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call to action

How the right call to action could help you build trust and create an online community

call to action

Writing a great call to action is an art.

It’s the difference between winning and losing customers, having a successful or a struggling business.

It can build trust, make your prospects feel part of a community or movement, and make them take decisive action.

It tells them exactly what you want them to do. Or, it should!

How do you write a good call to action?

A call to action (CTA) should be short, snappy, and targeted to your ideal customer.

It should match your content seamlessly and will often be contained in a button or icon.

However, don’t leave the copy on your call to action to your designer.

It’s part of the package of persuasion you need to use to create a convincing customer journey, taking them from piqued interest to confirmed sale.

What you need is a top-notch copywriter, of course!

Go back to your client avatar and look at what motivates them.

Do they want to be part of something? Are they naturally cautious? Do they feel the need to take swift decisions?

All of this will inform how you write your CTA.

Then, write 12 of them. Take a look at each one and think about how it answers a need in your ideal client.

Whittle it down to the best three and do some testing with those. Find out which one is the most effective.

You can do this by creating different landing pages, advertising campaigns, or social media posts.

Here are some creative and persuasive CTAs

Join us – Perfect for businesses which are building communities of potential clients. There’s a collaborative feel to this call to action, prospects feel valued, wanted, and part of something bigger than themselves.

Try it free – The purchasing decision moves from interest and research to weighing up benefits and making the choice: to buy or not to buy. One of the important ways you can move the decision along the axle towards purchasing is to build trust. Try it free, without risk, and see for yourself. A powerful CTA.

Discover more – Who doesn’t like to discover something? It’s the best way of finding out information. You’re a traveller in data and case studies, the Indiana Jones of knowledge. You’re more likely to buy if you’ve dug up that nugget yourself.

Claim your… – Hey, it’s already yours! Just claim it and it will be right with you. Who wouldn’t feel a little reciprocity here?

Continue – A clever way of using a very simple call to action. You’re already invested in this potential business relationship, so…

Continue!

Don’t press! – If you tell people not to do something, you can be guaranteed they will be intrigued about why they shouldn’t and, of course, they will press. Reverse psychology works, as every parent will tell you.

View products – Great for ecommerce sites and it’s straight to the point and invites people into your online store to browse. It’s also much better than using the word ‘browse’ which smacks of going down an online rabbit hole and wasting half your day.

Grab it now! – Get something you want instantaneously. There’s no need for delayed gratification here, whether it’s an online course, e-book, or useful lead generator but don’t use this with stuff you have to wait days for, though, or people might feel a little cheated.

Yes, please – Of course, send me the coupon/offer! Why on earth would I say no? Faced with a yes/no alternative, people are likely to hit yes if your copy is persuasive and there’s a low risk attached.

If you need a hand writing your CTAs, we’re here to help on 07790 657427. Or, join our merry band on LinkedIn.
story

Does your business understand the power of a story?

story

It’s a Sunday afternoon and rain is lashing against your window. Inside your warm, cosy home, you’re curled up on the sofa. You’re lost in a story, a book that you simply cannot put down.

Or, you may be watching an amazing film which is so gripping that you just can’t pause it and put the kettle on.

Yesterday, a Danny Boyle film about a singer/songwriter who becomes one of a handful of people in the world who can remember the Beatles, connects with us because we understand his story of struggle and persistence, we all have the shared experience of knowing and loving the Beatles songs in the film, and we share a gasp-out-loud moment with the main character. (No spoilers here for those who haven’t seen it!)

Many of us went to the cinema and felt the hour and 57 minutes it took to screen it flew by.

We were totally engaged with the film.

You’re experiencing a story as if you’re inside it.

The best stories are those which resonate with our experience.

We identify with characters who persevere against the odds, with situations we’ve experienced ourselves, and with the hopes and dreams we share with those characters.

We react with empathy and look for connections.

The Harry Potter books and films have created generations of fans because of that emotional connection they feel to the main characters such as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and Hagrid.

They feel righteous anger when Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange, fear for their heroes when they enter the Ministry of Magic in disguise, and they root for Harry in his battle with Voldemort.

We become lost in a magical world.

Have you ever listened to someone’s story intently and been captivated by it?

As you stand there in front of the storyteller, your brains are synching.

Neuroscientists have researched this phenomenon. They carried out MRIs on listener and storyteller and found their brains lit up in the same way.

Your brain is reacting as if you are experiencing that story yourself and you feel connected.

