Tips on the Google Ad Fundamentals course

I really enjoyed taking the Google Ad Fundamentals course.  There was a lot of information to go through but Google has done a very good job explaining things in a logical manner.  I’m going to take you through what I think are the highlights of the course. It’s not the easiest exam so if you are going to take it I suggest you review the optional course topics and take notes.  You can challenge the exam and you need to receive 80% or better to pass, if you do not pass you are locked out from challenging the exam for 24 hours, but then you can try again.

Basics of Google Ads

Google searches – deciding between a search ad and a display ad campaign.

YouTube – running ads at the start of a video, or at segmented portions of the video if it is 3:00 or longer.

New York Times.com – Google partner websites. There are millions of them.

There are two general themes for Google Ads: 1. Control your costs and 2. Improve performance on your ads and your marketing goals.

Control your costs, you have the ability to put a max on your monthly budget, daily budget or even your specific ad budget.

For improving performance Google Ads shows you how many people see your ads, what percentage of them click to visit your website, and even how many click to call you.  It has amazing tracking tools which you can watch too improve how many people are coming to your site, how many are signing up to your newsletter or are purchasing your products, and how many are leaving your site mid-way through the sales funnel.  It’s all about reviewing this information and making small adjustments to find the right advertising fit for you and your company.

Where customers see your ads

You get to choose where your customers will see your ads, as well as the ad format.

The Google Network is made up of two networks: Search and Display.  It determines where your ads show up such as Google sites, partner site and other places such as mobile phone apps.

Search ads – Google Search Network is used for normal google searches or using the google maps function.  These ads have a headline, website URL and a one-line description and then you can add extensions such as a contact us link or upcoming event link, etc… When creating this type of search ad you put in the types of keywords or phrases that you think your customers will search when looking for a product or service that your company provides.  These search ads are very efficient and work across multiple devices; it’s up to you to ensure your landing page (website) is compatible with the types of devices your customers use. These type of search ads don’t have any images or rich media content. You can add extensions such as an image that can show up on the Display Network as well, depending on the extension.

Display ads – A good example of a business that would use Display ads on the Google Display Network is an online fashion business.  This way you can show images or videos of the products you offer that make it very easy to shop for. Display ads even include video ads that can show up on YouTube with content related to her targeting.  Using display ads you can select the placements, the topics and the audience for your ads. Keep in mind who your target demographic is and even your geographic area. Display ads can show up on Google sites such as YouTube, Blogger, Gmail and millions of other websites around the world.

-Shoppr

Create effective text ads

An effective text ad will have a clear headline (it shows up in blue to make it stand out), your website which will say Ad in front of it and show up in green writing, and then it will have a one-line description as I mentioned in the paragraphs above but this line is best used to have a call to action, but you have to be mindful of Google’s editorial rules, you can’t be gimmicky with your text.  I think the Avoid editorial errors and Address trademark disapproval’s are two of the most important sections in this blog, so if you want to review those now then come back, it may be worth your while.

Pro tip – For “Path” fields which are optional you can have up to 15 characters after your website URL.  So to be more clear and direct with your customer you can have your URL changed to ex) www.mystore.com/rare-stamps to take them directly to your rare stamps for sale.

The description section which I describe as a one-line description can actually be as much as 80 characters but that is not a lot so choose wisely.  It is a good opportunity to use a clear call to action but be mindful of Google’s editorial rules.

Lastly its important that your landing page is well thought out and provides value to your customers.  If it is not it will contribute to a poor ad rank which I will be discussing further down in this blog.  With a really poor landing page, even with a good text ad, your ad may not show up at all.

Enhance your ads with extensions

Ad extensions can really help with your CTR (Click Through Rate)

Possible ad extensions can be ex) Call now link, contact us link, sitelink extension, link to download your app and structured snippets.  A structured snippet is a way to highlight aspects of your business such as “Bouquets, Indoor plants, Cacti”.

You can add a maximum of 4 extensions per ad.  With proper use of extensions, it can provide the extra call to action that is needed to get someone to click on your URL. 

The nice part about extensions is after they are created Google Ads attaches your ad extensions based on its predicts if they will improve performance for customers.  Your ad rank needs to be high enough before extensions will start to show up.

Choose the best campaign types

In the exam I found there were lots of questions regarding the different campaign types, it’s definitely a topic to understand well before your write the exam. When deciding on what is the best campaign to use you need to be very clear about what your goal is.  Is it drawing new customers to your site, or raising awareness about new products you’re offering, or are you trying to bring new customers to your store?  For raising awareness about your site or store a search campaign is going to be your best bet. Sometimes coupled with a Display campaign to help raise awareness but the Search campaign is the most effective method.

Video campaigns allow you to engage customers in different ways.  A video campaign can run ads on YouTube or on other sites on the Google Display Network.  

Shopping campaigns show an image with name price and extension, next to the person’s search results.  This type of campaign is helpful for retailers trying to market their products.

Universal App campaigns are where you can easily promote your app on the Search, Display and on YouTube.  “In this type of campaign, your ads and bids are automatically adjusted to get the most downloads for your app.” (Google).  You need to provide some text, a budget and the locations and language you want for your ads. Google will then use their analytics systems to predict the most suitable customers based on their current and previous search history.

Organize your Google account and Google campaign

You should organize your Google account like you would for school.  Break it down by what grade or year you are in, subject, then the specific chapters or course material.   So for your Google account, you should break it down by business if you have multiple businesses, then by the type of campaign you want to run, if you have a business that is international or multilingual you would want to break it out by languages or geographic location if there are distinct cultural differences that would need you to have different marketing strategies.  Lastly, there are the ad groups that you want to use, it’s easy to break it down by the types of products or services you offer. As an example, if you are in the telecommunications industry and you sell different types of devices, you could break them out by phones, tablets and GPS units, so that each of them gets their own ad groups.

Determining and selecting your bid strategy

When determining your bid strategy you need to first look at the 3 factors that most influence it. 1. Your overall budget. 2. Your campaign goals. 3. Your cost of conversion.

When considering your campaign goals its good to be as specific as you can be. Are you looking to drive more people to your site? Are you looking to increase sales from people who visit your site, add something to their cart but do not complete the sale? Or simply (I say simply but it is simple in theory, more difficult to perform) increase in your conversion of people who visit your site to proceeding with signing up for a email newsletter, free piece of content or purchasing a product or service from your site.

Your cost of conversion, it’s clear you need to carefully watch how much profit you are going to be making and how much does it make sense to spend on advertising. If you sell a product for $20, your base cost is $12 and your marketing costs are $6 is it worth all of the effort? Can you find a way to succeed with your Quality Score and Ad Rank and only spend $4 per sale?

