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How to Write Persuasive Copy in a Voice That’s Unmistakably Yours – Recap

Mike Kim of Copy Proof gave a 45 minute (not counting the Q&A) session at Social Media Marketing World February 29 – March 2, 2020 about how to write persuasive copy in a voice that’s unmistakably yours.

For those of you who don’t know yet, Mike Kim is a brand strategist and direct response copywriter who has worked for thought leadership like John Maxwell, Donald Miller and Suzanne Evans. (By the way, he’s also trained by my mentor, Ray Edwards!)

He shared key principles from marketing personality-based businesses you can use to infuse your own marketing with personality, nuance, and psychology.

Mike talked about the 3 identities of a brand:

  1. Verbal
  2. Visual
  3. Value

Verbal identity of a brand is determined by your copywriting. He shared a great example of a Louis Vuitton product shot with Walmart tagline. And the something just didn’t feel right.  When he switched it to actual copy Louis Vuitton used, it feel congruent with the brand.

That was a powerful example of how important copy is for your brand.

“Marketing isn’t about closing a sale, it’s about opening a relationship.” – Mike Kim

For every relationship to work there must be communication. That’s what copy does for your brand.

He share the 3 principles to creating a brand that sounds as unique as you are.

  1. What pisses you off? This will stoke up the injustices in the world that fuel your passion.
  2. What breaks your heart? This stirs up compassion for the people you serve.
  3. What is the BIG problem you solve? This is your business.

Using these three principles to craft the story of your brand will set up apart from everyone else.

To implement your brand consistently, you need to create a brand guideline. This is a collection of things that demonstrate how you want to communicate.  Mike shared his own brand guideline to give you an idea of what to put in yours.

  • Never start a sentence with “And”
  • Yes, we use the Oxford comma
  • First paragraph of all blog posts must use a drop cap
  • Never use an ellipsis in mid-sentence, instead use double-hyphen
  • Web writing: No paragraphs longer than two sentences
  • All CTA buttons should end with a chevron >>

He not only shared 5 of the different types of brand “voice” can be used, but also shared several examples in each category.

  1. Academic
  2. Professional
  3. Emoji
  4. The Snark
  5. The Motormouth

He ended the session with encouragement to use the guideline to help you get started writing in your own voice by applying the answers to the three principles above with the “voice” type that works best for you. Then you pick a medium (social platform) you write for most frequently, and start sharing using your newly formed brand guideline.

If you’d like to learn more from Mike follow him on Instagram at @mikekimtv.

Jasmine Star’s session on How to Build a Brand on Instagram that Stands Out and Thrives – Recap

What if you could get more Instagram followers, turn them into raving fans, do it for free and it wouldn’t take forever?

That was her opening question to the audience at her keynote presentation at Social Media Marketing World February 29 through March 2, 2020.

Jasmine is a big fan of using Instagram Stories to become the master of her destiny.

If you don’t know Jasmine Star, she’s a first generation Latina college student and she went to law school! Then her mother was struck with cancer for the second time and it rocked her world. Her husband asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She said “I want to be a photographer.”

Now she’s a photographer, strategist, and owner of Social Curator. She beat the odds with her brand.

She shared repeated in her talk that the fastest way to grow on Instagram (or any other platform) is to build a brand.

The good news she shares is you don’t need any money, experience, talent, education, or connections to build a brand.  All you need to do is make people feel something.

She addressed three common excuses she hears from people.

Excuse #1 – I have a small following

She reminds the audience that people buy from pleasure or pain.  

She encourages us to use social stories to cast yourself as the go to person when they need your service.

Tell a stories, offer a solution for free.  She offered two examples. One a lawyer who surfs and a dentist who does videos that go viral.

Excuse #2: I don’t know what to post.

She honestly admits she doesn’t know what to post either. That’s why she test ideas out in two ways:

  1. How followers respond to the visuals of your story

She tested three stories, each with a different visual and posted one every other day.  She collected data on each an compare which one did the best.  Then she knows which direction to go.

