How to Run a Profitable Giveaway

Running a contest or a promotional giveaway is one of my favorite ways for a company to connect with their customers.

But like in so many other aspects of business, I see too many people doing this wrong.

That’s okay…for now.

While it may sound simple, promotional campaigns like this aren’t as easy as just picking a name out of a hat.

You want to run a giveaway that creates brand awareness and generates a profit for your company.

When done correctly, this won’t cost much at all.

Contests can even generate some free advertising for your brand.

This is especially true if you use social media as the platform for your giveaways.

image1 7

Eighty-nine percent of marketing experts said social media increased exposure for their companies.

In addition to exposure, social media marketing:

  • generates leads
  • increases website traffic
  • improves customer relationships
  • helps search rankings

That’s what you need to remember.

Giveaways are a marketing tactic.

If you’re not using these tools to promote your brand and ultimately increase profits, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve got plenty of experience in this space.

I’ll show you how to run a profitable giveaway and provide some examples for you to follow as well.

Figure out what kind of contest you want to run

Not all promotional contests are the same.

There are three main types of promotions you can do:

  1. Contest
  2. Sweepstakes
  3. Lottery

If you’re running a contest, it means the participants are doing something requiring some sort of skill and effort to win a prize.

Some popular contests may include a photo, video, essay, or caption.

The winners are selected by some sort of vote or judgment.

Here’s an example:

image8 7

The picture that has the most likes will win this contest.

A sweepstakes, on the other hand, requires no skill and is based completely on chance.

Winners get determined randomly.

Purchases, payments, and other considerations cannot determine the winner of a sweepstakes.

A lottery means contestants made some sort of a purchase or monetary contribution to participate.

For example, buying a ticket for a chance to be selected would count as a lottery.

Don’t do this.

In fact, state and federal laws restrict these kinds of giveaways.

It’s in your best interest to stick to contests and sweepstakes.

Before you get started, ask yourself if you want to give something away randomly or if you want a skill to be involved.

There’s nothing wrong with a sweepstakes, but I think contests are more effective.

When your customers know their efforts will increase their chances of winning, they get more engaged with your brand.

Choose the right platform

Now that you’ve decided whether you’ll run a contest or sweepstakes, it’s time to figure out where you’ll host it.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Your website
  • Email

All of these are viable options.

In fact, you could potentially run the same contest on multiple platforms.

Select a winner on each one.

That could get your customers to participate more than once and increase your brand exposure even more.

Here’s an example of a website contest from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts:

image2 7

It’s very professional and well written.

With that said, you don’t want to limit yourself by running a giveaway solely on your website.

How often do people visit your site?

Probably not as often as they do social media platforms.

That’s why I recommend using social media as the primary platforms for your giveaways.

It’s a great way to establish brand loyalty.

image4 7

The people who follow you on social media are already interested in your business.

Running a giveaway there will pique their interest even more.

Plus, any actions they take, such as liking, commenting, posting, or sharing, will get viewed on the newsfeed of all their friends.

Set a deadline

It may sound simple or obvious, but you would be surprised how often I see people make this mistake.

Your deadline needs to be clear for a few reasons.

Let’s say a customer or prospective contestant wants to enter your giveaway.

If they don’t see a posted deadline, it could turn them away.

This person may just assume the deadline has passed even if you haven’t chosen a winner yet.

You’re also missing out on a chance of getting more exposure if this customer decides not to share the information on their social media platforms.

Another reason you’ll need to post the deadline is to avoid late entries.

Pretend you’re running an Instagram contest where the winner is selected by the highest number of likes on a photo.

You choose a winner, but a few days later someone posts a picture that gets more likes than the one you selected.

This contestant contacts you for their prize.

Now what?

You’re put in a tough situation, and overall, it’s not a good look for your company.

Adding a deadline to your giveaway is easy. You have no reason to forget it:

image5 7

Look at the example above.

See how easy that was?

Next time you run a promotional giveaway, make sure the deadline is clearly posted.

It will save you some headaches down the road.

Make sure the rules are clear

Piggybacking on my last point: you don’t want to create any confusion while running the contest.

Depending on your location, rules may vary from state to state.

You’ll want to make sure whatever you’re doing falls within legal regulations.

Here are some things commonly included into contest rules:

  • Eligibility (age, location, etc.)
  • No purchase required
  • Purchases don’t increase chances of winning
  • Dates (winner chosen and winner notified)
  • Judging criteria (for contests)
  • Privacy laws regarding the winner identity
  • Odds of winnings

If you’re running a contest on a specific platform, make sure you’re compliant with their rules and regulations as well.

Here’s a link to the Facebook guidelines for running a promotion, which is definitely something I recommend you review before getting started.

For example, you must acknowledge your promotion is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Facebook (the company) in any way.

