This council earns thousands an hour from a simple psychological trick

These drivers talked each other into a $99 fine
These drivers talked each other into a $99 fine

This psychological trick earns Byron Shire Council thousands of dollars on the first Sunday of every month…

Without speaking, the drivers of the cars in this picture convinced each other to make the same mistake. How?

When we pulled up at Byron Markets, we couldn’t believe our luck: a rockstar parking space opposite the entrance to the market.

Aside from that recently-vacated spot, the verge was packed for 100 metres. There were no parking signs but we assumed the other drivers were locals who knew the rules didn’t apply on market day. Then we saw it.

The car behind had an orange envelope on the windscreen. But the no-parking area was bumper to bumper, so maybe the ticket wasn’t from today. So we opened the envelope and, sure enough, it had been written five minutes before. Then as we were reading the ticket, two rangers slid past us in a council car, job done. For now.

We piled back into our car and found another spot.

Walking back to the entrance of the market, we saw the white van in the picture pulling into the spot we’d just left. We crossed the road to warn the driver. She thanked us but parked anyway. Maybe she thought the rangers wouldn’t come back?

45 minutes later, every car in the row had its own orange envelope, including the white van.

Even a personal warning and the physical evidence of a ticket couldn’t compete with the weight of social proof from drivers who weren’t even there but whose parking suggested this was a good place to stop.

From what we could see, social proof earns the council in Byron Bay about $1,000 an hour on the first Sunday of the month.

So make sure you’re using social proof in your marketing!

Feel like using a bit of your own social proof?

It really helps us out every time you hit one (or more!) of the sharing buttons on our posts. If you enjoy what we write, please do us a favour and share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. There are handy buttons below.

How would you feel if I bought you a coffee?

We’re taking you out for a copywriter’s coffee for two reasons.

  1. We tell you something fascinating about coffee. We’ll bet you didn’t know this!
  2. We finish our series on the six principles of persuasion. As copywriters, we’re most interested in using them in website copywriting and other writing.

Could reciprocity help your SEO?

I might not be a big believer in reciprocity online in the true Cialdini sense, but I do think it’s a good SEO copywriting tactic. When you give away something useful, people are more likely to hit that Facebook share button or to link to it in another way. And all those backlinks are great for your SEO.

Go here if copywriting tips and techniques are your thing. We also have website copywriting examples here.

A marketing tip from the Mob

mobstercopywritingtip.jpg

An old lady, a napkin and $5 was all it took to keep Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonanno’s son Bill from falling into a very bad habit.

What did the napkin say and what could this mobster’s story teach you about marketing?

 

Not expecting the mob to have copywriting tips? As a website content writer charged with getting people's attention in a noisy world, I like to find examples in interesting places This video is part of a series of copywriting tips you can use to improve your website or other marketing collateral.

We also have lots of suggestions on the site for how to be a better copywriter. And you can see some examples of how we use them in website copy for clients.

A copywriting tip from a twisted head baby and a toddler

twistedheadbabycopywriting.jpg

What can a twisted-head baby and a toddler teach you about persuading your customers to buy quickly? You won't get another copywriting tip like this today. Guaranteed.

 

We have lots more copywriting tips here. And here are some case studies of how we use these tips and tricks for clients.

And if you're not worried about scarcity when it comes to Google, you should be. The first three results in a Google search grab around half the available clicks. It pays to be thinking about SEO in your copywriting.

5 branding strategies you can use right now!

5BrandingStrategiestoUseNowKadyCreative.jpg

"When you brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant." Dan Schawbel Branding is the difference between wowing your clients and being instantly forgotten. In a world inundated with products and services, we’ve created filters to sift through all the cries for attention from competing brands. You really need to make an impact so you don’t get filtered out. There are quite a few ways this can be done with branding.

Think of the last time you went to an event and met 30 new people. Who stood out? Chances are, they stood because:

  1. They were beautiful
  2. They were really funny
  3. They seemed really interesting and personable
  4. You connected with them and related to them

It’s pretty much the same for your brand! You need to decide how you are going to distinguish yourself from all of the ‘Meh’ brands out there.

#1 Be consistent in your branding

Every time somebody sees and interacts with your brand, it should be reinforcing your brand visuals and message. When a brand becomes familiar to people, they subconsciously start to trust it. Do not mess up this opportunity by using several design styles and messages!

