Visible on Google
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Make Sure You’re Visible On Google

Making sure you’re visible on Google must be a key priority for small businesses.

This is perhaps the most important single thing you can do to ensure your business performance in 2019.

It’s very easy these days to get carried away with the latest shiny toys and think that you’ve got to get into the newest techno wizardry.

Well yes ……………….. and no.

Before you start getting too clever, make sure that you’ve got the basic building blocks of your marketing in place first.

I include making sure you’re visible on Google as a basic building block.

Remember the mantra – marketing’s about the three Ms.

  • Market – are you clear on your target audience’s problems and the solutions they’re looking for?
  • Message – does your marketing message give you stand out from your competitors so making you the obvious choice?
  • Medium – are you using the right channels to communicate with your audience?

As I’ve said the most important things for most small businesses are:

  1. To show up on Google when people are searching for what you sell.
  2. For your website/landing page to convert visitors into enquirers

So starting with the second point first:

Your website must:

  • Tell people precisely what you do
  • Explain the benefits you deliver
  • Show that you can solve their problems
  • Demonstrate why they should chose you and not a competitor
  • Provide plenty of social proof of how good you are from lots of happy customers
  • Make it very easy for them to contact you.

The next thing is to drive lots of traffic to your site.

The best way to do this is PPC advertising on Google and Facebook.

Assuming that you’re in the top 3 or 4 ads, you will now have decent visibility on Google.

But you should also be present on Google My Business.

This is the map with the pins which highlights local businesses.

As it’s a free service, you definitely should be on there.

To become even more visible on Google you definitely should be doing Remarketing.

This is where after someone has visited your site, you then follow them around the internet showing your ads to them.

This positions you as a serious player on line and will bring visitors back to your site for another look.

Of course these are lots of other things you could and should be doing, but by being visibile on Google, you will ensure a regular flow of enquiries into your business.

If you like the sound of this but need some help making it happen just email me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk call me on 01483 200387 or contact me via the website www.marketingsurrey.co.uk

 

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What’s Your Online Brand Personality?

Too often, businesses are afraid of making an impact online – but playing it too safe can have some serious downsides when dealing with online marketing.

If you lack any sort of character, you risk being forgotten or ignored online. This blog explores how to define your online brand personality and how to make the very best use of it in your content marketing.

 

What’s Your Online Brand Personality?

Communicating with consumers online is vital for your business. Your brand’s personality needs to come across in these communications: it’s how consumers know who you are.

But how do you develop an online personality that represents your brand the way you want it to?

 

Find a Voice

Finding a voice for your brand is key; it will humanise your brand and build trust among your consumers.

Once you’ve found the right words to describe your brand, you’ll find your voice.

What makes your brand different from others? What are your values? What is your personality?

Do you want that voice to be professional and so a bit formal or chatty and relaxed?

Once you’ve decided on your voice you must execute it consistently. Your consumers will be confused if you are professional in one blog post and very informal in the next.

 

 

Find a Tone

Tone adds more specificity to your brand.

It’s how you apply your voice in social media platforms.

How is your language translated in your communications?  Whether you use simple or complex words will determine your tone.

The kind of language you use will also depend on what your purpose is: do you want to educate or do you want to sell?

 

Choose a Face

One way of creating a brand personality online is to give your company a face.

You can develop a mascot, like McDonald’s for example, or you can utilise a more human approach.

Having your employees provide your brand with a face, for example, makes you relatable and human.

Consumers are more likely to listen to your message if they feel the personality behind it is approachable and knowledgeable.

Your voice and tone needs to be congruent with the face of your brand: it all needs to be consistent.

Having an adorable mascot with a serious, formal voice is incongruent and inconsistent and consumers will be unsure about who you are and what you represent.

 

Online Brand Personality and Content Marketing

Your online brand personality is directly associated with content marketing – how you come across on social media platforms as you share your content. By appearing as credible and expert you can set yourself apart as a leader in your market.

It affects your visibility directly as consumers associate how you deliver your content with your brand and your company. If consumers enjoy your online brand personality this will engender loyalty and trust.

Knowing how to adapt your tone to different platforms will aid you in sharing your content easily.

Adaptability is one of the most important steps in marketing and it includes content marketing and your online brand personality: adapt your tone, while keeping a consistent voice.

