After running a popular breakout session in last year’s ‘Words That Sell’ conference, hosted by the UK Speechwriter’s Guild & A Thousand Monkeys (a writing agency), I was asked by the organisers to be one of the main Keynote Speakers at this year’s event.
The conference is being held on Friday 19th April in Bournemouth.
You Are Invited
Although this conference is targeted at fledgling and experienced copywriters, as well as anyone involved in the marketing profession, I think it is a great opportunity for anyone responsible for promoting their business to gain a wonderful insight to the art of persuasive writing in all its forms.
Want to get inspiration from the go-to experts copywriters and marketers follow?
You can – take a look at ‘Who Needs Copywriters?‘ and check the wide range of speakers and the topics they are covering.
The early-bird booking rate gives you £101 saving on places reserved before 20 March.
You get a further 40% discount when you enter the discount code CarolBentley in the promotion code box on the checkout page.
In total, that’s a massive 76.2% discount on the normal delegate rate!
Writing dynamic, persuasive copy is even more crucial – especially with the explosion in digital and social media.
Apart from the main presentations you also get to choose from breakout sessions on additional topics, such as How To Break Creative Deadlock.
Last year the room was buzzing with conversations as people exchanged ideas and discussed the gems shared by the inspiring speakers. And this year I’m sure it will be just as energising.
Why not join us? Reserve your place at ‘Who Needs Copywriters?‘ and make a point of saying “Hello” to me.
I look forward to meeting you there.
~ Carol Bentley
In the post ‘How Important are Visuals in Online Marketing?‘ Megan explained how using images and colour can make your blog or website vibrant and more engaging for your visitors… but where do you get those graphics from?
If you grab a picture off the Internet you could be opening yourself up to a hugely expensive lawsuit if the copyright holder decides to sue you.
So how can you find colourful images without putting yourself at risk?
You can buy royalty free images from websites such as Fotolia and iStockPhoto. Their images have licenses for commercial as well as non-profit use.
But if you want to use a lot of images, perhaps in blogs or video clips you are creating, then even with their cost effective solutions it can become expensive.
That’s when finding images that are free to use can be a huge help. You can get these under the Creative Commons License.
Don Crowther explains more about finding these free and legal pictures on his blog. Take a look at How to find pictures online – scroll down to the comments from other readers for additional suggestions on where to find pictures and license-free music for videos.
I’ve stumbled across a great tool that makes it so much easier to plan and organise your blog posts.
You know what it’s like… you are browsing looking for some info and suddenly get distracted by something else.
What? Am I the only one who does that?
So I saw this article on how to get a new blog filled with posts – and I’m always curious to see what tips people give.
One of the questions raised was ‘How frequently should you post?’ and part of the advice given was to decide the frequency and the topics you want to post and use a schedule to keep on track, perhaps in a spreadsheet.
Now I’m not that organised – you’ve probably noticed I tend to post when I think of something that might interest you or I want to share a discovery or a post from a valued guest author.
But there was a link! To a great plug-in for a WordPress blog – an Editorial Calendar!
So I took a look. And I liked what I saw… and I plan to use it on a new website I’m setting up. This is what it gives you
- You can see all of your posts, the author and when the posts go live
- You can drag and drop your post to change publishing dates
- You can ‘Quick edit’ post titles, contents and publish times
- Create new posts and save as a draft or publish
- Easily check the status of all your posts.
- Manage posts from more than one author, great if you have guest bloggers.
I installed it on this blog and I used it to add and schedule this post.
Take a look at this video – no affiliate connection – I just wanted you to see a great tool that you can use for FREE! How cool is that?
Maybe I’ll go back to doing more regular posts like I did in the early days of this blog.
My challenge – as it is for anyone hosting a blog – is finding topics that are fresh and interesting for my readers.
Any suggestions on what you’d like to see on here?
~ Carol Bentley
In this month’s post from Megan she explores the use of visuals on your website and in your online marketing.
Visuals in Online Marketing
By Megan Totka,
As a whole, people tend to be drawn to things that are visually stimulating. The internet is no exception.
Have you ever been to a website and not been able to concentrate on the information that is offered because the design is either terrible or overdone? The look of a website, email, or internet ad is critical when it comes to gaining and keeping the interest of viewers.
Quite a few internet trends, popular websites and social networks focus on the use of images. Facebook is used by many people to share personal photos. Companies also use the social networking site to share pictures of products, services, and even customers who are buying or using a product. Instagram is also a very popular photo-sharing site that both individuals and businesses are using to share photos. The most popular and one of the newest visually-focused websites is Pinterest. Businesses should definitely implement Pinterest in their social strategies.
Pinterest exploded onto the social network scene recently. It gained popularity with individuals very quickly, and now businesses have caught on as well. Businesses are able to pin their own products and services, as well as sharing things that are related. Pinterest also has a very simple site design, so as not to take away from the pins that their users choose.
A recent survey by Steelhouse shows that as many as 59% of Pinterest users have purchased an item that they saw on Pinterest. This compares to only 33% of Facebook users who have purchased something they saw on Facebook. To me, this shows that a visually stimulating website can absolutely help to drive sales.
Another trend in online marketing and advertising is the infographic. Infographics are visually interesting graphics that depict information about any number of subjects. They are used by companies to convey information in a new and exciting way, rather than having people just read a large block of text. An infographic crams a lot of information into a compact space, making it more likely that readers will take in the information. Infographics should be creative and colorful.
