We Review a Service Business Website

We pitched a client – we didn’t win.  And so I decided to show you all how we assessed their website in scoping out the work that is needed to improve the search engine optimisation for this company.

They offer a local service and have two principal products.

First impressions of the website

Hubspot, website assessment, website grader

Free appraisal offer for your website

Go to the Woorank checker or Website Grader tool on Hubspot.
Find out how your current site performs.  Both give you a score out of 100.  Easy to see your score.
This site scores 53 out of 100.  Definitely in the could-do-better group.

Summary areas for improvement

  1. Both the named services should be in your meta description
  2. The Headings structure needs adjusting so it includes H1 as well as H3 (currently all 4 are H2 which is not good)
  3. Change the SSL certificate from BlueHost to your own business name
  4. Incoming links are low – so we’d recommend getting local directory listings to improve this (there are 36 free ones)
  5. You should be on Google My Business as well because that will enable Reviews and a location pin to appear when people search

Improve website messaging

I think there’s some other places where a bit of clearer marketing communication could help
  • Strapline.  The name of the business does not describe what you do [I also provide sensational services – but of a different type]
  • Pearl Waterless is a strong point of difference for one of the services – but you don’t EXPLAIN it.
  • Plus it’s a “Green” product and you could be selling the environmental benefits.
  • One service page does not have any heading titles, it doesn’t have any testimonials and it doesn’t explain that you offer a mobile service
  • The other service page has a gigantic photo and doesn’t explain the service in detail compared to the other service page.  They should be similar – consistency matters.
  • You have a Facebook page but there’s no link to it on the site.  42 people have shared your website onto Facebook – but you aren’t tracking links like this.
  • Have you got any customer testimonials?
  • Have you got any photos of your ACTUAL Team doing the work?
  • Any funny stories to tell about your jobs? What about the Facebook photos you share – the team celebration – could these go on a blog on the website too?

Why would you change?

What’s important here is that the website owner sees a rapid return on investment for his marketing spend.
The areas where I believe we can show a quick ROI are the services descriptors and aligning them to search phrases, pulling out the points of difference.  And then making it super-easy for the site visitor to get in touch by phone.   That rapidly increases enquiries, the business owner feels his spend is justified.  Later we can get more sophisticated.
And so if you would like us to improve the SEO and re-write some of the pages, go to our shop and buy our SEO Starter Pack and then come into the office and we’ll prioritise, get started and tick off all these things for you.

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?

How Can an Increased Time on Page Boost Conversions?

How Can Increased Time on Page Boost Conversions?

Attracting traffic to a website can be a big challenge, even for the most experienced professionals.

However, more than just herding the masses to your digital spot in the world, it is essential to understand what they’re doing when they’re there. And what they’re NOT doing as well.

One of the most important indicators in your Google Analytics report is the Average Session Duration. If your visitors are abandoning your website without spending a decent amount of time checking it out, chances are something is not working as it should.

This could be happening for one or more reasons. Investigating the causes through experiments is critical to understanding your public. There is no absolute truth in marketing, and everything can be tweaked to perform even better.

Keeping user experience in mind is essential in times of task overload

The enormous amount of information that’s being thrown at us online is forcing us to learn faster what’s important and what’s not. Pop-ups, banners, native advertising: look around and you’ll see that you are completely surrounded. Thankfully, like the sight of your own nose, your brain just filters them out and disregards the majority of those.

We developed the habit of going straight to the answer to our questions by “scanning” text or searching for terms with a “ctrl+F” command. The number of shares, the size of the fonts, a user-friendly layout; there are many key elements that will determine if you are hanging around or running away from a website.

Unconsciously, we are always measuring the effort required to consume content

Remember that time you looked for a dinner recipe on YouTube and decided to watch a video that’s 5 minutes instead of another one that was 12-minutes long? Why did you do that?

Video and audio have a fundamental decision factor displaying right in your face: the time it takes to watch/listen. In the end, because we’re always busy, we do everything possible to avoid wasting time.

Overcome your visitor’s objections

As you probably know, there’s a massive amount of written content online. According to WordPress, around 80 million posts are published every month using their platform. Take the Creative Agency Secrets’ website as an example: organic search is responsible for 80% of our traffic and the overwhelming majority lands first on one of our blog posts. But we are not the only ones. More companies are using this as a strategy to bring traffic every day.

