A robust, scalable business is always based on strong processes. And if you are in the business of offering a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, you will doubtless have a recurring revenue model.
Our business debit card expires tomorrow and so I’ve been in the throes of receiving alerts, notifications and emails from a range of providers asking me to update my card details so they do not lose their revenues. The experiences were very varied from the best, smoothest, least painful to the worst where I had to raise a support ticket.
Given SaaS firms risk losing revenue from non-renewals, this is a critical business process.
The “best” process just allows me to update the expiry date on the card (PayPal) without having to re-enter all the other information
The “worst” don’t send me a link into the EXACT page on my account where I can update my details after logging in. Skype was particularly irritating with a hideous UX on their mobile browser. They leave me failing to find the right billing page detail and resorting to search / help / customer tickets.
The Very Very Worst was Teamwork where they successfully hide the link in an upgrade screen which is not where I’d look to find my payment information (see below)
Hard to find link for payment information on Teamwork.com
Any customer process needs testing and constant monitoring to keep it relevant and improved. Clues which may indicate you have this problem can be found:
Check the exit pages on your website
Check the long dwell time pages (that you don’t expect)
Check the customer service enquiries
Check the Searches on your website
When did you last mystery shop your business?
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Teamwork-upgrade.png11262516Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-10-30 16:14:062017-10-30 16:29:08SaaS renewals that are easy for customers
Spark ideas, develop strategies, and add value to your brand while joining New Zealand’s leading marketers at the annual NZ Marketing Summit. Listen to our own CEO, Rebecca Caroe, in her session on “Strengthening the brand-agency partnership – how to work with an expert (when you aren’t one)”.
Attend Four International Keynotes
Brigitte Slattery (Head of Marketing – Lifestyle Group @ Foxtel Australia)
Nick Lanzafame (Head of Strategic Insights & Analytics @ Buzzfeed)
Charlotte Dewhurst (Global Marketing Direct @ Les Mills International)
Col Kennedy (General Manager – Brand & Customer Experience @ Country Road)
Explore Three Programming Tracks
Digital & Social
Brand & Content
Tech & Experiential
Along with the 20+ speakers featured, the Marketing Summit offers a choice of two full-day workshops. “The Content Workshop” and “Brand Building Blocks 2.0” will be held the following day on September 22nd.
Join and connect with 300+ fellow industry professionals in generating and exchanging insights to fuel brand development. You can register before 5pm on August 25th and secure early bird pricing.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/NZ-Marketing-Summit-2017.png11081432Antoinettehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgAntoinette2017-08-16 16:16:582017-08-23 15:11:42Foster Innovation at the NZ Marketing Summit 2017
Campbell Naish, Partner at export strategy and marketing consultancy Katabolt, wrote a generous testimonial for Creative Agency Secrets. Many thanks!
Rebecca provided Katabolt with a valuable specialised set of marketing recommendations with a specific focus on services which was a great match with what we needed. Her B2B expertise and international experience and perspective helped our team refocus marketing plans and bring new skills into the fold. Thanks
Every business needs a strong plan of action to get and publish testimonials for the business from customers and clients. As the internet becomes the strongest recommendation engine, because it’s easily searched and free to use, your business MUST get a strong profile in places where testimonials and reviews can be seen and shared.
Don’t forget that recent reviews are more powerful than old ones. So this is a tactic you need to implement weekly or monthly.
We implemented TrustPilot for an ecommerce client who needed to improve visibility of its amazing customer service. Based around the world, TrustPilot has local sites for each country – this one was in the UK. The integration of their free version with ecommerce platform was seamless – every time a customer buys, they are invited to leave a review a fixed time period after the purchase is complete.
As a mail order business, the time delay between online purchase and receiving goods can be a while and so the flexibility to specify when the review request email is sent was appreciated.
On the reviews page, you can respond to each one which gives full visibility to your prompt response to feedback. And when you upgrade to the paid version, the option to enable reviews by product, not just for the company as a whole, gives a host of new options.
Read more blog posts about Step 5 Relationship Development by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog. Teach yourself how to build relationships with people who will bring new custom to your business.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/LI-testimonials.png9301618Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-08-08 10:50:502017-08-10 13:35:16Giant thanks for this testimonial
I want to showcase this list of three businesses who want to grow their international connections. Shared by a reputable international facilitator organisation, these exemplify the utter incompetence of smart people when answering the question “What do you do?”.
