local directories

Boost Your Business with Local Directories

Don’t let your business get lost in the crowd

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

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

Why updating your information is vital

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

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

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

Updated List of Directories

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

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

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

Localist Yellow Hotfrog Finda Lawlink
Nzpages Zipleaf Gopher NZS Wand
Yelp BusinessMe NZDirectory Cylex EnrollBusiness
Kompass Bing Yahoo Zapmeta Zenbu
Foursquare NZBusinessDB Local Business Network Mapsconnect Beanhunter
Google Plus Tripadvisor TOMTOM Ratebeer Pathlegal
Factual TheFishSite 2FindLocal Spoke Company.fm
Salespider Tupalo Brownbook MarineDirectory ExpressBusinessDirectory
Where2go myhuckleberry NZ.wowcity Cybo Bedandbreakfast-pages
GetFave Lacartes TopDesignFirms YelloYello Bizexposed
Opendi MyWeddingGuide Find-us-here Finditonline Callupcontact
WooRank Website Test Tool

How to test your website is working effectively

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

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

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

A case study Central Flowers

WooRank Website Test Tool

WooRank Website Test Tool

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

You can see the result here and it demonstrates two things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or just buy the book.

How to Market Your Consulting Services Effectively

Consultants offer all types of services from HR placement to IT, but when compared to other businesses such as selling cars or real estate, marketing a consultancy is much harder to drum up new business. Most of the time, your potential clients are not even aware that they need your services.

You must, therefore, come up with a consistent approach to marketing if you want your business to get traction.  Diligence and persistence pay off when selling services.  

So, if you are new to this line of work and need clients, here are a few ideas on how to market your consulting services effectively.

1. Send Direct Mail

Direct mail is an effective marketing tool since it accurately targets the right audience. To get started, first make a list of prospective clients. Next, send them a brochure, flier, or sales letter detailing the services you offer.

However, remember to address each recipient by name both on the envelope and in the sales letter. By personalizing a sales message, you increase your chances of getting a favorable reception. In the letter, describe the benefits of your services before listing your contacts. Finally, include an attention grabber such as “limited time offer” on the envelope.

Also, make sure that you play up your area of expertise. If you have an online masters in communication management and you’re intending to become a communications consultant, make sure that your qualifications like the master in communications is front and center on any of your sales material, especially your blog.

2. Make Cold Calls

Simply put, cold calling is making calls to prospective clients who do not expect to hear from you. Although many people resent cold calls, they are still worth giving a shot, especially when you are starting out. So, expect a lot of rejections. For every prospect who says yes, hundreds may say no.

3. Advertise

Traditional advertising, which is expensive, may be out of your reach when you first start out as a consultant. So, focus on advertising in trade magazines and journals as well as in consultant’s directories. Also, use another (mostly) free, and often overlooked, advertising tool – the Yellow Pages.  Other local Marketing tips include free directory listings.

Once you install a business phone line, your business name and phone number are automatically listed in the book. You can opt to leave it at that, for, after all, it is free advertising, but to look more professional, consider paying for a larger ad. It also makes your business more conspicuous.

4. Newsletters

Newsletters are another effective way of drumming up new business. They work by presenting relevant information about your trade to prospective clients. In addition, they remind your former clients that you still exist.

A typical newsletter includes helpful tips, your opinions on a particular subject, and any news of importance to your work.  Remember to include local marketing news and information – most of your early clients are likely to be in your city or region – so let them know what’s going on locally where you could meet them to say hi. Here are more local marketing tips which you can action immediately.

5. Referrals

This is probably the easiest marketing tool at your disposal. After you complete an assignment, send clients a note to thank them for their business, and to ask for the names of associates who might be interested in your services.

Overall, a consultancy advisory business is unique because prospective clients rarely know that they need your help. To stand out in the marketplace, use as many marketing methods as possible and deliver them consistently every month.  

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile Raising.  Click the link to read more free advisory articles on how to raise the profile of your business.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

Backstory on Barfoot’s World Masters Games advert

I saw the Barfoot & Thompson’s advertising sponsorship of the Auckland World Masters Games and was stunned by the ingenuity of the imagery.  Here’s a poster near my office.

Barfoot And Thompson sponsorship of World Masters Games

Barfoot And Thompson sponsorship of World Masters Games

And this prompted me to want to find out more about the context for the campaign.

Barfoot’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jen Baird, kindly answered my questions and also introduced me to Joe Holden, the Creative Director.

Why did Barfoots take on the sponsorship of WMG?  

