“So little thought goes into websites” I said this afternoon, prompting my colleague, Conrado Langer to add “You just described humanity in one sentence!”
Reviewing the social sharing icons for two clients this week we had opposing experiences.
One was getting great traction – but the sharing icons overlaid the blog text when viewed on a tablet.
Our bad – we reviewed the settings and adjusted the screen size for when the layout switched to the mobile enabled format.
The other just installed a social sharing plugin without thought to their blog layout or users. It scrolls round to two rows, and includes some which are barely used including the highlighted, VK. This is a Russian site with few privacy controls and full of undesirable content. An unlikely choice for English-speaking consumers.
A poor choice of social sharing icons
Relevant social sharing icons
Do you know your audience? Do you know which social channels they use? If the answer isn’t yes you need to go do some research.
My choice of social sharing icons for a consumer business in 2018 are:- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
And if you are chasing a youth audience – consider adding Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat (QR Code)
My choice of social sharing icons for a B2B business in 2018 are: LinkedIn, Email, Facebook, Reddit
And if you’re a creative, film, art or music business consider Vero the newly launched service.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/sharing.png2581216Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2018-04-16 10:00:052018-04-13 16:08:45Social Sharing Icons - choose the right ones for 2018
It’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
It 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.)
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.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/map-local-directories.jpg8531280Anagha Sridharhttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgAnagha Sridhar2018-03-29 12:48:422018-03-29 16:48:41Boost Your Business with Local Directories
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’.
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:
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.
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.
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!
It’s the end of the year and time for reflection. And for once, I’d like to talk about how Creative Agency Secrets works alongside other agencies to deliver high quality marketing services to our clients.
Specialist agencies serve clients well
Few firms can now offer a ‘full service’ to clients. Creative Agency Secrets are specialists in B2B marketing but we only offer part of the suite of services which clients need.
As a result, we collaborate with other agencies. These may already be in a business relationship with our client or we may recruit them via our Sub-Contracted Services practice.
We believe that this serves our clients well. By finding agencies who have specialist skills the clients can get access to experts for their full marketing needs.
Case Study of positive creative agency collaboration
AdWords – Search Engine Advertising we discussed how to optimise the client’s advertising account and were able to cross-match the search queries out of AdWords and from Analytics which enabled us to discover several search phrases which were only on one platform and could be profitably used to drive results in the other.
Graphic Design Services – a range of collateral was specified by Creative Agency Secrets and the design agency responded to the brief with the client. As a result of discussions, the client ended up finding a better solution to their business cards and brochure and together we created a much better design outcome.
This form of collaboration is only good for the client. It allows us to stand head and shoulders above our competitors and demonstrate strong value and high quality advice to our clients.
Image credit: Learn Russian Step by Step
And so thank you to our clients for trusting Creative Agency Secrets and to our collaboration agencies who choose to work with us in this way.
We appreciate you both.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Thank-you.png622806Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-12-14 08:15:302017-12-14 08:15:30How leading creative agencies collaborate
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!]
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
Why the HELL NOT?
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpg00Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-10-11 10:00:002017-10-11 17:21:59Kiwibank, this is how I'd re-write your email
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
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.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Facebook-Groups.png650664Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-08-29 10:00:002017-08-29 12:54:56YIKES! My Facebook Group Got Hijacked by Competitors
Last week I got the latest research on SEO from trusted brand SEM Rush. You can download and read their report Ranking Factors 2017 in SEO.
Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush
Creative Agency Secrets has read the whole report and below are 5 SEO tasks you can initiate immediately for your own website or ecommerce store.
The report has a number of chapters each of which is followed by “What this means to you as a marketer” Read these pages for the SEMRush interpretation of their research findings.
5 SEO actions for 2017
Check you have a secure (https) website. Get a SSL Certificate installed if your url begins http://. See Secure websites below
Find websites which can link back to you. Clients, Suppliers, News / Magazines, Directories. See Referring Domains below
Get ideas for your SEO and your content creation from Answer the Public research tool
Use more keywords on your “cornerstone” content pages. See Keywords below.
Plan the visitor pathway through your site especially with a view to reducing bounce rate.
The Detailed insights
Note these are paraphrased from the SEMRush report including some verbatim quotes. All the ACTION FOR YOU tasks are recommendations by us for your website or ecommerce store. The page numbers are the actual page number in the report NOT the number top RHS.
Secure websites – page 6. The higher the page position in search, the higher the keyword search volume most sites are secure https domains. We interpret this that websites with SSL are trusted and are gaining over plain www and http sites.
Referring domains – page 10. The pages that rank higher have more backlinks from unique domains. Websites that appear on SERPs for high-volume keywords have significantly more backlinks than ones that appear for low-volume keywords — almost 10 times more. ACTION FOR YOU the competition for high-volume keywords is vicious, and those websites are invincible. But for low-volume keywords the competition is not so tough, so some link building could bring tremendous results.
Content length – page 18. What we saw first was that there is generally more content on the pages that rank higher for all search volume intervals. There is more content on the pages with long-tail keywords than on those with short-head keywords. ACTION FOR YOU pick your “cornerstone” content pages and work them HARD for SEO goodness. Content length is important for your page’s success as long as it is valuable, well-written, and optimised, especially if you target high volume keywords.
Keywords – page 23. In the high volume keyword group. the majority of the pages add a keyword to their title, meta and body copy but the occurrence of the keyword in the meta description does not influence the page rankings. Pages that rank for long-tail keywords repeat those keywords less often than pages that rank for short-head keywords. The pages on the first positions (for both longtails and short-heads) have noticeably more keywords than all other pages. ACTION FOR YOU If you plan to rank by long tail keywords, having an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements is not crucial. In fact, it is more important to diversify the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the target keyword rather than copying it. The presence of a video didn’t show a significant influence on page rankings, so we came to the conclusion that video itself is not a silver bullet. However, in certain niches clients expect video content, so it makes sense to provide it. Consider your audience’s demands, and if they include visual support, use video.
Volume of visitors – page 33. Not a strong correlation to page rank here especially if your search phrases are low(er) volume searches. For the low-volume keyword group, the trend is flat, indicating that a page’s position does not strongly correlate with its number of total monthly visits. For high-volume popular keywords, the number of page visits gets noticeably smaller for sites that rank below the 12th position. ACTION FOR YOU this means organic search is not the only thing you should be concentrating on. Drive a strong traffic from direct and social media linked visits by pushing brand awareness on these platforms and also through newsletters.
Bounce Rate – page 37. The higher a page’s position is, the lower its bounce rate. The user navigates through three to three-and-a-half pages per website, per visit. As your site moves towards the top of the SERP, there are more pages per session for every domain. ACTION FOR YOU firstly ensure you have strong internal page linking. Think about what you want the visitor to do next on every page.Connect with Cornerstone content discussed above. Also analyse your rivals (How to compare my site to a competitor’s) Inside Google Analytics, check your queries performance and lastly, find low ranking pages for Bounce and improve them to reduce bounce rate and page rank.
SEMRush custom offer at the end of the report
And a cunning end-point which is a marketing “trick” I’ve used a lot for clients – on the very, very last page is an offer. A really good one. SEMRush will do a niche study for your industry if you write to ask. We did (for a client) and they said they’d been overwhelmed and would put it on the list…. but still. This is a fabulous reward for the people who do read all the way to the end. #TopTip
Ready to rock with some improvements on your business SEO? Let’s get started together!
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/RAnking-Factors-SEM-RUsh.png8601230Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-05 13:58:062017-07-05 16:25:18What's new in SEO? 5 actions to do today
I had to write to a client recently to tell them that their home page was failing.It was not delivering value, it was not doing its job and was actively causing problems for the business.And this made me realise that few businesses understand the job a home page does.
Hanging Gardens home page
What should a good home page design do?
If you are an online shop, the home page has the job of showing the specials for the month or new product lines.It is often a straightforward design to implement.
If you are a software company, the home page is usually a sales page promoting and explaining your principal products.