You will need to consider how much control do you want over your bidding strategy? Do you want to use Manual bidding, where you decide what keywords potentially mean more to you so you would be willing to bid a higher amount than one of the other keywords you’ve listed.

Automatic bidding lets Google using predictions of what people would find relevant in their searches to submit the bid. Note: When looking to determine your daily advertising costs you should multiply it by 30.4 which is the average days in a month over the year; this will give you your monthly. Using automatic bidding Google is allowed to go over the daily amount by 20% but it will not charge you more than your set monthly budget. If you are consistently going over your budget, you ad will show up less often as you approach your limit even if the search is relevant to your website and keywords. Automatic bidding also allows you to put in marketing goal for Google to focus on, such as get the most clicks or conversions as possible. It can be an excellent time saver but you have to consider how much control you want to give up. If you don’t like automatic bidding you can always switch to manual bidding and vise versa, even in the middle of your marketing cycle, but it’s always best to have a look at your performance info. before making changes.

Do you want to bid for CPC (Cost Per Click) or for ROI? Will increasing your CPC by $1 have the effect you want? By automatic bidding it takes care of this for you but these are the choices you need to consider in manual bidding, and breaking it down further by which keywords you are willing to pay more for.

If you are trying to get the word out about your business a CPM (Cost Per Thousand Views) will be the most effective method for getting your name out there.

Evaluate campaign performance

This is one of the biggest benefits of advertising on the internet. Google Ads manager has strong analytics to be able to dig into how well your ads are performing, trending keywords in your industry, if certain segments are stronger than others. It’s a great way to review your goals and make small adjustments to your ad group or campaign to reach your marketing goals whether it is to raise awareness about your brand or website or to increase your conversion rate of people going to your website and following through with a purchase. You can also look at how you are going on your ROI (Return on Investment); for example, if you are selling a product for $2,000 and your cost for that product is $1,000 and you spend on average $200 on marketing then your ROI is: [2,000 – (1,000 + 200)] / (1,000 + 200) = 66.67% ROI

One of the best things about Google Ads Manager is that while you can look at all of the metrics, Google has clear recommendations on its view of how effective your ads are and will provide recommendations on how the information is interpreted and point out potential weaknesses. If your goal is to increase your conversion rate and you and effectively drawing more people to your site but not increasing your conversions, Google would likely point out that your landing page needs work.

Avoid editorial errors

Here’s a quick list of some of the symbols that are not allowed in your Google ad.  They will automatically be not approved and will not be shown. 

Other reasons are spelling and grammar; Google runs a tight ship; they want your ads to be grammatically correct, clear and present a polished look.  If you use gimmicky text like CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS YoUr A WiNnEr, they will not show that ad. Additionally, if you want to use !!! to really reinforce your point, Google is not interested, your words should be the attention grabber, you can use ! but just once in a sentence.  Google is also trying to stay away from simple clickbait ads, so they will also not allow the use of “Click here”, using a phone number in your ad (Call extensions, it’s what they’re there for).

Address trademark disapproval’s

If your business sells brand name products and you want to advertise those products in your ad, you will need to request their approval to use their trademark.  As an example, if your online business sells Starbucks coffee, you need to request to use their trademark name when advertising. Google takes this very seriously and it is a quick way to get your ad disapproved, your ad will not show on the Google Network until it is resolved, so its best to be proactive.  Here is a link to how you request the trademark approval through Google Ads.  Between a trademark approval and disapproval, there is also a trademark limited approval.  In a trademark limited approval, it means that the trademark you are using is only allowed to be viewed in certain countries and restricted in others.  If that’s acceptable to you then great, otherwise, you can go through the process to request the trademark approval with the other restricted countries.  Keep in mind it may but multiple other requests depending on how the Trademark holder obtained their trademark.

If your trademark is disapproved, can your ad still be functional without it? If yes, first remove it, get your ad running again and then follow the steps to request to the trademark approval.  You will need to distinguish if you are using the trademark as a reseller or for informational purposes.  

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course on Google Ad Fundamentals and I want re-emphasize the two main points of using Google Ads. 1. Control your costs, through choosing the right bid strategy. 2. Monitor your performance and make small adjustments to your ads to find the right formula to reach your marketing goals. Be careful in the text ad you create to ensure that you are meeting Google’s ad policies. For the exam you don’t need to worry about memorizing the acronyms, they provide them to you in the questions. Once you have passed your Google Ad Fundamentals course, it’s a good idea to open your account while all of the material is still fresh in your mind and start getting yourself organized for the types of campaigns you want to run, the marketing goals you are focusing on, your budget and ensuring you have good landing pages once you have drawn people’s attention to your site.

An example of a Google Ads campaign is about the Berwicks Shellfish company. It was started in 1969 and began a Google Ads campaign during a Christmas season to try and increase online sales, drive awareness online and generate more customer sign ups for their online mailing list. It started by the company being the main wholesale supplier of fish products in Europe but they believed they were missing out on selling directly to retailers. They started the Google Ads campaign in December and within 12 months they saw a ten-fold rise in new customers, online sales representing 70-80% of their business revenues and a 12% increase in customer mail sign ups.

The company focused on keywords such as ‘gourmet seafood’ and ‘salmon buffet’ as well they focused on the time of the year they would push for higher bids, ex) Christmas, Valentines Day and Easter. They understood during these peak times of the year for seafood, the importance of being on page one of the search results. This company had clear marketing goals, strategies that Google was able to implement and attention to detail on their websites landing pages and bidding strategy.

My Google Ad Fundamentals Certificate


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Transform your LinkedIn Profile

Have you ever wondered, how are some people on LinkedIn getting so much attention, where most of us just go unnoticed. I’ve been using LinkedIn for close to 10 years now and I’ll show you how to step up your game to get attention from your target audience and send the right message to them!

I along with Bert Verdonk – the CEO of Scredible – will teach you how to stand out on LinkedIn, because you need to with over 1 Billion searches conducted every day.

Key issues with average LinkedIn profiles

Profile pic

Basic and boring profile headline

What is the biggest mistake on LinkedIn? Using LinkedIn as a billboard instead of a tool

 In today’s world, people look other people up online before they meet them.  So if your LinkedIn profile looks shabby, they are making 50% of their mind up before ever meeting you.

Create a strong ROI (Return on Investment)

First search yourself online

Profile – to give visability ROI = Be Found + Look Good Online

Presence – Connectivity ROI = Strong Network

Participate – Likeability ROI = Reputation Informed/Context

Publish Online – Credibility ROI = Marketing / Awareness, Personal Brand/ Social Capital

Position – Trustability ROI = Respected Leader, Role Model

Your profile needs to stand out, you need to be seen as a thought leader, advocate for your organization, you can be perceived as a top professional who people want to do business with and you can use LinkedIn as a tool.