2. How followers respond to calls for engagement

Try using different ways to call for response. See what data you collect has to say and then you’ll know what how well your audience will engage.

She says none of this is too hard. In fact, anyone can do it. She says “Don’t think about it, you must do.”

Then she gave the audience 5 stories you can do right now. Not only did she show you the types of stories you could post, but she offered free templates to use too.

The caveat is that your stories must be of value to your audience.

Don’t share a picture of what you ate for lunch but how that lunch fueled you to be more creative in serving your audience.

Excuse #3: I don’t have time to post.

It’s not about you. It’s about what your audience needs to know.

Show up for your audience. She admonishes us with this… “When you care more about creating VALUE for your followers, you stop making EXCUSES.”

What NOT to post

“We’re here at #smmw20 with@smexaminer in San Diego, CA”

“Super excited about this session #smmw20”

“Ready for #smmw20. Got my learning boots on and ready to get learnt.”

If you’re not getting engagement, it isn’t the platform that doesn’t work. You might want to look at the content. Is your content offering any value?

What TO share instead

Your goal is to offer value to your follower.

Here’s a suggested way to share:

Can I share with you some of the best kept marketing secrets for FREE?

I’m at #smmw20 and I want to share the Top Three best tips for marketing your business

  1. (Tip#1)
  2. (Tip #2)
  3. (Tip #3)

I’m learning even more and can’t wait to use new strategies for our clients…always staying ahead of the curve at Agency X!

Which tip is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below so I can dig deeper into marketing your business.

A brand is an experience.  You need to get people to feel something.  Make your followers feel like they are seen, known, and belong. A brand is how you make someone feel.

You can ask yourself “How does this make my dream customer feel?” if you doesn’t move them, don’t post it.  

Show the benefit of the value you provide.

Respond to every comment. Let them know you see them.

She follows the 10X rule – go leave comments on 10 other accounts for every one of your posts that you ask for engagement and you’ll start getting responses.

Be thoughtful in your comments.

You might believe the excuses you’ve been telling yourself. If you do, you won’t get far in your business.

If you want to be bold, grow your brand, build an audience, and get your business from struggling to thriving, consider the wisdom shared today.  Pick at least one thing to go implement.

Learning is great, but the results come from taking action. It’s your turn now. Go take action!

Interested in learning about LinkedIn Video? Check out Goldie Chan’s recap here.

12 Reasons Storytelling is Critical for The Future of Your Business

I love a good story. But why do I love them so much? So I did some research to find out more about why…

Storytelling is the single most effective way to capture people’s attention, influence them favorably towards you, and cause them to take action.

So here’s a few comments from articles I found on why storytelling is so important to your business.

In the Forbes article 3 Reasons Why Brand Storytelling is the Future of Marketing, we learn stories (1) make you unforgettable (2) helps you build your tribe and (3) drives profit through humanness.

In the Quantified Communications piece on Storytelling is 22 times more memorable, we discover stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just plain old facts. (5) Stories help with memorization. (6) Stories engage our emotions. (7) Stories use our brains differently. To create a story, you have to map out the Story Arc – characters, tension, climax, resolutions, and the new normal.

In the Harvard Business article What Makes Storytelling So Effective for Learning, Kendall Haven, author of Story Proof and Story Smart, shares this…“Your goal in every communication is to influence your target audience (8) (change their current attitudes, belief, knowledge, and behavior). Information alone rarely changes any of these. Research confirms that well-designed stories are the most effective vehicle for exerting influence.”

In another article Power Storytelling Use Stories Differentiates Connect Influence we see…“Our stories (9) help define who we are and what we stand for. (10)They set us apart in a noisy, competitive world. And they help ensure we’re remembered,” Rob Biesenbach signs off.

In Tony Robbins post on The Power of Story by Peter Guber we discover storytelling is a vehicle (11) to create loyalty, build an emotional connection with your audience, and (12) a place to be transparent and authentic.

There you have at least 12 reasons why storytelling is beneficial to your business.

Here’s a quick video on the topic of stories.

Do your marketing efforts incorporate an element of storytelling? If not, why?

