New business development year planning

New Year Marketing Planning – resolve to do this!

Ready for next year?  No, of course you’re not.  This is normal.

But you intend to get ready and to plan your marketing, don’t you?

Make those resolutions happen by booking in to our January 2017 Marketing Year Planning Workshop.

Join us for a Marketing and  Business Development Workshop to help you get your year plan sorted!

What Will I Get Out Of It?

We’ll walk you through our 8 Step Business Development Methodology, which will create a detailed plan of activities for the year that will drive new leads into your business and position you to achieve your goals for 2017.

You’ll also learn tips, techniques and marketing tools for your business which are vital to your modern marketing success.  These are tried and tested as we do them ourselves and for our clients.

Join our Group Workshop Session on 26th January 2017 in Auckland for $500.00 + GST.  This fee is per business and so you can bring 1 colleague with you.

Build your business development plan for the next year and guide your business towards success.

This workshop is for business owners and managers who are responsible for finding new clients and growing revenues.  It will show you the practical, tried and tested techniques that the Creative Agency Secrets team uses for its clients.

You will learn:

  1. How to create a unique company profile.
  2. A check list of marketing activities .
  3. New business pipeline analysis and tracking template.
  4. What you need to do to get better known in your industry.
  5. Learn relationship building for getting and keeping long term clients.
  6. How to spot opportunities for new business sales.
  7. The business process that delivers leads.
  8. What to measure to track progress.

Each attendee will take home a high level plan for their business – planned through the year with month by month activities.

Testimonials from Nov 2016 attendees

“It was good to be in the group and to feed off Rebecca’s comment and experience. I don’t record leads and whether they were successful and that will definitely be useful in future.” Nicola Manning, Nicola Manning Design

“I enjoyed it.  It was definitely worthwhile.  I thought it was a good bunch of people and it was very interesting.” Dave Sauvage, Sauvage Design

It was really good and I will do a strategy accountability partner each month.  I am going to leave my paid mentor group and do this instead. I have to get into the headspace to actually go back and review everything and set goals for each month. The wide range of people was very good especially the male female diversity. Jo-Anne Hitchcock, H Architecture

“I thought it was useful and when people are at different stages that’s interesting.  I could do a few things differently which is partly a time thing. Beneficial – I got out of it as much as I could.”  Jeremy Sutton, Jeremy Sutton Lawyers

Customer Feedback

Don’t Be Boring Is The Best Way To Gather Customer Feedback

Customer feedback. These simple words are in every businessman’s mouth (and 2-hour long Powerpoint presentations) and can give you priceless insights if done right. This data is essential to measure customers’ satisfaction and make your products/services meet their needs. But let’s be honest, the ways people use to collect it are not thought through like they should. From annoying guys with clipboards knocking on your door to spammy messages in your inbox, research is carelessly planned by most companies. Fear not, though: we have a few suggestions for you on how to seize your customers’ opinion.

Yeah, you know where I’m going: the infamous surveys. Right now, as I mention the words “fill a form”, I can almost hear your eyes rolling. It’s something loathed by most of us, and some planners consider just a necessary evil. Doesn’t matter if you are the poor soul who’s spreadsheeting the results for that damn thing or, God forbid, the one answering to an endless questionnaire.

Understanding the importance of this kind of research, many companies offer rewards to customers in a hopeless attempt of getting useful information to work with. Burger King, for example, used to encourage customer feedback offering FREE FOOD if you completed their online survey. However, even a free burger was not incentive enough to make me bother to finish those.

Ok, so where are those brands failing miserably?

The process itself is outdated. If the activity is too laborious, doesn’t matter what “prize” you are offering. People tend to quit or, even worse, answer rubbish by mindlessly marking “x” on random fields just to be done with it, giving you worthless data.

Now you are probably asking yourself the million dollar question: is there a way to avoid wasting your resources while collecting useful data?

Make it fun

Surveys must be dynamic, well designed and lighthearted. No one can stand boring lists of questions and tiny “tick boxes” in this day and age. You can use a tool like Typeform, a Spanish startup that is mastering user experience for all kinds of forms, from a simple suggestion box to a more intricate survey. You can check an example at the end of this article. Their innovative service promises to keep “focused and engaged respondents” with a beautiful interface, responsible for a 59% completion rate on the platform. That’s a MASSIVE result.

