policies

When having clear policies is a marketing advantage

This week I’ve had two clients get frustrated by media comments which did not allow a talk-back response.

Our solution?

Set up your company policies and publicise them.

Why policies are a point of difference

In both cases, bloggers and journalists were doing their job and calling out the client brand on key issues.

Professional disagreements are normal.

By stating your position on key issues, your brand can become better known and also has the ability to influence the way the whole industry thinks on these points.

How to market using your policies or principles

  1. Create a page where you list your principles.  e.g. We believe in transparency and not charging markups [that happens to be true for Creative Agency Secrets].
  2. Create a menu link to the page
  3. When a blogger or journalist contests a situation, write your answer on your blog. Also, write it in the comments on their site if you can.
  4. In writing your answer, refer to your principles/policies and link through to that page on your site.
  5. Create categories in your blog that relate to each principle e.g. transparency; fair pricing
  6. Also, make icons so each has a clear visual image associated with the principle – this helps readers further identify with each principle – you can link from each icon to the category in the blog so that case studies and examples can be read in more detail.
  7. Be prepared to stand by your principles and to be called out by media.

As an example, we use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile Raising.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

Guest article

Should I accept Guest Articles on our website?

Do you get emails from content marketers offering to give you articles to publish on your website?

Guest Bloggers Welcome image by Trafficado.com

Guest Bloggers Welcome image by Trafficado.com

Sometimes these can seem suspicious because they come from an unfamiliar email.  And so I thought this was a good time to review the opportunity that guest articles offer to business websites.

Is it on-topic?

A client of ours just got approached to see if they’d run a guest post on their blog. The article offered is on a relevant topic to their area of expertise.  So that’s an easy first step. 

Why Guest Posts can be good

There are two sides to guest articles – one is to be the writer and the other is to invite others to write for you.

I see any invitation to guest post as a very positive step for a business website. 

Firstly, the writer recognises your brand is an expert on this topic.  And they also see that you have an audience for these things (that’s the power of marketing and social media).  Our client got their approach after using the hashtag #growthhack on some social media updates – this brought them to the attention of the writer. 

Here’s what I wrote to my client who had been approached

My view is that if a guest can submit an article that’s ready to publish on this topic we can give him a platform, while introducing the topic appropriately as being a “guest writer” or similar.”

The bigger picture on guest articles

As a professional business you need to be cautious about accepting articles because of brand value alignment and the potential for the unscrupulous to use your respected website for inappropriate means.

But if you are a business seeking to grow your audience, finding an aligned partner who accepts your articles in a reciprocal arrangement and who is not a media outlet (newspaper or social media site) this is a very good idea.

When their audience sees and reads your opinion, they may be enticed to get in touch and buy your services.

What if their views don’t match your own?

Any topic has more than one point of view.  The mature, business approach is to be balanced.  If your website is seen as a trusted resource, it can also be a platform to amplify the public discussion on these matters. These do not have to be the opinion of you or your staff.

If you choose, you can write a response to the guest article putting the opposing point of view.  This could start a public discussion on the matter.

Things to ask the guest writer

You need reassurance about the quality of the writer and their authority and expertise. 

  • How many people have they got on Linked In following?
  • Would they mail a link to the article when it’s published on our site to their contacts?
  • If we get any comments, will they make themselves available to answer them?

Be prepared to check

  • Audience alignment
  • Brand profile compared to yours
  • Web traffic on their site compared to yours is sizeable and suitable
  • Link-backs are allowed (this builds SEO)
  • Discuss if payment is to be made
  • Discuss attribution and whether they will be identified as a guest writer

Your marketing or PR agency can help you find suitable partners for joint marketing promotions – we ran these for Hushamok who sell baby crib hammocks using Facebook online contests and very successfully gained brand awareness, direct sales and also grew their newsletter subscriber audience.

In summary, I see this as a very positive, independent verification of your marketing positioning and wide reach into the global audience for your area of expertise.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

What to do when your content is used without permission

Sometimes you find out that someone has reproduced your work without permission. There are scales of bad-ness here, ranging from plagiarism through to lack of attribution.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

What should you do when you find out?

The answer depends on a few things – if you are a world famous published author and public speaker, you may respond differently from if you are a blogger or a business or a startup. The picture above is Rachel Marie Martin – a Mommy Blogger at findingjoy.net who has suffered multiple abuses of her intellectual property.

Aim for a Win-Win outcome

My suggestion is for you to ring them up and ask to speak to the person who published and instead of complaining, tell them you know they’re using your intellectual property without permission – and ask for something in return.

This should be of value to your and your business. This could be a booking from them to use you as a trainer in exchange for using your articles. Or get them to run an advert for your services free in the next 3 months newsletters. Or an agreement to use more of your articles with express sales offers.

Complaining can work

But in my experience it puts peoples backs up and you are less likely to come out of it smelling of roses.

My preferred tactic is to let them know you’ve found out and then ask for a favour in return – which they should feel obliged to agree to doing.