Facebook also prohibits using phrases like:

  • “share on your timeline to enter”
  • “post this on a friend’s page to enter”
  • “tag your friends to increase chances of winning”

While you want to encourage posts and shares, make sure you do it within the rules.

Here’s a snippet from TMZ’s contest rules and regulations:

image10 7

The full page is much longer, but they clearly and thoroughly post everything to avoid any potential confusion, liability, or legal trouble.

If you have a long page of rules, consider providing a link to your website for a full explanation.

That’s more efficient than trying to post something long, as in the above example, as your Instagram caption.

The prize needs to be relevant

What are you giving away?

It needs to be related to and appropriate for your brand and image.

Let’s say you’re a company specializing in snowboarding and ski equipment.

Running a contest that gives the winner round-trip tickets to the Bahamas doesn’t really speak to your audience.

Flying them to a ski lodge in Colorado would make much more sense.

If you’re giving away a physical product, include a photo of it.

Telling the contestants you’re giving away a new camera isn’t as effective as showing them the camera.

Here’s an example of a giveaway from Ticket Master:

image11 7

It’s relevant.

You can buy tickets to sporting events on their website, so they’re giving customers a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

Although they didn’t include an image of the actual tickets, the Super Bowl logo is just as effective.

Visuals speak to people more than words.

That’s why it’s important to incorporate them into your promotion.

Create a customized hashtag for your giveaway

Hashtags are one of the best ways to promote your brand on social media.

Come up with something unique that speaks to your company as well as the promotion.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something, you can use an online resource like Hashtagify to come up with related tags and trends for your industry.

Use that as a guide to create your own, but make sure nobody else has used it before so there’s no confusion.

For those of you who already use hashtags successfully to promote your brand, make sure you come up with a new one for each contest.

Here’s a great example of how High Society Freeride used a unique hashtag to promote their giveaway:

image3 7

Notice how they effectively used capitalization, so the hashtag pops and is easy to read.

#OneLifeMakeItCount reads much better than #onelifemakeitcount.

The hashtag can be the way you find a winner of a contest.

Just click on the hashtag to view all the pictures, videos, and posts.

That’s the easiest way to review and judge which entries were the best.

The hardest part about using a hashtag is coming up with a creative one in the first place.

After that, it doesn’t require any effort or money from your company.

Hashtags can also increase engagement and make it easier for you to spread the word about your giveaway.

Make sure mobile users can access and participate in your contest

I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t run a giveaway just on your website.

Keep mobile users in mind when you’re coming up with this marketing strategy.

Mobile users spend the majority of their time using apps:

image6 7

Consider using platforms that are strictly for apps.

Instagram is a top choice for this.

Facebook and Twitter also have mobile applications, which is why earlier I recommended social media platforms as the top resource for giveaways.

If your company has its own mobile app, run your giveaway there as well.

You can send users who downloaded the app notifications of the promotion directly to their phones.

Allow contestants to share the contest with friends and family

To get the most exposure, your giveaway needs to be shareable.

Earlier I mentioned that some platforms, such as Facebook, prohibit you from using certain statements to encourage sharing.

But you can still include social sharing icons on your website.

Here’s a great example of how Fatherly did this to promote their sweepstakes:

image7 7

Again, the whole idea behind a giveaway is to turn a profit for your company.

Allowing users to share this content will drive more traffic to your site and potentially improve conversions as well.

Notify everyone when you’ve selected a winner

This relates back to the topic of establishing a timeline.

Take your deadline one step further.

For example, the date for participants to enter your promotion may be the last day of the month.

However, it could take you up to a week or two to go through all the entries and select a winner, especially if it’s a contest with lots of participants.

Make it clear when a winner has been announced.

Look at how Starbucks did this to announce the winners of their red cup contest:

image9 7

Make sure you have the winner’s consent to reveal their identity—if you are going to do that. All of that should be clearly outlined in the rules (which we discussed earlier) to avoid any problems or confusion.

Conclusion

Don’t run a giveaway without a clear goal or reason.

Like every other business decision you make, this will require some thought and planning.

First, you need to determine which kind of giveaway you’ll run.

If you want the winner to be completely random, you should hold a sweepstakes.

Contests are better if you want a skill, voting, or judgment to be involved in determining the winner.

Run the contest on multiple platforms.

Social media works best for establishing customer loyalty and increased brand awareness. It also makes the promotion more shareable.

Set a deadline and clearly post all the rules for your giveaway.

Make sure your prize is relevant to your brand.

Creating a unique and customized hashtag will help you promote your brand and get more recognition.

When it’s over, make sure you announce to everyone a winner has been selected.

What do you do after that?

Continue to run more contests!

If you follow these tips, it will be profitable for you every time.

What unique hashtag will you come up with to promote your giveaway on Instagram?

Running a contest or a promotional giveaway is one of my favorite ways for a company to connect with their customers.

But like in so many other aspects of business, I see too many people doing this wrong.

That’s okay…for now.

While it may sound simple, promotional campaigns like this aren’t as easy as just picking a name out of a hat.

You want to run a giveaway that creates brand awareness and generates a profit for your company.

When done correctly, this won’t cost much at all.

Contests can even generate some free advertising for your brand.

This is especially true if you use social media as the platform for your giveaways.

image1 7

Eighty-nine percent of marketing experts said social media increased exposure for their companies.

In addition to exposure, social media marketing:

  • generates leads
  • increases website traffic
  • improves customer relationships
  • helps search rankings

That’s what you need to remember.

Giveaways are a marketing tactic.

If you’re not using these tools to promote your brand and ultimately increase profits, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve got plenty of experience in this space.

I’ll show you how to run a profitable giveaway and provide some examples for you to follow as well.

Figure out what kind of contest you want to run

Not all promotional contests are the same.

There are three main types of promotions you can do:

  1. Contest
  2. Sweepstakes
  3. Lottery

If you’re running a contest, it means the participants are doing something requiring some sort of skill and effort to win a prize.

Some popular contests may include a photo, video, essay, or caption.

The winners are selected by some sort of vote or judgment.

Here’s an example:

image8 7

The picture that has the most likes will win this contest.

A sweepstakes, on the other hand, requires no skill and is based completely on chance.

Winners get determined randomly.

Purchases, payments, and other considerations cannot determine the winner of a sweepstakes.

A lottery means contestants made some sort of a purchase or monetary contribution to participate.

For example, buying a ticket for a chance to be selected would count as a lottery.

Don’t do this.

In fact, state and federal laws restrict these kinds of giveaways.

It’s in your best interest to stick to contests and sweepstakes.

Before you get started, ask yourself if you want to give something away randomly or if you want a skill to be involved.

There’s nothing wrong with a sweepstakes, but I think contests are more effective.

When your customers know their efforts will increase their chances of winning, they get more engaged with your brand.

Choose the right platform

Now that you’ve decided whether you’ll run a contest or sweepstakes, it’s time to figure out where you’ll host it.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Your website
  • Email

All of these are viable options.

In fact, you could potentially run the same contest on multiple platforms.

Select a winner on each one.

That could get your customers to participate more than once and increase your brand exposure even more.

Here’s an example of a website contest from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts:

image2 7

It’s very professional and well written.

With that said, you don’t want to limit yourself by running a giveaway solely on your website.

How often do people visit your site?

Probably not as often as they do social media platforms.

That’s why I recommend using social media as the primary platforms for your giveaways.

It’s a great way to establish brand loyalty.

image4 7

The people who follow you on social media are already interested in your business.

Running a giveaway there will pique their interest even more.

Plus, any actions they take, such as liking, commenting, posting, or sharing, will get viewed on the newsfeed of all their friends.

Set a deadline

It may sound simple or obvious, but you would be surprised how often I see people make this mistake.

Your deadline needs to be clear for a few reasons.

Let’s say a customer or prospective contestant wants to enter your giveaway.

If they don’t see a posted deadline, it could turn them away.

This person may just assume the deadline has passed even if you haven’t chosen a winner yet.

You’re also missing out on a chance of getting more exposure if this customer decides not to share the information on their social media platforms.

Another reason you’ll need to post the deadline is to avoid late entries.

Pretend you’re running an Instagram contest where the winner is selected by the highest number of likes on a photo.

You choose a winner, but a few days later someone posts a picture that gets more likes than the one you selected.

This contestant contacts you for their prize.

Now what?

You’re put in a tough situation, and overall, it’s not a good look for your company.

Adding a deadline to your giveaway is easy. You have no reason to forget it:

image5 7

Look at the example above.

See how easy that was?

Next time you run a promotional giveaway, make sure the deadline is clearly posted.

It will save you some headaches down the road.

Make sure the rules are clear

Piggybacking on my last point: you don’t want to create any confusion while running the contest.

Depending on your location, rules may vary from state to state.

You’ll want to make sure whatever you’re doing falls within legal regulations.

Here are some things commonly included into contest rules:

  • Eligibility (age, location, etc.)
  • No purchase required
  • Purchases don’t increase chances of winning
  • Dates (winner chosen and winner notified)
  • Judging criteria (for contests)
  • Privacy laws regarding the winner identity
  • Odds of winnings

If you’re running a contest on a specific platform, make sure you’re compliant with their rules and regulations as well.

Here’s a link to the Facebook guidelines for running a promotion, which is definitely something I recommend you review before getting started.

For example, you must acknowledge your promotion is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Facebook (the company) in any way.

