Marketing comfort zone, public speaking, marketing confidence

He Left His Marketing Comfort Zone

integrated marketing communication

We all have our comfort zones. We have them in many different areas of our lives.

I personally don’t like public speaking. At all.

I hate it in fact.

I flee from it whenever I can.

Although I am a marketer, I am definitely not a PR guy.

I do recognise that this is a problem however and I am working on it. I’m always working on myself in some way.

In my current search for self improvement I’ve come across a guy that’s been where many of us have been, or are today. He’s no guru, positive psychology drum banger or special case.

Actually, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, he’s nothing special. It’s actually a bit random that I even watched his video all the way through. I just recognised a normal guy, doing his best and telling it like it is.

He’s a web-marketer with what seems to be his own small agency and in this video he’s speaking from the heart.

It’s rare to hear somebody so genuine these days and I just found this so very refreshing I had to share it:

Thank you for reading.

image from freeimages

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

content marketing, content marketing strategy, Good content marketing for small business, copywriting content

How The Little Guy Wins With Content Marketing

Copywriting, Digital Marketing

I’ve just read a fascinating article by Sujan Patel and thought I should share it here.

He says while most small or new businesses can only dream about having TV advertisements, a good content strategy can level the marketing playing field. He then gives ten interesting examples of businesses that got this very right.

Well worth a read, click on the image below.

content marketing strategy, small business digital marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing

Small business content marketing

Thank you for reading.

image from freeimages

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

usability heuristics, web design, digital marketing

10 Heuristics For Usability and Happy Website Visitors

Digital Marketing

From a marketing perspective, good web design equals usability plus persuasion. It’s about how users behave versus how we’d like them to behave.

Jacob Nielsen has been called the smartest man on the web. He holds 79 U.S. Patents in the area of usability in web interface design. When he speaks the online community listens.

His 10 Heuristics of User Interface Design are widely regarded as the holy grail when it comes to understanding how people interact with machines and are used to perform usability audits world-wide.

A website Usability Audit tests the usability, efficiency and effectiveness of a website by checking it against Neilsen’s 10 heuristics (rules of thumb). Read on for an explanation of each usability heuristic:

1. Visibility of System Status
The user should always know what is happening, when it’s happening and understand it intuitively.
For example: If something is loading, display a loading icon, or show a progress bar if the user is working through a process like filling out a survey.

2. Match Between System and the Real World
Speak to the user in plain English (if that’s what they speak). Don’t use any unnecessary jargon, they won’t be impressed, they can go elsewhere in a click to get what they need.
Organise information as it would be in the real world, think logically. This will make your site feel familiar and comfortable.

3. User Control and Freedom
Web users are used to navigating around the web unrestricted. They often navigate to pages or functions by accident and expect to return to where they were immediately. The user must feel in control or they will leave the site at the slightest sign of difficulty.
Provide a clear back-arrow as a form of emergency exit and support undo and redo functions.

4. Consistency and Standards
Yours isn’t the first website your users have visited. Follow standard practice where possible.
Creative, beautifully designed buttons for ‘play’, ‘next’ and ’email’ are useless if the user has to think about them for more than a split second. Familiar is best.

5. Error Prevention
Ever wondered why a filing cabinet won’t let you open the top two drawers together? It’s to stop it falling over. This form of error prevention is called a poka-yoke.
Preventing a website user from making an error is far better than trying to fix it later.
Insert poka-yokes into your website for fewer frustrated visitors.
For Example: If creating an account password on your site needs 8 spaces, a capital letter and a number – tell the user if they haven’t done this straight away.
Don’t wait for them to fill in the whole form, click submit and then have to go through it all again.

6. Recognition Rather Than Recall
Don’t expect users to retain any special information from your site.
Use obvious icons and prompts he already knows. If he has entered information on a different page that he may need again provide a direct route back.

7. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use
The novice and expert will use your system very differently. Short cuts, or accelerators, help expert users to navigate a website faster.
For example: an experienced user may know exactly where to find what he’s looking for in your information architecture, while the novice may prefer a search function.
This principle is perhaps more clearly explained through keyboard short cuts in a software application like Photoshop or Word. The novice will get along fine using the mouse to point and click, while an expert will use keyboard short cuts to instantly pull up the tools he needs.

8. Aesthetic and Minimalist Design
This is self explanatory. Using too many widgets and buttons on a web page can dilute the users attention, distracting him from from the call to action or successful navigation.
While the website should be visually pleasing, a busy design or background image for example can be distracting.

9. Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover from Errors
Deliver messages about errors in plain English rather than a code they don’t understand.
For example: If a user enters his whole address on the first address line of a form, the error message should read:
Please enter your address as follows:
Line 1: Street
Line 2: town etc
Again, it is better to avoid this where possible as outlined in heuristic 5.

10. Help and Documentation
As web systems become more advanced, it is less common for a user to need any help or documentation.
However if your site asks the user to perform a complex undertaking (like Dell) or offers a software product (like anti-virus) your user may need further assistance to carry out his task.
The help section should be easy to search and understand and it should open in a separate window. Customer service chat boxes are also becoming very common and fit this heuristic perfectly.

I hope you found the above helpful.

The following video will further explain Nielsen’s 10 Heuristics:

Thank you for reading.

Google panda, Google search, seo, digital marketing

How Google Works 2016

Digital Marketing

Ok, so the title may be slightly misleading. Nobody knows exactly how Google works. It’s constantly evolving. Especially the Panda algorithm. 

Content is still king though (always will be), duplication is still frowned upon and mobile optimisation is still a must.

Focus your efforts on creating original, useful content with your user in mind. You don’t need to worry about search engine optimisation until you have something to optimise.

That said, the infographic below will help you figure out how best to get your content seen by your target market in 2016.

how google works 2016, SEO 2016, search engine marketing, 2016 search marketing, digital marketing

how search works 2016 seobook

Thank you for reading.

you tube marketing popcorn

Top 10 You Tube Campaign Ideas

Digital Marketing, Original Marketing

If like me you spend a lot of time watching videos online and aren’t particularly fond of things like cats and make-up tutorials, you may have seen some of these videos.

If not, you’re in for a treat and who knows, maybe something here will inspire you in your own marketing.

There is no set criteria for awarding places on this list. I have just picked videos that have held my interest, remained in my memory and inspired me as a marketer.

Yes, they are just the ones I liked.

I’m fickle like that sometimes.

10. The Human curl

Coming in at number ten is Bic’s human Curl. Bic had fun demonstrating the qualities of their product in this one and have had 3.2 million views as a result.

9. Dumb ways to die

This is possibly the most successful public services announcement of all time. It was made by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia and, as it has had over 127 million views, I think they’ve gotten their message across.

8. Interactive Zombie Movie Adventure

Hell Pizza New Zealand have put over 12 million viewers through their interactive zombie movie / pizza advert. Hugely original and great fun. Probably not for the very young however.

7. The Evolution of beauty

This may seem like a strange entrant to the list but I think Dove have tried to do something important here. The video had 2 million views in the first two weeks after posting.

6. Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

This one has almost 66 million views and rightfully so. It is awesome. The reason it’s not higher up the list is that it’s promoting the release of the Carrie film in New York. This means they had the talent, cash and know-how already at hand to pull it off without a hitch.

5. Push Button To Add Drama

I love this one. I’d love to find that button myself. The TNT drama TV station provided a real treat for over 54 million Youtubers with this one. It was used to launch the station in Belgium.

4. Christmas Miracle: Real Time Giving

West Jet’s hugely successful video is the most sentimental video on the list by far. I defy you not to smile while watching this. It’s created almost 45million viewers, and a handful of happy flyers too.

3. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Anybody who has ever watched Youtube has been wondering when the ‘Old Spice Guy’ was going to make his appearance. And in truth, most lists like this will have him in first place.