Jen Baird, CMO, Barfoot & Thompson

Jen Baird, CMO, Barfoot & Thompson

Sponsorship has become a larger part of our strategy over the years – a large part of our business is residential property sales – most people do this every 5-10 years.  We want to stay relevant in their lives when they’re not thinking about real estate.

Being involved in the community is key – we have always been very involved because real estate is about community and people.  WMG was an opportunity for us to be hugely about this amazing place where we all live.  Our over-arching objective is to make Auckland an amazing place to live, work and visit.  We are an Auckland-only real estate firm.  Bringing the event to Auckland is about us giving back to the City.

Our sponsorship helped WMG happen. 

What was the brief ?

The brief was quite broad – this is the largest sponsorship that B&T has undertaken.  The event fits nicely with our philosophy of supporting the local area and also sports – we have  backed sport with sponsorship before.

We wanted brand awareness, and also to continue to build awareness of us as a strong community partner. We have a philosophy of being a family-run business.  This is all about Auckland, a celebration of sport and Auckland tied together and made relevant for us.

We sent a full brief about what the WMG event was all about and what our sponsorship means to us as an organisation and what our goals are.  It’s about celebrating the games and also the City and making the city amazing and creating great events that bring visitors here from overseas.

We felt that when the creative team came back with such as strong concept – we felt we didn’t need lots of iterations – it was so strong on its own and so we put everything behind it. 

All the space has been booked by us.  It was launched beginning of February with light touch digital – there’s more this month and again in April, it’s largely digital and outdoor media.

What next?

One of the things we’re excited about is an activation using a Cheer Squad – visiting competitors entered a draw to win their own “cheer squad” – we have 7 winners and they will have their very own squad to support while they are competing. … we did a Skype interview with the first winner, she’s a Professor from Yale University.  She was entered in Softball with an Australian team.

The athletes who have won are competing in cycling, golf, hammer throw, triathlon, softball and 2 x athletics.

We are doing lots of local promotion with staff in our branches and local schools. One of the legacy goals is to get kids involved to try out sports.  There are 42 venues across the region – we are also down at the entertainment hub at the Cloud.  We’ve got a sports arena set up there, for try-outs for a load of sports.

And the medals are also branded in corporate colours, Blue and gold,  blue and silver, blue and bronze.

[Watch out for Jen in her running shoes as she will be doing the 10k run from the Cloud to Orakei and back.]

WMG time lapse

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes of our World Masters Games campaign video! Each of the events in the Games has been represented here – can you find your sport?

Posted by Barfoot & Thompson on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Joe Holden talks about the creative process

What was the brief you received?

This was sold to us as the biggest sponsorship Barfoots had ever done.  We needed to really reflect that as in the past these sponsorships have had ideas that have tied in with selling real estate. This time the brief was more open – the background to the sponsorship is that B&T love Auckland, and giving to the City, and enabling Aucklanders to benefit from the big events, which may not come here without their sponsorship.  They did it in the past with the Triathlon World Wide Naming Sponsor for 2 years. 

This is all about participation – not spectatorship.  It’s a massive event and unless they’re participating the people in the street won’t know much about it.  Awareness is mainly with the competitors but Day 1 on April 21st everyone is going to realise something massive is on.

How did the team set about brainstorming the concepts?

We kicked around a lot of different thoughts – upfront normally when you brief a campaign it’s a minimum of three different executions.  But we did come up with a lot of multi-execution ideas.  So we struggled in a way – there are 28 different sports and sub-events within them.  We couldn’t use ideas that only showed one sport because that would be ignoring 27 others; so multiple executions would not be possible. 

We had different views of Auckland – Bean Rock as a shuttlecock and North Head was a cycle helmet…. but that iconic view of downtown from the water with the key things like Sky Tower and Vero Tower we felt that was the strongest one. 

To do it well, we realised we needed to put all our eggs into one basket – it was a craft job and had to be done really well to work on any format – you get prolonged enjoyment by seeing more detail. 

I’m really happy with the standard of the execution. There aren’t many jobs where you don’t have a thought about how to improve it afterwards.  With this one we had a long time to do it and we had ultimate control and we could control all the variables 

How did you shoot the image?  

There was no photographic shooting – it was all done by 3D modelling.  All the elements of the sporting equipment pieces were sourced as 3D models and skinned, lit and textured and coloured and logos removed.  Or they were created from scratch.  You can buy models of sports equipment e.g. Nike shoes – but it’s a rudimentary model and you have to put the colours and textures into it.  So you start with that and build each one of them and then have the arguments about what goes where!