Facebook also prohibits using phrases like:

  • “share on your timeline to enter”
  • “post this on a friend’s page to enter”
  • “tag your friends to increase chances of winning”

While you want to encourage posts and shares, make sure you do it within the rules.

Here’s a snippet from TMZ’s contest rules and regulations:

image10 7

The full page is much longer, but they clearly and thoroughly post everything to avoid any potential confusion, liability, or legal trouble.

If you have a long page of rules, consider providing a link to your website for a full explanation.

That’s more efficient than trying to post something long, as in the above example, as your Instagram caption.

The prize needs to be relevant

What are you giving away?

It needs to be related to and appropriate for your brand and image.

Let’s say you’re a company specializing in snowboarding and ski equipment.

Running a contest that gives the winner round-trip tickets to the Bahamas doesn’t really speak to your audience.

Flying them to a ski lodge in Colorado would make much more sense.

If you’re giving away a physical product, include a photo of it.

Telling the contestants you’re giving away a new camera isn’t as effective as showing them the camera.

Here’s an example of a giveaway from Ticket Master:

image11 7

It’s relevant.

You can buy tickets to sporting events on their website, so they’re giving customers a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

Although they didn’t include an image of the actual tickets, the Super Bowl logo is just as effective.

Visuals speak to people more than words.

That’s why it’s important to incorporate them into your promotion.

Create a customized hashtag for your giveaway

Hashtags are one of the best ways to promote your brand on social media.

Come up with something unique that speaks to your company as well as the promotion.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something, you can use an online resource like Hashtagify to come up with related tags and trends for your industry.

Use that as a guide to create your own, but make sure nobody else has used it before so there’s no confusion.

For those of you who already use hashtags successfully to promote your brand, make sure you come up with a new one for each contest.

Here’s a great example of how High Society Freeride used a unique hashtag to promote their giveaway:

image3 7

Notice how they effectively used capitalization, so the hashtag pops and is easy to read.

#OneLifeMakeItCount reads much better than #onelifemakeitcount.

The hashtag can be the way you find a winner of a contest.

Just click on the hashtag to view all the pictures, videos, and posts.

That’s the easiest way to review and judge which entries were the best.

The hardest part about using a hashtag is coming up with a creative one in the first place.

After that, it doesn’t require any effort or money from your company.

Hashtags can also increase engagement and make it easier for you to spread the word about your giveaway.

Make sure mobile users can access and participate in your contest

I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t run a giveaway just on your website.

Keep mobile users in mind when you’re coming up with this marketing strategy.

Mobile users spend the majority of their time using apps:

image6 7

Consider using platforms that are strictly for apps.

Instagram is a top choice for this.

Facebook and Twitter also have mobile applications, which is why earlier I recommended social media platforms as the top resource for giveaways.

If your company has its own mobile app, run your giveaway there as well.

You can send users who downloaded the app notifications of the promotion directly to their phones.

Allow contestants to share the contest with friends and family

To get the most exposure, your giveaway needs to be shareable.

Earlier I mentioned that some platforms, such as Facebook, prohibit you from using certain statements to encourage sharing.

But you can still include social sharing icons on your website.

Here’s a great example of how Fatherly did this to promote their sweepstakes:

image7 7

Again, the whole idea behind a giveaway is to turn a profit for your company.

Allowing users to share this content will drive more traffic to your site and potentially improve conversions as well.

Notify everyone when you’ve selected a winner

This relates back to the topic of establishing a timeline.

Take your deadline one step further.

For example, the date for participants to enter your promotion may be the last day of the month.

However, it could take you up to a week or two to go through all the entries and select a winner, especially if it’s a contest with lots of participants.

Make it clear when a winner has been announced.

Look at how Starbucks did this to announce the winners of their red cup contest:

image9 7

Make sure you have the winner’s consent to reveal their identity—if you are going to do that. All of that should be clearly outlined in the rules (which we discussed earlier) to avoid any problems or confusion.

Conclusion

Don’t run a giveaway without a clear goal or reason.

Like every other business decision you make, this will require some thought and planning.

First, you need to determine which kind of giveaway you’ll run.

If you want the winner to be completely random, you should hold a sweepstakes.

Contests are better if you want a skill, voting, or judgment to be involved in determining the winner.

Run the contest on multiple platforms.

Social media works best for establishing customer loyalty and increased brand awareness. It also makes the promotion more shareable.

Set a deadline and clearly post all the rules for your giveaway.

Make sure your prize is relevant to your brand.

Creating a unique and customized hashtag will help you promote your brand and get more recognition.

When it’s over, make sure you announce to everyone a winner has been selected.

What do you do after that?

Continue to run more contests!

If you follow these tips, it will be profitable for you every time.

What unique hashtag will you come up with to promote your giveaway on Instagram?