Make it meaningful

Your customer has to understand the objective of giving you feedback and see that you are actually listening. You can start showing your appreciation by making him part of the creative development of new products, like McDonald’s did with the “Create Your Taste” campaign. There was no money involved, just a warm feeling of belonging and the thrill of signing your own McDonald’s sandwich. Crowdsourcing at its finest, bringing excellent results (and funny memes, because internet).

Here at Creative Agency Secrets, we made a testimonials campaign for ourselves by partnering with a charity called StarJam. Offering donations in exchange for a few words from our clients, we turned their feedback into social proof for our own brand on the internet. You can check more details reading our case study.

 

Customer feedback formpowered by Typeform

Marketing for a web design business

I’d like to chat about marketing for my small web design business.  I’ve got to this point without needing to do much marketing, however, to grow, I need to be doing something!  What’s your advice?

Having looked at many, many web design agency websites, there is one clear point of difference which you creative-web-designshave that others do not have.  You BOTH do web design and you’re a Shopify expert.

But the website doesn’t separate the customer journey (pathway through the site) for these two groups.  It’s important to shortcut the number of clicks a visitor makes on their discovery through your site.

Recommend: Separate links to detail pages for these two services

I asked you about the split in clients between web and Shopify – and you told me it was about 50:50.  Then you told me some of your clients were first timers – getting a website or ecommerce store for the first time.  This group needs to be treated differently from clients who know how to buy web services.  This group can lose you money as they are inexperienced.

Recommend: Set up a page for FirstTimers to guide them through how to brief an agency.

You also told me that some of your work is advice, particularly for Shopify clients.  You charge an hourly rate for this work.  This is a good rate, but it’s non-repeating business.

Recommend: You offer two services for advice.  One is straight advice; the other is training.  Double your charges for training because you are teaching clients how to be self-sufficient and to run their own Shopify stores.

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If this advice is useful for your business, consider hiring us to help tutor you through effective business marketing.  Can’t pay?  Join our newsletter and you’ll get a free 8 article series of practical business marketing tips to implement yourself.

Marketing and Cash Flow

How to Cash Flow your Marketing

Finance people see marketing activities differently.  They may be blocking spend that you perceive essential.  To understand the Chief Finance Officer’s perspective on marketing, we decided to interview expert CFO Trish Love about how she makes decisions to spend money on Marketing.

Marketing Activities versus Cash Flow

Trish has an 8 step process she uses to appraise marketing budgets and to prioritise spend. She explains “these steps are not sequential but there is a loose logic I follow.”

  1. Budget the Activities In – both the time and money.  As a CFO you must have a budget before you commit spend.  If you mentally allow for some cash to grow the business – later you can refine the spend detail.
  2. Budget for contingencies – there WILL be some.  If it’s in your budget it’s easier to make a decision – if it is not in a budget it needs a higher benchmark of certainty in order to justify the spend commitment. We have 90 day planning and strategy cycle.  And so the next step is whatever you think the budget is going to be, double it.  Do this for money and also often for time budgets.  For contingencies – there will be some. Things to remember: contingencies happen.  If you are wrong about the $10k budget and right about $5k spend then you’ve got $5k more profit but your budget was conservative.
  3. Take a “can’t afford to get it wrong” approach – have measurable results. You can’t afford frivolous spend – your CFO will ask for measurable results as often as possible.  Not all these will be very refined e.g. it can be difficult for some campaigns to map directly to winning a customer.  As a CFO, I take this approach as often as I can without being overly focused on it.
  4. Consider alternatives – choose wisely via expert advice.  This is part of your decision making process.  Review your options – what are the best high level strategy? the best tactics? who should deliver? when? should this be internal or external?  All these give a flow chart or mind map to demonstrate your decision making pathway.  In my experience, while drawing these together a natural path illuminates.  You can see which route is best.  An example I had recently was a review where I could see we may not be able to afford $20k but we can get 80% of it done for $8k.  This told me that this path is be the better one for our business.
  5. Plan – time in your calendars, money in your budgets. This is self-explanatory – book marketing meetings and time to do the work as a regular diary event.
  6. Prioritise – time, money, outcomes.  To illustrate this, let me ask you a question. “If you took advice from a marketing expert one day and each day you took their advice you got $5k revenues in return. Then how many days of the week would you meet your marketing expert?  If the results from marketing is cash flow positive why wouldn’t you do more of it?”  I find business decision makers choose not to do marketing because of a lack of trust, a lack of competency, a lack of time or a lack of know-how.  If you to spend the first $500 to make $1,000 or to spend $1k to make $2k… the “scaffold-up” method of spend and results is one approach for a small business.  This enables you to afford marketing as you grow.   My advice to marketing people who are pitching for more budget is this:  you have to bake the marketing cake with all the ingredients – if you miss out the baking powder and eggs, you’re blown. the cake won’t work without key parts – your marketing expert should help explain this to you.  This conversation tends to get people stuck.  You are in a situation is when it’s so obvious to the expert but they forget to frame the outcomes in a way that resonates with the business owner.  It’s the advisor’s role to have that conversation.  CEOs in NZ are money- and time-conscious so know what the deliverables are – scaffold up.  Systems, general operations, finance, marketing – are the 4 area of a business.  Then remember to give each of the 4 turn about for budget and attention.
  7. Sequence – also in parallel and cross pollenating effects.  Once we’ve got the plan now put in the ongoing sequence….I look for the easiest way to do things.  Do a marketing activity once and use it 3 separate times.  The sequence has to be carefully thought through so you can do work in parallel with cross pollenating effects.  Do a newsletter – look for different vantage points for the reader depending on which part of your business is writing the article.  How will it resonate?
  8. Some activities are not negotiable – decide what these are and hold the boundaries – too easy to let them slip otherwise.   You need to know what these are.  Make a conscious decision if you have an inverted pyramid you must know how far way down you can go before you run out of money… each strata reflects a different activity and cash.  Know which you can do before you run out of money and time.  Decide to hold the boundaries of the things which are critical; don’t let them slip.  If something is insidious you may not notice.  If it’s intentional it still may slip but you know it’s happening.  Agree up front what is in this bucket.

