5 Mistakes I see in South African advertising

All Copywriters will tell you a similar story. From when they were young, they noticed silly little mistakes in ads. Whether they’re TV ads, radio ads, or billboards (okay, ESPECIALLY billboard ads!) For me, nothing has changed. In fact, it’s gotten worse. While I appreciate a good advert, the bad ones irk me. And it’s not only adverts themselves. It’s the WAY companies market themselves.


  1. Still handing out pamphlets? Seriously?

This probably happens everywhere, but in South Africa it is falsely believed to be the main way of advertising. Handing out flyers, pamphlets and catalogues is one of the most ineffective ways to market your company. If you’re still doing this, YOU MUST STOP NOW!

New businesses fall into this trap so easily. They see it as cheap, easy and effective. The truth is you are giving your marketing efforts less than a 1% success rate. You are annoying potential customers, wasting paper and making yourself look desperate. Again: STOP NOW!


  1. The ‘WE-OUR-US’ mistake

Another big mistake I often see (and notice straight way) is the use of “We” or “Our” at the beginning of a sentence. Do you really think the customer cares about you or your team? No! An advert is not an interview. It’s a message telling people that they can benefit; they are missing out; they will enjoy something…

A good ad always starts with the words, “You” and “Your”. If it’s not possible to start with these words, at least use words that won’t make the reader instantly lose interest.


  1. Failure to adequately grab attention

These are the factors that can win or lose your customer in the first few seconds. An unfriendly face handing you a pamphlet. And the pamphlet is all about YOU—instead of the customer. No way, you haven’t got a chance…

Grab that customer’s attention. Speak to him/her. Ask them questions. Bombard them with benefits. Be relevant. Be exciting. This is what real copywriting can bring to your adverts!


  1. Colour confusion

Colours can often speak louder than words. Companies are using colours they think are either nice or relevant to their business. Again, it’s not about you. It’s about the customer. The colour you use is subconsciously telling your customer something about what they are getting if they bite. An insurance company that uses orange or purple? Facepalm!


  1. Too much emphasis on the name

Companies in South Africa have a tendency to place their name right above the advert. We see this on billboards, street pole ads and trailer posters all the time. The customers are actually surprisingly disinterested in your name. All they really want to know is what you can offer them.

While branding is important, always place your company name at the bottom of the advert. If you catch their attention and entice them, they’ll look for it eventually.


I’ll leave you with the words of Seth Godin. Feel free to contact me if you’d like any more info on how to make your ads stand out from the rest.


The 6 most important SEO tips for 2016 – Copley Sutton

Anyone can make their business EXPLODE on the internet. Google search holds the key to website traffic and if you know Google’s secrets, YOU’RE IN! Fortunately for all of us internet marketers, a team of SEO experts have done a super important study and found out 170 factors that influence your website’s rank.

I’m not going to give you all of them—because that would be crazy! But I am going to give you the top six that you simply must do RIGHT NOW.


  1. Write longer blogs

The study showed that blogs reaching an average of 1890 words ranked higher than shorter blogs. Gone are the days where 400 or 600 words was enough. It seems that blogging will explode over the next year because now the 2000 word blog is the only way to cover everything that needs to be said about a particular topic.


  1. Cover all aspects of your topic

And that’s exactly what your blogs should aim to do. When a blog covers various aspects of your topic, people are more likely to click on it via Google. Why? Because the more questions you cover, the more likely it is that someone will find the answer by reading your blog. It just makes sense, right?


  1. Get website security

One aspect Google has never been shy to mention is that an “https” prefix in your URL ranks you higher. It’s that simple! Get website security and make sure you’re generating trust for your customers. It’s a small step that clearly makes a big difference.

Editor’s note: I personally did all the content for https://www.trustthesite.com/ and believe them to be the best vendor for website security.


  1. Increase your anchor text

Anchor text DOES make a difference to your rankings. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Add at least two anchor text links to each of your blogs which link back to your own website. Then, add at least one exact match anchor text link to that same blog so that you get a double score for mentioning your primary keywords. There’s a lot of stuff out there about this being bad—but that advice is grossly outdated.


If you’re reading this blog after 2016, these anchor text rules are still valid today. If you’re looking for a more updated article on anchor text, this great post by Outreach Mama is super comprehensive!