Think how often the best stand-up comedians such as Sarah Millican, Stewart Lee, Dave Allen, and Joan Rivers have used stories as the basis for their comedy.

Stories have power.

The empathy stories create helps businesses reach potential clients or customers.

It also helps clients along their decision-making process.

Most people don’t just buy using logic and data. They use emotions to make that purchasing decision, so it’s important to create an emotional connection.

How can I use stories to connect with my customers?

  1. Use your website’s About Us page – Telling your story as a business helps clients connect with your purpose. People often need to know why you do what you do before they will commit to spending money. Tell them about your story, your values, and your goals. Replicate it for print products such as brochures or flyers.
  2. Share case studies – How did you help a customer through a difficult situation? How did you ensure a successful outcome? What challenges did you face?
  3. Share reviews or testimonials – These can often act as mini-stories to show how you solved a client’s problem. They are most powerful when the people leaving reviews are willing to be identified and when reviews are left on independent sites.
  4. Your networking pitch – Use stories to connect with potential clients or collaborators in your networking pitches, from the usual 60-second pitch to the longer five or ten-minute presentation.
  5. Your business book – If you tell your story in your business book, your readers will connect with your insights.
  6. Get your employees on board – Make them the purveyors of your story, the best advocates and story-tellers you could have. Listen to Anita Roddick, the late, great founder of The Body Shop: “The lesson of preindustrial societies is storytelling. All our employees should be storytellers.”

Do you need help telling your story? Contact us for advice and support.

website

What to write on the About Us page of a website

About Us page

Your website ‘About Us’ page is the one place which can be all about you…can’t it?

Wrong! It’s still all about your potential clients.

You may be telling your story, but you need to tell it in a way which will forge strong relationships with your website visitors.

You need to make an emotional connection and show them you understand what they need.

Here are a few simple ways to do that…

Be authentic…

Take a look at the story of Gladstone Motorcycles. It’s a cracking tale told in the words and style of the company’s CEO Henry Cole, a descendant of the former Prime Minister William Gladstone and the presenter of TV shows including The Motorbike Show and Find It, Fix It, Flog It.

It’s clear about the type of client it wants to attract. In fact, it calls them “discerning hooligans”, something the business knows will make its ideal client base smile.

This story’s tone is completely authentic to this business.

How can you tell your story in an authentic fashion? What will help people see the core of your business purpose?

Be succinct…

Design studio Eight Hour Day has a mission to simplify the creative process. Its About Us page is simple, straightforward, and just a few lines long. It says this: It’s all about collaboration and passion, and we can’t wait to work with you.

Be jargon free…

No one likes industry jargon. Ditch it and keep it simple. That will keep your website visitors reading, and that’s the pint, isn’t it? Check out this jargon-free page from Apptopia.

Be specific…

Know your audience. Understand who you’re speaking to and what sort of tone and content will connect with them. Do your client personas/avatars before you write your content to ensure it cuts through the noise online. A great example is the Nike About Us page.

Its audience is those who work hard to achieve physical success, not celebrities or those who buy its products for the brand value. It shows that with the strapline “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

Nike is a brand which understands its roots. It also understands the need to say: “We’re still just like you”.

Be funny…

In many sectors, you can use humour to forge that connection with your potential clients.

However, never ‘punch down’. Always make fun of yourselves, rather than your clients!

The illustrator Blaze Suarez is very funny (anyone who loves The Jerk by Steve Martin will appreciate his bio). He’s also combined his About Us and Contact page – a handy tip!

Be clear…

…About what you want your potential clients to do next.

Write a strong call to action. Whether you want them to browse your shop, call your office, or send you a contact form to make an appointment, tell them.

What can you include on an About Us page alongside your story?

  • Your mission and vision
  • Team biographies
  • A pledge to clients
  • What makes you tick
  • What clients say about you

Need some help with your About Us page? Get in touch! We love telling a good tale…

 

 

ideal customers

How can I speak to my ideal customers online? Here’s how you find Mr or Ms Right…

ideal customers

Find your ideal customers

Sometimes, we feel like there’s a deluge of information on the internet. It can be off-putting, confusing, and so difficult to find our ideal customers.

There’s so much content out there right now. The thing you have to remember is that most of it isn’t useful to your target audience.

You need to be different and to speak directly to them.

That’s why you need to find your Mr and Ms Right.

Building a profile of your ideal customer/s is the starting point.