 Getting along and working effectively for the good of the business is the outcome we all seek.  So there you go.  I hope this summary helps marketing folks to understand finance folks and vice versa.

Marketing analysis (Business vector designed by Freepik)

Getting insight from your Marketing Analysis

Data is worthless unless it has meaning. Today’s marketer has access to more data than ever.

Finally we stand a chance of overcoming the traditional hostility to marketing as being 50% wasted spend because digital is wholly trackable and spend ROI can be calculated. And yet now, when all this is within our grasp, marketers fail to transition because they don’t understand data. They don’t like data, marketing doesn’t recruit numerate graduates and so the “fluffy” attitude to our discipline continues.

This annoys the hell out of me. It is not difficult and so I make analytics required task for all the interns, graduates and new staffers joining our team.

So what numbers should a business owner and a marketer look for and how to interpret them?

Analytics is free

Google has a comprehensive analytics package called Google Analytics (GA) which is freely available and you should install it on your website. You can ask your developer to install the code in your website or use plugins (such as the Google Analytics by Yoast for WordPress). There are more sophisticated packages, but start your pathway to analysis glory with the workhorse of the industry.

One of the best things about GA is that many marketing software applications integrate with it – so if you use marketing automation with Campaign Monitor or MailChimp or InfusionSoft then once it’s set up everything gets tracked with no further effort on your part.

Finding your space online

Google Analytics referralsMost businesses understand how to find and occupy a niche online – the keywords and search phrases which you want to get found for and the competing websites and brands for your business.

And so your content marketing will be resonating with others who share your niche.

The bit of analytics I love most is the incoming referrals data.

I was with a client who sells paleo food products through an online store. They had never, ever looked at their analytics account. Ever. So we took a look and found they had incoming links from powerful bloggers who had the potential to resell their products. Double Whammy – a strong incoming link sending traffic to the site plus a potential new distributor. Two easy actions for them to improve business revenues. And all it took was a look into GA.

Referrals Data Analysis

Google Analytics destination pageSo let’s go on a little journey inside Google Analytics – first looking at the Acquisition tab and then below, the Referrals sub-category. Ooh, I love this part…. look at all the websites where people have followed a link into your website…. but there’s more. Now find the pages they linked to by adding to the data display. Go to the top of the referrals page and look for this button, click on Secondary Dimension and below on the menu that appears expand the menu below “Behaviour” and click on Destination Page. Now you can see all the visitors from different sites sorted by the page they came to.

Does this help?

