Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Four Ways to Woo New Customers With Sweet-Talking Web Copy

Four Ways to Woo New Customers With Sweet-Talking Web Copy

You know this isn't working. Something just isn't right.

You've spent weeks refining your Web copy. You think it looks damn near perfect. But it's not bringing the results you need.

Traffic. Leads. Profit.

Is that too much to ask? You give, and you give: You list your achievements, you detail your experience, you explain your worldview.

But you're not getting much action on your site. No new subscribers. Your sales have fallen. And those word-of-mouth referrals you started your business with have vanished.

Your competitors are busy playing the field, getting attention.

Their websites are like magnets for online traffic. New customers can't seem to stay away.

So, what do they have that you don't?

They don't have more expertise or experience. So why is their Web copy attracting and seducing new customers while your carefully crafted copy leaves readers feeling cold and uninterested?

Fortunately, you too can entice new customers. You just need to make a few changes to your Web copy. Changes that will seduce your readers, make them feel special, make them see you have the answers they seek.

And once you do, you'll be swamped with phone calls, emails, and requests for your services.

Ready to learn how to woo new customers? Use the following four ways to sweep them off their feet with some sweet-talking Web copy.

1. Let me feel the love

We're selfish. Every one of us. We can't help it. It's human.

So when we visit a business website that talks only about itself, we lose interest. Immediately.

But when we visit a site that showers us with attention. We like it. A lot. We want to hear how it will improve our lives.

Do this: We help you create your dream home with color.

Not this: We are the country's leader in paint sales.

Be specific about how you'll help your customer. You can include your accomplishments, but show us how it will solve our problem.

2. Tell me about me

Your About page should be about your customer. Not you. Yes, I mean it.

Have you ever gone on a date with someone who provided a detailed life story? Every excruciating detail? If you did, then you know about exit plans.

But with a website, you don't need an exit plan. Just a click on the back button. And you're gone. Never to return.

Do this: Are you looking for help to navigate the grant application process? I have the experience to help you from start to finish.

Not this: In my 20 years of experience, I have seen many changes in the grant application process. Twenty years ago, it was a simple matter of filling out a form; however, an increase in applications caused much confusion. Things changed again 10 years ago.

See what I mean by exit plan? Help your customer by making your About page about them.

3. Show me everything

Sometimes, you start a relationship and hit it off right from the start. But as you spend more time with this person, a few weird things happen. She won't return your calls as quickly. She shows up late for your dates. And when she invites you to the movies, she buys popcorn only for herself.

What happened to the attentive and considerate person you first met?

People worry about this scenario in business relationships too. That's why you must be transparent on your website. Tell me what working with you will be like. Show me that your energy won't be spent just in the pursuit of my business; demonstrate your commitment to keeping me around.

Do this: If we decide to work together, I will provide you with weekly reports detailing progress to date. This will be your chance to make sure we're on track with your project or to make any changes.

Not this: See why we are the leading social media marketing company in town. Hire us today. You won't regret it.

You must be specific both about how you will help with your customer's project and about what will be involved for the duration.

4. Make it easy for me

Don't play games or give us the runaround. Your customer has shown some interest in you. Make it easy for him to get closer and give you a chance. Tell him exactly what he needs to do to get your help.

Do this: Click here for a free quote now.

Not this: We offer many services depending on your needs. Visit our contact us page to find the appropriate department for your question.

Use simple, straightforward language. If you make information difficult to understand or find on your Website, you will lose customers.

Make me a part of your life

You're a giver. That's why you went into business for yourself—to help others with your expertise. 

And you know you deliver results. You're good at what you do. The best.

And with the right Web copy, potential customers will finally understand exactly how powerful your services are. How their lives will be better with you in it. How finding you was meant to be.

They'll truly believe it was destiny.

So get started. You've got this. Dump your old, selfish copy. You deserve better.

Just work on those four simple steps to nurture relationships by giving your clients the attention they need.
And once you've made those changes, customers will be vying for your attention. Fighting over you. Wanting you to be their one and only.

If you need help with your email, web site, video, or other presentation to promote your company, product, or service, please give me a call at 440-519-1500 or e-mail me at john@x2media.us.