10 Copywriting Tips You Think You Know (But You’re So Very Wrong)

]Do you know Copywriting?

Think again and read

this article from 

Content manager  and  Digital Careerist  Jacob McMillen

 

copywriting tips

Copywriting is the focal point of conversion rate optimization. It’s the glue that holds the conversion funnel together.

 

Without copywriting, your business has… well, nothing.

Unfortunately, most people (and dare I say most copywriters) are just awful at writing copy. They can tell you all the right principles and even write a fantastic blog post on the best copywriting tips, yet when it comes to actually writing the copy, all that knowledge goes out the window.

So that’s what brings us together… today.

We’ve already discussed the psychology of persuasive writing, but in this post we’re going to focus on some incredibly practical and insanely important copywriting tips that most everyone can recite in their sleep yet somehow rarely make it the published landing page.

You can’t afford to get these wrong.

1. Take Your Readers Through A Narrative

They say that good storytellers make the best salespeople, and that’s not a hard concept to believe.

We all know those people – the people who have a way with words and make anything they’re talking about interesting. When you hear someone telling a story (and telling it well), it’s easy to feel like you’re a part of it. We get sucked into the flow of words, thoughts, and ideas.

The psychological term for this phenomenon is called “neural coupling“, and it describes how the listener’s brain patterns tend to mirror that of the speaker during communication. This coupling occurs when the listener is engaged with the flow of communication and breaks when they get distracted or are unable to comprehend what’s being communicated to them.

Now, notice this point didn’t read “tell a story”.

Storytelling has a place in marketing, but when we’re writing copy for a website landing page, telling a story in the traditional sense isn’t always the best use our limited space.

Instead of story, think narrative.

A narrative is an account of connected events, with connected being the key word here. It’s very, VERY important that every piece of copy on your landing page is connected.

Many landing pages I see today consist of a bunch of copy segments that cover a range of topics and hit on everything the site owner thought would be important to cover. In the worst cases, the site owner selected a WordPress template and then hired a copywriter to fill in the text spots.

There is no flow. There is no connection. There is no chance to create that neural coupling effect with the reader.

Instead of creating multiple segments, think through the journey you want to take your readers on. Where are they when they land on your page? Where do you want them to be when they get to your final Call to Action (CTA)?

To help you get started, here’s the narrative template I like to use with many of my clients:

  1. Open with your value proposition to let the reader know exactly what you’re offering.
  2. Hit on the core problems your product/service is designed to solve.
  3. Transition into the way your product/service solves those problems.
  4. Hit on all the key benefits that go along with using your product/service.
  5. Paint a picture for the reader of their lives with your solution.
  6. Call the reader to take action.

Connecting your landing page in a narrative flow will go a long way in engaging readers with your message.

2. Simplify & Condense Whenever Possible

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

– Thomas Jefferson

You have a limited amount of space and time to communicate your value and capture your reader’s’ interest.

55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds viewing a landing page before deciding to leave. It’s incredibly important that you effectively communicate your core value proposition within that brief window.

You already know the importance of a great value proposition, but this condensed approach shouldn’t end after the fold. Each segment of your landing page needs to be treated as though you have an extra 15 seconds to compel the reader forward to the next section.

At no point do you the luxury of babbling. At no point can you take the reader for granted.

Every word on a landing page needs to be optimized. Every sentence needs to be intentional, clear, and concise, from the opening headline to the closing CTA.

This does NOT mean your page should be brief. It’s important that you say everything you need to say. It simply means that you should communicate everything you need to communicate in as few words as possible. Every segment needs to be the optimal version of itself.

3. Keep The Visual In Mind

When writing the copy for a landing page, it’s important to remember that the copy will be viewed within the context of a visual design.

Reading a landing page is not at all like reading a letter, a blog post, or even an email. Images, video, visual design elements, and even interactive features can be a big part of the user experience. The copy is still THE most important element, but it will be viewed in the context of the page’s design.

It’s important that you keep this visual experience in mind when writing the copy.

In other words, NO WALLS OF TEXT.

  • Utilize headings and subheadings.
  • Keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences.
  • Use bullets and numbers.
  • Use proper spacing and kerning.
  • Make sure there is plenty of “white space”.

In other words, don’t do this…

Visual elements like those I just recommended allow the eye to easily track from point to point without distraction. While the copy is king, it needs to play nice with the design to ensure its narrative is easy to read, follow, and comprehend.

This is why I always recommend my next point…

4. Collaborate With The Designer

When creating a new landing page, you should always have your copywriter and designer work together from the beginning. This should be standard practice for ANYONE hiring a copywriter… and yet, in my experience as a freelance copywriter, it’s very rare.

Too often, copywriting is viewed as a “fill in the gaps” activity that occurs after the website design is finalized.

