Let’s talk about Google reviews.
Do you read them? Do you trust them? Do they influence your buying decisions in any way, shape or form?
Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re wasting your time.
Let me explain.
Whenever I need to find a business or service provider, I usually ask my friends or colleagues for a referral. If they can’t help, I do a Google search and work my way down the list of businesses until I find one that appeals to me.
Once I’ve narrow down my choices, I scan the customer reviews to try and get a sense of what the business is about and what their customer service is like.
Well, that was until a few weeks ago. When something really frustrating happened and my faith in Google reviews went flying out the window.
So what was it I hear you ask?
I received a one-star rating on Google my business…from someone I don’t even know!
Someone I’ve never worked with and never heard of. There were no comments or contact details attached to the review.
Just a name: Moni Nong.
When I first saw it, I racked my brain trying to work out who it could be.
A personal foe? I don’t have any that I know of.
A competitor? I doubt it. I’ve never met a copywriter who is anything but delightful. Plus, there’s no reason for it. There’s plenty of work for everyone.
I decided I’ll probably never know who went to the trouble of trying to blacken my name…or why they did it. So I moved on.
I searched the Internet for tips on how to deal with fake reviews. I was told to flag the review on Google my business and that Google ‘help’ would review my case.
After chasing it up a few times, I was told that the poster hadn’t broken any rules. And that people can post reviews without using their real names or providing any evidence that they even exist.
My correspondence with Google went back and forth a few times, mostly with me asking Google how on earth this was all okay. I couldn’t understand why such a ridiculous system even existed.
I believe that the last communication I had with Google ended with me telling them not to waste their time replying…but that their system sucks.
I mean, seriously. What’s the point of it? Anyone can post at any time and they don’t even have to support their claims.
After getting nowhere with Google, I thought about shutting down my Google my business account, but this is bad for SEO and why the hell should I?
Instead, I took the advice of my clever colleagues and posted the following reply:
“Thanks for your review, it’s odd that you took time to review us when you’ve never been a customer and I’ve never heard of you.”
I can only hope that potential customers have the good sense to see straight through this fake review and overlook it.
Going forward, I intend to ask my clients to post reviews on my Google my business page, as this will dilute the negative review and increase my rating.
Until now, I have to admit I’ve been so busy building my business and fulfilling my customers’ needs that I haven’t been as proactive in this area as I should have been. But now I’ll make it a priority.
Since I started sharing my story, I’ve been astounded by the number of business owners who have similar tales to tell. People who work hard, only to have their good names tarnished for no apparent reason.
There’s definitely something wrong with the system!
I should add that Google reviews can be beneficial to building your brand so don’t let my experience deter you from listing your business.
Just be aware that despite all the policies Google has in place to protect its customers, chances are they won’t be of any help when you actually need it.
Have you had a similar experience? Feel free to share!
You’ve set up a business website. It’s functional, flashy, and embodies all of the elements your web designer insisted it should have.
But there’s a problem. It’s not attracting new customers or increasing your sales.
As a business owner, the main objective of all your marketing endeavours should be to engage your customers, increase brand awareness, and generate sales. If your website isn’t doing this, it’s a liability. A waste of money and a poor time investment.
So how do you turn a potential liability into a powerhouse marketing machine?
Follow these simple steps and you will be well on the way to creating a dynamic business website that sings your praises even while you sleep.
7 elements to consider when designing your business website
1. Will it appeal to your target market?
Identifying your target market is the key to designing the perfect website. If you don’t know who you’re dealing with, you can’t identify their pain points and cater to their needs. Take the time to analyse your target market. It will save you a lot of time and money down the track.
2. Is the design and content balanced?
There are two main factors that contribute to a website’s success – it’s visual appeal and the copy. Both of these elements are equally important when it comes to designing a user-friendly website. Strike the right balance and your website will look amazing.
3. Does your copy send the right message?
The words on your website are your voice. They form your identity and bring your brand to life. The right words in the right places will connect you to your audience, increase brand awareness, and generate success. Make every word count.
4. Is your website simple to navigate?
Poor navigation is a major turn off for customers. It doesn’t matter how visually appealing your website is, if it’s difficult to navigate your customers won’t stick around. Make your site user-friendly and watch your sales soar.
