Copywriter Toronto – B2B Technology and Software Copywriter http://copywritertoronto.com Copywriter Toronto - B2B Technology and Software Copywriter Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:07:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Use Content to Improve Your Customer Experience http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-use-content-to-improve-your-b2b-customer-experience/ Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:00:53 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5914 B2B buyers are spending more time looking at content online and less time interacting with sales and customers service reps. Here’s how to use content to attract leads, turn them into customers, and keep them coming back …

Here’s a sobering statistic from Gartner …

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with enterprises without interacting with a human.

Yikes!

Happy customer with thumbs up and header How to Use Content to Improve Your Customer Experience

If this comes true, your sales reps will have less power to sway customers face-to-face or on the phone. Meanwhile, your customer success team won’t have as many opportunities to deliver an amazing experience.

So, how are B2B buyers interacting with enterprises and getting the information they need to make informed buying decisions?

According to Earnest Agency, 81% of B2B purchases start with a web search. When customers are ready to buy, they’ll find you.

This means that your online content will need to do the heavy lifting.

Here are five ways you can use content to improve your customer experience:

1. Focus your content strategy on your customers.

Cartoon man looking through a binocular to represent being focused on the customer.

Avoid boring customers by creating content that focuses on them, rather than your sales pitch.

Today’s customers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. If you constantly push your products, you’ll bore customers and cause them to tune out.

Instead of creating product-focused content, create customer-focused. Keeping your customers top of mind will help engage them throughout your sales cycle.

2. Personalize your content.

Picture of Charlie looking at a sign with his name on it.

My husband, Charlie, finds personalized content.

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all content. Customers won’t respond unless your content speaks directly to their needs, challenges, and goals.

The demand for personalized content stemmed from the consumer world, where buyers can do everything from view customized Amazon recommendations to pick produce for their organic delivery box.

In the B2B space, content personalization can include giving customers relevant white papers, case studies, and email content. And you don’t necessarily need to recreate the wheel to personalize all of your content.

For example, you can take one of your white papers and change parts of it – such as the case studies and introduction – to speak to a different audience.

Then, you can give leads the option to select their role, industry, or biggest challenge when they download a white paper. This gets them more involved in the process. If they know that they are getting a piece of custom content, they will be more likely to read it. They will also get something that speaks directly to their needs.

3. Make your content accessible.

Different devices that have people connected through them.

People like to consume content in different ways, make sure you have offer a variety of mediums across different channels.

Providing a great customer experience means creating content that customers can view on any device.

Make sure that your content is accessible on all popular devices and that it automatically resizes to look good on different screens.

Another way to make your content accessible is to share it across different channels. For example, not all of your customers will want to read a long blog post. Try turning some of your blog posts into videos, podcasts, or SlideShare presentations, so you can reach customers who prefer different mediums.

Be honest.

4. Honesty is the new black.

Woman taking a lie detector test.

Be honest about mistakes and flaws. People will trust you more.

Addressing your weaknesses makes your brand more human. Instead of hiding your product’s flaws, put them out in the open. Customers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust you.

I recently attended a content marketing event where the panelists discussed honesty. They said that their most successful blog posts and videos were about their mistakes.

5. Make it easy for customers to take the next step.

Ripped treasure map.

Don’t force customers to go where you want them to, make it easy for them to find the information they need.

Think of your content like a trail. Put up “signs” that lead customers to the next piece of content and further into your sales cycle.

To do this, find out what customers in different stages of the sales cycle are asking. Then, build a trail of content that addresses each question in the order that they ask them. Your trail shouldn’t be about forcing customers to go where you want them to go but about making it easy for them to find the information that they need.

Your content has a huge impact on your customer experience. The more your content helps customers achieve their goals, the more they will sing your praises and recommend you to others.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the editorial calendar template to start planning your customer-focused content.
  2. Check out the Top Dogs of B2B Content Marketing infographic to learn what types of content will help you stand out from the pack.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

Thanks to Jess at Upwork for suggesting that I write about this great topic. If you have any topics that you would like me to cover in a future blog post, please email me at rachel@freshperspectivewriting.com.  

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How to Scale Your B2B Content – Without Sacrificing Its Quality http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-scale-your-b2b-content/ Wed, 06 Jan 2016 13:00:23 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5886 It’s no longer enough to produce high-quality content. B2B marketers also must produce high volumes of content to raise brand awareness and engage customers. Here’s how to scale your content production without sacrificing its quality.

How to Scale Your B2B Content – Without Sacrificing Its Quality

I was always a big believer in producing high-quality content over a high quantity of content.

As content marketers, we’re under pressure to publish lots of content to meet deadlines and keep our social feeds full of fresh posts. According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 76% of B2B marketers will produce more content this year than they produced last year.

But you don’t want to publish poorly thought-out content just for the sake of meeting deadlines. The only way you’ll engage customers is if you produce high-quality content that speaks to their needs.

However, quantity also matters. At Content Marketing World, several of the speakers talked about the importance of both quality and quantity in B2B content marketing. The more content you produce, the more you’ll raise brand awareness. Each new piece of content also gives you a new reason to connect with customers.

So, how can you increase your content’s quantity without sacrificing its quality?

Here are three tricks that can help:

1. Pick a theme

Pick a Theme For Your Content

Themes are help make planning content easier.

Picking content themes for the quarter can keep your content marketing on track. When you plan a few themes in advance, you will always have something to talk about.

It’s a good idea to select several broad themes for the quarter – such as cloud security or event marketing. Then, you’ll have lots of interesting sub-topics that you can dive into.

Here are some ideas for picking themes:

  • Base your weekly, monthly or quarterly content around a product launch.
  • Find out if customers are asking related questions. Turn these questions into a theme and write a series of blog posts that answer them.
  • Address one of your customers’ top concerns in a white paper and its related content.
  • Make “customer success stories” one of your themes. Share their stories in case studies, videos, blog posts, webinars, social posts, etc.
  • Base your theme on a trending topic in your industry. You can use Google Trends to find out what your customers are searching for. Social Mention is another cool tool that shows you how your keywords are trending on social media.

2. Start big

After you select a quarterly theme, create a major piece of content about it. For example, you may have exciting research that you want to share in a report. Or you may want to publish a white paper or ebook to support a new product.

Creating a major piece of content takes a bit of planning up front. But once you have this content, you can easily repurpose it into other formats for your other channels – saving time in the long run. The Content Pillar Approach shows you how you can get 269 pieces of content from a single ebook.

How-to-Create-269-Content-Assets-Content-Pillar

The Content Pillar Approach by Oracle shows you how to make 269 pieces of content from a single ebook.

When you use the Content Pillar Approach, filling your editorial calendar doesn’t seem so daunting. It will also help you reach a wider audience across more channels.

3. Create a style guide

Create A Style Guide

Style guides help your team align content with your brand.

To produce a lot of high-quality content, you must get your team on the same page. A style guide is a valuable tool that helps your writers, designers, and other content team members align your content with your brand. Your style guide can include:

  • A description of your target audience and key personas
  • Information on your content goals
  • A description of your brand voice
  • Notes on spelling and punctuation
  • The name of the style manual that you follow, such as AP or Globe and Mail
  • A list of items to include in your blog posts – such as author bios and pull quotes
  • Links to your logo and other key design elements

Successful content marketing is as much about planning as it is about producing. The techniques outlined in this article will help you better plan your content, so you can produce more of it without sacrificing its quality. 

content-planning-checklist

Get Instant Access to the B2B Content Planning Checklist

10 Steps to Creating Content That Attracts Leads, Shortens Sales Cycles, and Drives Revenue.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE CHECKLIST

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Content Planning Checklist: 10 Steps to Creating Content That Attracts Leads, Shortens Sales Cycles, and Drives Revenue
  2. Check out the Top Dogs of B2B Content Marketing infographic to learn what types of content will help you stand out from the pack.
  3. Click here to share this blog post on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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The Top 10 B2B Marketing Posts in 2015 http://copywritertoronto.com/top-10-b2b-content-marketing-posts-in-2015/ Wed, 23 Dec 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5857 Here’s what B2B marketers were talking about in 2015 … along with a look ahead at 2016 content marketing trends.

TOP 10 B2B Marketing Posts

As you’re preparing your 2016 marketing, now is a good time to look back on what mattered the most in 2015. I rounded up my top posts of the year to find out what B2B marketers were talking about.

The topics range from 2016 content marketing predictions to a post that I wrote in 2013 on how to improve your email subject lines. Without further ado, here are my top 10 posts from 2015:

 1. 5 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016 [Insights From Content Marketing World]

5 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016

In September, I attended Content Marketing World in Cleveland.

It was great to get out of the office and meet so many amazing content marketers. I also learned about some key trends that will impact B2B marketers in 2016. You’ll want to check these out.

 2. How to Write B2B Email Subject Lines that Get Your Messages Opened

Email subject lines are often an afterthought.

