5 ways to come up with great headlines for your content marketing

Julian Byrne - Thursday, August 11, 2016

If you are in charge of your content marketing blog or even an email subscriber mail-out, you will know how difficult it can sometimes be to come up with a headline that your audience truly engages with. 

However, there are some simple tips that you can follow to make the process of coming up with truly effective headlines easier.

1. Use the magazine method

Used by some of the biggest content marketing agencies, the magazine method involves writing your headlines how you’d expect to see them in a glossy such as Cosmopolitan or Men’s Health.

Titles like '22 ways you can...' or 'Revealed: the secrets you need to know about...' are more likely to encourage engagement, thereby helping your firm to generate greater traffic and sales. 

2. Let a machine do it

If you don’t have the time or inspiration to come up with some attention-grabbing headlines of your own, you could always let a machine do the job for you.

There are hundreds of tools and online services designed to generate headlines and strings – all that you have to do is input some keywords and an auto-generator will do the rest. While this process doesn’t always guarantee brilliant headlines, it can be a great place to start if you’re low on ideas.

3. Copy a competitor

While we would never advocate stealing content wholly unmodified, sometimes, the best way to learn is to see what your competitors are doing, and more specifically, what has generated the best responses for them.

That way, if you base your own headlines on their (loose) examples, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that you are writing content that will capture your target audience's interest and that they will probably want to read.  

Of course, you should also put a spin on things that adds value for your readers – why not give your own firm's perspective on a particular industry hot topic, for example, or highlight a unique service that your business offers?

4. Get your friends and family to help

Creating headlines doesn’t have to be an office job – you can get your family and friends involved! You could use the ‘exquisite corpse’ technique, for example, where you write individual words on paper.

For instance, you could write 'how to' on a folded piece of paper, and the next player could add 'design a' before the final player finishes with 'great website'. That way, each of the sections can be interchangeable and used in different scenarios.

5. Ask a question

Questions are always a great way to generate engagement and discussion on your website. ‘How can I...?’ articles, for example, tend to perform well on the search engine results pages (SERPs) that are so instrumental in driving organic traffic to your website and boosting sales.

Regardless of how you manage your content marketing strategy, you should make sure that you’re always directing your target audience to a great-looking website. Contact Piranha Designs today to enquire about our services.

Why links are just as important as content for SEO

Julian Byrne - Monday, August 08, 2016

Why links are just as important as content for SEO

When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), writing compelling content is essential. Not only is content important for building a good ranking on Google and other search engines, but it also helps to build a relationship with your target customers and encourage their repeated return to your website. 

However, although content is king, it is insufficient by itself to generate organic traffic.

The value of links

You could write the most incredible quality, relevant and useful content for your target audience, but if you fail to include relevant links, it may not be as impactful as it deserves to be. 

In the world of SEO, content is all the more powerful when it also incorporates links. When content lacks relevant links, Google may assume that it lacks authority, which may manifest in a poorer performance in the search engine rankings. 

The best links for SEO are external links, which come from other sites linking back to your content. These links show Google that you have authority, while helping to drive traffic from other sites back to your own.  

However, securing quality backlinks can take time and effort, not least because of the frequent need to build up a rapport with other webmasters if they are to be convinced to reference your work.

While you work on the development of external links, internal links can also be used for SEO purposes. Internal links are links on your site to other pages on your site – think linking your blog post to a newsletter signup page – and can improve the natural hierarchy of your site, at the same time as boosting rankings. 

Content is still important

Despite some critics' cries that content marketing is dying out, great original content is still an essential part of the SEO mix. Your site should have a content strategy as part of its ongoing digital marketing campaign, whether that involves updates to the company blog every week or the addition of new tutorials to give customers a reason to keep coming back to your site.

In recent years, Google has changed its search algorithms to give quality, detailed content more prominence – the days of writing content purely for SEO purposes are long gone! This also means that there’s no need to stuff too many keywords into your blog posts, or make content SEO-centric without considering the requirements of your users. 

Write great content for your demographic, throw in a couple of well-considered links, work in the magic of certain other SEO techniques and watch your rankings climb!

10 ways to build your subscriber list successfully

Julian Byrne - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

10 ways to build your subscriber list successfully

The value of a strong email subscriber base can never be undersold. Although social media and the Internet have changed the way the public interacts with brands online, a dedicated email subscriber base offers a degree of protection against the risks posed by website downtime or Google’s ranking algorithms. 

It is also a reliable money-maker if you correctly follow these ten tips.

1. Build an opt-in form

If you have a great-looking opt-in form on your website, people are going to check it out. Whether you decide on a sidebar form or a pop-up, you should experiment with styles and make sure you match it with the style and theme of your website and overall brand.

2. Work out what you want from your subscribers

It’s all well and good planning to bolster your mailing list, but you need to decide exactly why you want to do so. Is it for engagement, to generate sales or to drive customers to your website? Setting clear goals will determine how your mailing list is built and maintained.

3. Make a plan of action 

Once you know who you want to target, you will need to decide how to do so. Develop a plan – for example, sending an email every Sunday at 6pm with useful industry information and an advertisement for your product – and stick with it to see the results. Subscribers will appreciate your consistency.

4. Track your visitors

Use analytics tools to track what visitors are doing on your website – why are they avoiding your email sign-up form? What could you do to make them complete and submit it? 

5. Test different options 

Such measures as A/B testing can help you to work out exactly how to target your audience.

6. Offer a freebie

Offering an eBook or freebie can encourage people to sign up – it’s a tried and tested tactic.

7. Use a mailing service

Don’t invest your time and money into building a mailing list without using a reputable service such as MailChimp or Aweber. These services allow you to schedule emails, conduct testing and design great-looking emails that work.

8. Write great content

A great way to attract a mailing list audience is to build a great blog. Write interesting, useful content, focus on your SEO and add an opt-in form to your blog’s call to action.

9. Don’t forget about mobiles

More and more people navigate the web via their smartphones, so you should target them in your mailing list campaign. Use pop-ups and slide-ins effectively and of course, make sure that your emails display well on all sorts of devices. Otherwise, your visitors will unsubscribe.

10. Stick with it

Developing a large mailing list is one of the most useful things that an online brand can do, but it takes times to see results. Be confident in your execution, continuously develop your offering and be prepared for failure – nothing good comes without hard work and persistence!

Three reasons why going niche can make you more competitive

Julian Byrne - Monday, July 04, 2016

Three reasons why going niche can make you more competitive

Regardless of what products or services your business sells, it’s more than likely that you are operating in a saturated marketplace with many competitors fighting for your customers. 

It can be difficult to find the right balance with your services and marketing, but there are nonetheless certain tools and techniques that you can employ to maximise your competitiveness. 

For example, cutting prices or investing in aggressive marketing campaigns can be a sensible solution, but sometimes the best way to make an impact is by truly differentiating yourself from your competitors - in other words, 'going niche'.   

You will face less competition

If your company is unfocused and broad, you are more likely to have a string of competitors. By offering niche products or services, however, you can ensure a significant decrease in the level of competition that your company faces, allowing your firm to gain a larger share of its market. 

Niche companies usually work in cooperation rather than competition, so previous competitors may even become allies, allowing you to work together to get the most out of each other’s skills.

You will make your customers happy

Of course, delivering a great product and customer service is the most sensible way to make your customers happy, but in competitive markets with ever-demanding customers, sometimes you have to go above and beyond the traditional norms.

By offering a niche product or service, you will be able to word and market your products towards a more specific audience, so they’ll feel like they’re buying a product that was made for them. 

Taking the niche approach usually means things are done better – you’ll be able to specialise in a particular field and boast about how well you do it – so your customers will see you as ‘experts’ who offer quality.

You will experience growth

Niche businesses can experience significant growth peaks based on the needs of their customers, and thanks to a better-defined customer base, you will be able to react to those needs more promptly. As markets continue to grow and develop, they fragment, which means you can exploit them to your advantage and increase your growth over time. 

While drastically changing a product offering or differentiating isn’t the right formula for every business, the risk of going niche with your business can pay off in the right circumstances. 

Reducing competition gives you the opportunity to make more money and a bigger impact on the marketplace, and by analysing your current sales patterns and competitor movements, you can quickly build up a picture of whether going niche is right for your company.

Why asking one question can make all the difference to your sales

Julian Byrne - Friday, June 17, 2016

Why asking one question can make all the difference to your sales

We know what you're thinking - you've read a few too many articles like this one before, articles that claim you are one or two magical steps away from unlocking a new world of sales for your business. Well, whether it's "magic" or not, we do believe that asking this one question can make a significant difference to your success... and that question is, "What nearly stopped you buying from us?"

It's a question that can be modified to suit various requirements - you may switch the ending to "from using us" or "from signing up", for example. However, the basic principle is much the same, whether you include it in an email to your customer, on a 'thank you' page of your website or even in a face-to-face or telephone conversation. But why is it such an effective question?

It's a question for your customers, not your non-customers

It might seem counterintuitive to ask such a question of those who actually purchased from you. After all, isn't it your prospective customers who failed to follow through, such as those who visited your website or signed up for a newsletter but didn't go on to make the big purchase, that you really need to quiz?

The problem with that approach is that many of those non-customers will throw up mixed, 'red herring' answers about why they didn't purchase from you. They may complain about price, for example, despite only being very casually interested in your product or service in the first place.

In short, these people aren't necessarily qualified prospects - but those who have gone as far as buying from you definitely are, and those are the people whose numbers you want to boost.

Your customers are the ones who know your entire sales funnel

You already know that your buyers were sufficiently interested in your company to complete the sales process, so they are familiar with every step and as a result, can provide informed and insightful advice on how it can be improved. They aren't the people who were deterred after a few seconds, and who thereby lack an accurate appreciation of every aspect of your sales funnel.

After all, the simple fact that your customer actually became your customer doesn't mean that they won't remember the aspects of their experience that almost prevented them from doing so. If a given customer of yours encountered certain barriers but persisted with their purchase nonetheless, there will almost certainly be other people who gave up but never felt the need to tell you why. Remove those barriers, therefore, and you can expect heightened sales.

It's a simple question, but one with obvious benefits, so make sure that you ask it if you want to gain quick and useful feedback that could help to significantly bolster your sales numbers.

3 ways to achieve more conversions for your ecommerce site

Julian Byrne - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

One of the most persistent conundrums for online business owners is how they can convert more of their site visits into concrete sales - or other actions that contribute to eventual sales, such as newsletter signups or registrations for a free trial. 

With acquisition costs spiralling ever-higher, the relentless pressure for online merchants to maximise their conversion rates remains - and it's certainly possible, given that the last two years alone have seen an increase in average ecommerce conversion rates from 2.9% to 3.5%. 

Here are just three ways to boost your own site's conversions with relatively little investment or effort. 

1. Assist customers to find what they need

The likelihood is that a given customer visits your online store with a specific type of product in mind, so don't leave them floundering amid your navigation menus - make it easy for them, with a prominent and intuitive search feature. 

Ensure your search bar appears consistently across your site and enable auto-complete so that your customer can be presented with suggestions related to what they may be looking for. 

2. Ensure that your site loads quickly 

Everything about the user experience on your site should be quick - indeed, according to a 2010 study, 25% of online shoppers will abandon a page if they are forced to wait between two and six seconds for it to load. 

Measure your present page load times with free tools like Yahoo! YSlow and Google Page Speed, before adopting such measures as the cleaning up of your inactive CMS pages, the removal of out-of-date products and promotions and the archiving of old orders to optimise page performance. 

3. Simplify the checkout process 

Even once your customer makes the decision to buy, you can't depend on them holding fast to that conviction unless you make the checkout process as quick and easy for them as possible. 

That's why you are advised to try to limit the checkout section to just one page, minimising the number of required fields. Don't impose unnecessary obstructions in front of your prospective customer, such as the need to register before buying - a previous Forrester Research study has suggested that this measure alone drives down conversion rates by almost a quarter. 

While simple steps like those mentioned above can be a great starting point for upping your ecommerce conversions, if you don't continually optimise your site, rates will simply decline again over time. That's why you should always keep a close eye on your site's present conversion statistics, while considering at all times how you can maximise the potential for customer sales at every turn. 

How do B2B and B2C content compare?

Julian Byrne - Thursday, May 19, 2016

Whether your business is of the business-to-business (B2B) nature or instead a business-to-consumer (B2C) one, it's likely that you will have wondered from time to time how the two worlds differ regarding the creation and promotion of content. The craze for inbound marketing in recent times has powered the creation of millions of blog posts, ebooks, social media campaigns and other content forms every day, so what can your own business do to stand out?

