Words, words, words.
What impact do they really have, right? Well… it turns out a lot. Over 80% of your marketing communications are, or come from words!
Blogs. Scripts. Website pages. Core messaging. Social media captions. Emails – and the list goes on.
But it’s easy for businesses to take their copy for granted. Industries change and customers shift, however brands often forget to evolve their wording and messages along with this.
These words are what your customers see every day – so, what are they reading? What are you giving them to read?
Let’s discuss why it’s important to never neglect the words behind your brand, especially now.
What should people do after they’ve read, watched or listened to your content?
Are you providing them direction?
A “Call to Action”, or CTA, is the powerful (and essential) part of your content which guides your audience to proceed to the next step – whether that’s signing up, booking an appointment, contacting you or whatever else your goal is.
The success of your marketing conversion rates lie in your Call To Action’s effectiveness, so you must place the appropriate Call to Action to show your audience the way forward.
To help you craft the perfect Call to Action in your marketing, we prepared the essential CTA stuff you need to know about it.
What makes novels more interesting, while lectures are generally boring?
Why is a blog post different from an information page, even if they talk about the same topic? How do some brands captivate more audience than the others?
The answer lies in a good story.
Storytelling conveys messages in interesting and humanistic ways. It’s more than just providing facts - it creates value by connecting deeply with the audience’s emotions and personal experiences.
Here’s how to use storytelling copywriting as a powerful tool to build and strengthen your brand in the hearts and minds of your audience.
Have you been considering bringing on a freelance copywriter to help you with your brand messaging and content marketing? We’re a really good option to help you in so many ways.
But you’re probably wondering: what does a copywriter do? How does a copywriter work with you?
Well – wonder no more.
I’m here to explain what a copywriter’s duties are and how to get the best outcome together.
Copywriting is just words, right?
Nope! You can’t define copywriting as a task that only involves re-arranging words to make sense of a certain topic.
Because copywriting is more than typing letters on a screen or writing sentences on paper. Just like graphic design isn’t simply colouring in and videography isn’t just shooting footage on your phone – professional copywriting goes beyond producing ‘word-filler’ within your marketing.
By creating carefully written content with well thought out messages designed to target a specific audience, you offer valuable information, evoke emotion and persuade people to act.
Powerful stuff! Copywriting can help your business in ways you may not even expect.
To help, here’s why copywriting is more than words.
There’s a common misconception today about what copywriting is.
Or more specifically, how it differs from simply writing well in proper English.
Sure – a copywriter must use the written form of a language correctly, with the right grammar and spelling.
But copywriting is so much more than just writing well.
In fact, if you’re using a copywriter to just check spelling and grammar, you actually need an editor (or you’re not using your copywriter to their full potential).
In today’s content marketing era where your customers DEMAND content from you, copywriters have never been more important for businesses.
However, you can’t get the most value out of a copywriter without understanding how the profession works first.
Here are the common copywriting myths and the truth to set the record straight – as well as how you can get the most benefit from professional copywriting services.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a significant part of Marketing Strategy for businesses today.
But with voice search and audio content on the rise, people are changing the way they search; and so are the search engines. One thing is driving the solution to this is voice search copywriting.
Here’s how voice search is changing SEO and what you need to do to prepare.
That’s the experience like working with a copywriter?
It’s a common question that business professionals ask when they decide they need help with their content writing, but just don’t have the time or the expertise to do it themselves.
“I want to appoint a copywriter, but I have no idea what do expect.”
Most people know of copywriters and may even know that they need one, but are curious about what it’s like working with a copywriter.
So, let’s explain the process of working with a copywriter and what’s in store.
If you’re a modern business looking to reach and engage your audience, and have them actually care, then you’re probably familiar with inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is a far more effective approach today than other forms of direct advertising because it builds stronger relationships between you and your precious customers by offering informative and relevant content, at a time when they’re actually interested.
However, what often gets forgotten is that this content needs to be written by professional copywriters! Copywriting fuels inbound marketing because the process relies on written resources to be successful.
Here’s why and how inbound marketing needs copywriting.
Part Eight: Distribution
Distribution is the fourth element in the marketing mix, dubbed as ‘Place’. Basically, it is everything involved with making the product offering available to the market. An organisation is faced with many options to get the product within reach of the consumer and that can be either through a channel or direct to market. Having distributors makes economic sense in certain contexts, however the organisation needs to trust the channel by giving up a lot of control.
