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?

What’s a typical response rate for personalised B2B direct mail?

What’s a typical response rate for highly personalised B2B direct mail? What provider would you work with? I’ve heard of Enthusem and Pebblepost.
It’s a well designed card with their logo, name or website on it.

Logo for Enthusem

Logo for Enthusem

Your response rate for B2B direct mail depends on a couple of things

  1. What you’re selling and whether the recipient has heard of you or has the need right now for your product/service.
  2. If you are already known, you can get response rates over 10%, particularly if you are trusted.
  3. One way to improve your “response rate” is to do a follow up by telephone to check they got the message and to elicit a reply verbally.
  4. You will get the best results by working with someone experienced in Direct Response Mailings. This is a skilled position – do not expect high % returns without expertise in creating the mailing asset. If you’re inexperienced buying direct mail services, I suggest meeting a few agencies for a “Chemistry” meeting where they will show you their work and ask you about your business needs. This will educate you about the process and likely outcomes.

Lastly, both the services you suggest seem good, I’ve not used them. But a competent Direct Marketing Agency (like Creative Agency Secrets) will do a similar job of customised direct mail pieces as these businesses. Which may be much cheaper. It depends on how big your database is as to which is a good / cheap option.

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 2 – Marketing Communications and Step 3 – New Business Pipeline

Click on the icons to see more posts in each category.

Symbol for marketing communications symbol for new business pipeline



This answer was first submitted on Clarity.fm

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

What it means to Growth Hack.

Growth Hacking is a new phrase meaning to aggressively make a step-change in business success.  It’s not just a cute phrase, there are specific techniques which can make significant improvements to website success.

You define success and we’ll teach you how to make it happen.

What is your #1 marketing and sales problem?

Get the answers about how you can growth hack your web success with USA experts Dan Morris and Rachel Martin during May 2016.

Face to face consult or small group workshops.

Email [email protected] with your #1 marketing and sales problem.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert



What is the best way to get new customers for a digital agency Creative Agency Secrets Digital Marketing

What is the best way to get new customers for a digital agency?

We are an Eastern Europe digital agency of 40+ team specialising in business software development. We have been doing some projects for a high profile customers in the UK through our partner there. What would be the best way for us to find new customers? We don’t have a sales nor marketing team as most sales were driven by our partner.

The key elements are to follow the Customer Value Optimisation model. Now since you don’t have Business Development resource in-house you are going to have to hire or outsource to get the skillset you need.

Before that, and the most important part of the CVO is “Determine your Product / Market Fit”. That’s the core and here I strongly advise you spend some money on hiring a marketing expert who can facilitate a session with you to extract that, capture it into a written strategy plan and help you write the tactical implementation plan. (that’s the Return Path on CVO).

Then you have the core already agreed and can use this to brief outsourced folks to write landing pages, ad copy, research DM lists, run social, do follow up calls etc. In this way you can hire execution people who are cheaper than strategy people.

My own Lead Generation Methodology follows a similar pathway detailed on this slideshare deck and accompanying YouTube

The Art and Science of Generating Leads

Watch the Video training of the Art and Science of Generating Leads

Twitter is Deprecating TweetDeck Creative Agency Secrets

Twitter is Deprecating TweetDeck

If you’re a TweetDeck user, get ready for a shock: Twitter is deprecating TweetDeck.

Twitter is Deprecating TweetDeck

What’s the good news?

If you don’t know about Hootsuite already, you can set up a free account. Hootsuite is very much like Tweetdeck in its appearance and I would recommend migrating to that. You can continue to manage your Twitter conversations with Hootsuite, keep track of retweets and mentions, etc. You can also manage your other social media profiles with Hootsuite, like LinkedIn. And there’s the Autoschedule function which puts your Tweet in the queue to post when the majority of your followers are actually on and looking at Twitter so they’re more likely to see it.