Poor descriptions of business loses leads
How to differentiate your business
We did some work this week with a consultancy who describe themselves as “Family Business Specialists“. How straightforward. I know who they advise…. I don’t yet know what they do – but that three word description allows me to filter myself in or filter myself out of using their services. Either I am or I am not a family business. Either I need or I do not need a family business advisor.
Who wants to work with an
“Extremely passionate and dedicated consultancy who loves its customers. We live to server our customers.”
Now maybe this is a clever IT joke “I server my customers, you server your customers etc”. Or more probably it’s a spelling mistake nobody spotted. Never mind that – every consultancy can claim passion, dedication and customer services. It doesn’t say what TYPE of consulting they do or for whom.
10 questions to answer before writing your elevator pitch
Who are you and what do you offer?
What is the company history?
Who are the key personnel?
Who are your clients?
Which are your case histories?
Who are your competitors?
What’s different about you?
Who is your target market?
What are your company objectives?
Where does your company want to be in 5 years time?
This is Step 1 in our New Business Development workshop – during which you write a one year marketing plan, and from which you will understand how all the parts of the “marketing mix” join up to deliver successful communications to your prospects.
Read more blog posts about Step 1 State your Business by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog. Teach yourself, how to describe your business successfully.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Clear-descriptions.png9101216Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-31 11:25:202017-07-27 11:29:17What do you do? Explain, clearly or lose leads
I just started a curated newsletter about personal finance for millennials. Each issue includes 10 curated articles from various sources about investing, budgeting, paying off loans, and etc. I do not have any subscribers yet.
Well done – getting started.
Focus on Your Marketing Assets
Let’s help you work out the key answers you need: Start with answering these questions.
Do you have a website?
On your website how do you invite subscription?
Have you got social profiles?
On your social profiles, how do you invite subscriptions?
So you’ve guessed, you need to get people to visit a place on the web which you own (website / social profiles) and then invite them to join your newsletter. Consider what ‘offer’ you can make which is attractive to them in addition to getting the articles. Sumo.com has a good WordPress plugin for subscriptions. Also check out Push Notifications as many sites prefer this as subscribers won’t share their email address. I wrote this article about Notifications
Once you have started the newsletter and finding subscribers, you need to work on continuously improving your offer and the means for people to join it. Growth hacking is the process of improvement and measurement.
Is 10 articles too few / too may / just right?
What offer can you make to subscribers?
How are you monetising your newsletter?
Which brands can you collaborate with to grow your list with theirs in a joint venture arrangement?
What are your key metrics and ideal customer profile?
Now grow your profile
Get known by answering questions in public which relate to your issue (Financial services) and your audience (millennials). By showing off your knowledge and linking back to your website or social profile, you can encourage people to remember your brand and respond – starting discussions, which further allow you to show off your expertise.
Good places to start are Reddit and Quora search for questions on your topics of interest e.g. student loans. Also find niche financial services websites and discussion forums
And also use Google Alerts to search and email you links to places where your key words are being added to the internet
Bookmark websites where these show up regularly. Approach them and ask if you can write a guest article with a link-back to your website
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/How-to-Get-Subscribers-to-My-Email-Newsletter.jpg16602500Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-26 09:19:062017-07-25 16:08:34How to Get Subscribers to My Email Newsletter?
This September, the Social Media Conference is happening again! We are big fans of the content, even more so this year because our very own Rebecca Caroe is a speaker!
Are you looking to use Social Media to benefit your business but just don’t know how?
Social Media isn’t just for kids these days. In fact, it’s one of the biggest platforms for a business to market in today’s environment. Whether it be Business to Consumer or Business to Business, the Social Media Conference 2017 provides insights on how to utilise these skills to your business benefit.
Expand your knowledge in this field through New Zealand’s biggest Social Media conference hosted by The Online Business Academy for its fourth year.
Rebecca Caroe (CEO of Creative Agency Secrets)
Marketing experts from all over the world come together to talk about their experiences with Social Media, how it helped them in their business ventures and how it can help you market to a larger audience through Social Media.
Wanita Z (Founder of the Online Business Academy)
John Kapos “Chocolate Johnny” (Chocolatier to Marketing Mogul)
Andrew Baird (Business Coach)
Our very own Rebecca Caroe on “The Art of Pre-suasion: Content, Keywords and Social.”