 

If you would like to know more about how you can develop your online brand personality to grow your business, you can contact me on 01483 200387. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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Landing Page Or Squeeze Page – What’s The Difference?

Marketing used to be so simple.

Go back 20 years or so and most SME’s marketing consisted of an ad in the local paper, an insertion in Yellow Pages and maybe membership of the local Chambers of Commerce. Perhaps if you were feeling especially racy you might throw in a door drop as well.

All that changed with the advent of the internet and now the pace of change is manic. New techniques and strategies are being devised continually. It’s hard enough keeping up if you’re in the business, but for the average small business owner it’s virtually impossible.

From taking to business owners, I’m aware there’s confusion over the difference between a landing page and a squeeze page. These terms are used fairly generally but there is a great deal of confusion about what they actually are.

Landing page

As the name suggests a landing page is a page that a visitor lands on as a direct result of a Google search. The thing about a landing page is that it will be super targeted so that it provides information on the specific terms that you searched against.

So if you searched for Specialised Mountain Bikes, you don’t get sent to a bike shop’s home page and then have to navigate further to the mountain bikes page and then further again to get to the Specialised page (Specialised in a brand of bike). Instead you will land on the Specialised Mountain Bike page first time.

So if you’re running a pay per click campaign on Google Adwords or some other PPC platform, your campaign will be very much more effective if you send traffic to very specific, sales orientated landing pages, which may or may not be existing, standard pages of your website.

Squeeze page

I hope I’m not going to confuse you now, but a squeeze page is a very specific type of landing page. It is a web page that has one purpose and one purpose only – namely to elicit the contact details, normally just the email address, of the visitor.

The visitor is offered something of value (this is referred to as a lead magnet), normally an ebook, a white paper or a free offer of some kind which is emailed to the address they provide.

You now have their email address which will allow you market to them over time, which will give you an excellent chance of making a sale.

Your squeeze page shouldn’t carry your website’s navigation. You don’t want to give them any way of escaping. They either subscribe to what you’re offering or they leave.

Again your lead magnet will be promoted via a PPC platform or some other type of online advertising.

Landing pages are a vital ingredient of a successful online advertising campaign. Sending visitors to your home page will seriously damage the effectiveness of the campaign. If you’re getting plenty of visitors and very few sales, the solution will lie in your landing page

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Is This The Holy Grail?

Getting high visibility on line is often regarded as the holy grail of marketing these days.

That first page of Google is where everybody wants to be and if you can do it through the natural search results even better.

But it’s hard.

Every man and his wife are trying to do the same thing. Google regularly changing their algorithms only makes things more difficult.

The other thing is that SEO is a slow process.

So  if you want high quality traffic online and you want it quickly advertising is the way to go.

So I’m going to have a look at some of the basics so you can get started.

Now before you start driving traffic to your website you need to make sure it’s set up to receive traffic.

What do I mean by that?

The Importance of lead magnets

 You need to have a lead magnet prominently positioned on the page. A lead magnet is something that visitors receive in return for giving you their contact details. Typically this might be a free report, a video or even a podcast.

The way the lead magnet is marketed in vital to getting visitors to subscribe. The title of the piece  and the headline are crucial.

So why is getting the contact details so crucial?

The odds of someone engaging with you immediately, the first time they come to your website, are slim. Thus, the initial objective is to get prospects to engage with you. After that you can send them marketing messages that do all the conversion work for you .

Setting up your advertising

So to get them to your website in the first place, you’ve got to have your online advertising in place.

First, you’ll need to determine which keywords or phrases you want to use.

The temptation is to use the primary keywords, the words that are most obviously related to your business. I can tell you that smart marketers use what’s called the long tail keywords. These are less obvious  phrases but in which the searchers intention is very specific.

For example in my business marketing is the obvious keyword.

The problem is that not only is that very expensive but the intent is very general. People might be looking for any aspect of marketing so when they click on my ad (which obviously costs me money) they may or may not be looking for what I sell. Whereas if I go for a long tail keyword such as “ marketing advice for small business” or even “marketing advice for small businesses in Surrey,”  anyone clicking on that will  have pre-qualified themselves and will very likely be in the market for what I sell.