It all starts with data.

ideal customers

Get your head around your data…

Your data will show you who is buying your products or services, and who is interacting with your social media posts. That’s not to say all of them are your ideal customers, but it must be your starting point.

Here are your sources of data:

Google Analytics – If you haven’t got this activated on your website, activate it now. It’s still the gold standard when it comes to seeing website visitor numbers and the levels of engagement. Its demographics function also gives you a great deal of information about your website visitors.

Twitter Analytics – Twitter gives you a great deal of information about those who view and interact with your posts. It tells you what interests your followers (business, news, sport, comedy), the age range and gender breakdown, what sort of devices they use, and even which mobile phone/broadband service they use. Twitter has shown me that a growing number of people are viewing my tweets via iPhones and iPads, and Android phones, continuing the trend towards mobile.

Facebook and other social media – Facebook can show you a great deal about those who engage with your posts including locality, age range, friendship networks, interests (via your followers’ likes), and other social media you use regularly can also give you good insights into who is interacting with you.

Your sales records – It’s amazing how many people overlook this. Your own records have great insights into who is buying your products or services, and how they are using them. It’s an excellent starting point. If you don’t know how old they are, what brought them to you, etc, why not consider a customer questionnaire to help you improve your service?

So, what do you do next?

Take a few days to plough through all of this information. Pick out the age range, gender balance, locality, their interests, where they ‘hang out’ on social media, whether they are professionals.

Now, you have a basic profile and you should know whether you are targeting women in their 40s or professional 20-somethings.

Most people would stop there. Don’t. Your ideal customer profile has to be very detailed. If you’d like to learn how to do that, why not book onto one of our courses?

From all of this data and information you’ve gathered, you should now have a feel for where you’re going with your profile. At some point, the data has to be supplemented by your intuition about those who will buy from your business, and why.

How will your target audience find you on the web?

What kind of keywords could you use? There are a number of keyword finder tools – both paid for and free – which you could use in your research. They include:

http://keywordtool.io/

http://www.wordstream.com/keyword-tools

http://www.internetmarketingninjas.com/search/

http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/

http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html

http://ubersuggest.org/

http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/

Need help with blogging for your business? Email maria@wordsyoucanuse.co.uk. Check out what my company does here

 

blogging for business

How can I write a killer blog headline?

Want to know the secret? Write your blog headline like the media industry headline writers…

blogging for business

Take a lesson from the media…

News media headline writing is an art, something taught to sub-editors over many years. A great headline makes you smile, think, stop in your tracks. Your blog headline will be shared on social media, so if you get it right it could be the reason thousands of people read on.

The reason news media do headlines so well is simple: they write it at the end of the process, not at the beginning. They know the story.

In the same vein, never write your blog headline until you have typed the last full stop on your post.

Here are the basic blog headline rules:

Use short, active words – A punchy headline grabs the attention. Cut out unnecessary words, especially adverbs.

It must contain a verb – Making the headline active means using a verb, even if that verb’s ‘is’.

Use figures – Don’t write them out as words. Studies have also shown that using figures in a headline makes it more attractive to the reader. Round monetary figures up, or down.

Make it accurate – Don’t write a sensational but inaccurate headline to suck readers into the post. They’ll feel cheated.

Reflect your content – Throwing in a celebrity name to the headline, for example, without backing that up in the post will backfire on you.

Don’t use tortuous puns – No matter how tempted you feel, just don’t do it. This isn’t about showing how cleverly you can write, it’s about communicating with your target audience.

Don’t over-use exclamation marks – They are called ‘screamers’ in newsrooms because they are often over-used to scream out content.

Read it aloud – If it sounds convoluted, or ridiculous, delete and start again. If you can’t say it easily, they won’t read it easily.

Will it appeal to your target audience? – Ask yourself how, and why they would read on. Think about their problems, how they like to spend their time when you’re making this decision.

Blog writing for SEO

Get the right keywords for your business…

Don’t forget SEO: Search engine optimisation is still very important in blog headlines and your keyword research should help you. Which words appeal to your ideal customers and how can you incorporate them in an organic way?

Some headline power words: There are some words which people find innately attractive. “Discover”, “Find”, and “Secrets” arouse our curiosity and make us want to find out more.

“Powerful”, “effective”, and “hacks” make us feel the content we’re about to read is hitting our usefulness sweet spot and so does the word “useful”.

Too busy to blog yourself? Drop me an email on maria@wordsyoucanuse.co.uk.