After preparing your email’s content, you might only have a few seconds to dash off a quick subject line and send out your email. However, since the best B2B customers often come from in-house email lists, you should spend more time crafting subject lines that get readers to open your emails. Here are five ways you can improve your B2B email subject lines to increase your open rates …

3. How to Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy

10 Ways to Create a b2b Content Marketing Strategy

Research has shown that B2B marketers who have a content marketing strategy get better results from all of their content. To help you step up your content marketing game, I’ve put together An Essential Guide to Creating a B2B Content Marketing Strategy. This curated ebook contains 10 resources that walk you through the key steps of creating an effective strategy

4. How to Create B2B Data Sheets that Drive Sales

How to Create B2B Data Sheets that Drive Sales

Data sheets … sell sheets … technical specifications …

Whatever you call them, they are an important part of any B2B salesperson’s toolkit. However, many B2B marketers load their data sheets with too much text and visual clutter. This not only causes your core message to get lost, but it also overwhelms your readers.

Here are five data sheet dos and don’ts that will help you turn more leads into customers …

5. How to Get Your Blog Picked Up by Google News

how to get your blog picked up by Google News

Have you ever wondered why the same sites appear over and over again in Google News and how you can get your blog some Google love? This post explains what Google is looking for and offers advice on what to do if your blog doesn’t meet its requirements …

6. 7 Keys to Successful Content Marketing

7 Keys to Successful Content Marketing

The Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP) held a panel on how to get better results from your content marketing efforts. Here are seven things that every B2B content marketer must know

7. 5 Ways Small B2B Marketing Teams Can Win at Content Marketing

5 Ways Small B2B Marketing Teams Can Win at Content Marketing

Ask any B2B marketer about their top content marketing challenges, and they’ll likely say, “finding the time and resources to get it done”.

This problem can be even harder if you have a small, in-house marketing team – or if you’re a marketing department of one. Here are five things that will help your small team win at content marketing

 8. 7 Big Mistakes That Sabotage Your B2B Blog’s Success 

7 Big Mistakes that Sabotage Your B2B Blog’s Success

A blog can be one of your most valuable marketing assets, as it can introduce targeted leads to your content and engage them throughout every stage of your sales cycle. Here’s how to avoid common B2B blogging mistakes – along with a checklist that will help keep you on track …

9. 5 Overlooked Opportunities for B2B Marketers

5 Overlooked Opportunities for b2b marketers

Life is hectic when you’re a B2B marketer.  

In the day-to-day rush, you may miss out on chances to engage more leads and turn them into customers. Here are five big opportunities that many B2B marketers are overlooking …

 10. Reasons Why B2B Websites Fail

5 Reasons Why b2b Websites Fail

Forrester recently identified 10 criteria for effective B2B websites and scored 30 companies against its criteria. According to the “B-to-B Content Fails the Customer Engagement Test” report, only four companies passed the test.

Here’s why most B2B websites are failing

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The Top Dogs Of B2B Content Marketing [Infographic] http://copywritertoronto.com/top-dogs-of-b2b-content-marketing/ Wed, 09 Dec 2015 13:00:29 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5819 B2B marketers use an average of 13 content marketing tactics – from blogging to webinars. But with so many choices, what types of content will help you attract the most leads and turn them into customers? Here are five winning B2B content marketing tactics …

Top Dogs of B2B Content Marketing

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5 Ways to Take Your B2B Case Studies From Blah to Brilliant http://copywritertoronto.com/5-ways-to-take-your-b2b-case-studies-from-blah-to-brilliant/ Thu, 03 Dec 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5794 Case studies are one of the most powerful B2B marketing and sales tools. Here’s how to create case studies that resonate with prospects and motivate them to say, “Yes!” to your product.
cartoon people with talking bubbles

Create case studies that resonate with prospects and motivate them to say, “Yes!”

Today’s B2B buyers are tired of being sold to all of the time.

They’re bombarded with advertising and can’t go a day without getting sales calls. One SpiceWorks’ IT pro said that he doesn’t answer his phone after downloading white papers, as he would rather miss all of his calls than speak with a sales rep.

If your customers are going out of their way to avoid you, how do you get through to them?

One way to cut through the clutter is to tell your story in your customers’ voice, not your sales voice.

Instead of taking sales calls, B2B buyers are conducting their own research online. The key things they look for are peer reviews, testimonials and case studies. In fact, a hawkeye study found that between 71% and 77% of B2B buyers cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content.

Graph of Hawkeye B2B Buyer Journey Research Most Influential Types of Content

Hawkeye B2B Buyer Journey Research Most Influential Types of Content

This means that publishing customer success stories should be one of your top marketing objectives. The more compelling case studies you have, the more you can engage skeptical prospects and shorten your sales cycles.

Adding more case studies and testimonials to your website can even boost your conversions. WikiJobs increased its conversions by 34% simply by displaying testimonials prominently on a web page.