X2 Media can help you target your content and get your message to the audience in a way that it is not only seen and heard, but remembered.

Until next month….remember, “you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression”. Always make it a good one!

From X2Media I would like to thank you for your time.

John E. Hornyak

X2Media, LLC

Five Simple but Often Overlooked Ways to Boost Your Email Marketing

Five Simple but Often Overlooked Ways to Boost Your Email Marketing

Is your email marketing growing stale? Are run-of-the-mill approaches not working for you?
If you're up for trying something different, here are five relatively unconventional actions that might seem scary... but may also be just what you need to do to boost your email marketing.
1. Ask them whether they truly want your emails
Many marketers believe that permission is evergreen, but that's far from reality. Subscriber's often outgrow your content, or their preferences change along with their business direction. Your emails may not be relevant to them anymore.
That may not be any fault of yours or your company's. But it is still in your best interest to keep your list as engaged and responsive as possible.

An email list with a high number of uninterested or "dead" subscribers affects your metrics and gives you a skewed picture of how successful your email campaigns really are.
So how do you cull the dead weight from your email list?
Ask them to "re-qualify" to receive your content
For example, Sarah Morgan, explicitly tells her subscribers that she's spring-cleaning her inbox, and nudges them to click on the link to stay on her list or get the boot:

Keep promotional emails exclusive through an opt-in link trigger
For example, Andre Chaperon prevents list fatigue by sending only specific promotional content to subscribers who express their interest by clicking on a link trigger:

2. Give them the option to remove themselves from a promotion
Ever been badgered by a promotion you were not interested in?
You still find value in the content of the sender but just not in that particular promotion?
Give subscribers the option to remove themselves from your promotional emails—but still stay on your list.
Here's what Cody Lister from Marketdoc sent in the foot note of all his emails during his launch:

Some subscribers may be curious and need to hear more making a decision on their interest. Chaperon follows up to ask his subscribers whether they want to continue hearing about the promotion; he also gives them the option to remove themselves from the promotional emails:

3. Give them the boot: Tell them to unsubscribe
It's hard enough to stomach an unsubscribe... Telling your subscribers outright to unsubscribe from your list can be daunting.
But every single subscriber is a cost to you. Your open rates, click rates, and ultimately your conversion rates increase if you remove people who are no longer interested in what you have to offer.
Sidekick removed a whopping 38K subscribers who were not engaging with its content.
"We believe having a healthy list of engaged readers is far more important than having a large list of inactive readers. This also ensures our strategy is directed by those who care about us most," writes Annum Hussein, who leads the growth team at Sidekick.

4. Email them as often as is necessary
Email frequency is considered one of the main reasons people unsubscribe from a list. So, naturally, you may fear increasing the number of emails you send to subscribers.
But Alchemy Worx found that if a brand increases its email sends from one email per month to four, it doubles the open rate and earns, on average, an additional 11% revenue for the brand.
A Chadwick Martin Bailey and Constant Contact study found that rather than the subject line, it's the sender's name that most affects email open rates:

In short, if you provide valuable content to your subscribers, they will welcome emails from you and your company. Continue to email them as often as is necessary if your emails serve them. But also give them the option and power to choose how often they want to receive emails from you.
Here's an example of how Nathalie Lussier does it:
By doing so, you'll retain your most engaged subscribers but also remove people who are not interested in what you have to offer.

5. Wipe out visuals from your emails
Do you think plain text emails scream boring and uninviting? Would your subscribers turn away in disgust?
A 2014 study by Hubspot found that two-thirds of respondents said they preferred image-based emails.
But when researchers looked at actual click data, emails with no images or fewer rather than more images had higher click-through rates:

So why the discrepancy? Aren't people supposed to be attracted to a well-designed and attractive email with images versus a plain text email?
According to the researchers, respondents of the survey were actually reporting on what "they think is true, what they want to be true, and what they think you want to hear."
Strip your emails of unnecessary sidebars and graphics. Your subscribers will be more likely to perform that single call of action without all the unnecessary distractions. Your emails will also look a lot less commercial.

