local directories

Boost Your Business with Local Directories

Don’t let your business get lost in the crowd

Yellow pages directoriesIt’s that time of the year again where we remind you about the benefits of good ol’ directories! Before the internet, we relied on finding services through the big yellow brick of a book we received each year. Thanks to the world wide web, we now find them stuffed under uneven table legs or as a booster seat. Today we find what we’re looking for with a click of a button. Does your business stand out?

In 2016, Google took away the right-hand sidebar where the paid adverts were displayed. Now the paid posts soar straight to the top, making it a tough battle for smaller companies to get noticed. Directories can be a cost-effective way to help get found via search engines. Being active on directories increases the chances of your business getting noticed.

Why updating your information is vital

yelp directoriesIt is important to keep your business updated in directories. If your business has gone through a recent change and you didn’t update your information, you could lose a lot of potential customers!

Never forget to NAP, this means not sleeping on the details. Make sure your Name, Address and Phone data is accurate and up to date. Location and accessibility are two of the most important factors when it comes to customers. If your telephone number is an old one and a customer can’t get through to you, they’re unlikely to try again. Likewise, if you were to put your address as a small town in South America, a New Zealand customer wouldn’t follow up with your business!

Pro tip: Check the directories your company is listed in and confirm your details are correct. Some websites take their information from others; resulting in a cycle of incorrect information.

Updated List of Directories

This year, we bring you an even bigger list of potential directories your business may be found in. Take a look to see where your business is listed and where it isn’t.

It’s the only thing standing in between you and your next big client.

NB: Not all directories will apply to every type of business, some are more specific to particular fields. (eg. Tripadvisor will benefit restaurants and hotels over a telecommunications company.)

 

Localist NZPages Verified Local Yellowpages NZ
Search local areas for shopping, restaurants,
things to do, popular services etc.
Collection of New Zealand websites for any business. Wide directory of businesses from all around New Zealand. One of the most popular directory for businesses in New Zealand.
NZ LOCALIZER NEW ZEALAND SEARCH ENROLL BUSINESS FINDA
A place with many New Zealand companies. Directory of websites, a search engine and New Zealand articles. Browse through local businesses and services of New Zealand. Find anything in New Zealand.
HOTFROG CYLEX EXPRESS BUSINESS DIRECTORY ZIPLEAF
A place for small business owners to tell the world what they do differently. Business directory across 35+ countries. A worldwide directory of businesses where you can update news and information about your products. Find local companies.
WAND YELP ZENBU KOMPASS
Worldwide directory of businesses where you have a wide range of features to promote your business. Easy-to-use global directory of services and businesses. Collaboratively edited directory of businesses and places that help you find anything in New Zealand. A B2B directory site to help you develop your business by generating sales leads.
TLBN 2FL SALES SPIDER BROWNBOOK
Free and paid memberships available to list your business. A worldwide directory of local businesses. An international website where you list products, compare businesses and leave reviews. A smaller global directory.
TRIPADVISOR WHERE2GO MYHUCKLEBERRY CYBO
A review driven site for activities to do on your holidays. A business directory where you can find many unique sites. A directory and an online destination for business information. Business directory to expand your global presence.
YELLO YELLO OPENDI FIND US HERE SPOKE
Helps local businesses and services present themselves. Business directory with big coverage in New Zealand. Global directory of businesses, organizations, clubs, and communities. Information of over 1.4 million businesses.
LACARTES MAPS CONNECT FOURSQUARE TUPALO
Find anything from local activities to exotic destinations worldwide. Add or update your company details on Apple Maps so customers can find you through the app. Find best places to eat, drink, shop or visit during your travels. Browse popular local attractions and see what other users think about it.
PATHLEGAL LAWLINK TOP DESIGN FIRMS RATEBEER
A directory of lawyers around the world. Create a personal profile and connect with and online attorney network. Reviews and rankings of design agencies around the world. Directory of beers, breweries, bars and stores around the world.
website traffic drop

“Why is my website traffic dropping?”

For any business using its website as a lead generation tool, traffic is essential. The more visitors you get, the more chances you have to make your product or service known, gain connections and promote your brand. This is why an unexpected decline in organic traffic is a terrifying idea, as it might result in fewer business opportunities and less income.

Whether it’s a technical problem, a new Google algorithm implementation or lack of content optimisation, there are several possible motives why your company’s website traffic numbers have been sinking lately.

For example, older websites have higher risks of being penalised by Google’s algorithm updates because of potential coding errors and obsolete practices still applied to some of the pages. That ‘keyword stuffed’ article you wrote in 2010 that brought a lot of traffic seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, it is definitely hurting your website on an apocalyptic scale.

Content is (a mad) king

We recently had a meeting with a group of young entrepreneurs who run MI6-HQ.com, a fansite dedicated to Bond, James Bond. (cue the music)

They expressed their concern with the MI6-HQ website traffic dropping like a stone over the past months and wanted our help to:

  1. Assess the possible reasons for the decline in visits;
  2. Come up with a few creative ideas to solve the problem, like a marketing version of Q.

Even though they offer really good articles (many visitors had lots of nice things to say on their Facebook comments), their search engine rankings and organic reach keep decreasing. There are multiple marketers that repeatedly state just writing “epic content” will drive traffic to any website, period. Unfortunately, that’s not the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that good content is essential. But if you publish it in a flawed website, you’ll have your king residing in a crumbling castle. That inspires no recognition at all and the results are totally unpredictable.

Google has a license to kill your audience

Google holds more than 74% of the search engine market share worldwide. That’s why you either play by their rules or fall into the internet abyss (a.k.a. Not the first page on Google Search).

We believe part of the decline in the MI6-HQ search rankings is that their website has been running for over 20 years (!!!) and most of their ‘ancient’ content might not have been updated regularly. A quick search (on Google, of course) shows that MI6-HQ.com has 15,500 indexed pages. It’s probably really hard to keep tabs on all of them individually.

mi6-hq indexed pages on google

Optimising websites is not a one-size-fits-all process. When it comes to web content that is already published, you have the option to improve or kill pages forever. In this specific case, deleting some of the older articles might be an alternative. Having fewer discoverable pages to increase your website findability can sound very counterintuitive, but I assure you, it works wonders for some people. Learning to let go is necessary sometimes.

Analysing your website performance is a laborious but rewarding task

There’s a lot of work involved in optimising your website. You might even say it’s a never-ending task, depending on your level of perfectionism. Nowadays, the competition online is cutthroat, so any edge you have over your competitors is worth the effort.

According to research by Moz blog, more than 70% of searches result in a page one organic click. The rest is diluted from the second page onwards. This just shows how important it is to aim for the top place of the search engine rankings.

TopBuzz home

The hidden risks of TopBuzz

With many services out there for marketers, producing content and getting it to your audience has never been easier. However, not all services are trustworthy. We recently came to learn about TopBuzz, a platform that has divided opinions.

All started with an email…

A couple of weeks ago, we received an email out of the blue from TopBuzz, a content distribution platform, claiming to be ‘impressed’ by a video we did for a client. The email content was quite generic and seemed to be automated. TopBuzz said they were able to enlarge our video audience via their platform and we would be compensated for all the views we got.

A couple days ago, we received another email. This time, it was from a person claiming to be from this company, boasting about the number of active users and the number of views that all the videos get that are shared on their platform. She was very forward in her approach and encouraged us to become a ‘premium creator’.

TopBuzz email

Now, we did a little bit of research on these guys and it was scary to see what would have happened if we signed up with them.

TopBuzz key things we discovered:

  1. According to past users of the platform, the communication from TopBuzz is poor and scarce if you ever try and contact them. If you have a problem with something, TopBuzz are unlikely to help and at best, you might receive template emails that are likely to be irrelevant.
  2. This brings up the next problem. If you are unhappy with the platform…too bad. You can’t delete your account and your content will stay on TopBuzz’s platform forever.
  3. However, it gets worse! TopBuzz can use any videos uploaded to their platform in whatever way they want. Say you work hard and make a viral video. If that video is on their platform, they can publish it as their own and you would get no credit. Unfortunately, most users only realised that this was their fate only after signing the contract without reading the small print in their T&Cs.

We were never interested in using this platform in the first place as the video we created for our client was content produced for a niche segment, it was an hour long and was a face to face interview. Targeting a mass audience and making revenue off views was not on the agenda, therefore, using this platform would have been unnecessary.

If you are producing viral videos, pursuing avenues through social media seems to be a safer option. For example, with Facebook, there are various pages that are dedicated to redistributing content according to different tastes.

Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of dodgy services like this so be sure to do your research before jumping in!

Sources:

https://medium.com/@attibear/should-you-gin-up-for-topbuzz-ca19d5c1edac

https://digitalfox.media/tech-rhino/topbuzz-5-big-problems-service/

How to do a super simple competitor strategy analysis

When it comes to a marketing report, you may dread the idea of seeing pie charts, bar graphs and numbers floating around. That’s not to mention the accompanying dry, boring analysis of these results, written in what looks to be a different language.

If you think this, you’re so very wrong.

Recently, I wrote up a competitor strategy analysis for a client, Living Goodness. The results took no longer than 30 minutes, there were no graphs, and the report reads just over a page long!

Read on to find out exactly how I accomplished this – it’s super simple, I promise.

How to do a competitor strategy screenshot 1

Seriously, this is 97% of my report – short and simple!

#1. Find your competitor

If you’re running a business and have no idea who your competitors are, you need to remedy this quickly.

Open up your internet browser in incognito mode and Google search a few keywords on what your business is about. Why incognito? Well, the search results will be personalised to your search history so you want to find a competitor that is worth analysing.

Living Goodness sells sauerkraut, so I typed into Google, “sauerkraut nz”. Google has been working on improving localised searching since around 2015. While obvious searches such as “Italian food” will bring up local restaurants, I needed to localise Living Goodness keywords so that Google knows I want to buy this product from a local store, as opposed to just needing a sauerkraut recipe.

Living Goodness ranks on the front page for “sauerkraut nz” (yay!) but so does a competitor. This will be the target of my strategy analysis.

 

living goodness google ranking

Third place on the front page of Google! Yay Living Goodness!

 

In a new document for notes, I made three subheadings:

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

You’ll need to adapt these to suit the media platforms of your client.

#2. Website

From the competitor’s website, I can see all their social media buttons on the top right. This is the first difference I note. Living Goodness’ social buttons are in the footer of every page, but that requires scrolling down to see. Placing additional social links somewhere on the homepage where they will be visible to visitors is the first thing I make note of in a section called “suggestions”.

living goodness website

There’s not much above the fold on the Living Goodness website…

I embark on a journey across the competitor’s website, making note of what they have and what Living Goodness don’t have on their website.

Along the way, I kept asking, “why?” For example, the competitor lists recent recipes on a sidebar on their landing pages. Why is this? Well, as a mere consumer searching for sauerkraut products, I can see that it will prompt me to head to the recipes page, especially if there’s a delicious concoction that catches my eye.

A sidebar can easily be installed into websites as an automated widget – this means any new recipes uploaded will reflect in this sidebar without additional action, thus providing fresh content for each time I visit their website.

#3. Social media

Next, I compared the social media platforms of Living Goodness with their competitor. I pulled up their Facebook and Instagram pages, and scrolled through like a scorned ex-girlfriend.

How often did they post? What sort of content were they posting? Did they do something different on their social media pages that Living Goodness didn’t do?

Who had more followers? Why and how? These were all very important questions that I needed to ask.

I also compared the hashtag activity because everyone knows that behind every successful Insta-famous account is a strong hashtag game (also pretty photos, of course). As this competitor sold products that were pretty similar to ours, I derived a list of hashtags that our client doesn’t use but should do.

Living Goodness’ products are very visually appealing, so their Instagram needs to reflect that.

#4. Suggestions

Of course, I didn’t want Living Goodness to copy their competitor post for post. This strategy was merely to boost their digital presence, just based on my observations of their competitor.

One important thing I had to keep in mind at all times was objectivity. I had to see Living Goodness’ competitor from the eyes of a hungry 20-something-year-old who just wanted buy sauerkraut.

This allowed me to cruise through their website and social media platforms from a fresh perspective. What would I first notice if I wanted to buy some of their products? What would annoy me if I were trying to see their stockists? If I needed to read reviews of their products, was it easily accessible?

With this frame of mind, I also turned my attention to Living Goodness’ own platforms to see what needed to be changed.

From all this, I wrote out a brief but very useful competitor strategy, using clear subheadings and bullet points. Easy to write, easy to read!

Living Goodness facebook page

I all but stalked the social pages of Living Goodness. As you can see, this is a proven and justified technique.

#5. Client meeting

I scheduled a meeting with the lovely Fiona from Living Goodness and ran through this report with her. It was important that she took the same journey I did, so in a few cases, I got her to open up the social media platforms to see exactly what I was referencing.

Next time I conduct a competitor analysis, I could include screenshots to highlight my points. As it was, Living Goodness only have one major competitor, and as I had explained my strategy clearly, it wasn’t just another boring report to be tossed aside.

When it comes to working for a client, it can be too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. This report showed that we like to keep an eye on the industry to boost the presence of Living Goodness.

 

Now are you ready?  Here’s another article about How to Compare your Website with a Competitors

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  

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

Referral marketing illustration

Case Study: Three ways to increase referrals

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.

Referral marketing illustration

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.

The goal:

  • 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

Hi Alex,

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.

By the way, I found your website copyright is out of date (2012), here’s an article we wrote which explains how to add code to your website so this updates automatically every 1st January.  Just send this link to your web developers and tell them to make the change – do it once, and it’ll run forever

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).

Cute eh?

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.

WooRank Website Test Tool

How to test your website is working effectively

May I show you a little insider secret from the world of web marketing?  It’s called a website rank check tool.  It shows you a score out of 100 for how well your website is built, secured and how well it delivers marketing engagement.

My favourite one is the WooRank tool – I have it installed in the toolbar of my Chrome browser.  But you can use this website or the HubSpot Website Grader Tool does a similar job – but from behind a registration paywall.

We use this when testing SEO on a website for clients.  But you can do it yourself – we’ll show you how.

A case study Central Flowers

WooRank Website Test Tool

WooRank Website Test Tool

I read a lot of newsletters and when I got one from a printer and web design company, I clicked through to their gushing review of their team’s work building a website for their customer.  So I decided to do an independent check on the website.  It scored 52.3/100.  Hardly a rip-roaring success for a new site.

You can see the result here and it demonstrates two things

  1. The web team are only designing for HUMAN visitors, not SEARCH ROBOTS
  2. The client is not expert in hiring and buying expertise.

First things first.  The web team should know about these issues

  • Headings should be in a hierarchy (they choose to only use H1)
  • Three image Alt attributes missing (so search engines can’t index the image and link back)
  • No anchor text in several external links (except the one going to the web design company)
  • No language declared (so the search engines know it’s English)
  • No blog – so the web rankings won’t become good because the site won’t get regularly updated (this is a failure of marketing strategy more than web design)
  • Secure (SSL) website but registered to a different domain (a property management company)
  • Automatic Copyright update to the correct year (it’s 2016 on the site)

These are hygiene factors.  They show up the lack of quality control by both the developers and to a lesser extent by the client.

The #1 mistake business owners make when buying a new website

The mistake is to buy a pretty design layout.  This is made by a designer.

What you need for an effective website is web development made by a web developer as well.  This sets up the effective tools and structures which humans cannot see from a website front end.  But robots and web search engines CAN see.  And now you can too.

Go and test your website using the Hubspot or WooRank tools now.  And send me the results.

Book in a 20 minute call and we will tell you what can be easily improved and how you can do it yourself (yes, really – most of these improvements do not require web development expertise, only editing in your CMS).

Or just buy the book.

Push Notifications: Is this the death of email newsletters?

In the world of Digital Marketing, there is a constant need for innovation to stay ahead of competitors and create the next novel experience in order to sell to customers. We saw it first with the use of email marketing communications in the 90s which was a bandwagon – everyone jumped on board and our in-boxes got swamped with newsletter.

Nowadays there are a plethora of services available to the digitally savvy, but how effective are they, and are they likely to oust the tried and tested methods?

So our thesis is that email newsletter subscriptions are falling because we get too many of them. EdgeRank removes the free postings by businesses on Facebook and Twitter is too crowded.

BUT people want high quality content.

So how can we deliver content from our website without using a newsletter or social media?

To answer this question, let’s look at a relatively new service to enter the market, Push Notifications  and how they compare to our most powerful channel at present, the good old fashion email/newsletter subscriber list.

So before we go any further, what exactly are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are simply alerts that pop up on your computer or mobile, on demand when the publisher releases something of interest to you.

“Hmm well this sounds kind of invasive though…“

I hear you. Pop-ups generally are annoying and frustrating, however these alerts only appear when you opt in to the list. A cookie is placed in your browser and each time the publisher wants to send out a notification, every browser containing that specific cookie receives the alert, regardless of whether they are browsing the web or not. In some ways they are less invasive than the hassle of having to enter your contact details to download an eBook. 

To find out if Push Notifications were a worthy substitute or indeed even a necessary supplement to our tried and tested marketing methods, we asked ourselves the following questions:

Are consumers growing weary of newsletters and email marketing?

I recently unsubscribed from at least 5 different brands’ emails because of the constant bombardment of marketing material. If others are finding themselves doing the same, does that pose a risk to the future of email marketing communications? And if so, are Push Notifications a smarter way to engage?

Are people still interested in content?

The old adage that ‘content is king’ may have held weight in the past, but do customers actually want to receive endless articles and information related to products they might purchase? With every brand under the sun fighting for your attention as a consumer, how much is too much?

My answer is yes. Emphatically. Good content gets liked, shared and commented upon.

Will people actually engage with these invasive interruptions?

My initial thoughts are yes, if used sparingly. Too much of anything can be bad. I feel the key to making the most out of Push Notifications is moderation. Subscribers aren’t going to respond well to being pestered several times a day while they browse the web. But they may be interested in what’s been going on if it is restricted to once a week, for example. Similar to SMS notifications, users must interact with the push notification in order to view it or close it. Compare this with email, where readers can simply delete, filter, file or ignore without having to open the message at all. Push notifications by-pass this barrier to opening email by displaying the message title straight away. 

You have to respond one way or another!

Would Push subscribers never have joined the email list anyway?

Perhaps. Even if there is no clear preference for one over the other, having both allows your brand to capture your audience’s attention in a medium that works for them. Without having to provide an email address, we may never know who has opted in to Push Notifications, which makes communicating outside of Push challenging unless we can cross-match against other subscriber actions.

With email and push running simultaneously, which one performs better?

We ran Push Notifications for the second half of February on a client website. Our provider of choice was OneSignal – a service that promises to remain free forever! An interesting claim, but what’s the REAL cost? I suspect Edward Snowden would fall off his стул (chair) in frustration  – let’s save it for another day.

Results from Push Notifications test

  • At the beginning of February, we had 5,334 email subscribers. At the end of the month, that figure had risen to 5,426 – a gain of 92 subscribers.
  • Push Notifications began on February 15th. Two weeks later we had 63 push subscribers.

Our Push Notifications were promoting the same material as our emails, so which one performed better?

Our blog article “Plan, Develop and Write – Content Training Workshop” was published on both. The newsletter received a respectable open rate of 30% and a Click Through Rate (CTR) of 1.4%. The Push Notification received a surprising CTR of 21.43%!

The Push list is much smaller than the email list; that is a significant difference.

This was obviously only one campaign and we have not yet built up a data set large enough to draw significant conclusions.

So do we think Push could supersede email? Well the jury is still out on that one, we’ll continue to test them both and come back with our conclusions in the future.

In the mean time, what do you think about Push?