Teemill Updates

Write Better Descriptions & Blogs

Descriptions, blogs and similar texts are a massively underestimated part of online business. People read the stuff you write and the quality of your words will make or break the sale. This blog sheds light the secret techniques that professional copy writers use to effortlessly create inspiring and effective text, every time.

Whilst amazing photography can really make a brand stand out, the writing that frames the images is too often overlooked. But it’s only when we sit down to write our first description, blog or ‘about us’ page when we realise how truly difficult it can be to express a point succinctly, let alone in an inspiring, exciting and unique way. More often than not, people find writing very tough –  and avoid it if possible.

Text (or copy, as it’s called by the pros) gets read by customers who are serious – customers who are looking to buy, and just need convincing.

Poor product descriptions, rambling blogs or typos and bad grammar are all that’s needed to put the customer off in today’s hyper competitive online marketplace. That’s why most companies employ professional copy writers.

So how can I do it myself without hiring a pro or struggling on? There are some easy to use tricks to get the most out of your time and rapidly improve the quality of your copy.

If you think you get writers block, you’re doing it wrong

There’s a fantastic book called How to Fly a Horse which focuses on normal people doing extraordinary things – and how some of the people we consider to be genius does their hard work a disservice. In it, Woody Allen one of the most successful screenwriters in history) debunks the myth of his genius. He talks about how he throws away many pages for every one he keeps, and that writers block doesn’t exist: It’s just the first hurdle of writing where most other people give up. He writes 2 pages, throws them away,and tries again until he has something to keep. Remember this:

The majority of what you write will be rubbish. Delete it and try again, and again, until you have some great copy that you’re happy with.

If you don’t know what to write, start writing and keep going, like Woody Allen does. Writers block is just another word for giving up. Don’t.

Unlock the value bit with trick questions

There are some great tricks you can use to unlock more great sentences when you’re writing. Often it’s hard to know what to write, where to start, or what part of a product to focus on.

It may help to build you sentences as bullet points, and connect them all up later. To get those bullet points, these are the trick questions you can ask yourself to extract more words from your brain.

And why should I care about that?

So what should I do about it?

Sometimes you need to ask yourself this a few times to really dig out what you mean. Introduce one of your products. Then try these questions

If you’re using a comma, consider a full stop.

Sentences that go on and on like this one are very hard for customers to read especially when you’re trying to make a convincing point about a product feature or if you’re trying to explain something amazing without losing your trail of thought and when the customer reads this they tend to lose focus on the last thing you just said whereas breaking it up into smaller little chunks gives you the best chance of making a point and sounding authoritative without losing your customer along the way so it’s important to use more full stops and make your sentences punching.  Shorter sentences are easier to read. On average, twelve words per sentence is a good guide. This is particularly true of product descriptions. Give it a go!

Exemplify the antithesis of overcomplicated language

Or in other words, why use complicated words when you could use  simple ones? Some words like luxurious might be better understood as soft. A great product is a great product, an exemplary product is a distracting sentence. Keep it simple.

Write it… then Delete the first and last sentence

One of the most useful ways to tidy up your writing is to consider, at the last moment, whether or not deleting the first and last part makes the whole piece more powerful.

Often we start by talking about what we’re going to say in a loose sort of introductory tone. We make our most powerful points in the middle of our paragraphs. And at the end we try and finish it up with a few extra words.

By deleting the first and last sentence, we can strip back on waffle and really make our words have impact.

We make our most powerful points in the middle of our paragraphs.

Next time you get to a finished piece of text, imagine if it could be more powerful without the first and last sentence.

Write on brand, relate to your catch phrases. talking points

Lastly, one of the most effective tricks is to develop some catch phrases or talking points that are on-brand, which you can refer back to time and time again. You’ll see the politicians doing it because it helps them say the right thing and relate everything they’re saying back to some well-rehearsed lines that are guaranteed to be well received. There’s no reason you can’t use the same tactic for more positive outcomes. During the course of your writing, you might come out with a sentence or two that you really like. Keep it. Next time you’re writing some stuff on the subject, these lines are a handy way to bring your sentences to a conclusion.

“And that’s why we choose to manufacture our products in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory. With traceability from Seed to shop people can find out where clothing comes from, how it’s made and who made it.

Before long you can start writing consistent paragraphs that include your catch phrases, and mixed with all the other tips in this blog you will be creating heaps of SEO-friendly, on-brand content that’s punchy to read and effective at turning your copy into paying customers.

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Setting Goals: The 25 to 5 Game

Warren Buffett is one of the most successful businessmen in history and is well known for his down-to-earth, long term outlook. Not a talker, a doer. And so a good person to look for when trying to build your own sales through Teemill.

Whether you’re a passionate charity fundraiser or a hyper-competitive entrepreneur, there are lessons to be learned from his success and methods. So here we examine Warren Buffett’s philosophy and apply it to your Teemill account. How can you use the experience of building a multi-billion empire in your own project?

