On paper
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This may sound strange coming from a company that makes its revenue from digital marketing. But if you read every promo piece on the internet, you’d be led to believe that there is nothing but success with digital marketing. Perhaps you have found out the hard way that is not true.

Feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth?

Facebook ads, Google ads. Linkedin ads. Marketing automation. The list goes on. And which of them can be (and many actually are) fantastic? So why is it they don’t work for some companies?

The number one reason many companies fail is that they use these tools ad hoc without a comprehensive thought-out plan. That may sound simple enough but you would be amazed at how many companies skip this vital step. They just know what they want to sell, they think they know who they’re selling to and they set out to do some simple Facebook ads driving people to their website. That is a program for failure. What is someone supposed to do at the website? Websites by definition have a wide array of information. Where did you want the visitor to go and what did you want them to do? Chances are they will bounce out and that is wasted money because it is a wasted click and that’s how you pay for your ads. Your website must be optimized for your online marketing or better yet, you need a simple dedicated landing page.

One of my clients was spending $1000/month on Google ads and they had no idea if they were working or not. Sure they could track visits to their website but they had no way of knowing if that led to leads or sales or not. And worse, they had no follow up. And follow up is where the money is. Needless to say, we’re doing things differently today.

There is a litany of errors that are more common than we would like to believe. And there is a simple way to mitigate many errors and improve your chances of success. It starts with a well-planned strategy.

Another common mistake people make is assuming that people will buy on their first visit to your landing page or website. Most won’t. Chances are they’ve never heard of you before. But if you capture their email address you will begin to be able to nurture them through email advertising and/or remarketing. There is an art to email and remarketing and it is the art of not annoying the crap out of people so they unsubscribe from your list. You will get unsubscribers but as long as that is a marginal number it is nothing to worry about.

If you don’t feel you’re getting your money’s worth, start by reviewing your strategy. For a free Strategy Planning Guide, download mine here. It’s more than just a template, it’s a step-by-step guide explaining the importance of each step with instructions and examples. There is also an added free bonus for you on the strategy download page. It’s worth your while to look at it.

And here’s to your success.

Can you sum up your company, product or service in a few short words that either:

  1. Competitively defines what you do or who you are?
  2. Takes ownership of category truism your competitors have overlooked/ignored?
  3. Delivers your benefit in a short memorable way?

These are positioning lines some people refer to as “slogans”. I loath the word ‘slogan’ because to me it implies something, while perhaps clever, empty.

My mentor, the late Gary Prouk, once said that if you read Volkswagon print ads, every sentence could be a headline. Headlines and positioning lines are not easy to write. At least, not easy to write well.

Are you positioned properly and memorably?

Everything you need. Nothing you don’t. (Current client in energy industry)

Helping pets live longer lives. (Ralston’s positioning for over a decade)

Nice people who lend money. (Launch of the Associates into Canada)

Nobody beats Midas. Nobody.* (Midas, USA)

Think Pink (Fiberglass Pink insulation)

These are a few I have written and have often lamented that my writing did not include residuals.

As you can imagine, being paid by the word is not a good business model when writing advertising. Usually, the shorter the better. And if you think writing something short is easy, there are several quotes stating otherwise. “I would have written a shorter letter but I did not have time” is attributed to Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, logician, physicist and theologian. Mark Twain had a similar line as did many others. There is a rather lengthy article on short writing and you can find it here.

There are places for long sentences. These are sentences that usually take you on a journey, describing and carrying you through unfamiliar terrain, with a character you have only just met but will soon be engrossed with, no doubt from an encounter or engagement happening through an event transpiring right there in your lengthy sentence, yet before the sentence has ended you have a clear picture of where your character is, what is happening to him or her and why you should care enough to read on to the next sentence.

It is not uncommon for these to be one sentence paragraphs; a lengthy block of type with who knows how many commas, semi colons or colons but only one period.

In advertising, we are usually discouraged from writing such sentences. (With exceptions, David Ogilvy being the master of those exceptions.) Limited space isn’t the issue. Limited imagination is. So those of us good at what we do in adverting became masters of short sentences. The best of these were what the layman call ‘slogans’ although, as I said, I detest the word.

So in a few short words, try to sum up where you work. If you hate your job, your positioning lines may reflect that and be an inspiration to call a head hunter. I struggled to sum up my company. The name “LowerWorks” may have a lovely double entendre but who cares if we work? A colleague, JJ Murray, has a good one, “The last writer you will ever hire”. Where I ended up isn’t ‘clever’ but it does sum up what we do and why someone should hire us. “Creative marketing proven to work.” And a skeptical response ‘Prove it” is a lovely door opener to impressive case studies.

So much for a few short words. This bloody article is 618 words. Now, at ten cents a word, you can understand why you are confronted with so much blather here on the internet. Many site owners lament about a shortage of content. And at ten cents a word they are scratching their heads wondering why so much of what they push is not worth reading.  

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