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The Persuasive Art Of Email

Email is old school.

Or is it?

Worldwide, there are roughly 2.6 billion daily email users. And more than 4.3 billion email accounts. With 1.7 email accounts per user, email is definitely still relevant. More so, when you want to communicate to those in business.

Here’s how to use email persuasively and effectively:

Begin with a killer subject line

  • Your subject line is crucial. That’s what draws your reader in.
  • Lead with something strong, such as “What your competitor doesn’t know” or “Pay off your student loan in half the time” – called a Gain
  • Pain headlines work well, too, i.e., “Say this, but never this,” or “The one word that kills a sale,” to absolutely draw readers.
  • It’s human nature to want to know pain and gain secrets and inside information. Pique your readers’ curiosity.
  • Keep it short and sweet (or search engines will truncate it for you.)
  • Make your subject line handheld display-friendly. Smaller devices show between 6 – 10 words, so the ideal subject line is between 4 and 7 words (50 characters max).

Then satisfy that curiosity. Almost.

Keep your information short and crisp. Show your knowledge but don’t tip your hand. It’s a delicate balance.

Dangle bits of information and use key words and phrases consistent with your targeted market segment.

Promise more information by motivating them toward next steps. “Click here to find out 5 more ways to drive your best customer away,” is a good tactic.

Communicating scarcity or quick action still works to compel readers to click (or act). However, if you overuse this tactic, your readers will quickly become immune to it.

Show your email recipient you know something about them

People want to feel special. The more personalized your email is, the better. This means you need to segment out your email list. But that time and energy generally pays off.

If you are targeting Boomers, make sure you are speaking their language. Ditto for Millennials, restaurant managers, small business owners, or recent college grads with huge student loans. The more personal, the better.

Humor works

So does using the unexpected in a new way. “How to break all the rules and still beat your savviest competitor,” is a great example of that. Be irreverent and have fun. You’ll come across as a company that will be fun to work with. And who wouldn’t want that?

Good design + good content = increased readership

Outdated, confusing or convoluted design can greatly diminish your content’s effectiveness. That’s true whether your content is web-based, or a PowerPoint, newsletter, print ad, or social media.

But a well-constructed, thoroughly planned design can brilliantly lead the eye through content, illuminating key points, and facilitating understanding.

Effective marketers know that design and content are intricately linked together. They are also very good at understanding what drives human behavior. Because (of course), the nature of human behavior affects everything we do. And buy. Which means that to be an effective marketer, you’ve got to be focused on what will persuade your potential buyers to see, appreciate and “get” what your product/s are all about, no matter what format you are using.

Powerful persuasion is the point. And it is both an art and a science.

To get there, you’ve got to use effective design and psychology to engage readers in specific behaviors, leading the eye and the brain toward creating calls to action at the ‘right’ times.

Good design persuades users to engage with your product or content in the way you want, leading to a specific outcome – brand influence, product awareness, understanding, reinforcement, and/or the desire to purchase.

The opposite is also true. If your user confronts five pop-up ads, a long loading time, or a sea of disclaimers before they reach your primary content, chances are good they won’t stay long enough to be persuaded.

So how do you get someone’s attention long enough to present them with information, using good design and good content?

That’s where the true art of persuasion comes into play. You not only have to be good at understanding human nature, but you also have to be a good storyteller – on two very distinctive levels.

That first level of effective storytelling is a very central one. It is message and fact oriented. You reach your audience with Focal Point Designinformation specifically framed to reinforce attitudinal thinking. For instance, “This paint is formulated to cover colors better. Here’s how…” This is sometimes referred to as central route processing.

The second level of good storytelling uses secondary influence such as visual appeal, presentation and enticements like sex or humor to engage users on a more superficial level. For example, “Look how rich, colorful and smooth this paint can look when applied to your (drab and boring) walls.”

The best marketing uses both effectively, since some people are more drawn to having all the facts and want to know the “why” behind what they purchase, and other folks are more interested in having what’s cool and beautiful. Since most of us seek a little of both types of information, the best messaging and design addresses both as seamlessly as possible.

In summary, truly effective marketing understands what will drive all types of end users. The advertising messages need to be relevant to the consumer and easy to access and understand.

They must be written and designed professionally — in a way that takes into consideration psychology, design, and technology — to influence or motivate a desired outcome, a purchase decision. Because if one of those elements is missing, the desired outcome is far less likely to happen.

Why the Perfect Ad Agency May Not Be Perfect for You.

 

Hot ad agencies generate a lot of attention. They always have.

Twenty-to-thirty years ago, the hottest firms tended to be the largest marketing houses. They had big hyphenated names and established themselves at elite addresses downtown. They had genius creative directors and the money to hire the coolest production teams. They generated quite a buzz. And companies flocked to them for killer ad campaigns, which gained a lot of awards.

But a funny thing happened along the way to the Addy Awards. Those large ad agencies began to lose their big clients to smaller agencies who were hungrier. The smaller ad agencies were more flexible, since they didn’t have to feed a huge staff. They were also more savvy and creative, offering more for their new clients, for less. So clients left the big firms and enjoyed being a big fish in a smaller pond.

The past ten years have seen the growth of smaller, quirkier marketing firms that specialize in things like tech, or industry, or not-for-profits. The firms are small and have colorful trendy names. They hire genius creative directors that communicate exceptionally well on social media. And they win a lot of awards. And attract a host of new clients looking for attention in a very distracted world.

The point is, there will always be a hot new ad agency generating a lot of buzz. And although it can be great fun to have your marketing done there, your company will find that it takes a lot of agency time and energy to maintain that buzz. A few clients of that agency will get great glossy, stand out work that wins eyeballs… and awards. But most of the clients will get to claim that the hot agency works for them, and get middling work. So after awhile, they will move their work to another hot ad agency. And on it goes.

