Identify prospects for your business (Map vector designed by Alvaro_cabrera - Freepik.com)

How can I identify prospects for my business?

Client acquisition. I need to IDENTIFY the most likely prospects for my agency. How do I do that? 

Good question and spot on…. you are in exactly the same situation as us here at Creative Agency Secrets.
My advice to you would be
  1. Focus on Local marketing…. set up SEO/SEM to be found in the metropolitan areas where you ALREADY have clients
  2. Testimonials – work these hard on Google My Business and any other relevant marketplaces
  3. Write blog posts to appeal to industry segments who could be clients e.g. I wrote this blog Top Tips for Marketing Tradesmen and got an enquiry from Vancouver, CA.
So that’s a direct answer to your question which you should be able to execute yourselves.
If you would like to buy coaching advice with more ideas for you to run as tactical marketing, we charge by the hour. I recommend having a conference call for 30 minutes every 2 weeks.

Further reading on Local Marketing tactics

marketing tactic blows away the competition

Devastating marketing tactic blows away the competition

Every marketer dreams of being able to help their clients achieve an unassailable advantage over their competition. Kinda like Asterix and Obelix the ‘indomitable Gauls’ against the Roman Empire.
Indomitable Gauls make Romans wary

Indomitable Gauls make Romans wary

A Killer App for Professional Services Marketing

I dream of finding a marketing tool or service which will knock my opposition’s pitch out of the ballpark.  Today I think I have seen one.
The commercially savvy partners at Simmonds Stewart IP lawyers have provided FREE a giant set of legal templates for download.
I’m very impressed with them giving away templated legal documentation as part of their brand building.  They caveat appropriately about the use of these, but for startups, it certainly gives gigantic brand building opportunity and of course allows the prospective client to quickly bookmark their favourite lawyers’ website for future reference.
Is there an equivalent which could make your professional services business stand out in the same way? This could be a devastating marketing death-blow (Vulcan death grip?) for competitors.
Just thoughts….
Conference wrap up

The BEST conference wrap-ups engage

Just been to a conference and got sent the self-congratulatory showreel wrap up of vox-pops from speakers and attendees.  2 minutes of my life wasted.

Take a contrast for Conferenz and Spark’s CIO summit – a slide deck which has real insights and learnings which I can take away as a non-attendee.

The only thing they’re missing is a sign-up form to encourage me to ask for more information and an invite for next year’s event……

To be fair, they had a show reel too…. so not yet a perfect performance!

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 

B2B Marketing Validation (Green Light by Alachua County)

How to market validate a B2B startup

What are the best ways to validate a B2B idea without spending a lot on product development first?

I currently run a B2C online service. I’m looking to pivot to B2B as a way of growing our business.

Creative Agency Secrets are very practical and tactical marketers so in this answer we will give you a series of steps to run through. You will need to run through them all several times – for example, if you do 1,2,3 and it’s not working, go back to 1 and start again, improving each time.

You will need to be very self-critical in order to improve and if you have not got experience in B2B, we strongly recommend you find a mentor or coach who can be objective and help shortcut the number of iterations.

  1. First – write out the revised offer as it would apply to a B2B situation. Make this a one-page print and pdf brochure.
  2. Second – approach people you already know and who could buy the service and ask them to appraise the document and give you honest feedback. You can find these people on Linked In or via the local chamber of commerce. Get the feedback face to face if possible and / or by phone. DO NOT use email. You want to be there in person to ask supplementary questions such as “why did you say that?” to clarify your understanding.
  3. Third – try to push a sale or two from one of your market testing interviews. Be prepared to offer a money back guarantee or a discount with the option to name them as a client as the quid-pro-quo.
  4. Fourth – You should now have a sense of which TYPE of B2B firm could buy the service. So go and buy a mailing list of similar businesses in your local area. Approach them all and repeat – raising the price, reducing the guarantee as you get more focused onto your sweet spot.
  5. Fifth – as you approach more, try to refine the offer and price if sales are not forthcoming. This will allow adaptation to refine the offer to suit the market. And also gradually withdraw from the face to face and phone and pull back to web (low cost) sales. You may still need telephone follow-up. Experiment with having a colleague do this calling rather than yourself as you further move to lower cost marketing tools.
  6. Sixth – re-invest any profits into improving the marketing method and collateral.

That should give you a methodology. Now you will need very strong copywriting, CRM and sales skills. Buy or hire these for your support team.

Good luck and happy to help further.

Getting the best from Facebook updates for business

before

Before starting – cramped text and hyperlink not embedded

A quick tutorial showing good practice to encourage click throughs.

We start with a quick look at the “before” scenario.  The text is continuous and the url (hidden in the image) is not embedding correctly.  The post gets no clicks or click throughs to the website.

  1. Before starting – cramped text and hyperlink not embedded
  2. Type the URL first and then Facebook allows you to select the image you want
  3. Inserting blank lines in the text spaces it out and forces the “See More” link to appear
  4. Corrected hyperlinks to See more and Hyperlink to your website or blog.

 

correct image upload

Type the URL first and then Facebook allows you to select the image you want.

Separate lines

Inserting blank lines in the text spaces it out & forces the See More link to appear

Moving forward to some of the resolutions – each one is explained in the caption.

Facebook business post errors

Corrected hyperlinks to See More and site link.

 

 

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.

marketing manufacturer zero to hero

Case Study: zero to local hero for manufacturer

Auckland manufacturing firm, Cabjaks makes kitchen cabinets.  They worked with Creative Agency Secrets for 3 months to improve their keyword natural search results, SEM and on-site keyword SEO.

Cabjaks Manufacturing kitchen cabinets

Cabjaks Manufacturing kitchen cabinets

Summary of outcomes: Adwords results

In January when we started they sold a small amount of goods based on clicks from Adwords.
By March the revenues from Adwords clicks were up by 413%.
April is performing even better.

Cabjaks is becoming a strong brand on Google properties too

  • There have been 6 Five Star reviews in March (the previous one was September 2015).
  • We are now on page 6 of local search (up from 20+) and importantly a competitor is falling off the second page.
  • The YouTube optimisation has gained a 13% increase in views.
  • And Analytics confirms a 12% increase in website visitors over the past 30 days.

A “zero to hero” response in just three months demonstrates the success of our work with this manufacturing brand.

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