Jazzing Up Your ‘About Us’ Page

Telling the Right Story on your 'About

Do you know which of your pages are the most viewed on your website? Chances are, your “About Us” page is one of the most visited pages on your website. Whatever you choose to call it, whether it is your “About”, “About Us”, “Who We Are” or “Meet the Team”, these pages are gaining in importance.

But surprisingly, this page is often overlooked during the copy writing process and has often become an afterthought. Others just simply don’t know how to write about themselves!

About Us pages provide you with a great opportunity to bond with your prospects. Within the first 3 or 4 clicks people are clicking to your About Us page because they want to find out who you are, what your business is about and most importantly, how you can help them.

So re-think your About Us page with these following tips:

– Make your About Us page about… your customers. Think about how your product or services help your customers and relay that in your About Us write-up.

– Take the opportunity to share your story and your “Why”. If you have trouble defining your company’s “Why” or your reason for being, take a few moments to watch this TED Talk I shared a few months back from Simon Sinek for a bit of inspiration.

– Don’t be afraid to inject your personality or your company’s personality into the write-up. Think about how you’re different from your competitors and make sure your writing reflects who you are.

– Make your page conversion-friendly. You can ask your prospects to contact, sign up for an email newsletter or a free trial. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to convert your prospects into leads once you’ve impressed them with your story.

– If you’ve done something great, offer an outstanding service or product, don’t be afraid to share the numbers and facts. Without them, your page will be like every other About Us page out there with bold but empty statements.

– And lastly? Keep it short. People have short attention spans and can really only pay attention to a maximum of 3 – 4 chunks of information at a time so choose your points wisely and organize accordingly with headers breaking up large chunks of text.

So take a few moments now and read over your About Us section. If you were shopping around, would you choose your company over your competitors based on the write-up that you see? Does your page properly represent who you are as a company, the quality of work that you’ve done and your reason ‘why’? If not, you know what to do!

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Don Draper’s Kodak Moment

Mad Men Inspiration

In marketing terms, I would be considered a ‘laggard’ to this Mad Men hype, but trust me when I say that I am a true fan! In truth, I have tried watching Mad Men a few times over the past few years but could never get past the first half hour of the pilot.  This time around though, I watched the whole episode… and then didn’t stop until I hit the end of Season 1!

Anyway, one of the greatest moments for me from Season 1 was when Don Draper gave his pitch to Kodak on their new slide projector.  Kodak was very attached to the idea of it being in the shape of a wheel and wanted that to be incorporated in the ad campaign.

Don’s pitch left me speechless.  See it for yourself:

“Technology is a glittering lure. But there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product.

My first job, I was in house at a fur company with this old pro copywriter, Greek, named Teddy.  And Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising was ‘new.’ Creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion.

But he also talked about a deeper bond with the product: nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent.

Teddy told me that in Greek nostalgia literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’  It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone.
This device isn’t a space ship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. Takes us to a place where we ache to go again.

It’s not called ‘The Wheel.’ It’s called ‘The Carousel.’

It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around and back home again to a place where we know we are loved.”

Maybe it’s because I am in marketing that left me so in awe after watching his pitch.  I loved everything about it – the concept, the delivery and the way it tugged at your soul.  A true marketing victory :)  It also reminds me that sometimes, it’s not the gimmicks, the fancy features, or the technology that sells.  It is the emotional bond to the product that will create the demand.

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A Few Marketing Lessons from Taylor Swift

We could all be a little bit more like Taylor Swift.
Well, in our marketing efforts, anyway.

4 days ago, Taylor Swift posted this video to her YouTube channel, documenting what had come to be known by her fans as ‘Swiftmas’. To reward her most loyal fans, Taylor Swift had shipped personalized individual presents for them this past Christmas – all based on what she had learned about them from their social media feeds!

“Shortly after the massively successful release of 1989, fans on social media began to experience another phenomenon. After something that became known as Tay-lurking, whereupon every details of a fan’s likes, job, whereabouts, was studied intently… A single Santa emoji would appear on their socials.

From one Taylor Swift.’

This video has racked up close to 12 million views since it has been posted. So what is it about this video that people seem to love and what can marketers learn from this?

1) Get Personal – All the presents were delivered with hand-written notes and Christmas (or Hanukkah) cards. This is yet another example of how Taylor engages with her community of fans to build relationships.  She creates unique brand experiences for them so that they feel like they know her – as a friend, or the girl next door. She is accessible, she listens and she responds. This is how brands should interact with their customers.