  1. Link to established websites

Linking your content to websites that are authoritative, popular or well established will also put you in Google’s good books. But don’t settle for the YouTubes and the Facebooks alone. Find out what the authoritative websites are in YOUR industry and link to them as well.


  1. Add images to your blogs

Blogs with at least one image were shown to rank higher that other posts. People want to see images on your website. Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook prove that images speak louder than words. Besides, if you want to use an image to relay content, use a MEME or an INFOGRAPHIC to do so. You won’t be disappointed in the results!


These are small changes you can make immediately to improve you ranking. If you’re looking for more advice on how to boost your Google ranking, contact our team of copywriters from South Africa and we’ll be glad to help. Good luck!

5 ways to convert VISITORS into CUSTOMERS

The blogs you have are nice. Your AdWords campaign is getting lots of clicks. Even your social media page is receiving loads of comments and feedback. But how are your sales looking? If you aren’t converting your audience into paying customers, what’s the point of it all? Here are five practical ways to actively transform website TRAFFIC into online SALES.


  1. Adapting to the culture of your audience

You’ll never get into the head of your customer unless you understand the way they speak, think and act. Customer circles have individual cultures. If you can tap into that culture, you’re on your way to establishing a client base. But how?

Getting in touch with the culture of your client involves the following:

  • Understanding the vernacular of your audience. How they speak, what they respond to and what they like.
  • Be controversial in your posts. If you can gauge people’s responses, you can read them better.
  • What is your audience doing on the weekend? If they are somewhere, that’s exactly where you want to be. Take part in events and host your own. Travelling the same circles as your audience is a great way to market yourself!


  1. Find out what makes them buy

Your audience is spending their money on something. If they’re using a service similar to yours—or if they’re buying your products elsewhere—you need to find out WHERE!

More than that, you need to establish WHY they are buying somewhere else and not from you. Someone is offering your potential clients something more than you are. The only way to win them is to find out what extra mile you can go to gain their loyalty.

This isn’t always about price—although sometimes it is. But most clients want VALUE for what they are already spending. Study your competitors and find out what you could be doing differently.


  1. You can’t go wrong with landing pages

This is the ace in the hole! Landing pages are a sure way to take visitors and turn them into customers. If you’ve never tried a landing page to sell a product or service, TRY IT RIGHT NOW!

A landing page is an external web page that has been designed to intensely sell an individual product or service. It prompts people to follow your call to action and takes them through a sales funnel which leads them to buy on the spot.


  1. Use existing customers to get new ones

Your current customers are a commodity you MUST cash in on. Here are some ways to use them to gain NEW customers:

  • Have two or three of your best customers write a reference letter for you. When quoting new customers, offer to send them a reference letter from a satisfied customer.
  • Get as many customers as you can to write testimonials for your website.
  • If you receive a compliment from a client, ask them to mention it on your social media page—and to share it with their friends!


  1. Become an authority in your industry

Do you follow the trends of your industry or do you set them? Your answer could mean the difference between being an industry leader, and fighting for your percentage of the market!

Study your industry. Become more knowledgeable than your competitors. A good way to do this is to set aside one hour every day dedicated to research and reading. Discover new ways to reach your audience. Set the trend, and have others follow YOU!


Website visitors CAN and WILL buy from you! But if all of this sounds like a lot of work to you, don’t fret. Leapfrog Media is dedicated to these practices and we do them on behalf of our clients. If you’d like more information on how we go about our strategies, give us a call.


About the Author: Copley Sutton writes for businesses across the globe. Companies in the UK, Australia, the US & South Africa utilise his copywriting services to increase their website traffic and increase sales. 

Big jobs or small jobs for freelance copywriters?

Sometimes freelance copywriters have to manage up to 20 different clients in one month to get paid what they need. But other months turn out to be a breeze because three or four clients hand you such large projects that you don’t have time to take on anything else. So which is best?

I’d like to contend for the latter. Large jobs leave you with a lot less stress. You know that you have secured enough work for a large portion of the month. Applying for multiple small jobs can be very tiresome. I spend a good few hours writing thought-out proposals, researching clients and making sure I can do the job presented to me. If I could, I would gladly give up this time-consuming practice for consistent, large projects that actually PAY me for my time.

