The Scratch Post

A blog designed to help you discover better ways of doing marketing & sales… and fall in love with the way we work.

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SEO vs. Conversion Copywriting: What’s the benefit for my business?

The world of online marketing is a maze of jargon, buzzwords and abbreviations like “SEA”, “SEO”, “PPC”, “Conversion Rate Optimization”, “Growth Hacking” and “Copywriting”. In this article, we’ll help you cut through the buzzwords and make sense of the marketing muddle. Together, Laura, our German SEO strategist and copywriter, and Sabine, a conversion optimisation and copywriting specialist will answer questions like: What is SEO and how is it different from SEA? How do you know if you need an SEO or conversion copywriting specialist? If you hire an SEO copywriter and a conversion copywriter, will they just argue the whole time? Even if you've been in business for years, these insights will help you take a more targeted, efficient approach to future copy and content projects. You’ll learn how to get the most from your time, effort and budget – whether you work in a corporation, startup, non profit or NGO, in the public or private sector.

Unique Selling Points are dead — long live the Minimum Viable Audience: a barking mad example

Like many industries, the hotel sector is defined by commodification. To compete with one another, most hotels advertise their unique selling points. Typically, these unique selling points are based on the understanding that hotels are in the overnight accommodation business. For example, some brands try to attract visitors with their interior design, eateries or (equally […]

Creating Functional Integrity in the Product – Marketing – Sales Relationship

As a communications consultancy for brands with integrity, we connect multiple meanings with the word 'integrity'. Embracing ethical marketing to treat your customers, the market, society and the planet with integrity is one example. But ethical marketing is impossible without one important meaning of 'integrity' that regularly gets overlooked: the relationship between Product, Marketing and Sales in the organisation. At From Scratch, we use the term 'functional integrity' to describe a successful relationship between these three areas of business.

How to write creative copy for e-commerce that converts – a Forrist case study

We crafted creative conversion copy and a verbal identity for the UK’s first plant-based, packaging-free online shop, Forrist. Given that we’re a sustainable copywriting agency, this was our idea of a dream project. Almost everyone on the team had a part to play in the process, which involved brand writing, conversion copywriting, UX consulting and SEO strategy.

Why are subheadings good for your blog’s SEO? [Web Audit for the Rainforest]

Karo Tak asked us about subheadings in blog posts. If you also blog with WordPress, you may have come across the Yoast plugin. It helps you write in a more readable way, but also helps you optimise for search engines. One of the things that Karo often sees in Yoast is that it tells her, "you don't have enough subheadings." Why should you have subheadings in your blog? How can you write better subheadings, and what do they have to do with SEO? In this audit, we'll look at an example post to explain.

Web Audit for the Rainforest: Is my sales page too long?

Alessandra, owner of Live More Offline, had 2 questions for us: 1. Is this web copy too long? 2. Is it OK to ask people to apply? Or should I offer them a checkout instead? Spoiler alert: The copy in this example was TOO SHORT. And for Alessandra's offer, an application form was PERFECT. Watch the video or read the transcript to find out why.

Mission failed — a guaranteed way to not meet the needs of your audience

How does empathy relate to the size of your target group? Nadine offers arguments as to why it’s easy to create less empathetic copy with “universal” or “one-size-fits-all” writing. Of course, you’ll also find plenty of suggestions on how to write empathic copy that resonates with your audience.

“Can you hear yourself?”

Why does the perception of our own needs and emotions have an impact on our understanding of our audience? Nadine shows that self-empathy can be a superpower for all copywriters committed to ethical marketing.

Web Audit for the Rainforest: Product Pages that Convert

In this Web Audit, Sabine takes a close look at a product page on a fair-trade, sustainable e-commerce website. What could the website owner do to make the product page convert better?

How to reply to a customer asking #WhoMadeMyClothes — clearly & convincingly

During #FashionRevolutionWeek, social media is full of important questions which are tricky to answer. Especially in 280 characters. Even if you work for a responsible brand and you already know how to reply to a customer query, these kinds of questions can seem really daunting. So here's a step-by-step guide for handling #WhoMadeMyClothes well. 

Audience empathy for the win! — Why showing empathy to customers is so important

Few would disagree with the statement “empathy’s important.” But what does that mean in practice? Jeffrey Coleman draws on his experience working in UX and recruitment to share his best advice.

Web Audit for the Rainforest: which call to action is best?

In this web audit, we're looking at which call to action is best suited to a home page that's supposed to generate leads. Our example is from a business-to-business service context. You can apply the same principles to decide which call to action works best in your individual scenario.