YouTube Film School for Marketers: The Scrappy Upstart's Cheat Sheet for High-Quality Video Marketing

YouTube Film School for Marketers: The Scrappy Upstart's Cheat Sheet for High-Quality Video Marketing

In 2016, video is an important part of the content marketing mix, and it's here to stay.
Video has an uncanny ability to quickly warm up potential customers and connect them to you and your product. YouTube, the largest repository of videos, offers you the opportunity to create a dedicated audience of subscribers; and as the second largest search engine after Google, it's not to be ignored.
All that sounds very tempting, but if you don't have video experience, it can also be very intimidating.
When Magoosh, the company started making branded social video content, they were overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting recommendations out there. That feeling of information overload is what led to this guide—a quick-start "film school" for marketers.
What follows is a cheat sheet of all you need to get started making great face-to-camera videos for YouTube.

Step 1: Build your video kit
Though it's possible to create video for YouTube on your phone—and I would recommend that over entirely skipping video marketing—the best camera tools for authoritative-quality videos are Digital SLR cameras.
DSLRs are manufactured by all major camera companies; they have low-cost "prosumer" models, and they are simple enough out of the box for a beginner. Starting in fully automatic mode will still net you some great looking video, and you'll be able to take more control and move into manual mode over time.

Chances are your DSLR will come with a kit lens that will work pretty well for beginner purposes. If you want to kick your video up a notch, consider a 50mm lens. These tend to still be affordable, but they also have a better build and will allow you to achieve a wider aperture and shallower depth of field (we'll cover why that's important a little later).

One downfall of a DSLR is the sound quality, because the built-in microphones are often low in quality. And if you're thinking about skimping on audio, think again: Studies show that although audiences will tolerate video quality issues, they aren't nearly as forgiving of bad audio.
A plug-in, on-camera mic is all you need to solve this problem, though. I like Rode mics for their ease of use and affordability. If you're looking for a more shoestring budget option, fairly high-quality audio can be recorded on your smartphone, with an app like iTalk, and then synced to your video in post-production.

Softbox lights set up in a two-point lighting configuration are the simplest and most convenient option for face-to-camera video. There are many budget-friendly softbox lighting kits available, and using actual lights (rather than sunlight) means that you have the flexibility to film on overcast days, in rooms without windows, or after the sun has set.
In a pinch, natural sunlight can work if you position your subject facing a window in the morning or late afternoon. However, avoid overhead fluorescent lights at all costs.

It's easy to overlook the background behind the speaker in your video, but to do so is to miss an opportunity to create visual interest and to signal quality. There are two good ways to go here: find a clean, aesthetically pleasing room that helps convey the message of your video, or hang a neutral backdrop.

  A look at the two-point lighting setup in action!

Step 2: Learn your video basics
Depth of Field
Depth of field refers to the range of what is in focus in video, film, and photography. It's the slice of space where the image is in sharp focus; everything outside this range is soft and unfocused. Using depth of field intentionally is one of the best ways to deliver great looking video.
Here are four magic words: "shallow depth of field."
Use a shallow depth of field by setting a small aperture value, place your video subject in the range, and then let rest of the background fall into softer focus. Doing so literally places the focus on your subject, clueing in your audience into what is most important in your video.
It also gives a cinematic quality to your footage, rather than the flatter look of a home video. Without realizing it, audiences tend to understand this "film look" as indicating quality, which is a win for you.

Your composition will vary depending on what you're including in your video, but for face-to-camera videos, the rule of thirds is a good concept to start with: Imagine a grid dividing your image into nine equal parts. Your subject should typically be placed on one of the vertical lines, with his or her eyes more or less lined up to the upper horizontal line.
The audience's eyes are naturally drawn to the places where the grid lines intersect, so they are a great place for you to put the things you most want them to look at.

Pulling Focus

Although camera auto modes can give you a boost as you learn to make video, one area where you should use manual is when focusing your image. Your lens's autofocus can be noisy enough to be picked up by microphones and it can "chase" your subject in a shot.
Set your focus to manual and practice pulling clear focus using the focal ring on your lens. As long as your subject stays put, you should have to get focus only once when you set up your shot.

Step 3: Iterate
In the end, the most important thing is this: Just make a video. It's likely that everything will not be perfect the first time (or the 15th). Instead of being stymied by perfectionism, get as many of the basics down as you can and then practice one new skill each time you make a video.