2) Get to Know Your Fans – To ensure all the presents were personalized, Taylor had done her own research on her fans. She not only ‘Tay-lurked’ her fans, she took the time to get to know them, to read their updates before building a personalized experience meant just for them.  While such intense researching into the lives of your customers may not be possible, there is great value in truly understanding who your customers are.

3) Surprise Your Loyal Followers – If those were Taylor’s most loyal fans, can you imagine their level of loyalty now, after receiving their presents? By rewarding these super fans, Taylor was also gaining new fans and encouraging her mid-level fans to step up their engagement. Sometimes, by giving back and rewarding your loyal followers (also known as your brand ambassadors), you can gain back ten-fold what you give away.

4) Leverage the Use of Video – The clips of her fans opening their presents were so authentic, you could hear and see for yourself the excitement they felt. By having her fans film their experiences, Taylor allowed others watching to share in the fun. Because the clips were so authentic, you don’t feel like you’re watching some fabricated sales pitch. Leverage the use of video and capture your customer’s authentic experiences with your product or service.

This is exactly how we can create excitement and loyalty around our brands – and how we can make sure our marketing efforts can stand out from the crowd.  At the end of the day, consumers want to know that they are appreciated and being heard!  So as it turns out, we all have a thing or two that we can learn from Taylor Swift!

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Cannes Lions 2014 Top Picks

It’s been a few weeks since I attended the Cannes Lions screening at my local art gallery.  I’ve re-watched a few of them and wanted to share my favourites from this year’s reel.  There were quite a few from this year’s collection that I liked so here they are:

The following 3 are from Volkswagen.  I thought they were very clever in the way they demonstrated the value and quality of their vehicles.  They didn’t bore you with the safety features or show you how vehicles performed in a closed track – they simply left you curious enough to have you find out for yourself!

Title: Parachute
Advertiser: Volkswagen
Agency: adam&eveDBB

Title: Rope
Advertiser: Volkswagen
Agency: adam&eveDBB

Title: Cage
Advertiser: Volkswagen
Agency: adam&eveDDB

And then there was this one, from The Sunday Times – so clever and put together so seamlessly:

Title: The Sunday Times – Icons
Advertiser: News UK
Product: Newspaper
Agency: Grey London McCann

And since I’ve shared so many Volkswagen commercials already, what’s one more? This is another Volkswagen one, this time from Almapbbdo in Brazil as a send off to the Kombi.  It’s cute, it’s touching and it leaves you wanting a Kombi (even if you’ve never wanted one before when they were still in production):

Title: Kombi Last Wishes
Advertiser: Vokswagen Do Brasil
Product: Volkswagen Bus
Agency: Almapbbdo

I loved this commercial that Apple released last Christmas. It’s touching, especially because technology often has a reputation for isolating people and Apple shows us how it can bring people together instead.  It also helps that it’s beautifully done!

I love how all these commercials were able to evoke emotions in such a short amount of time.  So many great stories too!

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An Evening with Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield in Winnipeg

I have been a fan of Chris Hadfield for quite some time.  If you are not familiar with the name, Colonel Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian Astronaut to walk in space, operate the Canadarm and the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station.  He is also quite the musician – perhaps you will remember his revised rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”?

But even before his famous performance, I enjoyed his frequent updates from space.  His comments were funny, smart and most importantly, mind opening.  His pictures of Earth were nothing short of spectacular – how lucky were we to be able to share in his experience? I admired the way he used social media to not only educate us but also to challenge us in our thinking individually and collectively.

So when I heard that he was going to be in town for an evening, I knew it would be a treat to listen to him talk about his experiences.  Chris Hadfield in person is extremely dynamic and the evening went by so quickly as he enriched us with his journey of becoming an astronaut and later his first-hand experience of living out in space.

It had been a life long dream of his to become an astronaut.  He had decided at the age of 9 that it was his dream – and every decision he made after that brought him one step closer to making his dream a reality.  He had said something that really stuck with me.  He told us to think of our dreams, and to think if everything worked out perfectly in the next year, two years or five years, where would we be and what would we be doing? He then told us to take that dream and to ‘hang it on the wall’.  That dream, afterall is unattainable.  The journey is in figuring out what smaller steps to take in the meantime.

For him, his first step was becoming a pilot and learning how to fly. He earned his glider pilot licence at 15 and his powered pilot licence at 16.  He learned to fly various types of aircrafts which enabled him to become a test pilot.  He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Royal Military College and later, a Master’s Degree in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee Space Institute.  He learned different languages (he was fluent in Russian during his presentation!), learned to scuba dive, and even trained as a doctor in surgery.

All those goals contributed to his dream of becoming an astronaut.  It was impressive to see how dedicated he was and how his decisions all reflected what he wanted to accomplish.