5. Are your contact details easy to find?
As hard as it is to believe, some websites hide their contact details in the most obscure places. Place your contact information or at least a link to your contact page on your homepage. Make it easy for customers to get in touch and you will increase your sales.
6. Is your website slow to load?
Customers don’t have time to sit around and wait for your website to load. Slow page speeds will reduce web traffic and impact your conversion rates. Slow loading times will also affect your search engine rankings which is the last thing you want to happen.
7. Have you incorporated Google maps?
Customers are always on the move and use their mobile phones as a GPS. By embedding Google maps on your website you will make it easier for customers to locate your business and increase the amount of traffic coming through your door.
Creating a website doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Do your research before you begin and you will be well on your way to designing a user-friendly site that your customers will love.
If you need a copywriter to help you create your website, contact me for a free quote.
After months of hard work, your new business is almost ready to be launched. You’ve spent a fortune setting it up and your budget is well and truly blown. You start to look for ways to cut your costs. To get your budget under control.
You know you can’t cut your services because this is what your business is built around. You can’t cut wages because you need experienced staff to get your enterprise off the ground. So, what can you do?
It’s at this point that many new businesses make a crucial mistake. They decide to do their own copywriting!
I mean it can’t be that hard, right? We can all write, can’t we?
Well, no, that’s not exactly true. Sure, anyone can string a few words together but that’s not what copywriters do.
Copywriters don’t just throw a few words together on a page. They spend endless hours researching, writing and rewriting copy over and over again to make sure it is suitable for their intended audience.
Copywriting is a time-consuming, meticulous process that takes years of hard work to master.
How can a copywriter help you?
Copywriters are the engines that power your business. They play a critical role in determining whether your business is going to be a success. A good copywriter will not only build your brand but it will also build your reputation. The better your reputation, the more confidence your customers will have in your brand.
How many times have you looked at a website or picked up a brochure that’s not only difficult to understand but has so many grammatical errors that you are instantly turned off?
Sloppy, unreadable copy will reduce the power of your brand. It will turn customers away. If this happens, all your hard work and planning goes flying out the window.
So how do you stop this from happening?
It’s simple! You hire a professional copywriter.
But aren’t copywriters expensive?
As a business owner, you know that the only way to measure your investment is via your ROI (return on investment). The question you need to ask is how much business can a professional copywriter generate? Or even more importantly, how much potential business will you lose to your competitors if you present an unprofessional image to the world?
Why should you hire a copywriter
Reason 1: Copywriters know how to write
Copywriters have spent years playing with words. They’ve sweated over syntax and lost sleep over grammar. They know how to construct powerful sentences that lead customers to your door. Even if you are an expert in your field, you’re not a copywriter. Copywriters are experts in their field. Let them do the job they’re trained to do.
Reason 2: Copywriters understand your audience
You may think that no one knows your customers like you do. Well, let me put your mind at ease. Before a copywriter takes on a project, they do extensive, in-depth research. By the end of this process, a good copywriter will know as much about your audience as you do, if not more.
And, because of their training, a professional copywriter will know how to use this research to write copy that is tailor-made for you target audience. Copy that gets results. Copy that converts to sales.
Reason 3: Copywriters are highly skilled
Most business owners don’t realise how many skills a copywriter actually has. How many projects they can assist them with.
Here are just some of the things a copywriter can help you with:
Reason 4: Copywriters can make Google fall in love with you
Great copywriting is only one part of the equation. In order for customers to find you, it helps to have your website at the top of the search engine page. Copy that is Search Engine Optimised (SEO) will increase your website ranking and position you above of your competitors.
SEO copywriting is a specialised practice that involves extensive research to find the keywords required to make Google happy. There are also a number of other factors involved including your URL, title tag, meta description, image file name, alt tag, and links. SEO copywriters know how to write copy that pleases Google and humans.
Reasons 5: Copywriters save you time
Quality writing takes time. As a business owner, you probably have more on your plate than you can handle. The last thing you need to do is worry about writing content. Think of all of the things you’d be able to get done if you could delegate your writing tasks to someone else. Trying to write copy when it is not your forte will delay your timelines and result in stress. A copywriter will allow you to focus on the things you need to do in order to meet your deadlines.
If you need a copywriter to help you with your content, contact me for a free quote.
Have you ever picked up a brochure or booklet that’s filled with jargon and technical terms you can’t understand?