The secret to becoming successful at your freelance writing endeavour is to find yourself regular customers who need large projects done on a regular basis. For freelance copywriters in South Africa, this could be:

  • Marketing firms
  • Academic writing companies
  • Product review sites
  • Web development companies

All of these businesses need copywriting all the time. And chances are their projects are big ones. If you can, shift your attention to these kinds of jobs and gain more security in the freelance copywriting industry.


About the author: Copley Sutton is a Johannesburg based copywriter who writes for many local and international clients. At this point he is attempting to build up a team of freelance writers in South Africa and expand his copywriting service to new heights. 

Is copywriting relevant for social media? – Olivia Colville

In the new age of social media it’s tempting to think that traditional copywriting no longer has a place. Who has time to read huge blocks of text on a screen anymore? Who has the time to read every page on a website? Do you REALLY need a copywriter?


Copywriters used to spend their time working mostly in print media. They crafted catalogue copy, delivered direct mail pieces and came up with catchy ads for newspapers and magazines. Today the focus is on 140 character tweets, popular hashtags and clickable Facebook posts.

Now the internet has put a virtual encyclopaedia at your fingertips. Any subject you can imagine has been catalogued, discussed, and dissected into oblivion. The ease with which we can access data has changed the way we consume information. These are some common misconceptions about how the web has eliminated the need for proper copywriting:


  • Time:We think that the internet has shortened our attention spans, but the truth is that we’re just bombarded with information. You can easily spend hours watching cat videos, or chatting with friends on Facebook, so clearly you aren’t lacking the ability to concentrate. The difference is, this is something you find entertaining. When copy is well-written and fascinating, people keep reading it—no matter how far they have to scroll.
  • Visual: Technology allows us to enjoy rich media like images and videos. And a picture is worth a thousand words, right? But copy and images combined are even more powerful. You couldn’t explain all the benefits of your product just using pictures. Tell a story that shows your customer what your service can do for them and they’ll be more convinced than with images alone.
  • SEO: The battle for a page one ranking on search engines is never ending! Keywords are stuffed into web copy at every opportunity despite the fact that they don’t always make sense. However, this is changing as search algorithms get smarter, seeking out those sites that provide real value to users. Good copywriting can make a significant contribution to search result rankings.

It may appear that using a professional copywriter is no longer essential, but persuasive, engaging copy is still the most powerful tool for improving profits. Web pages, social media and blogs offer copywriters more opportunity to shine. Experienced copywriters who have developed their skills to include SEO and social media can help your business deliver consistent, effective messages to new and existing customers.


A tweet may drive traffic to your website, but once a visitor is there, it’s the long copy that determines whether they click further or bounce. The ability to get your customer’s attention, keep them on your page and encourage them to click further is a skill that never loses its edge!

In-house copywriter or freelance copywriter?

Which is best for your business?

It’s inescapably true: every company will at some point need a copywriter. If that company wants to be competitive, market themselves or simply propose a deal, a professional writer is qualified to execute these tasks professionally. So should you simply hire a good writer? Is it much of a hassle finding one that offers his or her services on a freelance basis?

The answer is not black and white. While I would highly recommend that copywriters in South Africa work as freelancers because of the financial and time benefits, the fact is that permanent workers are still needed. So here are some questions to ask yourself about your company:


  • How much writing does my company need?

If your company doesn’t have enough writing to keep a full time copywriter busy for seven hours a day, it’s simply not worth getting one. If your writing needs are intermittent, consider finding a decent freelancer who is on call whenever you need him or her.


  • Do I have the time and energy to find the right person?

Finding employees that fit in with your company culture is hard. It takes time and money to find the perfect person, and even then you can be fooled into hiring a trouble maker! With freelancing, you have the option to not use someone again if they are not a good fit.


  • Will my company need many different styles of writing?

An in-house copywriter will have strengths and weaknesses. If your writing needs are diversified, you may find that one writer cannot do everything you need (unless you spend more money on training that person). Hiring multiple freelancers to work on your project is a cheaper, more effective means of getting your project off the ground.


  • Can my company provide outsourced copywriting services?

If you run out of work for your in-house writer, will you be able to offer copywriting services to your clients? If your business is structured in such a way (like a marketing company is), then an in-house writer is a great idea. However, if the writer is limited to your projects only, hiring a freelance copywriter is the way to go.