Today, distribution channels are getting shorter and shorter with technology, which has been called ‘disintermediation’. This basically means it is becoming easier to ‘cut out the middle man to increase profits, maintain greater control and give the organisation direct contact with the customer.
The Strategic Value of Channels
In a more general sense, an organisation can usually cover the information, promotion, contact, matching and negotiation activities of a transaction, however the physical distribution can often be outside the scope and therefore outsourced by the organisation, especially when in the form of a physical good.
Intermediaries specialise in the essential distribution duties and can also offer value-add services like storage and warranty support, so often, it makes strategic and financial sense for, for example, a manufacturing organisation to enlist the partnership of such intermediaries to complete the channel flow, so they can focus on what they do more effective and efficiently.
The issue is, intermediaries are starting to gain a lot of power given that the other organisation relies so heavily upon them to make any sales at all. They can make all kinds of demands and then threaten to stop supplying the market the organisation’s product should they not comply.
This is why some organisations attempt to shift the power using VMS, Vertical Marketing Systems.
Vertical Marketing Systems (VMS)
A VMS is where one part of the channel either purchases or sets-up their own distribution channel or intermediary in order to by-pass powerful distributors and do it themselves. The obvious advantage is that power goes to the original organisation and they have far greater control over the whole channel, even if they use their own and use another distributor, as diluting the stage means that the powerful intermediaries lose their monopolistic power.
The problem with a VMS is that it can be risky and costly to do as the organisation needs to learn to be a good distributor and retailer as well as a manufacturer. There is little use in setting up a VMS if the newly opened intermediaries do not have the right contacts or skill set to really compete with a specialised one.
Apart from a straight VMS, there are two other slightly different VMS models. The first is a contractual VMS, where another intermediary is not technically owned, however they are contractually secured by the other organisation, such as what is done in franchising. The other is a weaker administrative VMS, where an intermediary is not technically owned or contracted to the other organisation, however both organisations work together as partners.
The Intermediary Focus
Whilst this topic can become focused on the manufacturer as the only central focus of a distribution channel, the intermediaries are large players in the channel themselves. There are several intermediaries that have become very successful simply by finding manufacturers in a localised area and simply brought them together in one unified distribution model, creating a symbiotic relationship. An example is a meal delivery service, where the service promotes all of the food and the delivery to the customer, the customer orders through them, and then the meal delivery service places orders with local restaurants and delivers the food.
Influences on Channel Strategy
The strategy an organisation chooses is impacted by both external and internal factors. Internal factors include the organisation’s strategy, goals, objectives, resources, skillset, control and marketing mix. External factors include customers, the market environment, competitors and intermediaries.
As is normal from a marketing focus, the key is to keep customers as a focus for all activities. Therefore, considerations such as what benefits they’re seeking, what channels will provide the best access, which distribution strategy will position the product as the most appealing to them, and so on.
This is a very popular trend in modern distribution strategy and is extremely popular with consumers. There are a few factors to impact on this type of distribution:
- Certain taxes can be avoided
- Legislation and consumer protection
- Loss of physical store jobs
- Government focusing on internet legislation and internet services (such as the NBN)
- Globalisation of economies and markets
- Increased competition as physical restrictions are removed
- Currency exchange rates
- More informed, price conscious consumers
- Access to foreign products
- Cost advantages due to competitive pricing
- Social media has become a norm in society
- Other demographics are becoming more involved
- Socially acceptable to be thrifty
- Time poor customers have a need for convenience
- More accepting and tech savvy demographics
- Self-image is important, so customers can easily share their purchases online
- Easier for all organisations to use and take advantage of
- Increase in accessibility
- Increased security on technology which increases buyer confidence
- More devices to access online shopping
- Big Data allows customers to be better catered to
- More advanced software to assist all stakeholders
- The shortening of the supply chain could reduce environmental impact
- Less need for bricks and mortar stores
- Customers are more environmentally aware
- Less physical distance, reducing barriers to access
There are three main classifications of channel densities.
(1) Zero Level: where the manufacturer goes straight to the consumer direct, such as Dell computers.
(2) One level: where there is only one intermediary in between the manufacturer and customer, such as book sellers and Amazon.
(3) Multilevel: where there are many intermediaries, such as wholesalers and retailers between the manufacturer and consumers. In a multilevel channel, the producer can sell in one straight line (i.e.: one wholesaler and then on to one retailer, then the customer) or through many different intermediaries in different industries (such as agents).
Distribution intensity refers to all strategies an organisation has for getting product through the channel.