How to decide on keywords

So how do we determine which keywords or phrases to go after? There are a lot of tools that can help such as Google’s keyword tool. Just google “keyword help” and have a look around.

This is likely to give you lots of options. So how do you decide?  The best advice is to trust your instincts and use common sense. You know your target audience. Put yourself in their shoes and work out what you would put into Google if you were looking for your business.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t select all the best ones initially – you can always add in other keywords later.

Where to advertise

The next step is to determine where you’re going to advertise. Again, this can be a bit daunting, since every search engine and almost every social media platform now offers a paid search option.

Google Adwords is the obvious first choice but it’s no longer the only choice.

Advertising on Bing is very similar to Google except of course there is very much less traffic. However the upside of this is that it is very much cheaper and the rules are much less strict on what you can and can’t do.

One can’t ignore Facebook. Now you may say that your target audience aren’t on Facebook but the fact is that more than 1 billion people are, so it’s definitely not just for teenagers anymore and remember if no one clicks on your ad it doesn’t cost you anything.

What’s particularly great about Facebook is that it allows you to micro-target specific segments of your niche. Say you want to target finance directors of companies in Surrey with a specific turnover, you can.

You can set up a campaign so only that very specific group sees your ad.

If you’re targeting professionals or you’re in the B2B space, LinkedIn may make a lot of sense. Again, you can target your audience very precisely.

The reality is that while Adwords ads are served to people actively looking for what you sell, Facebook and LinkedIn ads are shown to people who are doing other things, This means the click through rate will be very low but the quality of the clicks will be very high.

Finally, you need to create an ad. This is where creativity, coupled with pragmatic business judgement will get you great results. The best ads focus on either a desired outcome, or elimination of pain, coupled with a call-out to a very specific niche audience.

The key to success in this environment is testing. Put up a few ads and see what happens. Always have at least two ads so that you measure response and amend the worse performing ad. By doing this regularly you will be continuously refining your ads.

So what are you waiting for?  Set yourself an initial (small) budget and get going.

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What’s Content Marketing All About?

Content marketing is one of those expressions you hear, but not so many people actually know what it entails.

Content marketing is producing useful, valuable content that educates your customers and prospects.

It helps to build trust, authority and even ‘thought leadership’ in your industry rather than just forcing sales and marketing messages in people’s faces.

With the rise in inbound marketing content marketing has never been so important.

Content marketing by itself is unlikely to deliver new business. Instead it works with other marketing techniques such as blogging, SEO, PPC, email marketing etc reinforcing your messages and building credibility.

What forms does content marketing take?

Content can be written, spoken or in video or graphical format.

This can be used in:

  • Blogs: An article, like this one.
  • White papers: An detailed and expert exploration of a topic.
  • Guides: shorter than a white paper, a guide will explore a topic but may well be more practical
  • eBooks: normally quite substantial items designed to be consumed on a screen. Ebooks will go into a lot of detail on chunky subject matter.
  • Case studies: a detailed explanation of what you did to solve a particular business situation that you faced and the results you got.
  • A book: Both printed and as a longer eBook for example on a Kindle
  • Podcasts: An audio file that could be an interview or give hints and tips. This is usually distributed via iTunes
  • Videos: interviews, ‘how to’ guides, testimonials. Anything with a video camera
  • Presentations: A PowerPoint (or similar) presentation that tells a story or presents an idea. These can be distributed on websites like SlideShare
  • Infograpics: Graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge
  • Webinars: a presentation to a group of people live over the web which people will usually have signed up to in advance.

This content can then be distributed on your website, blog, social media, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, SlideShare and many more places.

So what Content Marketing should you start with?

There is no simple answer to this, however it’s worth asking yourself, and the people in your business some questions:

  • What content do you enjoy producing? If you’re a good writer written content is the place to start. If you love being in front of a camera video may be best for you
  • What do other companies in your industry do? Should you do the same as them to keep up or can you do something different?
  • How does your target market consume content? A gym goer may consume more podcasts as they are in the gym a lot with their iPod. Someone who spends all day at a desk in an office may prefer written content

Whatever you choose the important thing is to getting some quality content out there.

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7 Tips On How You Can Improve Your Internet Presence

These days your internet presence is vital aspect of your  small business marketing. Here are seven tips which will help you improve your online presence and so increase the number of enquiries you generate.

