I am starting to look forward to Fridays, not just because the weekend is near, but because I get to scan through and select my favorite posts and articles to pass along. I've found that I'm retaining the information and incorporating the tips more than ever because of this process. So without further adieu, here is the best marketing reading from this week.
It's really terrible how much blog envy I have for Hubspot but they turn out terrific content and advice every day. I just loved this post on killer copywriting. Not that I'm dissing Old Spice, Hipmonk, UrbanDaddy, ModCloth and the other brands featured, but it gets even more difficult when you are writing for a B2B company that sells services. Factor in a mostly-unknown niche of marketing production services and your copy has about a snowball's chance in well, you know, of grabbing and getting stuck inside the hearts and minds of prospects. But I totally aspire to achieve that real connection. Hats off to all ten companies!
Great copywriting in all areas of marketing is important but the call to action is critical and so tough to get right. We all get barraged with bad calls to action on a daily basis at work and at home. The Affinity Express Marketing Team struggled with this recently when developing a direct marketing campaign to generate interest among major retailers (see previous point about B2B, services company offering marketing production and wrap your mind around that!). Ultimately, I think we were successful with our offer of a free month of services but we'll know more when the results start coming in a few weeks.
In the meantime, I completely agree with the advice to use verbs. A majority of my copy leads off with verbs and nowhere is this more important than in a call to action. I like the idea of "showing rather than just telling" and Mel keeps me focused on this point. "Making it snappy" is easier said than done but when you get it right, the call to action takes on a life of its own. Statistics are great when speaking to prospective customers and just about anyone else--we're all hardwired to respond to numbers.
"Checking your lingo" is a weapon I have to whip out multiple times per day because it is so easy to fall into the practice of using industry-speak or even your own corporate speak. Cut. It. Out. You make the rest of us feel stupid if we don't understand. And that's what I tell our teams. We want to invite people in and not use words that will exclude them.
The final piece of advice to test is fairly self-explanatory but should not be skipped. Sometimes you can get too close to a subject or campaign and need some outside perspective and adjustments before you finalize--one item at a time!
Calls to action are relevant to emails and, when I read this article, I realized Marketing Profs was right about how far we've come. When I first started in e-marketing, we bought lists. Now you can buy access to them but you don't actually get the data to use whenever you want. We used to send to anyone and everyone because it cost so little. Now, when it doubt, we don't send. So the message is to party . . . but don't email like it's 1999.
This article sums up what we've all been thinking when we go to industry conferences or networking events: what's up with these idiotic titles? At times, I've wondered if it was some sort of gag. Yes, I've colleagues at my previous job referred to me as "the marketing guru" but that was when they were sucking up and needed something. I didn't actually put it on my business cards.
If you have an edgy and innovative environment at your company, by all means, have fun with creative titles. But I would suggest you still communicate what you do. In other words, I think "direct marketing magician" is better than "wizard of light bulb moments." But keep in mind that you may be setting yourself up for failure. For example, when you call yourself the "chief happiness officer," you look ridiculous when your employees resign in droves and establish support groups to overcome their horrible experience. Not that I'm pointing fingers at anyone in particular.
This post was quite brief but had solid advice. When you attend a networking event, you should wear or carry a "hold," which is something a person can use to start a conversation (e.g., an eye-catching pin, a bold color shirt, a quirky pen, etc.). It builds on the concept of those rubber things on fake rock climbing walls. I have to say that it works. I remember being at a charity event and wearing a dress in a striking color. People came right up to me to talk and no one mentioned the weather.
Here's yet another great post from Unmana. Having been on job interviews and dealt with in-laws, I loved the advice. I don't know if I could have had anyone staying with me for three weeks but I'd use this post for guidance if I did. And I'd review it before heading to a company meeting too. The suggestions to be yourself, learn to empathize, be interested and manage your limits all make perfect sense whether you're dealing with family or a diverse group of coworkers.
This was an eye-opening perspective on the blinders we all wear. We do our jobs well and have lots of knowledge but that doesn't mean we can understand from our prospects point of view how they describe and search for our products and services. As the author notes, before we make assumptions, we need to slow down, plan and execute. We've been going through same kind of process with new Affinity Express positioning. Rather than speak to a diverse audience, we need to clarify the goal, focus on the specific, relevant target and aim carefully.
It's been another busy but productive week and thanks to the authors of these posts for the wonderful content that motivates and helps me to improve our marketing efforts. I hope this collection does the same for you. Enjoy your weekend!