How Using “The Power of One” Increases Clarity In Your Writing

Have you ever read something and was confused by what you read? It happens all the time.

A writer who is overly enthusiast about the subject they are writing on begins to write about everything relating to that one subject. They throw in multiple facts to “support” their claim but end up only muddying the waters. They toss in a story or two thinking this also will help convey the message. The words keep flowing.

What’s the end result? Reader confusion.

A confused reader will not take action of any kind, except maybe to click away from the page they are reading.

What does “The Power of One” mean?

It means that each piece of writing (web page, blog post, letter, email, etc) ought to have ONLY one core idea.

Remember when you sat in English class in school and had to write a paragraph? You were taught the first sentence is the main topic of the paragraph. The rest of the sentences are supporting the one main topic.

Why did they teach us that?

To help us communicate clearly. To help us stay on topic during a written conversation. To help our brains learn to share information in way that others can easily process.

That is one skill we could use every day to improve our communications.

Well, it’s the same way with writing for your business.  Use one main idea in each piece of content you’re writing.  Don’t clutter up a piece of content with too many ideas thrown into one piece. That would be very confusing for the reader.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/elizabethamarks_copywriting-marketing-contentmarketing-activity-6626204560841076736-v_AD

Along with the one main idea, think about what one emotion you want your writing to evoke.  When someone reads your message…

How do you want them to feel?

The great copywriter, Mark Ford, explained the “Power of One” this way…Stir one core emotion. Emphasize one good idea. Tell one captivating story. Direct your prospect to one inevitable response.

Every word you use has a purpose. If it doesn’t support your core idea for the piece, cut it out. Every sentence should emphasize that idea. Lead your reader on a journey to taking the next logical action.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like to read How to Craft an Irresistible Headline That People Want to Read.

Website Redesign: Design Versus Words?

Are You Considering a Website Redesign?

If so, you need to know that design alone will not give you the results you’re looking for in a website redesign.  

Listen to Cathy’s story.

Cathy is responsible for the global marketing of her company. The only problem is her website isn’t working. Oh, it’s beautifully designed. She spent thousands of dollars to ensure the design was appealing to the eye.  But when her boss asked how the newly designed website was performing, she was gripped with fear. How can she tell her boss that all that money they spent had little to no effect on the performance?

I’ve had plenty of conversations with business owners discussing websites. Some don’t know that the words are not part of the design aspects. Although, the smart ones do.

Which Comes First?

Design or Words. It’s kind of like the chicken or egg question.

Pictures do help communicate a message, it’s true.

However, will the designer know what image captures the intent of your message without the words communicating the message? 

You must instruct the designer using words that convey the feeling you want to come across in the images.

You must communicate…

  • the type of audience you’re targeting
  • your audience’s problems
  • how you understand those unsolved problems are causing them pain
  • you know the impact to your audiences’ lives because of that pain.

Without that, you receive only pretty pictures or snazzy design that’s hollow at its core.

Words Really Do Matter

With one phrase you can provoke people to take inspired action. Or drive them away faster than a pack of wild hyaenas.

As humans, we communicate with words. Always have for centuries. Why would anyone think a mere picture or image can convey the complex message we want to share?

Stories are the best vehicle to carry our ideas to the masses. Stories are how history has been passed down from generation to generation.

Even God’s message to His people was written into words to be read and shared with millions and billions of people. And there are no pictures in the Bible, just words.

The Son of God, Jesus Christ is called the Word of God who became flesh and dwelled among us lowly humans.

The Word of God was with God. The Word of God was God. The Word of God was Jesus, God in human flesh.

Don’t Make the Mistake

When you’re tempted to redesign your website, don’t make the mistake of hiring only a designer. Else you’ll end up with a beautiful website that doesn’t do its job converting visitors into paying customers.

Hire a direct response copywriter. Work out the words you want to use to convey your message. Make the language conversational. Speak to your ideal audience with words that they understand. Convey your expertise by showing how you know about their struggle and have a solution to help.