The campaign has completely turned around a brand that had attracted the dreaded ‘old guy product’ tag. This video alone has over 52 million views. Over a million of them may be mine…

2. Will It Blend

Blendtec finish in a well deserved second place because they have shown marketers everywhere that any product is capable of creating a viral marketing buzz.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this works so well, but I’ve watched many of their videos more than once. If a company that makes plain looking blenders can generate 10s of millions of views without any budget to speak of, what’s your excuse?

1. These Blades Are F***ing Great

The Dollar Shave Club video series has it all.

This start up went truly viral after it’s first video, allowing the business to grow and grow. I’ve posted the original video along with the follow up and an interview with Dollar Shave club CEO Michael Dubin.

On the back of releasing the first video the company has over 1.7 million product subscribers, has raised $50 million in capital and has developed a range of products.

And to answer the question on everyone’s lips…

Yes, they can supply luxury butt wipes. Enjoy. (the video that is).

If anybody has any favorites not on the list I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.

Thank you for reading.

image from freeimages

shocked by marketing

Proof Marketing Can’t Perform Miracles

Original Marketing

Don’t you just love America?

Land of the free, land of the brave and home of the infomercial.

I’ve seen some ill conceived contraptions in my time but this top ten list of marketing mishaps by is on a whole other level.

How some of these items made it to market is beyond me. As for the poor souls tasked with the job of marketing this junk… I have no words.

Be advised, I’m purposely posting this video as far away from any gift giving holidays as possible. My conscience couldn’t take it if I was responsible for a reader actually buying somebody one of these things.

image from freeimages

copywriting audience, marketing audience, target audience, audience persona

DIY Copywriting: Know Your Audience

Copywriting, Original Marketing

Recently a business owner friend of mine asked me to have a look at the newspaper ad he’d been running.

“It’s nice”, I said cautiously,  “except… it’s not clear on exactly what you sell, the benefits you provide, why people should visit or even who it is you’re talking to”.

Ah sure it’s just to get my name out there somehow. None of my customers probably even read that paper anyway”, he abruptly replied.

When my eyes returned from the heavens, I asked him to put the kettle on. This would take a while.

You can’t hit a target that you can’t see.

Why do so many companies send out the same marketing messages month after month not knowing exactly who they’re aiming at?

Every business has an ideal customer. Or at least an ideal customer type. If you’re not clear on who that is, you’re doing one of two things no business can afford to do. Either you’re spending more than you need to on marketing, or you’re not attracting enough customers.

Do not despair.

Understanding your customer properly may take some time and effort but you’ll be glad you took that time.

Start by creating 3 – 5 customer personas, depending on the type of product or service you sell. This will inform you on how best to speak to them and what they need to hear. As this is a DIY article I won’t go into advanced research methods, for now common sense will do.

Ask yourself, your colleagues and even existing customers to help you answer the following questions for each persona:

How old are they? Are they married, working or staying home with the kids?

Where do they live? Are they educated? Do they drive or use public transport?

What’s the household income? What’s important to them: quality, price or style? Are they on social media? What paper or magazine do they read?

What are they like? Where do they go and with whom? What are they into?

How busy are they? How can your company improve their situation?

I could go on but you get the point. With further research you can find out how many of these people actually exist, essentially learning the true size of your market. For now though we’ll concentrate on who they are. Get to it.

If you’ve answered most of the above I have great news.

By now you’ll have begun to understand which channels they’re most likely to come into contact with your message through.

And you’ll have an idea what tone, images and benefits they’ll respond to best. And, maybe more importantly, which ones they won’t.

To illustrate this point, watch the following two videos and try to reverse engineer Dove’s persona building process. Dove is selling what is basically the same product here but to two different personas.


I think it’s a fantastic example. And I love the moisturising technology and unloved armpit concepts.

They’re both fun adverts. Both selling basically the same product but in different packaging. Their personas are probably identical in many ways – salary, lifestyle and education, but the approaches needed to reach men and women are poles apart.

Using what we’ve discussed here today will make a huge difference to your marketing and advertising results. This process can be time consuming and many businesses will hire a marketer to do everything for them. Whether you’re spending time or money though, the process will ultimately pay for itself.

Thank you for reading.

image from freeimages


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