A look into the world of Wordsmithing – A series about crafting messages that engage and delight – Part 3

May 26, 2016

Credibility: Worth Its’ Weight In Gold

Tom Magliozzi (co-host of the hit radio show Car Talk) summed up the customer experience when he said that “Happiness equals reality minus expectations.”

In the previous blog post on wordsmithing, we discussed brevity and how a short message can have greater impact than a long one. In this post, we are covering the third rule in Words that Work; “Credibility”, and why it is so important.

Words define who you are as a company. If the words lack sincerity, contradict facts or fail to live up to what you are selling, you will lose credibility and your customers will go elsewhere. In this case, credibility is synonymous with reputation, and you should guard it as such.

Credibility can be rather simple to establish: Tell people who you are, what you offer, and why they should do business with you. Make sure your company and it’s offerings live up to what you say. Do your best to live up to your company’s stated vision/mission/goal, and people will start to trust you.

If you promise something people pay for,  it better live up to that promise or you will quickly find you have unhappy customers who will leave you for greener pastures and cost you a chunk of your reputation when they do. Credibility can take a long time to build, but a very short amount of time to lose.

What to avoid:

Avoid labeling each product as “new and improved” – Stating that every product you release is “new and improved” is a good example of what not to do. Not only will this quickly turn people away unless the improvements are clearly tangible, you risk scorning customers who bought last years model.

Don’t over-promise – It is never a good idea to promise more than the product or service can deliver.  If your sales pitch raises expectations too high, the customer will have much higher expectations of your product/service. Even a decent experience will seem lackluster if the promises make it out to be more then it is.

The Hype Train while more commonly seen in the movie and gaming world, companies often run into trouble generating excitement or “hype” for a product too far in advance of it’s release date. Enthusiasm for a new product will only last so long, and if you release your product months (or years) after initial excitement has worn off, people won’t be as interested. Keep in mind that even if you do release a product in a timely manner after announcing it, the hype you generate will lead to increased expectations of the products performance.

You might be wondering about companies like Apple who in fact do claim each new iPhone as “New and Improved” and generally ignore these warnings. What they are selling is not just a product or service, it is a feeling – a topic for another day.

Remember: Happiness = Reality – Expectations.

Words that Work, can be found at any major retailer that sells books (ISBN 978-1401309299).

Let’s Try: Atom

May 20, 2016

As a web developer, I often find myself perusing the web for a variety of tools to work with. Even when I’m comfortable with my current workbench, I’m always on the hunt for any new programs or modules that I can supplement into my workflow. Lately, this trend has brought me to Atom, github’s multi-purpose text editor. Spoiler alert: I’m thoroughly pleased with Atom and it is my main choice for working on my home PC. Let’s run through the reasons why! read more

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Gary is a team member at Sephone, helping to design, build and maintain websites. He is also a web design student at the New England School of Communications of Husson University.

Why I Love Dropbox

May 12, 2016

Two Words.  It’s Easy.

Dropbox has been mentioned in this blog before by a few people.  And as Summer rolls up dropbox-iconto the curb, Alex reminded us about the fact that our phones WILL run out of memory.  And if “Murphy” (of the famed Murphy’s Law) has anything to say about it, you will be at your nephew’s wedding or some other event when all of a sudden you cannot store any more photos.

Memory Impacts and Your Phone

The best thing about our phones is that we use them.  We stay in touch with everything. This is also the worst thing about them.  When we run out of memory in our phones, functions are affected.  Emails, attachments all kinds of stuff that we may need access to while we are “taking the afternoon off” to do something with family.

Off-site Storage

Comes in all shapes and sizes.  Google has some, dropbox and many others.  I love dropbox because it is easy to access and you get 2G of space for FREE and you can try it out first.  2 G is enough to see if you use it or not.  Samsung often has deals with Dropbox when you buy a new Galaxy.  This is how I really got hooked.  We use at Sephone too.

Organize by Folder – Share by Image

Recently we had a death in the family.  As in most funerals,  there is some sort of Memory Board shared.  It was easy for me to share images (at full resolution) with people (and funeral homes.)  There is never a better time for things to be easy than these.

I also have client folders that are shared with them and people working on the projects that are completely separate and unique to that project. These folders can include .pdf and other documents as well as photos and images.

Take A Photo and Synchronize Automatically

You can synchronize over wireless if you want to – you never have to worry about losing these documents or memories again.  It happens when you want it or when you don’t want to think about it.

That, my friends, is why I love Dropbox.  Go on, download it now, or in the App or Google Play Store and be ready for anything that this great summer will bring!

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Kelly's been known as the Marketing Maven since before the term was hip. (That means she's old.) As a natural Community Builder, she loves to get people together, bring resources to the table and solve problems!

A look into the world of Wordsmithing – A series about crafting messages that engage and delight – Part 2

May 2, 2016

Brevity: Use Short Words to craft a sentence

Abraham Lincoln was once asked how long “How long do you think a man’s legs should be?” He replied, “Long enough to reach the ground.”

Today, we are covering the second rule in Words that Work; “Brevity”, and how you can use it in your day to day communications – with a focus on websites and e-commerce.

When trying to describe a product or service, try to keep the description short and sweet. In the previous blog post on wordsmithing, we discussed swapping out longer, complex terms and jargon for shorter, more effective text. Now, we will look at taking those simple words and crafting them into a powerful sentence.

Some of the best examples of this style of writing can be found in ad slogans. Nike’s “Just do it” or General Mills “They’re grrreat!” Short slogans that pack a powerful punch, instantly bringing to mind an image of a brand and all that is associated with it.

Application

When writing copy for your products or services keep in mind the following tips and tricks:

  • List features as bullets points.
  • Don’t use 10 words when 5 will work.
  • Make your points clear and simple, avoid large blocks of text (Modern readers scan text, make sure your message is clear).
  • Use words with emotional impact. Explain how your product/service will end the customers pain or worry, and use motivational words like “free” and “win”.
  • Use word combos that read smoothly, such as “Try before you buy” or “Money back guarantee” (When it doesn’t sound cheesy.)
  • Use word clusters such as “Easy, Affordable, Safe” or “Quick, Friendly, Professional” to describe your product or service.

Images

We have all heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” and to this day that still holds true. If you have an image that can express your intent, cause an emotional appeal, or that describes your product better then your copy, use it.

Images are not only a great way to supplement your copy, but also a great way to keep your text short and sweet. In addition to cutting down the amount of copy you need, images will help to boost your SEO results and drive traffic to a page.

Words that Work, can be found at any major retailer that sells books (ISBN 978-1401309299.)

Inbound Marketing: The Basics

April 28, 2016

The world of marketing is ever-changing, and thanks to various web technologies, there are plenty of new and exciting ways in which business owners should think about advertising their business. One of the more effective methods of marketing as a result of these developments is known as Inbound Marketing.

Thanks to the omnipresence of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, marketing has transitioned from being a one-sided act of businesses reaching out to consumers, to an on-going, real-time dialogue between potential customers and growing businesses.social-media-936543_1280

To be more specific, Inbound Marketing is a way in which to manage this dialogue. Through the following steps, businesses and professionals can fine-tune their marketing efforts to convert the passing stranger to the avid promoter of a product or service!

1. Attract

The first step, of course, is to attract strangers to your business. Before stuffing your website with keywords or creating a business account on every available social media platform, consider the personalities and demographic information of your target market. While Facebook is usually a safe bet for marketing purposes, not every business benefits from having an increased presence on Snapchat.

Attracting people to your business is less about the quantity of traffic you bring, and more about the quality. Quantity is still great, but attracting those who are likely to be repeat customers is significantly more helpful than attracting as many people as possible. In fact, marketing to the wrong demographics en masse can cast a negative image on your business.

2. Convert

The next step is to convert these visitors. This happens by getting some form of contact information for them, at the very least an email address. Yet most people aren’t going to give this personal information away without good reason.

The best way to get contact info from a visitor is to offer them something in return. Whether it’s a periodic newsletter subscription, an eBook relevant to the field of your business, a tip sheet, or some other promotional offer, visitors need incentive to supply businesses with their information.

3. Close

Closing on these leads can take time – specifically, there needs to be trust between the business and potential clients. Periodically checking in with clients helps, as does studying analytics to determine which tactics are working best. Analytics can also help you ensure that you’re delivering the right message to the right client – especially if you offer a range of products or services.

In a similar fashion to content-funneling on a website, it is wise to direct specific, targeted messages to the different groups of clients in your system.

4. Delight

Inbound Marketing doesn’t end with the closing of a sale. The trust needs to continue to develop, and clients should be kept in-the-loop. Whether this is accomplished through surveys or continued content delivery, customers need to feel as important as they actually are to your business.

Continued monitoring of social media analytics is a must. This allows you to keep an eye on your customers, and make smart decisions to turn customers into repeat customers and even promoters of your business.

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Gary is a team member at Sephone, helping to design, build and maintain websites. He is also a web design student at the New England School of Communications of Husson University.

Your phone WILL run out of space one day! Are you ready?

April 21, 2016

Are you a person who likes to travel or spend time with your kids?  Summer is right upon us and that means taking lots of photos.  One thing that you do not want to forget to do is backup those precious memories.  There are a lot of inexpensive options out there to help you.

  1. Create a Dropbox account and allow your photos to upload right after you take them.
  2. Connect your phone to iCloud.
  3. Connect your phone to your computer.
  4. Use a micro SD card (if your phone allows it).

There are many other options that you can take advantage of as well.  But these are just a few that I have been doing recently and they have been working out pretty well.  Keeping all the photos backed up on a flash drive and/or your computer plus Dropbox for me is the better way to go.  This way when I erase my photos on my phone, I know they are backed up and I do not have to worry about losing them.

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Alex is a developer at Sephone

Ready for Some Spring Cleaning?

April 8, 2016

It’s springtime and that can only mean one thing, spring cleaning! 1460054555_edit-clearHopefully, the winter days are behind us and we can start getting into warmer weather. Along with warmer weather, our chore lists are most likely piling up with tasks like:

  • Clean out the garage
  • Clean up the yard
  • Clean up the website

The last item may not apply to everyone but it’s an important action to take. Every so often, you should evaluate your website and make sure it is still performing and meeting your goals. If not, it may be time to give your website a little refresh.

A refresh could include things like:

  • Updating your images
  • Re-write the copy on your website
  • Make adjustments to your search engine marketing plan.

Along with evaluating your website, it may be worthwhile to take inventory and remove anything that isn’t needed anymore. This could be old photos, videos, pdfs, etc. Some of these items may be worth keeping on your website for historical purposes but you’ll need to make that determination.  Be careful when removing old files to make sure they aren’t being used anymore on any of the pages of your website.  For example, if you remove an image that is being used on a page, the web browser will display a broken image.

Remember, before you remove anything, you can always make a backup of the file. You can store the backup file on your local machine, in the cloud or on an external drive. That way if you ever need the file again you’ll have access to it.

For a some more tips and suggestions check out our blog post, “When was your last website refresh?

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John is a designer at Sephone.

Mobile Impact on your Business’s Website

April 1, 2016

Since the dawn of the smartphone, more and more people have been using their mobile devices to search and find things.  This includes businesses related to travel and tourism, healthcare, automotive repair and more.   When it comes to mobile, people want to find quick and accurate information at the tip of their finger.  This means making sure that your business’s website is mobile friendly.  We have been talking about responsive design for a while now, and we are going to keep harping on it.  Making sure your site is tailored to meet the needs of your mobile visitor as well as your desktop visitor is paramount to a successful online presence for the future.  Here are some tips for making the most of your responsive website.

Call to action

Every website should have some sort of call to action.  This is the thing that gets people to do something, whether it is to fill out a form, complete an order, or just signup for an email newsletter.  Making sure that your call to action doesn’t get lost on your responsive site is key to getting visitors to do what you want them to do.

Keep important information visible

It is very frustrating for a website visitor to come to your site and not be able to find the information that they need.  Calling attention to things is easier on a large desktop display than it is on a mobile device.  Keeping this in mind and making important things easy to find on your responsive site is a great way to make your customers happy.

Don’t be afraid to scroll

It is hard to fit all of the information from your desktop website into a single view on a mobile device.  Don’t be afraid to let people scroll on your responsive site.  You can use different interactions and visible elements to queue them in to different parts of the site as they scroll through.

If you would like help making your business’s website responsive to accommodate your mobile visitors, get in touch with us.

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Brady is the voice on the other end of the phone line when you call Sephone. He graduated from the New England School of Communications in 2009 and assists Sephone in building and maintaining our sites.