Omni channel Experience
Social Selling through Social Media
How to run Live Events
Be Seen, Heard and Found Online
Build and networking your brand through Social Media Outlets
Win your customers through Social Media
Deal with the difficult customers online
And much more
Seize the opportunity to network with business owners from all over the country and develop connections for your business. Gain information that can assist with expanding your business through Social Media platforms and understand how Social Media aids with keeping up to date with the evolving business world. If you’re serious about expanding your business, you wouldn’t want to miss Social Media Conference 2017.
September 15th and 16th 2017
8:00am – 5:00 pm
Use the code “REBECCA” at the checkout to get a $250 discount!
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/social-media-conference-2017.png6561502Anagha Sridharhttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgAnagha Sridhar2017-07-20 15:35:492017-08-25 16:39:31Become Social Media Savvy with the Social Media Conference 2017
Last week I got the latest research on SEO from trusted brand SEM Rush. You can download and read their report Ranking Factors 2017 in SEO.
Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush
Creative Agency Secrets has read the whole report and below are 5 SEO tasks you can initiate immediately for your own website or ecommerce store.
The report has a number of chapters each of which is followed by “What this means to you as a marketer” Read these pages for the SEMRush interpretation of their research findings.
5 SEO actions for 2017
Check you have a secure (https) website. Get a SSL Certificate installed if your url begins http://. See Secure websites below
Find websites which can link back to you. Clients, Suppliers, News / Magazines, Directories. See Referring Domains below
Get ideas for your SEO and your content creation from Answer the Public research tool
Use more keywords on your “cornerstone” content pages. See Keywords below.
Plan the visitor pathway through your site especially with a view to reducing bounce rate.
The Detailed insights
Note these are paraphrased from the SEMRush report including some verbatim quotes. All the ACTION FOR YOU tasks are recommendations by us for your website or ecommerce store. The page numbers are the actual page number in the report NOT the number top RHS.
Secure websites – page 6. The higher the page position in search, the higher the keyword search volume most sites are secure https domains. We interpret this that websites with SSL are trusted and are gaining over plain www and http sites.
Referring domains – page 10. The pages that rank higher have more backlinks from unique domains. Websites that appear on SERPs for high-volume keywords have significantly more backlinks than ones that appear for low-volume keywords — almost 10 times more. ACTION FOR YOU the competition for high-volume keywords is vicious, and those websites are invincible. But for low-volume keywords the competition is not so tough, so some link building could bring tremendous results.
Content length – page 18. What we saw first was that there is generally more content on the pages that rank higher for all search volume intervals. There is more content on the pages with long-tail keywords than on those with short-head keywords. ACTION FOR YOU pick your “cornerstone” content pages and work them HARD for SEO goodness. Content length is important for your page’s success as long as it is valuable, well-written, and optimised, especially if you target high volume keywords.
Keywords – page 23. In the high volume keyword group. the majority of the pages add a keyword to their title, meta and body copy but the occurrence of the keyword in the meta description does not influence the page rankings. Pages that rank for long-tail keywords repeat those keywords less often than pages that rank for short-head keywords. The pages on the first positions (for both longtails and short-heads) have noticeably more keywords than all other pages. ACTION FOR YOU If you plan to rank by long tail keywords, having an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements is not crucial. In fact, it is more important to diversify the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the target keyword rather than copying it. The presence of a video didn’t show a significant influence on page rankings, so we came to the conclusion that video itself is not a silver bullet. However, in certain niches clients expect video content, so it makes sense to provide it. Consider your audience’s demands, and if they include visual support, use video.
Volume of visitors – page 33. Not a strong correlation to page rank here especially if your search phrases are low(er) volume searches. For the low-volume keyword group, the trend is flat, indicating that a page’s position does not strongly correlate with its number of total monthly visits. For high-volume popular keywords, the number of page visits gets noticeably smaller for sites that rank below the 12th position. ACTION FOR YOU this means organic search is not the only thing you should be concentrating on. Drive a strong traffic from direct and social media linked visits by pushing brand awareness on these platforms and also through newsletters.
