A robust, scalable business is always based on strong processes. And if you are in the business of offering a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, you will doubtless have a recurring revenue model.
Our business debit card expires tomorrow and so I’ve been in the throes of receiving alerts, notifications and emails from a range of providers asking me to update my card details so they do not lose their revenues. The experiences were very varied from the best, smoothest, least painful to the worst where I had to raise a support ticket.
Given SaaS firms risk losing revenue from non-renewals, this is a critical business process.
The “best” process just allows me to update the expiry date on the card (PayPal) without having to re-enter all the other information
The “worst” don’t send me a link into the EXACT page on my account where I can update my details after logging in. Skype was particularly irritating with a hideous UX on their mobile browser. They leave me failing to find the right billing page detail and resorting to search / help / customer tickets.
The Very Very Worst was Teamwork where they successfully hide the link in an upgrade screen which is not where I’d look to find my payment information (see below)
Hard to find link for payment information on Teamwork.com
Any customer process needs testing and constant monitoring to keep it relevant and improved. Clues which may indicate you have this problem can be found:
Check the exit pages on your website
Check the long dwell time pages (that you don’t expect)
Check the customer service enquiries
Check the Searches on your website
When did you last mystery shop your business?
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Teamwork-upgrade.png11262516Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-10-30 16:14:062017-10-30 16:29:08SaaS renewals that are easy for customers
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
Spark ideas, develop strategies, and add value to your brand while joining New Zealand’s leading marketers at the annual NZ Marketing Summit. Listen to our own CEO, Rebecca Caroe, in her session on “Strengthening the brand-agency partnership – how to work with an expert (when you aren’t one)”.
Attend Four International Keynotes
Brigitte Slattery (Head of Marketing – Lifestyle Group @ Foxtel Australia)
Nick Lanzafame (Head of Strategic Insights & Analytics @ Buzzfeed)
Charlotte Dewhurst (Global Marketing Direct @ Les Mills International)
Col Kennedy (General Manager – Brand & Customer Experience @ Country Road)
Explore Three Programming Tracks
Digital & Social
Brand & Content
Tech & Experiential
Along with the 20+ speakers featured, the Marketing Summit offers a choice of two full-day workshops. “The Content Workshop” and “Brand Building Blocks 2.0” will be held the following day on September 22nd.
Join and connect with 300+ fellow industry professionals in generating and exchanging insights to fuel brand development. You can register before 5pm on August 25th and secure early bird pricing.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/NZ-Marketing-Summit-2017.png11081432Antoinettehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgAntoinette2017-08-16 16:16:582017-08-23 15:11:42Foster Innovation at the NZ Marketing Summit 2017
Campbell Naish, Partner at export strategy and marketing consultancy Katabolt, wrote a generous testimonial for Creative Agency Secrets. Many thanks!
Rebecca provided Katabolt with a valuable specialised set of marketing recommendations with a specific focus on services which was a great match with what we needed. Her B2B expertise and international experience and perspective helped our team refocus marketing plans and bring new skills into the fold. Thanks
Every business needs a strong plan of action to get and publish testimonials for the business from customers and clients. As the internet becomes the strongest recommendation engine, because it’s easily searched and free to use, your business MUST get a strong profile in places where testimonials and reviews can be seen and shared.
Don’t forget that recent reviews are more powerful than old ones. So this is a tactic you need to implement weekly or monthly.
We implemented TrustPilot for an ecommerce client who needed to improve visibility of its amazing customer service. Based around the world, TrustPilot has local sites for each country – this one was in the UK. The integration of their free version with ecommerce platform was seamless – every time a customer buys, they are invited to leave a review a fixed time period after the purchase is complete.
As a mail order business, the time delay between online purchase and receiving goods can be a while and so the flexibility to specify when the review request email is sent was appreciated.
On the reviews page, you can respond to each one which gives full visibility to your prompt response to feedback. And when you upgrade to the paid version, the option to enable reviews by product, not just for the company as a whole, gives a host of new options.
Read more blog posts about Step 5 Relationship Development by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog. Teach yourself how to build relationships with people who will bring new custom to your business.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/LI-testimonials.png9301618Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-08-08 10:50:502017-08-10 13:35:16Giant thanks for this testimonial
I just started a curated newsletter about personal finance for millennials. Each issue includes 10 curated articles from various sources about investing, budgeting, paying off loans, and etc. I do not have any subscribers yet.
Well done – getting started.
Focus on Your Marketing Assets
Let’s help you work out the key answers you need: Start with answering these questions.
Do you have a website?
On your website how do you invite subscription?
Have you got social profiles?
On your social profiles, how do you invite subscriptions?
So you’ve guessed, you need to get people to visit a place on the web which you own (website / social profiles) and then invite them to join your newsletter. Consider what ‘offer’ you can make which is attractive to them in addition to getting the articles. Sumo.com has a good WordPress plugin for subscriptions. Also check out Push Notifications as many sites prefer this as subscribers won’t share their email address. I wrote this article about Notifications
Once you have started the newsletter and finding subscribers, you need to work on continuously improving your offer and the means for people to join it. Growth hacking is the process of improvement and measurement.
Is 10 articles too few / too may / just right?
What offer can you make to subscribers?
How are you monetising your newsletter?
Which brands can you collaborate with to grow your list with theirs in a joint venture arrangement?
What are your key metrics and ideal customer profile?
Now grow your profile
Get known by answering questions in public which relate to your issue (Financial services) and your audience (millennials). By showing off your knowledge and linking back to your website or social profile, you can encourage people to remember your brand and respond – starting discussions, which further allow you to show off your expertise.
Good places to start are Reddit and Quora search for questions on your topics of interest e.g. student loans. Also find niche financial services websites and discussion forums
And also use Google Alerts to search and email you links to places where your key words are being added to the internet
Bookmark websites where these show up regularly. Approach them and ask if you can write a guest article with a link-back to your website
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/How-to-Get-Subscribers-to-My-Email-Newsletter.jpg16602500Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-26 09:19:062017-07-25 16:08:34How to Get Subscribers to My Email Newsletter?
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
Working with a client who makes animated explainer videos – Case Study of how to grow referrals. We discuss three ways they can get more referral business.
Image by NWeSource
1.Innovations in your specialism
Every market changes over time – fads pass, new ideas surface. So write about what’s happening in your market. Consider writing about styles, techniques, innovations to be added onto an explainer video (if that’s your business). So which new styles are coming about? Where did each one come from – background and timeline of the evolution.
In the writing analyse the change, what are the component parts, which elements stand out. You could add in new uses for explainer videos – for example in a PitchPack video brochure.
Give the reader the education and tools to make an analysis themselves of whether their archive of explainer videos is getting dated
Show your opinion as a market leader on what’s good, what’s new and what’s to be avoided
Create content which you can share with past clients and encourage them to update their videos and re-buy from you. [This is referring back to prior clients, not new ones.]
2. Create a Call list
You need to speak to people if you sell in Business to Business (B2B). The best way to start a dialogue is with Open Questions. These encourage a longer response from the other person and give you insight into their views on a topic. Any insight enables you to position your services as a solution to issues they raise.
Here’s an example of a call prompt (not really a script).
“Hello, Rebecca. I sent you our article about new styles in explainer videos. I just wanted to get your opinion on it. What did you think?”
Can you imagine how the call will develop into a discussion?
Yes, so can I.
Whether you get a new job immediately or not, you stand a good chance of doing some good things
Checking your contact database is still current – add new names in if you can
Finding out the current situation in the client business with regard to your service offering
Reminding them that you exist and have been trusted with work in the past
Updating your CRM with lead status (cold, warm, hot)
Possibly opening new opportunities for new business.
Create this call list from a list of all your clients from the past 3 years (more if you’ve been in business longer). Also add to the list from your Linked In connections and those from your co-workers. Goal to have 100 people on the list to call.
Plan on making 3 calls per week, per person in your team. Yes, new business development requires discipline and is hard. We can teach you how…
3. Getting Referrals
Start to build a referral marketing engine into your daily project work as well. We find what works best is to connect with them early in the project.
Start with a “Happy call” when you ring asking for feedback on how the job is going.
Then build on this with a similar call just after the project has been delivered. Remind them of what they said on the earlier call. This is the moment to ask for a testimonial for the project team.
After getting this, I usually wrap up by asking
Do you know anyone else who might like to meet us?
My goal is to get two names of people as an introduction. My big tip to make this successful is to ask the question and then to stay silent until the other person has come up with a name…. stay silent as they “ummm” and say “maybe”, “well”, “I’m not sure” and still stay silent and they will 80% of the time come up with a name. If they firmly say no, you can prompt with – maybe a co-worker in a different team or maybe someone from your previous job and see if that can deliver a name.
How to use the introduction….. write an email to BOTH people. This is my template email that works.
Subject: NAME OF THE INTRODUCER
Our AGENCY NAME has just completed a job for INTRODUCER and s/he suggested you as someone who might like to get to know us.
We completed an explainer video (link) for INTRODUCER.
I took a look at your website and [something helpful here which they can use immediately].
Looking forward to connecting.
Lots of love from Rebecca (only joking… use an appropriate sign off).
I always cc the introducer in this message so they know what I said.
In the email you could tell them about the customer satisfaction scores or Net Promoter Score which your team has acquired over time. Or link to TrustPilot Reviews or your Google My Business Review score.
The follow up call is just a friendly get to know you call. No selling. But if you feel it’s gone well you can follow up with an email linking to a helpful resource from your website. Here’s one I use frequently.
This is an example of the type of helpful marketing tips which Creative Agency Secrets writes in our newsletter and blog.We want to enable you to buy web services as an informed consumer (and we don’t build websites, we help our clients to use them actively to win new client business).
Then you have to put them onto a stay-in-touch programme or ask if they will allow you to stay in touch with a newsletter subscription. Either way, one call won’t win you business but a dedicated process to provide utility (usefulness) to them, will ensure you are remembered and they take your calls in future.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/referral-NWeSource.png420596Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-06-08 17:13:202017-06-09 14:58:42Case Study: Three ways to increase referrals
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
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
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 havebacked 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.
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.]
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 itdidn’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.
http://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Barfoots.png7201624Rebecca Caroehttp://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-04-03 10:00:082017-06-28 16:04:34Backstory on Barfoot's World Masters Games advert