The other day I met with a physiotherapist who wanted me to write content for his website. We talked about his aims and the outcomes he hoped to achieve.
He made it quite clear that he wanted to get more clients. To get his new business off the ground. He said he wanted me to use lots of jargon on his website, so he sounded professional.
This would have been okay if he was marketing his services to a bunch of professionals. But he wasn’t.
His main clients were regular people like you and me. People who don’t want to waste their time trying to understand complicated copy.
I quickly explained that loading his website with jargon would be a huge mistake. He would lose customers and alienate his audience.
What is jargon?
According to Wikipedia, jargon is a type of language that is used in a particular context and may not be well understood outside of it. Most jargon is technical terminology, involving terms of art or industry terms, with particular meaning within a specific industry.
All this means is that jargon does have its place in the world. But before you decide to use it, you need to think about your target audience. You need to consider their needs and abilities, and then write in a manner that suits them.
Why you should never use jargon with patients
Communication barriers in health care are a major problem. Healthcare providers seem to think that everyone speaks their language. That everyone can understand technical terminology and complex words.
Many people, especially the elderly, have trouble understanding medication instructions, appointment reminder forms and health education materials. This can result in missed appointments, the misuse of medications, and problems with self-managed health care.
How often have you picked up a brochure that is overloaded with statistics and technical terms you don’t understand? I know it happens to me all the time.
I usually end up putting the brochure in the bin and finding someone who speaks my language. This is obviously not what you want to achieve.
How to improve communication in the healthcare industry
The key to creating user-friendly content is simply understanding your audience.
Before writing any form of content, you need to know your audience inside and out. Your audience is the first thing you should think about, and the last.
When writing for patients, always remember to:
I am pleased to say that I eventually persuaded my client to take my advice.
I explained the negative effect that jargon would have on his business. And I guaranteed that I could make him sound professional without using difficult words. His fabulous new, user-friendly website should be up and running soon!
If you need a copywriter to help you with your content, contact me for a free quote.
As a copywriter, I get asked to write all sorts of things. One day I can be creating an annual report for a finance company, the next I can be writing website copy for a dentist. But the one question I get asked the most is – will you write my blog?
What was once a popular niche has exploded into the mainstream. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, blogging is a simple and cost-effective way to share your message with the world.
Why is blogging so popular?
There are numerous reasons why blogging has become so popular. But the main one is the fact that it connects you to your audience.
It gives your business a personality and establishes you as an authority in your industry. It is the cheapest form of advertising you will find and an easy way to generate content for your social media sites.
How often do I need to blog?
This is the million dollar question. Most ‘experts’ will tell you should blog on a daily basis. And while this is great in theory, it is often difficult in practice.
In my opinion, it depends on the products or services you are trying to sell. It also depends on your resources and budget.
The one thing I will say is that having a blog that lies idle for too long is worse than not having a blog at all.
A blog that lies dormant for months on end will give your customers the impression that you are lagging behind your competitors and that your business is doing badly.
So basically, if you decide to add a blog to your website, make sure it is updated regularly or your customers and google will penalise you for it.
How do I create a great blog?
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your blog hits the mark every time.
1. Choose a topic of interest to your audience – if your customers are interested in fitness, don’t write blog posts about how to fix sheds. Sounds logical, right? Trust me, I’ve seen websites with the strangest content. Content that has nothing to do with the services they offer and that will be of no benefit to their customers.
2. Write a strong headline – headlines are one of the most important elements when it comes to writing blog posts. If your headline doesn’t grab your audience, they won’t bother reading your post. All your hard work will be wasted. There are plenty of great tips on the internet regarding writing headlines. Do your research and make your blog posts count.
3. Watch your tone – when writing a blog, the first thing you need to consider is your target audience. Are they professionals, scientists, tradesmen, members of the general public? Once you establish who you are writing for, you can decide on the tone of your blog.
4. Make your content scannable – these days everyone wants instant gratification, so make sure your blog is easy to read. Use short sentences and paragraphs, sub-headings, numbered lists, bullet points, diagrams, and images that enhance your post and promote your message.
5. Watch your word count – opinions regarding word count are constantly changing. Latest studies show that longer posts get more social shares and are better for SEO. But shorter posts get more comments and feedback. In my opinion, the length of your blog posts should be determined by your audience and also by your resources.