Then and only then do you hire the designer. Armed with the right words, coupled with a capable designer, you’ll have a website that not only looks good, but does what it’s supposed to – generate leads and convert leads into customers.

In Conclusion

If you don’t want to end up like Cathy, when you’re thinking about a website redesign, get my 35 Point customer experience checklist. It’s a free and powerful checklist to ensure you’re designing in customer experience elements that make your website irresistible.

6 Tests for High-Quality Content

NewsCred Insights post says “marketers who produce high-quality, relevant content enjoy audiences who spend significant time on their sites.” The median time people spend on articles is 37 seconds. While many people simply skim content, there are consumers who actually read the articles marketers post.

So how do you produce high-quality, relevant content your audience enjoys?

I’m going to let you in on a well-guarded secret. There are 6 elements to high-quality content.

  1. Research, research, research

This is where many writers fall flat on their faces. Research is the crown jewel of any written piece. Without research, the words are just words slapped on the page. But with research, the words can sing and resonate with the reader because they speak to the audience.

What is the point of research?

It’s simple – to get to know the audience before writing a single word.

So how do you research that?

Well, you look for places your target audience hangs out. Visit the sites they visit. Enter the communities they belong to. Read comments they post. Why? Because this gives you valuable insight into the mind of your audience. You can find out what they are concerned about, what keeps them up at night, and what problems they have.

I could write volumes on this topic alone. But for sake of this article, the above should be sufficient.

  1. The Power of One

The best articles ever were written with only one topic of focus. This is called the Power of One. Any article that introduces too many topics in the same piece will confuse their audience.

Make the piece about one thing. Every word added should strengthen that one message, not subtract from it.

  1. The 4 U’s of Effective Headlines

This is one of my favorite tools in my writer’s toolkit. Once you know this, you’ll never write another dull headline again! The 4 U’s stands for four things to check in a headline or sub-headline. First look to see that the headline conveys “Urgency.” Next, look for if it conveys “Usefulness.” Move on to see if the headline is “Unique” or not. Lastly, make the headline “Ultra-Specific.”

This one tip is worth its weight in gold! If the headline doesn’t get the reader to read the rest, it’s not doing its job!

  1. The 4 P’s of Body Copy

The main body of writing occurs in what’s known as “the body.” Here we utilize four P’s to remember the following: Promise, Picture, Proof, Push.

First, ensure your piece conveys a promise to the reader. Then strengthen this by picturing the promise being fulfilled. Offer proof. And close with an effective call-to-action.

  1. The Four-Legged Stool

In addition to the 4 P’s, this next tool adds oomph to your body copy.  Here you focus on adding elements to strengthen and balance your copy. Ensure to show your track record to highlight proof. Add elements to demonstrate your credibility. Convey the Big Idea (The Power of One). Lastly, remind readers of the future benefit.

  1. Powerful P.S.

When closing a piece you want to end with a powerful 1-2 punch. You want to lead the reader to take action. Therefore, you want to remind them of the benefits. Make another promise and introduce a surprise benefit you haven’t mentioned before. Add more credibility. Communicate urgency. Finally, restate or expand your guarantee

 

So there you have it. I’ve spilled the beans. You know my secrets on how to test content to see if its High-Quality or not.

Now, it’s your turn. Are you going to take the next step with me?

Book a call with me now before my schedule fills up!

How to Build Your Network in LinkedIn

In today’s digitally connected world, it is critical you know how to reach out to others and build lasting relationships.  LinkedIn is, by far, the best platform for business people to find other business people.

Why should I grow my professional network?

You’ve heard that saying “It’s not what you know but who you know,” right? Well, I offer a small twist on that saying…”It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you that matters.” I’ve certainly found this to true. After all, marketing is about letting people know who you are and how you can help.

As I’ve experienced much success with LinkedIn in my own business, I thought it was about time to share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you benefit from the 7-step process for growing your professional network.