Web Audit for the Rain Forest: Marketing an 80-page Guide to Ecopreneurship

How do you market an 80-page ebook for ecopreneurs? Should you offer it as a lead magnet — or as a paid product? That's the core question we address in this website audit for London-based design studio, Little Green Space.

12 days to Christmas: survive & thrive during peak season

For many customer care teams and business owners, December is a month of overflowing inboxes, overtime and overwhelm. In this article, Sabine shares her 12 favourite quick ideas for coping with this busy time. Plus we've added the top 9 tips shared by fellow ethical business owners.

How to make your company LGBTQQIA+ friendly and inclusive

How do you make your company LGBTQQIA+ friendly and inclusive?  The short version: Avoid clichés, heteronormative language and the word 'homosexual'. Create a welcoming environment by encouraging everyone to declare their pronouns, including non-binary on forms and remembering bi+ and pansexual people exist. Build a safe space with a focus on education by only asking for personal information where necessary, training all staff on LGBT issues including intersex and transgender, and showing your actions speak louder than words.

Why 2 First Drafts Can Be Better than One

Sometimes, we like to create a couple of different versions of the very first drafts of a writing project. Take a look behind the scenes and find out about the benefits of our approach.

These 10 Game-Changing Tips Will Help You Make the Most of Customer Reviews

The 10 tips that made our list include what to do when you get a bad review, how to get more customer reviews, and how to use other companies’ reviews to build your own.

The 4 Secrets to Winning the Content “R.A.C.E.”

Content is King. Or is it a hype? In this article, we introduce R.A.C.E. — which stands for a customer focused approach to creating content: 1. Range 2. Accessibility 3. Correctness 4. Effortlessness

6 Ways You Can Make Sure Your Lead Magnet Deserves the Name (and Actually Attracts Leads)

As anyone who's ever tried to write an effective lead magnet can tell you, it isn't as easy as just writing a longish blog post. So here are 6 ideas that can smooth your path to hitting 'publish' with confidence — knowing that your lead magnet will resonate with the right people, in the right way.

Marketing to co-creators: a customer support super power

In any business, it makes sense to explore customers' true needs and desires. Even more so when the role of "consumers" is changing, and people are more involved in your business as co-creators of your product. This article offers inspiration for you to find out about customers' needs and build your marketing accordingly.

10 Proven Ways to Use Your Customer Service for Marketing

What really works for ethical companies and conscious consumers? Learn how real business owners and ethical influencers add a bit of unexpected sparkle to their everyday interactions — and turn your customers into fans who'll do the advertising for you.

Poe-fect Service, Evermore.

Sabine first published this poem in praise of The Literary Gift Company's "suppoet" on her personal blog a few years ago. We're republishing it as an example of creative storytelling — and because we think it's worth highlighting amazing service experiences.

What is good customer support? 3 criteria for service writing

"No more embarrassing customer service emails!" — It's often this aim that makes companies set out to monitor their customer service teams. But what makes good service writing? We recommend 3 proven quality criteria — making it transparent and easy to train or coach.

3 ways to level up your customer support team’s writing skills

Despite Siri and Alexa, writing may be the 21st-century skill. Good writing can give your support the competitive edge.  So we've collected our top tips for improving your team's writing skills. They work in any language — and even with non-native speakers.

Planning Soft Skills Training for Customer Care Teams

Communication skills and empathy can be learned! It just requires some expert planning and training delivery. If the ability to communicate is misunderstood as a talent, a personality trait or an attitude, support teams are only going to grow their frustration instead of their most important professional skills.

The Training Method that Helps Build an Awesome Team Culture

This approach can be used for pretty much any context. It's a great way to refresh an otherwise traditional session, especially if you notice that some people seem mentally withdrawn or if you want people to think about something at some depth.

How Can Customer Care Survive the Plastic Storm in Our Teacups?

It came as a shock to the British public: our beloved teabags contain plastic. Tea lovers all over the country started asking their favourite brands some difficult questions on Twitter. And it didn't take long till we saw service teams getting some stick for how they responded. In this article, we'll analyse what went wrong in those tweets, and how to do it better — both now and in the long run.

Connection and power: how words define your relationship with customers

How close is your brand to your customers? Are you looking for respectful distance or constant interaction? And is your motto more "we're all in this together" or "we're in charge"? Get to know a linguistic tool to help you define that relationship.