Write your copy exclusively for your target customer
If you have an accurate profile for your prospective customers, you know what they want and need and what will motivate them. Armed with this information you can tailor your copy to press their hot buttons. Make sure your copy is full of the words “you” and “yours” as opposed to “we” and “our”.

Use your website to generate contact details
Realistically the chances of everyone who comes to your website getting in contact with you are zero. But the fact that they’ve come to your website indicates that they are prospects so if you can get their contact details, you can market to them in the future. You therefore need “lead bait” – to offer them something of enough value that they will give you their contact details. This can be a special report or white paper, maybe a discount voucher or you could offer them some physical product as an incentive.

Update your site regularly
Whether you have a News section on your website or a blog or both it’s really important to keep them both updated. What kind of message does it send out if the newest news you’ve got is months out of date or if you only update your blog every few months. Not only does it make a bad impression on your readers, but it doesn’t impress Google either.

Blogging isn’t for everyone
Blogging has great benefits if you do it well but not everyone likes writing or is very good at it. If your blog posts are badly written or just dull they’re not going to do anything for your business. If this is the case, you’re better off forgetting about blogging and concentrating on other things.

Use video on your website
Video introduces personality to your site. In 60 or 90 seconds you can say a lot about your business and about yourself in an engaging and appealing way. Remember plenty of people prefer to receive information in audio visual form than in written form.

Think before you link
We all want inbound links but they have to be from the right kind of source. Before you set up reciprocal links, consider the linking site carefully. What does it say about you if you’re linked to unprofessional sites.

Reply to blog comments
If readers comment on your blog, you owe it to them to reply. In this way you can strengthen budding relationships and turn casual readers into raving fans.

Following these seven simple points will enhance your online

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5 Simple Secrets To Get More Traffic To Your Blog

So, you’re a regular blogger, writing high quality content. Obviously you want to drive as many readers to your blog as possible.

There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your blog – social media being one of the most important. So you put out a tweet on Twitter with a link to the blog post and what happens?

Very little.

So why is this? You’ve got hundreds and maybe even thousands of followers. Why didn’t a substantial quantity click on the link?

Now of course at any one time not all your followers will actually have seen the tweet even if you repeated it several times.

However the main problem will be that your blog title or headline wasn’t compelling enough to persuade your followers to click on the link. We all only have so much time to devote to Twitter and we will only invest time in blogs which really attract and interest us.

The headline or blog title are the single most important part of a blog post in the same way that it is on an advertisement. The headline opens the door to the content. If the headline doesn’t hit the spot, then the chances of your content being read are greatly reduced.

5 Secrets For Successful Headlines

So if we take the title of this blog as our example, we’ll look at how you should write your blog titles.

Make the reader curious

The headline has made a promise but not given the answer. To find out what the five secrets are the reader has to click the link. The more you can arouse someone’s curiosity the more chance you have of making them take action.

The headline was relevant to my target audience

The headline relates to a marketing issue and the people I want to attract are interested in marketing. Marketing is all about relevance.

The headline made a compelling promise

The headline promised that by following the link, readers would get valuable and useful information that will help them solve a genuine problem. Of course the article must then deliver against the promise the headline makes.

The headline says it is easy

We’re talking 5 simple secrets. This isn’t going to be complicated and require specialist knowledge and skills and of course if people think something is going to be simple you are much more likely to get people taking action.

The headline is written in plain English

Many people believe the way to generate internet traffic is to stuff your headlines with key words. If you write for search engines as opposed to people, your text will read poorly and will act in absolutely the opposite way to what I’m suggesting.

So make sure you devote time to creating compelling headlines as they will definitely attract more readers.

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How To Realise Your Sales Potential for Just a Few Pennies…

We all know that staying in touch with our prospects and customers is vital to maximising our sales potential.

But, how many companies actually do it and how many of those do it effectively?

Today, it is cheaper and easier than it has ever been to stay in touch with your database by using email marketing.

However writing an email newsletter on a regular basis demands discipline and commitment. But when done well and in combination with other mediums, such as direct mail and telemarketing – it can unlock the massive sales potential sitting in your database.

Here are a few essential tips to help you with your email marketing:

1. Your List
Collect all the email addresses you can. Networking events, your website and exhibitions are all good sources of new prospects.