Take a look at your Business Cards, Website and Social Media Channels. Are they consistent? The overall look and feel should be the exactly the same, by using the same colours, fonts and similar imagery on every platform.

#2 Speak directly to your target market with your brand

Sometimes people feel they have to sound very professional and corporate to be taken seriously. But, chances are, that’s not the way your target market speaks. Completely evaluate your target market then visit your website. Are you speaking their language? To be seen you need to be direct and to the point and tell people exactly what you can do for them in a way that makes sense to them. Let them know you feel their pain and you can help them.

#3 Be authentic and share your story

I laugh when I get an email that begins with ‘Dear Subscriber’. Really? That’s the best you can do?! Your audience are real people and while this may sound obvious, a lot of brands tend to forget that. Visualise your ideal client when you write a social media post or email newsletter, imagine you are writing it for her alone. Your client isn’t a robot, so your brand needs to be relatable and authentic to connect with your target audience.

#4 Give and you shall receive

A sure fire way for people to remember you is to add value by giving, not selling. Think about something you have expertise in that others struggle with. Turn this into a giveaway and not only will you have people's attention but you will also have their email addresses for future marketing campaigns - bonus! You’ll be seen as an expert and establish trust with your target audience, which created the foundation of buying trust as customers.

#5 Dare to be different in your branding

The quickest way to differentiate your brand is to look at what your competition is doing and do the complete opposite. Ask yourself, what are the current pain points when customers deal with your competitors? As I was doing some groceries last week and about to grab some deodorant for my partner, my eyes were drawn to Shield Men. The biggest selling point, was a little icon that promoted the deodorant not leaving yellow stains on clothing. By researching a pain point of customers (staining clothing), they’re able to create a point of difference. They don’t alienate customers and the product's purpose is still well known but by being different - they now stand out and have an edge on the competition.

While there is no strict formula for creating a successful brand, you must be different. You have to stand out and find a way to be front of mind with your audience. Brainstorm what you want your brand to be known for - funny, beautiful, modern, cutting edge etc. Then ask yourself, how can I use this to create a brand that is memorable and stands apart from the crowd?

Kady O Connell is founder and director of Kady Creative, a Sydney design studio that allows you to be seen online. At Kady Creative, we ignite and translate your vision into killer branding + a dream website so you can be the spark you were made to be.

5 Branding Strategies Kady Creative
5 Branding Strategies Kady Creative

Copywriting tip: Are you doing enough to make your clients like you?

likeabilityincopywriting.jpg

When it comes to copywriting, it turns out you can't leave popularity contests behind in the playground. Your likeability is relevant far beyond high school: it influences people's willingness to work with you or buy from you. Likeability is one Robert Cialdini's (Influence) six factors of persuasion, along with authority, social proof, scarcity, reciprocity and commitment.

Given that likeability is so persuasive, you should definitely be thinking about it in your copywriting on your website and elsewhere?

 

What about likeability and SEO?

Naturally, if you can get more people to your website then you've got a chance of getting more business. If you can improve your search ranking, you'll have a chance to do that.  It makes incorporating likeability an SEO tactic as well as a conversion tactic.

Being likeable makes it more likely that people will share your content. Sharing your content creates backlinks--links from other sites (including sites like Facebook) to your site. More backlinks mean more direct traffic but also better SEO because search engines take every link as a vote of confidence in your web content.

Copywriting next steps

  1. If you're want to make your writing more persuasive, check out these copywriting tips.
  2. We've also got some website copywriting case studies.
  3. And of course, we'd be delighted to have one of our copywriters review your website.

 

Copywriting tip: Use what other people think

Can you spot the copywriting tip in this image
Can you spot the copywriting tip in this image

As humans, we have a million decisions to make a day. The only way we can do it is to use shortcuts. You can make your copywriting more persuasive when you know what those shortcuts are and you use them to influence your readers.

A tip for using social proof in your copywriting

One of our human decision-making shortcuts is social proof. This video gives you some simple and some more subtle examples of using social proof to make your copywriting more persuasive.

 

Social proof for SEO – a link building tactic

When you’re on the hunt for social proof, Facebook shares, Twitter shares, etc. are a great source of validation. They also create links and search engines love links, which is great for search ranking. If you're looking to build social proof, growing it through links from other sites isn’t just a copywriting tactic, it’s a brilliant SEO copywriting tactic.

Speaking of which… If you found this video helpful, please share this post on Facebook or the social medium of your choosing. You’ll also be interested in these other tips on copywriting.