Why most complaint-handling guides actually make things WORSE for your customers

Successfully resolving a complaint is the happy result of a respectful, non-violent exchange about the customer's needs and how to meet them. This article introduces you to a scientifically proven way to connect with people who are stressed, emotional and making a complaint. Warning: contains NUTs!

Customer support ingredients, vol. 4: brand personality in the face of complaints

Complaints and brand personality — an impossible mix? Some companies think so, and tone their complaint responses down to sound completely neutral.  In this blog post, Sabine shares 4 ½ tips to help your brand shine through, even in the face of complaints.

Customer support ingredients, vol. 3: KISS

In this blog post, we'll look at a few example sentences from an email we've had — and shed some light on: - The importance of sentence length for good communication - How to avoid unintentional rudeness by writing simply and clearly - 3 free tools to improve your writing

Customer support ingredients, vol. 2: automatic email responses

Auto-acknowledgement emails aren't usually personalised. Still, they set the customer’s expectations about tone of voice, attention to detail, what level of service they’ll get and how long it will take. In this article, we analyse and rewrite an example — and teach you 4 important tips to get your own templates right.

Customer support ingredients vol. 1: the human touch

We all like to feel a spark of connection with people we're dealing with. It makes us feel recognised and important. Here's how to write like a human in three easy steps — and a before-and-after example.

Is Sustainable Fashion the Future? — Perhaps!

We're fans of sustainable fashion, and so we dream of a future where all apparel is transparently made, socially responsible and eco-friendly. On her visit to Neonyt #Fashionsustain 2019, Sabine discovered some encouraging signs of sustainable fashion finally going mainstream — but also 2 major challenges that sustainable fashion must overcome if it wants to change the world. Read on to find out how to market sustainable fashion for maximum impact.

How to Write Great FAQs in 10 Steps: a Case Study with Jack

Meet Jack: Business insurance on a first-name basis. Together, we'll show you how to create FAQs that actually help people, how to use FAQs for content marketing, and why your FAQs' tone of voice matters — among other things.

Are Customer Service and Sales the Same Thing?

In this short article, we'll demystify "sales through service" by showing 5 ways that service and sales support each other.  Ultimately, we hope to contribute to a view of customer service as a profit centre, not a cost centre — and a better experience for all customers.

Email Isn’t Dead! Here Are 15 Email Newsletters to Subscribe to & Learn From

Do you know the words most commonly uttered by our clients? "I don't want to bombard people with emails." Followed by, "Our supply chain doesn't allow us to email people regularly." If that sounds familiar, it's time to break through these barriers and limitations and claim what's rightfully yours: the inboxes of your subscribers, now and forever. This post will inspire and teach you how to make email marketing work for you.

Making an Action Plan for Better Customer Care Responses: A Case Study

The customer care leadership team of this multinational company was concerned about the quality of written responses going out to customers. They had seen samples with poor spelling and grammar and worried those samples might be representative. Find out how we approached the project, and how we worked together with the client to improve their customer care replies.

Case Study: How to Write a High-Converting Newsletter Signup Page

This newsletter signup page Sabine wrote and designed for multi award-winning social entrepreneur and mentor Nyasha Gwatidzo achieved a whopping 60% conversion rate. While a conversion rate of 60% is certainly not a typical result, the steps Sabine took to create this high-converting landing page are still a great guide to writing websites that convert well.

Welcome Email Clinic #4: Ethical Brand Marketing — Painting a Better Future for Social Entrepreneurs

Welcome emails often have the highest open rate of any newsletter email. That’s great — but of course we want all our emails to be read and enjoyed equally. After all, we’ve got important things to say, and we want to add value for our subscribers. So what can you do to increase engagement beyond email number one? Ethical Brand Marketing show how you can use your thank-you email to future pace good outcomes for your new readers. Dive into this email clinic to learn how you can do it, too.

Welcome Email Clinic #3: Boho Homes London — Telling the Story Behind the Products

Many social enterprises have a compelling story to tell. Email is one of the best ways to tell it — and win the hearts of your subscribers. But the big traditional brands out there model email newsletters that are all about pictures, logos and discount codes. How can purpose-driven companies stand out from the crowd and engage their readers?

Welcome Email Clinic #2: Coromandel Coast — Creating a Seamless Sign-Up Experience

Coromandel Coast is a UK-based specialty coffee brand with a sustainable twist. Named after the region where the coffee is grown, the company specialises in shade-grown Indian coffee that protects wildlife and gives coffee farmers a more sustainable income. In this email clinic, we take a look at the end-to-end experience of signing up to an email newsletter. We’ll look at the difference between building a community vs. building a list, and how brand values shape voice and tone.