Althought Hootsuite would definitely be an easy migration for current TweetDeck users, I’m a big fan of Buffer because you can set up schedules for when your posts go out. Also, they show you a graph indicating when the best time to post is using their Optimal Schedule (much like Hootsuites Autoschedule, but they don’t have a pretty graph). But you can’t manage conversations through Buffer just yet. They’ve come out with a Beta program called Respond which also looks a lot like Hootsuite but right now Buffer and Respond are two different social media management tools as opposed to Hootsuite, which is literally the two in one.

Besides that, they both allow you to connect a few social media profiles for free. If you went with either of them, it’s likely you would not have to pay for the service. But, really, check out Hootsuite, TweetDeck users, the transition will be smooth, I promise!

Marketing rollercoaster

What are New Business Leads?

Leads are defined as an enquiry that brings business revenue for you.

What form it takes of course varies, it may start with a casual conversation in the pub or might be a phone call to you; it might be a business card that someone has collected from a networking event.

Many business owners find that they have a feast or famine situation and it comes to new business enquiries. Like a

Marketing rollercoaster

Marketing rollercoaster Image credit: smallbusinessalt.co.uk

rollercoaster that either rising up and you are swamped with Leads and enquiries for new business or down low and you are desperately hoping for even one enquiry. This predictable repeating cycle is a reality for many many businesses. Yours might be like this as well.

The rollercoaster happens for one reason and one reason alone:

You do not have a reliable process for creating leads.

Many businesses will never overcome the rollercoaster because they do not have the skill to follow a process and stick to it.

If you’re reading this today and you know that you experience this rollercoaster situation, what is it worth to you to change the habits of your business?

Why would you want to get off the rollercoaster?

Look back back through your business accounts over the last three years and see if you can find a time when you had a strong revenue stream. Count up the number of new clients you started invoicing in any given quarter or three month period. And then go back to find out how this client found you. What were the circumstances that led to this good period for you? Ask your business colleagues or your partner as well. They may remember things which you have not recalled.

The good news is it is possible for you to get off the rollercoaster and to create a steady flowing river of leads that can lead to new business.

The bad news is that 90% of the people reading this will not be able to make a regular recurring stream of leads because they cannot be disciplined enough to set up the process that is needed.

Creative Agency Secrets will teach you the secret way of creating leads on a regular recurring basis.

I will tell you because we’re utterly confident that it works.

This is the number one reason and if it works for us we can make it work for you. And the second reason is perhaps a better illustration of why our process works. This is because the 10 percent of you who will interact and take our advice; from these nine people will not be able to do it on their own.  They will be people like you who have busy organised business lives and love what they do. Yet if you’re being strictly honest you will say

“I am not a salesman, I am not a marketing expert, I find new business development a challenge. This is not how I prefer to spend my time.”

And so for these reasons Creative Agency Secrets is going to share with you our methodology of how to generate leads every single month of the year.

We’re hoping that you are the nine people who are going to take our advice and hire us to work with you.  And if you’re the 10th person who can execute without assistance, then congratulations, you’re probably already very good at sales and this is just a top-up advisory session for you to check there are any new tricks that you don’t already know.

For everyone else, we want to be your new collaborator.

We want to show you exactly how to make this work. We know how to adapt the method to suit the needs of your business, your marketplace, and your preferred clients. Today I’m going to show you exactly how we do it for ourselves and this will give you the template that you need to do it for yourself.

First some marketing honesty

But I need you to make one thing abundantly clear to yourself. In a moment of honesty, ask yourself am I ready to make this change? Am I ready to make a commitment that is fundamentally different from anything I’ve ever done before in my business?

Because you know what the rewards could be, but until they happen I also know that you will be nervous, anxious and will feel that this is a high risk to take for your business.

I will give you reassurance and I will give you confidence that you can do this yourself. Are you are you ready to come on the journey?

Let’s begin.


Tomorrow I’ll show you what the new business process is.

From attraction to traction: build your list with Unbounce landing pages

Landing pages are important to drive valuable conversions for your business as we wrote before, whether from current customers or new prospects. But designing the perfect landing page can take several weeks to accomplish.

Well, at least, it used to.

Enter Unbounce, a tool we are using to create beautifully designed landing pages, built to deliver easily measurable outcomes.