Bounce Rate – page 37. The higher a page’s position is, the lower its bounce rate. The user navigates through three to three-and-a-half pages per website, per visit. As your site moves towards the top of the SERP, there are more pages per session for every domain. ACTION FOR YOU firstly ensure you have strong internal page linking. Think about what you want the visitor to do next on every page.Connect with Cornerstone content discussed above. Also analyse your rivals (How to compare my site to a competitor’s) Inside Google Analytics, check your queries performance and lastly, find low ranking pages for Bounce and improve them to reduce bounce rate and page rank.
SEMRush custom offer at the end of the report
And a cunning end-point which is a marketing “trick” I’ve used a lot for clients – on the very, very last page is an offer. A really good one. SEMRush will do a niche study for your industry if you write to ask. We did (for a client) and they said they’d been overwhelmed and would put it on the list…. but still. This is a fabulous reward for the people who do read all the way to the end. #TopTip
Ready to rock with some improvements on your business SEO? Let’s get started together!
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/RAnking-Factors-SEM-RUsh.png8601230Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-05 13:58:062017-07-05 16:25:18What's new in SEO? 5 actions to do today
It’s really easy to find a specialist supplier. It’s really difficult to find out if they are any good at that specialism. Especially when it is in an area that you know nothing about.
What is an Expert? Image Credit: Workcabincommunications.ca
Giving a keynote speech to an industry group recently I was stunned to find how many felt that they did not have the confidence to hire a website designer. This motivated me to write this short guide.
How to hire an expert (when you don’t know)
Are you a business owner who feels that they got mis-sold or ripped off by a website design project?
Did you pay a lot of money and find that the website you got did not deliver what was promised?
This is my tried and tested technique that will help you to find a supplier who is both an expert and will work well with your project situation.
Start with the outcome you want. Can you describe in plain English what you want to happen by the end of the project? Use this to explain what you want to buy. So you could say I need a website that will showcase my products to customers living in Australian cities who buy mens fashion. That is much clearer than “I want a website that will put me on page one of Google”. [By the way, that’s impossible to promise – so don’t trust anyone who says they can do this for you.] When we work with clients seeking websites, read the descriptions we write about their projects.
Ask good questions. By gaining detail from questions, you can discover the depth of expertise in each business you talk to. Let’s say you have a written quote from a web developer explaining how they’d achieve your outcome. You can ask them questions like “What’s the best way to achieve my outcome?” and “How will you go about doing that?”. So if they say that on-page SEO is the best way to achieve search results for customers living in Australian cities who buy mens fashion, ask them to show you HOW they’ll do it. Step. By. Step. Yes, I’d ask them to explain in this level of detail. If they can’t do it, or do not appear consistent, or are unwilling that’s a big red flag that they may not have a robust process methodology.
Know the language they use and understand it. Write down the words they use in written submissions and in conversation. Go away and look them up. What is on-page SEO? How do UTM Tags work? There is no shame in research and increasing YOUR knowledge. And afterwards, you can follow up and get them to explain more about the phrase they used once you understand what it is. So that’s back to Step 2 – ask good questions.
Run tests when you are face to face. Any skilled operator should be able to show you real live work jobs that they have done or are currently working on that will be using the same techniques as your project. So when you meet your expert – get them to SHOW you what they mean. Open up Google Analytics for YOUR website live in the meeting on your laptop. Ask them for their views on your recent traffic history. Watch how they browse inside Google Analytics – do they know the sub-menus, can they navigate confidently to the answer they’re talking about, do they explain something which you hadn’t noticed? Nobody who works in marketing should be ignorant of GA. Including YOU. So if they don’t or can’t use it. Run away fast. Another test you can run is to show them a problem you have and ask how they’d fix it. Then ask them “How will I know that this problem is fixed?” so that they show you the proof that they are an expert and good at their job and can prove it as well.
Think hard before hiring a friend. Many business people like to recommend other businesses. Nothing wrong with this. But in my experience, your friend or your friend’s friend is probably not the only person who can help you. Do interview the friend, but also go and look for other supplier experts and compare them fairly. You want the best value for your business, after all, don’t you?
Now you’ve got a good core set of skills to start your expert hiring process. Be courageous and keep good records – you won’t regret it.
And if you want a website built, or some direct response copywriting, or a video made and overall effective marketing done that brings in sales – get in touch with us. We will either teach you how to do it yourself or we can do it for you. Easy!
