5 reasons why your marketing emails end up in spam boxes

Piranha Designs - Monday, October 03, 2016

Any business that sends emails as part of its marketing campaigns will know how difficult the generation of meaningful results can be. The reasons for your emails not converting can be wide-ranging; it could be that your subscribers are just not interested, or that your emails are getting sent to their spam folder. In the case of the latter, you need to avoid these marketing faux pas.

1. Your email subject features a trigger word

With spam filters becoming increasingly powerful, you need to avoid using certain 'trigger words' that are regularly used by spammers if you want to ensure your emails end up in the right box. Words such as free, money and reminder are all prominent in spam emails, so try to avoid using them and come up with more imaginative titles to keep your emails in your subscribers' inboxes.

2. Your email has exclamation points!!!

Emails filled with exclamation marks resemble spam and are therefore likely to be treated as such by email account providers. Instead of exclaiming your key points, word your subjects and emails in an exciting, engaging way that your customers will appreciate.

3. You're sending attachments

Sending an attachment to somebody who doesn't expect to receive one can make it tough to penetrate spam filters, and in the case of email marketing, it's something that should be avoided. Instead, keep all of your content in one email, and if you need to get your audience to view an external document, send a download link that they can click in their own time.

4. You have low open rates

As webmail providers become increasingly intelligent, it is now possible for emails to be screened on the basis of whether others open them or not. This process is known as 'engagement-based spam filtering', with email providers identifying when users delete unopened emails and thereby filtering similar emails from your own inbox.

5. Your subject line isn’t clear

Subject lines are one of the most important aspects of email marketing, and while you will naturally want to get the most bang for your buck, you need to be clear about what your email includes. Misrepresenting an email can irritate your subscribers and encourage them to flag your emails as spam, so be honest and transparent and you’ll soon see increased engagement. 

If you're struggling to grow your audience online, don't hesitate to contact the team here at Piranha Designs about our acclaimed range of online advertising packages. 

5 ways to increase email subscriptions from your blog

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

If your blog is packed full of compelling content and you have an attractive call to action (CTA) box on your homepage, you may be wondering why you are not converting your visitors into email subscribers.

Running a great blog is no longer enough on its own to encourage your visitors to hand over their email address. Here are some of the more effective ways to build your subscriber base.

1. Optimise your top blog posts

If a significant proportion of your site’s traffic comes from a small number of especially well-ranking blog posts or help pages, use this to your advantage. 

Although you may encourage readers to click back to your homepage to discover more recent content, you should also consider optimising your top-ranking blog posts by adding a CTA - in this case, with a subscription box.

2. Add opt-in boxes

Are you using a landing page or contact form on your site? If so, simply adding an opt-in box, asking visitors if they would like to be added to your mailing list when they send you an email, which can significantly grow your subscriber base without much effort.

3. Offer something free

A tried and tested formula for building your email subscriber base is to offer a freebie. Whether that freebie comes in the form of a whitepaper, discount coupon or e-book, you’ll soon see that some people will do anything to save money or get their hands on something of value hidden behind an email subscription box.

4. Add CTAs in the right places

While you may be tempted to add a subscription box or CTA on every page of your site to maximise your chances of gaining new subscribers, such a strategy - like old-fashioned keyword stuffing - can be off-putting to casual visitors who are simply seeking valuable information, not to be bombarded with sales content. 

The more subtle and strategic placement of CTAs is therefore the best route to take. 

5. Remove all of the clutter

Although knowing your subscriber's name, age, gender and location could be useful for your marketing campaigns, the subscription process from the user end should also be as quick and simple as possible. 

After all, in all likelihood, your visitors will be busy and easily distracted, so you should make your CTAs basic and compelling. A simple email field and subscribe button may be all that you require to enjoy high levels of engagement, and you also shouldn't forget to thank your latest subscriber when they hand over their email address. 

For help with growing your audience, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Piranha Designs, where in addition to our web design, we can offer assistance with your online advertising.

5 copywriting mistakes that will destroy your credibility

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

With content now more important than ever in digital marketing, more businesses are investing their time and resources in company blogs and social media posts. 

Whether your content is outsourced to a digital marketing firm or created in-house, avoiding some of the following copywriting mistakes will help your business to maintain the credibility that it needs to thrive in its sector.

1. Lack of research

Strong research provides the foundations that you need to write compelling and useful copy, so you should spend time before writing to work out exactly what you want to say. Avoid relying on one particular source of information, and don’t stop researching until you understand the topic, your audience and every fact that you’re using in your content.

2. Spelling and grammatical errors

Never presume that your spell checker will pick up every spelling or grammatical mistake in your copy – proofread everything that you write multiple times, and pass it onto a colleague when possible to give it a second pair of eyes. Precision is essential when you are trying to build a professional brand, so don’t fall foul of basic and avoidable errors.

3. Overcomplicating your content

Even when writing copy for the most technical subjects, it is important to write for your audience. As a guide, don’t use words that you wouldn’t use when talking to a customer over the phone, and keep to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) at all times. 

4. Overusing keywords

When writing copy for the web, it can be tempting to try to fit as many keywords as possible into your text to increase your chances of ranking well on Google. However, keyword stuffing is bad for the readability of your online content and can harm your site's search engine rankings. Instead, write relevant, concise content that your audience will enjoy, and keywords will form naturally in your copy.

5. Stating opinions as facts

It is important to be clear about when content is an opinion and when it is fact, so you should be sure to strongly distinguish between the two types of content in your copy.

Make sure you have well-researched facts to back up your opinions whenever you make a strong statement in an article. Where possible, link back to the source of your information for clarity, and never state an opinion as a fact, or worse still, make up a fact to further an argument.

If you wish to improve your firm's content marketing strategy, get in touch with our team here at Piranha Designs today. We offer search engine marketing packages designed to drive traffic and sales.

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

Piranha Designs - 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

Piranha Designs - 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

Piranha Designs - 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

Piranha Designs - 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

Piranha Designs - 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

Piranha Designs - 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?

Piranha Designs - 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. 

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