How to develop effective learning plans in times of frequent staff turnover

The global pandemic has wrought dramatic changes on the way we work. New hires, remote and hybrid working, and furloughed workers not returning have created new pressures. L&D, in particular, are faced with the changing learning needs brought about by these developments. Although much of the upheaval of the pandemic will ultimately stabilise, many of the changes are here to stay. As a result, L&D professionals need to consider how they can continue to provide the training necessary to enable an ever-changing workforce to do their jobs efficiently.

As lower skilled roles are replaced with tech, and staff are expected to take on additional responsibilities, reskilling and upskilling are more important than ever. Here we look at how L&D can develop the kind of learning plans that will keep them ahead of the curve.

Provide instant access to learning

Traditional classroom-based courses have been the preferred method of delivering training courses for decades. They allow delegates to get away from their desks and focus on learning. They mean that delegates can easily interact with others. More importantly, delegates can get immediate clarification on points they don’t understand. At the same time, course leaders can identify and address areas where delegates need extra support. Although traditional training methods offer clear benefits, online learning is becoming increasingly common and with good reason.

Online learning offers huge flexibility for workers and takes some of the pressure away from L&D teams who are faced with the prospect of frequent intakes of new staff. Online learning is less reliant on the classroom and suits a more blended approach. So, while certain elements of a person’s training are best delivered face-to-face, the learning journey could also include online resources and knowledge sharing.

Online learning gives staff the opportunity to begin training from the moment they need it. A good platform will offer them useful texts, video presentations, and quizzes. In addition, users can access the training at convenient times for instance during quiet spells, or breaks. Depending on the platform, users may also be able to access it via their own devices so that they can do training from home or during their commute to or from work.

New hires and existing staff can benefit equally from this kind of technology. Just as new recruits can be learning about the organisation and the basics of their role, existing staff can be learning how to undertake new tasks. This is especially beneficial in organisations where lower skilled roles are being replaced with tech. It means that those workers can be upskilled to take on new roles with minimal intervention from L&D.

Create Processes for Onboarding

While L&D plays an important role throughout the careers of all workers, the first few weeks of employment, possibly make the greatest demand on L&D’s time. If new hires are joining the organisation frequently, the pressure on L&D can be immense. Not only do new hires need employment documentation, but they also need to be introduced to their immediate colleagues as well as the ones they’re most likely to work with in other departments. On top of that, they need to be trained in their new role. That all takes up L&D’s valuable time and meanwhile, the new hire isn’t getting any real work done.

Therefore, it is important to set up systems that enable onboarding with minimal intervention from L&D.

For example, as soon as a new hire has accepted an employment offer, the organisation could either email them the company handbook, or provide access to online information. In this way, they can learn more about the company and the basics of their role giving them a head start before their first day.

In addition, you can ask all employees to create manuals describing how to carry out their jobs. They can post these on the company ethernet or any online location that is easily accessible by all staff. In this way, new hires have training materials to refer to which reduces the need of having to ask for help from busy colleagues.

Offer learning in manageable chunks

On traditional courses, tutors deliver large amounts of information over a day or two. This can make it difficult for delegates to digest and retain that information. To compound the problem, if delegates cannot immediately apply what they have learned to real life, they will quickly forget. For some, training in small chunks of an hour or two means that delegates can absorb information more readily. Moreover, if they are doing the training at their desks, they can apply their new-found knowledge to their work immediately.

L&D must adapt to the new normal

The heroic facilitators of all these changes are undoubtedly L&D professionals. Whereas in the past their main function was to manage learning programmes and source training courses, L&D now has a major role in workforce transformation. Designing and delivering learning experiences and bringing learning into the flow of work are fast becoming everyday responsibilities of L&D. Organisations must recognise however, that while L&D professionals are helping the rest of the workforce adjust, they too need to develop new skills. They need to learn about sourcing quality content. They may benefit from training in establishing connections and communities. Learning the effective use of data and analytics can also keep the modern L&D professional relevant in a changing world.

Perhaps more important than any of these upskilling needs is in learning about forthcoming technologies. L&D professionals will be responsible for integrating learning into the workflow, and that will involve curating content. However, it will soon no longer be possible to curate content manually, and L& D will need to work with new technology that analyses data and delivers solutions exactly when needed. L&D teams are already experimenting with these new technologies and widespread uptake is imminent.


The global pandemic has led to rapidly changing learning needs across the workforce, and L&D teams are faced with the difficult task of keeping abreast of changes and adjusting learning provisions accordingly.

Online learning means more than simply transferring the classroom to Zoom, although that and similar methods can be successful. Some training providers are also converting their courses into videos that participants can view at their own convenience. You can include online message boards and chat rooms so that participants can discuss what they are learning.

Although a shift to online training was already under way, covid has accelerated that transformation. While some training providers have already been offering online learning for several years, it is now demanded by course participants.

The result of all this is that the roles traditionally associated with L&D teams such as face-to-face trainer or facilitator are becoming less relevant while it is becoming common for organisations to populate their L&D departments with digital asset creators, community manager, and content curators.

Article writing by Bruce Barbour

As a small business owner providing copywriting services in Ipswich, Suffolk, I understand the difficulty in prioritising your marketing. A thought leadership article like this one takes effort and is a job that is often nudged down the list.

One way to ensure a steady supply of insightful, relevant articles is by hiring in a professional writer. I can take the time to get you know your business, your industry, and your target market. I can write articles that are engaging, that boost your ranking, and that drive traffic to your website.

If you need a writer that will work hard for your business, get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

How to collaborate effectively in hybrid teams, and avoid collaboration/meeting overload

Collaboration is nothing new, but the global pandemic has forced many of us to adopt a hybrid working model. Hybrid working means that some members of a workforce usually work in the office, while others work remotely. For such a model to be effective, communication is key, so online meetings, emails, and other digital communications tools are central.

It is possible, however, for these communications to become overwhelming which can be detrimental to the task at hand.

Managing hybrid teams

For many people, collaboration nowadays means a stream of short meetings and tasks that reduce a worker’s focus on the main job. A conversation that once could have been a quick chat across a desk has become a series of emails or online meetings. The casual briefing by the water cooler now must fit into a busy schedule.

This kind of collaboration increasingly eats into people’s time with more online meetings being scheduled early in the morning and late into the evening. These new and constantly changing demands can take their toll, causing exhaustion and ill health among workers.

Even when we come out of the current pandemic, hybrid working will become part of the new normal, so anyone leading a hybrid team should consider the challenges posed by the hybrid workplace. Effective collaboration is one area where workers are experiencing difficulties adjusting. Tried and tested collaboration methods which worked in the traditional working environment are not appropriate for the hybrid way of working.

For example, in a traditional workplace, people don’t usually restrict their communications to members of their own team. When people share the same space, communication happens naturally regardless of their respective teams. Hybrid working, however, often means that such communication between different teams can diminish.

Avoid the “us and them” model

This breakdown can even happen within a single hybrid team where a sense of “us and them” can exist between remote and office workers. For instance, remote workers may feel that their office-based colleagues are held in higher regard than themselves, while conversely, the people in the office envy the perceived comforts enjoyed by the people who are doing remote hybrid work.

Far from being comfortable however, remote workers can fear that bosses and colleagues might question just how hard they are working. To demonstrate that they are not slacking, they may make a point of being responsive to all communications. This is risky because by being “always on”, workers can let their core work slip, with production suffering and employees getting stressed.

Managers can exacerbate this problem since they too are adjusting to a hybrid way of working which takes them beyond their comfort zone. Managers might, for instance, make it apparent that they prefer staff to work in the office. In meetings, they may side-line remote participants in favour of the ones who are physically present. Such behaviour can result in remote workers feeling undervalued and, consequently, less productive. To maintain effective collaboration and output in hybrid teams, managers should recognise the issues that hybrid working can generate and tackle them with an effective hybrid working strategy.

How L&D teams can facilitate efficient collaboration in hybrid teams

L&D teams can help in the development of a hybrid working strategy. For one thing, they can offer staff tips for hybrid working such as encouraging the implementation of calendar sharing. This reduces wasted time when arranging meetings. Meeting organisers don’t need to interrupt busy people to find out when they are available. In addition, workers can block out time on their calendars to let them focus on deep work.

It can also be worthwhile for those managing hybrid teams to introduce rules about responding to email. For instance, rather than staff feeling that they should reply to an email quickly, they only do so from 9 until 10 in the morning, then 12 till 1, and one more check towards the end of the day. A company-wide system like this reduces interruptions and can boost productivity.

The digital HQ

Tech is all-important in the hybrid way of working, and L&D can help promote the idea that the digital platform is the HQ. This is effectively where everyone in a hybrid team is “based”. It is where everyone should be working from and it’s the place where everyone can feel connected. For this reason, all meetings should be taken online. To some, it might seem odd that the group of staff who work together at the office are expected to participate in meetings digitally but doing so is a good hybrid working strategy as it places all delegates on an equal footing. If this is hard to implement, at the very least, the person leading the meeting should attend remotely as a means of minimising perceived bias. Virtual whiteboards that can be accessed by all participants should also be favoured over physical whiteboards or flipcharts.

Managers can encourage use of the digital platform by making it available for all sorts of things unrelated to work. Examples are casual chat, quizzes, team games, funnies, surveys, and so on. Not only does this show staff the platform is not just about work, but it also becomes a place where friendships can blossom across the organisation.

Motivating factors

Another way L&D can help is by encouraging workers to look at the things that trigger them into collaboration. Do they have a natural urge to help? Are they seeking a sense of fulfilment? Do they crave recognition for their accomplishments? On the other hand, perhaps they need to feel in control or have a fear of missing out. Whatever a person’s reason for collaborating, it is important that they firstly recognise when the motivating factor comes from themselves. Staff members need to ask themselves whether their presence at a meeting adds value to them or anyone else.

Managers who are leading hybrid teams can play a key role in this area. Some managers reward presentism and visibility. They encourage staff to attend meetings that aren’t relevant to them. Remote workers in particular feel the need to accept such invitations to demonstrate involvement. However, the result is that these staff waste time on pointless meetings when they could be doing deep work.

Managers can also help staff by reminding them to look after their well-being. Staff should feel that they are more than mere producers. Moreover, bosses should demonstrate that they value employee health as much as output.


Hybrid working will become second nature as we gain familiarity with the model and its tools. The less complex it is in the early stages, the greater the uptake will be. Therefore, anyone leading a hybrid team should make it simple to begin with and add elements gradually.

Most of us are still just getting to grips with hybrid working. We are exploring the pros and cons and working out how to maximise its potential while benefiting everyone. Those responsible for managing hybrid teams can help their valuable staff collaborate more efficiently by showing commitment to hybrid working.

Article writing by Bruce Barbour

As a small business owner providing copywriting services in Ipswich, Suffolk, I understand the difficulty in finding the time to keep on top of your marketing activity when there are paying clients to service. Producing a thought leadership article like this one takes effort and it’s no surprise that it’s a job that is frequently nudged down the list.

One way that you can ensure a steady supply of insightful articles that are relevant to your industry is by hiring in a professional writer like me. I can take the time to get you know your business, your industry, and your target market. I can write articles that are engaging, that boost your ranking, and that drive traffic to your website.

If you need a writer that will work hard for your business, get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Business Blogging – 5 Ways a Blog Can Give You a Boost

Wordpress page for adding blog post

Business blogging is a marketing strategy that is inexpensive, powerful, and sadly underutilised.

When done correctly, a good blog can increase awareness of your business, give you a bigger audience, and provide you a platform from which to promote your goods and services.

In this article, I’m going to talk about 5 ways that a blog, regularly updated with useful and relevant content, can be a powerful tool in growing your business.

  1. Blogging attracts website traffic.

Blogging is a great way to make the most out of SEO (search engine optimisation). Suppose you’re a producer of pet foods. Your website will likely include product descriptions with words like “pet food”, “bird seed”, “kibble” and so on. By using these same words and related phrases in your blog articles, you can ramp up your site’s visibility to search engines so that when a user searches for “pet food” or similar, your website will appear higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Each time you publish a new blog article, you add another page to your website which increases your site’s visibility and helps boost your ranking.

A word of warning though: search engines are wise to the idea of unscrupulous site owners simply loading their sites with the same keywords hundreds of times. Therefore, keywords need to make sense within the context in which they are used, and articles are ideal for that.

  1. A blog article is multi-purpose.

If you’re going to go to all the effort of writing a blog article, you might as well get it working for you. Twitter, Facebook, and similar social media platforms are ideal places to post links to your blog. A tantalising snippet, or maybe just the headline and a relevant image could be enough to get people clicking through and spending time on your website.

You can generate even more social media posts by writing a listicle such as “5 Powerful Article Types You Can Use in Your Marketing” and sending out each of the five points as individual social media posts with a link back to the main article.

  1. Convert Your Visitors to Leads.

This shouldn’t have to be reiterated but it’s surprising how many business owners miss out on opportunities to turn website visitors into leads and then into customers. Through your blog, you can offer discount codes and other promotions. In return for a visitor’s email address, you can offer a freebie such as a fact sheet or e-book. And even if your blog article is not a promotion, you should still treat it as an opportunity to let your visitor connect with you further by including a call to action. This could be something as simple as a link to your contact page with the message, “Want to know more? Get in touch!”

  1. Business Blogging Establishes authority with backlinks.

The more useful content you have, the more people will regard you as a trusted resource and, as a result, will link to your website. This tells search engines that you are an authority in your field, and you will rank more highly.

It’s worth remembering, however, that backlink building takes some effort. While you may be lucky enough to attract people who simply like what you do and create links to you, it is likely that you will fair better by contacting customers, suppliers and others in your industry asking them to build links to you in exchange for you creating links to them.

  1. Build a repository of information.

As your business grows, you may find that you deal with the same kinds of query time and time again. If you have already published the information as a blog article, you can politely direct your client to the relevant page of your website. Similarly, when you take on new staff, your blog could be the ideal place for them to gain a better understanding of the business and help them progress rapidly.

Business Blogging by Bruce Barbour

As a small business owner providing copywriting services in Suffolk, I understand the difficulty in finding the time to market your own business when there are paying clients to service. Maintaining a blog is one of those things that takes effort and it’s no surprise that it’s a job that is frequently nudged down the list.

One way that you can ensure your blog is regularly updated is by hiring in a professional writer like me who can take the time to get you know your business, your industry, and your target market. I can write articles that are engaging, informative and relevant, that drive traffic to your website, and that invite readers to take the next step and make contact with you.

If you want your blog to work harder for your business, get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

5 Ways Case Studies Can Help Your Business

Case studies are an incredibly effective marketing tool. Unlike a brochure that tells prospects what you could do for them, a case study focuses on jobs you have already done. That means that prospects can read about your success stories. You can include testimonials from satisfied customers and, depending on the industry you are in, a case study also gives you the opportunity to publish photographs of finished jobs.

In essence, a case study lets you demonstrate how good you are at responding to a client’s brief, that you can do the things you claim, and that people are happy with your work.

So, when you offer prospects a case study, you offer them proof that you can do what you say.

The format of a case study

Case studies come in a range of formats but in general, they have three sections: the problem, the possible solutions, and the outcome.

From the prospective client’s point of view, this demonstrates that you understand the kind of problems they are facing, that you have dealt with such problems before, and how you did it. That way, you encourage prospects to get in touch, enabling you to close a sale.

So why are case studies so good at increasing conversions and driving sales?

1. Case studies focus on specifics

Rather than a product or service description that discusses the myriad ways that you can help your customers, case studies tell real-world stories about your dealings with your customers. And such stories are bound to resonate with your target market.

2. Case studies offer solutions

Anyone who has ever done research on writing product or service descriptions will know that you should write about benefits first, and features second. Prospects want to know how your product or service can benefit them. A case study, on the other hand, is all about the problem and the solution. So, whilst a customer might first of all read about your product and what it’s for, a case study will demonstrate that the product has solved the problem it claims to solve.

3. Case studies show that you are an authority in your field

It’s all very well for a business to claim that it can solve certain problems, but anyone can make promises. A comprehensive list of case studies, on the other hand, demonstrates that you can deliver on your promises.

4. Case studies offer social proof

It is common for prospects to read online reviews before committing to a purchase. By publishing case studies on your website and social media, you can raise your profile and offer prospects the reassurance they need to approach you.

5. Case studies provide social media material

Case studies are an efficient way of producing additional content for your social media platforms. They can become blog posts and newsletters, you might use extracts as tweets, and you can even be transform them into podcasts and promotional videos.

Case studies by Bruce Barbour

Writing a case study takes time. And although many businesses understand the benefits, it’s one of those tasks that is rarely prioritised.

We can create a professionally written case study that showcases the best of you and your business. All we need is details of a project that you’re especially proud of, and your client. We will conduct interviews, arrange photographs if necessary, and deliver a case study that you will be delighted to share.

If you would like an Ipswich copywriter to write your next case study, get in touch and let’s get to work.

How to write product descriptions that sell

how to write product descriptions - online shop

Why would anyone need guidance on how to write product descriptions? Surely, all you’re doing is writing what the product is, what bells and whistles it has, how fast it is, how cheap it is and so on.

These things are certainly important and will help your prospect come to a decision on whether to buy, but they may not be the things that prompt an interest in the first place.

Benefits first

Guides on how to write product descriptions often tell you, quite rightly that you should talk about the benefits rather than its features. But how do you establish what the benefits are? Have you even thought about all the advantages that your product offers the user?

For example, it’s common for car manufacturers to advertise that a model does a certain number of miles to the gallon. In case you don’t already know, that’s a feature and it could help the prospect make a final decision, but it’s not the sort of thing that would grab someone’s attention at the outset.

It would be better to take that feature and think about how it benefits the user. A high number of miles to the gallon means the user saves money so you could write something like, “It’ll save you money”. That just about hits the mark but it’s not all that tangible. It’s better to focus on what that cost-saving can actually get you. So how about, “In a year, you’ll save enough in fuel costs to buy a holiday in Tenerife.” There you go! Anyone who buys that car pretty much gets a free foreign holiday into the bargain!

Address their pain points

If you ever watch shopping channels, you have probably seen all those kitchen gadgets that presenters talk endlessly about. Often, it’s something as simple as a cooking pot with a built in heating element and timer. Whilst the presenter can wax lyrical about all the things that can be cooked in it, about how it’s simply a case of plugging it in and switching on, what they can never do is explain what problem it solves. How is it better than an ordinary saucepan on the hob or a casserole in the oven? Has anyone ever lain in bed losing sleep because cooking an Irish stew the conventional way is such a nightmare?

When you’re thinking about how to write product descriptions, think about the problem your product solves, and make that loud and clear.

Think about your target audience

There are all kinds of products that appeal to just about everyone. If you’re selling chocolate brownies, you know they’ll be enjoyed by children and adults, lawyers, builders, graphic designers, and taxi drivers. Your target audience is people who like cake so you don’t have to think all that hard about who you’re writing for.

But what if your products aren’t aimed at everybody? We’re not even talking about particularly niche items. Baby products are aimed at parents, certain clothing brands are aimed at twenty-somethings, and skincare products are, for the most part aimed at women. So, you need to think about whom you’re addressing and imagine how that person is going to react to the language you use. Will they feel like a friend is talking to them or will they experience a sense of condescension?

Speaking of language, think about the most appropriate vocabulary for your audience. Given the choice between “happy” or “jubilant” which would your reader use? Would they say “fortuitous” or would they prefer “lucky”? Using the wrong words can alienate people so sticking to plain and simple language avoids confusion and frustration.

When your audience isn’t your buyer

It’s also worth remembering that the person buying your product isn’t always the user. If you’re selling nutritious meals aimed at children, is your target audience the kids or the parents? Both audiences are valid since parents want their children to eat healthily while children could be your allies when it comes to getting the parents to buy. If you attempt to appeal to both audiences, you’re in danger of watering down your message. So, think about your audience and focus only on them.

Back up your claims

It’s easy to fall into the trap of describing your product as “leading” or “excellent” but you know in your heart that it’s just waffle. Far better to provide a statistic like “87 per cent of bakers surveyed said they’d recommend our rolling pins”, or some information that demonstrates just how excellent the rolling pin is like “made of solid marble for crisp pastry every time”.

In this way, you provide information that let’s the reader conclude that your product is good without actually telling them. And in case you didn’t notice, that last example gives both a feature and a benefit in one hit.

Put your reader in the picture

If you’re selling clothes in a clothes shop, one of the best ways of encouraging a customer to purchase is by getting them to try an item on. Let them feel how soft the fabric is, how comfortable the fit, let them see how great they look in the mirror. You can do a similar thing with your product descriptions. Describe how your product will make them feel, the admiring glances of onlookers, talk about pride of ownership and sense of achievement. Encourage them to imagine what it would be like to own that product. This is especially useful for online selling where you need to compensate for the loss of the touchy-feeliness of the physical retail experience.

The human touch

People often back a brand because of the individual behind it. Perhaps they recognise the struggles a brand founder has surmounted. Maybe they admire an inventor’s green credentials. If there’s an interesting story behind a product, don’t be afraid to use it. Sometimes a product is developed simply because someone was trying to solve a problem. Who was that person. What was the problem? Why was it important that the problem be addressed? How much time and effort went in to finding a solution?

For the manufacturer to go to all that bother surely demonstrates how necessary the product is, no? These stories resonate with people and in many cases, that flash of recognition can be the hook that gets the sale.

Make it eye-catching

If the name of your product is the same font and size as the description below it, then there’s nothing to grab the reader’s attention. Catch the eye by displaying the product name in a larger font. Similary, create a few key bullet points to tempt the prospect into reading in more detail. Typography plays an important part in marketing so take it seriously and learn some techniques for yourself.

Professional writing services in Ipswich, Suffolk

Your product descriptions should be interesting, exciting, and worth reading. Moreover, they should prove so irresistible to readers that they can’t help but buy. Writing like that takes a lot of time, and that is something that many business owners are seriously short of. Copywriting in Suffolk for over twenty years, we know how to write product descriptions. We have written descriptions for foodstuffs, software, pharmaceuticals, cruises, and more. In addition, we have wide experience in service descriptions.

We can write short copy for your online shop, or longer pieces for brochures and landing pages.

Why not get in touch and let us take off some of the pressure?


Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

How can SEO grow your business?

SEO Ipswich

Nowadays, an increasing number of small business with an eye on growth are taking SEO (search engine optimisation) seriously. To grow, you need exposure and, in a world where more commercial transactions take place online, the place to gain exposure is on the internet. Other businesses are doing it, and if yours isn’t, it is bound to lag behind.

Here are several ways that a good SEO strategy can help build your business.

Build brand awareness

A good SEO strategy increases the visibility of your business and makes it easier for search engines to include you in their rankings. Indeed, 57% of B2B marketers say that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.

By investing in SEO, you gain higher rankings in search engines. The higher up your name appears in search results, the greater your chances of a prospect finding you. This is especially important for a small business looking to grow. If your competitors are higher in the rankings than you, it is your growth that suffers.

Attract more customers at less cost

Your business is catering to a particular target market, so your website must include relevant content that addresses the needs of your audience. Search engines recognise quality content and rank your website accordingly. As a result, your site will receive targeted traffic at no extra cost.

This makes SEO more cost-effective than many other marketing methods. Furthermore, since SEO targets only to those people with a genuine interest in your products or services, it is one of the most highly efficient.

People trust organic search results

When you type in a search query in Google, Bing, or some other search engine, how interested are you in the results right at the top of the page? Chances are, you find some of them interesting or intriguing, and that’s as it should be. Afterall, people have paid to get their brands into those positions. They are likely to be somewhat relevant to your search, but it’s quite possible that the ones lower down the page, more accurately match your query. These are the organic search results, and the search engine found them because those websites are full of keywords and phrases that match the words in your query.

Many people are almost blind to the advertisements in search engines and go straight to organic results. So, if your brand is on the first page of results, people are going to assume that they can trust you. And people who trust you will click through to your website.

SEO makes your website more user-friendly

Search engines are constantly evolving and whilst you still need to provide your audience with relevant, original content, you must also deliver a good user experience. If your website is properly organised, clean, and uncluttered visitors are more likely to hang around visiting more pages which reduces your bounce rate. And in just the same way that you might tell your friends about a great experience you had in a particular shop, people will also talk about what an informative and intuitive website you offer, thereby encouraging more visitors.

Faster load times mean better conversion rates

Whether a person is at their PC, tablet, or smartphone, when they click on your link, they expect your website to open up in a few seconds. If it doesn’t, they’ll quickly get bored and go somewhere else. A search engine optimised website will load faster, and display correctly regardless of the device used to view. The quicker, they can get on to your site, the better their experience and the greater the chance that they will make a purchase, subscribe, request further info, or whatever.

Outrank the competition

In business, once your customer is “through the door” there are all kinds of things you can do to outperform your competitors. Maybe you can offer cut-price deals, extended guarantees, a 24-hour helpline and so on. But those are only any good when a prospect knows about you, and in a world where 81% of purchases now begin with some online research, you need to rise above the competition. SEO gives you the means to demonstrate to your audience that your business is far and away the best one to deliver the goods or services that your customers need.

At one time considered an optional addition to the marketing mix, SEO is now a vital component of effective digital marketing. Whatever industry you’re in, SEO will help you take your business to the next level.

SEO copywriter in Ipswich, Suffolk

Based in Ipswich, Bruce Barbour offers SEO copywriting in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, and beyond. We can write high-quality SEO content for your website landing pages, and blogs, as well as compelling copy for your sales emails. Besides copywriting and SEO, we also offer content writing, web design and creation, social media management, and public relations.

Contact us for more information.

5 steps towards better email marketing

small blackboard showing words email marketing - Suffolk copywriter - Suffolk copywriting

When it comes to getting your name in front of hundreds of people, quickly and cheaply, email marketing takes some beating. It’s one of the main tools in the digital marketer’s box of tricks, and one of the most efficient. With email marketing you can promote products and services, carry out surveys, get feedback, and build powerful relationships with your audience.

So, what could possibly be the downside? Well, it just so happens that email marketing is so great that businesses across the globe are doing it. Their emails are landing in inboxes with dozens of others. You probably get quite a few yourself. And you know that unless they catch your attention in some way, they go straight in the bin.

Let’s look at some steps you can take to ensure that readers value your email communications and wait excitedly for the next one.

1. Greet new arrivals with enthusiasm

If you’ve ever turned up at an establishment, a hotel for instance, you may have been met at the door by a smiling member of the reception staff. They will welcome you, advise you of breakfast times and other services, tell you that nothing will be too much trouble, and wish you a pleasant stay. In the digital world, you need to do a similar thing.

As we have already noted, people are inundated with unwanted email, so if someone makes the decision to receive email from you, the least you can do is thank them and welcome them to the fold. Tell them how much you value them, and how you look forward to serving them. Tell them a little more about your business and what they can expect from your future emails. Depending on the business you are in, you could even encourage some interaction by asking them to complete a quick survey. What services or products are they most interested in? What questions do they have? The answers to some of these can be a rich seam of ideas for future emails.

Show new arrivals that you’re happy to see them and look forward to helping them. Just don’t appear pushy.

2. Deliver great content and get great returns

If you’re going to send regular content to your subscribers make it worth reading and make it regular. If you don’t do this, readers will ignore your emails and may even unsubscribe from your mailing list. Don’t waste time writing emails that nobody wants to read, because in the end, you’re wasting your audience’s time and damaging your reputation. On the other hand, a great email is something that people can engage with, and when they are ready to do business, they’ll come to you.

3. Segment your audience

Depending on the size and nature of your business, it’s possible that certain email communications will only be relevant to a particular demographic. If you’re a department store, is it appropriate to send your male subscribers special offers in ladies fashion? How many teenagers will be interested in reading about mobility aids? Also, where is your prospect on the buying journey? If a customer is clear that they won’t be making a purchase for another six months, they could find it frustrating to receive the offer of a discount that will expire within a week.

Remember that email works both ways. Use it to build relationships, to learn about your audience, and to give the right people the right content at the right time.

4. Strive for excellence in email marketing

When you send an email, you’re asking the recipient to take time out of their busy day to read it. In effect, you’re asking them to invest time in you. Therefore, you owe it to them to deliver something that is worth their time. That something is a well-written email, containing information that will benefit them.

In the first place, you need an interesting or intriguing subject line. There is a plethora of web pages that offer advice on creating subject lines so it’s worth reading several.

The body of the email should expand upon the subject line. This should be punchy, entertaining, maybe even witty. But it should be no more than 200 words long. Leave the long-form copy for your blog.

Don’t forget to provide a call to action. If you’re prospect is interested enough to read your email to the end, they may well feel that it’s time to give your website another look, or to read the full article or to complete your survey. If you’re sending out an email, think about what action you want your audience to take and make it easy for them to do it.

5. Avoid the spam label

You already have a pretty good idea what spam is. Spam is all that email that you don’t have any interest in reading because you know that doing so will bring you no benefit. It tends to be produced by organisations who send out dozens of these emails each day to thousands of people in the vain hope of getting some traction.

Of course, you want your email marketing to be targeted, relevant, and useful but it is important to ensure that you don’t unwittingly fall into the spam folder.

Look out for inactive accounts

As part of your email marketing efforts, you should be looking at who is opening your emails, who is clicking on links and so on. If someone hasn’t opened one of your emails for a while, it’s possible that they no longer use that email address. And if your email provider spots that this is happening with a lot of your emails, it could slap you with the spam tag. Keep your mailing list up to date and delete inactive accounts.

End the relationship with grace

Sometimes, people’s needs change. It could be because of personal circumstances, maybe they found a cheaper supplier. Whatever the reason, if they no longer have a need to receive your emails, the best thing you can do is let them unsubscribe easily. Offer the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email and tell them you’re sorry they’re going. You might even ask them what brought them to this decision as the response could help you with future marketing efforts.

The upshot is, if you don’t provide an easy unsubscribe option, people will simply mark your emails as spam. That’s not great for your digital reputation.

Out of sight, out of mind

If you’re going to engage in email marketing, you have to be consistent and send emails regularly without overdoing it. If you don’t email often enough, subscribers may forget you or whether they ever subscribed at all. They will then have no hesitation in throwing you in the spam bin.

Email marketing services in Ipswich, Suffolk

With more than twenty years of experience in marketing, we can help you with your email marketing efforts by creating single emails and entire email funnels. We can devise campaign strategies, manage your mailing lists, and segment your audience appropriately.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Why Does Your Business Need a Content Writer?

desktop with the words content marketing in plastic letters

In short, a content writer produces written materials that demonstrate to your audience that you know your business. It may seem like stating the obvious, but if you want to do business, you need to give prospects reasons why they should choose you over the competition. Traditionally, you might achieve this by laying out your market stall with delicious and fresh-looking produce, and making passers by an offer they can’t resist. Or if you had a shop, an extravagant window display will get the punters popping in for a closer look. In the online world, the same principles apply but the methods of getting people to notice you are different.

Well-written, relevant content is a vital element in generating interest in your offering. It is part of your content marketing strategy and shows that you are an expert in your field. Furthermore, it as your exquisitely-dressed shop window that cannot be ignored.

Just to be clear on what content is, if you have a website that describes your business, you have content. If you have a blog, you have content. If you post to social media, you are producing content. And if it’s good, if it’s entertaining and if it’s relevant, people will come to you, and come back again and again.

Of course, if you’re a small business, and writing isn’t your area of expertise, how are you going to use content to attract an audience?

Writer for hire!

A content writer could be just the person you need to help you up your game in the world of online marketing. Content writers create web content. They can produce long-form content such as blog articles, white papers, and case studies, as well as scripts for promotional videos. A content writer can also create shorter items for your blog and social media platforms. Moreover, if you want a long-term content strategy, your content writer can devise and deliver this, offering a vital component to your marketing efforts. In fact, according to a report by Social Media Examiner, 58% of marketers said original written content is the most important type of content, outdoing visuals and videos.

Let’s be clear, nobody knows your business like you do. When it comes to delivering your service, product, or whatever, you’re the bee’s knees. And if you have the ability to put into words why you’re the best and how customers will benefit from using you, then you are one truly special individual. In saying that, you are probably incredibly busy and therefore short of time to keep on top of your blog and your social media accounts. So, the chances are that even you could benefit from the services of a content writer for a few hours a week.

But what benefits could hiring a content writer bring you?

Well, for a start, it could help you generate leads. According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads. In short, you get more bang for your buck.

Raise brand awareness

A content writer also helps you create brand awareness. Simply promoting your wares can get boring. Some people just don’t like the feeling that they’re being sold to all the time. Your content writer will produce articles, white papers and so on that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Using your website and social media accounts, the writer will promote the content and increase web traffic. This is a great way of getting your audience on your side so that when they are ready to buy, your name will be the first one they think of.

Improve SEO ranking

Whilst you want your audience to love you, your content writer can get search engines to love you too. The writer achieves this by improving your SEO ranking. The more content you produce, and the more relevant keywords appear in your content, the better for your ranking.

Since we’re talking about search engine rankings, it’s worth mentioning that when you publish good content, others are likely to link to it. When they do, search engines give you a hug and send you a little higher up the list.

Increase loyalty and retention

Once you’ve got customers, you’re going to want to hang on to them, and your content writer can help you with this. By creating more personalised content, such as information about upgrades and new developments, your writer can build the relationship between you and your customer. Your customer will stay engaged, and open to new purchasing opportunities.

If content isn’t a key element of your marketing strategy, there is likely to be a rich and untapped seam of opportunity just waiting to be discovered. A good content writer will increase your brand awareness, improve your SEO, generate sales, and improve customer retention.

About Bruce Barbour Communications Management

Based in Ipswich, Suffolk, Bruce Barbour offers a range of marketing communications services. These include content writing, copywriting, search engine optimisation, web design and creation, social media management, and public relations. In addition, we offer expertise in event management, and technical documentation.

Contact us for more information.