Copywriting tip: demonstrate authority in your copywriting

copywritingtipauthority.jpg

If you want to persuade people with your copywriting, you need to make sure you've signalled your authority in the area. That can mean more than just claiming your years of experience or diplomas. 

How to show who's the boss in your copywriting

 

You can see more copywriting tips here. And these are examples of we use them in our own writing.

Every small business owner should steal this copywriting trick from The Daily Mail

Every small business owner should steal this copywriting trick from The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail is weathering the traditional media End Times. Like it or loathe it, the newspaper understands online readers better than most, which is why small business owners should take a leaf out of the paper. There's one thing in particular that The Daily Mail does brilliantly, which you could steal right now to improve your website.

​Is your small business website missing this basic chance to promote you?

​Is your small business website missing this basic chance to promote you?

So many small businesses are making this basic mistake. Are you one of them? Being immersed in reviewing so many different websites over the last month has given us new insights into common mistakes small businesses are making. Fixing these mistakes would turn more website visitors into customers.

A copywriter's tip: Never write a first draft

copywriting-over-coffee.jpg

A copywriter’s secret to good first drafts is not to write them

Yesterday, I had a coffee meeting in Rozelle, near our Sydney office. I was meeting a prospective client. Before the meeting, he’d sent me a brochure he’d drafted for a new product.

The brochure was fine. The writing progressed logically; it told me exactly what I’d get with the product, and it was all grammatically correct. But the copywriting was fatally flawed. You’d have bought what he was selling only if you were already convinced that this was something you wanted and that he was the guy to sell it to you.

A copywriter’s quick fix: drafting out loud

The amazing thing was that he fixed that fatal flaw in his copy from the moment he sat down in the cafe. He just didn’t realise he was doing it.

Over coffee, he told me why he cared about what he was selling, how far he’d travelled to find the right product, and how many other products he had tested and rejected as not just right for his Sydney-based clients.

In the end, he’d spent tens of thousands of dollars on finding the right thing (and saving his clients from products that looked good but wouldn’t deliver).

He gave me examples of people who’d been helped by what he was selling.

It was extremely convincing.

So why, I asked him, was none of that in his draft brochure.

Over coffee, he had effortlessly convinced me about what he was selling and his credentials to be selling it. But when it had come to writing it down, he had reflexively started to be “serious”. Copywriting does that to people, even copywriters sometimes.

The great story of the question that had needled him into travelling to three continents looking for an answer had not made it anywhere into the brochure. Even the stories of the people who’d benefited as a result were nowhere to be found.

Why the story is everything to a good copywriter

Those stories probably seemed flimsy next to all the concrete detail he had. But the stories were far more powerful than the features of the product. It was the stories that held the answers to the most important questions prospective clients would ask:

  1. Why you?Because I care about this so deeply that I spent years tracking down the right answer and rejecting alternatives that look good but ultimately disappoint.
  2. How will I benefit?I could list for you all the “things” that you’ll get, but let me show you the difference these products have made to these people.

Years of school teach us that the Devil is in the detail, but the detail is often the Devil when it comes to persuasion. We make our decisions based on emotion, whether we like to believe it or not. The research is in and it’s conclusive, whatever your English teacher told you.

A good copywriter understands the emotion behind the purchasing decision.

So next time you’re sitting down to write persuasive copy, stop and do nothing until you talk it over with a friend over coffee. Not only will it help your natural copywriting, it’ll your copywriting for SEO if you’re listening with keywords in mind–the words that you and your friend use will likely be things someone might type into Google.

Copywriting talk
Copywriting talk

How to write copy over coffee

I started this post telling you that you shouldn’t write a first draft.Your first draft is that conversation with a friend. Fortunately, Sydney is blessed with a cafe on every corner, so you’ll have no trouble finding a conducive spot.

Be natural but notice:

  1. Where do you instinctively start? Trust your gut. Do you start by describing how finely your new pepper mill grinds pepper or do you start by talking about how fantastic food tastes with finely ground pepper? Where you start in conversation with a friend is probably the most interesting part–we want to fascinate our friends–so that’s where a good copywriter would start.
  2. What stories do you tell to illustrate your points? Every time I asked my prospective client a question about some aspect of what he was selling, he answered me with a story. “Well, I found the answer to that when I visited this guy in Malaysia…” But there was not a single story in his brochure. The more he told me of his story in coming up with his product, the more I was convinced he was a guy to trust when he said he had the right answer.