(1) Intensive distribution
Where an organisation sends their product through a large variety of intermediaries, channels and stores for maximum access to the market. This type is mainly for simple, inexpensive and easily transportable products that tend to be repeat or impulse buys, given the consumer as much exposure and therefore opportunity for purchase as possible.
Typically, products that are intensively distributed are heavily promoted with low cost and high turn-over. The quality can also be average or low in general.
(2) Selective distribution
Where the organisation is slightly more selective about which channels they chose so as to not cut off all access to customers, but be more selective to give the product a different positioning to a commodity product. This is for products, such as specialty retailers and branded stores, that are more on the specialty or higher end, and therefore restrict certain levels of access to create an aura of quality or provide more intimate customer service.
(3) Exclusive distribution
Where an organisation has a very low number of channels and outlets. This is a very restricted distribution strategy for very high-end, high involvement products and give the perception of exclusivity and uniqueness.
Typically, products that are selectively or exclusively distributed are promoted exclusively, are priced high and the consumer will specifically seek the product as the quality and value is high.
All three distribution types position the product differently in the eyes of the consumer, hence why the channel strategy selected must be consistent with the marketing plan. Obviously this varies with product and industry type.
There are also two types of alternative strategies to the above to increase the flow of the distribution channel:
(1) Pull strategy: the organisation advertises and conducts marketing efforts directly to the end consumer at the end of the channel, which increases their demand, ‘pulling’ products through the channel. To do this, the distribution must be so there is enough access provided for consumers to get the maximum effect.
Such marketing efforts, besides straight promotion, could include free samples, trials, coupons, financing, discounts, specials and so on. Usually, these are quite successful as, being normal fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), a consumer will tend to take advantage of these types of bargains.
(2) Push strategy: when the organisation advertises and conducts marketing efforts directly at other intermediaries within the channel to encourage their demand, ‘pushing’ products through the channel.
Marketing efforts in a push strategy involve incentivising intermediaries so as to encourage their demand, such as benefits to their sales forces, bulk discounts, financing and negotiation on marketing efforts to the end consumer.
Pricing and customer value are closely linked. Basically stated, the value a customer places in a product and brand is indicated by how much they are willing to give up, usually in the form of money. The price is the monetary value set by an organisation at a level they believe is worthy of their offering. However, if a customer wants a product, but the price is too high, their value analysis of the trade is lower than the price set and they won’t make a trade.
This ‘trade’ for a customer, which is the price set from the perspective of the organisation, comes in many forms, such as rent, tuition, fees, fares, tolls, premiums, commissions, incentives and even bribes. Price is the only element of the marketing mix that produces an income for an organisation in the form of revenue. It is the one part of the marketing mix that is the easiest to adjust quickly, which is as to why organisations often opt to that element to spur a customer response to their offering, over changing the product itself, its promotion, people or distribution methods.
Bribes may be illegal in certain countries and acceptable in others, however in the illegal countries, it may be classed as other things, such as perks and added bonuses.
Who Sets the Price?
It is a typical accounting argument, where an accounting department of an organisation may believe it is their responsibility given that pricing involves monetary terms. This would be all well-and-good if the price was a simple recuperation of costs for the organisation. However, it is not that simple: pricing of a product speaks volumes to consumers.
This is why the task of setting price is with the marketing department: as the consumer receives a whole lot of messaging from the setting of the price alone. It signals to a customer what positioning and image the brand and product has. If it is expensive, often consumers will use it as a surrogate indicator for a judge of quality. This is most common in the wine industry, where higher priced wines are often thought of immediately as better in consumption.
Therefore, marketing manage the price setting tasks as it indicates much more than simply cost plus profit. It isn’t a simple equation- it takes the department familiar with communicating with the target audience, as price is just another communication stream.
Price and Demand
As can be expected, the price of a particular product directly impacts on the amount of demand it receives from customers. The actual relationship is known as the economic term of price elasticity. Whilst in reality, nothing works as simply as economic models suggest, in general, a product with a high price elasticity of demand means that a change in price results in a large, corresponding change in quantity purchased. Luxury and nonessential products tend to be within this category, as a large price increase will greatly drop demand, and visa-versa.
A low price elasticity of demand means that a change in price will not greatly affect demand shifts- this is known as inelastic demand. Less substitutable products and essentials full into these categories as, within reason, when price shifts, consumers still require them.