How to find who’s using your material

The best way is to set up Google Alerts for your name, your brand name and other search strings which can easily trace back to you. I am lucky that AFAIK I’m the only Rebecca Caroe in the world (yay) so easy to find. Be creative – you can also use Google Search Console to find incoming links to your site and linkbacks in blog comments usually get tracked too.

Good luck… and of course a last resort is the Cease and Desist letter (but avoid getting legal if you can).

Wordpress Multisite for marketing creative agency secrets new zealand auckland

WordPress Multisite for marketing

I went to the Auckland WordPress user group meetup yesterday and there was a great talk by Dee Teal aka “Web Princess” about WordPress multisite installations.

These are many websites created in a network and managed centrally.  A neat addition to the WP functionality.

Here are three of her slides.

I think this is a really useful new feature set and have already mentioned it to a client.  If you would like to know whether multisite is suitable for your business – get in touch.

Domain structures for WP Multisite

Wordpress multisite URL structure options

WordPress multisite URL structure options

How to tell if Multisite is right for what you need

Not every network or group of websites should use Multisite – an agency with a long client list for example should not do this because extracting one site and removing from the group is time consuming, plus all user data is shared across all sites and that conflicts client confidentiality.

wp, multisite, wordpress

Checklist for WP Multisite. If you tick any of these DO NOT USE.

 

Skills you need to administer WordPress multisite

The systems administrator needs to have these skillsets and expertise in order to manage the network successfully.

wordpress, multisite,

What you must be able to do for WP multisite

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.

Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

Are you new to digital communications, work in marketing or as a web admin? Good. You’ll want to hear this:

Your online activities for your business can significantly monetize your audience!

Maybe you knew this already but, if you’re here, you may need a little help getting to that point. Lucky you, we have just the thing! The Audience Industries NZ tour is coming to town!

How Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

The Audience Industries program is made up of 4 separate curricula, which together cover everything you need to know about increasing your online profitability.

Let’s focus on the most widely applicable course, the Sequoia curriculum. With 6 modules and 4-8 hours of your time, learn how to turn around your online efforts in simple ways that will make a huge difference to your business.

  1. Learn your audience’s ladder of value, where they came from and when they’ll be ready for you.
  2. Keep the audience coming back for more with pro marketing.
  3. Build the ultimate audience with every word you write.
  4. Stand out so your audience can find you.
  5. Find out how to get your audience from each of your social media platforms to you.
  6. Don’t sell yourself short. Your knowledge is worth a lot more. Start to understand pricing, format and what to expect in the future.

Intrigued?

I thought you might be. When it comes to your business, what you’ll take away from the Sequoia course will be invaluable. There’s no question.

Dan Morris and Rachel Martin

Founders of Audience Industries and your online marketing gurus for the tour, will be arriving on our shores in May to share their marketing expertise with us.  Are you in or near Auckland, Dunedin, or Wellington? If so, read more about the tour and book your spot now while the going is still good!

If you want to improve your online revenue for your business, don’t let this tour pass you up. Book now and take the first step towards maximising the potential of your website.

Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Announcing the Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Creative Agency Secrets is proud to be collaborating with Audience Industries for the second year running! Together with founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin we’ll be running an 8 date tour, making stops in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, learning how to drive online business success.

Learn how to grow revenue with your best tool: YOUR website!

Find out how to build new revenue streams and grow audience engagement with your website with the leading edge of best practice with these two leading practitioners. Here’s a taste of what’s in store for you when you attend Audience Industries:

  • Audience engagement with community marketing
  • Persuasion and action techniques
  • How to tell a story (that people WANT to read)
  • Using data dashboards to improve conversions
  • The copywriting words that create engagement
  • How to use custom sidebars to optimise your adverts
  • A YouTube strategy to keep viewers on your videos

Get past using buzz phrases and marketing hype! You’ll learn practical solutions that you can use immediately.

Want to find out more?

Read all 4 curriculum options in detail!

We know these techniques work, and you will learn the practical solutions directly from expert, knowledgeable technicians. Don’t believe us? Look at just a couple of the testimonials we captured from last year’s attendees:

Rachel and Dan have a really lovely style and they have ‘been there and done that’ so they are talking from experience.  They’re constantly tweaking their own approach and there is an emphasis on practical application. I found them very generous with their information. No holding back.

They were genuinely concerned about the group getting the information and being able to use it.  They wanted everyone to succeed and it’s unusual to find that in presenters.

They want the whole sector to grow.  Very personable, nice and the information was extremely useful and It was easy into put into practice.  

Jayne Richardson, @jreltd, Auckland attendee 2015

Book your ticket now

  • Auckland – April 29th – Escape Velocity Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 1st – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Dunedin, May 3rd half day – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Dunedin May 4th half day – Circles Curriculum
  • Wellington – May 5th – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Wellington May 6th – Circles Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 9th – Circles Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 10th – Clusters Curriculum

Get details on the detailed curriculum of what you will learn at each event.

We’re offering single-day tickets, or get a SPECIAL for two dates in one city.

Don’t miss out on the Audience Industries New Zealand Tour! Dan and Rachel will teach you the tools so you will become the CEO of your website.

