School, the Germ Factory

So, it is common knowledge that schools have kids in them (seriously! They do!) And I think that we all know that kids have germs. Put those two things together and suddenly, you have mass produced illnesses. But, for these illnesses to take hold, you need something to carry it around. THE KIDS! It is a vicious cycle, folks.

Sending Hank to school was a scary prospect for us. We had seen his brother come home with everything under the sun during the first year and in turn, infect us like he was being paid to do it. And he was healthy! Hank’s compromised immune system has seen him more sick than healthy this year. We had never had the croup in the house until this year and now we’re up to three times. The flu once, cold after cold after cold. Right now, we have – what we think – is the stomach flu. Sleepless night and nothing staying in (and I stopped drinking caffeine?!? What is wrong with me?) coupled with being warm and floppy means another few days of sitting on the couch with the puke bucket.

Nesting with the Flu

Yes, I said it, the puke bucket. A trusty friend to flare ups, colds and whatever we are currently dealing with. I saw once, on one of my social media support group boards, that one common theme was the puke bucket. Nearly everyone had one. And I thought that we were so clever.

It is a glamorous life, the mother of an allergy kid. I would say and EOE kid, but, hey I think that everyone could use a puke bucket in their lives. OK, that was mean.

How do you avoid bringing these germs into the haven that is your home? This is what we do;

    • We enjoy a multitude of soaps at every sink. Take your pick! We have antibacterial liquid and foams, fancy homemade bar soaps and even a few tiny hotel styles from the Husband’s many adventures. I have noticed that sometimes a kid won’t wash their hands after the bathroom if you just have a plain container or a plain boring bar. Seriously. We’re finding fun here through the buffet of soaps.
      (A fave? These earth friendly soaps from ECOS)

  • We also utilize a complete housekeeping service here in our household. They come every day and focus on the entire house. Ok, it is me. I clean daily. When I first left my job, I experimented with making my own cleaning products. But now, I fall back on the convenient and premade manufactured brands that jam enough bleach into every wipe that they eliminate everything. I hate to think of all the illnesses that we are not getting because I walk around wiping everything down a few times a week.
  • Changing out furnace filters monthly is a basic household necessity, but it also allows for better air flow which help eliminate mold and dust.
  • Vacuuming everything. I hate this chore. HATE it. I hate lugging the vacuum through the house, but that feeling when I dump the canister is one breeching on victory.
  • Oh dear. Laundry. It is a never-ending cycle, but staying on top of sheets, shirts and those rando socks all over the house helps keep germs and sickness at bay.

Seriously, I am chuckling to myself right now. I am talking about all the cleaning and care that we do just to avoid illness when we have SOMETHING almost weekly.

Honestly, the best way to make it through the illnesses is to invest in a quality thermometer, many “trash” towels to clean up the never-ending puke and a beverage that helps rehydrate your sickos. For recipes on making your own, head over to Pinterest and see what you can find. For us, we’re lucky to be able to use Gatorade.

Do you have any suggestions that I haven’t thought of? Please, share them! Remember, you are a part of the family now.




Why You Need to Embrace Copywriting ROI

Most businesses understand the value of strong copywriting. Well-written content welcomes prospects to your website, conveys your brand voice and values, builds valuable relationships with your customers, and sells your products. Good content is more than just an add-on; it’s a necessity.

But when it comes to the return on investment (ROI), business owners can be at a loss. How do you measure the ROI of copywriting?

In the article below, we’ll be looking at not only why copywriting ROI is a concept you need to embrace, but also how copywriting ROI can be analyzed.

Recommended reading: 12 Ways to Nail Your Smart Goals This Year With Content

Testing and improving the success of your email copy

When it comes to copywriting ROI, email copy is a good place to start. With email copywriting, there are lots of things you can test and optimize.

You could send out two versions of the same email to different segments of your email list, varying details such as subject lines, and then test the open rates and the resulting sales. This is called split testing or A/B testing, and it’s a great way of optimizing your email campaign performance and increasing conversions. Many email marketing tools include this feature and automate a lot of the process and reporting for you so that you can analyze and improve your copy.

If you are spending money on a copywriter to write your emails, work out how much you are spending compared to how much money the emails make in sales to get a rough idea about the ROI. Of course, it’s not always that simple. If you get lots of initial sales but then people start unsubscribing because they don’t like the emails, has it really been worth it? And what if you are not selling via your emails but focusing more on relationship building? This is where things get a bit more confusing. However, there are ways to measure email content ROI; they will just vary depending on the focus of your email. Check out this useful post for more information.

Use Customer Feedback to Up Your Copy ROI

Customer feedback helps you to discover which elements of your site and marketing efforts are well-received and making a positive impact on your audience. It will also let you know which areas of your copy need improvement — such as parts that consumers find confusing or larger issues, such as copy tone that doesn’t resonate. Even general feelings that customers have toward your brand can be signs that your copy is not convincing customers or generating enough engagement.