Here are five ways you can develop compelling case studies that engage B2B prospects and help you drive sales:

1. Tell the story from your customers’ perspective, not your perspective.

Cartoon business man wearing a cape

Tell the story from your customers’ perspective, not your perspective.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see with case studies is when sales reps write them from their perspective and leave the customer out of the story. It can be tempting to do this, especially if you can’t find enough customers to feature in case studies. However, these “customer stories” are usually loaded with sales speak and don’t contain useful information that would appeal to a prospect. B2B buyers want to hear your customers’ stories in their words – not yours.

2. Include quotes from your customer.

Quotes that say Never publish a story without quotes from your customer.

Include quotes from your customer.

When you’re developing case studies, it can be hard to get quotes from your busy customers. So, you may be tempted to leave out the quotes, just so you can make a deadline.

Please, take this oath:

“I solemnly swear never to publish a case study without quotes from my customer. If I break this promise, my marketing won’t be credible and a unicorn will die.”

When you take the time to chat with your customer, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the great things they say. If you have a hard time scheduling interviews, try using scheduling software that allows your customers to pick the best time that works for them. Also be sure that your scheduling software emails and/or texts them a reminder before the call.

3. Don’t include too much information.

Cartoon man sleeping on a desk

Don’t include too much information.

While you may find every detail about how you helped someone fascinating, your prospects may not. If you publish your case studies online, you can use eye tracking software and analytics tools to see what people are reading and where they are nodding off.

Your case studies should focus on a few key points – the points that will resonate the most with your target audience. Leave the rest of the details out. A good recommendation is to keep the case study under four pages.

4. Format the case study for easy reading.

Formatting shown across different devices

Format the case study for easy reading.

You put a lot of effort into collecting customer success stories. Don’t make the mistake of formatting these stories so they’re impossible to read.

For example, long paragraphs and tiny fonts will turn off a lot of readers. Use sub-headers, bullets, images and bold text to make your case study easier to scan. Also be aware of how your case study reads on mobile devices. Is it easy for readers to quickly locate your key messages?

5. Repurpose your case study for different channels.

Megaphoto with different icons representing marketing

Repurpose your case study for different channels.

It takes time to get approvals from your customers and your senior-level staff for case studies. When you get approvals from your customers, be sure to ask for permission to reuse their quotes across your other marketing materials.

This will make it easier to repurpose your case studies in different formats. For example, you can turn your case study into SlideShare presentations, blog posts and webinar content. You can also place the customer quotes throughout your website, emails and sales materials.

B2B buyers rely on case studies to make informed buying decisions. It’s important to keep your case studies up to date, so you’ll always have the right story for the right buyer. For example, you should create studies whenever you launch a new product, break into a new market or go after a different vertical.

B2B Case Study Promotion Cheat Sheet

Get Instant Access to the FREE The B2B Case Study Promotion Cheat Sheet

Discover 25 places to share your B2B case studies to reach a wider audience and influence more prospects.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE CHECKLIST

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Read “The 4 Pillars You Need to Tell Great B2B Stories” to learn how to use stories to create meaningful connections with customers.
  2. Learn how my case study writing services can help you build your arsenal of customer success stories, so you can influence more prospects, shorten your sales cycles and boost revenue.
  3. Click here to share this blog post on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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5 Big B2B Website Mistakes That Are Driving Your Customers Crazy http://copywritertoronto.com/5-big-b2b-website-mistakes-that-are-driving-your-customers-crazy/ Wed, 18 Nov 2015 06:41:59 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5752 Most B2B websites miss the mark when it comes to engaging visitors, boosting conversions and driving sales. Here are five major mistakes that cause many B2B websites to fail …
cartoon head swearing with title 5 Big B2B Website Mistakes That Are Driving Your Customers Crazy

Discover the five major mistakes that cause many B2B websites to fail.

If you think of your marketing as a solar system, your website is your sun.

Most – if not all – of the content that you create orbits around your website. Your social posts and ads drive people to pages where they can opt in for your content. Prospects go to your website to learn about your products and contact sales reps. Your website contains your thought leadership and is a strong reflection of your brand.

So, why do so many B2B websites miss the mark?

Forrester identified 10 basic criteria for effective B2B websites. Then, it evaluated 30 companies against these criteria. Unfortunately, only four out of the 30 companies passed the test.

One major problem is that B2B websites don’t give visitors enough valuable content. A TechTarget report revealed that 65% of buyers download four to seven pieces of content before they create a vendor shortlist. So, if your website lacks useful content, you won’t get as many conversions, leads and sales.

Here are five more reasons why your B2B website may fail to engage customers:

1. You don’t have enough case studies on your site.

Today’s B2B buyers want proof that your products and services deliver results. When they need a new product, they are more likely to seek peer recommendations than sales content.

Cartoon man with clip board and books and title You don’t have enough case studies on your site.

Over 71% of B2B buyers think case studies are the most influential type of content.

