How to Tell Whether Your Messages Sing the Right Tune
Successful messaging hits the following marks; if it doesn’t, it’s time to take another swing at it:
Messages are credible and exact. Good messaging is built on a foundation of research (on your market and customers) and exploration (who you really are and what you want to be). It is both true and accurate.
Messages feel right. Messages not only are true but also feel true. The key authenticity test is whether they connect with users and audiences alike. For that to happen, messages need to be written in natural, ordinary language, so people are comfortable using them and audiences respond to them. Jargon, corporate-speak, and vague phrasing won’t cut it.
The messaging is flexible. Good messaging provides a starting point for any communications task, whether it’s a pithy quote from the CEO in a press release, a company description, or the brand voice for a report, presentation, or website.
The messaging gets used. Reporters use it. Partner organizations use it. Employees use it, not just in formal communications but also on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages and when they talk about their work with friends. This is the ultimate test.
Keys to Making Messaging Stick
When messaging sticks, it feels real both inside and outside your organization: It’s what people think of when your brand comes up. For that to happen, your messaging needs to get beyond your marketing team and leadership.
People won’t start using new messaging just because you sent them guidelines or a handbook (if only!). The following are the keys to successful implementation:
Enthusiastic leadership. Driving adoption is not as simple as saying “Do it.” Leadership needs to embrace it and use it—internally as well as with external audiences. Otherwise, everyone will see messaging as optional.
Communicating the benefits. Good messaging solves problems. It explains difficult concepts, clarifies values, and provides good answers to common questions. Let people know how the new messaging will help them talk about their work more comfortably, effectively, and consistently. (They’ll even get cut-and-paste options. How great is that?)
Training. Practical exercises using the messaging in real-life situations are essential. That is especially true for sales teams and customer-facing staff: They’re primary message carriers, and they need to feel comfortable carrying your messages. Facilitated role-playing sessions are ideal.
Using new messaging will feel uncomfortable at first—even if it rings true to everyone—simply because it’s unfamiliar. Without reinforcement, people will revert to the words they’ve always used, even if those words inspire reactions like “Huh?” or “That’s nice, I have to go get another drink now.” In short, without reinforcement, your messaging will live only in your marketing, and you won’t get full value from your investment.
Done right, on the other hand, messaging will build esprit de corps, and your people will tell your story well, everywhere. They’ll bring your brand to life.
And if you can rank for a search term on Google image search, then your website will likely experience a surge of traffic. If you rank for more than one such term, image traffic could rival organic search traffic.
If you run an image-heavy website or your business lends itself nicely to image traffic, then you really should do all you can to get as many visitors as possible from image search. There is a reason why success stories on Pinterest and Tumblr are often from niches such as real estate, food, lifestyle accessories, interior décor, garments, and businesses where images are a natural ally to textual content.
A look at how sites like Amazon display images will serve to inform you of the importance of images in selling products. Whether the product be perfumes, electric lamps or folding chairs, etc., if you’re into e-commerce you should try to rank for images. Image traffic converts and for many websites has a lower bounce rate than regular traffic. Or, your business could be something totally different, maybe home improvement or landscaping. A how-to post on replacing kitchen flooring with images will be appreciated much more than text-only copy.
If you think that an image will take the story forward and inform your readers, then use it.
It is far easier to rank for keywords using images. The competition is not that stiff, and with a planned approach you can get traffic to your site. Once you do that, your page needs to be configured to pique the interest of your visitors and keep them on your website. The content and layout should be able to take over. The image has already done the hard work.
How to Optimize an Image for the Search Engines
Use an image sized appropriately for the subject. An image of a product needs to be large, but certainly not of wallpaper size. On the other hand, an image of a sportstar or an actor cannot be thumbnail sized. Take a look at the sizes of images that are ranking high. Download them. Check how the images are named. How are they described? Use a descriptive filename that carries your chosen keyword. Search engines value descriptive and sensible alt tags. Use simple and relevant alt tags for the images.
One trick that even established websites miss is of adding new images. If your blog carries an image not present online, and it’s properly optimized as explained above, you are adding to the sum total of information already present online. Your visitors will appreciate it. It may take a little effort, but the resulting visitor engagement will be worth it.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and you can make them speak for your business. Follow the optimization tips given in this post and you will see a rise in traffic and also one-way backlinks.
Are you branding your business effectively online?
April 19, 2016by Josh HawkesBranding1 Comment
Online BrandingThe web is a big place. In order for your business to have a voice and stand-out from the rest, you need to brand it effectively online. Ultimately, the responsibility for a brand’s web presence is the business owner’s, whether or not you employ a marketing agency.
How can this be done?
Not by a click of your fingers, that’s for sure! In this article, we’ll explore several straightforward ways to brand your business online, building up your identity, uniqueness and ultimately attract more customers.
Integrity – Getting customer relations right
Business integrity is much more important online than offline. With the web, customers have a ready-made platform to broadcast their complaints. Information can be shared in an instant, making or breaking your business. 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
High standards of integrity should be maintained at all times in all your dealings. No tricks, no ploys.
On the internet, honesty will get you places. Market yourself this way and be as open as possible on social media and other mediums.
Whilst the web does provide a platform for complaints; it is also an extremely useful tool for pursuing friendly relations with customers. You can not only broadcast your messages online through websites, email and social networks, but also directly and individually communicate with customers. The saying is that ‘courtesy costs nothing’; however, whilst businesses can talk about etiquette till the cows come home, they have an unfortunate reputation for making it rare in practice.
A little courtesy goes a long way. People always remember positive or negative experiences in your treatment of them.
The importance of this point is epitomized by Facebook, who now record and display prominently the average response time to private messages by pages. Consumer reviews of brands are also conspicuously visible on search engines.
To find out more about review and reputation management, click here.
Spelling & grammar
Whilst this may seem like a no-brainer, spelling and grammar are very important in the world of online marketing. More often than not, they are absent in business communications and marketing messages. Whilst some don’t care two hoots about this, many customers still pick-up on it, losing marks for professionalism. Remember to always:
Run things through a spell-checker
Check that your grammar and punctuality are on-point.
This point is perhaps the most key. How can people recognise and identify your business online, in the mass of competitors, clamouring for their attention?
Visuals are instantly recognisable. We see a logo or particular combination of colours and instantly, everything we know about that company is brought to mind.
Your business’ logo and colour scheme should be consistent, recognisable and professional, throughout all your web presence. If this means employing an expensive graphics design agency, then so be it. Your logo is worth every penny; get it right the first time. Businesses that change their logo every six months will never get there.
Getting the best real estate on Google – go in for the kill
Your brand’s web presence is exemplified best by your search engine presence, into which all the previous points have their part to play. To really beat your competitors, you need to bag the best brand real estate on Google. Google wants to promote brands, to ensure the best experience for their users.
Google SearchThe image to the left shows a typical Google search result, minus ads. First up are Google+ results (in red), displaying basic information, taken from three Google+ pages of different businesses.
Second, there are several directories listing different companies (in blue), plus one business’ website (which has a search-engine-friendly URL, title and description).
These two areas are the prime search engine real estate. Nowhere else will get a look-in.
How do you get on th
Being registered on directories and social networks increases your overall web presence, shows to Google that you’re serious. Moreover, if you’re not there, then you’re competitors will be. You need to be louder and more vibrant than your competitors to stand-out. Don’t shy away from taking them on! http://www.reviewengin.com/