Having a visually interesting website is probably the best thing that you can do for your business. There is however, a fine line between a well-designed website and one that takes it over the top. Be cautious with your colour and pattern choices. Adding photos or videos of your product or the service that you offer is a good idea as well. Personally, I am much less likely to purchase a product that I can’t see first. And with a huge shift towards online shopping, images are more important than ever.
Using interesting and relevant visuals to enhance your online presence is becoming more and more important. Consider adding visual interest to your website, social media pages, and marketing materials. You may see a significant uptick in sales!
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Search the local business directory at ChamberofCommerce.com to find over 11 million listed businesses.
Are you using visuals in your online marketing? Have you opened a Pinterest account? If so, how are you using it? Share your experiences in the comments below.
~ Carol Bentley
Finding new ways of raising your business above the noise of your competitors’ marketing is paramount to your success.
And video is becoming more popular – almost a necessity – in online marketing.
But a new type of video presentation is emerging… whiteboard drawings.
I’ve come across a few examples of this new style that is promoted as being more compelling to watch and is supposed to make your message stand out from the crowd, especially compared to the normal PowerPoint style video presentation.
Now, I must admit, I do find them entertaining, but are they just a gimmick or do they really get the message across more effectively?
Take a look at these two video clip examples.
Video 1 – PowerPoint Presentation
This first one is a two-minute video I created ready for a new website I’m preparing. There is no sound and the transitions between the slides are quite slow because the video is appearing on the home page and I want to give visitors time to read the text.
This is a PowerPoint 2007 presentation. I ran the show and recorded the screen using Camtasia.
Video 2 – Whiteboard Drawing
The second video (below) is a 1-minute clip in the new style. It has a musical background and I added a voice over – ready to put it up on YouTube.
This video was created by the folks at HypnoVid.
It is not an expensive service, just $199 for a 1-min video like this, including the musical background. If you need a script, voice over or longer clip then it does cost more.
I supplied the script and, as I mentioned above, added the voice over myself afterwards.
So, now I’m curious. What do you think of the whiteboard drawing? Do you prefer that to the more traditional, PowerPoint presentation style video?
Vote for the video you prefer below:
~ Carol Bentley
Back in 2003 I worked with a health clinic promoting their weight-loss programme.
We had a good campaign with a specific, genuine headline that worked well – and I used it as an example in my books when I explained how using figures in your headlines can be extremely effective.
Hmm – I haven’t written any weight loss campaigns since then so have not had any reason to check what can and can’t be used nowadays.
But perhaps I should have confirmed the advertising standards before publishing the new edition of my ‘I Want To Buy..‘ book – my weightloss headline example is still there (on page 80).
Why should I have checked?
Because in this month’s edition of the newsletter I get from CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) they point out that advertising rules state you can’t tell people they can lose a precise amount of weight in a set period of time or that they can lose weight from specific parts of their body. And that’s not the only restriction on what you can and can’t say…
You can read their full article at Detox and Diets
Shame really, because it is a good example of how to use specifics in a headline.
So, if you sell health-related products in the UK, I suggest you pop over to CAP and read what they have to say before planning your advertising campaigns.
~ Carol Bentley
In my post ‘Next Year and beyond‘ you’ll find a short guide for preparing your business for growth next year and beyond.
In this article from Megan she offers five extra tips to help you make realistic, achievable goals.
Over to you Megan…
After the dust settles on the holiday season, and all the packages, bows and decorations are stashed away for another year, it is time to look ahead to the coming year. Whether you call them goals, resolutions or just hopes for the new year, these thoughts are often created with the best of intentions but not a realistic plan in place.
The same is true of the goals for your small business. Mission statements and company philosophy have their places, but if you really want to boost sales and expand, you must make measurable, tangible benchmarks. Here are five suggestions on ways that small business owners can make, and meet, company goals in the coming year.
Know your starting point. It would be very ambitious to set a goal of raising revenue by 200 percent in the coming year – but based on your business history, is this even realistic? Sit down with your numbers from this past year, and a few years prior, and look for patterns in growth. What percentage has your business increased each year for the past five? Does it continually go up, or are you at a stagnant point? Get a clear picture of what your small business looks like in the present before setting future goals.
Set a goal and work backward. Once you come up with business goals that you want to reach before the end of the year, set smaller ones along the way. If expanding your social media following is on your list, set a number of followers and fans that you want to hit before ringing in the next new year and then break it down into smaller numbers each month. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed at the larger number and also give you accomplishments to celebrate along the way.
Spend wisely. It may sound like a business cliché, but every penny counts. Hire a local accounting firm to review your finances or analyze everything yourself. Decide where you can afford to make cuts and where you could be spending in a smarter way. Remember that the Internet has made it easier than ever to advertise yourself at little to no cost at all, so be sure you are taking advantage of all of those opportunities.
Ask for help. Setting goals will motivate you, but sharing them with employees, business partners and family will make them more attainable. Let the important people in your life and business know what you plan to accomplish in the coming year and the ways that they can help you achieve those things.
Make changes when needed. Even with hard work and smart planning, not all goals will be met. Do not be afraid to revisit your original plans and make adjustments as necessary. Of course, you may also find that you are surpassing your planned achievements more quickly than you anticipated. In that case, do not sit back and relax; up your expectations for the year and chase after your goals with just as much determination.
If you really want to boost sales and expand, you must make measurable, tangible goals for your small business. Implement the five suggestions above to ensure company goals are met in the coming year.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small business grow their business online. Megan also writes expert business advice.
Over the next few weeks I plan to share some of the new insights from the updated edition of I Want To Buy – they may help you to achieve some of your business goals for next year.
~ Carol Bentley
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