Your blog, your bar: Turning social media into happy hour

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s not even about your business. What is social media about, then?

It’s about your customers or your clients. It’s about engaging them, educating them, leading them, feeding them, and fawning over them.

Really?

Yes.

Your primary goal in using social media shouldn’t be just to increase traffic to your site. Because you could do that by paying some kid in Toronto to buy you 4,000 Facebook ‘Friends’ and, today, your site would do well in search engine rankings.

But what about tomorrow? And what about sales?

Blog posts, Twitter tweets, the whole lot—they are designed to help your business find a loyal following of people who will, in turn, support your business. For years and years.

Best Western_Social Media Blog
Companies like BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelowna Hotel & Suites are using social media to connect with their customers on a whole new level.

In a Vancouver Province article titled Social media: It’s not about you and your company,’ Mhairi Petrovic, owner of Vancouver-based Out-Smarts Marketing, said entrepreneurs need to think of social media as a loop (I say we should think of it kind of like the local pub).

…”It’s an interaction with your audience and you are building a community with people. If you do a good job they become your marketing department and help you to spread the word to new audiences and new profiles,” said Petrovic, of the viral nature of social media that sees Facebook posts and tweets spread through long lists of friends and followers.

“It’s not about you and your company. It’s about how do you get people to interact and build community with you. It’s about your audience and how do you add value for them and stimulate conversation.”

Again, it’s kind of like the local pub. And you’re the bartender. Chat up your customers. Tell them the stories and insider secrets they’ve come to hear. And watch them come back, day after day, and pull up a stool.

Are you looking to develop a presence on the social media scene? Read Head Copywriting offers blogging and an array of other professional writing services to help your business receive the digital marketing exposure it needs to grow.

Don’t know what to blog about? Six tips to help you think of easy, effective blog topics

BlogA LOT OF BUSINESS OWNERS KNOW they should blog. They do. Many even want to blog. They just don’t know what to blog about.

No more excuses. No more, “But I don’t know what to write.”

Six tips to help you think of easy and effective blog topics:

1.      Ask yourself, What’s happening in my industry right now?

Most of us hunt for information online and read our newspapers that way too. By blogging about and using keywords from current events related to your industry, readers are going to be pleasantly surprised when they land on your page. And they just might bookmark your blog and come back again, and again.

So, if you’re a mortgage broker, you can blog about interest rates, statistics about the housing market, changes to amortization rates as well as trends and tips for home-buying.

 2.     What topics are my followers interested in, or looking for online right now?

Finding something to blog about can sometimes be as simple as identifying an industry trend and lending your perspective to it.

Let’s say you own a dive shop, but it’s winter. Your customers aren’t out on the water, but they’re probably outdoor enthusiasts all-year round. Blog about winter games, winter activities, races, area sporting events, etc. Anything related to what you do that’s of interest to your community.

3.     Are there photos of something related to my business I can post?

For example, someone who runs wine tours in the Okanagan could put up a post about a beautiful decanter they saw online at store x. Wine-lovers will return to your site for all things wine, share your photos on social media platforms and your brand will be on the tip of their tongue

4.     Can I promote an upcoming event?

People are always looking for what, when and where online. If you’ve got a post with all the details for the upcoming downtown festival, guess what? Searchers will land on your page. The events don’t have to be ones you’re hosting or are a major participant in. As long as it’s related to your business, is of interest to your clients and is happening in their area, you’ve got good reason to blog about it.

 5.     Do I have any advice?

You can think of your blog as an expert’s column. Some business owners feel comfortable and useful blogging about common customer questions. And that’s great. You know your products and services, and online searchers want to know about your products or service. So there’s a real win-win happening here. Readers get information. You get site traffic and sales.

6.     Sales, new and upcoming products, etc.

Your followers and customers will appreciate being in the know about sales and new stock, but you’ll want to blog about this sparingly, or at least in balance with other topics. Customers want to read your blog and feel more like they’re reading the articles rather than the ads.

Remember that a blog isn’t your website or your brochure. It’s more like the local pub. Give your customers a place to hang out to develop a sense of loyalty and community. Then, when they want to buy something, your site is at their fingertips.

If you see the benefits of a blog for your business, but you’ve already got a totem pole of a to-do list, we can help. Read Head Copywriting offers professional blogging services so you can find and keep customers and form a community without lifting a finger! Phone us so today at 250-540-3041 to find out more about how hiring a professional blogger can help your business.

Photo courtesy: Gratisography

Pump up the volume: How to make your website stand out

THE INTERNET IS A NOISY, CLUTTERED PLACE. Ads pop up, play, and flash in your face almost constantly.

Some websites feel a little like Vegas, and it’s all people can do not to run for the airport or an eyepatch and tune it all out.

More and more website viewers are sick of being sucker-punched while they’re hunting online for the right baby stroller or a restaurant review.

How can you make your website stand out? And even offer a space that feels light and airy as well as engaging and educational?

A clutter-free website is just the start. Your real sales team is the text. If you want your website to attract visitors who will not only come back again and again, but also buy whatever you’re selling, you need to offer quality web content.

Quality web content updated regularly is the best way to get more hits, links and leads. Readers are happy. Google is happy. You are happy (and busy, filling orders).