But most business websites have a different challenge, especially those who do not sell by ecommerce.They have had a website for a few years; they may have had a couple of redesigns and the business website has probably grown to tens, hundreds or thousands of pages over this period.The priorities of the business shift over time and the website home page needs to support the new business goals and objectives.
This throws up questions
How often should I change my home page?
Should the home page have all the information about the business?
What should the home page prioritise?
The job of a website home page is to get the visitor to her destination in as few clicks as possible.
Why do visitors come?
Your entire website comprises a heap of different information, advice, products and services and a visitor may be interested in all, one or none of them.So how can you guess what the latest web visitor wants?
This is where intelligent home page design comes in.
Home page as sign post
The principal task of the home page is to signpost the visitor FAST to where she wants to go.So let’s work out what this means for your website.
Go to your web analytics account and find two reports created from your actual visitor traffic this year.These are
a) the pages visitors went to on the site.This shows which are the most popular
b) the search queries people typed into Google which had your website showing up in search results (this comes by linking Search Console to Google Analytics – here’s how to set it up).
Your job is to line up b) with a) so we get the maximum number of people coming to the site and getting quickly to the exact page they are looking for.
Designing for Destination
You now know the top two to five pages on your website (after the home page itself).I’m going to offer some advice here which will help you brief your designer on the changes you need to make to your home page.
Firstly – simplify the main menu.Can you remove any of the top menu items?Give the visitor as few choices as possible, stay focused on those top destination pages.Can you reduce your menu to 5 options?(Home, About, Contact Us plus 2 others?).Can you remove sub-menus or drop-downs?We advised Armour Safety to put icon images of their popular product groupings on a side menu; ordered by popularity.Clicks followed immediately we made the change.
Secondly – highlight popular destination pages in the home page design.Make it very obvious in the home page design elements what these are.You can use images, boxes, icons, buttons, large text – all are useful devices to focus attention. By repeating these popular destinations in the home page design and the top menu, you increase the chances that the visitor will choose an already popular pathway.Coxmate.com.au now does not show its products on the main menu – they send visitors direct to the shop which has its own home page and details all the categories.Similarly, Apartment Specialists has 3 buttons on the home page, I’m Buying; I’m Selling and I want a Valuation.All three are on their menu, but the buttons make it easier for visitors to quickly decide where to click.
Thirdly – you have to reinforce the already popular page destinations – this may sound counter-intuitive.Don’t try and encourage traffic to pages that are not already popular i.e. double down your bets on the well-performing pages.This is the 80:20 rule in action.For the visitor who does want something unusual if they cannot find it from your menus, be sure to make it very clear how to get in touch to ask the question.
So go check how your home page is performing in its duty as a sign post – and don’t be afraid to make changes iteratively – one small change at a time so you can measure the effect before altering other elements.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/hanging-gardens-home-page.png11682194Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2016-10-20 07:38:372016-10-19 16:54:44Your home page is failing its purpose
It’s about de-coding digital marketing for folks who are confused about how to do digital communications successfully.
Why am I doing the gig?
Despite digital being commonplace to me, it’s not that clear to everyone.
You may already be using some digital channels and be having some successes in bringing new revenues to your firm.This event isn’t for you.
This event is for the “digitally confused”.
You know if this is you or not. YOU qualify as being digitally confused if you’re unsure how to get good results from digital or online marketing.
My acquaintance, David Baker wrote to me this week and I want to quote him verbatim.
“An outside advisor like me comes into your firm and we bring several valuable things:
Perspective. It’s hard to see your own label when you’re in the jar.
Insight. There’s no need to reinvent the flat tyre over and over again.
Courage. Sometimes you just need a push. You need permission from just one more person.
I’d say that most of you should never hire an advisor and you’ll be just fine, thank you very much. You’d do a lot better if sometimes you thought less about the consequences and did what you know I’m going to tell you anyway!”
For the rest, let’s see you sign up to the breakfast on 27th September in the box below.
P.S. And if you’re wondering why I wrote this – it’s to deliberately exclude people who would not benefit from the event.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpg00Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2016-09-09 16:08:352016-09-09 17:16:19Only the digitally confused need attend!