Case studies are an excellent way to provide buyers with social proof that your products and services deliver results. In fact, a hawkeye study found that between 71% and 77% of B2B buyers think case studies are the most influential type of content.

Displaying case studies prominently on your website can enhance your credibility and help you attract more high-quality leads. Telling stories from your customers’ perspective – not your sales team’s perspective – also makes your brand more relatable and human.

2. You talk about your company, not your customers.

As a marketer, you face a Catch-22. Other people in your company may push you to talk about your features, your news and how great you are. However, you know that customers don’t care about these things. Instead, they want to see that you understand their challenges.

Cartoon business man sleeping at a desk and the title You talk about your company, not your customers.

Many B2B websites don’t speak to the issues their prospective buyers are trying to solve

“The biggest problem [with B2B websites] is that the majority of content talks about the company, what its products and services do, and how many awards they’ve won, but doesn’t speak to the issues their prospective buyers are trying to solve,” said Laura Ramos, VP-principal analyst at Forrester.

The more you focus on your customers, the better results you will achieve. Customers will be more willing to opt in for your content, buy your products and recommend you to others.

3. Your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.

Take a step back from your website and look at it from a customer’s perspective. Is your key information easy to find?

The 2015 B2B Website Usability Report found that most vendor websites are lacking basic information – including their contact details and product information.

Website usability report data and title Your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.

Most vendor websites are lacking basic information – including their contact details and product information.

If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, your website might be too complicated. For example, you may have important information buried underneath layers of navigation. Or you might put information about Product X front and center, when your customers really want to learn more about Product Y.

Check your analytics to see how visitors are interacting with your website. What are they looking for? Where are they spending the most time? Where are they clicking away from your site?

4. You don’t have enough opt-in offers.

You likely have premium content that customers can opt in for, such as white papers or webinars. And you likely promote these offers on your blog and in ads throughout your site.

However, you can take your offers a step further to give your conversions a big boost. One way to do this is by creating content upgrades or “tie ins” for your blog posts.

Download Icon with the title You don’t have enough opt-in offers.

Boost conversions with content upgrades.

For example, if you publish a blog post on network security, you can offer readers a checklist that helps them determine their level of risk. Since your readers are interested in the topic, they will likely want the additional resource.

Creating a content upgrade isn’t as involved as creating a white paper or ebook. Two-page documents, such as checklists, cheat sheets and tool recommendations are easy to create and useful for your readers.

However, it can become cumbersome to create a content upgrade for all of your blog posts. Start by creating upgrades for your top-performing posts. You can also plan a blog post series around a specific topic and reuse your upgrade on all of these posts.

Click here to download a Content Upgrade Checklist that takes you through the steps of creating these targeted resources.

5. You don’t tell stories.

Stories help you cut past the “sales speak” and connect with B2B buyers.

Cartoon people at a desk telling stories with title B2B Websites don’t tell stories.

Stories help to build trust in your brand or product,

Yesware blogged about the psychology of storytelling for sales. According to the blog post, “A series of experiments performed by neuroeconomics pioneer Paul Zak found that stories that are highly engaging and contain key elements — including a climax and denouement – can elicit powerful empathic responses by triggering the release of oxytocin. Often referred to as the ‘trust hormone,’ this neurochemical promotes connection and encourages people to feel empathy. When released in the brain of your prospect it can help to build trust in your brand or product, and in doing so increase sales.”

Where do you have opportunities to use stories? How can you use them to connect with your ideal customers?

Most B2B websites are missing the mark when it comes to engaging customers.

According to Forrester, the first thing to check is whether your website talks about your company or talks about things that interest your customers. The better you align your website with what your customers want to know, the better results you will achieve.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the Content Upgrade Checklist: 9 Steps to Turbocharging Your List Building with Targeted Resources.
  2. Read “The Most Important Question That You’re Not Asking Your B2B Customers” for tips that will help you better engage your target audience.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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11 Things That You Must Include in Your Next Blog Post http://copywritertoronto.com/11-things-that-you-must-include-in-your-next-blog-post/ http://copywritertoronto.com/11-things-that-you-must-include-in-your-next-blog-post/#respond Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=3679 Image with blog post and social icons that says 11 things to include in your next blog post

11 Essentials for B2B blog posts.

Woo-hoo!

You’re ready to publish your latest blog post and bring more readers back to your blog. But before you queue your post, take a moment to review this checklist to make sure that it contains all of the pieces you need to engage readers, increase your social shares and drive conversions.

Here are 11 things to include in your blog posts: 

1.  A compelling title.

Top-performing blog posts tend to include the words “how to” or a number, such as “the top 5 ways to…”

A Your title is what motivates people to click a link and read your post, so it’s worth investing time to come up with something compelling. Studies have shown that top-performing blog posts tend to include the words “how to” or a number, such as “the top 5 ways to…” The reason why these posts perform well is that they promise readers will learn something specific when they check out the post.