2. Your Website
Create an attractive offer on your website to encourage visitors to give you their email address in return for a valuable report or free gift.

3. Select a Good Email Broadcast Supplier
Do not send emails through your normal email account as you could quickly become identified as a spammer and ‘black listed’ by your ISP – compromising your everyday email account. With a professional supplier you get high delivery rates, an easy to use interface and valuable data on all aspects of the campaign.

4. Create Quality Content
Provide your list with content which will be of value to them. Give them solutions to their problems, industry information, special offers and information likely to make them pick up the phone to do business with you.

5. High Frequency
There is much debate about how often you should send emails. The best answer is as often as you can provide value to the recipients. If that’s once a week, once a fortnight or once a month that’s up to you. But the fact is the more often you email the more you will sell.

6. Single Subject Emails
You don’t have to wait until you have a full newsletter with several articles in it. Send each article separately. This allows you to ‘touch’ your list more frequently, therefore keeping you top of mind and the most likely to pick up any business available at the time.

7. Repeat Your Most Successful Sales Emails
Intersperse your information emails with emails which are overtly selling something. Once you have a sales email that works well, keep on repeating it regularly until it stops working or you find a better version.

8.Learn From Your Results
The great thing about most email marketing systems is the information that you get. You can see how many people open the email, how many click on your links and how many forward the email on to a friend. From this you can learn what subject matters appeal to your audience, what the most successful subject lines are and what other subjects are of interest to your readers. From this you can continually refine and improve your email marketing
Believe me, a well written client-focussed email newsletter sent to your clients is a great way to keep close to them, ensuring that they know what you’re doing for them – and letting them know you want to listen and respond to their needs.

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10 Vital Tips For Online Marketing Success

In 2011 an effective online marketing strategy is a vital part of your marketing armoury.

If you’re not getting to grips with online marketing, you can be sure your competitors will and this will give them a significant advantage.

This isn’t to say that all your marketing should be on line but that your on line marketing strategy and off line marketing strategy should work together and complement each other.

Here is a brief overview of 10 areas of online marketing activity which you need to become familiar with in order to increase your chances of success:

  1. Effective Landing Pages
    Many websites fail to ‘grab’ and convert visitors because either they haven’t created specific landing pages, or fail to direct traffic to the most appropriate landing page. This results in a ‘bounce’ – the visitor doesn’t find information relevant to their search and ‘bounces’ back to Google to select another site.

    Creating landing pages – one product or service per page – that are highly relevant to specific searches is the key to making your search engine optimisation and pay per click work and to converting visitors into customers.

  2. Calls to Action
    Calls to action are vital within e-marketing and on websites.
    If your website objective is to generate leads, build your prospect database or make sales, then as well as providing compelling reasons for customers to choose your product or service, you must ‘ask for the order’ via a call to action.
  3. High Quality Information
    People come to websites looking for information and for solutions to their problems. Therefore if you provide high quality, up to date, authoritative information you are putting yourself in pole position to win their custom.
    Additionally Google will reward high quality content with better search engine rankings.
  4. Visitor Signup.
    The reality is that the chance of someone buying from you on their first visit to your website is slim. However as part of your e-marketing if you can get their contact details you will then be able to market to them.
    To get their contact information therefore you have to offer them something of value. A free download or report is the standard offering. If however you can be more creative and offer something more original you are likely to get a better response rate.
  5. Autoresponders.
    It often takes between 5 and 8 contacts before a prospect is willing to say yes to whatever it is you’re offering.
    For this reason you need to use autoresponders. An autoresponder automatically sends an email when for example a prospect signs up to an offer as discussed in point 4.
    An automated campaign of sequentially appropriate emails will nurture your prospects, providing them with more and more reasons to buy until some of them become customers.
  6. Search Engine Optimisation.
    However wonderful you website might be, if it’s not being found by potential customers it’s of little use to you. It is therefore critical your website is search engine friendly. When the search engine spiders crawl your website, the text they see must be written in such a way that they can understand exactly what each page is about in order to present it as an appropriate match to a searcher.

    The criteria the search engines use to rank websites is constantly changing. However there are certain constants that they look for such as back links from authoritative sites which still remain very important.
    SEO is a very specialist area and one which you will need to talk to an expert about.