What our clients in Sydney say about our copywriters

Sydney offsite document storage company Store A Box asked us specifically to get beyond the detail. They wanted to tap into what their customers needed to know.

Why hardly any customers see what you put on Facebook

facebookpagefans.jpg
What Facebook reach means
What Facebook reach means

Dale Jacobson, a subscriber to our mailing list, emailed me to ask why her Facebook posts aren't being seen by fans of her page.

Dale works hard on her Facebook page, Why Antarctica? She posts almost daily. But even though Facebook knows 200 people "like" her page, it often reports to her that a post has only reached five or so people.

 

What "reach" really means on Facebook

If I told you there were four fewer bottles of wine in my cupboard this morning, it would be just as true but not as accurate as saying, "We had a big one last night".

When Facebook says "your post only reached five people" it's really saying, "We decided we'd only show your post to five people. So there.

The greatest bait and switch in advertising history

Remember when billboards for youth-orientated brands started to display Facebook URLs instead of website URLs? Facebook.com/Coke instead of CocaCola.com. The web was like so dead. Eventually, even the most fuddy-duddy players hipped themselves to the Facebook thing.

Fcebook page fans
Fcebook page fans

These companies spent a fortune building an audience for their Facebook page. Smaller companies might not have had billboard dollars but they sweated expensive time into building a following.

Businesses large and small were falling over themselves to help Facebook increase its market value. And Facebook graciously let them.

Oceans of money that could have gone into driving traffic to corporate websites were drained sending people to Facebook pages instead.

It was exhilarating to marketers. When you liked them on Facebook they could not only count you but they could see your pretty faces. They knew who you were, how old you were, where you were. They were so intoxicated by your presence on their Facebook page that they forgot they couldn't contact you without Facebook's help.

Facebook drops the hammer on that communication

Then marketers noticed their "reach" started to fall off a cliff.

Once upon a time a post to a Facebook page might have reached 20% or more of the fans of that page. Reach depended on how engaged people were with the page. (Once Facebook detects your interest in a page has waned, it shows you less from that page.)

But 20% wasn't bad. Many email marketers would be cockahoop with an open rate of 20% for their emails.

Today, you can expect Facebook to show a post to about 6% of your fans.

Why did Facebook throttle the reach of posts?

Why the bait and switch? Because Facebook doesn't make money showing people posts for free. It makes money when you pay to "boost" a post.

That's right, Facebook sat back rubbing its hands while marketers built audiences they could only reach by the grace of Facebook. Then it held out its palm to be crossed with silver.

Basically, Facebook told Dale that if she wants to reach more than five or so of her 200 fans, she's going to have to pay to do it.

What can we learn from Facebook's bait and switch?

Social media risks
Social media risks

1. Be wary of building on someone else's land

You don't own your Facebook page or your Facebook audience. Mark Zuckerberg does.

Mark Zuckerberg is your landlord if you have a Facebook page
Mark Zuckerberg is your landlord if you have a Facebook page

The same is true on every social network — Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn… The rules can change anytime. If you've got half an hour, buy me a beer and I'll talk to you about all the times people have been caught since I started working in social media in 2005.

It's not just social media where people get caught out. At the moment, I'm tracking people who sell online courses on sites like Udemy then scream blue murder when the site changes its commission structure and other rules.

A few months ago Udemy told all instructors their courses could be priced only between $20 and $50. Imagine hearing that when you've spent months creating a course you were selling for $500? Then, by the way, it decided last week that this had been a boo boo and that the ceiling price was going up to $200. Whoops!

That isn't to say there isn't a place for building a following in social media or building something on someone else's land. It's an argument for making sure your cost/benefit analysis takes into account that you could lose everything you've put into the social network without notice. Or things could get more expensive very quickly.

2. Your Facebook page or other social media presence should never ever be the hub

It's boringly true that social media is important to growing your reputation. You don't need me to give you half a dozen examples of people who owe their livelihood to people finding them through social media. Justin Bieber might've been discovered on YouTube but he doesn't rely on it today as his primary way to communicate with his fans.

Your website should be the hub of your online presence. A significant portion of your social media effort should be devoted to getting people to visit your website and join your mailing list. Because it's all yours. No one can take away from you, no one can change the rules, no one can charge you for communicating with people who have given you their contact details.

And social media is great for building links to your website, which improves your SEO.

