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5 Simple Tips for Writing Irresistibly Clickable Headlines
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Back in the days when Madison Avenue was the center of themarketing world, the now-legendary ad man David Ogilvy and his agency dominatedthe marketing game with some of the most iconic advertisements in history.Rolls Royce, Marlboro, Dove - all of these major brands, as well as manyothers, were largely defined by the ad campaigns that Ogilvy himself hadcreated.

What was the secret to his success? According to Ogilvyhimself, it was his ability to write absolutely magnetic headlines that peoplecouldn’t help but read and get sucked into the rest of the copy.

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlinesas read the body copy,” his research led him to famously conclude. “It followsthat unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of yourmoney.”

Here are a few of Ogilvy’s most famous ad headlines:

“‘Darling, I’m having the most extraordinary experience…'” (Dove)

“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this newRolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

“You can see the lemons in Schweppes Bitter Lemon. That’sbecause Schweppes uses whole fresh lemons. Juice, pulp, peel, everything.”

These headlines do everything advertising is supposed to do -they convey the benefit of the products while injecting a heavy dose of personality,setting the tone for the rest of the content and the brand itself.

WHYHEADLINES MATTER TODAY

You might be wondering what such an old-school marketer canteach you about anything in the age of social media, digital ad channels,content marketing, and email lists. The fact is that in all of those fields,written content is still the primary means of communication, and that meansyou’ll be writing headlines for almost everything you do. Whether it’s a shortVine video, an AdWords campaign, a blog post, or anything else - even if you’vecreated a short video to be posted on social media, it still needs a headline.

According to Neil Patel and Joseph Putnam’s “The DefinitiveGuide to Copywriting,” headlines can be the difference between middling resultsand wild success. They wrote that in one case, changing a single word in anemail headline increased clickthroughs by a staggering 46%.

“Open rates were nearly identical and the email creative wasexactly the same for both versions, but clickthroughs went up by 46% in thesecond. If the ad was sent to 2,000,000 e-mails, the winning version would leadto 17,000+ more clicks, all from changing a single word. That’s a measurabledifference that significantly impacts the bottom line,” Patel and Putnam write.

The evidence is clear: great headlines are a crucialingredient in any online marketing effort.

Here’s how you can write your own powerhouse attentiongrabbers.

START WITHTHE FOUR ‘U’S

This is really tip zero - a starting point for all headlines.Patel and Putnam lay out a powerful but simple framework called “the four Us”that will help guide your headline writing. Headlines, they argue, should beunique, ultra-specific, urgent, and useful. Let’s break down each one.

Unique. Use unusual words, be a bit controversial, crack ajoke - anything to break up the monotony of the same boring headlines we’re allbombarded with every day. Show some personality!

Ultra-specific. People have very short attention spansonline. They aren’t going to click on something if they don’t know what thepayoff will be. An ultra-specific headline will let the reader know exactlywhat to expect.

Urgency. KISSmetrics had a very successful blog post titled“Are You Losing Sales by Giving Customers Too Many Choices?” This is perfect:It invites the target audience (business owners and online marketers) toconsider that very question and click through.

Useful. This one is similar to the ultra-specific point - bedirect and convey an obvious benefit to the reader.

You probably won’t be able to hit on all four of thesequalities in one headline, but you should aim to incorporate at least one ortwo of them. This should be enough to get your readers to read on. With thatfoundation in mind, let’s move on to more technical tips.

1. NUMBERSAND DIGITS - THE LIST ARTICLE

The idea of list articles might elicit a groan from seasonedveterans of the Internet - after all, we can hardly go 10 minutes without aBuzzFeed listicle crossing our screens. But there is a good reason for that:list articles - and their headlines - get clicked.

WordStream explained that readers’ eyes are naturally drawnto headlines that contain digits. This is because the juxtaposition of numbersand words is a very eye-catching technique, much in the same way contrastingcolors instantly catch our attention.

2. INCLUDE THEBENEFIT RIGHT IN THE HEADLINE

Look at the headline of this article. It gives you a clearbenefit that you can expect to get from reading the rest of the copy. It’s allabout demonstrating a clear value proposition to your reader - the kind ofultra-specific headline that Patel and Putnam suggest. You knew that thisarticle would teach you how to write better headlines before you even clickedon it. Right away, it was clear to you that this would be something useful.