Answering these questions will give you a better idea of what direction you should take. Think carefully before making this decision. If it’s the wrong choice, you’re stuck with it.


5 Essential Tools for Advanced Landscaping & Lawn Maintenance

The difference between mediocre landscaping and perfect landscaping is often in the equipment. There are a number of excellent landscaping tools every good garden service should possess. Among the following five essential pieces of equipment are high-end lawn maintenance tools, as well as general cleaning devices. Consider each one for the enhancement of your landscaping service.


Zero-Turn Mowers

For precise lawn mowing and excellent manoeuvrability, zero-turn mowers are a must-have. Many medium to large gardens have complex garden bed edges which can be difficult to navigate. Every garden also has that tight area which is hard to get to without the right equipment. Bear in mind the size of the mower you opt for. Narrower models are a safer option because of their versatility. They are more gate-friendly and ideal for compact garden areas.


Mini Excavators

In order to perform proper, professional landscaping services, there is no substitute for a mini excavator. These excavators deliver 360 degree turning in small areas while performing digging tasks that would take a person hours to do. There are now models available in approximately 27 inches wide and even smaller. Again, a smaller model is your wisest choice so that it can fit through narrow gateways and tight garden areas. You also want an excavator that is easy to transport to your various job sites.


Skid-Steer Loaders

Skid-steer loaders are like mini tractors and are perfect for moving—or removing—large piles of gravel or refuse. Various attachments can also be fitted to the arm of a skid-steer loader in order to speed up landscaping tasks. Tasks include—but are not limited to—logging, clearing and rock removal. The versatility and speed of these machines deliver a great return on investment by reducing your need for laborers and resulting in less work completion time. There are also certain tasks that just cannot be done properly without the benefits of heavier garden machinery.


Weed Eaters & Hedge Trimmers

Neatness is what separates the good landscaping companies from the great ones. Weed eaters and hedge trimmers allow your workers to bring real refinement to garden beds and sidewalks. Large, complex gardens often have pebble-bed areas, stepping stones, and bricked sidewalks—all of which look horrible when covered in renegade grass. These devices zone in on those hard-to-reach places and render them neat and distinguished.


Backpack Blowers

Portable backpack blowers are perfect for large gardens. The operator can move to any section without having to worry about a power connection or frustrating cables. Strong blowers are able to clear a large garden area within a fraction of the time it would take to sweep or rake. Landscaping and lawn maintenance involves a lot of cleaning up—especially during fall when trees are dropping leaves by the thousands. These devices come in a range of battery- or fuel operated choices—either of which will suit your needs as a landscaper.

To remain ahead in a competitive industry, landscapers are encouraged to buy high quality tools to reduce time and fit more clients into their schedule. These tools and machines will not only increase your company’s productivity, but they will also bring a sense of professionalism to your work.


About the author: Copley Sutton is a professional copywriter and blogger in South Africa. He is based in JHB and is available to transform your website or blog for you on a regular basis.

Butcher Block Counter Tops Care

Those who possess butcher block counter tops in their kitchens are often concerned with how these tops should be properly maintained. While wooden counter tops are designed to handle fairly robust activity, stains and dirt can and do show up—but only if the top is not cared for properly. There are simple methods you can implement into your daily cleaning routine which will provide proper butcher block counter tops care.


What happens to your counter top over time?

Your butcher block counter top is most often used for slicing and chopping food in preparation for a meal. Most of these ingredients are raw when you process them and raw meat—especially raw chicken—can pose a health risk if care is neglected. This is especially true because of cut marks in the wood. Bacteria tend to fall into these tiny little slits and this will eventually result in a bad smell if the wood surface is not properly cleaned. So what are some efficient ways to clean your butcher block counter top?


Don’t make the mistake

It’s important to remember that certain wood care chemicals are off limits to your butcher block counter. That’s because you are dealing with consumables and because most of these chemicals can cause severe health problems if they come into contact with your food or drink. Many chemicals which are not compatible with the wood may even cause further damage—so avoid your home maintenance store for the solution.


Prevention is better than cure

It is essential that you keep your butcher block counter clean at all times. This means wiping it down after every use—and not waiting too long to do so. By continuously cleaning your counter top you will prevent most of the stains and smells that can occur. You will also ensure that, for the most part, it remains relatively hygienic. Continual cleaning is as easy as taking a warm wet cloth and a drop of dish detergent. Give the counter a good wipe and then rinse excess soap off with a dripping-wet cloth.