Your presence in social media is a spoke coming off that hub. That way if you lose a spoke you don't lose the whole system. Don't be the guy who put all his eggs in MySpace or Google plus. Build your own intellectual property asset and use Mark Zuckerberg's good works as you see fit, just remember he's using you too.

Isn't it ironic?

This page is adorned with social sharing buttons and I'd be hugely grateful if you'd use one (or even more) of them to help get the word out about this site. Let's beat Facebook at its own game and help a business grow without having to pay Facebook!

Should you put your prices on your website?

should-you-put-your-prices-on-your-website.png

“Should I put my prices on my website?” I get asked it all the time. It’s not a yes/no question in a services business. It depends on your industry, your competitors and your business goals. Here are some things you need to think about to help you decide whether you should put prices on your site or not.

Scroll to the bottom of the post for a transcript

So should you put your prices on your website…

Is your price within the range charged by competitors?

If your price is more (or less) than your competitors, you need to communicate why, which might be better done in person. And if it’s much more expensive, you definitely need a website that supports that. You’re not going to sell an Armani jacket on a website that makes you look like Kmart. (Did you know we review websites?)

Is everyone else doing it?

If everyone else has their prices on their website, you could lose out if you don’t. If someone gets enough pricing information from cruising your competitors’ websites, they’re probably not going to jump through some extra hoops to get that information from you. They’ll take the negotiation to the next stage with your competitors.

If someone gets enough pricing information from cruising your competitors’ websites, they’re probably not going to jump through some extra hoops to get that information from you. They’ll take the negotiation to the next stage with your competitors.

Need some Google love?

Could you do with more visitors finding you through Google? Putting your prices on your website can help with your search engine optimisation.

We have in the past offered business book ghostwriting. That’s something people search for, but the same people also search terms like “how much is a ghostwriter?” By putting indicative fees online, we become an answer to that question. That means Google sends those people our way because they can’t send them to our competitors who don’t have any ghostwriting fees information online.

How do you feel about tyre kickers?

Maybe you do charge a premium and you’re sick of wasting time on people who won’t pay what you’re worth, so you might as well filter them out. If you charge more than the average bear and you’re worth it, you don’t need to waste time talking to people who don’t have that kind of money or any interest in paying it.

Not so fast, though. The other side of that is that you might have potential customers who don’t think they want to pay your fee but that’s only because they don’t know how much value you’re going to bring.

When you don’t publish your prices so people have to make contact, you have a chance to sell them the value you provide when otherwise the number might do all the talking.

Putting your prices on your website is a strategic decision, so there are a few things to think about
Putting your prices on your website is a strategic decision, so there are a few things to think about

What’s it worth?

If pricing information in your industry is scarce, people might be willing to “pay” for it by giving you their email address. Once you have their email address, you can follow up–Did you find that helpful? Here are 7 tips for…

That follow-up doesn’t even have to be manual. You can put them into a marketing automation sequence. Mailchimp will do that for you for free with a simple autoresponder.

Want more like this?

This blogpost is an answer to a question from Jo Mooney, who subscribes to our mailing list. If you have a question–or want to know what other people are asking. If you have a question, check out our Wednesday Website Content Writing Webinars.

T

Should you put your prices on your website?

from

Taleist – Using storytelling and journalism to help companies stand out

Transcript

Steven Lewis:

Should you put your price on your website? It’s a great question. It’s one that applies mostly to services businesses. In product businesses you would probably expect to see a price on a website. When it comes to services, there’s a lot of debate as to whether you should put a price on the website, or not. There are a number of things you need to consider.

Firstly, is your price comparable to your competitors? Somebody who arrives on your website and sees your price, might well have spoken to, or seen the websites of other people in your industry. If you’re a lot cheaper, or a lot more expensive, that’s something you’re going to have to explain, and it’s something that your website is going to have to support.

If you’re more expensive than your competitors, then your website has to look higher quality and more premium than your competitors. Your copy has to explain that away.

If that’s something that you’re worried that your website doesn’t do, or you can’t do in the copyrighting, you maybe be better of holding back and waiting, until you have an opportunity to talk to somebody, so that they can get a feel for you, and you can talk to them about why your price is different from your competitors.

The second thing to look at is, of course, whether all of your competitors are listing their prices on their website. If they are, and you don’t, that could knock you out of the running. When somebody goes online to do their research, they find a few people in your industry.