With so many options out there, your audience has to feel assured that the time invested in reading your content is worth it. One of the visual tricks we use is subtle but powerful: we tell people how long it’ll take them to read our posts. Moreover, a little coloured bar on the top of the screen shows the progress of your reading while you scroll down the page.

estimated reading time

Showing the estimated time needed to read an article might calm down the reader’s anxiety. It increases the likelihood of the visitors to finish reading the text because, in their minds, they’ve already allocated that precise amount of minutes for that.

More time spent on your website, more chances of conversion

Worst than not attracting visitors is wasting what you already have. Traffic by itself is useless if your website does not have a clear objective. It might be getting new leads, selling products on your e-commerce, giving you a call, etc. When you increase the time on page, the visitor is spending more minutes experiencing your brand and one step closer to fulfilling your objective.

 

 

Creative and Search Agency Collaboration

How should creative agencies and search agencies collaborate when relaunching a website?

The key part of any site build and launch is continuity for the search engines.  Few brands are creating websites for the first time nowadays (although SMEs are).  For me, the key parts of this agency collaboration are based around making sure the visitor experience for the new site is an improvement on the old one.

You must not lose any of the strong key word traffic which the old site had.  And so a careful keyword tactical plan ensuring similar phrases are used on the major website pages, meta descriptions and alt tags is needed.

Secondly, check whether the URL structure is going to change or not.  Frequently ecommerce stores use different structures and so this risks breaking all the historic data for the site.  Set up a 301 redirect so that traffic gets to the right page.

As a marketing agency, I always recommend running an inbound campaign to drive traffic to the new site as soon after it launches as possible. This starts the process of “re-educating” the search engines about the new site structure as quickly as possible.  And above all, test and measure EVERYTHING.

 

This was a submitted answer for Northcutt’s Experts, Gurus and other Mythical Entities article series.

northcutt.com

CRM image

Benefits of Investing in CRM for your Business

The major reason why you need to invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is to improve the relationship with your current customers, engage with potential customers, and win back former customers. You can implement this system in your business by using a software that enables you to collect, organize, and manage customer information. An upgraded CRM system is good for both small scale and large-scale business enterprises. Here are some of the benefits of investing in a CRM system for your business.

CRM image

CRM Image Credit: ITAlley.co.nz

Enhanced communication

The prime reason why CRM is good for your business is enhancing communication. A CRM system will provide every employee in your business access to the same customer information (single customer view), and thus enable them to provide the same important level of service across the board. In some cases, a customer may have a single point of contact in a business and it can be very hard for another employee to handle such a customer without access to the customer’s data. However, with an upgraded CRM system that collects, organizes, and manages customer information, every customer can be handled efficiently and satisfactorily by any of your employees. In other words, it doesn’t really matter who is working currently with a client because all employees have access to the same information. Furthermore, since CRM is cloud-based, it can be accessed from any location at any time provided an employee has a stable internet connection.

Improved customer relationships

A good CRM system that meets the current market dynamics can improve the relationship between your business and its customers incredibly fast. Good customer relationships translate into customer satisfaction and good Returns on Investment (ROI). The CRM system will make all dealings with the marketing and selling of products or services to your customers to be organized and systematic / process-led. Being able to provide services to customers through understanding their issues will help improve customer loyalty and ease of purchase. Your customers will be more inclined to recommend your products or services to their friends and close family members if they’re satisfied with your business.

Customized marketing strategies

A CRM makes it easier to increase your company’s revenue with customized marketing strategies. With the collected customer information, you can analyze data using other tools such as Big Data analytics to understand the behavioral patterns and shopping trends of your customers. With this data, you can customize marketing strategies that target different types of customers more effectively.

Maximize upselling and cross-selling

The CRM system will enable you to offer your customers premium products that fall in their preferred shopping categories. It can also help you to give customers complementary products based on what they purchased earlier. This can be achieved through the improved customer relationship which gives you room to interact with customers in a user-friendly manner.