Well, to stand out, it's helpful to at least know of the dominant schools of thought that have long prevailed around B2B and B2C - for example, that B2B companies require more rational, benefits-centred and longer content, whereas consumers are more likely to respond to shorter, emotional and more entertaining content. 

It was in the interests of testing such assumptions that we looked at the recent statistics concerning the real differences and similarities between B2B and B2C. The figures certainly showed some insightful trends, such as that B2C content consistently delivers higher total shares on average than B2B content, as well as that the average content length is very similar for both B2B and B2C firms. 

There were also some very interesting differences in how the respective types of company content fared on social media. One thing that was very clear was B2C content's much greater reach in terms of attracting shares, with B2C posts attracting an average of 114 shares compared to the mere 68.5 managed by B2B posts. 

3 ways your company may fail to communicate its benefits

Julian Byrne - Friday, May 06, 2016

If your business website isn't converting as effectively as you had hoped it would, fault for this may not lie with the usability of your site, the readability of its text or even the relevance of the product or service that you offer. Instead, you may simply be failing to convey your company's value proposition - in other words, why prospective customers should do business with you. 

Your firm's value proposition can be defined as the benefits of your product or service, minus the costs - or to put it in terms that the buyer might understand, its pros and cons. The pros obviously need to far outweigh the cons when you are marketing your business's offerings via your website, but here are three ways in which companies can so often get it wrong. 

1. Not being clear about what the product or service does 

Many products or services, especially those of a more technically complex nature, can be difficult to explain. This makes a more traditional brand marketing approach potentially disastrous, as customers often need plain English explanations that they may be more likely to find on a Wikipedia page for your product or service type than your actual homepage. 

Look for signs that customers are struggling to understand what your product or service really does - such as an admission that "I'm still researching" - as many of them are unlikely to directly say, "I don't understand the value proposition."

2. Not mentioning certain valuable benefits 

It's easy to forget to refer to all of the extras and other benefits that may apply to your product or service. Sometimes, you may only realise this when a customer provides feedback about a certain aspect of your product or service that they appreciate, but which isn't covered well on your website. 

A good tip is to order your product or service yourself - what great things do you notice that aren't mentioned in your online marketing at all? It's also advisable to ask your customers why they purchased your product - they may have certain perspectives that aren't addressed on your site. 

3. Not explaining what happens after a sale 

Services-oriented companies, in particular, often fail to make clear the post-order experience. It is common in Japan, for example, for companies to use cartoon flowcharts that clearly communicate each stage after the customer says "yes" -  including delivery of a product, how the customer may then use it, any subsequent payments that may be made to the company for additional services and so on. 

Such a 'future pacing' technique helps the customer to envisage the role that a given product or service will play in their lives, long before they hit the 'order' button. 

Methods like the above can make all of the difference to your business website's conversion potential, with great results potentially obtainable from just a few relatively small steps. Good luck! 

Great product descriptions help you sell more online.

Julian Byrne - Thursday, July 03, 2014
We have all had the negative experience of buying something online and receiving something completely different than what you ordered from the net. And we all know how it feels! 
These sorts of experiences are normally the type that as a online seller you want to avoid because it damages your reputation both with individual customers, and more importantly with search engines like Google. Be aware that product descriptions and photos are normally the only reference point your potential clients will have for your products so make sure you do it properly from the start. Don't fall into the same trap as so many others by copying and pasting manufacturer's descriptions or using the same collection of words for all your products. If you are serious about e-commerce check out these tips we have prepared for you to write a good product description from the start.

 Think before you begin
Before putting pen to paper, pause for a second and meditate on what you are selling. Put down the main points that make your product useful and how you can describe them to a potential buyer. By going through this slightly longer process you can ensure that you include everything you want to get across to the public in one piece of text, so nothing important is omitted and you can feel satisfied you have done the best job possible. Style and tone should reflect the audience you are are trying to reach, so make sure you have done your market research.

 Innovate, don't imitate!
Whatever you do always make sure that you don't plagiarize what someone else has already written, even if it is the manufacturer. All text must be freshly conceived in its entirety and therefore never published beforehand on the web. While reproducing previously drawn up descriptions for the product can sound like a really quick and easy shortcut, it is the biggest mistake you can make. The first thing that will go out of the window will be its SEO value, quickly followed by your ranking in search engines. It is better to round up the best ideas from other reviews of your product or those in the same bracket and develop your own words from that material.