It’s also critical to include your main keyword or key phrase in your title, as this will help your blog rank higher on Google. Just make sure that your title reads for humans, not robots.

2.  A summary.

A bullseye with a website and an arrow tip in the summary

A well-crafted summary can convince people to read more of the post.

While a summary is not mandatory, it is often a good idea to include a one- or two-line summary of your blog post just under your title. A well-crafted summary can convince people to read more of the post. You can also copy the summary into the WordPress Excerpt plug-in, and WordPress will automatically display it on your search and archive pages.

3.  A strong lead.

A carnival strength game

Start by showing readers that you understand their biggest challenges.

The opening paragraphs of your blog post must engage your audience so they continue to read the post. You can achieve this by telling a personal story that your readers can relate to, asking a question that the blog post will answer, sharing interesting statistics or showing readers that you understand their biggest challenges.

4.  Sub-headers and bullet points.

Cartoon of bullet points

Make your articles easy to skim.

The majority of people skim articles on the Internet, rather than read them word for word. That’s why you must break up your text using sub-headers, bullet points, numbered lists and short paragraphs.   

5.  A call to action.

Call To Action

Have a clear call to action on your blog posts.

What do you want people to do after they read your blog post? Leave comments? Share your post? Visit another web page? Whatever you want them to do, you must spell it out at the end of your blog post.    

2 planesGet Instant Access to the FREE Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist

Discover what to include in all of your blog posts to improve your SEO, engage readers and increase your conversions.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE CHECKLIST

6. An opt-in form.

A cartoon opt-in form

Customized offers on blog posts can greatly increase the size of your list.

In addition to a call to action at the end of your blog post, it’s also wise to tie each post into one of your marketing campaigns. For example, if you’re writing a blog post on how to increase your e-commerce sales, include a banner ad that directs readers to a webinar or a white paper on the same topic. Doing this can greatly increase the size of your list.    

7.  Social sharing options.

Social Network icons

Use social sharing tools that float along the side of the screen as people read.

Be sure that your blog contains a tool that allows readers to share your content with their social networks. One of the biggest mistakes that I see in this area is social tools that don’t allow you to post to newer networks. Another common mistake is including your social sharing tool either at the top of the post or the bottom of the post. This means that your readers will have to scroll a lot to share your content. I prefer social sharing tools that float along the side of the screen as you read, such as Digg Digg and Flare.    

8.  Images.

Images of people, photos and a camera.

Use images to increase blog engagement and social sharing.

Images not only makes your page more visually appealing, but it can also improve your SEO when you use captions and alt tags that contain your keywords.

9.  An author bio.

Cartoon computer screen with author bio.

Author bios show readers that you are not just a faceless corporation.

Instead of attributing your blog posts to your company, you should give authorship credit to your team members. Doing this can build morale and get more of your colleagues interested in contributing to the blog. It also shows readers that you are not just a faceless corporation.    

10.  Search Engine Optimization.

Computer with graph and timer representing Search Engine Optimization.

Streamline SEO with a plug-in like Yoast.

WordPress plug-ins such as Yoast make it easy to optimize your posts. What I like about Yoast is that you enter the keyword that you want to target, and it automatically shows you what areas of the post need more work. This is a great plug-in if your contributors upload their own posts, as it guides them through the SEO process   

11.  Categories and tags.

A computer and websites representing categories and tags.

Categories and tags make it easier for readers to find posts on your blog.

Don’t forget to assign each post to the appropriate category and tag it with relevant keywords. This will make it easier for readers to find posts on your blog. One of the biggest mistakes that I see in this area is blogs with too many categories. Narrow your categories down to five or fewer core topics, and use tags to be more descriptive.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist, so you can ensure that all of your articles hit the mark with your readers.
  2. Read “How to Turbocharge Your List Building With Content Upgrades” to learn about a new call to action that is making waves in the marketing community.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

 

2 planesGet Instant Access to the FREE Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist

Discover what to include in all of your blog posts to improve your SEO, engage readers and increase your conversions.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE CHECKLIST
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The Most Important Question You’re Not Asking Your B2B Customers http://copywritertoronto.com/the-most-important-question-youre-not-asking-b2b-customers/ Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:00:48 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5706 If you had the opportunity to meet your customers face-to-face, what questions would you ask them? Unfortunately, many B2B marketers leave out the most important question …

“You must get to know your customers.”

We’ve all heard this a million times.

But how do you actually do this?

Header image for blog

Discover how you can learn more about your customers and engage them more effectively.

