The importance of spelling (and the value of typos)

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? What about a rsoe? According to this article on the BBC, spelling typos like this could slash your online sales in half. In total, it is believed that such inaccuracies could be costing UK markets millions in lost online sales every year.

Why is keeping on top of spelling errors important?

  • It limits the chances that your message will be misunderstood
  • It reflects your credibility, intelligence, and readability
  • And it indicates that you care about how you do business

What’s your first impression of a brand whose website is filled with poor typography, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes? You’re horrified. You’ve never purchased anything from them before. And if the quality of their language is poor, who knows what their products are like. You’re likely to dismiss that brand an move on to another site. This can be devastating for business.

It’s all about crdeibility

In recent years, web users have become more savvy at sussing out a credible website from one that is likely to take their cash and run. This has raised the standards across the web as businesses scramble to create a strong, professional impression. Your website is often the first point of contact for customers and is responsible for revenue. It needs to come across as trustworthy and knowledgeable.

What’s key is a high standard of language – the ability to communicate with consistent grammar and spelling so that it doesn’t become jarring to the reader and make them question their time on the site. Bad grammar dissolves credibility and can kill a brand, so don’t fall foul of any superfluous commas or double negatives.

If you let the standards drop in this area – even if visitors don’t suspect that you’re phishing for their details – they will still start their online relationship with you doubting the quality of your operation. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to lose the sale.

Remember, you’ve only got 15 seconds to capture the reader’s attention.

Tips to avoid errors

Slow down. The fast-paced world we live in dictates that we’re ‘always on’. Doing too much in a short amount of time isn’t always best. Never send anything without going through it with a fine-tooth comb.

Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking may result in you making more spelling errors. Think about it: your brain has to refocus after switching to a new task. Try completing one thing before you move on to the next.

Get a second pair of eyes. Getting someone else to proofread your work helps you identify any spelling or grammatical errors you couldn’t spot yourself. Before you send that customer email or publish that important landing page, nudge a colleague to review it and feed back. It may take more time, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Double-check the facts. Misspelling a place name or getting someone’s profession wrong can have negative consequences. For example, if you’re applying for a job and misspell the company’s name, you won’t get the job. Mistakes like these can undermine someone’s identity and offend an entire audience. What’s more, it makes you appear unprofessional and amateurish to customers. Don’t run that risk: Attention to detail means everything.

SEO – an indicator of national literacy?

There’s another interesting side to the debate.

With a growing concern over the basic literacy skills of school leavers, it’s no surprise to find keyword research littered with misspellings (that receive just as high search volumes as the actual phrase).

Moreover, this can create conflicts for your SEO strategy and conversions: I.e. do you go with the realistic approach and try to optimize toward some of these misspellings? (This risks a dent in your conversions.) Or do you just accept that your target audience is made up of the most literate customers?

In our view, it’s worth a compromise. Simply including the incorrect phrase within your strategy will increase the chances of ranking for the term and increasing traffic. But you need to be clever about it.

Consider adding the phrase to an image’s alt text once or twice as this will include the phrase within your website without being obvious to the user. Remember, once or twice – having the front of the site full of correct spellings and the back of the site full of misspellings will be identified as a scheme to trick the search engines and could negatively affect your ranking. Make no mistake, content errors do harm your brand and SEO.

Finally, please excuse any misspellings!

Regardless of the strategy you undertake for your SEO, it’s worth being vigilant for errors of any kind, from spelling to dead links to scripting issues. Despite a high level of traffic, any faults with your website can result in a loss in conversions.

And if you do make an error, own it

Owning your blunders can be a great form of PR. Sometimes pointing out an error you’ve made, and making a joke of it, makes you more credible to customers. All you need to do is to master the art of ‘oops’.

Want some copywriting inspiration? Check out our killer guide here.