How do I generate ideas for my blog posts?
In order to write blogs posts, you need to have an endless supply of ideas. Ideas are easy to come by at first but a few months down the track, you will probably find that the well has run dry.
There are a number of ways to generate topics for your posts including talking to customers, keyword research, scanning social media, forums, and other online communities.
There is no doubt that blogging is beneficial to your business. It is an effective tool for building credibility, increasing website traffic and attracting new customers.
Starting a blog might seem daunting, but once it is up and running, the payoff will be worth the effort. So what are you waiting for?
If you need a copywriter to help you write your content, contact me for a free quote.
Have you always dreamed of writing a book but never had the confidence to give it a try? Or maybe you just want to improve your writing skills but don’t know where to start.
Well, the good news is that writing is a skill that can be learned. With enough time and practice, you will find that your writing improves significantly.
Over the years, I have written every form of content known to man, but I still don’t consider myself an expert when it comes to writing. It’s the one area where you can never know enough. There are always new things to learn, better ways of doing things and new ideas that need to be explored.
As for as writing is concerned, there is no endpoint. There is no right or wrong. The only way to know if you’re any good at all is by the number of people who tell you they enjoy reading your work. And even then, this is subjective.
Whenever I sit down to write, I basically write for myself. I explore the subjects that I am passionate about. Then I send my work out into the world and hope that somewhere along the way, it ends up in the hands of someone who feels the same way as I do. It’s all I can do.
There was a time when I tried to copy other people’s writing style and write about subjects that seemed to be in vogue with publishers. But I felt like a fraud. They weren’t topics I felt passionately about and I ended up staring at an empty computer screen. It was only when I decided to go back to writing about subjects that I cared about that the words began to flow again.
Where do I start?
1. Be authentic – this is my number one tip. Write about the things that make your heart sing. The things that you enjoy reading about and in a genre that appeals to you. Don’t think about the commercial viability of your work at this point. Just sit and write. Anything is publishable if it is written in the right way.
2. Read, read, read – a lot of blogs on writing will tell you to read the greats, but who exactly are the greats? I think it’s more important to study the genre you want to write in. I write children’s books so when I’m not reading real estate, home decorating or financial blogs for work, I am surrounded by picture books. I read them over and over again. I study the structure, the language, the tone – everything. Then I come with my own ideas and start working on my manuscripts.
3. Write a lot – it’s easy to get caught up in life and never find the time to write. But if you are want to become a better writer, you have to work at your craft. Even though I spend my days writing business copy, I always find an hour to work on my manuscripts – every single day. Find a time that works for you and make it part of your daily routine. I never, ever miss a day.
4. Keep a notebook – inspiration can strike at any time, so make sure you are always prepared. I have notebooks everywhere – in my bag, in my car, and even next to my bed. Some of my best ideas have come from watching children playing at the park, conversations I have overheard, and dreams that I was lucky enough to remember. Sometimes my scribbled notes end up in the bin, but other times the idea is golden and I turn it into a picture book that hopefully someone will love.
5. Start strong – it doesn’t matter what you are writing, you need to hook your readers from the moment they pick up your book or click on your blog post. A powerful headline or introduction will encourage your audience to keep reading, which is the aim of any writer. It doesn’t matter how wonderful your content is. If you don’t immediately grab their attention, you will lose them forever.
6. Revise, revise, revise – writing your copy is only the first step in the writing process. The most important part is the revision process. Writers are often so relieved to finish a piece of work that they send it off to publishers or post it on their blogs as soon as they finish writing it. But this is a big mistake. I guarantee that if you let your copy sit for a day or two, you will find a number of things that need to be changed when you go back to it. You can’t rush the writing process. If you do, you will end up with inferior work that no-one will want to read.
So now that you know where to start, it’s time to start writing. You never know, you might just surprise yourself!
If you need a copywriter or editor to help you improve your writing, contact me for a free quote.
One question I often get asked by new clients is why copywriters charge such high rates for their services.
And while I don’t mind clients asking, it is a constant source of frustration because people just don’t seem to get it.
They don’t understand that every single word they use dictates their success. The wrong words in the wrong places can destroy a business.
It’s that simple!
Like all service providers, copywriters come in all shapes and sizes. There are good ones and bad ones, and everything in between.
But when it comes to copywriters, you really do get what you pay for. Never choose a copywriter based on the rates they charge.