A more realistic approach to price and demand prediction is more toward the idea of pricing points. For example, if the price is high and quantity is purchased for a luxury brand, and the price is suddenly dropped, initially, the demand would increase as consumers believe there is more value. However dropping the price further may then decrease demand, as consumers start to feel that the luxury brand is losing its exclusivity. This makes demand fall.
All of these types of factors must be taken into account by the marketing department when setting price of their products.
The Pricing Phenomena
As much as economic theory attempts to assume that consumers are rational, they just aren’t when it comes to purchasing. The perceptions of value and price given by an individual consumer is so unpredictable that it takes the function of marketing research to really delve into why consumers think and act as they do.
Take, for example, bridal products. Large organisations over charge for pretty much everything to do with ‘the big day’, however the consumer is more than willing to pay as it’s more of an emotional purchase rather than a rational, ‘utility maximisation’ purchase. A bride doesn’t want a cheaper product, even if it is the same as an expensive version, as they value feeling expensive and exclusive and therefore justify the high prices.
Pricing as an Information Cue
As discussed before, price can be used as a surrogate indicator of quality, even if it’s not true. In the customers mind, higher price raises expectations as the amount they have to trade for it is high. There are two associated pricing techniques relevant to pricing as a communicative device:
(1) Price Skimming- this refers to setting the price very high, thus skimming the very top of the market’s customers. This creates an aura of prestige and/or technologically advanced status and is a good way to recuperate research and development costs, control initial demand and supply and generate high profit. However the product must justify this image if this technique is used.
(2) Price Penetration- this is when a product’s price is set very low to attract high quantities of sales and obtain large uptake in the market before a competitor.
(3) Yield Pricing- setting the pricing to manage exact quantities of purchasing. For example, if stock is perishable, the price may be discounted to increase numbers and then when supply is short, the price rises to manage this.
(4) Volume Pricing- setting a price to ensure high sale/bulk volume purchasing over profit per unit.
(5) Loss Leader- Pricing at a loss per unit to encourage impulse, related purchasing of other products in the same offering.
Pricing strategy all depends on the organisation’s justification and rationalisation of all aspects of their marketing strategy.
Pricing and the Psychology Of Consumption
There is a directly psychological relation between pricing/cost and the consumption rationale of a consumer. Most organisations do not draw attention to the price as it represents a cost to the consumer, and they would much rather the consumer benefit from the product’s value rather than them dwelling on how much they paid for it. This makes sense. This is why some organisations offer upfront bulk payments, season passes, bundling and so on.
However, as mentioned previously, consumers aren’t always rationale and sometimes, the constant reminder of cost is motivating for them. Basically, a consumer who doesn’t utilise their purchase will actively make a decision to not rebuy it. This means that charging upfront could make the consumer forget about the product (e.g.: a gym membership), and once they forget, they will not justify a repurchase, however smaller costs more regularly are more manageable in a consumer’s mind and the constant reminder stimulates motivation for consumption, and therefore repeat purchase.
It all depends on the organisation’s product offering and pricing strategy as to what approach they take.
Internal Pricing Factors: Objective Based
There are different types of objectives of consideration when setting a price, aiming to achieve a particular goal.
These are strictly about monetary goals, such as setting price to achieve a gross profit margin of 23%, or Return On Investment (ROI) by 12% this year.
These revolve around market and consumer focused goals, such as increasing market share, gaining more consumer awareness or increasing brand loyalty.
Pricing is set by the organisation based on managing a societal rationale. For example, adding into the cost a donation to charity, or carbon offsetting.
Internal Pricing Factors: The Marketing Mix
Does the marketing plan and current marketing mix support the proposed price? In other words, is the price set consistent with the expectations a consumer would have given the rest of the product’s attributes. The price must be reasonably consistent and in context with the product’s design, process, distribution, people, reputation, brand and positioning.
Internal Pricing Factors: The Market Classification
Pricing is also very subject to the type of market the product exists in. In a monopoly, there is only one offering organisation, so excusing government regulation, pricing can be set at whatever they wish. In an oligopoly, where there are a two to five large main players in the market, the strategy tends to be a lead and follow pricing strategy, basing price off the movements of the main competitors.
In a perfect competition market, where the product is an identical commodity, the price solely depends on the supply and demand of the time.
In a monopolistic competitive market, which is the typically normal market where many organisations are within a market offering substitutable yet differentiated products, pricing is set based more on each organisation’s marketing plan.
Internal Pricing Factors: Organisational Considerations
Naturally, the management within an organisation decides who best to set the prices of all the elements within the product offering- this is known as the pricing process. Typically, in smaller organisations, price is usually set by management but in larger organisations, it is set by product managers within the marketing team. The most important part is that the person or people that set the price must have well informed insights into the customer and their perception of value.
