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Why you need to show your life in your marketing

A woman celebrating - you can put life into your marketing too.

You’ve probably seen loads of marketing advice telling you that you need to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field. That’s all true. When you have a small business, you need to go one step further and share a bit of your life with your customers. The big brands can build a corporate image around their values, but you need to show your audience who you are as a person. Here’s why you need to put some of your life into your marketing.

It makes your audience feel part of something

Content marketing is designed to help you build a relationship with your audience so that they’ll buy from you. When your marketing creates a community, it helps your audience feel as if they’re part of something amazing. That might happen because of chats in the comments on your posts or what you share in your Facebook group.

The easiest way to make your audience feel included is by giving them a glimpse behind the scenes. If you create products, you can share videos or posts of you making something. Someone might see the work in progress and decide they must have the finished product! Case studies are brilliant if you’re like me and offer a less visual service. You can show prospective customers the process so they know how you work and can read about the results.

Shared experience connects you with your customers

Maybe you started your business because you came through a challenge and wanted to help other people do the same. Your story needs to be central to your marketing. It shows your customers that you understand what they’re going through because you’ve been in their shoes. You can build trust by talking about your experiences. This is particularly good for business or health coaches, personal trainers and parenting experts.

Showing your life and the experiences you share with your customers can also work in another way. Whilst it might not be directly relevant to your business, sometimes you just want to work with someone who’s on the same wavelength as you or support their business. I work with lots of business-owning mums and it gives you a shorthand that makes communication easy and fun.

Sharing your life shows people you’re human

When you spend time running a business online, you’ll inevitably come across people who forget you’re a human being with feelings. They think that those nasty comments will bounce off (if they even think before they type). Sharing posts that show people what your life is like when you’re not at work helps to remind people that you’re a real person. It could also help to distinguish you from another, similar, business. I haven’t had anyone tell me they want to work with me because I’m a rugby fan so far, but you never know!

One word of caution; use posts like this sparingly. Every so often is fine but your customers aren’t your friends. They don’t need 500 pictures of your baby, cute puppy or to hear about how hungover you are. Just an occasional reminder that you have a life outside business.

Are you ready to put some of your life into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat.

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Why you need to start using emotional marketing

A woman experiencing emotional marketing.
Photo by Ekaterina Bolsova via Pexels

Does your marketing get in touch with your customers’ emotions? I don’t expect you to have them sobbing into their cornflakes all the time, but emotional marketing can be incredibly powerful. The adverts that you remember are the ones that made you feel something. Think of that McDonalds Christmas ad that made every mum wish her children would stop growing up so fast and you’ll get what I mean. Emotional marketing doesn’t have to be hysterically funny or make your audience cry to be effective. Here’s why you need to start thinking about your customers’ emotions when you create your marketing content.

Know like and trust

You may have heard this one before, but the know, like and trust factor is one of the key things you need to build if you want a successful business. People are learning to trust their local small businesses, but they can still be wary of handing their money over to someone who might disappear into the night. If you regularly share marketing content that shows your audience you’re a real person they’ll start to trust you. Make it something human and relatable and they’ll start to like you.

The great thing about emotional marketing is that you can be yourself. That might be terrifying, but it helps you to attract your kind of people. Your marketing makes them feel seen and understood. We’ve all learned the value of community over the past two years; emotional marketing can help you to build a community around your business.

Decisions come from the heart as well as the head

Have you ever made a logical decision then hesitated because it didn’t feel right? Or had a gut feeling about something that eventually proved to be correct? Our brains process emotional information far more quickly than facts. In fact, emotions bypass the logical part of the brain altogether. It means that emotional marketing helps you to create a great first impression before your customers know anything else about your business. They might still make a list of pros and cons, but it’ll probably come later. Or be completely irrelevant if they don’t like you.

That doesn’t mean that your marketing has to be ‘likeable’ as long as you make your audience feel something. Creating a connection is the most important bit.

Emotional marketing can be used in different ways

As you might expect, different emotions get different results. Negative emotions are more likely to encourage people to take action. Content that makes them laugh or feel happy is more likely to be shared. Your business will influence the kinds of emotions you want to evoke, but it’s important to include a mixture. You might help people with a challenge that makes them feel stressed or anxious. Maybe you want them to think about something difficult that they didn’t know about. It doesn’t mean that your marketing needs to be relentlessly depressing. You can still share the positives. This is particularly true if you’re showing your audience the before and after – more on that in a future post.

Are you ready to get some emotion into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat about how I can help you.