Or not.

You could choose to hire an agency without a colorful name that isn’t trying to be the hottest new firm in the marketing world. A firm that provides you with solid marketing advice based on careful industry research, leading to memorable marketing directed to precisely the right eyes.

Sure, sometimes those ad campaigns will be quirky, visually stunning and even award-garnering. But not why we do the work.

At FocalPoint, we attract and keep our clients through dedication to our clients and impeccable work. That’s who we are and always will be.

 

 

What’s on your back burner?

When managing a company is your responsibility, a lot of important detail work gets put on the back burner.

So what’s simmering on your back burner?

  • Updating your web site with fresh page content?
  • Better utilizing social media?
  • Updating the navigation of your site?
  • Making sure your web site if properly protected?
  • Preparing trade show materials for your soon-to-be-released product?

Or maybe it’s larger than that. Perhaps what you don’t have the time or energy left to do is revamp your marketing strategy to bring in new business.

Interestingly, what’s relegated to your back burner can have a huge impact on the very thing that’s stressing you out right now. Such as your last quarter ROI.

That’s because when your marketing is taken care of strategically with a practiced eye towards your industry, your job gets a little less intense as your ideal customers begin to take notice of what your company can actually provide to them.

What you do

Carve out a 90 minutes to meet with us when the time is right for you. Tell us what you don’t have the time or the people to do, and what results you’d like to see. Give us your parameters, financial and otherwise.

What we do

When you say go, we do the work, providing you with feedback, details and a few fine-tuning decisions along the way. We don’t make assumptions. We research your niche and come up with several positioning approaches that tell your story to the right people — in a compelling and memorable way. We also adjust to your budget and your timeframe.

What we do is eye-opening. Don’t be surprised if we uncover a few fascinating things about your own rapidly shifting marketplace that raise your eyebrows. Or help you determine how your company can make the most of its sweet spot through well-placed ads in carefully researched places you may not even be aware of.

It all starts with a 90 minute meeting.

Say when.

 

 

 

Your Partner in Strategic Planning

The end of the year is a good time to take an in-depth look at your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you hit your targeted goals, terrific. But if not, why not?

That’s where we come in. Because while you are the undisputed experts on what you offer, FocalPoint can help you understand the rest of the marketplace.

Having a research team at your disposal can help you more fully understand what your competition is doing and why. And shed light on the where your industry is headed, so you can get ahead of next year’s learning curve.

Once you know where you stand within your marketplace niche and what your competition is doing and why, you can more accurately plan how to best set and meet next year’s goals. For instance, instead of correlating goals with quarterly growth desires, they can be strategically set for the marketplace as a whole, carefully defining your place within that market.

Defining the bigger picture

FocalPoint crunches numbers with the best of them. We also mine external data your business may not have access to. Beyond that, we think it’s essential to look at cultural norms that may be shifting including the businesses and professionals that depend on you.

Unfortunately, strategic planning doesn’t include a crystal ball, but it does glean as much information as possible from the resources at hand, forming a 360 degree view of where you’ve come, where you’re going, and what you are up against.

Once that information is set, a marketing plan it determined that targets your audience in the best way possible.

That could mean utilizing seven different social media sources and a series of correlating radio commercials. Or creating industry specific journal ads targeting key buying cycles.

Or none of the above. It’s good to shake up the expectations and break new ground. Especially when the research suggests a fresh voice is just what’s needed to break through your industry’s ‘tried and true.’

What we’ve come to understand is that although are clients are the experts about their businesses, there are bound to be a few blind spots.

We can help fill in the gaps and help broaden the marketplace view. Then together, we can set up your 2018 for new triumphs.

 

 

Adding Video to Your Website Can Bolster Search.

Not only can this be a cost-effective use of good creative work, but it can also help increase traffic to your site. By embedding the video directly to your site – such as on a landing page – you can increase search, keep visitors on your site longer, and increase repeat visits.

In fact, studies show that practically nothing beats the SEO benefits of landing page video right on your domain:

  • Search results found via a video have a 41% higher click-through rate than text alone and 30% higher than still images
  • According to a recent comScore study, “Visitors who view a video stay on average two minutes longer and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.”
  • Bingo! Combine high dwell time (staying on the page) with low bounce rates (see below), and you’ll have an enviable SERP — and an increased conversion rate.

That’s because videos tend to make your pages sticky. In other words, they help people pay attention to your site longer. They also tend to remember more about your product after watching.

The average online attention span is less than eight seconds. When visitors click onto your site and then lose interest and click away without moving to another page, you get a high bounce rate.

And that hurts your site’s SERP ranking.

Simply put, a compelling video on your web or blog site is a great way to make people stay. With that in mind, here are some best practices for adding video to your website from the team at FocalPoint:

  • Don’t let your video host monopolize your traffic. Embed video directly to your site. We can show you how.
  • Entice your readers into clicking the video with an engaging preview. Just give them a taste of what is coming up.
  • Use accurate video titles. Don’t deceive your potential viewer.
  • Add text where appropriate to highlight key points
  • Where to place the video is also critical. You want to imbed your video “above the fold,” meaning the imaginary line where users have to scroll to see additional content.

 Keep it short and sweet

In a world where even thoughtful articles get skimmed, videos can be a terrific way to communicate effectively. So, besides being enjoyable to watch, informative, and relatable, they should also be short and to the point. You might also consider adding closed captioning for those who watch videos with their sound off.

So yes, quality video marketing will improve the way you approach SEO to your website. That alone is worth more than all the search engine hacks, tips, and secrets you can dig up.