When people can’t find you online what happens?? Nothing.  Let’s increase the opportunities for people to find you.

What’s in a name? How can you increase people finding you when they don’t know the correct spelling of your name. By having a paragraph in your profile of misspelling your name it brings up your profile first.

Bert Verdonck for example puts it in other experience folder.

If your pic doesn’t look good then you are not going to get any attention.  First, your pic has to look professional. 

Profile pic tips

  1. Professional pics no drinks especially alcohol, no kids, no animals if you can’t crop the pic properly find a different pic
  2. Use a headshot, not a full body shot, even just your upper body is not ideal
  3. Be sure to relax and smile
  4. Consider your background a neutral background is preferable, in some cases a branded background is acceptable
  5. Use a current photo, an old photo can break trust when someone meets you in person and sees that it’s clearly a photo from a long time ago.  Think dating websites.

Your background photo is important too

  1. Use JPeg as the photo format
  2. No larger than 4 MB’s
  3. Pixel 1000 x 125, 4000 x 4000

You can reposition the background photo

Branded background large or mid-size company, even go to your company to pick a good background pic.

On your profile pic, ensure you centre it on yourself and click who is available to, don’t pick your network, pick everyone.

Your LinkedIn headline

Use what you are an expert on. I.e. LinkedIn expert and trainer.  Look at what Bert Verdonck has done on his LinkedIn profile. He’s a:

Scredible ambassador

Lifehacker, which can let people know you look to achieve extreme efficiency, with a witty attitude

He offers a free bestselling book on scredible.com

He put on that he is a Happy Chocoholic, which is quite a personal item but he is shocked at how many people reach out to him and start by talking to him about chocolate.

Headline Tips

Tell them why they should choose you from search

Explain what you do

Share what you can do for them (Free content)

Offer a conversation starter (being a chocolate lover as an example)

Use a thought-provoking statement

Add something you have in common

Tell them something unexpected

Use dividers | To increase readability

Use your 120 characters wisely

Make your profile appealing to your target audience.

Fill in your location and industry.

There’s a blue pen to the right of your profile pic, click on it and it will allow you to edit and add the info to your profile.  Your country is in a drop-down box.

Now here’s what you need to pay attention to before you click save.  On your zip code or postal code, you should know that some employers are completing searches by a geographic location on average there are 2 zip codes you use, one at home and one at work.  You can only use 1 zip code or postal code so you need to prioritize where you want to show up. Do you want to work closer to home or is there much more work closer to where you work. Just as a tip if they search a city it will pull up profiles who have a zip code or postal code, 35 miles from the centre of the city.

Industry

LinkedIn has updated its industry list to be more comprehensive.  In the same menu as the location below you will find the industry which will have lots of options but you can only choose 1 industry.  It can be a bit of a complicated decision because if you’re a recruiter for a car dealership, Is your industry Human Resources, Staffing and Recruiting or Automotive.  Sometimes it’s best to talk to your marketing team within your organization and they may have a more encompassing view on the industry that will get you noticed the most.  Keep in mind people’s biases (depending on your employer they may have an interest in you not getting noticed as much in order to keep you in your current role).

Employers are searching by city and industry so choose wisely!

There is a difference in what type of contact details to get in touch with you.

There you can add your phone number, email, instant messenger, mail address.

Make sure your email is professional and up to date.  If you have an old email address that you don’t use anymore there’s a good chance people have been reaching out to you and being ignored.

Next is Instant Messenger.  For me what comes to mind is MSN Messenger but it’s much more up to date than that.  It has AIM, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and a few others.

You can add your phone number, so you need to decide if you want to use your work phone or personal phone, it’s good to keep in mind that generally, you will get calls during normal business hours so if you get a call for a job opportunity when your having a staff meeting in your office, it may not be ideal; alternatively you may have a fair bit of privacy at your work that could be a suitable phone number to use.

For your address, you can include multiple addresses for your work, especially if you travel to those locations for work.  I think this goes without saying but do not use your home address unless you run an at-home business and you have fully considered the implications to your privacy.  It is only your connections that can see your address just to be clear it is not public.

When people are impressed with your profile they want to get to know you.  You never know what doors it could open.

What can anyone on LinkedIn see? You can link other social media accounts.  Only do this if they are for professional purposes if you add an Instagram account that is your personal account it could send the wrong impression.  You can also allow LinkedIn access to your social media account, that allows you to cross-post an update on multiple accounts. I use it to send updates on Facebook and Instagram so it saves me time and keeps me active on both accounts.

You can add up to 3 websites.  When you add a website you can list it under ‘other’ and that will bring up a bar where you can tag keywords or phrases that can draw more attention to your profile.

Click on the view your public profile button, once there you can see the blue pen on the right-hand side under the contact info.  You will see you have a personalized LinkedIn URL, you can personalize it more to have just your name and not the extra numbers, try it and see if it’s not already taken (you can always add a number behind it, Johndoe1).  HINT: By modifying your personalized LinkedIn URL it shows people that you are not a novice on LinkedIn.  It will also increase the rank in your search results in Google.

In your current experience, you should add some text explaining ways to connect with you at work, and communication preferences.  If you don’t like standard connection requests on LinkedIn, let people know you prefer a personal comment. You can also add a link to an industry or business forum if they have questions about your work or company.  By having them do this on a public forum you can make those Q&A’s easy to find for others with the same question.

Always look your best by providing the right kind of info. And the next steps for profile visitors.  The easier you make it for people to get good info. About your or your company the easier it is to do business with you.

Your summary on LinkedIn

What do you want to accomplish with your summary?  You want visitors to your profile to want to read on. There are some ways to increase your readability, your company probably has a one-paragraph description of corporate branding, an overview of what your organization does.  

If you work for a large multinational organization you may need 2 paragraphs, 1 to cover a broad overview of what your organization does, and 2, a paragraph specifically about what your department does.  This will draw people to look at your professional role in the organization or what is known in the industry as professional branding. What is it that you do? Be specific but do not give too much detail.  You can also add what you are not looking for. In a previous job I worked in real property asset management, my job title did not include real property in it and I was surprised at how many Banks wanted to connect with me as they have similar job titles but very different portfolio’s as far as assets go.  Your summary is not complete until you add a paragraph of professional branding, you can choose full sentences or even key phrases. Your summary has a max of 2,000 words so be concise. More details can be shared in your experience section of your profile.

Link to Media section

Most profiles do not use the media section and that is a missed opportunity.  You can add a Youtube video. In edit your profile, under your summary, you will find a link to media button and that’s where you can paste in a video link.  You are not limited to Youtube you can link material right off of your laptop, just add a description. This is a great way to add some images to have your profile stand out above the rest.  Make sure you stay professional and in line with your professional branding.