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Case study – creating flexible packaged services for Fishers Solicitors

Flexible packaged service case study

My work with Fishers Solicitors’ started thanks to a conversation about my packaged services at a networking event. If you’re at all familiar with my work, you’ll know that’s a common occurrence. I’m usually involved in the conversation in question, but this time I wasn’t. That’s the beauty of networking with people who remember what you do. One of the partners at Fishers was talking about marketing and the fact that their marketing manager often needed members of the team to write blogs. The trouble is that busy solicitors generally have more pressing demands on their time. It was proving to be a struggle. I was swiftly introduced for a chat with Chloe, who co-ordinates their marketing.

The challenge

When I spoke with Chloe it soon became clear that they needed more than blogs. Like a lot of professional service businesses, they had access to a bank of articles that they could share but they also needed content that was unique to them. The practice covers a range of different services so they have plenty to talk about. Chloe told me that she gets lots of content ideas from the different teams but that execution is an issue. They struggle with formatting and getting their message across in the right way. She wanted to create a discussion-based blog that is topical and pushes their strategy. They’re also regular contributors to a magazine where they answer a legal question each month and want to add new content to their website too.

The solution

My packaged services are built around creating a set number of blogs each month. However, they can also include other types of content too. While Chloe wants to build an effective blog to build Fishers’ reputation and position them as thought leaders there’s more to it than that. Since we started working together, I’ve written blogs, a new page for their website, a magazine Q&A and a news item that can also go out as a press release. Chloe and I speak once a month and she introduces me to other members of the team so we can have a chat. That means they can just tell me what I need to know in a few minutes, rather than trying to write content in a way that’s completely new to them.

Does your business need flexible content at a predictable cost? I can help with that. Just email me or book a chat here.

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Case study – rewriting website copy for Photography by Jess Iliffe

A baby who's completely oblivious to the importance of good website copy.
Photo credit: Photography by Jessica Iliffe

Jess Iliffe has the best job in the world (obviously I do too, but hers is still fantastic). She gets to hang out with cute babies and their parents all day and take the most beautiful pictures. I met Jess networking (no surprises there) and her passion for her business shines through in everything she does. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone’s eyes light up when they talk about their work. Jess’ enthusiasm could power a whole town. We’d known each other for a while and I’d already written a couple of Facebook posts for her when she was too busy to think. Then, one day, she said “I need to update the copy on my website.”

The challenge

When I looked at Jess’ website, there wasn’t much wrong with it. As a photographer who specialises in photographing babies from birth to one year she has a very visual business and there are loads of gorgeous photos on her site. In other words, exactly what her potential customers need to see. We wanted to let the images take centre stage but still give potential clients the information they need. This included explaining how Jess works and what the costs of her service might be. Jess had also found that people were getting confused about pricing and wanted to make the whole thing clearer.

The solution

I started off by reviewing Jess’ existing website and making some recommendations about ways we could improve the copy. Then we had a chat over lunch so I could get a clear picture of the kind of clients she works with and the overall feel she wanted her new site to create.

Then I went away and wrote new copy. This included creating a friendly call to action that will encourage people to get in touch. I also added new descriptions to her services page and updated the pricing descriptions to make the whole thing clearer.

After a busy Christmas and New Year Jess hasn’t got round to updating her site just yet, but I’ll keep you posted. If you’re expecting a baby and would love to capture some truly beautiful images of their first days, I highly recommend you give Jess’ site a visit.

Does your website need a bit of a refresh? I can help with that. Just send me a message or book a chat here.

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How to write your website homepage

Photo by Monoar Rahman from Pexels

Your website homepage is the main point of entry for new visitors unless they’ve clicked through to read a blog post. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have for attracting new customers but it’s also easy to lose people if you don’t get it right. A website is an ever-evolving thing that you change as you learn more or your business changes, but here are just a few homepage basics to get you started.

Show visitors you have what they need (or not)

When a new visitor lands on your homepage you only have a few seconds to make an impression. It’s important that your headline shows them you can help. It could be as simple as saying who you work with and what you do. If you sell products you could start with images and a bit of explanatory content like ‘beautiful jewellery handmade in the UK’. If that’s what they’re looking for they’ll stay and dig deeper. They’ll leave if it isn’t for them and you’ve only lost someone who wouldn’t have bought anyway.

Show your human side

Even huge corporations have photographs of the people who run the show and it’s even more important when you’re a small business. Showing your face and those of your team (if you have one) helps your future customers to trust you. Include an image along with a brief bio on your home page and you start building a relationship straight away. Your home page shouldn’t be weighed down with too much text so add a click through to your ‘about me’ or ‘meet the team’ page for more.

