testimonials table example

Rocking Testimonials for your brand profile 

Testimonials are self-evidently a great way to win new clients and grow your business profile.  If you want to consider adding them to your tactical marketing armoury, there are some prior considerations to resolve.

  1. Does your business get testimonials spontaneously?
  2. Have you got any existing testimonials?

If you aren’t a long-established business, then it will be more difficult to encourage spontaneous outpourings of delight and joy. 

Never fear, we’ve got a plan for you.

What’s already in the can?

Start with any existing documented positive feedback that you or your client can find. And plan

a page on your domain where you can drop in all the quotes from clients.

Make it easy to find e.g. www.yourdomain.co.nz/testimonials

Make the most of the page so the viewer finds it a helpful resource, not a chore.  Lay out the page so the most recent testimonial is at the top and the reader scrolls down to see others.  If there are obvious different services or products which have received reviews, clearly separate them too.  A series of embedded tabs can be a neat solution here.

testimonials table example

Tabbed testimonials example

Starting from zero

A different opportunity exists for businesses without any rave reviews.  You may feel it’s hard to ask for favours, to ask for sales or to ask for testimonials.  Let us help you make it easy.

Business “workflows” are a trendy catchphrase that is a way of describing ‘how-we-do-things-round-here’. Any marketing activity which you do more than once deserves a workflow process.  The reason is that it becomes part of normal business life and is easier to reproduce if you do it frequently.

Think about how you are going to set up the business process to get new testimonials regularly from clients and customers.

Here’s ours. 

Our marketing meeting has “Testimonials” as an agenda item.  We review a list of recent clients and pick a couple to approach.  The lead person who works on the client phones up and asks (using a pre-agreed script) if we can have a testimonial.  Further, we ask for it in three places – spoken, on LinkedIn and on Google.  The spoken one we write down as we chat and then send back to the client for approval. 

What’s so easy about this is that the client doesn’t have to actually write anything – they just talk.  Most people find that easier. 

Then we upload the testimonial or ask the client to do it on social pages.  We also link back to the client’s website (like we do on the Creative Agency Secrets Testimonials page).  It’s nice to give them back some strong SEO link juice.

Task completed! 

Testimonials add to your SEO

Ask for testimonials on your Google My Business page.  Note, you have to have a gmail address in order to create these so it can be a challenge for some clients if they have to create an account.  The great output from this is that your testimonials are visible in public search (alongside the search map) and when you have over 5 published, you get a star rating too.  That makes you stand out even more from competitors.

Get more mileage from each testimonial

Remember I suggested you get clients to ‘just talk’ and you write the testimonial?  Well that chatting will almost certainly contain a lot of information.  Take all your testimonials and copywrite a long and a short “sound bite” version of each.  Put the short version on the website testimonials page.  Copy the long version of each to a blog post – and link to it from the short version on the testimonials page.  Creating on-site links is good (reduces bounce rate) and also helps show an expanded authentic “customer voice” to each one.

Gamification of testimonials

Inspired by Gabriel McIntyre’s “Getting Paid Faster with the Invoice Challenge”, we set about adapting it to suit our need for client testimonials.  [Seriously, watch the video – it’s genius.]

Here’s the case study of the campaign we ran to get testimonials and support a good cause.

Now, where else can you get and share testimonials? We know they’re on Linked In, Facebook, Neighbourly (NZ local media), Yelp, Finda, Localist….. There are heaps of places – but don’t try to game the system.  Just pick the site(s) you know your clients and prospects use. 

Over to you to share your favourites.

This article was first written for publication in Marketing Online Magazine 

local marketing strategies for your business

10 marketing strategies for a local business

What are some breakthrough marketing strategies to grow and scale a local business?

Local teeth whitening business, already doing FB ads, Instagram ads, Adwords, little bit of content marketing on YouTube and will be “scaling” those channels over the coming weeks/months, but wanted to know about offline strategies or where else online I can get the best value for my marketing spend.