There are various ways you can get this feedback: You can use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey, focus groups, social media feedback, or email questionnaires, to name a few. The important thing is that you act on the opinions of your customers; this is how you will improve your copywriting ROI and, ultimately, win over more of your market.

Consider Testing Different Copywriters

Another way to work out the ROI of your copy and improve it is to test various copywriters.

Let’s say you are running an AdWords campaign and you hire three different writers to create the ad copy. When you run the ads, you may find that one writer’s copy outperforms the others every time. It would usually make sense to keep working with that writer, but it also depends on their price. If they charge five times as much, you have to work out whether the return is worth it.

Cardinal Path has created a handy ad testing tool that may help you track ad copywriting ROI, but ad performance will also depend on segmentation and how you’ve set up your campaigns. Copy is just one part of it. Remember that any copy you use — whether it is on your website, in social media posts, or in emails — is supposed to represent your brand voice and tone. Ultimately, this will impact how people perceive your brand and whether they choose to use your business. A good copywriter who gets your brand voice spot on can be incredibly valuable even if you cannot work out the exact ROI from their activity.

Use Market Research and Data to Analyze Your Website Copy

If you hire a copywriter to write for your website or blog, you’ll quickly be able to tell if the copy style aligns with your brand values and tone of voice. This is really important and an easy way — although maybe not easily quantifiable — of boosting your ROI.

Visitors to your site need to have a clear concept of what your company does or sells, as well as what your values are. If you don’t make this clear from the second they click on your page and start reading, prospects will quickly leave in search of something better.

As an exercise, review stores and see if you can quickly establish what their product is and how their website copy serves to highlight the product and represent their brand values. This is something you should always be aware of when tweaking the copy on your site — your messaging needs to be direct, offer value, and conform to overall brand values. Seeing how other brands do it (especially ones reliant on organic and targeted PPC traffic) should give you valuable tips on what works (and what doesn’t).

Although it might be hard to measure the sales you make as a direct result of your copy, you can still keep a close eye on your analytics as you change content around your site.

Use Google Analytics or a similar tool to check out how long people are spending on your site. This is a key metric that shows they are engaging with your content. It might not translate directly into sales, but that doesn’t matter. If you hire a writer to create blogs for your site, you want people to engage — and this is one way to find that out. Remember that you can also use split testing to optimize your landing pages and social media posts in the same way that you would with email marketing. Test two different versions of your page with different copy in each to find out which is more effective and should be used in the future.

Remember That Time Equals Money

Something worth considering when you hire a copywriter is the time they free up in your work day. A professional copywriter will save you valuable time, and — if they are doing their job properly — write much better content much faster than you would.

As a business owner, you know that you need good copy for your website and marketing efforts and that somebody needs to write it. It seems logical to outsource this to an external writer who can use their knowledge and skills to perfect copy for your brand.

This could save you many hours of writing — hours that you could be spending forging connections with new clients, improving the customer experience, making sales, and keeping your business running.

While ROI can be hard to measure for any creative task, you should always consider it when hiring a writer. Ask yourself how much it’s going to help your business and boost your sales. Where possible, test your own copy against a professional copywriter and test different copywriters against each other.

Employing a writer may seem like an unnecessary expense, but don’t forget this can also free up your time — time that you can spend on other tasks directly related to increasing your bottom line.

About the Author:

“Micro Startups is your online destination for everything startup. We’re dedicated to spreading the word about hard-working solopreneurs and SMEs making waves in the business world. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe @getmicrostarted.”

One Sure Way to Build Trust with Your Content

I’m a huge fan of using industry stats and data from credible sources to build trust. I use this technique often when I write for my clients. Why? Because content that contains relevant data is proven to build trust with your readers. In fact, not using data can make it much less effective.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

“If your content doesn’t include data, it is less likely to be trusted, persuasive, or even read,” writes Ann Gynn in Content Marketing Institute.

Gynn cites data from Survey Monkey that shows 75% of adults say content that includes data is more trustworthy than content that doesn’t.

“Too often marketers think of data only in terms of analytics – prescriptive and descriptive data to understand how well content is performing or to inform their content planning. But this research reminds marketers that using data in their content is an audience must-have (or at least a preferred-have).”

Thanks to easy DIY graphics programs like Canva, your data doesn’t have to be dry.  Infographics and other visual representations can add punch, or you can pull images directly from cited sources — just make sure you give them proper credit.

Source: Netflix image via Content Marketing Institute

Whether you create your own research, or use industry sources, having solid data in your content will raise your credibility and build reader trust. And I’m 100% behind that idea.