What is quality content? Quality web content:

  • Using web content that's direct and convincing, Mormak Aggregate Equipment is able to capture the enormity of what they do–build and sell some of the world’s most reliable rock-crushing plants.
    Using web content that’s direct and convincing, Mormak Aggregate Equipment is able to capture the enormity of what they do–build and sell some of the world’s most reliable rock-crushing plants.

    Uses keywords and employs search engine optimization (SEO) without sacrificing quality. Your descriptions and other website text need to be clear and correct as well as convincing. If it looks like someone who hasn’t finished high school wrote your web content, what kind of impression will that give potential customers about your brand?

  • Offers readers valuable information. Chances are, if someone lands on your site, they’re already looking for whatever you’re selling. By tweeting, blogging and writing newsletters, you can form a community of like-minded people who will return to your website for news, purchases and research.
  • Is all about you. A lot of website text focuses on the business – their qualifications, services, history, etc. without mentioning the word ‘you’ once. Guess what? It’s not about ‘you’ – the business; it’s about ‘you’ – the customer. How can your product or service improve their life? By writing web content from the ‘you’ perspective instead of ‘we,’ the reader feels connected and convinced.

So, instead of putting more stuff on your website, turn up the volume on your content. Less is more.

Of course, there’s a lot more to creating great website content, but even employing these three steps to better web copywriting will help your website stand out.

Think your website content could use a boost, but you’d rather be schmoozing with chamber folk or preparing for your 2014 tax return? The BC copywriters at Read Head Copywriting can help you connect with customers with web content that’s clear, compelling and contains a subtle, strategic use of keywords.

Did you just open a small business? Position yourself for success with these top 10 marketing trends

WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, we all want to give our money to someone we know and trust, and get a well-made product or a well-delivered service in return.

That’s why we love it when the barista remembers we don’t take milk, why people like my husband quickly nickname acquaintances (To our washer repairman of three minutes: “I don’t know, Jer. It’s just not spinning”).

More than the coffee or the sealed sink, we want relationships rather than transactions.

What does that mean to you as the owner of a small business, and a new one at that?

It means you need to make people care about you and your business, and you need to show you care about your customers. Above all right now, consumers value the story and the worth behind their expenditures. Whether you sell train sets or hard drives, people will feel good about giving you their money if you take advantage of marketing trends that allow customers to get to know your business, your reputation, your dog’s name….

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, these are the top 10 trends you need to consider:

  1. Building reliable brand advocates. The idea that you need tens of thousands of Twitter followers, blog subscribers, LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends to build your business via social media is dead. Quality connections with those who are loyal to the business and the brand are far more helpful to spread your message than large groups of connections who disappear after the first interaction.
  2. Excelling in one area rather than being all things to all people. This will be a year for small businesses to focus on their unique niches and position themselves as the definitive source for information, products and services related to the specific places in the markets where they operate.
  3. Creating quality content as a viable marketing tool. Social media marketing and content marketing go hand-in-hand, and this is the year businesses will create useful content that adds value to the online conversation and to people’s lives. The Web is a cluttered place. Amazing content is essential to break through the noise
  4.  Moving more marketing dollars to social media. Statistics show that large and small companies are shifting budget dollars to social media and other digital marketing initiatives and away from print and radio advertising. Consumers spend more time online than ever and to reach them and stay competitive, small businesses need to have a presence on the social Web.
  5. Tracking brand reputations on the social Web in greater detail. Social media has given consumers a large platform to voice their opinions, and small-business owners are realizing the importance of actively monitoring their reputation on the Web. With dashboards and social media aggregators like Hootsuite and Spredfast, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to develop, nurture and track their stature online .
  6. Increase in branded online experiences to meet diverse consumer needs. Simply having a Twitter account or Facebook page isn’t enough this year. Small businesses must surround consumers with branded online destinations such as a blog, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel, Flickr profile and so on. Consumers can then pick and choose how they want to interact with your brand. Of course, quality trumps quantity, so extending a brand across the social Web must be done strategically to maximize opportunities without compromising content and communications1.

What are trends 7-10? Find out by clicking here.

The key message here is your marketing needs to focus on quality, not quantity, in order for you to attract and keep customers and make more money.

Do you want to take advantage of some of these trends, such as developing quality content and creating a community online, but you’d rather be counting beans or fixing your debit machine? Contact us at Read Head Copywriting today to find out more about how we can help your business connect with customers through blogs, engaging web content, and more

(1. Entrepreneur Magazine online, www.entrepreneur.com; 10 Marketing Trends for 2011 by Susan Gunelius. Jan.  12, 2011)

Read Head Copywriting is taking care of businesses this summer

We’ve got some amazing samples of recent work to show you. We wrote a script for a Simply Delicious commercial; almost 300 course descriptions for Okanagan College’s new Continuing Studies brochure, a press release and web content for East Hill Inn, blogs and web content for North Okanagan Investigations, and more….

Our wizard of a web guy is working on adding those and other projects we’re proud of so you can see how Read Head Copywriting can help your business.

Blogs

We help North Okanagan Investigations boost traffic to its site and attract clients by writing blog posts about services and industry news.

Here’s an excerpt from the post Rick Lavin, Private Investigator:

THE THRILL OF THE HUNT. The look on a mother’s face when I tell her, “I found your son.” The office, once thick with tension, where coworkers are again sharing staplers and telling jokes because they know who did it, and he’s gone.

These are just some of the reasons why I became a private investigator……