Do you have a goal in mind with your experience section? include a more in-depth explanation of your corporate branding.  Then explain your role in the organization and what do you do on a daily basis, why should someone get in touch with you, when should they get in touch with you.  If you are not the right person to speak with how they can be properly directed in your company.

What are your results, make them as tangible as possible it’s great to share them, people like to see you are proud of your results and that you are responsible for achieving them.  If you can’t share exact #’s can you provide %’s. Be careful not to break confidentiality with your organization, what you put out here is out in the public and you do not want to infringe on your companies policies or your responsibility to protect their information.  You should check within your organization what you are planning to add to share with the internet and make sure you get the right approvals first before posting the info. Be careful if you want to refer to one of your customers as this may cause other issues.

Add what you do not want, such as Banks contacting me about Asset Management.

Some people add their contact info again.  Your profile is about you but it is also about facilitating your target audience.

How relevant is your prior experience?

Describe your previous role, what did you do, what did you love about that job, what did you learn and use language that is engaging with your target audience. What was your biggest achievement, can you use actual #’s? Do you have permission to share this info? Vary up your language i.e. Project Management (PM, P.M.).  The goal is that people actually find you.  

Add a call to action at the end of your each job experience section, “If you want more details about these concepts or designs, please feel free to reach out to me.” More people will reach out to you.  It’s okay to start providing less job detail after about 10 years, or so. As often it plays less of a role of what you are doing today. For job-seekers its good to show your career path. Recruiters love to dig into your past and how it has shaped your skill set for what you can potentially be a good fit for.

People are looking for visual clues that your profile.  One of the first ways to add rich content is SlideShare, it does an amazing job as being indexed and ranked in Google and Bing.  It is easy to add this content to your profile. To check out other content providers check out embed.ly

Note: only content that has a public URL can show up on an embedded link.

You want to highlight any honours or awards you have received from your job.  You want to show your target audience just how accomplished you are in your professional field.  Stick with things related to your profession, there is another section for hobbies. If you haven’t received any then leave it blank.

If you have a certification add it in the certification section and you do not need to put it in layman’s terms.  Some jobs require certifications and you are showing that you hold that certification and that you meet standards for industry requirements.  It may get you ranked higher than another candidate.

Did you know you can add projects you can add your client to the project and invite them to share it on their profile as well, it will also get you more hits to your profile.  Add a website and project description as well, be sure not to break confidentiality and ensure your company and stakeholders are okay with you promoting it.

Tips on writing an article on LinkedIn

Write about your area of expertise

Use your speaking voice, it sounds more authentic

Grab the reader’s attention with your title

Be specific with your numbers, examples, and stats, make sure it’s verifiable

Stick to posts in 300 – 500 words

Post on Thursdays and Sundays because Monday’s and Friday’s get the most traffic on LinkedIn.

Be consistent and publish often

After you’ve published content share with an update on your LinkedIn profile to make sure it gets out to your network

Add value on LinkedIn with free tips

Give and take is different that give and receive.  The difference is that give and receive does not have any expectation of getting something back in return.  By giving away convenient things or tips it can get someone to refer back to your profile or tell their friends about your profile and about you. I’ve got another blog post all about developing free content, check it out here.

Content examples

  • 5 mistakes people make when buying your products and how to overcome them
  • 3 things most users of your services don’t know
  • 7 ways to boost productivity when using your products
  • 3 questions to ask before buying your services

Tip the more you stop giving the more you stop receiving. By providing answers to peoples burning questions people will share their ideas and problems with you creating a complimentary muse relationship.

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Featured skills and endorsements

Say more with less in some instances.  LinkedIn has a ridiculous amount of skills you can choose from (or create) but it doesn’t mean that Fire Breathing should be listed on your profile unless you work in a circus.  Languages is another one, there is a whole section in LinkedIn for languages, it will likely receive better attention there. Avoid buzz words, like motivated, passionate, dynamic, synergizing.  It about creating a good first impression, so if you list Leadership as one of your skills and current and past colleagues endorse you for it and you have 90 endorsements for Leadership then to those looking at your profile it will speak for itself.  Did you know you can add up to 50 skills. If you use the blue pencil you can change the order in how the skills show up or you can delete a skill you have been endorsed for. Additionally, if you’ve had a falling out with someone you can prevent that person from showing up on the list for endorsing you.

Common Questions

Should I have recommendations on my profile?

How many recommendations?

How do I ask for recommendations? Don’t ask people for recommendations

Yes, you need recommendations. Consider amazon reviews, who buys a product with zero reviews.  Bert gives a specific example “Kristle is a great person with a brilliant sense of humor!” tells you almost nothing.  You need a recommendation that provides some specifics to the position, provide tangible results and indicate your relationship with that person and what specific skills you appreciate. Having more recommendations is better after 5-7 is a decent amount (Verdonck).

If you do want to ask for recommendations, always give people a way out or it can become quite awkward and uncomfortable.  Ask if they would like input from me, or if I can give them a draft after that let them know that you will ask them for a formal recommendation on LinkedIn.

Scroll to the Recommendations section, next to received and given is Ask for recommendations.  It has two points, one is what do you want to be recommended for, and two is, who do you want to ask, just fill in your recommenders name.  He or she must be a 1st-degree connection. Now, wait for their recommendation, if it doesn’t arrive you can send a gentle reminder but don’t push it.  When you receive it, proofread it. If you’re happy with it publish it on your profile, if you’re not happy with it call the person and have a conversation about it, it might be a small tweak that is no issue to fix.  People who get recommendations like to give recommendations, keep that in mind, especially if you have asked for a recommendation. It could be a more subtle approach to give someone a recommendation first and see if they reciprocate, make sure all of your recommendations are worthwhile and remember to try and use tangible items, identify the skills they have that you appreciate and reflect the relationship you have with them, i.e. client, colleague, etc… Be careful about receiving recommendations or endorsements to each other too close in time, if you give each other an endorsement on the same day it looks like a setup.

Remember when people are looking at recommendations they are looking for ones that are genuine and if they appear manufactured they will do the opposite of building trust.

Education

It’s surprising how often there is little to no info. Listed on people’s profiles for education.  In the Education section, it allows you to type in your college or university, your field of study, what years you attended or will graduate in the future and a description section where you can fill out why you chose this field of study.  If someone has typed in your school, college or university it will automatically pop up. There is a section where you can add in your GPA, only put it in if it’s a good mark and you’re proud of it, otherwise, it’s fine to leave it blank. Is it worth listing your highschool? It depends, did you really enjoy highschool? Would you want to possibly connect with your high school alumni? If yes, then add it.  While you were in school often you will have worked on group projects, gotten to know each other in class and developed a relationship. Those people will remember you and you never know maybe that could provide a great contact at another company you want to work for or with.  

