Which of these messages or posts do you think I opened first? Which got my attention the most? The least? (I sound like Keith Olbermann's MSNBC opening line, "Which of these stories will we be talking about tomorrow?"
Easy, I put them in the order I remembered them, and that's the order in which they got my attention.
Here's why, here's the lesson you need to pay attention to if you're writing blog posts or sending email messages to make an impact.
Newt Barrett on Content Marketing Today recently reported what I have long suspected: visitors to company websites spend a lot of time reading the people or team member pages, you know the ones that describe "who we are"? It's common knowledge that one of the most clicked on blog pages is the About page, where authors showcase themselves.
But how much thought and time goes into writing bio pages? In my opinion, not enough. In fact (horrors!), I've seen company websites that don't even bother putting up a people page. No way to get to know the people running the show.
News Flash: People do business with people! Personality counts!
There's a reason new tools for social networking and online interacting are working like gang-busters. We're social animals and enjoy getting to know people, especially before hiring or buying something from a company.
So it's worth it to make your people pages the best you can.
How should you write your About page or your website Team/ People page? I see many professionals use their resumes. ("Dr. Smith has 20 years experience in strategic planning and holds an MBA from Harvard, etc.") But really, this is pretty boring and very old-school.
I've been in an unsubscribing fury this week. If your newsletter bored me, not only did you get deleted, I took myself off your list entirely. And there you go...
I realize it's not easy to capture my attention and get me to read all the way through to the end. I'm a tough customer. So I got to thinking, what makes the difference between a fascinating newsletter that I actually read, and one that puts me to sleep or makes me hit the delete key faster than a dog can salivate?
Stories will get me reading, for one thing, but they've got to have the "curiously thing" going. There has to be some suspense...
Now I know this is all subjective and in the eye of the beholder, so the best way for me to teach you what I'm talking about is to send you over to read Michael Katz' latest ezine, "I've Got a Crutch on You."
He hits a home run every time with his newsletter, but this one is full of great tips you may be able to copy - er- I mean, model and learn from. This is just one great newsletter, entertaining AND educational at the same time. It just happens to be about writing great newsletters and you all can do this better, I know you can.
The results are in. I surveyed our blog clients and friends, and over 68% of them admit to thinking about their next blog post while in bed!
Next time your lover gets that starry-eyed look, better offer a penny for thoughts. You may be surprised that he/she is actually creating a killer headline.
For example, Brian Clark of Copyblogger uses Cosmo, that conservative women's magazine and bastion of great journalism. He suggests stealing provocative headlines for the sole purpose of luring in unsuspecting blog readers.
He goes so far as to say, forget content: start with a sexy headline and see what that gets you. Here's a few of the headlines he wants bloggers to use:
“Guys Spill: White Lies They Tell Women All the Time”
“The 22 Best Relationship Tips Ever”
“Get Ahead Faster: 12 Brilliant (and Slightly Badass) Ways to Do It”
“Your Sexual Health: Crucial New Facts Your Gyno Forgot to Mention”
Go ahead and try re-wording these attention grabbers and see if your traffic spikes. (Don't forget to link to Brian for a little link Karma!)
Lately I've been wondering about ezines and subscriber lists: how much energy should you spend on this?
Obviously, if you've got a large list, publishing a regular ezine makes sense; also if your list is small but your open rates are 40% or more. Your ezIne should get your message out to people who want it and who are prospects for your business.
There are alternatives to publishing an ezine, and readers may be more inclined to register their email addresses for these:
An email autoresponder series such as a tutorial or mini-course: people are more likely to sign up for a 10-point tutorial or a 7-day e-course that is specific and has a start and end point.
A white paper: a well-written white paper that informs and educates can work well to generate leads.
A blog that readers can subscribe to and get updates via email: because blog posts are usually short and to the point, readers may prefer to read them over lengthy newsletters.
I have all three of these plus two ezines. Not every professional has time to do all. As far as effectiveness in getting your message out to prospects and building a list, which method do you think works the best for you and your business?
To read a recent discussion of ezines vs blogs, go here.
Grab their attention. In fact, steal it. Get it away from everything else by rocking their boat. Heck, why not tip it over.
What words can you use in your email subject line or sales copy title that will do the job?
"Scandal!" Yes, that's more appealing than 'insider secrets', which has been overused to bits. "Asshole?" Yes, if you're a Stanford professor with a couple of best sellers already published.
The problem with using earth-shattering, ass-grabbing words like these is the credibility issue. Once you have someone's attention - which you will when you use strong controversial words - you better deliver the goods.
Nothing worse than feeling ripped off when you take time to read something only to discover it's a worthless piece of marketing hype.
Most experts agree that you've got to use strong words to get people's attention. Here's an idea: