Learn marketing at home, learn digital marketing, learn copywriting, learn marketing online

Learn Marketing. No College Required

Digital Marketing, Traditional Marketing

Warning: College lecturers may find this content upsetting.

With so much content online, everybody has the opportunity to become a student and in their own time too.

You mightn’t get that diploma when you’re finished but you won’t get those bills either.

Now I’m not suggesting a boycott of traditional education. Going to college is an important growth experience for many people.

I myself found the structure of college life invaluable.

Assignments had to be in on time. Group work had to be undertaken with people of varying levels of skill and attitude.

And of course the lecturers.

A good lecturer will allow you to understand a subject in such depth and perspective that studying on your own cannot replicate.

That said, with so much quality content online, anybody can master a subject without college if they have the dedication to do so.

I’ve used Copyblogger and Hubspot for years.

They are two of the best marketing education resources online.

For a more structured approach, check out this article from Brad Zomick.

He has really put some thought into this but more than anything it shows you what is possible. Taylor a plan to your own needs. It will get you thinking.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If I’ve inspired you or you have any questions comment below.

Thank you for reading.

image from freeimages

The real Don Draper

The Real Don Draper

Copywriting, Traditional Marketing

I’ve watched Mad Men 7 times. Start to finish.

I know it inside out.

I never knew that Don Draper was based on real ad man George Lois though. An advertising legend by any measure. Despite his critics.

Either way, this makes for fascinating viewing.

Thank you for reading.

image from selling out

Marketing That Turns Customers Away

Copywriting, Traditional Marketing

While in Dublin city today I saw a restaurant window that I’d seen many times before in a new light.

I’m taking the kids to the same area next week and plan to eat out somewhere before we go home. As I drove I scanned around for a suitable place and laughed to myself when I looked at Pitt Bros.

Families not welcome marketing, target market marketing, shop signage, demarketing

Read: Families not welcome

“Well I’m not taking them there anyway”, I thought to myself. Then I realised: They don’t want us there. They don’t want our business. Families are quite clearly not welcome.

And that’s fine. They know their target market. Good for them. It’s just rare to see such an obvious example of customer exclusion.

 It’s a trendy street, lots of nightlife and colleges close by and it seems to be working for them too. The place looked packed.

Still, I couldn’t help but thinking it’s lazy copywriting. Lazy and crude.

If your product has genuine quality, it seems to me that a shop front like this one gives the wrong message. Even if it is to the right people. It just feels low-rent to me.

When I got home, my curiosity still high, I did some research and came across an interesting article by Rags Srinivasan about demarketing. The practice of proactively discouraging potential customers who don’t fit your target market personas. It is available here.

Anybody have an opinion on this? If it’s working, does that then make it good copy? Am I old before my time?

Please comment below.

Thank you for reading.

copywriting, great headlines, good copy costs, content marketing

Why Good Copywriters Don’t Charge Per Word

Copywriting, Traditional Marketing

As a copywriter I’m always asked how much do I charge per word.

I won’t go into the answer here but I generally have to explain that it depends on if you want good copy or not (and look elsewhere if you don’t).

Realistically, paying per word will buy you poor copy.

Small is beautiful and people want your information in as few words as possible. Nothing non-essential should take up a potential customer’s time or cognition. It’s like asking a surgeon to add a few bits while he’s in there.

Whether it’s a a print headline, blog post or product brochure – less is more.

I’m reminded of an anecdote about a guy who needed a tooth removed. Let’s call him Rodney.

Rodney: “€200!, it only took you ten minutes”

Dentist who has perfected his trade, been to college for nine years: “next time I can do it more slowly if you like?”

Maybe 10% of my job is writing words. 20 – 30% is research and the rest is editing. That’s right, shortening the word count as much as possible while increasing its comprehension. Sometimes a concept doesn’t even need words, just like Band Aid and Bosch below.

People are busy, get to the point

With that in mind, let’s imagine the copywriters who came up with these master pieces were paid by the word:

Perhaps my all time favorite example of great copy. Simple and powerful. Perfect.

traditional marketing content, headline copywriting, clever copy, traditional marketing, great copy,

Great indeed. Brilliant advertisement content

Very cheeky, right on the edge. Attitude is everything for Porsche. 

Brave marketing, content marketing, brave headline content, Porsche advert

Brave marketing

Hulk Ouchey

Simple, dramatic – brilliant. both parents and kids love this one

content marketing, hulk advert, hulk doesn't need copy

hulk ouch

The power of Bosch

Great ad, shows the company USP very well. Hulk actually hurt his finger trying to do this (see image above).

Bosch advert, content marketing example, great advert

Bosch so powerful

I can’t get enough of this dumb ad

integrated marketing, headline content, creative copywriting

If anybody can add to this list I’d love to hear about it below.

