I confess. I’m an app junkie … for iOS. Not Android, not Windows. Just the sleek, fashionable and uber-cool iPhone and iPad. Taking that into account, here are a few ideas for really useful tools for marketers … two iPhone apps and a Word tool.
Analytics – love ‘em!
Yet browsing through endless graphs and charts in Google Analytics can be mind-numbing and time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a faster, simpler way … more visual, more colorful and right there on your iPhone?
I’ve played with a number of apps for Google analytics … and have now found one that is just that easy … and colorful. Try out Analytics Tiles.(left)
It gives you a real-time look, quickly, tile by tile, at the top-level info you want. You can change the colors, view multiple sites under one login, and see stats by day, week or month. Tap a tile and the details pop up.
So easy, so clean, so straightforward! Kudos to the designers.
One more to add … HubSpot addict?
HubSpot has an iPad app that gives you a quick look at your graph of visitors and leads … very cool, very easy, very quick … in hand wherever you have your favorite iPhone!
Essential for marketing writers
You’ve no doubt heard and read the following advice for writing for newsletters, websites or blogs … and other marketing materials:
- Write for eighth grade (or less) readers
- Make your writing more active
- Keep it simple and get to the point
- People don’t read websites, they scan
- Break up copy into short paragraphs with more sub-heads
These guidelines have been true since the good ol’ days of direct marketing … when copywriting and headlines were tested repeatedly to keep improving results and response. Those rules are still true today, when most people would rather watch a video than read an article.
It’s easy to get immersed in our own thinking when we’re writing, and forget the audiences’ point of view. There’s a little-known tool in Microsoft Word to help simplify and improve your writing. It’s an objective way to test and measure the level of your writing — the Readability Statistics.
It’s an option that has to be turned on under Options/Proofing (click “show Readability Statistics”). The score will show up after you’ve run a spell check. It reviews word count and the usual stats … as well as Passive Sentences, the Flesch Reading Ease score, and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score.
I discovered a lot about my writing by testing and using this simple tool. Shorter sentences. Simpler phrases. Common words in place of complex words. And shorter paragraphs. All make a difference on the reading scores, and in the end, a huge difference in the clarity and readability of the piece.
A few recommendations for simpler writing that scores higher:
- When there’s an “and” in a sentence, can you turn that sentence into two sentences?
- When there’s an “ing” in a word, can you rewrite it to drop the “ing” and make the word and sentence more active?
- When there’s a preposition (in, for, of) in a phrase, could the phrase be eliminated, or adjusted with an adjective modifier instead?
In some industries it’s tougher to lower the grade level, because technical terms must be used and they push the score higher. Yet just the difference between “purchase” and “buy” can help reduce your score. Try it out. When you run your writing through it a few times, with changes in between, you’ll see the difference. I did.
Sidebar rant …
It’s not necessary to pack a bunch of ideas into one paragraph, or use really big words and long phrases to sound smarter. Big words can usually be simplified. One idea supported with more information is much easier for a reader to digest. Simplify, please! Get to the point!
Don’t know what the point is? Keep questioning yourself and your writing as you edit. What’s the point? What do I want people to know when they’re done? How do I want them to respond?
Jennifer Larsen Morrow
Jennifer founded Creative Company with two partners in 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her training as a graphic designer has guided the company's focus on brand persona founded in design and message, generating the brand optimization methodology. Award winning design, on point messaging and strategic positioning have generated response for clients since 1978.