His top tip is the rule of 25 and 5. Put simply, pump the brakes and get a pen and paper: Think carefully and come up with 25 goals, achievements or things you’re working towards.

Your long-list of 25 goals might include new designs, a great photoshoot, a nifty neck label, some more twitter followers, a load of team riders, SEO and cost per click campaigns, an app, a launch party, a blog, a mixtape.

Write down your 25 things, or if you have more, condense to 25. Next, identify the top 5 that matter.

For example, you might think about great photography and realise that it completely changes the way your brand looks and feels for everyone – but that brand-specific app? Well, it’s probably going to be really hard and lets face it, it might not make that much difference. Those labels wont really add value either. But profit on the other hand? That’s got to be a top 5.

Now you have your top 5, keep them seperate. And avoid the other 20 at all costs.

That’s right: Warren Buffett’s top tip is to not do 20 of your 25 goals. And not just to not do them, but to avoid at all costs. Delete them, stop thinking about them, destroy the ideas.

They’re distractions, and will stop you ever achieving the 5 that really matter.

Give the 25 to 5 method a go now.

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The Marketing Rule of 7

The marketing rule of 7 is one of the oldest lessons in marketing. It’s stuck around because it works. Ever heard of Coca Cola? Their entire marketing strategy is basically the rule of 7. It’s an important lesson for marketers to remember.

The marketing rule of Seven frames all other marketing efforts – if you’re thinking of flyers, Facebook, cost per click, email marketing, word of mouth, SEO, or even a few giveaways, you might need all 7 of them…

The marketing rule of seven says that customers will need to see seven pieces of marketing before committing to a purchase on average.

Too often first time marketers are too scarce with their communication, fearful of overburdening their customers with too many ads, stories or pitches. One a week, for example, is often considered pushing it.

Meanwhile, the average person sees a Coca Cola advert or logo more than 7 times per day in the UK. The word coca cola is the second most recognisable word in the world, after okay.

The most common reason people don’t buy your products is that they don’t know about them. Yet.

So if you want your brand to be huge, take your foot off the brake and pump that accelerator: Get some quality writing and amazing photography together and start marketing: Publish your content, stories, posts, newsletters, tweets, posts, photos out there, 7 times a week: Minimum!

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Sustainability as Standard

Teemill may well be nifty in terms of the high tech, efficient and profitable business model but it started out as a sustainability project and continues to be a trailblazer in an era where low impact matters. If you sell t-shirts online with Teemill, that means your brand and product share that same sustainability story.

We wanted to reduce waste using technology and were inspired by a rumour than Dell only hold 1 hours stock at any one time – at that moment, we had around 6 months of stock, half of it was probably never going to sell. A complete waste that plagues the industry, which explains all the sales and subsequent race-to-the-bottom culture.

We worked very hard in our first 5 years to improve upon business as usual by building a supply chain where all our products were made from more sustainable materials like Organic cotton, in ethically accredited, wind powered factories.

We also developed a cool eco-labelling system to help customers shop quickly with a conscience. Best of all, we built some cool traceability tools so our customers could see where our clothing comes from, how it’s made and who made it.

But none of that changed the fact that without a radical new business model, we had either to bin the waste or do regular sales, eroding price and eventually compromising our values. We needed to change the system. Our focus became on inventing some way to prevent waste in fashion, some technology to reduce our stockholding from 6 months to more like 6 days, or better, 6 hours.

And what followed was 3 years of intense technology investment, the result of which is the reduction of that time to a negative figure: Products at our factory do not exist until after they are ordered.

The Rapanui factory in the UK, and Teemill – the software and hardware system we have built to make this real-time fashion supply chain –  is what makes it possible for anyone anywhere in the world to access it. It’s free, requires no previous training or experience to use – just human determination and creativity. It’s amazing to see what people create with it.

Most importantly, during that period we made a point of sticking to the provenance, sustainability and ethics of the product and locked that in: Every tee sold on Teemill is printed in the UK and made from Organic Cotton in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory with traceability from seed to shop. If you’re a 15 year old kid in a bedroom or head of fundraising for a national charity, with Teemill, all that comes standard.

Teemill is making sustainability the new normal.

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SEO: How to get a top spot on Google

Dominating a search on google can be more lucrative than even the biggest and best shop on Oxford Street – and it follows that that spot could be occupied by you. But how?  It’s not about money. You need clear thinking, attention to detail, perseverance and a formula for success.

In this blog post, we’ll explain how to understand Google and the decisions it makes. We’ll also explain how we take care of a lot of the technical and coding side of SEO and understand the things you can do to optimise your Teemill store and make more money selling t-shirts online.

No shortcuts.

There’s a trick or hack to get a top spot on Google. Their very success depends on it’s ability to give users genuine, quality content at the top of search results. They’re better than everyone at finding cheaters and that’s why they’re the top search engine. And they have thousands of employees dedicated to this mission. Trying to cheat google will only end one way.