This is a massive mistake. The purpose of the copy is NOT to fit the design. The purpose of the design is to highlight and facilitate the copy. If your copywriter is filling in lorem ipsum text blocks, you are seriously hampering their ability to create a compelling narrative.

At the same time, copywriters (especially beginning or intermediate copywriters) can be a bit text heavy and ignorant of how to create copy segments that are compatible with modern design, resulting in the problems I mentioned in Point #3.

This is why I always recommend that clients have their copywriters and designers collaborate on landing pages simultaneously. When the two work together, the copy can be highlighted without compromising the visual design.

5. Write With Personality

Look, have you ever talked with someone who has no personality?

Yeah, that’s what it feels like to read formal copywriting.

If you are anything like everyone I’ve ever known, you will nod your head sagely and agree with this point. You probably even have a blog post on your site with this exact copywriting tip proudly displayed in a list similar to this.

This seems to be one of those points that is widely understood yet somehow flies right out the window the moment fingers hit keyboards.

The reality is that most people struggle getting thoughts to paper. By the time they are able to articulate what they’re trying to say, there’s no mental capacity left for personality or nuance, and as a result, the copy comes out sounding formal and stale.

Or worse, it’s nothing more than a paragraph full of buzz words…

Write copy like you are speaking directly to your target audience. How do they speak? How do they like to be spoken to? If you are talking to doctors, your copy might need to be academic or a bit more formal, but if you are speaking to patients on behalf of doctors, your copy shouldn’t sound like a medical conference presentation.

If you struggle with this, either hire a copywriter, pay for tone-focused editing, or write, write, write until you don’t have to think so much in order to translate your thoughts to words on a page.

6. Write Multiple Drafts

Remember in high school when you had to submit a 1st draft and then a 2nd draft and then a 3rd draft?

There was actually a reason for that, and the reason is that your 1st draft usually sucks.

Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe Ernest Hemingway:

‘The first draft of anything is shit.’ – Ernest HemingwayCLICK TO TWEET

So yeah, stop settling for your first draft like a chump and start taking advantage of the revision process. Even better, create multiple versions of your most important talking points and then get 3rd party feedback on the variations.

And ultimately, you really don’t need to guess perfectly with your copy. The ideal copywriting strategy is to write multiple versions, each optimized around a different conversion hypothesis, and then A/B test them with real site visitors.

7. Prioritize Clarity Over Cleverness

If you were super into Mad Men, you probably suck at digital copywriting.

Clever copy doesn’t convert. Clear, compelling copy converts (say that 5 times fast).

Your goal as a copywriter is to clearly communicate the value of the offer, the problems it solves, and the benefits of using it to the intended user. If you can be clear and clever, that’s fine, but only one of those will pay you back for the time you spent writing it.

8. Focus On The Emotions Behind The Decision

“Sell the sizzle” and “be emotional” are pretty stereotypical copywriting tips, and while they are not universally applicable, they tend to be correct more often than not.

Human beings very rarely make decisions from a purely analytical standpoint. We are an emotional species and our emotions heavily dictate our behavior.

There are two primary ways in which emotions affect our decision-making:

  1. Immediate emotions
  2. Anticipated emotions

Immediate emotions are those experienced in the moment the decision is being made. These can be related to the decision itself or they can be the result of other external stimuli.

For example, if you get in a big argument with your spouse, leave angry, and then begin evaluating a purchasing decision, that anger is an immediate emotion effecting your decision-making.

Anticipated emotions are the emotions someone anticipates experiencing as a result of a given decision.

For example, if you are debating whether to purchase a new SaaS product, and you are thinking about all the time it could save you, the associated emotions are anticipated emotions.

When you are writing your copy, it’s important to think through any consistent immediate emotions that might surround your visitors’ journey to you. What motivated them to click that add or search for that keyphrase, and how might that give you a read on their immediate emotional state?

Even more importantly, how can you resonate with the problems your readers are facing and then help them genuinely imagine a positive future with your product?

This is what your copy should be focused on.

9. Write To One Person

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make with their copy is trying to communicate to everyone at once. It’s been quite surprising to me how often a business owner will come to me to write copy, and when I ask them, “Who is your target audience?” they reply, “Everyone”.

Here’s a secret. “Everyone” is NOT your target audience. In fact, The more people you are trying to fit into the same sales pitch, the less effective it will be.

The best copywriting is written to a single reader. It’s focused on a specific customer profile and the interests, needs, and aspirations that come along with that profile.

If you don’t already have that profile defined, all you have to do is go talk to your customers.

A great example comes from Sujan Patel, who spent hours upon hours reviewing customer support logs and talking directly with the customers themselves. The onboarding improvements that came from those conversations resulted in an incredible 250% lift in conversions for his business.