Make information quick and easy to find

When you write your website homepage, give your visitor enough information but not too much. Put important stuff near the top then work down. (Beyond making sure visitors know they’re in the right place, there are no hard and fast rules. It’s one of those things you can play with and test over time.) Easy navigation is also key. If someone knows exactly what service they want, help them find it. If they need help working it out, signpost them to relevant information; that could be key blog posts, FAQs or a questionnaire.

Include testimonials

If you’re starting out you might not have testimonials yet, but they’re so valuable. They let potential customers see that you’ve helped real people like them. You’re not just telling them you’re good. It works on social media too – you’re much more likely to buy from someone if you can see that your friends like them as well. The technical term is social proof – it’s the digital marketing equivalent to asking around. Start gathering testimonials as soon as you can – I’m rubbish at this so it’s advice for me as much as you.

Contact details

This seems stupidly obvious but make it easy for people to buy. If you have an online shop this should be simple but if you don’t, show people how to book your services. Make it clear and straightforward on your homepage. Also, let people know what to do if they have a question. Give them a contact form. Put your email address or phone number in a prominent place and ask them to use that. This doesn’t just help them – it means that when you get questions you won’t miss them.

Are you trying (and struggling) to write your website homepage (or the rest of your website content)? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Writing website content: how you can get started

This image of a computer screen might look pretty but writing website content is equally important.
Photo by Format from Pexels

First, a disclaimer. I know a lot about writing website content, but not so much about the techy side. Let’s just say I know what I need to do to keep everything ticking over. If you want to know how to build a website there are lots of DIY guides out there, or you could just talk to my good friend Clare McCabe at Purple Star Design. She’s ace. So, if you’ve got the technical basics sorted, here’s how you can get started with writing your website content.

Work out what your website needs to do and who it’s for

This might seem obvious, but your website design depends on who you’re trying to reach and what your business does. If you have an ecommerce business you’ll need a shop, product descriptions and a way to take payment. Your website is an amazing tool to help you generate new leads. If you offer a service and get work mostly from referrals you might only need a brochure site that shows your expertise. As with everything in marketing, the language you use depends on who you want to talk to.

Start with basic keywords

Even if you haven’t gone down the SEO rabbit hole yet, it’s worth thinking about keywords early on and getting your site set up to include them from the start. You can keep this simple to begin with. What words might your customers use to find you? This could be the service itself (i.e., hairdresser) or a type of product (children’s clothes). They might ask a question that leads them to you even though they don’t know the name of your service. Start like this and you can build as you go.

Show visitors they’re in the right place

When a new visitor finds your website, you’ve only got a few seconds to make an impression. Your home page is likely to be the main entry point so make sure they know what they’re getting from the start. Share the most important information first and keep it clear and concise. If you have a lot to say on a particular topic, create a separate page and invite visitors to click through if they’re interested.

While I’m at it, keep your page titles simple and clear. You’ll lose visitors if they can’t find what they want because you’ve called it something obscure or overly clever.

Share the transformation

I could write reams on this (and probably will) but the most important thing about writing website content is that is needs to engage your visitors’ emotions. They’ve landed on your website because they’re looking for something. Whatever it is, there is always an emotional need as well as a practical one. It could be wanting to buy someone the perfect present or feeling desperate because their baby won’t sleep. Show them that you understand where they are and where they could be with your help.

Include a call to action

What do you want visitors to do once they’ve found you? Buy something or book a call for a chat? Make it easy for them to do that. What if they’re not ready to take that step? Think about something they could do that’s less of a commitment, that keeps you in their mind while they’re deciding. Offer them any additional information they might need. Invite them to follow you on social media or sign up to your email list so you can keep in touch.

Are you trying (and struggling) with writing website content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

Alternatively, sign up to my mailing list for writing and marketing tips straight to your inbox every month.

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3 ways you can put your personality into your marketing

Photograph of Kirsty France, demonstrating how to put personality into your marketing.
Photograph by Amber Gosden

It’s a cliché for a reason – people buy people. Most big brands don’t build themselves around the personality of the owner, but small businesses like ours have to. It can feel utterly squirm inducing to put yourself out there in your marketing, but it’s worth it. Your personality is the biggest difference between your business and every other similar one out there. Need more convincing? Read this. If you’re already sold on the idea of putting more of your personality into your marketing, read on. I’ve got some great ideas to get you started.