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3. USE DATA

Not every piece of content will lend itself to including datain the headline, but when it does, it’s a powerful tool for building betterheadlines. Consider some of the following hypothetical examples - which ones doyou think would draw a reader in more?

“Attract More Readers” vs. “How I Attracted 40% more readers”

“Boost Your Sales Using These Tips” vs. “Boost Your Sales by20% with These Tips”

“Most People do X” vs. “4 out of 5 People Do X”

Including a statistic or number in your headline gives asense of magnitude for the topic you’re discussing - it’s much easier tovisualize the implications of what you’re talking about ahead of time ifthere’s a simple data point right in the headline.

4. WRITEMULTIPLE HEADLINES

As WordStream’s blog post “19 Headline Writing Tips for MoreClickable, Shareable Blog Posts” points out, your first headline idea willalmost never be your best. Flesh out as many ideas as possible so you havemultiple choices for your headline. This is time-consuming, but when youconsider how important headlines are (remember Ogilvy), you’ll see that this iswell worth it. Try different combinations of verbs, adjectives, numbers, andoverall lengths to see which headlines flow best and touch on as many of thefour Us as possible.

As an aside, it’s worth using keywords in your headlines aswell. Play around with the placement and see how you can use your keywords inas naturally as possible. But if it just doesn’t work, don’t force it. It’s notworth writing a clunky headline just for the sake of getting a keyword inthere.

5. KEEP ITSHORT

The best headlines are the ones you can read in theirentirety in the Google Search rankings. This means you need to keep them under70 characters, or 6 to 8 words. This helps in terms of SEO and alsoreadability. If someone can’t read your entire headline in the Google rankings,they’ll be much less likely to click through.

Content is king, and the headline is his crown jewel. Byunderstanding the art and science behind great headlines, you’ll attract yourideal readers—those who convert into paying customers.

WHAT YOUCAN DO RIGHT NOW

Ready to take a crack at crafting some stellar headlines? Getgoing today with these tips.

Remember the four Us: headlines should be unique,ultra-specific, urgent, and useful.

Rework some of your previous headline attempts with data orother numbers to increase their punch.

Run through several drafts of a headline, then test your besteffort on a few friends or colleagues and ask for feedback.

This post was originally published here: 5 SimpleTips for Writing Irresistibly Clickable Headlines    

How Marketers Should Connect With Mobile-Focused Consumers

thinkbigdigitalmktg:

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In digital marketing, gone are the days ofseparating mobile and desktop customers.

Marketing and PR pros must adapt to the growingnumber of smartphone users who consult their mobile devices before making apurchase.

Google reports that in order to meet this growingtrend, marketers should account for new conversion types and think aboutmeasurement in a way that connects with consumers using various screens andchannels.

“Many businesses still measure conversions and costper acquisition for mobile devices and desktop separately ,” a recent Thinkwith Google report says. “They’re not accounting for micro-moments that happenon numerous screens in a consumer’s path to purchase. You don’t have mobilecustomers and desktop customers. You just have customers.”

Mobile marketing comes into play most when consumerstake action. Google considers these “micro-moments” to be opportunities forbrand managers to meet their customers where decisions are being made.

Recent Google/Nielsen data show that when users usetheir smartphones to help make a decision, 57 percent are more likely to visita store, 39 percent more likely to call a business and 51 percent more likelyto make that purchase.

Marketing and PR pros can best connect withconsumers on an array of screens using these four tactics:

Look beyond mobile sales

Whether consumers are looking for prices, sizes orreviews, it’s important to consider all the ways they’re using mobile access toconnect with your brand.

AdWords —Google’s paid advertisement division—canmeasure the full scope of your digital spending. From in-store purchases toimpulse buys using apps, this tool can help determine which platformsinfluenced your sales the most.

Satisfy multi-device behavior

From performing searches to watching videos,Google/Ipsos data show that 90 percent of consumers use their smartphones forwhat’s called “everyday use.” This is often tracked using analytical data.