For example, the concrete texture in the front of the picture – we felt it should not be water.  It’s not a photoshop collage, it’s a representation of Auckland but isn’t Auckland.  So it’s concrete.

We got every sport represented – all 28.  Some sports are covered off by one element in the image e.g. Cycling is also Triathlon and running shoes also cover a couple of sports.

Which were the hard ones to do?  Rowing was a challenge for us (it was going to be a bike end-on as the Sky Tower but it didn’t look right) then we thought why don’t we use a sculling skiff?  We couldn’t find a model of that – we had to do it from scratch.  There were endless arguments about the Cloud – we used bike helmets which do approximate to the right shape even though they don’t look exactly like the City. 

I hope you all agree this is a wonderful piece of work – congratulations to Barfoots team and also to all the competitors.

Local Marketing event in Auckland

Marketing strategies to grow and scale a local business

Most of New Zealand’s businesses are local. Knowing how to get known locally is an important skill. Today we’re showing you our latest tips for local marketing success.  Better still, they’re all things you can do yourself – today.

Ready for your local marketing quick-fix?

Local marketing is absolutely essential nowadays whether its a neighbourhood, a city or a country. Few of your customers are in social media looking for your locally supplied services.  Having robust local marketing tactics is essential. The key is to get value from both online and offline marketing spend and the cross-overs are increasingly beneficial when focused on local marketing.

Rebecca Caroe shows you 8 tactics for local marketing success. In just 20 minutes you’ll know what you need to do and how to do it for your business, today.

Want more?  How much more?

If you want to learn the secrets to compound growth for your business, get private coaching advice. Bespoke for your unique situation and with a 100% refund guarantee if you’re not satisfied.  No risk!

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Identify prospects for your business (Map vector designed by Alvaro_cabrera - Freepik.com)

How can I identify prospects for my business?

Client acquisition. I need to IDENTIFY the most likely prospects for my agency. How do I do that? 

Good question and spot on…. you are in exactly the same situation as us here at Creative Agency Secrets.
My advice to you would be
  1. Focus on Local marketing…. set up SEO/SEM to be found in the metropolitan areas where you ALREADY have clients
  2. Testimonials – work these hard on Google My Business and any other relevant marketplaces
  3. Write blog posts to appeal to industry segments who could be clients e.g. I wrote this blog Top Tips for Marketing Tradesmen and got an enquiry from Vancouver, CA.
So that’s a direct answer to your question which you should be able to execute yourselves.
If you would like to buy coaching advice with more ideas for you to run as tactical marketing, we charge by the hour. I recommend having a conference call for 30 minutes every 2 weeks.

Further reading on Local Marketing tactics

local marketing strategies for your business

10 marketing strategies for a local business

What are some breakthrough marketing strategies to grow and scale a local business?

Local teeth whitening business, already doing FB ads, Instagram ads, Adwords, little bit of content marketing on YouTube and will be “scaling” those channels over the coming weeks/months, but wanted to know about offline strategies or where else online I can get the best value for my marketing spend.

Great question – local marketing is absolutely essential nowadays.  Especially as few people are navigating social media looking for tooth whitening services, these will become more profitable than online over time.

Here’s a quick list of tools I suggest using to bolster your current work. 

  1. Set up a Google My Business account and get it address-verified (they mail you a code)
  2. Keywords – ensure city/ town / suburb / state or county are all included in metadata
  3. Directory listings – Get yourself listed on free and paid sites.  If you can afford a small spend www.brightlocal.com is worthwhile
  4. Use Facebook local targeting for advertising / brand building
  5. Set up Google Alerts for key phrases in the news that could allow you to comment / contact / build a mailing list
  6. Join the local Business Associations and contact all the relevant local business members
  7. Go to Networking events (BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Meetup.com, Eventbrite)
  8. Get happy customers to write Testimonials on Google My Business.  Also, reproduce them on your website
  9. Use media relations to get articles in local newspaper, local radio, local newsletters, (check out Yahoo Groups for local lists)
  10. Ask for Referrals – by sending two business cards with your invoice
  11. Make specific requests for social sharing via your accounts
  12. Surprise and delight the customer – e.g. pay it forward – you pay to have your teeth whitened, and I give a free treatment each month to a deserving individual and use that for publicity.

I hope that gives you a load of great ideas to be getting on with. 

But if you’d like specific coaching on what to do for this client – get in touch.