Minor scratches and stains

However, you cannot protect your counter top from every form of damage or blemish. Wood is simply more susceptible to these elements which is why proper care is extra important. After prolonged use, your counter top will start to show signs of small cuts and faint stains. There may also be an unpleasant smell because of bacteria that has not been cleaned out properly.


Germs can be effectively removed by washing your butcher block counter top with white wine vinegar. Vinegar is a natural sanitizer and will destroy any unhealthy bacteria that might be lurking on your board. For stains, a simple scrub with some lemon juice should remove minor blemishes; and will also leave a pleasant smell behind. By washing your counter top in this sequence, you will effectively sanitize it with the vinegar and fragrance it with the lemon juice. Both of these natural ingredients are of course also perfectly safe to consume.


Serious damage

After years of use, accidents are bound to happen. Wooden counter tops are prone to suffer burns, deep scratches and serious stains. In cases such as these, a major counter top service may be required every two to three years. This maintenance involves sanding the counter top lightly where the damage or stain is visible. Make sure to sand with the grain so as to maintain the integrity of the wood. Once this is done and the damage is no longer visible, treat the wood with warmed up food-grade mineral oil. The wood needs to absorb the oil so leave it for at least half an hour before wiping the residue off with a dry cloth.



Remember to educate all the members of your household on how to prevent serious damage to your wooden counter top. You can now also teach them how to provide proper butcher block counter tops care by following the above prescription. These methods will also work well for portable butcher blocks, but are especially useful for built-in tops which are not washable under running water.


Be sure to enjoy your wooden counter top and continue using it for what it was meant for—preparing fresh, homemade food for you and your family.

When in doubt about what to write

Times often come when you have simply drained your creative juices and are not sure what to write anymore. That unfinished paragraph is just staring at you and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to squeeze meaningful content out of your brain and onto the screen.


Here are some quick-fix ideas on how to give your content a new dimension and make it more conversational:


  1. How-to in action

A great way to showcase your description or point is to describe it in action. For instance, if you are writing about how to create compelling essays, describe a scenario where the student receives the essay. The student then hits writer’s block, get’s stressed, and eventually reads your blog to get the much needed advice. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and empathize with his or her situation.


  1. A list

Sometimes it’s easier to say something by breaking it up into multiple points. Consider creating a list of features or benefits to describe your subject better. This not only makes it easier to read, but will arrange your content in a neater, comprehendible way.


  1. Benefits instead of features

You may very well be stuck in the rut of only describing the features of your subject. Try taking a different approach by discussing how the subject can benefit the reader. People always respond better to benefits than features. Therefore, if you mention a feature, be sure to elaborate on how it will better the circumstances of the reader.


  1. Slip in a joke

Sit for a minute or two and think of a way you can add humour to a sentence or a paragraph.  A well-positioned joke can re-capture the attention of a reader and lighten up a dreary article. It also adds a touch of humanness to your writing—and people respond to human writing. This doesn’t mean you should be crude. It also doesn’t mean you should make a joke at someone else’s expense—unless it’s you. Exaggeration is a good example; or simply elaborating on what’s going on in someone’s mind when they are frustrated. Use your imagination.


  1. Make an analogy

A real lifesaver in writing can be an analogy—especially when you are struggling to explain a concept. Simply compare your concept with something that clearly represents it well. Make sure you use an analogy that the reader can relate to, or you run the risk of further confusing the issue.


  1. Give an example

Don’t confuse this tip with #1. You aren’t describing a scenario here; you are simply providing an example. Your sentence will start with, “For instance,” or “An example of this is…” It’s a great way to elaborate on your point and further solidify the concept in your reader’s mind.


  1. Ask a question. Give an answer

Asking questions in your article is a great way to be conversational. Pre-empt what the reader may ask once you have said something. By showing the reader that you know what they are thinking, they will see your writing as personal and authoritative.


Know of any other tips? Let us know on the comment section below. Happy writing!


About the author: Copley Sutton is an international copywriter based in South Africa. His services include conceptual copywriting, blogging, website content, proofreading & editing, press releases and product descriptions.