So whether you agree with their tax affairs or not, you’re going to have to think of them as being ultra merciless about rewarding honesty, professionalism, accuracy, quality and fairness – and brutal with anything else. Accept that SEO is not human and forgiving: An ok description is not good enough. Having done most of your SEO is not all of it. Don’t expect to show up for a search on “T-shirts” if your shop says it’s selling “Bat themed tees”

About 80% of the traffic goes to the top result for any search on Google. In the words of Ricky Bobby in Talledega Nights, If you ain’t first you’re last

So what specifically do we need to do to grab the top spot off our competitor? Well, there’s an immensely complex set of algorithms, or programs, that will judge your worthiness for those top ranking spots, and these change all the time. But don’t let that put you off. There’s one consistent theme throughout that anyone can understand and everything google does is related to it.

Think of variables like a department store

The best way to explain it is to think of your website like a real life shop, on a high street. Google started out questioning how to make the best search engine and using biomimicry you can see why a shop is a good analogy: Human’s had already worked out the format that we like to find things in. A long line of square shops, with big words over the top that say what’s in them, big windows so we can see what sort of stuff is in them. And if you go into a supermarket, ailes so things are labelled and arranged by category, with more space left to more popular things.

Translate that online and you can understand every possible decision google might ever make in context.

Why do Google punish slow page loading speeds? Imagine trying to get into a supermarket but the door takes a minute to open and you have the answer. Why do they reward big keywords in big titles at the top of pages? Well, imagine walking down a highstreet where all the signs are removed. Google is a virtual high street. Start thinking of your shop in the same way to unlock SEO opportunities.

Google work really hard to make their algorithm “see” and “think” like a person. The program has ‘bots’ or crawlers that cruise round the internet and check out your shop, sending back data to Google servers almost like a mystery shopper doing a review. They read your titles, descriptions, even look at what’s in the photo to see if they match (that technology got spun off into the “search by image” feature, which you might have seen).

Choose the right words

We start by walking down the imaginary high street, looking for a [insert word here] that you sell and the goal would be to find your store before all other stores. First, that word needs to be big and clear on the homepage, and maybe in the URL. It’s no good having a sign that says Mr Nighttime Novelty Shop Tees if the customer is looking for Bat T-shirts. Ask yourself, when you write that product name or description, what do you really mean?  Some people call this keyword research: It’s the art of answering this question: What IS it, specifically?

Let us optimise the code while you focus on your wording

Next we need to make sure our door is wide open, warm, fast and clean and tidy inside the shop.

Luckily our boffins at Teemill take care of all this stuff in the code, and we’re constantly optimising it.

So you if you sell t-shirts online through Teemill, relax – we’re working on the techy side of SEO as you read this. Your job is to focus on the wording, descriptions and how they match up with what’s out there being searched for.

Describe your product clearly

Next up think about your product. If you have described it in the title as a Bat T-shirt, make sure it has a bat on it. Cheating doesn’t work. Google will notice customers bailing out and smell a rat. So you want your customers to stick about and maybe have a look. Here’s where good shop floor staff work in the real world. Your version online is the product description. At Teemill we force you to write a paragraph for this reason: Nobody likes a moody, antisocial shopkeeper. We expect friendly, knowledgeable product advice. Like a description that is relevant, grammatically correct and without profanity – but not too much.

Build trust with Online PR

So now you have a shop that’s clearly named and labelled, with great products with clear, informative, honest descriptions. Next up, you’ll need to build up some trust. Of course, you could just sit there and hope that a passerby will give you a go, and over their lifetime, tell a few friends. But like a high street, you can be pro-active about building trust. Online, trust is measured in simple terms with links. That means that one site, linking to another, is seen as endorsing it.

To advance that point, the power of the endorsement is multiplied or divided by the relevance of the endorsement, and the trust that the linker has in the first place. For example, if the Queen recommends Fortnum & Mason, upper class searchers really rank that highly. But if little Jimmy says the same, it won’t carry as much weight. Furthermore, if little Jimmy is know to think his best mate’s football is amazing, that has no relationship whether or not they would shop at Fortnum and Mason.

Again, some get caught out trying to cut corners: Paying for links is the equivalent to asking a gang to hang out by your store and force people in. Don’t be surprised when you lose your ranking.

A big part of SEO is trust, and trust is about quality, not quantity. So find some respected websites, blogs or magazines and tell them about your Teemill project. If they like it, they will write a little feature – and you’ve done it, you’re building trust.

The top Teemill accounts all use effective link building to boost the rank of their store, whether thanks linking from an existing website they own with massive trust scores or using online PR to get articles and features to link back- they do it regularly and build momentum into their routine.

Tip: you can use advanced tools like SEOprofiler to find more link building opportunities, and analyse your page content.

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