Last week, I attended SpiceWorld 2015. I had the opportunity to sit down with Sanjay Castelino, vice president of marketing at Spiceworks, where we discussed how B2B marketers can learn more about their customers.

Spiceworks hosts regular Unplugged events, where tech marketers get to meet IT buyers face-to-face and ask them questions.

“The questions that marketers ask at these events are self-serving,” says Sanjay.

Marketers tend to ask the IT pros questions such as “What makes you open an email?” and “Do you read white papers?” Check out this article for questions and answers from a recent Unplugged event in Toronto.

Woman sitting with friends in a movie theatre eating popcorn and looking thrilled while watching the screen

Nothing is more important than getting to know the people you want to engage with.

As you can see, most of the questions center around “What do you think of our marketing?” Instead, marketers should ask, “What is your day like?”

“If you ask IT pros about their lives and their jobs, you’ll get the most interesting answers,” says Sanjay.

Many marketers think they are too busy to talk to customers. Although many haven’t spoken with a customer in a long time, they regularly make decisions on how to engage customers. 

“Nothing is more important than getting to know the people you want to engage with,” says Sanjay. “This is how you will find real differentiators for your marketing.”

The more you learn about who your customers are, the more you can help them do their jobs better. Your customers will see that you understand their challenges and want to help them. Then they’ll be more likely to engage with you and choose you over your competitors.

Customers – whether they are IT pros, executives or consumers – buy from people they know and trust. If you focus on helping – not selling – your customers, they’ll trust that you have their best interests in mind.

A group of people with coloured speech bubbles.

By helping people, you not only create customers, but advocates.

Even if the person you’re helping doesn’t become a customer, he or she may still become an advocate and refer others to you.

Sanjay also adds that speaking with your customers will make you more productive. “If you learn the 10 things that will help your customers the most, you might be able to cut 50 items from your to-do list,” he says.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download 15 Marketing Questions That Won’t Make Your B2B Customers Die of Boredom for some great conversation starters.
  2. Read “Why IT Buyers Aren’t Responding to Your Content” to learn how to make your marketing less robotic.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

 


Get Instant Access to the FREE Resource 

15 Marketing Questions
That Won’t Make Your B2B Customers Die of Boredom

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE RESOURCE NOW

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How to Create B2B Data Sheets that Drive Sales http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-create-b2b-data-sheets-that-drive-sales/ http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-create-b2b-data-sheets-that-drive-sales/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2015 01:52:29 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=3567 How to create b2b data sheets that drive sales

Data sheets … sell sheets … technical specifications …

Whatever you call them, they are an important part of any B2B salesperson’s toolkit. However, many B2B marketers load their data sheets with too much text and visual clutter. This not only causes your core message to get lost, but it also overwhelms your readers.

Here are five data sheet dos and don’ts that will help you turn more leads into customers:

1.  Do press the pain buttons.

Do Press Pain Buttons

You should still highlight your customers’ key pains and drivers in your data sheets.

B2B marketers often discuss their customers’ key pains on their websites and throughout their other marketing materials. However, these drivers tend to get overlooked in sell sheets, as many marketers launch straight into a discussion about the product. While discussing the product is the whole point of a data sheet, you should still highlight your customers’ key pains and drivers, as this will put the rest of the data sheet in context and show your customers that you understand what they are going through. 

2.  Don’t forget the benefits.

Cartoon horse on a stage standing on a ball with a dog balancing upside down on his head. Both have data sheets hanging off them.

You should include both features and benefits in your data sheets.

Many B2B marketers discuss their product’s benefits on their landing pages and its features in their sell sheets. However, you should include both features and benefits in your data sheets, as this will make your copy more compelling and provide customers with more reasons why they should purchase your product. A standard data sheet format includes a benefits list on the front page and features on the back page. However, you can also mention the benefits along with your features.

3.  Do explain why customers should partner with you.

Vintage dressed cartoon couple doing the charleston.

Make sure you explain why you are different.

In addition to features and benefits, you may want to include a sidebar or section that explains why you are different. This section can include your brand messages or proof points, such as a customer testimonial.

4.  Do aim for two pages.

Stick man pointing to a hand drawn white board that says 2 pages.

A data sheet that is single piece of paper makes it easier to distribute.

Ideally, your data sheets should be a two-page document that prints on a single sheet of paper. This makes it easy for your sales representatives to give copies of it to prospective customers.   

5.  Don’t fill your data sheet with visual clutter.

blue print of a rocket ship

Include compelling headers and sub-headers, as well as bullets, bold text and lots of white space.

