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Emma Cottle

Lazy language – the cardinal sin of copywriting

MarketingEmma CottleComment

It has never been easier to communicate with your customers online, but with the proliferation of social media and blogs has come a number of bad copywriting habits. Do you fall into any of these common copywriting traps? 

Why use direct mail in the 21st century?

Strategy, MarketingEmma Cottle

 

There has been a seismic shift towards digital in marketing communications over the last few years, and we often find ourselves telling dubious clients that direct mail is still a very good option to promote their business. 

This recent study by Proactive Marketing found that 70% of consumers feel like they receive too many emails – which, when we think about it, is something we can probably all empathise with. InfoTrends found that 66% of direct mail is opened – and 86% of direct mail is read for a minute or more, compared to an average 11.1 seconds for email.

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider Direct Mail:

1. It stands out and cuts through the clutter

In contrast to the daily deluge of emails into people’s inboxes, a carefully-targeted piece of direct mail can capture their attention. Once you have piqued the recipient’s interest with a visually pleasing and clearly branded letter, you are more likely to get your message across.

2. It’s more reliable and more likely to get a positive result

Direct mail response rates outperform digital channels by a long shot, as found in a recent study. Direct mail achieves a 3.7% response rate, whereas digital channels see a combined response rate of just 0.62%. It is a more expensive medium, but you can’t argue with those statistics.

3. It’s more personal

Email users are in a rush – they are checking their inboxes on their commute, whilst at lunch or before dinner. They don’t have time for emotions, and are only using a little of their headspace to absorb the content. Direct mail can provide readers with both space and time to absorb material in their own time. 84% of consumers reported that personalisation made them more likely to open a direct mail piece. 

4. You can integrate it

Using direct mail doesn’t mean that you have to use this medium in isolation – far from it. Research suggests that using more than one method increases effectiveness by 24% on average over using individual methods on their own.

Have we convinced you? If you’d like help creating compelling direct mail for your campaign, let us help you communicate your message. Call us today on 01392 423060.

The Best Times To Post On Social Media

Digital, MarketingEmma Cottle

You’ve created some exciting, relevant and audience-focussed content for your social media channels. Now, the big question – when should you schedule the posts for maximum impact?

We’ve read some of the latest studies into consumer behaviour to provide you with a recommended outline below – however, the best times to post on social media will vary depending on your target audience, platform and content. Our advice to clients is always test, test and test again. Also, if you’re as addicted to social media as we are, be conscious of the times that you are using each channel and this can also give you a guide on the best times to schedule posts – particularly if you fit within your target demographic.

LinkedIn
This B2B social network channel is targeted at professionals, so the best time to catch people on this channel is during the work week, when this target audience is most likely to be browsing LinkedIn. Studies have found that the morning commute, lunchtimes and the journey home from work are good times for posts, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Evenings and weekends are largely a no-go. So, ensure that your social media activity on LinkedIn reflects this.

Twitter
Twitter is hugely popular amongst mobile users, with people using it as a welcome distraction on breaks and on their commute. The optimum time for social media activity on Twitter is during the working week from 12 – 3pm and again from 5 when the working day is over. However, as Twitter is so popular and accessible, this is changeable and will depend on your target audience – so testing and variation of times is required for this platform, to find what works best for your organisation, audience and end goals.

Facebook
Facebook is a great channel for reaching the consumer audience, and it is also becoming increasingly popular as a B2B platform, recently surprisingly outranking LinkedIn and Twitter among B2B decision-makers. Advice varies, but generally the highest rates for engagement are on weekdays from 1 – 4pm, the best days being Wednesday and Thursday. Weekends are also a great time to post content, but an ideal time is harder to pinpoint. Another case for more testing here. Facebook is perhaps the most personable platform, allowing for emotional reactions and offering higher character allowances – so keep the content fun and engaging.

Tip: Use Facebook analytics to track your data and see when your audience is online.

Instagram
Fortune 500 companies overwhelmingly post photos on Instagram during business hours, with posts spiking between 3pm – 4pm. It is recommended that posts are scheduled during the working week, from 12pm to catch users checking their phones on their lunchbreaks, and then later in the day as they wind down and commute home.