The marketer's guide to copywriting - Part 1

The post The importance of spelling (and the value of typos) appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

The increased importance of domain reputation on your deliverability

In recent years, email classifying technologies have moved beyond basic IP address reputation measures and have focused on other signals, including placing a heavier value on domain reputation.  This means the classifier looks at all of the data associated with the sending domain — therefore the singled-out IP address is overshadowed by the other ‘good’ IP addresses.  In addition, domain-based measurements incorporate the reputation associated with transactional email sent from the same domain, which will most certainly help overall sender reputation.

Earlier this year I moderated an email receiver panel, comprising Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo! and Comcast.  During our time together IP address and domain reputation was discussed, and while the change has not yet been formally adopted by all receivers, they are taking steps now to shift to this – meaning – they are now looking at domain reputation closer than ever.

The overall message is very clear: domain-based reputation is the future.

The good news

For most senders, this change will actually benefit their delivery rates.  The fact remains that ISP classifiers still have ‘false positive’ situations where an individual IP address is singled out due to insufficient data or a glitch in the system, while the same sender’s other IP addresses are highly reputable and reach the inbox.

The bad news

If there truly is a reputation problem from anywhere within a sender’s domain, it will affect all of the mail coming from that sender.  This means that senders must be mindful of their complaint rates and email acquisition practices because they both will affect their domain-based reputation — and by extension, their ROI.  Equally important, if a sender is using the same domain for transactional messaging, those emails may also see their deliverability rates decline.

If you are using an unbranded or shared from domain, like dotmailer’s cmp.dotmailer.co.uk or dotmailer-email.com, you risk having to deal with the bad news.  This is because not only are you sharing an IP address in a pool, but you are also sharing a domain name.  With receivers looking at both the IP and the domain, if you are stuck with a bad actor on your domain, you have a very high risk of email deliverability issues.

One simple way of better representing yourself in the new world of domain reputation is using a custom from address.  The cost of these addresses is low compared to the potential cost in lost revenue due to email deliverability problems.  Not only do you gain the ability to differentiate yourself in the eyes of the email receivers, you also have a fully branded email solution, incorporating your own custom domain name in the “from address”.  This helps your recipients better identify your mail, giving it a branded feel and fostering trust.

For more information on how to order and set up a custom from address for your dotmailer account, take a look  at our help center or please contact your account manager.

The post The increased importance of domain reputation on your deliverability appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Local citations are dead; long live local citations!

Local citations are often thought to be the bread and butter of local SEO, but are we placing too much importance on them? Columnist Andrew Shotland discusses the results of a study which suggests we might be.

The post Local citations are dead; long live local citations! appeared first on Search…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The key to local SEO

Want to spend more time doing great work and less time putting out fires? Columnist Greg Gifford emphasizes the importance of client education in local SEO.

The post The key to local SEO appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The Importance of Being Different: Creating a Competitive Advantage With Your USP

Posted by TrentonGreener

“The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.”

While this quote has been credited to everyone from Francis Phillip Wernig, under the pseudonym Alan Ashley-Pitt, to Einstein himself, the powerful message does not lose its substance no matter whom you choose to credit. There is a very important yet often overlooked effect of not heeding this warning. One which can be applied to all aspects of life. From love and happiness, to business and marketing, copying what your competitors are doing and failing to forge your own path can be a detrimental mistake.

While as marketers we are all acutely aware of the importance of differentiation, we’ve been trained for the majority of our lives to seek out the norm.

We spend the majority of our adolescent lives trying desperately not to be different. No one has ever been picked on for being too normal or not being different enough. We would beg our parents to buy us the same clothes little Jimmy or little Jamie wore. We’d want the same backpack and the same bike everyone else had. With the rise of the cell phone and later the smartphone, on hands and knees, we begged and pleaded for our parents to buy us the Razr, the StarTAC (bonus points if you didn’t have to Google that one), and later the iPhone. Did we truly want these things? Yes, but not just because they were cutting edge and nifty. We desired them because the people around us had them. We didn’t want to be the last to get these devices. We didn’t want to be different.

Thankfully, as we mature we begin to realize the fallacy that is trying to be normal. We start to become individuals and learn to appreciate that being different is often seen as beautiful. However, while we begin to celebrate being different on a personal level, it does not always translate into our business or professional lives.

We unconsciously and naturally seek out the normal, and if we want to be different—truly different in a way that creates an advantage—we have to work for it.

The truth of the matter is, anyone can be different. In fact, we all are very different. Even identical twins with the same DNA will often have starkly different personalities. As a business, the real challenge lies in being different in a way that is relevant, valuable to your audience, and creates an advantage.

“Strong products and services are highly differentiated from all other products and services. It’s that simple. It’s that difficult.” – Austin McGhie, Brand Is a Four Letter Word

Let’s explore the example of Revel Hotel & Casino. Revel is a 70-story luxury casino in Atlantic City that was built in 2012. There is simply not another casino of the same class in Atlantic City, but there might be a reason for this. Even if you’re not familiar with the city, a quick jump onto Atlantic City’s tourism website reveals that of the five hero banners that rotate, not one specifically mentions gambling, but three reference the boardwalk. This is further illustrated when exploring their internal linking structure. The beaches, boardwalk, and shopping all appear before a single mention of casinos. There simply isn’t as much of a market for high-end gamblers in the Atlantic City area; in the states Las Vegas serves that role. So while Revel has a unique advantage, their ability to attract customers to their resort has not resulted in profitable earnings reports. In Q2 2012, Revel had a gross operating loss of $35.177M, and in Q3 2012 that increased to $36.838M.

So you need to create a unique selling proposition (also known as unique selling point and commonly referred to as a USP), and your USP needs to be valuable to your audience and create a competitive advantage. Sounds easy enough, right? Now for the kicker. That advantage needs to be as sustainable as physically possible over the long term.

“How long will it take our competitors to duplicate our advantage?”

You really need to explore this question and the possible solutions your competitors could utilize to play catch-up or duplicate what you’ve done. Look no further than Google vs Bing to see this in action. No company out there is going to just give up because your USP is so much better; most will pivot or adapt in some way.

Let’s look at a Seattle-area coffee company of which you may or may not be familiar. Starbucks has tried quite a few times over the years to level-up their tea game with limited success, but the markets that Starbucks has really struggled to break into are the pastry, breads, dessert, and food markets.

Other stores had more success in these markets, and they thought that high-quality teas and bakery items were the USPs that differentiated them from the Big Bad Wolf that is Starbucks. And while they were right to think that their brick house would save them from the Big Bad Wolf for some time, this fable doesn’t end with the Big Bad Wolf in a boiling pot.

Never underestimate your competitor’s ability to be agile, specifically when overcoming a competitive disadvantage.

If your competitor can’t beat you by making a better product or service internally, they can always choose to buy someone who can.

After months of courting, on June 4th, 2012 Starbucks announced that they had come to an agreement to purchase La Boulange in order to “elevate core food offerings and build a premium, artisanal bakery brand.” If you’re a small-to-medium sized coffee shop and/or bakery that even indirectly competed with Starbucks, a new challenger approaches. And while those tea shops momentarily felt safe within the brick walls that guarded their USP, on the final day of that same year, the Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed and blew a stack of cash all over Teavana. Making Teavana a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starbucks for the low, low price of $620M.

Sarcasm aside, this does a great job of illustrating the ability of companies—especially those with deep pockets—to be agile, and demonstrates that they often have an uncanny ability to overcome your company’s competitive advantage. In seven months, Starbucks went from a minor player in these markets to having all the tools they need to dominate tea and pastries. Have you tried their raspberry pound cake? It’s phenomenal.

Why does this matter to me?

Ok, we get it. We need to be different, and in a way that is relevant, valuable, defensible, and sustainable. But I’m not the CEO, or even the CMO. I cannot effect change on a company level; why does this matter to me?

I’m a firm believer that you effect change no matter what the name plate on your desk may say. Sure, you may not be able to call an all-staff meeting today and completely change the direction of your company tomorrow, but you can effect change on the parts of the business you do touch. No matter your title or area of responsibility, you need to know your company’s, client’s, or even a specific piece of content’s USP, and you need to ensure it is applied liberally to all areas of your work.

Look at this example SERP for “Mechanics”:

While yes, this search is very likely to be local-sensitive, that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out. Every single AdWords result, save one, has only the word “Mechanics” in the headline. (While the top of page ad is pulling description line 1 into the heading, the actual headline is still only “Mechanic.”) But even the one headline that is different doesn’t do a great job of illustrating the company’s USP. Mechanics at home? Whose home? Mine or theirs? I’m a huge fan of Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think,” and in this scenario there are too many questions I need answered before I’m willing to click through. “Mechanics; We Come To You” or even “Traveling Mechanics” illustrates this point much more clearly, and still fits within the 25-character limit for the headline.

If you’re an AdWords user, no matter how big or small your monthly spend may be, take a look at your top 10-15 keywords by volume and evaluate how well you’re differentiating yourself from the other brands in your industry. Test ad copy that draws attention to your USP and reap the rewards.

Now while this is simply an AdWords text ad example, the same concept can be applied universally across all of marketing.

Title tags & meta descriptions

As we alluded to above, not only do companies have USPs, but individual pieces of content can, and should, have their own USP. Use your title tag and meta description to illustrate what differentiates your piece of content from the competition and do so in a way that attracts the searcher’s click. Use your USP to your advantage. If you have already established a strong brand within a specific niche, great! Now use it to your advantage. Though it’s much more likely that you are competing against a strong brand, and in these scenarios ask yourself, “What makes our content different from theirs?” The answer you come up with is your content’s USP. Call attention to that in your title tag and meta description, and watch the CTR climb.

I encourage you to hop into your own site’s analytics and look at your top 10-15 organic landing pages and see how well you differentiate yourself. Even if you’re hesitant to negatively affect your inbound gold mines by changing the title tags, run a test and change up your meta description to draw attention to your USP. In an hour’s work, you just may make the change that pushes you a little further up those SERPs.

Branding

Let’s break outside the world of digital marketing and look at the world of branding. Tom’s Shoes competes against some heavy hitters in Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and Puma just to name a few. While Tom’s can’t hope to compete against the marketing budgets of these companies in a fair fight, they instead chose to take what makes them different, their USP, and disseminate it every chance they get. They have labeled themselves “The One for One” company. It’s in their homepage’s title tag, in every piece of marketing they put out, and it smacks you in the face when you land on their site. They even use the call-to-action “Get Good Karma” throughout their site.

Now as many of us may know, partially because of the scandal it created in late 2013, Tom’s is not actually a non-profit organization. No matter how you feel about the matter, this marketing strategy has created a positive effect on their bottom line. Fast Company conservatively estimated their revenues in 2013 at $250M, with many estimates being closer to the $300M mark. Not too bad of a slice of the pie when competing against the powerhouses Tom’s does.

Wherever you stand on this issue, Tom’s Shoes has done a phenomenal job of differentiating their brand from the big hitters in their industry.

Know your USP and disseminate it every chance you get.

This is worth repeating. Know your USP and disseminate it every chance you get, whether that be in title tags, ad copy, on-page copy, branding, or any other segment of your marketing campaigns. Online or offline, be different. And remember the quote that we started with, “The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.”

The amount of marketing knowledge that can be taken from this one simple statement is astounding. Heed the words, stand out from the crowd, and you will have success.

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Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it

We’re talking big data at DataIQ; 16th-17th June

  This week for the first time, Majestic are attending the DataIQ event which is taking place in London from Tuesday 16th to Wednesday 17th June. Why are we attending? The event itself focuses on the importance of data and how you can use data differently – data security, protection and advice, but also data…

The post We’re talking big data at DataIQ; 16th-17th June appeared first on Majestic Blog.

Reblogged 4 years ago from blog.majestic.com