Businesses, recruiters and people, in general, are interested in finding out if you are ambitious and in a state of continuous learning.  It’s easy to show that on LinkedIn, just click on your “Me” button, click on add new profile section and fill it out, it’s that easy, whether it was a course or a certification, just keep in mind if it is helping with your “professional branding”, if you are in real estate it is probably not worth adding the course you took in flair bartending.  For certifications, you can also attach a copy of your certification. 

There is a compliance unit within LinkedIn that is looking to check to ensure users info. Is accurate.  They may lock your profile and send you a notice if they suspect fake credentials have been used. So make sure you only mention real courses and certifications.

If you are looking at hiring someone who is invested in continuous learning or someone that has stopped learning, who do you want working for you?

Personal touches to your profile

Profiles on LinkedIn are often so professional there are no personal statements, which is a bit of a mistake.  Small personal touches, let people know you have a life outside of work and that you’re human. Bert Verdonk included the Happy Chocoholic in his professional headline.  There are many places where you can add it in your headline, summary, experience or volunteer work but keep your target audience in mind. You don’t want to put off someone in your target audience because you add in something that is too far out there for them.  You have a good idea who your target audience is and you can make a judgement call on how conservative they are, at least before you develop a relationship with them. By having a personal touch it can be one of the small things that develop common interests which make it easier to get to know a person.  “Remember you cannot please 100% of people all the time, that is not your goal.”
“41% of employers say volunteer work is as important as paid work” – LinkedIn
It’s a great way to make connections.  Adding your volunteer work can be a great way to start conversations, and show how you give back to the community or charity. 

SEO and  Keywords

Keywords are words that are relevant to your target audience when searching for you.  Consider your target audiences perspective, what would their searches look like, what words would they use? 

Verdonk gives a good example of this.  He was working with a communication company who was looking to hire a new manager of one of their communication teams.  Many of the profiles listed had job titles such as Team Leader or Team Manager, but in their company, they were using Team Coaches, so the company was getting poor results from LinkedIn users.  This is the way you have to consider how your target audience could possibly miss your profile if you don’t consider what words they would use when searching.  
It can be as simple as Doctor:

Dr., Dr, Phd., Phd, MD, M.D.

“Back in the early days of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they would prioritize profiles that had more keywords than other profiles.” – Bert Verdonk

People started to outsmart these algorithms by adding the same keywords over and over again.  If you would read them they would seem weird. In response Search Engines and LinkedIn have stopped giving a higher ranking to these profiles, you can even get punished, by receiving a lower ranking if you keep focusing on keyword density.  Every word on your profile is searchable so it will show up but try and keep it in a natural way and not an artificial way.

When looking at interactions on LinkedIn Groups by far how the most engagement.  This can be a good way to share your ideas but it is important that you have your profile in order before joining.  Make sure your profile stands out especially from your direct competitors. By being active in these groups especially if you are actively asking good questions or providing excellent answers, it is not only the person who you are answering that is going to notice you, others in the group will too.   This starts to apply more when you are in a group where you are creating great content on your own that is relevant. Where a profile search is one on one a group can significantly increase the traffic to your profile and have more opportunities for you to impress people, possibly in your target audience.

Participation inequality – Jacob Nielsen

1:9:90 rule – Proactive, Reactive, Passive

It says that 90% of users don’t contribute to the subject (readers), 9% will engage and respond in conversation, and 1% and creating the content and starting the conversations.

It can be a great way to help people with their problems and promote you as a knowledge provider.  Don’t try and sell people your products in this forum as it comes off as a sales gimmick breaks any trust you were forming with them. 

Have you heard of LinkedIn influencers program? You can look up LinkedIn influencers and you will see a list of strong thought leaders.  It is easy to follow a thought leader you admire by going to their profile clicking on the … beside their picture and click follow, then you will start to see your newsfeed being populated with posts from these thought leaders.  You can share their articles, possibly getting noticed by them but also, others might start noticing you too. Be sure to add a comment on it when you are sharing it and not just forwarding it on. It can also be a great way to get inspired to create new content on your own. 

Privacy settings

When considering your privacy settings, LinkedIn has done a good job of letting you see what others see when they look at your profile.  Go to your profile and on the right-hand side, you will see a tab that says View your public profile, click on it, and see how your profile shows to others.   Under the “Me” button at the top of the page, click on it and you will find a tab that says Privacy Settings, click on it. There are 3 tabs the first is your account, make sure you have a professional email address but also add a personal one.  LinkedIn only shows your primary email address publicly. Next click on the Privacy tab, under it on the right-hand side it shows you all of the boxes of what can be shown publicly, check off everything. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you.  Under profile viewing options you can select whether or not to show your name and headline, private profile characteristics or private mode. Again choose your name and headline because you want people to know who visited their profile, and this way they can click on you and look at your profile back.  You can also notify your connections when you are in the news, check yes on this box, the more people that get notified when you do something the better. You can also focus on communications, who can send you invitations, everyone on LinkedIn, Only people who know your email address, or only people who appear in your “Imported Contacts” list. Check the box on anyone from LinkedIn to have the highest visibility.  You can also put in your preferences on messages from members if you will accept introductions from InMail or just introductions. Underneath you can let other members know what kind of messages you’re most interested in, just check the boxes that apply to you.

Protip: Go back to your account settings in the Privacy and Settings tab.  Scroll down to the Autoplay videos tab, it is preset to yes, go and uncheck that box to no.  If someone is in a meeting or on the bus or in the mall if the autoplay setting is on it will just start playing.  This can frustrate someone who comes across one of your videos and embarrass or annoy them or use more data then they want.

Mobile app tips: Both the mobile app and your web page remembers your search results, so if someone unexpected shows up in your meeting you can quickly look them up and then go on to the next unexpected person because LinkedIn will remember your search history. Very handy!

When looking to connect with someone using the mobile app, find their profile, click on the … at the top of the page and click on add a customized invitation and send it out.

Want to stand out even more?  If you want to write upside down or in mirror text or backwards, there are many sites on the internet to do this and just copy and paste them on your profile.  Bert also has a few lines of special characters that can be handy to just copy and paste.

My key summary for this blog is

Make sure your profile comes off as polished, people are making up 50% of their mind before ever reaching out to you. 

Use a professional-looking headshot and background photo, and come up with a headline that is professional and stands out in 120 characters or less, use dividers | to separate the topic.

Chip away at improving your profile by working on it just 15 minutes a day. 

Use your profile and what you do on LinkedIn to focus on building trust, ask yourself is this genuine and authentic?

Keep your target audience in mind, broaden your language to come up in more search results.

If you have a difficult to spell name, provide alternative spellings somewhere in your profile to make it easier for people to find you.