Many customers today don’t have time to read a document – whether printed or on the web – word for word. That’s why you should format your data sheet for easy scanning. I see a lot of data sheets that cram too much into a tiny space. So, even if the copy is good, many customers won’t read it. Be sure to include compelling headers and sub-headers, as well as bullets, bold text and lots of white space. If you find that you need to cut text to give your data sheet a clean appearance, focus on your top three core messages and drop the rest.     

You should also link to your data sheets from your product pages, so potential customers can learn more about each product. However, I wouldn’t recommend asking leads to complete an opt-in form to download a data sheet. Most people wouldn’t trade their contact information to look at a data sheet, so you’ll get more eyes on your content if you leave your data sheets ungated.

2 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Read How B2B Buyers Are Engaging With Your Content [Data] to learn what your customers want from your marketing. 
  2. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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5 Ways World-Class B2B Marketers Rock Their Content [Lessons From Content Marketing World 2015] http://copywritertoronto.com/5-ways-b2b-marketers-rock-content/ Wed, 16 Sep 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5685 5 Ways World-Class B2B Marketers Rock Their

 

Didn’t make it to Content Marketing World? Don’t worry. This article contains my top five takeaways for B2B marketers.

Wow!

Content Marketing World was amazing. The Content Marketing Institute outdid itself with this fantastic event.

A special highlight was a private concert by the Barenaked Ladies – one of my favourite bands of all time. Content Marketing World marked the fifth time I’ve seen them live. They even performed a hilarious song about content marketing. Here it is:

I also learned how world-class B2B marketers are rocking their content. Here are five key takeaways from the sessions that I attended:

1. Be honest.

When it comes to B2B marketing, honesty is the new black.

Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners said that being honest about your weaknesses can help you attract your ideal customers. He shared this example from the Hans Brinkler Budget Hotel in Amsterdam:

Example Ad from Hans Brinkler Budget Hotel

You’ll build trust with your ideal customers when you’re honest.

By being honest about its downfalls, the hotel won’t attract people who expect better amenities. As a B2B marketer, you can also go out of your way to alienate poor prospects. This will save your sales team the effort of following up with bad leads. It will also reduce your customer complaints.

You’ll build trust with your ideal customers when you’re honest about who your product is for, what it can do, and what it can’t do. Doug stated that customers will be more likely to believe the rest of your marketing if they see that you’re honest about your flaws.

2. Focus on quantity and quality.

A waiter's hand pulling the cover off to a laptop with a crown.

With proper planning, you can achieve a balance between quality and quantity.

I’ve always preached that your content’s quality should be more important than its quantity. After all, you don’t want to publish garbage just for the sake of publishing.

However, quantity also matters.

Several of the speakers at Content Marketing World talked about the importance of producing a lot of content.  The 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report also stated that 70% of B2B marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago.

The more content you produce, the more leads you will attract. Publishing consistently can improve your Google rankings, bring more visitors to your website and get you more social shares.

However, I still hold firm that your content must be high quality and resonate with your target audience. With proper planning, you can achieve a balance between quality and quantity.

3. Become a master at repurposing content. 

Repurposing to reach a wider audience – without doubling your efforts.

Repurposing to reach a wider audience – without doubling your efforts.

Repurposing your content is a great way to publish more often and reach a wider audience – without doubling your efforts.

Amy Higgins from Zendesk held an excellent session on repurposing your content. She recommended thinking of your content like a galaxy. Start by creating a major piece of content, such as an ebook or essential guide. This will act as your “sun”, and all your other content will orbit around it.

From there, repurpose your “sun” into smaller pieces of content, such as smaller ebooks, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, infographics and social posts. Starting with a large piece of content and breaking it down can make it easy for you to fill your editorial calendar. It also focuses all of your content on one key message. 

4. Set goals.

Graphs

Content marketers who write down their goals get better results.

It’s a fact: content marketers who write down their goals get better results. According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, marketers who document their content marketing strategy are more successful than those who don’t.

In his power blogging session, Rick Short from Indium Corporation recommended posting your goals in your employees’ offices. This will help them stay on task.

Rick also recommended thinking about the root of your goal. For example, you may focus your efforts on increasing your website traffic. But do you really want a bunch of random people coming to your site? Instead, think of your key goals, such as generating high-quality sales leads, and work on bringing the right traffic to your site.

5. Keep it simple. 

A cartoon machine that is full of ideas with a man running away with a answered question.

Content marketing is about answering all of your customers’ questions.

According to Michael Brenner of Newscred, content marketing doesn’t need to be hard or expensive.

Content marketing is about answering all of your customers’ questions. Most of these questions come from early-stage leads. However, many B2B marketers focus on producing content for late-stage leads.

Find all of the questions that your customers have across each stage of your sales cycle. Then, answer them in your content. This will help your prospects make informed buying decisions. It will also give you an advantage over your competitors.     

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

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