This really stuck with me – even if I have no plans of becoming an astronaut (closed and tight spaces are not for me…).  Why wouldn’t this model work for any occupation… or any goal for that matter?

As a marketer, if I wanted to become successful at what I do – I should be doing the same thing! As I go through my career, I should be collecting more skills to add to my toolbox.  With the end goal in mind, I can now make decisions and life choices strategically so they can take me one step closer to my ‘dream on the wall’.

Not only would I have to be knowledgeable with the trends and best practices of digital marketing right now, I have to continue to grow my knowledge base over the years.  I will need to master traditional media and find my way around radio, TV, and print.  I will have to learn design and typography, how to code and the difference between the different paper stocks even.  I have to refine my skills as a writer – and be able to tailor my writing for creative or technical pieces.  I will have to learn about the different industries that I want to work in – their trends, their vernacular even.  This should seem overwhelming, but instead – it was so invigorating to approach my career this way.  Each of these are manageable and attainable goals and even if my list of to do’s keep growing, I know that they will all help me mature into the type of marketer that I want to be. How exciting!

If you ever get the opportunity to listen to Chris Hadfield speak – don’t miss out!  He is full of wonderful tales that will open your mind and challenge your thinking.  As a marketer, you will appreciate his fresh approach on using social media to connect, unite and educate.  It really is worthwhile and I hope you will get the opportunity to see him for yourself!

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I am a Top 10 Finalist for the MiB Awards!

I am beyond excited to announce that my blog has been chosen as a Top 10 finalist for the MiB Awards in the Social Media and Marketing category! Thank you to those who voted for me.  Because of your votes, my blog will now be read by the MiB jury panel and be exposed to some of Canada’s most brilliant marketers and business people. That is a treat in itself! Wow!

To new readers that have come here from MiB, I’m so glad you took the time to visit. This is my second year participating in the MiB Awards and both years, the awards have given me valuable exposure and for that, I am grateful.

I am eagerly waiting for the final results in a few weeks time. Check back with me soon for the results!

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Business Blogging Tips to Help You Gain Leads

Let’s face it.  Business blogging is a lot of work.  Whether it’s the responsibility of one individual or shared amongst the team, business blogging no doubt requires an investment of time and effort.  Not only do you have to keep to a schedule, you also have to make sure the topics that you talk about are relevant to your audience and that you do it all in a voice that is authentic to your organization.

Having said that, business blogging is an absolutely essential part of your online marketing strategy.  In fact, it can even be considered a marketing channel all its own that can help you grow your business.

Blogging can help drive traffic to your website, which in turn increases conversion opportunities once they get to your site.  It also allows you to highlight your capabilities, your unique products or services, and your brand personality.  It is a way for you to build a relationship with potential customers even before you ever get to talk to them or meet with them.

Blogging can help drive traffic to your

Many businesses fail at blogging because they start out either with unrealistic goals in mind or just don’t understand how to properly utilize the platform to their benefit.  Here are some key points to help you get started:

Consistency is Key

Every blog entry you post is a new page your website has.   The more you blog – the more chances you have of showing up in the search results for search terms that your customers … or prospects care about.

Use Social Media to Distribute Your Content

Once you publish a blog entry, be sure to maximize its reach by sharing the post across your social media channels.  Every time you share, it’ll make it easier for your followers or fans to share the content if they find it useful or interesting. This means reaching more customers in a cost effective way!

Keep a Running List of Topics On Hand

For myself, interesting topics are the hardest to come by when I am on a tight schedule.  Keeping a backlog of ideas on hand for these occasions make writing less painful.  You never know when possible topics can pop up – during a brainstorm session with your team, conversations with your customers, or even during a sales pitch meeting with a prospect and you will want to collect these to use at your convenience.

Spread Your Knowledge

Useful information that is educational or interesting can help your business get introduced to new audiences.  When the information is useful and valuable, your prospects will see your organization as more of a resource than a company making a sales pitch.

Pick Blog Topics Based on Your Most Popular Products / Services / Offers

Topics relating to these products, services or offers are the ones that your audience is most interested in so it only makes sense to talk about them more!  Plus, if you are looking at things from an ROI perspective, these blogs will likely convert better than other topics.

Dare to Try Different Formats

When you have more time, you can write longer blog posts complete with graphics and illustrations.  When you’re in a time crunch, it is ok too to have shorter posts.  They can be a list, take aways, Q&A with an expert, an infographic or even a photo update from an event.  The point is to pick a format that will present your information in the most engaging and interesting way that works within your time allotment and other requirements.


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