Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Do you have a call to action ON EVERY WEB PAGE?

What do you want a website visitor to do at the end of each page they read?

You will want them to read another page, sign up to an email newsletter, contact you, like you on facebook or even buy from you!

But do you ask them to DO this?

If your website isn't brand new, you probably haven't looked at it critically in a long time. Not only will there be out of date information, there will likely be a better way to say much of what you've written and you'll find a call to action is probably missing from most pages.

You might argue that you've got buttons or links people can use to "buy now". But why make it hard for your visitors? Why not take them on a journey; tell them where to go next from each page and what they should do. You might keep them engaged just that little bit longer, which gives you just enough time to 'convert' them.

You need a call to action in ALL of your marketing communications (just like the fabulous zero budget marketing sign in the picture) and your website is no different. Each and every page of your website is a piece of marketing communication. Make sure you ASK people to do something on all pages, not just the promotional articles.

So put your marketing web audit in your diary now. Not exciting, not glamorous - but it will be effective.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Lessons & insight from copywriting legends

I came across a treasure recently at a fave spot - the Avenue Bookstore in Albert Park. It's called "The Copy Book. How some of the best advertising writers in the world write their advertising."

Whilst there's little room for "traditional" advertising in a blog about zero budget marketing the insights of good copy writing translate to other mediums.

Around 50 legends share some of their insight on writing, and some of their best ads. (Even if you're not interested in the craft of copywriting, it's a great book.) I thought I'd share some of the gems from these admen, who've all had 30+ years in the game. These are edited extracts, their actual inclusions are much longer.

Oh, and if you only take away one thing, David Abbott's point 5 is the one to adhere to.

David Abbott

I've never been much of a theoriser about copywriting, but here are five things that I think are more of less true:

1. Put yourself in your work. Use your life to animate your copy. If something moves you, chances are, it will touch someone else, too.

2. Think visually. Ask someone to describe a spiral staircase and they'll use their hands as well as words. Sometimes the best copy is no copy.

3. If you believe that facts persuade (as I do), you'd better learn how to write a list so that it doesn't read like a list.

4. Confession is good for the soul and for copy, too. Bill Bernbach used to say "a small admission gains a large acceptance". I still think he was right.

5. Don't be boring.

Tony Brignull

My own copy improved when it occurred to me that we relate to a company as we do a person. Unless we're investors, we don't ask how many employees a company has, what its financial fearing is, where it exports. We as; is it honest, reliable, modest, amusing, trustworthuy. If ti is, that company may eventually become our friend. I have come to think that helping companies turn into friends is the greatest thing we advertising people can do for our clients.

Sean Doyle

- Don't think, just do, and thoughts will definitely happen along the way.
- Always be collecting
- Wake up early
- Beware of the committee
- Less isn't always more
- Pick a side
- Avoid brainstorms (if you want to)

Paul Fishlock
- We are not in the entertainment business, we're in the influence business
- Copywriting is more science than you may think
- Creative prizes are false God
- We influence some of the least important decisions in people's lives
- Beware (becoming) management

Steve Harrison
It was probably my grounding in direct mail that taught me my obligations to the reader, I was usually entering their homes uninvited and because of that I always felt that my first responsibility was to them - and not the client. I wasn't there to foist a product or service on the prospect. I twas my job to show how the think I was writing about could solve the reader's problems.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

How to use product photography to sell online

If you're a small business selling products online, you can't underestimate the importance of product photography.

But businesses do underestimate this - all the time. Seriously, with some sites you're lucky to get a single, badly lit shot! (Sometimes this is a cost consideration - marketplaces like eBay usually limit you to 1 photo unless you pay more. But most of the time, it's just poor execution.)

Even if you have a low or zero marketing budget, there really is no excuse! You can get a cheap camera for a hundred or so dollars and do a better job than most online stores do. You could even use an iphone and use one of the hundred or so photography apps out there that can improve even the worst photos.

Depending on your product, photography can also often be sourced from the suppliers, so there's little excuse to not provide...well, MORE.

You see, the secret isn't really GREAT photography (although that helps). It's having A LOT OF PHOTOGRAPHY. When people can't touch and feel, try to give them the next best thing. Pictures, pictures and more pictures.

I've included this listing from fab Melbourne online stationery store Notemaker. This is a fantastic example of how to use product photography well. Why?

-It gives you lots of angles & perspectives.

-It shows you inside and out.

-It shows it to you in someone's hand (valuable for PERSPECTIVE, which can be hard to judge online, even if measurements are provided).

- The COLOUR in the shots is consistent between shots. Consistent, and natural lighting if possible, is the way to get this.

Now what can be really worthwhile is including video (Asos does this with many of their clothing items). But that's a bigger ask than photography, so I won't get off topic.

So, consider what you're selling online. We talk a lot about words, and design, but consider if there are enough pictures to really SELL it. If not, head off an get cracking!

Post by Kimberly Palmer at Brazen Productions - smart marketing, words & events