Write the way you talk

Grammar is a slippery little beast. I know the rules which means that I can bend and occasionally break them for effect. (Like starting a sentence with a conjunction – my ten-year-old was horrified by that one.) The great thing about content writing is that the overall effect is more important than sticking to the rules. You can write the way you speak and your content will often be better for it, as long as it gets your point across.

If you find it difficult to sit down and write, start by recording yourself. Imagine you’re explaining something to a customer and go from there. You’ll be able to hear the phrases you naturally use and include them in your writing. You can then edit your writing yourself or send it to someone like me.

Show your face

If this idea makes you want to hide under a rock, I get it. I’ve built up my confidence over time but there are still days where I’ve planned to go live and talk myself out of it. The reason I do it is because it helps people get to know me. When you show your face, it gets more personality into your marketing. It makes it more likely that people will pay attention because they recognise you from earlier posts or face to face networking. You stop being a faceless business owner and turn into someone they can trust.

The easiest ways to show your face involve video, whether it’s live, prerecorded or a reel. Plan what you’re going to say then just press the button and start talking. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If you really can’t face that yet, start with photos that have you in them and build from there.

Tell a story

The human brain loves stories. We associate them with happy childhood memories or good times with friends. Telling a story in your marketing can put your audience in the main character’s shoes or give them insight into your life. (Which gives them another opportunity to see you as a real human being.) Case studies are a great way to do this as you can tell them the story of someone you helped who is just like them. They can identify with their struggles and see you as the solution.

Sharing a story from your life is ideal if you share common ground with your audience. You might have been in their shoes in terms of life experience, for example as a parent. You could also have felt the same emotions, like overwhelm or imposter syndrome. It doesn’t mean sharing your life story but giving a bit of yourself will help you to build a relationship with your audience.

Would you like to put more of your personality into your marketing content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

If you’d rather get to know me a bit first, you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. You can unsubscribe whenever you like and I won’t share your information with anyone else.

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How you can start creating evergreen content

Creating evergreen content means making something worth reading.
Image by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

It’s all very well knowing that you want to include evergreen content in your marketing. (If you don’t know what evergreen content is or why you’d need it, start here.) The real question is, how do you start creating it? Read on for five quick ways to help you get started.

Know your audience

When you start creating evergreen content, it’s important that you know who you’re writing for. The normal rules of getting to know your audience apply, but when you’re creating evergreen content, you need to go a bit further. Identify the beginners in your audience and what they need to know. Experts will look for the latest news and updates and that’s not what evergreen content is about. Write for the newbies and you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Keep sharing

Evergreen content is great for SEO because it’ll turn up in Google searches for ages after you wrote it. That doesn’t mean you can ignore it completely (sorry). Give it a little boost every so often by resharing it on your social media platforms. You could also include this kind of content in a welcome sequence for new email subscribers. It can work as an introduction to your area of expertise and will help new subscribers understand the work you do.

Creating evergreen content: format ideas

There are a few kinds of content that lend themselves really well to this. If there’s a topic that most of your audience want to know about or questions that you answer all the time, start there. Here are a few examples.

Frequently asked questions

If you already have a FAQ page on your website, you’re off to a flying start. If not, start thinking about the questions you get asked all the time when people first get in touch. These are the kinds of questions that they’ll be typing into Google as well. You can even improve your SEO by linking to these posts from your FAQ page so visitors can head there for a bit more detail.

How to guides

When it comes to creating evergreen content, these are a classic. They’re ideal if you do the kind of work that your audience might want to DIY to start with. My version of this is a series of blog posts that show you how to write your first blog post. (If you’d like the full series straight to your inbox you can sign up here.) Create a guide that walks your readers through a topic step by step and you’ll have created a resource that’s useful for both new and existing visitors.

What to expect

Most people don’t like trying new things. I know that sounds pessimistic, but it’s true. You might have loads of potential customers who aren’t booking because they’re scared what might happen if they do. The best thing that you can do is to talk about what they can expect when they contact you. What happens at the first consultation or after they fill in that contact form? This is different from an FAQ; people won’t ask because they’re worried about looking stupid. Put their fears to rest by telling them what to expect.

Are you ready to start creating evergreen content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Evergreen content: what is it (and why do you need it?)

Evergreen content blog header - with literal evergreens!
Photo by invisiblepower from Pexels

If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘evergreen content’ you might have written it off as a bit of a buzzword. You might have heard it described as ‘cornerstone’ content in those SEO guides too. The thing is, if you haven’t got to grips with evergreen content yet, you’re missing out. It’s incredibly useful and could save you a heap of time. So what is it and why should you care? Read on…

Evergreen content stays relevant for longer

Evergreen content got its name because of its resemblance to evergreen trees. It might not look at home covered in fairy lights at Christmas, but it does last for ages. This kind of content doesn’t talk about current news, trends or even a particular season. They’re the sort of posts that your audience could find any time, for years to come, and they’ll still be helpful and relevant. It’s the difference between talking about panic buying petrol and how to maintain your car between services.