They look at the prices. They come to your website. You don’t have your price on. Maybe they’re not even going to bother to call or email you, unless they’re so impressed by your website, or they’ve been referred to you, or they’ve had some other sort of recommendation of you. You could knock yourself out of consideration, if you’re not providing the information that everybody else is providing.

The third consideration, regardless of whether everybody else is putting their prices up online, is whether you could use a bit more traffic from Google. In my experience, for instance, I offer a ghostwriting service. A lot of the traffic to that service comes from people asking, “What does a ghostwriter cost?”

Because I’ve got some information about my fees on the website, I attract traffic. On the whole, ghostwriters don’t talk about their fees online.

If you’re in a business where people don’t put their fees up online, you could win the war for getting traffic from Google by providing a good answer for Google searches, to that question of, “How much should somebody in this industry cost?”

Another consideration is whether you get a lot of tire kickers. Going back to my ghostwriting example, I found that I got a lot of people making inquiries in the early days, who couldn’t afford somebody to help them to write a book.

One of the biggest reasons, therefore, that I put my prices online, was so that people could come online, they can see how much ghostwriting a book cost, and they won’t go and bother to get in touch with me, if that wasn’t in line with their budget. I got a lot fewer inquiries, but the inquiries I got were of a higher quality.

If you find yourself getting a lot of tire kickers who just don’t have the budget or the interest in paying what you’re charging, you could find it a really good idea to exclude them and that hurdle, by putting up your fee.

On the other hand, you might be in a business where people think they don’t have the budget for that, but they don’t understand all that you do and the value that you bring. You may, therefore, want that opportunity when they make the inquiry, to have a chance to talk to them, and say, “This is what it costs, but this is why it costs that much. This is what you’re getting.”

Another idea is to give people the price, but to, if you like, charge for it. Again, with the ghostwriting example, I have a page about the fees. But if you actually want to know what the fees are, you have to give me your email address. In return for that email address, you automatically get sent a PDF with the discussion of ghostwriting fees, and why they are what they are.

I’ve got your email address. I can do some marketing to you if I want to, and you get a valuable piece of information you can’t get from a lot of ghostwriter’s sites. Again, you might find that’s a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and also, to give you a way of gathering email addresses from perspective clients, so that you can do some marketing to them.

There are other considerations when it comes to putting your price up on your website. These are just a few of them, but they give you some sort of idea of the fact it’s not a yes or no question. It’s to do with your industry, your business strategy, and what you stand to gain by putting the price up, versus what you might lose by putting the price up.

When you start to run the question through those sort of filters, I think you’ll be able to come up with an answer for yourself.

7 things you must know about Google if you want it to send customers to your site (and some things Google knows that will blow your mind)

UnderstandingGoogle.jpg

There are only three ways people end up on your website:

  1. You tell them about it
  2. Someone else tells them about it
  3. Google sends them there

If you’re hoping for Google to send potential customers to your website, then you’re talking about search engine optimisation (SEO) and there are some things you need to understand about how Google works.

1. Google does only one thing: answer questions

Every search typed into Google is a question and Google responds by listing the web pages it thinks have the best answer to that question.

If they type your name into Google, you’ve got a good chance showing up, especially if they type in something a bit descriptive with it, e.g. “Steven Lewis copywriter”. But if you want to show up for something other than your name, read on.

2. Gold, silver and bronze winners take all

The websites that come at the top of a Google search get the lion’s share of all clicks.

The first three sites in any search will gather more than half of all the clicks.

If you’re in the other seven on the first page, you’re fighting for leftovers. If you’re not on page one, forget about it. You have to take your SEO copywriting seriously.

3. You are not Google’s customer

You, the website owner, are not Google’s customer; the person searching is the customer.

Everything Google does is about giving its customer, the searcher, a good experience. (Because if they don’t have a good experience, they’ll blame Google and eventually look for another search engine.)

A long time ago there were sorcerer’s tricks to fool Google into thinking a website was a good answer to a question. But Google found them all and smacked those sites out of the listing.

If you work hard to give your visitors a good experience—good content, well laid out—you will be rewarded.

4. Narrow ambition is better

Being at the top of Google for a broad search—”tennis pro” or “shoe shop”—is nearly impossible. Getting there would take serious work and (probably) a shedload of money.

It’s more realistic to aim for narrow searches—”tennis pro in Rozelle” or “shoe shop specialising in heels”. And there’s a better chance someone searching for a tennis pro in your area will buy from you than someone searching from miles away.