A copywriter who charges $50 an hour may take 10 hours to complete a job, while someone who charges $100 an hour may finish the job in a few hours.
This is why rates alone is not a good indicator when it comes to finding a professional copywriter that delivers the goods.
The easiest way to tell if your copywriter is professional and capable is by the way they interact with you from the moment you make contact.
How to tell if your copywriter will deliver the goods
But most importantly, a good copywriter will care about you and your business. They will be determined to help you achieve your goals.
When I take on a project, I don’t just scribble a few notes on a piece of paper and send it back to my client. I nurture the project from beginning to end.
I only ever sign off on a job when I am totally satisfied that I have done everything I can to help my client and that our journey has come to an end.
But I am not alone. There are lots of fantastic copywriters out there, you just have to do your research and trust your gut. That’s all you can do.
If you need a copywriter you can trust to help you with your content, contact me for a free quote.
It’s hard to believe but some small businesses still don’t have a website. They believe that their small business can survive without one. That they’re too costly and time-consuming to create. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A website is one of the most cost-effective ways to build your brand and showcase your business to the world. It is the ultimate business tool and should play an important role in your overall marketing plan.
How a website can help your small business
Low-cost advertising – a website is one of the most affordable forms of advertising available. It has a far wider reach than any other form of marketing and will build your brand throughout the world.
Company accessibility – a website is available online, 24 hours a day. It never closes. When you can’t take calls, customers can leave enquiries on your website. It literally generates business as you sleep.
Increased sales – your website is always open for business. It can sell your products and services at any time of the day or night. Customer’s will appreciate knowing they can purchase your products online at a time most convenient to them.
It saves time – replying to customer queries takes time. A website allows you to list all your products and services in one place. Potential customers can determine whether you have what they need before they even pick up the phone.
7 elements your small business website should include:
1. User-friendly navigation – there is nothing worse than clicking on a website that is complicated to use. A good website is designed with the user in mind. It is easy to navigate and simple to use. Nothing turns potential customers away from a website faster than confusing or complicated navigation.
A well-designed website will have a limited number of navigation icons or keys. It will have simple page titles that explain exactly what users will find when they click on the tab. Always name your navigation bar using words your target audience uses. Don’t try to be clever. Use clear, simple words your customers understand.
2. An attention-grabbing headline – the headline on your Home page is one of the most important elements on your website. It is the first thing people see when they visit your site. If it doesn’t grab their attention, you will lose them.
Your headline should be compelling. It should sum up your products and services in a few simple words. It should be powerful enough to entice visitors to stick around long enough to find out what you are offering.
3. Great copywriting – the key to a good website is creating content your audience wants to read. Your content should be clear, concise and written in a tone your audience can relate to. It should outline the benefits of your products or services and tell visitors why they need it.
The content on your website is often the first contact you have with potential customers, so make sure it hits the spot. If you create good content, it will tell customers that you are a professional company worth doing business with.
4. Fresh content – if you want to increase the number of visitors to your website, you have to keep your content fresh and relevant. Google loves fresh content and often rewards websites who update their pages by increasing their page ranking.
A regularly updated blog is one of the easiest ways to update your website and add fresh content. Make sure your blog is filled with helpful tips and tricks based around your industry.
5. Well-chosen images – there is nothing worse than clicking on a website with blocks of heavy copy. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, your website will instantly improve if you use images to break up your copy.
Adding images to your website will not only draw visitors in but will encourage potential customers to check out the other pages on your website. Product shots are a great way to increase your sales and generate interest in your brand.
6. A call to action – a clear call to action (CTA) is a vital part of any website. If you want people to buy your products or enquire about your services, you have to tell them how to do it. You have to make it easy for them.
If you want customers to buy your products, add a CTA button saying ‘CLICK HERE’ or ‘SHOP NOW’. If you want them to get in touch to discuss the services you offer, add a contact form or a link to your email address and phone number.
7. Your contact info – make sure your contact details are clearly listed on your website. Include everything – street address, mailing address, phone number, fax number, email address – everything. Make it easy for potential customers to contact you.
Businesses that only put an email address on their website come across as unprofessional, unreliable and deceitful. Full disclosure will make your business appear legitimate and help you seal the deal.
If you need a small business copywriter to help you with your content, contact me for a free quote.