Great question – local marketing is absolutely essential nowadays.  Especially as few people are navigating social media looking for tooth whitening services, these will become more profitable than online over time.

Here’s a quick list of tools I suggest using to bolster your current work. 

  1. Set up a Google My Business account and get it address-verified (they mail you a code)
  2. Keywords – ensure city/ town / suburb / state or county are all included in metadata
  3. Directory listings – Get yourself listed on free and paid sites.  If you can afford a small spend www.brightlocal.com is worthwhile
  4. Use Facebook local targeting for advertising / brand building
  5. Set up Google Alerts for key phrases in the news that could allow you to comment / contact / build a mailing list
  6. Join the local Business Associations and contact all the relevant local business members
  7. Go to Networking events (BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Meetup.com, Eventbrite)
  8. Get happy customers to write Testimonials on Google My Business.  Also, reproduce them on your website
  9. Use media relations to get articles in local newspaper, local radio, local newsletters, (check out Yahoo Groups for local lists)
  10. Ask for Referrals – by sending two business cards with your invoice
  11. Make specific requests for social sharing via your accounts
  12. Surprise and delight the customer – e.g. pay it forward – you pay to have your teeth whitened, and I give a free treatment each month to a deserving individual and use that for publicity.

I hope that gives you a load of great ideas to be getting on with. 

But if you’d like specific coaching on what to do for this client – get in touch.  

How to get testimonials for your business

How to get testimonials for your business

 Firstly get a page set up on your domain where you can drop in all the quotes we get from clients.

Recommendations:

  1. Lay out the page so the most recent testimonial is at the top and the reader scrolls down to see others.
  2. Take all testimonials and make a long and a short “sound bite” version.  Put the short version on the Testimonials page.
  3. Copy the long version of each testimonial to a blog post – and link to it from the short version on the testimonials page.
  4. Link to the client website (like we do on the Creative Agency Secrets Testimonials page).  It’s nice to give back some strong SEO link juice.
  5. Have a plan about how you are going to set up the business process to get new testimonials regularly from clients and customers.
  6. Also ask for testimonials on your Google My Business page.  Note, you have to have a gmail address in order to upload these so it can be a big ‘ask’ for some clients for whom that’d be a challenge to set up.

Here’s a case study of a cute campaign we ran to get testimonials and support a good cause.

Now, where else can you get testimonials….. Linked In, Facebook, Neighbourly (NZ local media), Yelp, Finda….. over to you to share yours.

How to Get Leads from your Business Website

This speech was given to the Grey Lynn Business Association on 10th June 2016.  It includes tips on testing how your website is working, 12 ways to make local marketing work including inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

Profile Raising

Step four: Profile raising for new business

Getting well-known for what you do is a very long-term process. But this should not deter you because it’s relatively easy nowadays to become known for a specific skill or product.  

Becoming famous for being good at what you do in a public forum takes a few simple steps, repeated.

Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

The goal of this step in the new business development process reinforces prospects’ decision-making when they come to select someone to do work for them or with them. If they can find out about you independently, and online they are far, far more likely to hire you then if they cannot find out about you.

Where is your brand findable in public?

So let’s have a look at the different places where a stranger could find out about you and your business and the things that you do.

  1. Do you write articles?
  2. Have you been mentioned in the news?
  3. What about public speaking?
  4. Have you ever been to a conference?
  5. Do you ever speak or present at business events like BNI, the Chamber of Commerce or Local Business / Professional Membership Associations?
  6. What about running workshops or webinars?
  7. Do you host events at your own premises?
  8. Could you invite clients and prospects to learn more about your skill and expertise in a face-to-face environment?

Here are some of the things that you could do to improve your “find-ability”.

Business awards Does your industry run annual awards and could you enter?  Many parts of New Zealand have local Westpac Business Awards happening every year.  This not only adds to your internal feelgood factor for the team by entering, but it also gives you handy PR and some external credibility if you get through to the final stages.

What about opinion formers? There are always people who are prepared to stand up and talk about your industry; could they quote you? These people may be journalists but often nowadays they might be bloggers or podcasters.

Networking is important for most businesses particularly if you want to win clients locally. Having actually met someone is a very strong and easy way of building trust. Find out where your local networking opportunities are. This may be the Chamber of Commerce, local meetup groups or BNI.

I do recommend you check out the website meetup.com because a lot of good events are run and publicised through there.  You can search by location to filter.   And also, look at Eventbrite for your country. You will see that Creative Agency Secrets does a lot of Eventbrite work and we find the people actually search this site and sign up to our events.

Members of your staff also talk about your company and it’s important that every time they mention your firm you want it to be positive and also consistent. It’s important that you, the business owner, are not the only ambassador for the business.  Can you enthuse them?

Conferences, trade shows and exhibitions are another good place where you can get better-known. You could run a trade stand or you could just attend and see who else is there and talk to the other people you meet. If you’re able to get onto the conference speaking platform as a speech-giver then of course it’s a very good way to put your message across in a subtle manner and showcase your expertise. Do your research locally – are there conferences running and can you get a copy of the full attendees list if you are a speaker?  This gives you an opportunity to get in touch with people after the event as well.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

Read the other posts from this series here!

Coworking space

How to get your first co-working members?

We have just opened a coworking space and although we are getting good traffic to the website we are struggling converting paid members, both online and offline. Any tips from those who have started coworking spaces on how you signed up your first 10 or 20 members?

The answer is the same for any new product or service being launched.

I have been a coworking user for 3 years (not an operator). Local Marketing by Experience is what you need to do. By this I mean get visitors to the space and pitch them when they are there…

My advice is this

  1. offer the space as a meeting venue for Meetups locally. Get people visiting the space through meetups and ask the organiser to allow you to pitch all attendees about the available space and “special rates” for their members.
  2. Research highly networked people you know and ask them to help you publicise on social platforms. Ask them to occupy the space free of charge on the condition that they use your space to host their meetings – so they bring people in.
  3. Offer the space short term for the use of local business incubator (they typically run Lean Canvas startup programs for 8 – 12 weeks). This gets visitors in the space and it looks busy… again, you achieve the objective of getting people in and using the space and used to visiting.
  4. Review your pricing. Find out why visitors choose to go elsewhere and if it’s price – adjust accordingly.
  5. Review your offer. Can you offer Co (collaboration) and Working (shared workspace)? Most only offer workspace. My advice is to proactively manage the collaboration part. How can you introduce workers to each other, now can you facilitate them winning new customers in your space, how can you leverage your networks to help them win business… .
    Coworking space

    Coworking space

    How can you use your platform to help them sell more?  If you do this, people will want to use your platform for their business because it grows as a result of the collaboration and the working together.  And the condition for that is to pay you to occupy your workspace…. problem solved.

Although all these tactics can work, my view is that the last one gives the most opportunity – but it takes work and is possibly hardest to deliver on quickly.

This is in answer to a question on Clarity.fm 

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

What it means to Growth Hack.

Growth Hacking is a new phrase meaning to aggressively make a step-change in business success.  It’s not just a cute phrase, there are specific techniques which can make significant improvements to website success.

You define success and we’ll teach you how to make it happen.

What is your #1 marketing and sales problem?

Get the answers about how you can growth hack your web success with USA experts Dan Morris and Rachel Martin during May 2016.

Face to face consult or small group workshops.

Email [email protected] with your #1 marketing and sales problem.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

 

 

Podcasts – 7 Reasons Why Marketers Need Them

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Asia/Pacific Podcasting Conference, held here in Auckland. It was a fantastic two day event that showcased a number of talented speakers and presented some interesting ideas towards the future of podcasts.

Asia-Pacific-Podcast-Conference-logo

We use some sort of variation of podcasting with a number of our clients, and the buzz remaining from the Asia/Pacific Podcasting Conference got me thinking:

Is there substantial value to be gained from adding a podcast to your marketing mix?

