“Why do I have a website?”

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question? Is it just so you can show up somewhere online? Is it so that customers can get to know you before they hire you? Is it so you can talk about your huge vision for bettering the world? Is it so people can download your ebook?

All of these are valid answers, but the important thing is that you know what you’re trying to say, and why you’re trying to say it. That’s called content strategy, and if you don’t have one, your website probably won’t fare well.

Last week we talked about The 11 Design Don’ts for 2017 Website. Now, let’s talk content. Here are nine things you . . .

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Sales copy.

There’s a lot of tips, tricks, strategies, pointers, methods, angles, and tactics out there on how to make a sale.

But guess what, it’s really easy to slip from serving your customers down the dark, slimy, creepy-crawly path of manipulation.

At Resound, we believe that marketing is really about making connections between remarkable companies and the people that are already looking for them. (Check out this blog post by David Cosand circa 2013.)

The world is waiting for you to be you. Sales should be about showing off the DNA of your company – the authentic identity that makes you unique.

That’s what helps you position in relation to competitors.

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Resound has some really distinct personalities.

People here are very passionate about various topics. For example, Stephanie has a (debatably unhealthy) obsession with all things Disney. Others, like Ben, love talking about anything as long as I laugh at their jokes (which is pretty easy).

One of my things is relationships. I care very much about forming, maintaining, and growing meaningful relationships. Because that’s a value I possess, I strive to communicate with my fellow Resounders in ways that will deepen my relationship with each of them.

When I talk to Stephanie, I ask her for advice on my upcoming trip to Disneyland, and I avoid asking her how she thinks Kurt Warner is spending his retirement. Ben and I spend most of . . .

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Remember this line?

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

How about this one?

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Even as I write I feel myself getting sucked in all over again. There’s something very special going on in those opening lines to two of my favorite novels.

If you’re not feeling it, you’re probably Spock…or you haven’t read the books.

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Batman perches on a skyscraper. Superman zips through the sky. These are the characters emblazoned in our minds when we think about heroes.

Why do heroes hold lake-view real estate in our mental landscape? Because where there’s a hero there’s a story. And the human brain is pretty much addicted to stories.

Did you know that every business is telling a story? It might be one dude cleaning windows or IBM, but whether they realize it or not, they’re telling a story.

Apple is telling a story about people who “Think Different.”
Telescrypts, a local tech startup, is telling a story about improving healthcare in developing countries “so we can all have access to healthcare.”
Resound is telling a story about how every company is . . .

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Writing is hard.

I lamented that fact to my author mother recently, and she solemnly shook her head in affirmation. Working in sales usually means you’re loaded with interpersonal skills. But the digital divide means those skills don’t transfer 1:1 to writing emails.

“Cold calling is dead,” says Hubspot’s Jill Rowley. Cold emailing is now the go-to outbound sales method, and there are some inherent challenges in that. Compared with face to face chats, phone communication loses so much nonverbal information. Email communication lacks even the vocal tone and interpretation that phone conversations offer.

The question is, how can we maximize sales opportunities using a far less media-rich medium?

Opening Sentences Go a Long Way

The one tip I want to talk about here is . . .

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In this day and age, we’re all bombarded with messages – particularly messages of the email variety.  As marketers, we spend so much time writing great content for our audience.  It’s a shame if they don’t even open your email.  How do we get that click-through?

1. Get to the point.

Don’t waste someone’s time.  If you want to create trust and stand out in a crowded inbox, get right to the point of the email.  This should go without saying, but some people still create gimmicky subject lines that are misleading or boring.  Let us say this:  Even if they happen to click your email once, they won’t make that mistake again.  For instance, if you sell handmade greeting cards, don’t . . .

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You’ve heard that before, I’m sure.

And it’s true, inasmuch as the entire internet is really just content. Your website, Facebook, marketing emails, heck, even your Google Ads are really just little bits of content chopped up and assigned semantic value to each digital passerby.

And certainly the “content marketers” of the world want you to believe that content is how you get your business to the top of the pile. Google certainly has made content king. They crawl, sort, filter, and rank all the lovely bits of content all over the place.  Then we all bite and scratch each other in attempts to be Google’s top dog for “best muffin in Saskatchewan” or “winning lottery numbers” or whatever keyword du jour . . .

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As much as we at Resound love to talk about tone and style, the actual words with which you choose to write and speak really do matter.

Presentation without substance is just a lie.

Need proof? Watch this product presentation. If you understand what he’s actually talking about, you get a gold star.

“But his presentation style was good!”

So what.

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The hardest part of writing is getting started. But the second hardest part of writing is knowing how to end what you’ve started.

There you are, travelling along in your blog post – telling a story, making a point, putting your thoughts out there – and everything’s going smoothly enough, until you realize that you’re at 500 words and you don’t know how to put a cap on it all.

The worst thing to do is keep on writing until you’ve “found a natural ending”! That’s how you end up with 3,000-word long blog-ifestos that nobody, not even the people stalking you, will ever read.

But you don’t want to just stop. You won’t want to leave something hanging.

So, here are five ways . . .

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