 

Help with email headlines – a short guide

We work day to day with clients on email campaigns, personalised cold emails, event invitation blasts and much more. Over the years we’ve become accustom to building effective email headlines that get emails read and replied to, and we’ve noticed that without that experience entire campaigns can be rendered useless. So if you lack experience building effective email headlines that get your campaigns read and replied to then you’ve come to the right place!

The Creative Agency Secrets short guide to email headlines

Email headlines are a lot like blog headlines. We’ve boiled it down to a few select simple rules:

  • Short and simple.
    Getting to the point quicker with fewer words helps grab attention and keeps it. Shorter headlines are also usually more exciting which entices further reading.
  • Promise what the full message contains
    If readers believe the title is misleading to the content, they’re more likely to discard your email after reading it! It’s all about trust, people.
    This also comes along with cohesion and comprehension because if you’re conveying two things at once the reader is less likely to understand what you want them to do and why.
  • Relevant to the target audience.
    This tends to be a given because again, the headline of the email should reflect on the content and your content should be getting sent to the right target audience. But too many times we see email headlines that reflect a part of the content which isn’t interesting or relevant to the target audience. Make sure the your next email headline brings out the part of the content most likely to interest your intended readers.
  • Make readers curious.
    Don’t give them everything, leave them wanting! This should be simple with our first rule of headlines being short but sometimes a “90% of x does y” type of headline isn’t as effective as “So how many of xes do ys, you think? Here’s your answer:”

You may be a cut above the rest now that you know these 4 simple rules, but we’re not done yet. We want to arm you with the best practices, so here’s some fantastic email headline examples (we found many of these on CopyBlogger! They’re a brilliant content marketing resource):

  • “Why you should always [content]”
  • “Your answer to [content]”
  • “10 ways to [content]”
  • “Your competitors do [content], why?”
  • “What everybody ought to know about [content]”
  • You Are Not Alone

Which is your favourite? Let us know how your next campaign goes!

 

Want to learn more about email marketing, or get an experienced marketer to build campaigns for you?

Contact us! We’re your next big marketing success.

How do you know that your business website is performing?

Business websites are no longer a ‘set-and-forget’ business asset. Any website which you haven’t touched for months or years is depreciating faster than melting ice cream in summer. It is not helping your business.

The race to perform on Google was thought to be an un-winnable chase for small businesses who don’t have huge marketing promotion budgets.

That is no longer true.

All businesses run on Key Performance Indicators and so today I am going to run through a few important measurements that you can use to see if your website is performing well.

Going Web Mobile

The first one – and the most important is mobility. Google has announced that it will be including mobile-friendliness as part of its algorithm from 21st April.
Test your website here 

If your website fails the test – get in touch with your developers and build a mobile friendly website.

Machine readers for key words

The second one is a quick test to see how a “machine” reads the words on your website. We all know Google, Bing and Yahoo are search engines. What we forget is that engines aren’t human. When machines read web pages they find different emphases than we humans do.

Here’s a test you can do – take the words from your website home page and paste them into the Open Calais Viewer  Click ‘submit’ and then they tell you which words and phrases a machine thinks are important in what you’ve written. If those words are not the most important key words for your website – re-write them until they align.

Clever humans have written another machine reader which also shows sentiment analysis – what subtle messages are communicated using the tone of voice and context of your home page texts. Take the same words and paste them into Alchemi API Language . The keywords tab on the left is colour coded to show positive (green), negative (red) and neutral (grey) sentiment. The size of the squares shows the perceived importance of each phrase.

Expert copywriting for the web combines both human and machine reading – it’s very worthwhile getting these right.  Creative Agency Secrets are copywriting experts.

If you can write clearly about what you do, show off pictures and short articles and work with social media, email marketing and old-fashioned direct mail then your business can stand out.

Get local

Did you know that Google, as the premier search engine, is getting increasingly local? You do not have to compete with a huge national firm who does the same thing as you. It’s easy now just to set your search horizon to the local geography that you serve.

Let me prove it to you. Open up a search engine (Google, Yahoo Search or Bing) and search for “Your business name” and “Your suburb”. Do you show up? Probably yes.

Now change the search to “Your business type/profession” and “Your suburb”. Same answers? Or not?

Narrowing the search terms you show up for allows local businesses to shine as beacons to the local prospective customers they want to work with. And for New Zealand business owners, this is a godsend. Google’s Webmaster Tools are free supports that allow you to register your physical location with them so you can include a Google Map with a red pin at your location. Then customers can easily find your premises and load directions into their mobile phone maps for driving directions.

The hard part of web marketing

There was always going to be a “BUT” in this article…. well here it is.

You cannot get the search results you want with a static website that hasn’t been updated or changed for months.

This means that business owners need to learn how to rub and maintain their websites, just like driving a car – this means acquiring a knowledge of how to present your business to its best advantage, how to show off your skills, how to find the right audience and encourage them to come to your website – not just once but over and over.

In short, you need to learn how to Drive Your Website.

We are running training during May 2015 in 5 cities in NZ to teach you how to do this.  Blogging Concentrated NZ starts on May 1st in Auckland and ends in Christchurch on May 9th.