Step 1: Identify Who You Want to Reach

 

Step 2: Research Profile

  • Click on the person’s picture to go to their profile
    1. Scan their profile looking for any common ground.
      1. Articles shared or liked
      2. Past experience
      3. Education
      4. Skill
      5. People they know
      6. Groups they are in
      7. Volunteer or causes
      8. Accomplishments

2. Find one thing you have in common.

Step 3: Personalize Invite

  • A sample message might look like…
    1. “Hi, Name, as we’re both women in marketing and belong to AMA-OC group, want to connect to grow both our professional networks?”
  • Almost 100% connect rate
  • LinkedIn Help tells you how to personalize your invitation at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/topics/6096/6097/46662
  • Hint: If using a cellphone, don’t click Connect Button! This will send a generic request. Click the three dots in the upper right corner or the down arrow next to the Connect button to personalize the invite.

Step 4: Follow Up in LinkedIn

  • After they accept your connection request…
  • Send a message like the following:
    1. “Hi, Name, thanks for connecting I’d like to know more about you and your business. Let’s chat <link to calendar>”
    2. Note: Use app like https://calendly.com or https://acuityscheduling.com/
  • 5% – 10% meeting rate

Step 5: Share Content Relevant to Your Audience

  • Someone else’s connect
  • Meeting recap
  • Helpful tips
  • Anyone connected to you will see post in their news feed.
  • This helps keep you top of mind in your prospect.

Step 6: Follow Up after 1 on 1 call with an Email

  • Recap your conversation
  • Ask them to connect on social media with you
  • Send one or two days after you meet

Step 7: One week later, send a thank you email

  • Thank them again for the initial call
  • Remind them what you do and who you help
  • Ask for a face to face meeting <link to calendar>

If you’d like a professional review of your LinkedIn Profile with suggestions on how to improve, contact me at https://calendly.com/elizabeth-marks/quick-15-minute-call .

How to Craft An Irresistible Headline That People Want to Read

Of course, the importance of headlines can’t be underestimated.  If your headline doesn’t convince the person to read further, then your copywriting failing it’s purpose.

But before I get start explaining the secret of an irresistible headline, we need to talk about your audience.

Knowing your audience is the first key element of a great headline.

Why?

Because if you don’t have your audience in mind when you write the headline you could completely miss the mark with your choice of words.

Naturally, we tend to write to audiences who are similar to us. It just comes out that way.  But let’s say your audience is 35+ women who stay home to care for their children and you’re a 50+ man who works in a corporation.

Do you think the words the 50+ man writes will appeal to the 35+ woman?

If he writes words that come naturally to him, then the answer is “No.”

Keep a clear picture of who you want to write to in mind. Creating a Customer Avatar, based on Digital Marketer’s template can help you form that picture of your customer.

customer-avatar-graphic-male

Figure 1 Customer Avatar from Digital Marketer

Good, effective headlines will establish your unique promise to the visitors.

 

What is it you want to convey to the reader? What pain or problem are you offering to solve? What need does this piece try to fill? What goal is your reader trying to achieve?

The number 1 problem I see with a majority of websites, videos, or blog posts is the lack of an optimized, benefit-oriented headline. Good headlines will convey one big idea and evoke emotion, stir curiosity, and cause the reader to continue reading.

Let me share 41 classic examples of effective headlines as collected by AWAI:

  • The secret of getting [results]
  • A little mistake that cost a [target market] [cost] a year
  • Advice to… [target market]  who want [results]
  • Do you suffer from [problem] at [occasion]?
  • Who ever heard of [target market] having [results] without [objection]
  • How I improved… [problem] without [objection] in just [time]
  • Discover the [benefits] you get with [results]
  • Proven: The most effective way to get [results]
  • How a [something perceived as bad] resulted in [results] and [benefits]
  • Do you suffer from [problem]?
  • Do you have these symptoms of [problem]
  • Guaranteed to [results] without [objection]
  • How a new [product] solved my [problem] in just [time]
  • Which type of [target market] are you? Is it stopping you get [results]?
  • Does your [problem] ever embarrass you?
  • To people who want [results] but don’t know where to start
  • How much is [problem] really costing you?
  • The right way to solve  [problem]
  • [thousands/hundreds / etc]of [target market]  now have [results] will you join them?
  • For the [target market individual, not plural] who has less [results] than he/she wants
  • Suppose this happened to your [business / life / relationship etc]. Would you survive?
  • Are other [target market] secretly overtaking you?
  • [X] proven ways to get [results] and [benefits]
  • Are you ready to have [results] in just [time]?
  • Get your hands on this system that took one [target market] from [starting results] to [end results] in just [time]
  • How I got [results] by making this unusual mistake.
  • Why some [target market] always have / get [results]
  • You can laugh about [problem] if you follow this simple plan
  • Five common [problems] faced by [target market] which one do you want to solve?
  • What [industry experts] do when faced with [problem]
  • [industry] experts prove that you can have [results] and with this new [product]
  • Why it’s not your fault you have [problem]. And how to make it disappear in just [time]
  • Thousands of [target market] can have [results] but never realize it. Don’t let it be you.
  • Why [target market] are raving about this [product].  ([Results] is just one of the reasons)
  • For just [cost] a day you can have [results] and [benefits] in [time]
  • To [target market] who want [results] by [time]
  • This new [product] will get you [benefits] galore
  • It’s not right that you don’t have [results] when so many [target market] do
  • The secrets of [target markets] that always get [results]
  • What the [industry] experts don’t want you to know about solving [problem]
  • Why do some [target market] have more [benefits] than others? The answer might surprise you

 

An effective headline will incorporate four main elements:

  • Urgency – does it give your prospect a real reason to want this product or service today, now, right away.
  • Usefulness – does it communicate something of value to the prospect.
  • Uniqueness – does it suggest that what you are offering is in some way different from every other solution currently available.
  • UltraSpecificity – does it avoid being vague at all costs.

 

You can check your headlines yourself by creating a scorecard.  Give your headline a point for each of the 4 U’s mentioned above. The best headline has 4 points!

 

Let’s try scoring a few to get the hang of it!

 

Score Headline
2 §  The secret of getting [results]

(I don’t think it has urgency, and it doesn’t seem unique. )

3 §  A little mistake that cost a [target market] [cost] a year

(This one seems unique, useful and ultra-specific but not so urgent. )

2 §  Advice to… [target market]  who want [results]

(No urgency or uniqueness )

3 – 4 §  Do you suffer from [problem] at [occasion]?

(This may or may not be urgent depending on the problem described! )

 

After you score your headline based on the 4Us, you can take another pass at the headline and adjust it and make it more compelling.

Take for example the first headline we scored above and reword it to be more Urgent.

Before: The secret of getting [results]

After: The secret of getting [results] within 15 minutes!

See how that works?

Now it’s your turn to put these tips into practice with your own headlines.

Contact me today if you want help with your headlines.

A Continual Supply of Useful Information through a Blog

Problogger.com wrote a post on What’s a Blog. Read it here: https://problogger.com/what-is-a-blog/

Benefits of a Blog

Blogs have multiple benefits for you and your potential clients. Sharing useful information in your blog is one of the best ways to reach your potential clients. And build your credibility. Your reputation grows. You rank better in search engines because of the constant stream of new content published to your blog.

Your target audience has access to useful and helpful content. When the time comes to make a purchase your potential clients will think of all the useful content you’ve provided in the past.

Blogs have another purpose too. By studying the comments made on your blog, you can reap valuable insight as to what your clients are thinking, what bothers them, what they are really looking for, etc. You might say a blog is a built-in marketing focus group at your disposable.

Example of a Good Blog

Qlik.com blog provides a pleasing appeal with three column format, showing off the latest content and offering other helpful resources on the right. As an added bonus, they even tell the reader how long it will take to read the post.

That’s great news for those who like to skim through content or don’t have much time to read long-winded posts. In addition to the time it takes to read the blog post, they make the content easily shareable. The key is sharing useful information in your blog. This is to your advantage as well. If readers like your content they will want to share it, so make it easy for them to do just that!

FIGURE 9 QLIK’S BLOG

Do you have a blog setup but don’t know what to share on your blog?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to Social Media to engage with them.

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