Google rewards mobile responsive sites
Google rewards mobile responsive sites

5. You’re losing a heap of traffic if your site isn’t mobile-ready

Google will not show your website to people searching on their mobile phones if your website is not mobile responsive.

That could be more than half of your potential visitors.

(A website that’s mobile responsive is one that adapts itself to a small screen so the user isn’t pinching, zooming or squinting.)

6. Google cares about things you probably haven’t imagined

That includes:

  • Spelling and grammar—yes, really. Google reasons that people who take their time over their writing are probably giving their visitors a better experience.
  • How fast your site opens. (Which is a better experience for the Google customer: a site that bursts open or one that oozes in like treacle?)
  • The quality of the coding on your site
  • Whether your site is easy to navigate (yes, Google can tell)

7. Google knows things that will blow your mind

Take all the information produced by the software Google has given the world, put it all in one place and you’ve given Google a mind blowing amount of information. Some of it is about you personally and all of it tells Google something about us statistically.

When it comes to how people use your website and what they think of it, Google can draw on information it gets from how they react to you in the search engine.

And it can go even deeper if your visitor is using Google’s Chrome web browser or you’ve installed Google Analytics, Google Adwords or a Google remarketing pixel.

Here’s just a handful of things Google might know about your website, e.g.:

  • How long someone spends on your site. (If Google sends a searcher to a site and they bounce back in five seconds, Google knows the site probably wasn’t much use. It might also get that information from Google Analytics or Chrome)
  • Which pages on your site are the most popular
  • Whether people buy things on your site
  • Whether people email or call you
  • How your site shapes up to the competition
  • Whether the writing on your site is original

And it’s using all that to make decisions about where to put you in the search results.

Here’s the good news

You’re running an honest business where you want to give people a product or service that’s worth their money. You want them to have a good experience and you’re genuinely trying to help them.

That means Google wants to help you. Everything Google does is about connecting searchers with good information and great businesses. If that’s you, your goals and Google’s are aligned.

Keep in mind the seven points above and you’ll be a long way down the road to Google helping your business grow. A good website content writer can help you.

If you think your website might not be doing the job you need it to do, get it reviewed by a professional copywriter

null
null

When a single lost customer costs more than a professional website review to fix your website, what are you waiting for?

Have your website reviewed by a professional Sydney copywriter to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. Use those insights to turn a lazy website into a sales tool that grows your business and increases your profits.

FIND OUT MORE

Something nice a client said about our SEO copywriting

Urban Edge went from being on the first page of Google for only three keywords (and paying an SEO agency $1,000/month for the privilege) to ranking on the first page for 30 of its keywords after some SEO copywriting from Taleist.

Are you efficiently losing sales?

This week I contacted a few agencies to help me with a family project. I sent an email describing our situation and asking two questions:

  1. How would you work with us on this?
  2. Roughly what would it cost

All up, my email was about 60 words.

The first agency to write back copied and pasted about 500 words from somewhere else and made that their email. I know it was copied and pasted because my name at the top and their sign off were in a different colour and font from the body of the email.

They also attached three documents.

In total, there were about 2,000 words to read. That's between six and 10 minutes of reading. Some of it answered the question about cost; the rest was irrelevant.

Very efficient for them. A waste of time for me.

Contrast that with the second agency to reply, which sent a welcoming email suggesting we talk through it on the phone.

The seductive call of efficiency

I work in a service business too, so I know all about tyre kickers. I can see how attractive it must be to reply to every initial enquiry with a random assortment of boilerplate and file attachments. Kapow! That'll sort the wheat from the chaff. Those who are serious will write back afterwards.

But what if they won't?

What if your competitors have done better?

How to get more sales by being less efficient

Periodically I'm tempted by technology that promises the sort of efficiency the first agency was aiming for. Gmail, for instance, offers "canned responses": certain keywords trigger an automatic response. There are many scenarios in my business where I'm tempted to use them, but I realise how many great clients I'd have missed if I'd asked Google to guess their value from a first email.

Here's what I try to remember

  1. Treat every enquiry like it might result in a sale and a referral
  2. After drafting a reply check:
    1. Have you answered all the questions?
    2. Are you being consistent with your brand promise? (If you talk about being helpful and friendly, have you been?)
    3. Have you put yourself in the customer’s shoes? This might be everyday for you, but it might not be for them. If your customers are often confused, scared or frustrated, bear that in mind when you're writing to them.
    4. Is your spelling and formatting in order? Some of us care.
    5. Is the quantity of your reply consistent with the question? To me, 2,000 words spread across an email and three file attachments was out of proportion with my initial enquiry in this case.
    6. If you're using boilerplate, have you adapted it appropriately to the customer and the specific enquiry?