 Keywords are the key
Keywords are the mainstay in any product description so make sure you do not forget to include them. This will do two things at once – give you a better SEO ranking and make a client feel they have reached the place where they want to be. At the same time, don't overdo it. If you go overboard with keywords your description will be unreadable and you will be downgraded by your search engine. Most of the time keywords will appear naturally  in your text if you just write what you feel about a product, thus giving the reader an impression that you are having a dialogue with him or her.

 Be seriously funny
The most important thing about product description is that it is accessible and user-friendly. Humour and emotion play a big part in giving these pieces of text life and imagination, but always remember to tailor it to your target audience. As part of this identification with the reader you could also use colloquial terms and cliches which make a connection with your reader. In particular if what you are selling are luxury products, wow as many of the the customer's senses as possible so that they will feel it will really make them feel better.

 Put yourself in their shoes
Ask yourself what the person searching for your product is thinking. How could you make it sound so irresistible that they would not hesitate to proceed to checkout? Which things are imperative to include? Examine what characteristics could be asked for in a buyer's mind and deliver them. When you have written them all up check with someone else to see if they would have anything done differently or if they need more answers than what you provide.

 Improve your layout
Web-users don't normally have much time when they are looking to buy things online so the best thing to do is to avoid is long chunks of prose. Write up stuff clearly and concisely, so information can be examined easily and follow it with tidy bullet-points that summarise the product features to a potential client. 

 Include client feedback
While it would make no sense to point out what could go wrong with your product, it is valid to be able to show that a neutral observer like a past client has had a positive experience both with your company and more specifically, with the product in question. This can be presented in the form of product reviews or as a link to an article written about your product making sure it is recent and fits in with your description. Such a ploy could corroborate your own product description, affirm that your company is open to criticism and virtually confirm a sale. You can find product reviews all over the internet which will boost your e-commerce no end and additional modules can also be purchased online.

 Create a narrative
You want the customer to be captivated by the product and for the description to translate that emotion. One way of doing this by telling a story of the product's journey. Below are some things you could include:

Where it was manufactured
The manufacturing process and what it is made from
Who designed it
The influences that led to the product being created

A product story like this can read more like warm advice from a previous buyer than a cold description from a sales-orientated company, which, when accentuated with colloquialisms, can really create a sense of confidence in the product. A narrative like this can really give you the cutting edge over your closest rivals and will make people take more interest in what your brand has to offer.

• Show why yours is top dog

Nowadays, the harsh reality of the market is that every product has a replica which is could be cheaper than the one you are selling. Additionally, the amount of companies getting acquainted with the Web and its commercial advantages is increasing everyday. This is why your product needs to be a cut above the rest. And the best way to prove that is by contrasting it positively with other brands and using rich vocabulary like superlatives to strengthen your argument. Special offers or free services are always a great way to make your client get over their reservations and order the product immediately.

Examine the advice above to ensure your product descriptions are a real hit which will bring in more sales than ever before. When presented alongside quality images of the product and attractive web design, the results will mean you can just sit back and start taking orders.

Responsive website design - what is it?

Julian Byrne - Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Mobile usage is continuously growing. Websites are finding it hard to keep up with all the different devices and screens.

Responsive website design is a solution to this problem.

In simple terms it means that the website 'responds' to the device screen size it is on. This website is responsive. If you view it on a desktop with a large screen you will see that it expands to fill the whole screen. If you then try the site on your ipad you will find that it looks very similar but has condensed the content a little to fit perfectly within the screen. Now when you switch to an iphone or Android smart phone you will see that the site has changed quite dramatically. The menu across the top has become a menu icon which can be expanded on tap. The overall layout has become much more vertical, one column rather than a few columns. 

The important thing with responsive design is that there is only one website with all the content in it, but it responds cleverly to the users device. 

It is a lot more work for web designers like us, but the end result is really worth it. Stats show that over 70% of mobile users switch to a competitor if they find the site they are looking at is not mobile friendly.

Is your site responsive? Is it mobile friendly?

Recent Posts



Follow Us

We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.
Send us an email, stay in touch and follow us on facebook/twitter/linkedin.