Monthly Archives: October 2009

10 Website Copywriting Tips

Powerful search engine optimized (SEO) Website copywriting can have a tremendous impact on your sales and marketing. Here are 10 Website copywriting tips to create a more effective Website and dramatically improve the way you do business online:pen 

  1. Keyword research: This is step one of Website copywriting. There are many excellent free and paid services online that you can use to identify what terms your target audience is searching to find your competitors online. Targeted keyword research plus strategic SEO Website copywriting equals better search rankings than your competition on Google and other search engines.
  2. Headline: The headline is number two on my list, but it’s number one for SEO Website copywriting. You absolutely must include your keyword in the headline. If you don’t, it’s like putting up a “For Sale” sign without stating what’s for sale. For instance, if you had a 2008 Black Honda Accord for sale but your sign said “Car for Sale,” how much are you not communicating?
  3. Keyword placement: In addition to the headline, your primary keyword should appear in the first one or two sentences, be sprinkled throughout the copy as much as possible without distracting from your message, and be included towards the end of the page.
  4. Homepage copy: This is where we see some of the most problems with Website copywriting. You’ve undoubtedly seen sites with two sentences on the homepage, as well as sites with thousands of words on the homepage. Both strategies are unsuccessful. Too little copy doesn’t allow for keywords to be used and simply doesn’t persuade a visitor to take action. Too much copy can dilute important keywords, and usually bores a visitor into clicking away from the site quickly–a double whammy when you consider your Website copywriting goal was to attract the potential customer to your site with relevant keywords and then compel him/her to take some kind of action.
  5. Persuasive copy: “Why am I here, and why do I care?” People are busy. No matter how great your site looks (put all the bells and whistles on it if you like), if the copy isn’t engaging they will very quickly move on to a competitor’s site. It’s that simple.
  6. Bullets: This is an often overlooked aspect of Website copywriting. The search engines pay attention to bullets because they call-out important items, so include a keyword or two in your bullets as well. Bullets break up chunks of copy and make information easier to digest. Since many Web users are skimmers, they may only read the bullets anyway, so make sure you include key benefits of your products and services.
  7. Customer-focused copy:  “What’s in it for me?” Visitors to your Website don’t care about you. It’s the brutal truth. They care about your solutions to their problems. Your Website copywriting needs to reflect this fact. How does your product/service benefit them? Do they save money? Time? Get a unique product? Personal service? Give them the benefits before the features in your Website copywriting and they’ll be more likely to take action.
  8. Subheads: Are your keywords in your subheads? The search engines recognize keywords in subheads to be more important and, like bullets, compelling subheads help break up the copy.
  9. Strong call to action: Your Website copywriting isn’t complete without a persuasive call to action. Whether it’s asking the visitor to contact you for more information or to purchase a product on your site, the call to action needs to specifically state what you want them to do in a way that reminds them of the benefits of your products/services.  
  10. Metadata: After you’ve completed your Website copywriting, remember to provide your Web programmer/designer with the meta title, meta description, and keywords to include in the code for the search engines.

There’s still one question you need to ask yourself: What do I want my Website to accomplish? Figure that out, and you’ll know your Website copywriting strategy.
Want to learn more about
Website copywriting so you can increase your exposure online, drive more targeted traffic to your Website, and increase sales? Call 714.335.5677 or email for your FREE Website copywriting consultation. Visit us online at

5 Ways to Engage Women (and Moms) Online

woman holding speech bubbleWomen, many of whom are mothers, wield enormous purchasing power. Today, they are responsible for 85% of all consumer purchases, and many are affluent. In March 2009, the “Marketing to Women Datafile” reported one in five women earn more than twice their significant other’s salary. In 2005, Gallup reported that one quarter of U.S. women live in a household earning more than $75,000 per year.

Combined with the fact that 63% of web users use the Internet to research a product or service before buying a product or service, these statistics demonstrate the importance of effectively appealing to this influential and profitable female market online. Here are five ways you can do just that:

1. Acknowledge that many women are busy with multiple responsibilities. This means keeping your web site’s navigation intuitive and simple – most women don’t have the time or inclination to decipher mysteriously phrased links or wade through nine web pages to find the product they’re seeking. It also means creating a clean, simple design; “visual clutter” can overwhelm busy visitors and drive them away.

2. Appreciate that women are individuals. Throw away the stereotypes! We all know a successful businesswoman whose dream home includes a mahogany-paneled library with sleek club chairs; she could care less about the kitchen. Lavender and pink are the last colors she would choose … and she’s not alone. If you believe a flowery, frilly web site is a surefire way to snag women, you should reconsider.

3. Benefit from the value women place on authenticity. Women over 50 especially appreciate this; the National Federation of Independent Business notes that baby boomer women pay close attention to a company’s practices, especially in terms of giving back to the community, social responsibility, and how respectful and understanding it has been to her in the past. Feature your positive track record and values on your site.

4. Understand that affluent women often expect more. In a Luxury Website Effectiveness Index survey, consumers with an average income of $305,000 said they’ve been turned off by websites that were “sloppy and disorganized.” Instead, you can appeal to affluent women with your website by featuring clean, high-end design. For instance, the use of images on the Vera Wang on Weddings website approaches the level of art.

5. Recognize that women appreciate visual design. You’re more likely to increase sales to women if you present information in a visually pleasing way. “Women are taking it all in-much more so than men,” say the authors of Don’t Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy. “They’re noticing the palette of your website, and they’re getting a feeling of your brand by reading your site’s copy.” Don’t scrape by here; invest wisely.

Courtesy of Media Post.

True Costs (and Benefits) of Blogging

Technorati’s regular “State of the Blogosphere” analysis of the business is just out, and among the stats is the incredible fact that bloggers are being paid more than ever. Is it time to rethink the definition of blogging? Yes.

state of the blogosphere

First, the stats. Technorati’s killer finding is that among the professional bloggers they surveyed who fall into the “full time” worker category, the average salary works out at $122,222–an enormous figure. Those full-timers equate to 46% of the respondees, which means that the majority of bloggers are part-timers–but these guys still take home some $14,777 per year, which isn’t to be sniffed at. That means the average blogger salary is about $42,548. The money isn’t primarily coming from employers (14% of bloggers work for corporations). Nor is it pouring in from ads on self-published blog pages–the financial meltdown put a massive dent in Internet ad revenues. Instead, bloggers are leveraging their popularity and expertise into speaking engagements, “traditional media” assignments, and setting up and running conferences, as VentureBeat notes.

In other words, blogging is now a diverse, popular and successful enterprise that covers a multiplicity of online writers, from extensive Twitterers to self-described Mommybloggers to tightly written, up-to-the-minute, smartly edited online publications like this one–a “professional blog” by Technorati standards. And it’s in that last sense that blogging is becoming a farm system for future journalists, who are apparently riding out the economic downturn pretty well (on average, at least). Think about that for a moment, and then remember how many traditional journalism jobs have been lost over the same period.

So here’s the radical suggestion: Let’s redefine what blogging means. If you’re writing self-absorbed or inexpert opinions about the minutiae of daily life, without hyperlinks, fact checks or any pretence at engaging with the news, you’re a blogger. You probably fall into the lower categories of pay in the Technorati survey if you in fact make any money at all. But if you’re a writer for an online publication, one that takes real-time stories, updates them as events unfold, reference your quoted facts, break stories and produce original writing then shall we just say you’re a journalist? An online one, but a journalist all the same.

And when you maneuver your thinking in this direction, you come to a strange new conclusion: Journalists who write for online versions of their (perhaps historic, perhaps not) newspapers are the same as journalists who write for totally different online news portals. Even the Pulitzer committee has said online entities can consider themselves eligible for its prestigious prize, with some limitations.

If the FTC would only figure this out, it would likely scrap its insidious plans to regulate how bloggers behave–an action that many are labeling as unfair, and possibly motivated by behind-the-scenes lobbying and cronyism from newspaper moguls. The FTC has moved back from its aggressive stance a little, but it certainly targets bloggers as a workforce while leaving traditional journalists unmentioned. That’s a position often reflected in opinionated but ill-informed commenters on blogs whenever traditional media is downplayed.

But no matter how vehemently the FTC or old guard media moguls reject the coming change, it’s still coming. If the advent of ubiquitous mobile Web technology and imminent graphics-rich tablet PCs hasn’t signaled the change strongly enough, Technorati’s data on blogger income should. Blogging’s about to shed its ugly caterpillar stage and emerge as journalism’s future.

Courtesy of  Jim Woods (Adjunct Professor at the Colorado Technical University) and his Posterous Blog.

How to Be the “King of Content”

I’ve been saying this for some time.  Marketing is no longer about immediately selling stuff.  In the new world of  “social media” it’s about how to draw attention and start a conversation with your customer.  And if you want to hold their interest over time, you better put some time into creating something interesting to hear, read or watch on a weekly basis. 

In this new world, CONTENT IS KING!  But who creates that content for you?  Is it you PR or ad agency?  Or some new “editorial staff” you either create or hire to stimulate and sustain conversatons over time.  This article from talks about that new dilemma of  “who creates the content for your ongoing social media conversations”.

battleMatt Johnston is VP-marketing and community for uTest, a software testing market-place service. When assembling his marketing staff for this startup, Johnston said he didn’t necessarily look for the usual suspects: advertising agency veterans or public relations specialists. Instead he looked for potential employees with experience in conducting primary and secondary research, and writing clearly about it.

“We have a five-person team,” Johnston said. “And I would say that 30% to 40% of their time is spent on content generation, or research or editing.”


“Content is king,” Johnston said.

Wait a second: Isn’t that what trade publishers used to say?

The ecosystem where b-to-b marketers, trade publishers and ad agencies interact is changing. Increasingly, b-to-b marketers are acting like publishers. The Internet has forced marketers to populate their Web sites with white papers, webcasts and other content that will attract the attention of search engines. Similarly, lead generation usually requires the offering of some valuable information. And the rise of social media has caused marketers to create content they can share on LinkedIn or elsewhere to start conversations with potential customers.


At the same time, b-to-b media companies, driven in part by shrinking ad dollars, are expanding their marketing services offerings. This shift to providing marketing programs instead of ad pages has brought trade publishers into more direct competition with ad agencies.

The change all goes back to the importance of creating content for the digital world. “It’s simply a matter of, if you don’t have something valuable and relevant to talk about, you’re going to be ignored,” said Joe Pulizzi, CEO of Junta42, a company that connects marketers with custom-content providers.

The trend of b-to-b marketers becoming content creators is one that has been gathering steam for years. In 2000, Oracle Corp. introduced what it called the E-Business Network, an online news network featuring video and designed to get the company’s message directly to its customers rather than paying for media. In a BtoB article at the time, Jeff Dearth, partner at media investment bank DeSilva &

Phillips, described the move as a “shot across the bow” aimed at the trade press.

At the time, Mark Jarvis, Oracle’s marketing chief, said, “The idea here is that, rather than pushing wares to customers, successful companies are going to create a marketing pull by informing, educating and entertaining their audiences.”

Today, Oracle’s emphasis is no longer on the E-Business Network, which in its early days promised a program featuring actress Estelle Harris (who played George Costanza’s mother on “Seinfeld”) that would look at b-to-b’s lighter side. Instead, Oracle emphasizes its broad Web site, which has a more practical focus and features an array of content—from case studies to white papers to user groups—to help customers and prospects do their jobs. Numerous other b-to-b marketers use their Web sites in the same way, and that “shot across the bow” is still reverberating.

“We had a sales meeting last week, and one of the publishers did a presentation,” said Bruce Morris, exec VP at Source Media, publisher of American Banker. “He showed Web sites from marketers and different Web sites from publishers. It was hard to tell the difference between the publishers and the marketers. It all goes back to providing some type of value to the visitors to the site.”

While b-to-b marketers are becoming more like publishers, business media companies are looking like ad agencies. In a recent report, Chuck Richard, VP-lead analyst at analyst firm Outsell, offered several examples of trade publishers wading into marketing services.

Richard pointed to Vance Publishing Corp.’s launching of Vance Marketing Solutions. The unit is headed by Tom Denison, whose digital agency experience includes a stint at Richard also said that IDG rebranded its corporate sales and marketing unit as IDG Strategic Marketing Services in part because more than 33% of the unit’s revenue stems from nonmedia sources.

Thomas Publishing has long offered marketing services to its industrial user base through its ThomasNet unit. These services include building Web sites, creating online catalogs and posting CAD drawings of products online.

Some ad agencies are entering the fray by introducing custom content businesses of their own. In 2008, for instance, Stein Rogan+Partners formed Kilter, which specializes in creating custom content for marketers. Mike Azzara, a former editor with TechWeb and other United Business Media properties, is Kilter’s editorial director.

So are agencies or publishers better positioned to take advantage as b-to-b marketers spend more on their Web sites, white papers and other content? Some observers believe that publishers have an advantage due to their experience in creating journalistic content that is focused on informing, rather than selling.

Outsell’s Richard also said that media companies have a key advantage over agencies in the form of the audience database that marketers are creating all this content for in the first place. “Publishers already have an audience and should be living every minute of every day understanding the needs of these concentrated pools of prospects,” he wrote. “Agencies don’t have this permanent, life-and-death relationship with the end users.”

Tom Stein, president-CEO of Stein Rogan, said agencies do offer at least one advantage. “I think our advantage is deep insight into the clients’ needs in the marketplace,” he said. “With our model as an agency, we have a much smaller number of clients, so we’re all about hyperservice for a smaller group of clients.”

There is another group that combines the functions of publishers and agencies and may, in fact, be the best positioned of all to take advantage of marketers acting as content creators. That group consists of custom publishers, such as Imagination Publishing in Chicago or TMG in Washington, D.C., which now create custom Web content as well as custom publications for corporations.

“In the late ’90s, custom publishing was a nice thing, a little vanity thing maybe,” Pulizzi said. “Now you’re seeing it become central, where the story is that marketers really need to understand that publishing is marketing.”

James Meyers, president-CEO of Imagination Publishing, offered his business’ strong performance in the downturn as evidence that custom content producers are a rising alternative for marketers. “Even in a tough economy like the last 18 months, our business continues to be pretty good, with this year being a little better than last year,” he said.

Charles McCurdy, CEO of Canon Communications, said that another group benefits from the trend of marketers acting as publishers: the end user. “The customers are the ones who suddenly have access to more useful information, and that creates transparency for a buyer that has never been available before.”

GM Exec Extolls Virtue of Social Media

LabGM-car interiorSocial media has been the most effective tool for consumers in the market for a car or truck and the best vehicle for GM in terms of transparency and accountability, Chris Preuss, VP communications, told a roundtable in New York on Tuesday.

Preuss, who appeared at Weber-Shandwick’s Voiceboxx Executive Roundtable, says a new structure at GM that combined marketing communications with PR and design has made it easier for the company to plan and execute such programs.

For example, the company has launched a program called “The Lab,” ( where advanced design teams post an idea for a vehicle either through notes or videos and get feedback from GM vehicle enthusiasts. He says the new site functions not only as a way for GM to get news out about concept vehicles and production minutiae, but as a consumer-research platform. “We now have a huge enthusiast base that is part of the creation process,” he says.

The new marketing structure at GM was ushered in and is now overseen by Robert Lutz, tapped in July as global marketing chief whose purview includes advertising, marketing and communications. “Most car companies go to market on a consumer influence paradigm that died 10 years ago,” says Preuss. “Bob [Lutz] correctly identified that as big ad agency marketing models crumble under their own weight, you have an opportunity to retool the culture of the company. Now, as communicator at GM, we have a seat at the table.”

The company’s “May the Best Car Win” program launched with ads featuring the new CEO Edward Whitaker, formerly of ATT, who has gotten a lot of press on his own by admitting that he knows nothing about cars. The company’s PR side developed the Chevy Volt promotion touting the car for its ability to get 230 MPG.

“We went to marketing and said, ‘We are going to do it virally; we are going to put this number out there and create buzz’,” says Preuss — who adds that because of a streamlining of marketing operations, there are fewer, if any, walls between communications and marketing and fewer levels of bureaucracy.

“We pitched it on Monday, the executive committee approved it on Wednesday; Campbell-Ewald [GM’s AOR for Chevy] came in with an inch-thick deck; it was approved Friday and we were out there with it on Monday. I was shocked.”

He says the Volt program garnered the biggest earned media buzz since the company unveiled the Volt. “We more than doubled the impressions and volume of the launch of Volt.”

The next PR/social media event extends the “Best Car Win” program with Lutz doing a challenge drive at the Monticello, N.Y. raceway versus Gawker-owned That came about because Lutz had blogged that the Cadillac CTS-V is the fastest production four-door on the market.

“[Lutz] said he might do viral challenge to prove we have the fastest four-door,” says Preuss. “Jalopnik launched a smackdown challenge. It’s was going to be a small event between Jalopnik and GM, but now it has grown to 20 to 30 cars and national media coverage. Oh, and the GM team will make hay of Lutz’s 77 years by having him hobble out to the CTS on a walker.”

Courtesy of Marketing Daily.

How to Host Your Own Internet Radio Show

orange-on air2Every business or service professional I know (whether it a lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other type of consultant) all has the same question.  How can I use Social Media to “start a conversation” with some new prospect or customer?  What do I say to get my foot in the door?

Many people post endless amounts of information on their blogs hoping that someone will notice and answer.  But this is nore like putting your message in a bottle and throwing it out to sea.  What are the odds anyone will see it and respond?  Still others offer “free information” (like whitepapers, and ebooks) as a way to bribe people into capturing their email address and (hopefully) opening a conversation.   But everyone overlooks the easiest and most effective way I’ve ever seen to start a conversation with anyone you want to meet:  Host Your Own Internet Radio Show!

Think about it.  Is there someone out there you’d like to meet or some prospect you’d die to speak with?  Try calling them up and say you’d like to interview them on your radio show.  Who could refuse an offer like that?

The truth is, the moment you tell people that you have a “radio show” (forget where it’s located) people will take your calls!  No one ever gets enough  “free publicity” and most business owners are just dying to tell the world about their company.  Few of them have ever been interviewed at all!

Once they say “yes”, you set up a time to conduct a “pre-interview” at their office and something magical happens.  The owner doesn’t look at his watch every five minutes to see when you’re leaving!  He tells his secretary to “hold all my calls” as he proceeds to show you around the place and tell you everything you want to know about his company!  Talk about gathering “good business intelligence” and qualifying your leads!

Along the way you slip in something about what you really do for a living and why it led you to host this show (“to share valuable information with others”).  And you know what?  Your prospect will be HAPPY to hear it and instantly think of you as some sort of “expert” on the subject.  After all, who else does he know in your field that hosts their own radio show?  You MUST be “the guy” to know!

If it all goes as planned, you’ve not only opened a door to a new prospect and learned everything you wanted to know about their business, you’ve given them something of value they can’t get anywhere else (free publicity on your show).   It doesn’t matter if your show only reaches five people in Fresno.  It’s broadcast live, each week on the Internet!  People all over the globe have the opportunity to tune in and hear it!

Suddenly you’ve fulfilled all the promises of Social Marketing.  You’ve  met someone you never knew before and given them something of value that opened the door for you to starting an ongoing coversation with them.  You also instantly established your credibility in their eyes and your importance and  “expertise” in some area.  And you did it all  in a way that actually left your prospect excited they met you and happy to take your next call! 

Maybe you invite them out to lunch after the show “to thank  them for the valuable insights and information they shared on your program”.  Or invite them to your next free seminar.  Whatever you do, just realize that the radio show just creates the opportunity.  It’s  what you do with it that counts.  Maybe you send your guest a copy of their interview to post on THEIR website and  forward to THEIR LIST of clients and prospects, extending your “viral message” even further (to others who might also want to be on your show!)  Whatever you do, you’ve opened the door to an ongoing dialog and added another voice to your network of people that might remember or recommend you some day.  And you’ve created a “window of opportunity” to make your pitch while they are still “flying high” from their interview and happy to speak with on whatever subject you want.

It’s the most powerful networking, prospecting and marketing tool imaginable.  And anyone can do it.  The cost?  Around $ 500/month for a one hour, professionally produced, weekly show (with copies kept as “podcasts” on your “show page” which you can “link to” on your own website to attract even more attention and earn extra points with Google by increasing your “rich media offerings” and thereby your Search Engine rankings).  It works on many levels.

All I can add is, I’ve tried it and it works.  It opens doors you wouldn’t believe, creates instant credibility in the eyes of your customers and takes your message to places you’d never imagine.  My weekly show and my weekly guests also give me something new and interesting to talk about on all my other social media sites.  It’s what I blog about, twitter about and list on my “what are you working on right now” section of LinkedIN.  In short, it’s become the center piece of my whole Social Media campaign.

Check out some of the biggest Internet Radio Stations like Voice America (out of Phoenix) or WS (out of San Diego).  Or visit the newest (and least expensive of these new stations)  It’s the one that I and several of my marketing clients are starting here in Orange County, Ca.  

Why? Because we discovered that there aren’t many Internet “Talk Radio” Radio Stations out there, and most of them are filled with the type of  “crazy psychics”, “bad comedienes” and fringe shows that we didn’t want to be associated with.  So we started our own station focused on business professionals and community groups.  Check us out at   But whatever you do, don’t let this opportunity pass you by!  Be the first in your field to host your own Internet Radio show (before everyone else catches on to to how powerful and productive they can be!)  And report back what you’re doing!  We’d love to carry on a conversation with you!

U.S. Legal Firms Change Roles as China Bolsters Legal System

chinese lawyerThe evolving Chinese legal system, and increasing skills of Chinese lawyers, are narrowing the role that U.S. firms can play there.

But the good news for Seattle firms is that their location on the Pacific Rim and knowledge of Asian culture continues to give them an edge over other U.S. firms.

China has been rapidly rebuilding its entire legal and court system since the end of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, said Norm Page, co-chair of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s China practice group, who was speaking by phone from Shanghai.

Chinese educational institutions also are pumping out smart attorneys eager to get into the international law arena.

“The gradual increase in the professionalism of the court system is something that has been a very striking change in the last 15 years since we’ve been here,” Page said. “There are many, many more lawyers, and the standard of practice and professionalism is vastly higher than it was 15 years ago, or five years ago.”

Attorney David Tang, who manages the Greater China Group for Seattle law firm K&L Gates, said the increasing strength of Chinese law firms suggests that Chinese values, and doing it the Chinese way, are becoming more prevalent there.

Under Chinese law, non-Chinese firms cannot practice law in China.

So, while Seattle law firms can counsel Western companies on operating or opening in China, as well as advising Chinese companies on their own aspirations in the West, those same law firms can’t go to court in China, and can’t directly represent clients in legal proceedings with Chinese governmental entities.

The competition among firms within China to land big contracts is fierce.

In fact, any Chinese-born and trained lawyer who joins a Western law firm operating in China instantly loses his or her right to go to court while working for a foreign firm. This is not the case in Hong Kong, which operates with a much more open system than mainland China.

All of this, however, doesn’t mean that U.S. law firms will shutter their China offices anytime soon.

Despite the limitations, Seattle-area law firms operating in China are capitalizing on the rapid evolution of the economic relationship between the U.S. and China. While just a few years ago this consisted primarily of finding ways to bring cheap Chinese goods into the U.S. market, the relationship has become much more complex.

“China represents incredible opportunities for American companies, environmental cleanup engineers, software, coffee, research and development, medical services, medical technology, education,” said former Gov. Gary Locke, now a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine.

“Just as U.S. companies are finding it much more advantageous to set up representative offices in China to market their goods and services, so too are the Chinese finding it advantageous to establish a presence in the United States, whether they’re importing or exporting,” Locke said.

The Chinese are welcoming foreign legal firms to open offices in mainland China, said George Yates, chair of the international practice for Perkins Coie LLC in Seattle.

“They are really regarded as a conduit to bring work into China, to be done by Chinese law firms,” he said.

Nelson Dong, a partner with Dorsey & Whitney LLP, said firms are reporting an increasing clientele of Chinese-based business people needing legal advice about how to open a facility in the West, or how to go public on a Western stock exchange.

In many ways, U.S. lawyers operating in the Chinese market act as legal translators and guides; they set the stage for American companies’ legal work and contracts in China, even if Chinese attorneys must complete the final work.

“Because of longer history, and familiarity, I think in some ways it’s easier for Washington companies to know how to do business with the Chinese businesses there,” he said. “From the perspective of our companies over there, I don’t think they view China as exotic or mysterious or anything like that, I think they view China as a good marketplace. From the East Coast, they approach it much more as entering into a mysterious and exotic place.”

Despite that fact that China is evolving into what Locke calls “more of a nation ruled by law,” the fact is that much business in China is still done the old way — according to who knows whom. In Chinese, this is called Quanxi.

Courtesy of Puget Sound Business Journal