References

Nielsen, J. (2006, October 9). The 90-9-1 Rule for Participation Inequality in Social Media and Online Communities. Retrieved from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/participation-inequality/ 

Verdonck, B. (n.d.). LinkedIn Profiles for Social Business Success. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/LinkedIn-tutorials/Welcome/512777/581571-4.html?org=nait.ca 

Content Marketing Foundations

Creating valuable content for your customers has become the key to engaging your existing customers and drawing in new customers. Dayna Rothman Director of Content Marketing from Marketo defines Content Marketing as “The process of creating valuable, relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your audience”. The old ways of advertising no longer work. There are soo many companies vying for everyone’s attention that the old methods get drowned out with the noise.

Creating Your Content Plan

Creating content that is valuable it helps you break through in seven ways: (Rothman, 2015)

  1. Engages individuals on their own terms
  2. Based on interactions with your buyers
  3. Tells a continuous story
  4. Is the right fit for your channels
  5. Has a clear purpose – goal, thought leadership brand awareness, lead awareness
  6. Has pre-defined metrics
  7. Is almost always evergreen – content should last months or years, a content arc should last years to get the most bang for your buck.

Our society expects value upfront now and the traditional advertising methods are turning consumers away from their products. “71% of consumers trust solutions that provide useful information – without trying to sell something” (Rothman, 2015). 

Because technology has exploded over the last 15 years, now most people use multiple devices or media channels to find or use information. It is critical that the content you create is compatible on multiple mediums and channels. An example is you have a potential customer that is talking about your business with your friends, they think (incorrectly) that they saw it on Facebook but it was really on Instagram, if you have the same information on both that potential customer can pull up your profile or article by searching on Facebook and show it to their friends while they are interested in it and they can see the information or content directly from you.

“Brands today need to become their own publishers” (Rothman, 2015).  By creating the thought leadership in-house, you’re creating the content in house.  You are not continuing to spend money to rent another audience you are creating your own. Gary Vaynerchuk strongly promotes that people are becoming their personal brands and it has become a significant strategy to do the publishing yourself.

What’s Thought Leadership??

“A thought leader looks to the future and sets a course that others will follow.  Thought leaders look to existing best practices to come up with better best practices.  They format change, often causing disruption.” (Rothman, 2015).

Elon Musk and SpaceX is an easy example of thought leadership. No one was talking about traveling to Mars (not seriously anyway) and Elon Musk looked at the Space Travel industry and that astronauts have not landed on another planet ever and that it was in the 1960’s when astronauts landed on the moon. He thought about where he wanted to go, Mars, started a company understanding that he needs to disrupt how other space travel companies currently do business and have other support his dream. SpaceX has done amazing things since its creation in 2002, including massive savings in space launches, but also addressing the waste of allowing all of those rockets to run out of fuel, detach from the ship and fall into the ocean.

Creating Content

There are a number of different forms creating content can take.  You must first consider if it is high-value content such as an eBook which is 5 to 10 pages or a definitive guide which can be between 50 and 160 pages, that you are creating.  Other forms of content that are not considered high value are an infographic, product datasheet, slide deck, cheat sheet or a blog post, all of the content being provided still needs to be valuable to prospective leads.

When creating your content, it is important to consider the metrics but we will discuss that later in this summary.

The Content-arc

The content you create will have a content-arc, if the content you are creating will be valuable for years then it has a long arc which can be very valuable as new customers find your website and find that there is a wealth of information available to them.  If you write a blog post about something that is trending on social media or an upcoming music festival the content arc will be quite short.  It is best to plan on the calendar the content you are creating and the content arc so that you can stay current with your customer base and continue to provide content that your customers want.

The Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is looking at the path your new customers come from, where they first saw the content you created, if it came from paid advertising or a referral on an influencer’s blog post, all the way through the process to where they signed up for your service or product.  At the beginning of the sales funnel aka TOFU, which is the top of the funnel, which often will have simple content available for free, whether it an infographic or a blog post.  The second part of the funnel aka MOFU, which as you may have guessed is the middle of the funnel, which may also have a gate strategy which is explained further in this summary, at this point you can often have your interested buyer fill in contact information, where you can learn more about your customer but also find a personal way to contact them and send content directly to them, through an email, or if you use a Facebook login page.  Finally, your interested buyers will reach the BOFU, the bottom of the funnel, this is where there is a clear call to action (CTA) and to pay to have access to the other information on the website, whether it is a collection of eBooks on a subject or a definitive guide.

Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute came up with the 411 rule, which is:

  • 4 educational assets – thought leadership, tips, cheat sheet, not marketing material
  • 1 “soft promotion” – webinar, vendor study, but can include thought leadership
  • 1 “hard promotion” – sales datasheet

This mix can provide the right content to engage with your customers.

Your Content Team

Your Content Team is responsible for all of your marketing efforts.  Depending on the size of your organization you may have a large team, or it may be just one employee.  It all starts with the Managing Editor; beyond that you can have an Associate Editor.  Beyond that, you will have Employee contributors, Subject Matter Experts, and Content Requestors, who can be existing customers or prospective customers.  The skills that you are looking for in a Managing Editor and Associate Editor are:

  • Excellent writing skills
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Copyediting skills
  • Passion for content
  • Cross-functional communication skills
  • Desire to be a thought leader and speak at industry events

The responsibilities of the Managing Editor for the Content Team are:

  • Creates the content strategy and the editorial calendar
  • Coordinates amongst teams
  • In charge of brand voice, look, feel and quality
  • Writing and editing
  • Vendor vetting and coordination

It is important that your content aligns with the various stakeholders in the company.  If the customer service representatives are the only ones participating in the content ideation, then the content is created in a silo and will not reflect the various marketing needs of the other units in the organization (Rothman, 2015).

When considering your content, you need to have a persona of your customer in mind.  Who are you trying to attract to your company, is it another business, for a business to business (B2B) or a business to consumer (B2C)?  It is important to know these persona’s and demographics when deciding the style and tone you want to use in your content.  Is it more conversational, or jargon-y with lots of product statistics? 

Promoting Your Content

Gating Strategy

With your content and the way you wish to promote it, you need to decide if you are going to use the Gating strategy.  The gating strategy is putting a form in front of your content for the purposes of gathering lead contact information.  By using the gating strategy, you gather lead information immediately or depending on your lead you may drive them away with this strategy.  The other options you have available to you is to set up a gate at the buyer stage of the content.  The fourth option is to use a gate based on the asset type; the highest value content requires passing through the gate before it can be received, and some content still requires being paid for before receiving access.