Forty percent of consumers use their mobile devicesto research a product before they make a purchase through desktop access. Theseconsumers have a greater chance of being influenced by marketing. Determiningwhat channels are driving these purchases is called attribution.

The article—“ The Path to Better Measurement:Analytics and Attribution ”—advises marketers to pay attention to the conversationrates of both options.

Use analytics to better understand your customer’sexperience, and then use attribution to gauge the success of your marketingefforts. Combined, these tactics can drive your audience to places where theycan engage with you and other consumers—and you can convert them intocustomers.

Measure phone calls and app installs

BIA/Kelsey data show that mobile phone calls convertcustomers at a higher rather than website visits. Marketers should consider amobile call the same as a mobile conversion.

Installing your organization’s mobile app doesn’tmean you have a new customer. Google marketers advise treating app users ashigh-value customers—even if their purchases don’t happen on your app.

Here’s how Walgreen’s exemplified this strategy froma recent case study :

Walgreens’ app let customers refill prescriptionsvia SMS or a barcode scan and launched a “web pick-up” feature that let peopleorder on their phones and pick up in-store. Between 2011 and 2012, Walgreensdoubled mobile app downloads and saw 52 percent of digital refills come frommobile phones (a rate of one mobile refill per second). Walgreens discoveredthat shoppers who use the app spend six times more than shoppers who don’t.

Manage consumers through all departments

From brand marketing to merchandising efforts, theeffect that “micro-moment” analysis can have on your organization depends onyour ability to coordinate initiatives. Your consumers have different thingsthat drive them; it’s important to approach your marketing strategy with amindset that includes feedback from a variety of departments.

Make sure your teams are talking to each other andtracking goals and results together. Offer incentives or encourage regularmeetings to improve interdepartmental communication.

PR Daily readers, what strategies have you employedto connect with your consumers through various mobile devices and offline?

This post was originally published here: How Marketers Should Connect With Mobile-FocusedConsumers

10 Tips For Avoiding Shady SEO Providers
Got a sneaking suspicion the SEO company you hired might not be legit? Columnist Greg Gifford shares his list of red flags to look out for.


Maybe I should have used an image of me jumping on a soapbox, because I’m about to preach.

Spring conference season is in full swing, and I’ve had my mind blown several times already — not from amazing presentations (although there were several), but from conversations with business owners and newbies in the marketing world.

Case in point: At an automotive conference, I talked to a dealer who had deleted his dealership’s Facebook and Twitter accounts on the advice of his SEO provider. He said they told him it wasn’t good for him to have an open forum where customers could say whatever they wanted about his business. I pointed out that the customers would still be out there, even if his dealership wasn’t… and he agreed! He said he thought that sounded weird, but he shrugged and figured his SEO guy knew what he was doing.

I’ve talked to far too many business owners this spring who feel like they’re getting fleeced by their SEO providers. I’ve talked to far too many marketers who have just started off in the field who don’t know how to judge the value of the work their employer provides. Those conversations are scary, and they’re happening far too often.

I thought I’d take a look at some red flags and warning signs with this week’s article here. While I’m stepping up on my soap box to preach, I’m also taking a step back and looking at the SEO industry without any preconceived notions.

(Note: Yes, most of us are legitimate SEOs and marketers who know what we’re doing and do everything we can to help our clients. This post isn’t meant for y’all — sorry. This post is for the business owners and the noobs in the industry.)

Following are 10 red flags which signal that you may be dealing with a shady SEO provider….

1. Low quality, duplicated content
I talked to a dealership that suspected their content was just phoned in by their provider. Their blog was packed with “Honda Civic AC Repair in (city), (state)” posts — and there was a version for every car in their lineup. In total, we’re talking 15 or 16 posts, all exactly the same. The only thing different was the model of the car.

And it gets better! They had taken those 15 posts and used them all again, for around 20 different cities — 300 blog posts, all exactly the same, just with a few keywords substituted in each one.

Obviously, this was bad news. If you suspect you’re getting cruddy recycled content, copy a sentence from a post and search for it in Google inside of double quotes so you only see exact matches. If you’re like this dealer and see more than 42,000 exact matches, you know you’re in bad shape.