Yes, we know: there’s a ton of groundbreaking offers popping around on the internet every day, promising to be the Holy Grail of marketing. Luckily you have us to filter the noise and point you in the right direction! 🙂

Why we chose Unbounce Pages

This complete add-on tool has the advantage of offering quick creation and editing, cutting a lot of time from the development stage of the landing page strategy for our clients. Unbounce delivers agile results, not neglecting the “best practices” learned by the developers with intense market research. Every Unbounce landing page is completely mobile responsive, which means extra points for you in Google’s eyes.

Having a successful business on the internet is a tricky thing if you don’t focus on driving results with the right strategy. Among lots of features, Unbounce offers A/B tests and Google Analytics tracking that are amazing at collecting data and eliminating doubts in the decision-making process. It can all be integrated seamlessly into WordPress, Joomla and other CMS platforms, so the landing page doesn’t feel disconnected from the rest of your website. When a visitor gives you their e-mail address, it can automatically go to your new MailChimp highly-focused list for future prospects. Simple as that.  Check out all the Unbounce integrations.

Build your mailing list

Do you feel like building a highly-focused list of contacts is what’s missing from your digital marketing strategy? Contact us right away.

Leads tracking spreadsheet sample

The Art and Science of Generating Leads

Many business owners tell us that they want more inbound leads and enquiries for new business.  We know exactly how to do it AND we’ve been practicing what we preach for years.  Here is the proof – our own data month by month of enquiries to buy Creative Agency Secrets’ services.

Leads tracking spreadsheet sample

Leads tracking spreadsheet sample

Today we’re announcing a webinar that shows you exactly HOW we do it, so you can learn to do this for yourself.  February 10th 2016.

The art and science of generating leads Event Sign up

The art and science of generating leads results in a new business development plan.  That’s a month by month chart of activities, all oriented around starting conversations that lead to paying clients.  And on this 90 minute webinar I am going to show you HOW to do it and then how to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Creative Agency Secrets are experts in proactive execution marketing.  This is the technique that builds up your business profile which creates leads which become enquiries which become sales.  It’s a continuous cycle. 

Sounds simple – but most business owners do not know HOW to do it. 

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

Here’s a sneak preview of what you will learn:

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

Don’t take our word for it…

“I thought it was great, enlightening and thoroughly enjoyed the ideas. I also appreciated all the little things that can be done and those things that don’t take money but have a big impact. It was great and I thoroughly would recommend it to all business owners looking to expand business online.”

Julie Soboil, co-owner, Hushamok

“The business sessions with you were very good – reinforced my thinking but was given expert and very helpful and thoughtful information for me to digest. Although I am very aware of the importance of social media, I also realise that I am behind in using it so need to make time to get up to speed.”

Helen Mitchell, Managing Director, Anti-aging World

Register for the event by clicking any of the links to The Art and Science of Generating Leads

Tickets are Free

And we are offering two different tickets – Attend Live and Watch Later.  Both require you to sign up for February 10th 2016 event.

Event timings

10th February 2016 times in different country / locations

  • New Zealand 10 February 12 pm midday
  • Australia NSW/VIC 10 February 10 am 
  • Australia QLD10 February 9 am
  • United States PST 9 February 3 pm
  • United States EST 9 February 6 pm
  • United Kingdom 9 February 11 pm

The best approach to get leads for a B2B solution

I got this question on Clarity.fm where I’m a registered consultant and so decided to share my answer here as well.

  • Firstly, get some testimonials and case studies for the product.
  • Build a website and pay to have it SEOed professionally.
  • Plan a blog writing year of articles.
  • Get public speaking opportunities to showcase your expertise and if you can, mention the B2B solution.
  • Buy a mailing list (or build your own) and use direct mail to educate the audience in your area of expertise. Later mention the B2B solution and build a landing page on the website to capture inbound enquiries.
  • Seek referrals and word of mouth from happy customers.

In order to do these things you will need the following marketing assets: Website, brochure collateral, marketing automation software, CRM database, SEO and strong copywriting.

Happy to help with more detail if you arrange a 20 minute phone call with me personally. I can either tutor you in how to do it yourself, or my team can do it with/for you.