grown ups NZ, logo for grownups

GrownUps NZ, Richard Poole interview

Richard Poole founded the website GrownUps.co.nz and has built it up into a significant media propertygrown ups NZ, logo for grownupsfocused on the over 50s market.   What we found impressive is the ease with which the site has incorporated native advertising with traditional media as revenue streams. 

He kindly agreed to be interviewed by the Creative Agency Secrets team.

  1. What is your latest work?

    I’m continuing to work with GrownUps, although the business is now owned by Cigna Insurance, having sold to them earlier in 2016. It’s been an interesting experience moving from being a small business to working with one of the world’s largest corporates, which I’m learning from. It’s been particular useful to have more governance and rigour around process and also risk. Also, being able to work with an innovative marketer and CEO from Cigna in NZ, has been very rewarding.

    Since selling the business and taking away some of those stresses that do come with business ownership at times, we’re very proud to have doubled the revenue and also site traffic YOY plus grown membership 30%. It’s genuinely a real honour that each month we get to interact with over 160,000 visitors to the site and each week, speak with around half of our 120,000 members, via their weekly email newsletter. What’s really satisfying is that we have not wavered from our original vision from 2006 when we went live with GrownUps, whereby we seek to make every day better for any visitor to the site, whether by reading an interesting article out of the 8,000 that we now have, meeting an interesting fellow GrownUps members, playing a game on the site or maybe even being inspired to book that overseas trip that they deserve and have read about on the site.

  2. What’s impressed you?

    Having never worked in a corporate, it’s been great to see that very large corporates can work well with small businesses that they take under their wing – I think you each learn really. We’ve been fortunate having pragmatic leadership, clear guidelines and an understanding that we’re best to keep the essence of the small business feeling for customers/visitors. It actually can work very well.

  3. What’s the next big thing?

    There is no doubt that my mind seldom stops for a break in terms of thinking about meeting people’s needs, which is sometimes a challenge to be honest. At present I’m committed to GrownUps so we’ll just see where that goes over the next while. I’d love to see our ‘baby’ achieve everything that we’d imagined and hope to play some part in that, if that’s wanted.

    However, I’m 44 and there are several things that I’m keen to achieve personally and for our family by the time I’m 50. Priorities in life definitely change and so I guess we’re always all weighing up how best to live our lives and what makes us happy.

 

3 Ways to Change Your Business Thinking & Actions for 2018 Success

 

Use the code “2018success” to grab a seat with a 50% off end-of-year special!

This November, we’ve got another breakfast seminar happening! We will be covering 3 ways to change your business thinking and actions for 2018 success. 

Has your business reached a standstill even with new business strategies and tactics implemented?  

Perhaps it is time to renew your thinking with us! Getting your thinking right is the key to developing the right business strategy and tactics. Digital marketing is one of the most effective tools to utilise when unlocking business growth and boosting brand awareness. To help you better understand how incorporating digital marketing and the right business strategy can unlock secrets that underpin success, we have this insightful breakfast seminar lined up for you.

About our speakers

An experienced B2B expert, specializing in direct response marketing and new business development.

A well-recognised leadership coach, workshop facilitator, keynote speaker and author, focused on entrepreneurship.

Practical tips you’ll learn

  • How to break old patterns of thinking to make fresh and effective plans
  • Which crucial steps to take to boost your digital strategy
  • SEO techniques to attract traffic to your website
  • How to implement ‘the basics’ really, really well for brand awareness

If you’re serious about starting the new year with the tools needed for success, you wouldn’t want to miss 3 Ways to Change Your Business Thinking & Actions 2017.
A light complimentary breakfast is included!

23rd November, 2017

7:30am – 9am

The Common

1 Faraday Street, Lvl 2, Suite 7
Parnell
Auckland

The Common

Use the code “2018success”at the checkout to get a 50% discount!

RESERVE YOUR SPOT
team work, teamwork, teamwork.com, bad example payment update, payment expiry date,

SaaS renewals that are easy for customers

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.

Here’s what we found

  1.  The earliest “nag” emails came from Hootsuite, Unbounce, Xero and MailChimp.  They were sending them 30 days prior to expiry.
  2. The laggards include Upwork, Skype, FeedBlitz, Teamwork and LinkedIn (from 10 to 5 days in advance),
  3. The “best” process just allows me to update the expiry date on the card (PayPal) without having to re-enter all the other information
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
team work, teamwork, teamwork.com, bad example payment update, payment expiry date,

Hard to find link for payment information on Teamwork.com

Mystery shopping

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?

Kiwibank, this is how I’d re-write your email

Kiwibank email text confuses

Kiwibank email text confuses

And I made a fool of myself on LinkedIn by explaining how I totally mis-understood Mark Wilkshire’s message.

Re-write to clarify the message

Here is how I would re-write the email in order to prevent others doing what I did.  [Aside: surely I’m not the most stupid customer Kiwibank has…please, humour me!]

Dear Rebecca

You have a Notice Saver bank account with Kiwibank.  The interest payments for this account come from our PIE Unit Trust.  The money you save in your account is invested in the fund and profits are paid back to you in the form of interest.

As an investor in this fund, we are obliged to share its recent financial performance with you. You can view an electronic copy of the financial statements for the year ended 30th June 2017 on our website via this link.  

[insert rest of the statutory text here].

Lots of love, Mark Wilkshire, Kiwibank

Why is this clearer?

I think this text improves the context for receiving the message.  It explains an investment I didn’t know I had and how the investment performance is relevant to my personal situation (bank interest).

Personally, I wouldn’t try to push out messages about other investments in this message.  Make it simply about this one thing, and how to contact us.

The full truth about what I did on Kiwibank

And, I would anticipate possible confusion among customers by enabling self-help tools on the website to be advance programmed to have answers to questions relating to this investment.

My “Kiwibot” experience below reveals more about the lack of customer orientation and more about the regulatory communication box-ticking which probably sits behind this email misunderstanding.

Kiwibank Bot does not answer questions

Kiwibank Bot does not answer questions

 

 

Why the HELL NOT?

Facebook Groups logo

YIKES! My Facebook Group Got Hijacked by Competitors

When you start a group online in a public social platform, it’s easy. Nothing much happens until your group hits a ‘tipping point” of size + engagement + activity.

Facebook Groups logo

Facebook Groups logo

Different groups achieve this at different points in time. We have a sports group run for a client that has nearly 2,200 members and gets 2–3 posts daily from group members. It is now attracting ‘commercial’ elements such as an advert for privately owned equipment listed for sale.

Interestingly, that one post opened a floodgate of listings from others. It seems as though people felt that ‘permission’ had been given to dive in and sell to the group.

The client runs the group in public at his expense and he refrains from selling into the group more than once a month for his own products. It was clearly time for an intervention and setting boundaries about what is acceptable behaviour in this group environment.

3 Types of ‘Sales Pitch’

1) The first was the lady who listed the equipment for sale. I messaged her privately and she told me that despite getting a huge reaction from the group, it was a private sale and she sold it to a friend, offline. We let this pass as just a one-off. Clearly every member of the group won’t be listing items weekly.

2) The second was a lady who runs an Instagram account through which she gives ‘free training programmes’. We checked out what she does and came to the decision that she’s not making a living out of this. And so I am classifying her as a ‘volunteer’. But her actions need to be curtailed because regular postings promoting her services (even though they are free) would upset the balance of the discussion dynamic already established.

Actions to mitigate impact

We messaged the Instagram lady privately, explaining she can publish her stuff on the website via an existing ‘submit post’ feature where community notices are published. This is important because although it publishes to the blog, it is set up to avoid getting into the newsletter, the Facebook page and other communications channels. She does get indexed by the SEO spiders, gets link backs, but does not get referenced or categorised in the archive.

3) By contrast, the third type of pitch was a post by a commercial sports professional trainer. When we reviewed it, we found it is definitely a paid promotion designed to recruit readers from the client’s Facebook group into HER email list and commercial program.

Actions to Arrest Unwanted Activity

First I turned off comments on this post. Nobody can add to them, and this helps prevent Facebook showing it in feed updates. We also removed all her replies in the comments because they linked to her programme over and over again.

Then we wrote to her privately asking her to get in touch by email so she can pay to promote her products on our platforms, along with other commercial retailers (the website is advertising supported). I am waiting to see what her reply to this Facebook message will be – if she’s contrite and apologetic, I’ll leave her post published; if she takes no action to reply or is aggressive and rude, I’ll delete it and block her from the group.

Behavioural boundaries are yours to define

The underlying logic is that commercial enterprises pay, and volunteers can get access as part of the goodwill of the group. The commercial publicist had made no effort to engage and join in the group discussion – she just joined, dove in and started selling. That’s not how this group rolls.

Making the rules for the group is part of good practice in community management. You can publicise these with a pinned post, or a message to new members explaining what is and is not acceptable.

Enforcing the boundaries will help you to create the group and community YOU want. Know what actions you will take if the boundaries are crossed and also understand how to take discussions into a private space – you don’t want to have a public argument while you try to explain your motives. And you don’t even need to explain them, only the acceptable behaviours.

This article first appeared on NZ Entrepreneur Magazine  

nz marketing summit 2017

Foster Innovation at the NZ Marketing Summit 2017

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.

SKYCITY Convention Center, Auckland

21 September 2017

8:30am – 5:00pm

Book Your Ticket

bad copy, unclear business name,

What do you do? Explain, clearly or lose leads

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?”.

I despair.

bad copy, unclear business name,

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.

C’mon.

10 questions to answer before writing your elevator pitch

  1. Who are you and what do you offer?
  2. What is the company history?
  3. Who are the key personnel?
  4. Who are your clients?
  5. Which are your case histories?
  6. Who are your competitors?
  7. What’s different about you?
  8. Who is your target market?
  9. What are your company objectives?
  10. 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.Symbol for who is your brand in new business development

social media conference 2017 auckland

Become Social Media Savvy with the Social Media Conference 2017

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 Social Media Conference

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.

Listen

  • 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.” 

Discover

  • Omni channel Experience
  • Social Selling through Social Media
  • How to run Live Events

Learn 

  • 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

 Master 

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • 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.

SkyCity Auckland
September 15th and 16th 2017
8:00am – 5:00 pm

 Use the code “REBECCA” at the checkout to get a $250 discount!

RESERVE YOUR SPOT
Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush

What’s new in SEO? 5 actions to do today

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

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

  1. Check you have a secure (https) website.  Get a SSL Certificate installed if your url begins http://. See Secure websites below
  2. Find websites which can link back to you.  Clients, Suppliers, News / Magazines, Directories.  See Referring Domains below
  3. Get ideas for your SEO and your content creation from Answer the Public research tool
  4. Use more keywords on your “cornerstone” content pages.  See Keywords below.
  5. 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.

If you want help, Creative Agency Secrets offers 2 services – we can do it for you; we can teach you how to do it yourself.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

 

Marketing offer, SEMRush, creative agency secrets,

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!