2. Lazy, outdated tactics
I had a fun conversation at SMX West with a few attorneys. One of them was telling me that their new SEO provider sent their website guy a list of requests (They had never asked for access to WordPress, which is a bad sign all on its own). The requested title tag was nearly 30 words long, and they had at least 35 cities listed in the META KEYWORDS.

They had also requested that all but the first sentence of the home page be hidden behind a “read more” link.

If you’re reading Search Engine Land, then you’ve got access to a wealth of information about SEO best practices. If something seems shady or outdated, some simple checks online with trusted sources can help you confirm or deny your suspicions.

3. All you get is blog posts
If your provider’s entire SEO strategy is simply providing blog posts, that’s obviously bad news bears for your business. Clearly, there’s so much more to making your website a relevant resource than sharing a bunch of blog posts. Blogs are an important element, but they’re just one piece of a much larger pie.

4. Artificially lowered bounce rate
Sure, your bounce rate can be a good engagement signal, but it shouldn’t be your “be all, end all” metric. Far too many business owners obsess over their bounce rate when there are much more legitimate metrics for SEO success.

At the last SMX West before he went on hiatus, Matt Cutts said something in an open Q&A that’s stuck with me ever since. When someone asked about their bounce rate, he told them that if their call to action was a phone call, they wanted a high bounce rate. If they were driving users to make a call, then a high bounce rate could mean that users were converting and then leaving.

If your SEO provider promises a drastically lower bounce rate, you should ask them what they’re doing. Many times, they’re simply adding a script that pings Google Analytics every four or five seconds that a user is on a page. BOOM! The bounce rate is magically lowered — but not because the content is engaging or because customer behavior has changed.

5. A la carte SEO services
If you’re hiring an SEO provider, you’re doing so because you believe that their expertise will help your business get more visibility online. If they show you a menu of possible services, with everything broken out into individual elements, that’s not a good sign.

You’re hiring them because they’re the expert — they shouldn’t expect that you know exactly what your business needs to gain more visibility in searches. It’s perfectly okay if they have several different packages, but if you’re expected to choose individual components to create your own package, that’s not a good business decision.

6. Guaranteed ranking
I’m not going to dwell on this one, because it’s 2016, and you’ve read this about 327 times before. But hey, if you’re brand new to SEO, here’s the truth:
Nobody can guarantee rankings.
So if your provider is doing it, run away.

7. “Cheap” SEO
SEO can’t be automated — it takes people sitting there, doing the work. That’s not cheap. SEO takes manual work, and it takes time. If you’re paying less than $750 to $1,000 a month for SEO, that’s another bad sign.

8. Setup fees for SEO
If your provider is charging a “setup fee,” ask them why, and what’s included. Setup fees are rare — but sometimes, since there’s more research on the front end of an SEO project, providers try to saddle new clients with a setup fee.

It’s likely that they’re just asking for extra money because they can. If they’re charging a setup fee and your first month’s service fee, they’re not doing any extra work that first month, compared to what they do the following months.

9. No access to Google Analytics
If your provider sets up Google Analytics for your site but refuses to give you access, you need to run away as fast as you can. There’s zero reason why your provider should deny you access to the analytics for your own website. Yes, this sounds crazy to most of us, but it happens all the time.

On the flip side of the coin, if you start working with a new provider that doesn’t ask for access to your Google Analytics, you should run just as fast. Without access to your analytics, they have no idea what’s going on with your website — so how can they be optimizing for better traffic?

10. No monthly reporting
Your provider should absolutely be providing a monthly SEO report. I talked to several providers at a recent automotive conference who were using a large, well-known provider who only produced quarterly reports. Since that was the only provider they’ve ever used, they didn’t know any better.

I’ve also had a lot of people tell me that their SEO reports only show keyword rankings. In today’s world of localization and personalization, keyword ranking reports are worthless as an SEO success metric. Your reports should always show organic traffic and lead trends over time.

So, those are the most egregious offenses that I’ve run into over the past year or so…. but I’d love to hear from all of you. If you’ve got a great story, please share it on social so we can both laugh AND use the examples to help people avoid the shady providers!

This post was originally published here: 10 Tips For Avoiding Shady SEO Providers


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