extra mile and research your business thoroughly. By really understanding your business goals and objectives the copywriter is beside you enthusiastic to invest in your ongoing success.
It’s particularly important because marketing is a marathon, definitely not a sprint. So, having someone run alongside you as you aim for the finish line, will greatly enhance your chances of success.
‘A company blog has more long-term ROI than traditional marketing efforts,’ Source.
The briefing process only has to be done once
They will learn a lot more about your business and you will save time, resources and money when briefing them. A typical briefing meeting can take approximately two to five hours, depending on your requirements and if we include the administration time of filling out a brief and getting a quote and approval of and so on. With a retainer, you only have to do this once and it’s taken care of until you decide to cease the services.
It’s like having a staff member, without the bad things
Hiring a freelancer means you get the benefit of a staff member without having to pay those ancillary costs such as taxes, equipment and furniture, super and entitlements and without the human resources component of onboarding, managing and ending the employment cycle.
‘There is nothing more important than the people we hire,’ Barry Davis, CEO, Crosstex Energy.
It’s a quick way to get an expert
Not only are you hiring someone with industry expertise but a professional will have other clients and skills that will easily be applied to your package. For example, if one of my clients has had a positive experience with helpful software that I know another client will greatly benefit from, there is nothing stopping me recommending it. There is so much transferrable knowledge that can be shared amongst clients.
It’s added peace of mind
You can rest easy knowing that each month your email marketing, content marketing, blogging, SEO or whatever marketing services you’ve designated to a marketing retainer, are getting taking care of without you having to micromanage or monitor their progress. You can almost forget about them until you see the results and that allows you to focus on your core role or other business operations.
The regular predictability of outcomes and marketing assets and activities achieved also add an extra layer of security to your organisation and knowing that someone is invested in helping your business succeed will quickly help you sleep better at night.
'The measure of success is happiness and peace of mind,' Bobby Davro.
Monitoring and measuring
Having someone onboard for longer than a single project sets up an opportunity for ongoing measurement and monitoring. This means there is potential for the service provider to optimise content or assets dependant on their previous performance, using analytics and other measurement tools. For example, if a certain type of content article is gaining a lot of traction and engagement (Google Analytics can tell you how many people are reading and clicking on the article) then the marketing consultant can use this information to plan your future content – they might choose to repurpose, link to or emulate that high performing content article.
Depending on the level of retainer package or prior agreement, there might be some flexibility in the service. Some months you may require a lot of public relations and media release help (say if you’re launching a new product or service) and other months you might be keen to focus on rewriting your website. This is a great fit for those businesses that have multiple projects or differing seasonal marketing needs throughout the year.
More action, less talk
By investing in a marketing retainer, you will be undeniably taking action- it’s a “doing” premise. No longer will you just be talking about it or hypothesising what would happen if you finally took the plunge to hire a marketing professional! Hitting that “go” button would ensure that it’s happening without you barely having to think about it. See the point above peace of mind.
'Action expresses priorities,' Mahatma Gandhi.
Are retainers for everyone?
No. If you don’t have the budget to commit to a marketing service every month or quarter or on an ongoing basis, then engaging in a marketing retainer is not for your business.
Likewise, if you are not clear on your long term vision (at least for twelve months) and what marketing activities you wish to engage in, then a marketing retainer is also not for you. If you are not organised enough to plan at least four weeks ahead you might be better off undertaking all your business’s marketing yourself or hiring a staff member.
How do you know what type of marketing retainer is right for you?
It will depend on two things: your goals and your budget. Identify your achievable business goals first and how much you can realistically commit to spending each retainer period. Aim to stick to your retainer packages for at least six to twelve months to see genuine, measurable results. Talk to your marketing consultant about what they can offer for your budget and what kind of flexibility they offer with their services offerings.
I offer a limited number of marketing retainers for the following services:
Contact me today to discuss your copywriting needs.