Oh boy yes. Now I know which content is engaging to readers, which source websites are sending me traffic and in what volumes to which pages…. I can find pages where the content gets visited regularly all the time, I can find blog posts that get very little or a large amount. This allows us to adjust what we write, which keywords, which audiences and where to share the content.

Things that you can do to improve incoming links.

If there are a range of companies sending traffic to your homepage, consider creating a landing page just for them. We have several on our website – take a look at this http://creativeagencysecrets.com/yellow/ Yes we wrote a page just for visitors from our Yellow Pages listing. It contains information that will help shortcut their journey through the site to finding what they want, fast.

You can do this too

Google Analytics queriesOther small tasks worth paying someone to do (if you don’t know how) is integrating Google Search Console with GA so you can see the Queries your website shows up for and how many click-throughs you get and what your average display rank is (page one or page 21?). So helpful.

And if you use Google AdWords – your reporting from the agency who does the work for you should include as a minimum the following data points.

• Number of leads
• Cost per lead
• Top Adverts
• Number of impressions
• Which keywords are sending traffic
• Search query

This last, search query, is really important because it shows what the potential customer typed into the search engine…. and that’s gold as far as on-site SEO goes. Same as the Queries inside GA.

There is core data which as the advertiser you need and as the marketers, we need, in order to focus our efforts appropriately.

So let’s get started as confident analytics users whose marketing delivers return on investment.

Teach yourself, get tutored or go on a course. Doesn’t matter how, just get on and do this one thing.

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.

Ontrapot ‘lip service’ to customer feedback

So to add insult to injury, Ontraport sends me a feedback form – but once the ticket was closed by the agent, I can no longer submit my (negative) feedback.

Wads.

Ontraport does not want user feedback

Ontraport does not want user feedback

Alexa rank for Creative Agency Secrets

How to compare my website with a competitors’

Sitting with a client, he brought up a competitors website and asked me how much traffic they got in comparison to his site.

Top 3 ways to compare websites

There are several free tools you can use to compare your public website statistics with other websites.  Remember things like Google Analytics only work if you are authorised to see them – so they’re no good for competitors.

Alexa

The top non-Google site for appraising the popularity of websites on a worldwide scale.  I use the Chrome Alexa extension to get this screen grab for our website showing incoming links, global ranking and local country ranking.  We are the 405, 597th most popular website on the planet.

Alexa rank for Creative Agency Secrets

Alexa rank for Creative Agency Secrets

SimilarWeb

A cute comparison for two sites that shows more information than Alexa.  This gets different data from Alexa but adds in some nice additional features like traffic volumes (in thousands), bounce rate, time on site, page views, countries, traffic sources (direct, referrals, social, email, display), Audience interests and similar sites.  Then you can add in a competitor site URL and get a direct comparison.  Very cute.

Similarweb for Creative Agency Secrets

Similarweb for Creative Agency Secrets

SEMRush

The digital marketers best friend for detailed data comparison, SEM Rush is the big daddy here.  It dives deeper than the others into keywords, comparing paid and organic traffic, main competitors, branded search vs non-branded (helpful for marketing).  Plus you can choose from 26 country search engines to use (Google.com or your local google.com.au for example).

SEM Rush for Creative Agency Secrets

SEM Rush for Creative Agency Secrets

This article first published in Marketing Online Magazine Issue 4

Doing a comparison of your website with your competitors is a useful exercise.  It’s all part of Getting your website working hard for your business [there’s a free ebook telling you how].

That’s what Creative Agency Secrets specialises in.  Give us a call or email for an appraisal of your site, your business marketing and how to improve.

Read more blog posts about Analysis and Profile Raising by clicking the icons below. Each is a step in our 8 Step Methodology 8 Analysis & Feedback icon4 Profile raising icon

Job sheets and accounts software for tradesmen

We get asked all sorts of things by clients and this morning an electrician startup asked us

“Got a recommendation for a job sheet and accounting app that also incorporates inventory management?”

We did some research among our clients and contacts and found two options for them to check for inventory management and time management.

Two videos for you to watch
Contact Bevan at Jobsheet App [email protected] for more information
Jobsheet app is used by David Mortimore at Precision Plumbing  he’s used it for a few years and has 6 guys on his team.
Rowperfect is a client who uses the new Xero inventory system and it works fine.
And when you’re ready for marketing advice for tradesmen – give Creative Agency Secrets a call!