It’s great for SEO

Evergreen content is great for SEO because it covers the kind of topics that people search for time after time. You could write a blog post about how to soothe a screaming baby now and new parents might still be finding it in 2031. Posts about current affairs or new trends will get you website traffic in the short term (which is still a great thing). Evergreen posts will keep going for longer. Your figures might drop a bit, but they’ll keep going, quietly working away in the background to bring you new visitors.

It has wide appeal

The key thing about evergreen content is that it generally isn’t for experts. Someone who’s experienced in your field already knows the basics so will only be looking for updates. Evergreen posts work better for people who need a beginner’s guide to a topic. This is great for you because if you’re an expert working with non-experts, it’s an opportunity for you to share your knowledge. Your visitors might learn from you and do a DIY version, but they’ll still remember you as the expert who helped them when they’re ready to pay someone else.

Some examples of evergreen content

If you like the sound of this evergreen lark and you’re starting to think about topics, here are some ideas. In every industry there will be perennial subjects that never go away. Your audience could be interested in time management, parenting skills, how to write their first blog post or questions to ask a new supplier. When you come up with an idea, ask yourself whether anyone will care about this in five years’ time. If the answer’s no, you might still have a great idea for a post, but it probably won’t be evergreen.

Keep it updated

It’s tempting to think that once you’ve created your evergreen content you can just ignore it until the end of time. Sorry, but that’s not how it works. While the posts will definitely stay relevant for longer, it’s still worth checking in on them from time to time. Attitudes change and while your advice might be spot on for a few years, it won’t necessarily stay that way forever. A quick read through every year or so will tell you if anything needs updating to extend the life of your content.

Are you ready to start creating evergreen content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Why focus on the people who hate you?

A phone shows an angry emoji. I try to understand why you would focus on the people who hate you,
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

In the 5 and a bit years since I became a business owner, I’ve learned a lot about mindset and motivation. A fitness coach once told me that you needed to aim for a positive outcome as trying to avoid a negative one didn’t work. I repeated this theory during a writing workshop, run by one of the most insightful and encouraging women I’d ever met. I don’t know what I expected her response to be, but “b***ocks!” certainly wasn’t it! I understand that avoiding the worst can be a powerful motivator, but I’ve seen a trend among some people in my network that focuses on talking about the people who hate you. I don’t get it. Why would you focus on that?

The people

We can all think of people in the public eye (like Katie Hopkins) who seem to thrive on being hated. I get it, up to a point. If you find it easy to make controversial statements and it gets you work and fame, why wouldn’t you? The thing is, I’ve started to see other people doing it, whose businesses aren’t built around writing opinion pieces or turning up on TV as a talking head. I find it harder to understand why someone who runs an ordinary business should be shouting about being hated, yet I see it all the time.

Doubters vs haters

I feel it’s important to distinguish between the people who hate you and ones who are trying to protect you. Starting your own business is risky. You know it and the people who love you do as well. When I started out I was leaving a profession and a steady income behind. I had plenty of people tell me that I could always go back to it if things didn’t work out. I bet you did too. Hearing those kinds of comments could dent your confidence. They motivated me because I knew I didn’t want to go back. There’s a world of difference between that and trolls who send you abuse.

The people who hate you

When I hear most business owners talk about negative comments, they describe it as an annoyance. It’s something that takes time to deal with, often when they don’t have time and mental energy to spare. One business owner said that having haters is a sign you’ve made it, because it means that people are paying attention. There might be something in that, but if you’re talking about the people who hate you, why not mention the ones that love you too? Otherwise, it could just mean that your marketing isn’t reaching the right audience.

The psychology

It’s been a while since I studied psychology, so I did some revision to try and understand what’s going on. For a divisive celebrity, the appeal of being a hero to some could counteract the effect of being hated. It could also be their way of putting two fingers up at anyone who tells them what to think. My favourite approach is in a 2015 study which suggests that knowing who your enemies are makes the world feel safer, so drawing them out might have its benefits. I think we can all understand wanting to find a bit of certainty just now.

I’m not going to start celebrating hate (it still feels like a waste of precious time and energy) but it’s given me some insight into the ones who do. Personally, I’d prefer to focus on the people who like what I do, because they’re the ones I can help.

What do you think?

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