Dayna Rothman from Marketo lays out five steps to outlining your promotion strategy:

Step 1 – Create a Strategy Document to include:

  • Topic
  • Audience
  • Goals
  • Thesis
  • Table of contents
  • Buying stage
  • Promotion suggestions

Step 2 – Always score your Content, base the score on:

  • Content Type
  • Content buying stage
  • Content persona

Step 3 – Meet with Stakeholders

Set up time with your promotional teams:

  • Demand generation
  • Social Media
  • Online marketing
  • Product marketing
  • Public Relations

Step 4 – Create a Promotion Plan:

  • Work with each team stakeholder to create a promotional plan
  • For large assets, consider meeting weekly or bi-weekly until launch
  • Assign a project manager
  • Ensure that team members stay on task

Step 5 – Make sure You Plan is Multichannel:

  • Be where your buyers are
  • Maximize your exposure by promoting your content on multiple channels
  • Promote content on appropriate channels for the content type
  • Always test your promotion strategies!

Promoting on Social Media

Tips for success with Social Media Promotions

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Organic isn’t enough on its own; don’t be afraid to pay to boost your presence
  • Focus on valuable content and solid offers
  • Create strong calls to action (CTAs)
  • Always add value
  • Never forget that social is a two-way street
  • Facebook ads (that appear on the right-hand side banner)
  • Cover photos
  • Apps and tabs (appear on your business profile page)
  • Organic tweets
  • Promoted tweets
  • Promoted trends
  • Twitter Lead Generation Cards
  • LinkedIn updates
  • LinkedIn sponsored updates
  • LinkedIn ads
  • LinkedIn groups

**Especially helpful for business-to-business (B2B) deals

  • Visual content
  • Optimize for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Measuring Your Content

It is critical to establish what your measurement metrics and goals are when first planning your content.  Ensure to engage with the other stakeholders in your organization to ensure that what you are defining as success matches what executives are looking for.  It is important to consider how much time, effort and salary is going into creating this content, you should also consider the intellectual property.  If your organization is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) where you offer services that mask your customers IP address to offer them anonymity while surfing on the net, if you create marketing content such as an eBook that costs $15,000 to create and promote on various websites and social media platforms, and the information will be considered stale in one year, and the customer subscriptions are selling for $25 a year, you will need to generate 600 new customers just to break even.  It is important that you consider cost when establishing measurement metrics for your content. 

Google Analytics

When looking at traffic to your website you can use Google Analytics to see if there was an increase or decrease in traffic.  Which promotion strategies were most effective.  One of the most interesting things I found is that you can see how long a generated lead was on your website for, which is known as bouncing, and Where they visited afterwards, which is known as the exit pages. 

Social Media Response

You can also look to measure how successful the response was by how many “likes” were received, how many people commented on the posts, were they positive or negative? Was there one social media platform that received a bigger response than the others.  Did you get more people to subscribe to your company profile?  These insights could help you determine where your promotional dollars are most effectively used in generating new customers to your business. 

Conclusion

Advertising methods have certainly changed in the last 10 or 15 years.  The method of creating content for people to read or have for free is a distinct change from how marketers used to attract customers.  As a consumer, I find that it is effective, and it builds a level of trust with the organization.  It has become what is necessary to stand out and draw in customers who are interested in your products. 

References

Rothman, D. (Director). (2015, May 7). Content Marketing Foundation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Marketing-Lead-Generation-tutorials/Content-Marketing-Fundamentals-2015/369044-2.html?org=nait.ca

Social Listening for Research Insights

As you may have noticed it has become increasingly more difficult to get your customers attention. It is through Social Listening that will be the key to unlock new found potential in your business, whether it is an online company or a brick and mortar company that relies on foot traffic.

What is Social Listening

When I say Social Listening I am meaning it is the business intelligence that uses research and monitoring of the media (including social media), influencers, customers, employees, and competitors. 

Your Strategic Approach

See the source image

It is increasingly important for businesses to be aware of what their customers are thinking and saying about their company.  If you take the definition of social listening to heart then you will be quite curious about what your customers are saying and asking about your company.  If you are curious, hear your customers out and don’t interrupt and then repeat back to them what you heard, either with the use of parroting or paraphrasing, you will learn a lot from your customers on how to better serve them (Waxman).

Active Listening

Active listening sounds easy, and if you practice it a lot it can become second nature to you.

See the source image

Active listening sounds easy, and if you practice it a lot it can become second nature to you. By taking a serious interest in what your customers are thinking and saying you can

Social Listening can be an early warning system for issues and/or crises.  Not every negative situation is a crisis.  An issue to Melissa Agnes is a negative situation that has the potential to grow and harm your business. A crisis is a situation that poses major long-term problems that could impact your finances and reputation.  Both situations are serious and need to be monitored and managed.

Social Listening is critical during a crisis event where you can work to de-escalate the crisis as well communicate with your customers to fully explain the situation and hopefully come to a satisfactory resolution for your customers. **If the situation is complex or you need personal details to address their issue, it may be best to take the conversation private. If it is a simple problem, then by addressing the problem publicly it can be a way to show to the public how you handle a dissatisfied customer or an easy question and answer that may save time for another customer having the same issue.

When using social listening, you should be looking at your platforms daily.  If you see an issue or crisis starting you should get involved early: Take responsibility early, apologize sincerely, and fix the situation early. 

Social listening is not just about watching for and responding to issues and crises.  It can also be a way of seeing if your competitors are expanding their business services and how it is being received.  Social listening can also be a partnership with customers to help shape the company better serve those they serve. Not every issue is a crisis. An issue to Melissa Agnes is a negative situation that has the potential to grow and harm your business. A crisis is a situation that poses major long-term problems that could impact your finances and reputation.  Both situations are serious and need to be monitored and managed (Agnes 2014).

When thinking about your customers, what social media platforms do they use? There are many apps and sites that people use today, it’s not just about

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn but it can also be Yelp, Google Review, Bing and Trip Advisor. Try and find what your customers social media preferences are.

Getting Started

When first getting started it is a good idea to do a search on the two largest search engines, Google and Bing. In addition, try a search on DuckDuckGo.com, it is a website that doesn’t track you or your searches and because of that you might find results that don’t show up on Google or Bing.

Next, you should search for your company and industry on social media platforms, they all have search functions, you should also consider what would be a relevant #NoNameExample, that your customers or competitors may use.

Google Trends

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If you go to Google Trends it can be really helpful as you can search trends as far back as 12 months ago. You can also select which country you want to search for trends, as well as sub-regions.

Hootesuite & Talkwalker

Hootesuite & Talkwalker are apps made to make social listening easier for businesses. You can look at multiple social media platforms, signed into your profile, and you can create multiple tabs to search for different things. A simple example is you can have a tab to search your Industry in the City you operate in, a separate tab for an upcoming industry conference including trending hashtags, and a tab to watch for Issues and Crises (the plural of Crisis). Hootesuite has a 30 day free trial, after which time are paid options, currently listed at $29 per month. Talkwalker, has paid and free options. Talkwalker has a free demo that does a really good job demonstrating what the app can do for you.