  7. Pay Per Click
    If your goal is to quickly drive traffic to your site, then PPC is one of the fastest ways to achieve it.
    The great thing about PPC is that it is immediate. You can set yourself up and start driving traffic to your site within a matter of an hour or two. The downside is that it is also easy to spend a lot of money and get little in return.
    The best advice is to either use the services of an expert or to use a very limited budget initially until you discover what does and doesn’t work.
  8. Social Media
    While a lot of people debate the value of social media, there are hundreds of millions of people using these platforms. If your potential customers are conversing online why would you not want to participate..
    Before you get heavily involved you should identify which of the sites you are going to get involved in.
    Additionally you must be clear what you are hoping to achieve with social media and how you’re going to integrate it with your other marketing.
  9. Online Directories.
    There are two good reasons for using online directories. The first is that by submitting your website to directories you will build the number of links to your website, improving your SEO. The second is that by subscribing to (and sometimes paying for) listings and links in high-traffic, relevant and industry specific directories, you can drive quality traffic to your website.
  10. Email Marketing
    While email marketing isn’t technically online marketing, it is a key part of the digital marketing arsenal.
    The great thing about email marketing is that you can communicate at the touch of a button with thousands of people. The bad thing about it is that those people can delete you at the touch of another button.
    This highlights two key points. The first is that you need to get into people’s in boxes. If the subject line sounds like spam it will be treated like spam. The second point is that you will need a high quality, opted in list, both for legality reasons and to get a respectable opening rate. If people know you and respect you, they are likely to open your emails.

These 10 points really only skim the surface of online marketing. The purpose is to highlight the sort of areas you will need to become familiar with to make sure that your business takes advantage of the online revolution.

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How To Grab Your Readers’ Attention Online

Getting attention is the most important part of online marketing.

No matter how brilliant your ideas are and how good your online marketing is, you can’t even offer them to your prospect unless you’ve made him look in your direction first.

You have to get your prospect’s attention before you can turn him into a reader.

Do I have your attention yet?

Good. Now I’ll show you how to get someone else’s.

Your Reader Can’t Pay Attention To Everything

The brain is funny like that — if you try to pay attention to everything, you end up paying real attention to nothing.

So we screen out the irrelevant and choose which information to focus on. The brain prioritises what to “pay attention to,” because human focus is limited, and we just can’t give our attention to everything.
Your readers’ minds are very selective. So we have to give them a reason to pay attention to our content instead of everything else out there they could be listening to.

Getting Your Reader’s  Attention Is Difficult

Even if you have the best product or service in the world, it’s still difficult to get people to give you the time of day. There are lots of reasons for this:

  • Information overload
  • The amount of competition
  • The sheer number of distribution channels
  • Buyer sophistication

These are all roadblocks you face in the attention-getting game, so you’ve really got to be good at showing readers why their limited attention should be directed to you.

Try These Attention Grabbing Strategies

  • Capture Their Imagination
    By telling stories, using vivid description, personal experiences and case histories you will engage your readers’ imagination so they can envisage themselves in the situations you are describing.
  • Make It Personal.
    When you make your writing personal, you make it important. Personally interesting  information will grab attention. You don’t have to do a lot of explaining to tell someone his house or his hair is on fire — because it’s so personal to him. You immediately get attention.
  • Use Emotion.
    Emotion is a great way to make your message memorable and to make it resonate with your readers. If people empathise with you emotionally, that is much more powerful than a logical connection.
  • Don’t Take Chances With Attention
    You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention, so don’t take chances by using clever language or industry specific jargon.
    Clear, simple, straightforward language will grab attention and put the reader at ease.

Make Sure You Have A Strong Follow Up

Once you’ve managed to capture your reader’s attention, don’t waste it. Getting attention is  the first part of a two stage process.

Make sure your second stage, the actual information or message for which you grabbed the attention in the first place, is worthwhile.

If the follow up is high quality then you are in with a chance of making a sale, collecting an email address, gaining subscribers or whatever your objective is.

If however, having skilfully won your reader’s attention, the rest of your communication either lacks impact or even worse is boring, not only won’t you achieve whatever it was you set out to achieve, but you may well have blown your chances of connecting with these readers in the future.