I would argue yes, absolutely. Let me explain why…

podcasts are taking off1 – It’s going to be huge!

Podcasting is currently experiencing massive amounts of growth around the world. There are over 1 billion subscriptions to over 250,000 podcasts right now. With technology constantly improving, it is becoming ever more popular among the digital savvy.

2 – But, it isn’t as common as blogging… yet.

Which is a good thing. As more people start podcasting, competition increases and therefore, so does the overall quality of podcasts. Can you afford to wait until your competitors are experts before you join the race? As an early adopter, you have free reign to influence this goldmine of a marketplace as you like! Being seen as original and a pioneer can do wonders for your brand’s credibility.

3 – It is incredibly easy to do!

Sure, you have to feel comfortable on a microphone and possibly a camera too, projecting yourself to what could be… millions of people! But you could record your podcast from your bed if you wanted, never having to see these people hanging on your every word, which should help alleviate some of those nerves!

Worried that you don’t have anything to talk about, or don’t know enough about a subject to be an ‘authority’ on it? Fear not! Some of the greatest podcasters out there started out not knowing what they were talking about, but they did it anyway because THEY wanted to learn. In the process, they helped educate their audience and became known as the authorities in their chosen topic!

4 – You need but a few resources to get started.podcast equipment

Actually, all you really need is; an idea, a passion for that idea, a webcam/microphone/laptop/smartphone, maybe a co-host or guest and you’re basically away! It couldn’t be simpler. With ever-improving technological advancements, it’s getting quicker and easier to publish your content online without the assistance of a film crew or recording studio.

This also makes it incredibly time-efficient to produce a decent show as well! If you know what you’ll be talking about and a rough idea how to use the equipment, you can put together a clean, engaging show in a few hours! Obviously, this is dependent on how much editing and fine tuning you may need. You can be sure though, with practice, that time will get shorter and shorter as you perfect your craft!

5 – People engage in it.podcasts build community

Who has time to read lengthy blog articles anymore? Well, still a lot of people. But the point is, a podcast, if done right, will entertain you in a way that words on a page cannot. We lose so much emotion and sentiment in text, but those elements are carefully preserved when you listen to two people passionately discussing a topic.

Podcasting also allows for direct contact with your community/audience. Who wouldn’t become a raving fan of your show if you were personally shouting out to them? The very nature of a podcast immediately makes the listener/viewer feel like a part of your conversation and therefore, more likely to engage with your brand.

Podcasts should also be fun!
Yes, it may be difficult to make something like tax accounting sound fun, but at least it gives you a stage and a spotlight to express your personality or your brand’s character. This alone may be enough to sway any potential customers from a competitor and into your corner.

friends6 – Podcasts feel genuine.

Podcasts are typically independent of any large branding agencies and thus are ‘uncorrupted’ by the guise of corporate advertising. That’s not to say they are all without their own agendas. However, people seem to respond better to marketing sales pitches when they are delivered through a conversation, instead of being forced upon us by advertising agencies. This creates a unique environment for you to promote and sell your product/services without feeling like an infomercial.

7 – Versatility.

Podcasts can be enjoyed in places where reading a blog cannot! Your commute to and from work, while you sweat out the kilometres on the treadmill at the gym, while you walk your dog, cook dinner, sit in the bath or simply drown out the distractions of your surroundings.

microphoneAre you ready to start podcasting yet?

As businesses look for new platforms to compete for and connect with their customers, podcasting is sure to experience a major growth spurt as marketers seek to capitalise in the near future. In an industry driven by building ‘community’ and offering tailored experiences for their customers, podcasting offers both one of the most engaging ways of connecting and creates the perfect platform to deliver incredibly high-value content.

Of course, these aren’t the only reasons to get into podcasting. Check out these interesting statistics: Big Time Podcasting Statistics and Demographics if you need further persuasion.

If you previously discounted the idea of adding a podcast to your marketing mix, perhaps now is the time to reconsider.