Google Alerts

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It is not a new tool but it is an effective one. Google Alerts has the ability to let you know either daily any words that you are looking for if they come up on the search engine. You have the option of also setting up Google Alerts to send an email to you immediately when your searched term shows up. This is an effective tool but you have to be careful as it does not help you with new or trending terms that may be related to your company.

Influencers

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If you are active on Social Media and there are influencers in your industry, you may find opportunities where you can reach out to an influencer and ask them if you can include a quote from them or if they could share your post or blog. You need to understand many people are asking influencers to share or support their brand or company, you may want to ask if there is something you could do for them. It’s not a one way street and it’s important you remember that

Be Curious

The key to being a good listener is to really hone in on what your customers are saying. If you Listen for Curiosity, Ask Questions, Let People Finish their points, and Repeat back what you heard (Waxman).

In Summary

I’ve focused a lot on what you can learn from and respond to your customers and help keep an eye on what your competitors are doing; but it is crucial that you use everything around you to try and better understand your customers. Your front-line workers will be some of your best sources to understand your customers issues as well as what your competitors are doing. I’ve shown you lots of tools available to you on the internet, both paid and free depending on what’s the right fit for you. Now it’s time for you to unlock your potential.

References

Agnes, M. (2014, December 11). Issue? Crisis? What’s The Difference and Why Is It Important?      Retrieved from https://melissaagnes.com/issue-crisis-whats-difference-important/

Waxman, M. (Director). (n.d.). Social Listening for Marketers [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/HootSuite-tutorials/Welcome/546104/621980-4.html  

Key takeaways from Learning to Write Marketing Copy by Ian Lurie

Here is my review of Lynda.com’s Learning to Write Marketing Copy featuring Ian Lurie from Portent Inc., who is an extremely accomplished Marketing Copy Writer. The key points we will be covering is: Preparation and tools, Writing marketing copy, Free writing, Basic typography, Collateral, Medium, Style, Make a plan, Polishing your copy and testing headlines, Active versus Passive voice, editing someone else’s copy and rules for Social Media copy. Let’s get into it!

Preparation and Tools

Ian was very deliberate in blocking the time in his calendar to be able to sit down and focus on the task. In addition his point of putting his phone in a different room, telling his family that he needs immense privacy to work, a pencil & paper, laptop with power cord and a cup of water to prevent him from being distracted. I grew up with A.D.D. so I have always struggled with maintaining my attention and he lays out the preparation he does to avoid those simple distractions that take away from having a continued thought process to develop a consistent sequence to copywriting. Ian Lurie’s focus concepts are very much aligned with the author Cal Newport and his book Deepwork. Cal Newport explains his Deep Work Hypothesis, which is “The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasing valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”

Writing Marketing Copy

I really like how Ian pushed forward that whatever you are putting out for marketing copy has to have real value to it. For so long I found ad’s were so much clickbait and with very little information actually be interesting on their website. I believe this is a sustainable model and as Ian says even if I don’t buy something if it’s interesting and has value to it I will share it with my friends, who may purchase the product or service. On top of that Ian explains that good copywriting delivers value when it’s needed, has a strategy behind it, Is clear that is selling a product or service and has a call to action. Free writing is an important take away from Ian Lurie, he explained that we often stop ourselves to edit while we write and this can stop us from getting our ideas out on paper. Even if it means you are writing “I can’t think of what to write, I can’t think of what to write…”, it helps us get in the habit of writing down our thoughts and our writing pace to keep up with our ideas. Basic Typography can really help with keeping your page scan-able while getting across the key points of what you are saying and selling. It also lays out how through simple design you can grab your readers attention. Understanding the difference between editing and proofreading.

Ian doesn’t go into too much detail but makes it clear about what Collateral, Medium and Style are. Collateral is what type of material are you using, a brochure, webpage or even a letter. Medium which is how is this information getting to you, is it a podcast, YouTube or Instagram video, or is it in print. For Style, Ian focuses on three types, one being the hard sell, two is the scare tactic and third is the straight shot at the ways to approach the customer. Collateral, Medium and Style are all important as often times the marketing copy that somebody is looking at is the first introduction of the company to the customer.

Make a Plan

Ian explains that the point of making a plan doesn’t have to be this overbearing session to try and think of every possibility and what to do about it. He says take 30 minutes to think about who your audience is, what collateral are you going to use and your writing style, on how you are going to approach your customers. It’s okay if you change your plan, even a few times, but it’s important that from the beginning you are looking at your approach to the customer and how to deliver value to them.

Polishing your copy and testing headlines

Ian re-emphasizes that once you have written your copy, take a break even a day before you look at it again. If you can have someone else proofread and edit your work, even better. This may be basic but I thought it was worth differentiating the two; proofreading is checking the document for spelling, grammar and syntax errors, while editing is involves checking the document for overall continuity and fact checking that material. Check over what you’ve written to see if you have written it in an Active Voice or Passive Voice. After you have a solid version of your copywriting it is a good idea to test your headlines, you can do this if you have a customer base with email, split the customers into two or more groups depending on how many headlines you are testing, then send them each out the same content but with a different headline and see who is making it to the bottom of your email and who is clicking on your links and actually going to the content. From there it should be pretty clear if you have a good headline or if it needs some work.

Editing someone else’s Copywriting

I’m always so tempted to restructure another persons paragraphs and often re-write some of their sentences. Each writer has their own style and that is important to keep when looking at someone else’ marketing copy. How Ian explains the benefits that you will get out of it by improve without restructuring. When a writer is coming to you asking for editing help, it’s important that you ask them some questions about it, such as, what is the collateral and what style are they trying to give off. Additionally, it’s likely you will not know the product or material as well as they do so if there are clear questions that you have about the product or service, ask them. The writer is almost never asking you to completely re-write their work and likely you wont have the time to so it’s best to keep it higher level and point out things they can change without getting too much into the weeds, it’s likely you will have to work with them in the future and you don’t want to harm your relationship, on a product you may not fully understand. In the editing stage, look for unnecessary words and passive voice. Then proofread and know that the spellchecker is not enough to prevent simple mistakes like ass instead of mass. Also, the grammar programs are still a work in progress and your work needs to be reviewed. Ian has some helpful rules for Social Media Copy: Enjoy it, readers can tell when you don’t. Don’t be offensive, treat it like a first date. Be sincere. Keep your message brief, you will get your message across faster. Pair words with images, in all of his test cases words with images gets a better response, keep the image relevant to your subject. Use active voice. Address the reader, make it clear you are talking to them and not about them.

The art of writing Marketing Copy

I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Learning to Write Marketing Copy from Ian Lurie. If you’re interested in following up on a specific chapter here is the link to his Lynda video.