I'm not saying I get it right every time, but this is my aim.

The enquiry stage is your first impression. This is where business can be won or lost. With careful attention to your messaging, you could get a lot more sales

We have a lot more website copywriting tips.

This one copywriting tip will make your writing 10x more convincing

We are copywriters, so we know what we're talking about!

 

Transcript

1. Show, don’t tell

The first tip is show, don’t tell. I can’t overestimate how important this is. Telling is easy. I can tell you anything. I can tell you I’m a lawyer, I’m a doctor, I’m an expert architect. It’s much harder for me to show you that I’m good at those things. For instance, if I tell you that I’m good at football, I might not be able to show you that I’m good at football.

If you’ve got a way to show your potential customers that you’re good at something don’t parse up the opportunity to do that in favor of just lightly telling them something because it has a really good chance that it would just woofed right over them, because it sounds nice but they’ve heard it all before.

Here is a good example from a client of mine, I’ve changed their name here. They’re not really cool sparky electrical, but they are electricians and they did describe themselves as a leading electrical company specializing in blah-blah.

I said to them, “Who have you worked for?” The answer was that they had some really good clients, Madame Tussauds, Macquarie Bank and Ramsay Health Care being just three of them.

Instead of saying that they were a leading electrical company, we showed their potential customers that they were a leading company by using the brands of the companies that they’ve worked for. Ramsay Health Care operates hospitals. You have to assume that they’re going to go out and find themselves a really good electrician because the consequences of having an electrical malfunction in a hospital are enormous.

By telling you, yes, I’m telling you that Ramsay Health Care is a client of mine, but I’m showing you that I’m leading. If you were to Google electrical contract, there’s you’ll probably find that half a dozen of them are more in your area described themselves as leading. It becomes meaningless. As the potential customer you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re leading but what have you got that actually mean something to me?”

Another example of showing, not telling is here on Gary Vaynerchuk’s page. Gary Vaynerchuk is a New York Times bestselling author. He’s a big name in the world of online marketing.

He’s got some information on his site that tells you that he’s a big name in online marketing. But the bit that I’m interested here on the page is where he’s showing you that he’s a credible expert. He’s showing you that he’s a credible expert by telling you, yes, telling, showing, telling you all the people, all the new sources that have relied on him for a source of expert comment.

If you’ve spoken to the New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Forest Company, Mashable, Wall Street Journal, and all of those, chances are you know what you’re talking about. He is showing you that he knows what he’s talking about.

How to write more in less time

If you spend as much time at your keyboard as I do, you want that time to be productive. Even saving small amounts of time on repetitive typing (or typos) adds up over the course of the hours and weeks at the keyboard.

My suggestion? The humble text expander.

There are lots of them out there. I use Keyboard Maestro. On a PC, you might want to try Phrase Expander.

What does a text expander do?

Text expanders do what they say on the tin: you type a small piece of text (either a phrase or a keyboard shortcut) and they turn it into a longer piece of text.

I've configured mine, to do this:

  1. Turn "bbr" into "Best regards, Steven" and "cch" into "Cheers, Steven"
  2. Typing "bksp" turns into "http://taleist.com". Another combination of letters takes me to the admin section of my site.
  3. Catch typos like "teh" for "the" and correct them automatically

But that doesn't sound like very much

I've seen people look at me like I'm mad when telling them I've bothered to configure software to do such seemingly small tasks. But I type my website address a couple of dozen times a day.

I write email after email in the day. I know some people put their sign off in their email signature--my wife sends me "Kind regards" all the time--but I prefer to tailor the sign off to the person, so I have a shortcut for "best regards" and another for "cheers".

Time is saved in tiny increments

We're always looking for a way to save an hour a day. That doesn't work out well for me; how's it working out for you?

You probably don't have a big, juicy hour of wasted time in the day waiting to be cut. Personally, I make my savings in small ways, and it adds up.

Give a text expander a week and tell me you don't love it. (But you have to take the time to configure it. No cheating.)

Text expander reviews

I use Keyboard Maestro and I have Alfred do some things for me, too. If you're on a PC or you want to try something else, these posts are a great place to start: