Category Archives: Calls to Action

Do’s & Don’ts: Saving a Reporter’s Time

newspaperKaren Leland, author of Time Management in an Instant, talks in detail about how to use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to promote your biz/cause.

Here are 6 tips she learned on how to respect a reporter’s time:

  1. Do: Respond to a posted inquiry within 2 hours. Yes, I know your busy, and you have a life, but most of these reporters get hundreds of responses to a single post and are usually on a tight deadline. After a certain point they stop looking. So if you want to been seen, be among the first to respond. Responding quickly helps the reporter get what they need as fast as possible.
  2. Don’t: Respond to a query that is past the due date with an email that starts “I know this is past the deadline but” To put it bluntly the reporter won’t care, they have more than likely already decided on their sources and you have just put another email they need to open in their in box.
  3. Do: Refer to the topic they are seeking information on in the subject line. For example: If the reporter says they want experts to discuss the mating habits of orangutans, in the subject line back write “Expert on mating habits of orangutans.” This makes it fast and easy for the reporter to  do a search through all their emails and find the ones that relate to the topic they are interested in.
  4. Don’t: Use an abstract or general email subject lines when responding to a query. Most reporters are working on multiple stories at one time, so a non-descriptive subject line such as “Response to your HARO query” is meaningless. Don’t’ make the reporter spend any extra time searching for which story you are responding to (and cursing) you for making  their life harder.
  5. Do: Give a reporter exactly what they ask for.  If a reporter says they are looking for tips on how to take a vacation in France on five dollars a day, send one or two of your best ideas and let them know there are more available upon request. This saves a reporter time, because they can instantly see if you have the kind of information they are looking for.
  6. Don’t: Submit endless paragraphs on who you are, and what you have done. It’s too hard for a reporter to glean from this if you would be a good source.

Check out the full report in the Examiner.


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Quick Tip: What Does the Customer Want?

B2B Customers want something they can takeaway from a purchase, website, e-mail blast, etc; something of value to them.  A takeaway is the lasting impression left on your audience after engaging with your brand, reading an email message or interacting with a customer service representative. A takeaway affects what steps they take next should be tied to your call-to-action.
According to Ardath Albee of the Marketing Interactions Blog, a good takeaway is:

  • Conceptual – generates an idea your content helped spark
  • Conversational – inspires sharing of that idea in the their own words
  • Recommendable – promotes people to pass the content along to others
  • Transferable – applicable to their own specific situations
  • Visual – something they can “see” happening—not pie-in-the-sky thinking

Remember, a good takeaway should focus on your customer, not on your business. Make sure you consider your audience’s needs, desires and perspectives in your messaging.  What lasting impression do you want to leave on your targets?

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A Few Reminders on How to Improve Your Website

I was reading this post over on Marketing Pilgrim and I thought it was worth sharing.

From a talk given at SMX West (Search Marketing Expo 2009) ’15 Stupid Things You Can do to Your Website’ is a quick sketch of some key things to keep in mind when launching a new website or revamping an existing one.

Here are a couple of points I liked:

2. Using bad keywords—ones that are too competitive or no one is searching for. Michael suggested picking mid-range keywords and work your way up.

13. Mass email using BCC and not using email services. Using an email service provider is highly recommended for sending to large lists of recipients.

14. Below the fold calls to action. Ensure calls to action are above the fold and in order to check how the page appears on different screen sizes undertake browser testing.

The point on keywords is well-taken.  It’s important to review your keywords frequently and track their results with an analytics program such as Google Analytics.   What words emerge from your initial research as achieveable may not drive traffic to your site through organic search.

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Email Design Pivotal to Campaign Success

envelope1As marketing budgets tighten among companies of all sizes, folks are looking at low-cost tactics that are trackable and measurable. Because your company is known to customers and you have determined which recipients have opted-in to your list, e-mail design and messaging is the most critical element of this a campaign’s success.
Here are two points to consider when crafting an email campaign:

1. “Less is more” for an effective e-mail. An email with a shorter copy and fewer graphics work best. A clean presentation helps potential customers see your message clearly and eliminates unwanted confusion.

2. Bring in customers with a call to action. Clearly marked calls to action are important so that the customer knows the who, what, why, and where of your e-mail communication. An email with a weak or missing call to action is as ineffective as simply not sending a message at all.

Stay tuned for more email marketing tips in March.

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Generate Warm Leads with Compelling Offers


Marketing plans should be developed strategically; the end goal to deliver leads to your sales force. A compelling call to action in an email, direct mail or other advertisement can generate warm leads by establishing an initial relationship between your company and your prospects. In one to one marketing a meaningful, valuable offer can open a conversation and drive sales.  When brainstorming what offer you will extend, consider what might your prospect need that will make their job easier.

Examples of offers that generate results:

  • Whitepapers
  • Invitation to Topical Webinar
  • Market Report
  • Free Assessment
  • Invitation to an Event
  • Guide or Handbook
  • Sample of Product
  • Special Savings Coupon
  • Gift card

When choosing an offer – think strategically.  What offer that will be perceived as having the most value to your prospects? What will open the lines of communication?

What have you tried that worked?

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Help Your Prospects Act On Your Calls To Action

call to action

Yesterday morning on my way to the office, I waited behind an SUV at a red light. A bumper sticker proclaiming “I’d ♥ To Be Your REALTOR®” was affixed to the rear of the car at eye level, immediately below a full sized  window cling ad.  If I were looking to find a REALTOR® at that moment, it would be easy! Her number, email, cell and address were right there for me to jot down.

On my way home, I saw another SUV with the same bumper sticker (I must live near a lot of REALTORS®). The problem this time? If I wanted to connect with this real estate professional, I’d have no way to find her, short of following her home! It was a call to action with no way for prospects to act. Instead, it’s just noise.

This is important to keep in mind. I’ve visited websites that are informative, beautifully designed and cleverly written. They even prompt the visitor to take action! But then they make it hard to actually do so. Contact phone numbers and emails are buried on inside pages. Or there’s no one-click sign up for the newsletter.

The takeaway? No matter by what medium your message is delivered, make it easy for your prospects to act on your call to action!

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