Pinterest
Pinterest users are most active in the evening during weekends, and activity spikes on Saturdays from 8 – 11pm. The worst time for Pinterest is during working hours. Also, be aware that a staggering 80% of Pinterest users are female, and 90% of all posts are created/shared by women.

Happy posting!

What is Corporate Social Responsibility and how can it benefit your business?

StrategyEmma Cottle

More than ever, organisations are becoming aware of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and growing more confident in vocalising their own commitments that they have made to society – whether that is in the form of charity donations, changes they are making to help the environment or offering services free of charge. This has come after a shift in marketing which has evolved from product-based to consumer-based to value-based marketing.

First of all, what exactly is Corporate Social Responsibility?

It aims to ensure that companies conduct their business in a way that is ethical. This means taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact, and consideration of human rights. There has been increased pressure from employees, customers and government bodies for businesses to be more transparent about their activities and maintain acceptable standards in their business practice.

Communicating your CSR commitments improves brand trust and loyalty both internally and externally, as discovered by this study by Nielsen in 2014 – who found that 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries would be willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

There have been a couple of excellent examples of this recently. Dell have outlined their Legacy of Good Plan, which details 21 ambitious CSR goals that they intend to achieve by 2020. These include designing out waste and creating a more sustainable supply chain. By highlighting their strategy, Dell are evidencing their long term commitment to society and the environment at large – giving them an advantage over their competitors in a market that is increasingly aware of ethical credentials.

Another example of a great CSR strategy comes from L’Oreal Paris, who have partnered with Prince’s Trust to improve confidence among young people. L’Oreal Paris have evolved from their ‘Because I’m Worth It’ strapline, to ‘All Worth It’, echoing their commitment to boosting young people’s self worth. L’Oréal Paris will run confidence courses quarterly at each of the 18 Prince’s Trust centres, addressing issues such as body language, communication and employability.

These are examples from large organisations, but any commitment – however small – is valuable. Emailing receipts to cut down on paper use and raising funds for a nominated charity are a couple of easy examples of making a commitment to CSR. At McQueenie Mulholland, we have made a commitment to offer marketing support to charities and local organisations and participate in fundraising events.

If you’re struggling for inspiration on what you could do to make a difference to society, we can help. Give us a call today on 01392 423 060.

What content should you post on each social media channel?

Strategy, DigitalEmma Cottle

Social media acts as the voice for your brand, and is increasingly becoming the first port of call for potential customers doing their research into the product or service that you offer. After all, social media is free, instant and accessible to an engaged audience of potential customers.

You may have read our recent article on the best times to post on different social media channels. But what is the best way to communicate with these audiences? The answer is that it depends on which channel you are using. Although it may be tempting to duplicate content across all of your accounts, and upload identical posts in bulk – spending time curating your content for each platform will pay dividends – we promise.

However, there is one overriding rule – make it engaging. Think about the most engaging people you know. They are most likely 1) interesting, 2) attractive 3) the most engaged themselves. This also applies for your content.

Here are some tips for successful content on each platform:

 

Facebook

  • Your posts will perform better with photos – Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images

  • Organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos (13.9%) and photos (13.7%)

  • B2C marketers place greater importance on visual content than B2B marketers – making Facebook the perfect platform for more visual content

  • Using emoticons will get your post more likes

  • Question posts have twice the engagement of non-question posts

Twitter

  • Tweets including images and hashtags can double engagement

  • Tweets with image links get 2x the engagement rate of those without

  • As with Facebook, photos are more engaging for Twitter users

  • Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17% more engagement – but tweets with links perform the best with 120-130 characters

Instagram

  • Invest the time to create interesting images to increase engagement

  • Use hashtags and don’t be afraid to use a lot! Spend some time curating a list of relevant hashtags

  • Use images that support your brand’s voice and ethos

Pinterest

  • Try adding text to images to give each product some context

  • Write keyword-rich descriptions and boards

  • Always add a link to your pin descriptions

  • Don’t just show your product – show what you can do with your product

  • Share tips and inside knowledge

  • Tell your company’s story in pictures

LinkedIn

  • Each post should focus on a specific topic that highlights your unique expertise

  • Write interesting, attention grabbing headlines, which include industry keywords

  • Add pictures, videos and presentations to your post. As with other channels, visual posts will receive more engagement