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Hire-an-Expert.png7461442Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-02 09:00:372017-05-16 17:11:29How to hire any expert e.g. a website developer
Working with a client who makes animated explainer videos – Case Study of how to grow referrals. We discuss three ways they can get more referral business.
Image by NWeSource
1.Innovations in your specialism
Every market changes over time – fads pass, new ideas surface. So write about what’s happening in your market. Consider writing about styles, techniques, innovations to be added onto an explainer video (if that’s your business). So which new styles are coming about? Where did each one come from – background and timeline of the evolution.
In the writing analyse the change, what are the component parts, which elements stand out. You could add in new uses for explainer videos – for example in a PitchPack video brochure.
Give the reader the education and tools to make an analysis themselves of whether their archive of explainer videos is getting dated
Show your opinion as a market leader on what’s good, what’s new and what’s to be avoided
Create content which you can share with past clients and encourage them to update their videos and re-buy from you. [This is referring back to prior clients, not new ones.]
2. Create a Call list
You need to speak to people if you sell in Business to Business (B2B). The best way to start a dialogue is with Open Questions. These encourage a longer response from the other person and give you insight into their views on a topic. Any insight enables you to position your services as a solution to issues they raise.
Here’s an example of a call prompt (not really a script).
“Hello, Rebecca. I sent you our article about new styles in explainer videos. I just wanted to get your opinion on it. What did you think?”
Can you imagine how the call will develop into a discussion?
Yes, so can I.
Whether you get a new job immediately or not, you stand a good chance of doing some good things
Checking your contact database is still current – add new names in if you can
Finding out the current situation in the client business with regard to your service offering
Reminding them that you exist and have been trusted with work in the past
Updating your CRM with lead status (cold, warm, hot)
Possibly opening new opportunities for new business.
Create this call list from a list of all your clients from the past 3 years (more if you’ve been in business longer). Also add to the list from your Linked In connections and those from your co-workers. Goal to have 100 people on the list to call.
Plan on making 3 calls per week, per person in your team. Yes, new business development requires discipline and is hard. We can teach you how…
3. Getting Referrals
Start to build a referral marketing engine into your daily project work as well. We find what works best is to connect with them early in the project.
Start with a “Happy call” when you ring asking for feedback on how the job is going.
Then build on this with a similar call just after the project has been delivered. Remind them of what they said on the earlier call. This is the moment to ask for a testimonial for the project team.
After getting this, I usually wrap up by asking
Do you know anyone else who might like to meet us?
My goal is to get two names of people as an introduction. My big tip to make this successful is to ask the question and then to stay silent until the other person has come up with a name…. stay silent as they “ummm” and say “maybe”, “well”, “I’m not sure” and still stay silent and they will 80% of the time come up with a name. If they firmly say no, you can prompt with – maybe a co-worker in a different team or maybe someone from your previous job and see if that can deliver a name.
How to use the introduction….. write an email to BOTH people. This is my template email that works.
Subject: NAME OF THE INTRODUCER
Our AGENCY NAME has just completed a job for INTRODUCER and s/he suggested you as someone who might like to get to know us.
We completed an explainer video (link) for INTRODUCER.
I took a look at your website and [something helpful here which they can use immediately].
Looking forward to connecting.
Lots of love from Rebecca (only joking… use an appropriate sign off).
I always cc the introducer in this message so they know what I said.
In the email you could tell them about the customer satisfaction scores or Net Promoter Score which your team has acquired over time. Or link to TrustPilot Reviews or your Google My Business Review score.
The follow up call is just a friendly get to know you call. No selling. But if you feel it’s gone well you can follow up with an email linking to a helpful resource from your website. Here’s one I use frequently.
This is an example of the type of helpful marketing tips which Creative Agency Secrets writes in our newsletter and blog.We want to enable you to buy web services as an informed consumer (and we don’t build websites, we help our clients to use them actively to win new client business).
Then you have to put them onto a stay-in-touch programme or ask if they will allow you to stay in touch with a newsletter subscription. Either way, one call won’t win you business but a dedicated process to provide utility (usefulness) to them, will ensure you are remembered and they take your calls in future.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/referral-NWeSource.png420596Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-06-08 17:13:202017-06-09 14:58:42Case Study: Three ways to increase referrals