Revisiting the Concept of Customer Value
Remember that customer value is total benefits over the total costs. Costs include a lot of pricing, such as the initial purchase price, maintenance and repair costs, ongoing fees, installation, training, financing and so on.
The benefits of the product, such as performance, features and quality must outweigh all of the prices and costs to be worth the value to the customer.
Approaches to Pricing
There are three main approaches to setting a price.
Basing the pricing barriers (such as the price floor- the lowest possible price), on how much the product costs to produce. Generally, if fixed costs are quite high, a part of the price is set lower to maximise volume sold. If variable costs are high, price can be set to maximise the per unit margin.
The issue, again, is that this pricing is based on internal measures, rather than on the target market, and could communicate the incorrect message to them. Still, the cost-based approach can be a background consideration.
As the name suggests, this is basing it on however the competition prices and differentiating a product based on their pricing strategy. However this assumes that the competitor has a good grasp on the target market.
This approach bases costs on what level of value the target market places on the product itself. Then, the organisation can employ a price skimming strategy (pricing at the top value), price penetration (pricing at the lowest value) or somewhere in between. This requires a bit of research to discover what attributes and expectations the customer values the most and pricing it on this.
In reality, there should be a blend of the approaches. The price ceiling (or the price point at which demand becomes zero) should be set at the top, and the price floor (or the price point at which profit becomes zero) should be established first. The Price ceiling represents customer perception of value and the price floor represents the consideration for product cost.
The price is then set in the middle, in between these points, with all factors such as marketing strategy, objectives, competitors and market place factors taken into consideration here to find the ideal price.
The Value Based Approach
Basing pricing strategy on the target market is an obvious choice, given the impact price has in communicating with the target market. Through starting with the customer’s value and working backward, a price can be settled on that will allow an organisation to best maximise the price per segment and manage customer value perceptions.
The Gift Economy
With technology increasing so rapidly, a ‘gift-economy’ also referred to often as a ‘free-love’ economy has emerged. This is where an organisation offers their main product as free and finds another solid revenue stream to gain profit from. Search engines are a good example of this, where the search function is free, but the google adword service and other advertisements and services are paid for.
The issue with this is the consumers lose the perception of value when products, such as music and news) are available for free, online. This shift in mind-set is a rapid game changer for a lot of organisations as consumers start to question why they are paying for specific products. For example, years ago, customers would purchase a newspaper, because they saw the value as worth the money, however today, when news is so rapidly available online, they can no longer justify paying for it.
Today, organisations are creating business models where the consumer doesn’t pay and then charges associated organisations for their access to these customers, such as YouTube or social media advertising.
This has the risk of becoming so extreme that it may get to a point where organisations will pay or reward the customer to use their product, rather the other way around, just to give them access to the customer to sell this onto other organisations for profit.
However, there is a predicted limit with this as over-exposure to secondary ads and the other revenue-gaining ‘add-ons’ will render them ineffective and these secondary organisations will avoid these business models.
This relates to the new pricing technique known as ‘freemium’. A freemium is when an organisation gives the basic level product to the consumer for free and then charges for the premium use of it. This is very evident in free phone apps on smart phones, where the basic app is free to download and use, however the customer must pay to get the ad-free version or open up all of the service for them to use.
A pricing technique where the main product is free or extremely discounted, however then the customer must purchase an expensive associated product to utilise the main product. An example of this is office printers, where the printer is given for free, and the customer has to purchase the paper and print ink off the printer’s organisation.
How Can Melotti Media Copywriting Help You?
To engage your customer and achieve ongoing business success today, you need quality copywriting and consistent content. However, we understand that this is easier said than done.
You’re time poor and spread thin, and writing isn’t your expertise. So, focus on what really matters, while we take care of all of your copywriting and content marketing needs!
For more information or to speak to a quality copywriter to get the results you’re business deserves, contact me now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can sharpen your words to achieve your goals, today!
Melotti Media Copywriting and Marketing Solutions
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Your brand is one of the most valuable elements of your business.
Your brand establishes your tone and identity in the marketplace, and is a key factor in differentiating you from your competitors.
Therefore, it's important to get it right so that it resonates with customers and helps you develop positive and ongoing relationships with them.
With this in mind, let's get back to basics and discuss everything to do with branding.
Welcome to "Brand 101" - A marketing introduction.
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