Thank you for reading.

image from free images

copywriting, headline copy, writing print headlines, better print headlines

4 Steps To Better Print Headlines

Copywriting, Traditional Marketing

So you’re going to run a print advertisement.
You’ve paid for advertising space for 12 – 24 months, yet don’t want to pay a copywriter once.
This seems like false economy to me.
When it comes to the print branch of your integrated marketing strategy tree, excellent copywriting is essential. Especially when it comes to the headline. Copywriting for print is very different to writing for the web. It is a throw away piece.
You have one chance to be noticed, let alone impress, before you are compost.

If you still insist on writing advertisements yourself, I’m here to help for that too.

Inspired by David Ogilvy, here is my top 4 steps to actionable headlines:

1. The person you’re talking to should know it
Subtlety should be used…eh, subtly. Clarity is far more important.
Naming your target isn’t clever but will get better results, for example:
‘Dubliners: how to cut your tax bill in half’
‘Why kids need Parents who exercise’

2. We are all selfish. Say what the reader wants and why you matter
Knowing your audience is key.
They don’t know you. They possibly won’t even like you if they did. So what can you do for them?
They must have a problem you can solve.
Tell them the Who, What, Where, When, Why, or How of what you can do for them. Not just what you do.
Persona research should guide you through this process.

3. Leverage Your Brand, Your Partnerships, anything – everything.
80% of people only read the headline.
That means 80% of your marketing spend consumption is used up on the headline.
And that’s where a good portion of your effort should go to. Tell them what they need to know in the headline while still leaving them intrigued to read on.
If you sell or are partnered with a well known brand, mention it. If you’re the only place in Ireland that does this, mention it.
Essentially your headline is a mini elevator pitch.

4. Headlines should be positive, informative and independent.
Stay away from words like: no, don’t, never and nobody because when scanning your headline, some readers will misunderstand its intention.
As mentioned in step 3, your headline is a mini elevator pitch. This means that a reader should know everything they need to know after reading it. The body copy will give the details, but the concept should be in the headline.

It always amazes me that so many business owners choose to either write a print advert in house or trust the publication to do the work for them.
This is a one chance deal to gain new customers and your competitors often feature in the same publication. And it’s expensive too.
If you do decide to write advert copy yourself spend some time at it and follow the 4 steps above. Your bottom line will thank you for it.

I’ve used quite a  bland headline for this article can anybody improve it? Please comment below.

Thank you for reading.

image from besthostinngsearch

How Simple Can Advertising Be?

Original Marketing, Traditional Marketing

How hard can it be to create a quality marketing message…

Much effort involved?

Actually, yes. And quite a bit really.

Sure, we’ve all seen Mad Men. Drinking all day, popping out to the cinema when bored, to the bit-on-the-side when we’re feeling frisky… best job in the world we cry!

Add to that, many of us have heard the old chestnut: the creative process cannot be rushed’ – probably by some hipster type from the office upstairs as he stares at a tree for hours seeking inspiration. Infuriating yes, yet there really is more to it than that.

Marketing messages usually do appear simplistic. And in truth, creating that is the hardest part. 

Bord Bia for example are a prolific advertiser in Ireland and have enjoyed much success. Their communications often seem subdued, if emotive, and have proved reasonably effective. Here’s an example of a ham and bacon TV advert:

It’s a beautiful ad. Makes me proud to be Irish. I’m sure the tourism board love it too. How wholesome we are etc…

The “star of a million sandwiches” line is superb, inspired even.

The ad as a whole, all 30 seconds of it, is hardly memorable though. Talk yourself through the when, where and what of the ad without watching it back…

That’s what I thought. Same thing happened to me. Ham, fields, guy with a beard.

simple advertising, advertising bacon meme

Future Bord Bia Advert…?

I’m sure a lot of work went into that marketing communication, but talk about playing it safe…

That’s right, it probably wasn’t as simple as it looked. In fact I’m sure it wasn’t. And that’s the trouble with generic marketing from a governing body responsible for a whole industry – they’re too worried about upsetting somebody.

As a business owner you won’t make this mistake… Put it on the line. Or don’t. But do something original.

Sometimes you need to upset the status quo, to rock the boat a little.

Sometimes it takes more genius, especially in Ireland, to have the craic and not take ourselves too seriously. Give the public something they’ll really enjoy while staying true to your brand.

I can’t get enough of the comic masterpieces Bloom and Rocket Science Productions have created for Brady’s Family ham.

Below is one of my favorites, and, as an Irish man, I know the cultural note rings truer here… (at least ham-wise)

Spoiler Alert: The following advertisement may seem familiar to some viewers.

Now I’m not saying this advert is simple, but the concept is. It works really well in building awareness and attraction for, let’s face it, an otherwise dull product.

So next time you struggle to generate a buzz around your product, think ham.

I have and I’m off to make a sandwich.

Thank you for reading.

image from gentlemint