3 Ways You Risk Companies Disregarding Your #PlasticFree Messages… And How to Get Them to Use Less Packaging Instead

Lots of conscious consumers reach out to brands about reducing their plastic packaging. However, if done wrong, those messages may never make it to the right people, or they may be ignored altogether. Here are 3 common mistakes we've seen, and what to do instead.

7 common misunderstandings in multicultural customer care (and how to fix them)

Brexit, "Make America Great Again", Narendra Modi's Davos speech about globalisation losing its lustre: those things can't fool us into thinking that globalisation is over. Every business now sells to a multicultural, multilingual audience. In this article, we'll look at 7 common conundrums that can get in the way of building rapport with customers who speak a different language, or who live in a different culture — and how to solve them.

What Not to Write: 13 Words and Expressions to Avoid in Your Customer Care Replies

One of the most frequent requests we get: a page that contains words or expressions that should be avoided in replies to customers.  So, here it is. 13 examples of what not to write, and what to write instead.

Doing Good: 5 Tips for Consumer Questions About Your Ethics

Critical consumerism is on the rise — fortunately! This means people are more likely to ask your support team about ethics and sustainability. Sabine's put a company to the test. See why the response she got isn't good enough — and what you can do so your team gives a better one.

Hiring a trainer? 13 things to look out for before you sign on the dotted line

Corporate training is a huge industry. In the UK alone, there are thousands of training providers helping businesses improve the skills of their staff. Add overseas providers into the mix, and finding an external trainer worth their salt becomes a massive task. This 13-point checklist is designed to help you quickly assess trainers — and find someone who's able to make a real difference in the training room.

4 Reasons Why Your Website May Not Get You the Sales You Want

When you’re able to establish trust with a web visitor quickly, they're more likely to stay on the page, take in your entire message, and click through to buy from you. We've identified 4 common mistakes that can put people off when they first come to your website.

Email Clinic #1: Ethical Hour — Making Newsletter Subscribers Feel Good About Signing Up

Starting a series of posts in which we take a close look at one specific email — putting a positive spin on “copy teardowns”. About these Email Clinics Copy “tear-downs” are having a bit of moment on the internet. For years, we’ve resisted the urge to take part in this movement — even though we […]

Do the words you use “have your BACK”?

Words can make it or break it — in life and in business. From not-quite-convincing declarations of love to inadverturtledly cringeworthy product packaging: Valentine’s Day is always a good reminder that it’s worth spending some thought on how you want to come across, and what words you want to use. Sweet tortoise! Probably the most […]

How to Generate Business Insights from Online Reviews

Knowing your customers is the single most important business superpower. And still, many brands are satisfied doing a bit of market research and running a few focus groups — essentially, collecting a bunch of opinions. But to really get under the skin of your customers, you need to be able to read the values that are expressed in those opinions. That’s what this article is all about.

How to Optimise a Brand to Reach New Audiences — A Case Study

After a year of building insurance startup With Jack, it was time to optimise the brand message. Ashley, With Jack's founder and director, came to us because the existing website did a good job of conveying the brand ethos — but it didn't tell creatives why they should sign up. Read this case study to learn more about this in-depth conversion copy project to find the messaging that would help grow the brand.

Storytelling for Change: The Supermassive Ultimate Guide

It's THE buzzword of the late 2010s. Everyone and their goat is talking about it. Google has 137 million results for "storytelling". It’s time to Kondo-fy storytelling so you can throw all the Storytelling-for-Business-BS out the window and get back to making a ruckus. (27-minute read)

How to Plan and Write a Sales Email Sequence for the Holidays — A Case Study

“Help!” Ah, the familiar cry from a brand paying too much per sale from their digital ads. It’s also the subject line of an email that landed in our inbox last year. To save time and advertising funds, Sabine recommended a well-planned email campaign and website optimisation project. The sales email sequence she planned and wrote for this client more than doubled their open and click-through rates. This case study will walk you through the process and results.

Creating Welcome Emails that Engage Subscribers for the Long Term: The Definitive Guide

You probably know about the power of email marketing to boost your sales, inspire people to take action, and build relationships. And yet, many businesses send Welcome emails that say little more than “thanks for signing up — please whitelist our email address”. With Welcome emails getting 86% higher open rates than other newsletter emails, that’s a tragic loss of a brilliant opportunity to leave a strong first impression and engage readers from the get-go. So in this definitive guide, we've assembled 39 tips and techniques that will help you make your Thank-You email count.