A CRM system will help you understand your customers’ needs and be able to personalize your products or services in such a manner that it suits their specific needs or desires. The collected information from a CRM system is stored in a central database that is accessible to all employees, and thus it will promote internal communication.

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  

emails on a laptop screen

What not to do in an email campaign

Once you send an email, it’s impossible to recall it back. Once you send an email with a mistake, you can kiss your reputation goodbye.

In the case of MTV bringing their popular television show, MTV Unplugged, to New Zealand, their advertising strategy left a lot to be desired.

MTV vs. Millennials

Earlier this year, in June, when MTV announced that they were doing an Unplugged series in New Zealand, Millennials across the nation rejoiced.

For those that don’t know, MTV Unplugged is a television show which features artists performing stripped back versions of their hit songs. The show has been featuring artists since 1989, so you can imagine the excitement when MTV NZ announced this news on Facebook.

The artist they’d chosen to feature in the first ever episode of MTV Unplugged NZ was Maala, a singer-songwriter of electric-pop music. Tickets were free but limited. To enter, you had to submit your details and await an email.

Email #1

email-1

In the excitement of winning tickets, it’s understandable that we could forgive the use of Times New Roman and just the overall lacklustre layout in this email sent en masse to all winners.

On closer inspection, there are a few more things wrong with this.

Email received 07th July, which is a Friday. Instructions are to RSVP by Monday 10th July to confirm tickets.

What is wrong with this? Firstly, for those that entered with their work emails, or don’t check emails on the weekend, it’s likely that this email would go unread by many until recipients were back into the work groove on Monday.

Secondly, three days can be considered a bit short notice to make plans.

Thirdly, Wednesday 12th August, 2017, doesn’t exist! It did in the year 2015, but unfortunately, time travel isn’t an option just yet.

Email #2

email-2massive-facepalm-gif

Well, that’s embarrassing! We can either assume that this little big mistake missed the multiple rounds of test emails, or that the marketing team skipped testing completely. At least they finally realised that serif fonts weren’t the best way to convey their messages.

A few things to take note:

  • Not a good first impression about MTV NZ (or the teams behind it)!
  • This email was sent Friday 7th July, promoting an event that’s only five days away.
  • They called the wrong date a “typo”, as though someone has misspelt “July”. Close enough.

Email #3

Do you think they got the hint that a single weekend wasn’t enough to wait for RSVPs? Or perhaps people found they couldn’t make it on Wednesday, 12th August, 2015?

Either way, they extended the RSVP date until the morning before the event. They also jumped back on board the serif train and still haven’t learnt that the way to communicate with digital natives is either through gifs, cat videos, or really, anything with a picture and a splash of colour.

This is a prime example of what not to do

So, MTV Unplugged hit New Zealand’s shores with quite a splash, and probably not in the best way. They also sent me an email confirming my tickets three times. Did this mean I had two tickets or six? Very confusing.

All in all, it’s a great example of how badly a brand’s reputation can be hurt by a few simple rookie mistakes. The whole event felt rushed, and while it progressed somewhat smoothly on the day, we can all learn that emails are still very important!

Otago Access Radio interview with Rebecca Caroe

I was delighted to be interviewed for Otago Access Radio with host Simon Fawkes on his popular b2m Business Insights podcast.

We discussed why 99% of new websites fail.

Click the image to listen.simon Fawkes, B2M podcast, Otago Access Radio

 

Sir Gordon Tietjens – Owning High Performance

Speaking at the EMA Managers and Team Leaders Conference. My notes.

I’m playing for Samoa and my goal to take Samoa to the Olympics in 2020 – as a coach it’s always about we not about I.  TEAM = together everyone achieves more.

When I was first appointed in 1994 I wanted to create a culture on traditional values, honesty, humour, humility, respect.  Athletes go out and perform for me – you empty the tank.

You can see humility in someone quickly.  Federer got beaten by Nadal at Wimbledon – Federer gained in defeat, losing although painful was still a gain.  it was the greatest game of tennis ever.  It hurts when you lose but it doesn’t mean failure if you gave it everything you have.

Why were the AB 7s team successful? 12 world series, 2 world cups and beaten in the quarter final at the Olympics by Fiji. I saw that as just one tournament. I didn’t have the best players, but I had the best teams.

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