Write your copy to someone specific instead of using a catch-all mentality.

10. Break The Rules & Test The Results

General rules and best practices are great. When you start with what works on average, you will probably end up in a better spot than if you were to just winging it.

That said, if you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll get the results everyone else is getting. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to break the rules and try something new.

But the difference between strategic rule breaking and “winging it” is data. You should always be A/B testing your copywriting, but if you are going to break away from best practices, you absolutely need to begin A/B testing your content.

The difference between strategic rule breaking and “winging it” is data.CLICK TO TWEET

Conclusion

Okay… my sermon is delivered, and now I’m washing my hands of this.

You can’t afford to get these wrong.

Whether you write your own copy or bring in outside help, it’s critically important that you follow all 10 of today’s tips when creating your landing pages and conversion funnels.

Obviously, there are many more important tips for great copy, and I’d love to hear your favorites. Let me know your #1 copywriting tip in the comments.

 

Jacob McMillen is a freelance copywriter and the content manager for Conversion Sciences. He enjoys boosting conversion rates for a living and pretending to think in his spare time. Follow him on Twitter @jmcmillen89 … if you dare.

Source: Conversion Sciences Blog 

Are You Using This Internet Marketing Secret?

If you are trying to make some money on the Internet, then you are probably doing so through an affiliate program. You signed up as an affiliate for a great looking product and you have your affiliate ID.

The vendor has even given you a basic marketing package which includes sales graphics, swipe emails, blog articles etc. with a link to your affiliate sales page. All you have to do is use these tools to get traffic to your affiliate sales page.

Now, even that sounds pretty easy, it’s not. It’s not impossible to works too, just be sure that your skill of converting your traffic into sales is on very, very, high level.But if you are a beginner in affiliate promotions, this is probably not the case. To make it short, you may have to have thousands of people to visit your affiliate sales page before you ever see your first sell. Now that doesn’t sound good, is it?

Unfortunately, that is what most people do. They spend a lot of time, effort, and money getting all of those people to that affiliate sales page and then they finally make a sale and earn a referral fee or commission. But wait, it can get even worse. Let’s say that you made one sale and earned a $10 commission.

That’s great, right? Well not really, because in the terms and conditions of your affiliate program, you don’t actually get paid until you have accumulated at least $20 of commissions. So get back to it and get another sale and finally get paid. Good grief!

Don’t quit! Internet marketing is a great way to make extra money, but you have to know some of the secrets. Here’s one. “Don’t advertise your affiliate program directly.” You must use a four-step process instead.

Four Step Process

1. First, you must provide something of value. The easiest valuable thing that you can give away is information. An informative email course, special report, or ebook are all great ways to give away free information.

2. This step goes along with the initial step above. Don’t give away your free information until you get an email address. You must capture the name and email address of your prospective sale in order to be able to implement the next step.

3. If the information that you are providing is good and helps people, then you will earn some trust. If someone gives you some information that saves you time, money, or effort; then you are going to closely read anything that they send you – as long as the information is still valuable. This is why it is so important that you get that name and email address before you start giving away your information. Now you can keep the information flowing through an occasional email to your prospect.

4. Finally, if you have been providing valuable information and earning trust from people, it is much more likely that they will buy something that you recommend. This is especially true if you can convince them that what you are recommending will help them and that it is worth their money.

The easiest way to do this is to recommend something that you have actually purchased and use yourself. Just tell them how it helped you and why you think that it was worth what you paid for it!

Affiliate’s Guide To success

marketing-strategy-image

Work as an affiliate is great!

It is considered to be the most popular work at home business.

There are hundreds of companies and small businesses that will pay you a commission for promoting their heir best converting products.

When you work from home you need to have three things in mind in order to be successful.

  •  Learn networking techniques 
  • Apply them, and the most important of all is to
  • Stay with a positive attitude.

If you have these two things, there are virtually no limits to what can be accomplished.

For anyone new, to the affiliate profession, it can get extremely tough, Those hard times can break the beginning affiliate. When hard times coming often is easier to just throw up everything, and walk,

but for the successful marketer there is no walking away, just stick with it, with patience and persistence. It’s your business and there is no quit until success. If this sounds like you then this profession may be just what you have been looking for.

For most people, the most difficult times are seen when they first start out. This is the time to be careful. As a novice, you have to work a lot harder than those who has advertised their web pages and products for years. An old cat can go away for a month or two and the sales will not stop. This is known to the industry as the auto pilot. For the newbie, it will be hard until their site goes into auto pilot, but the automation is very important in affiliate business.

For the time being, there are many ways to get up, and running. The difficult task is deciding how, and where you wish to start. If you are considering trying your chances at being an affiliate, the first thing to understand is that a web page is nothing without visitors.

(Word of caution: If you do not have a website, no worries. Most of the affiliate groups will provide you everything.)

Consider your web page or landing page is like your front store so to say.

If no one knows where you are, or what you have to offer you will not sell any products. The same thing applies to a web page or a landing page, you can have the best web page in the world, and it will not do you any good. YOU HAVE TO GET VISITORS! VISITORS! But remember! You don’t need to get just any visitor either!

Make it a point to get the targeted visitors!

1.) Most importantly, an affiliate program the first thing you need to do is, approach your sponsor.

. This is the person who is accredited with recruiting you as the new affiliate member. Make sure to contact your sponsor, Introduce yourself ask for help if you need. Remember starting up is the hardest thing you will ever have to do in this business or any other business for that matter. From there it will get easier. So don’t be afraid of asking for help. Get help where you can. Your sponsor will be more than happy to give you pointers.

2.) Most affiliate groups have a training course available to new affiliate members.  Read them carefully understand the ground point and apply! In those courses, you will get tools, ideas, and links to promote their products. all of them will give you advertising pages or landing pages such as this one  

You should use these pages to promote your products. These pages make things easier for beginners. It allows for the affiliate to concentrate on getting the link out to potential buyers. AKA Targeted Visitors.

3.) Now the time has come to decide on what roads to take. How will I market my new business? This all depends on who you are. If you have money to spend you can advertise any way you would like to. You can advertise with Google Ad words, or other pay per click (PPC) services, place ads in magazines etc…. Actually, there are quite a lot possibilities, when you can invest some small amount of money.

For those on a budget, you can advertise many different ways as well, you will need to be a little more creative in your advertising. Advertise through blogs, and forums, to writing articles, reciprocal linking is a good idea (exchanging links with other websites.), promote through emails (DO NOT SPAM) there are endless advertising methods for both kinds of affiliates.

Here are a few free advertising links that I have used in the past to get me started

4.) Once you have decided on how you will advertise try and get your links in front of people who are looking to buy your products. If I am promoting bass fishing equipment I need to find a captive audience. I need to get my link in front of those people who want to buy bass fishing equipment. There is no rocket science involved here! Ask yourself this question; where are my potential buyers? The beautiful thing about the Internet is, the answers are only a click away. Use the Search Engines for this example I would type in fishing blogs, forums, stores, bait shop, fishing story postings, derby etc… This would be a goof start to finding your customers.

Once your advertising starts flooding the Internet it is almost impossible to stop people from buying your companies products. You would have to shut down your website and turn off your links. The rewards can be fruitful, and with the right attitude, knowledge, and products, you will earn a piece of the Internet’s great wealth.

Never doubt yourself, and never stop learning, never quit, and the internet income is yours for the taking!

Recommended resources

How to Make Money Online in 2016/17

Very detailed and relevant 

IM Exclusive

Great training about sales funnel building

Affiliate Marketing Basics

Online Video Series

 

Getting Started With Amazon – Part 2

 

In Getting Started Making Money With Amazon Part 1, we walked through the steps up until finding your web hosting. Now let’s look at the final steps to getting started.

6. Install the blog software – Why blog software? Because it will provide with the necessary structure to make it easy for you to run an effective site and post new content easily. WordPress is the most popular. It is open source, which means it’s free, it’s easy to install, and it is extremely powerful. Many web hosts have a one-step process for installation, or just download and follow the instructions provided.

7. Make it look good – One of the perks to WordPress is all the templates that you have to choose from. In addition to the hundreds of free themes, there are hundreds of WordPress themes you can buy. Pick a theme that looks good, ties to your niche, has the layout you want, and offers what you want to be able to do in terms of tools.

8. Create your categories – Your blog software should allow you to setup categories that help you to organize your entries so it is easier for your visitors to find what it is they are interested in reading. For example, your Jack Russel site might have a number of categories such as training, eating, toys, etc.

9. Become an Amazon Associate – The sign up is simple, and it’s free. Just go to the Amazon site and at the bottom click the ‘Join Associates’ link. You’ll want to have your site set up – at least the basics with some content, as they are going to review your site.

10. Create the blog posting links – There are different ways to create your links. You can use the tools offered by your blog software, but the easiest way is using the Amazon Build A Link tool. Log into your Associate page, and find the product you want to review. Build your personalized link. There are a number of options for link building but most would tell you that the text links are most effective.

11. It’s time to blog – The time has come to write your blog review and post it. You will insert your link code to the product on the Amazon site (created above) that you are writing the review for. You will want to include a number of reviews.

12. Promote your website – Make sure you take time to promote your website/blog. There are all kinds of online communities that can help you do this, as well as social media, directories, etc. The more exposure the better!

There you have it – in Part 2 we have set you up so that you are ready to start making money with your Amazon affiliate program. So what are you waiting for? Why not get busy today?