Natural Search Listing on Google

Google my business. Do you know how to test your website is working correctly?

There are only five things that you want a business website to do.

  1. get found natural search
  2. answer questions
  3. bring in enquiries
  4. get prospects to reveal their identity
  5. showcase expertise

What this means is that an effective website should be shortcutting the amount of time it takes to get a new customer. 

Three tests to do now

So how can you tell if your current website is performing? Here are 3 tests you can run which are free and will take you around five minutes to do.

Hubspot Grader – Hubspot has a website grader tool which can easily appraise your current website using publicly available information. This is not perfect but it gives you a score out of 100 and then explains where your website could be improved. Remember this is a marketing tool designed to sell the Hubspot service. https://website.grader.com/

WooRank  This is a Chrome Browser extension which does a similar job to Hubspot and can be used to double check your own website in a similar manner. I find it very useful.  https://www.woorank.com/en/p/developers

Google Page Analytics. If you have Google analytics installed on your website and you are logged into the service you can open up your own website and using the Page Analytics chrome extension appraise exactly the % of people who have clicked on each hyperlink. I like to start with the homepage and to see which links are performing well.

This was what told me that many home page sliders are not working well for our clients.  And has led me to recommend discontinuing using them.  Go check yours out.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/page-analytics-by-google/

What about Search?

Now let us have a look at how are your website displays in natural search on Google.

Firstly Google looks at four aspects of your site: Words, Pictures, Video and Maps. Of course having all of these is the best way to be – but if you only have one, you should plan to add others.

Search for your business by name in your local Google. You should see a listing on the left hand side of the page and a map and logo listing on the right hand side which includes a Google Streetview if you have an address listed. Here is an example of one of them.

Natural Search Listing on Google

Natural Search Listing on Google

If the information is incorrect. It is urgent that you correct it.

I was searching for a Real Estate agent recently and got given the wrong office phone number from my search. You can imagine how annoying that must be!

Change how your business displays in Search

You can edit the display listings on Google search by registering your website in Google My Business. https://www.google.co.nz/business/  You must get verified before you can do the edits but it is very simple.

In the tool you can link your Google analytics account, maps, YouTube account, reviews and G+. This means that Google has an accurate, integrated record of everything your business adds. You can see how important this is as Google dominates search in New Zealand.

Tips for editing your business description

The first 3 lines are the most important part and so you must put both a short description of your organisation, one line about your services or products, and how to contact you. This last should be a hyperlink so you can send visitors to the correct page on your website.

Getting Search to give you insights

Google analytics is your friend because once you have an Analytics account you also get a Search Console account. This was formerly called Google Webmaster Tools. By associating the two accounts you can then help your analytics to display additional useful information. It’s very important to have a sitemap and then you can display insights inside your analytics account for your marketing team.

In the old days Google allowed you to see what search terms were being used that brought visitors to your website. They stopped doing this because it cut into their advertising revenue. Now you can see search phrases and the number of times your website has been displayed for each phrase. It is less specific then before but it still gives you a good general idea. In our e-book how to Get My Website Working For Me we explain how to edit the six pages that Google displays underneath your business name.

You should consider which of these six pages is the most important and the order in which you want to display them. You can “Demote” a page so that Google displays an alternative.  For example you should have your contact us page on the listing but you may choose not to have a list of clients.

Setting the page priority levels is done using your site map this determines the hierarchy of pages. However you may have several pages at the same level on the ‘family tree’. You can switch these around inside Google Search Console based on your needs as I explained above.

So how did your business website perform in your tests?

These simple tools will give you the means to demonstrate to budget holders the importance of prioritising your website improvements and how it displays in search.   

Improving your local SEO is an important part of your business marketing.  It’s all part of Getting your website working hard for your business [there’s a free ebook telling you how].

Read more blog posts about Profile Raising by clicking the icon below. It’s one of the steps in our 8 Step Methodology 

4 Profile