team work, teamwork, teamwork.com, bad example payment update, payment expiry date,

SaaS renewals that are easy for customers

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.

Here’s what we found

  1.  The earliest “nag” emails came from Hootsuite, Unbounce, Xero and MailChimp.  They were sending them 30 days prior to expiry.
  2. The laggards include Upwork, Skype, FeedBlitz, Teamwork and LinkedIn (from 10 to 5 days in advance),
  3. The “best” process just allows me to update the expiry date on the card (PayPal) without having to re-enter all the other information
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
team work, teamwork, teamwork.com, bad example payment update, payment expiry date,

Hard to find link for payment information on Teamwork.com

Mystery shopping

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?

Quality Website Developers

Quality website developers – time to up your game

I get really mad when low quality website developers over-specify for marketing websites.  Is this

Quality Website Developers

Quality Website Developers

something you have seen?

Part of the expertise of a high quality web developer is to recommend the right tool for the job and I find it ridiculously easy to spot website developers who are not skilful.  But it still makes me angry.

Marketing suppliers like Creative Agency Secrets lead the industry because we “decode” marketing for our clients, we find high quality suppliers and engage them for our clients as sub-contractors with us managing the job.  Trust is essential to maintain reputation and high quality marketing services delivery.

I cannot hire you if you set out to exploit the ill-informed client.

Which CMS is right for you?

We are handling a small website for a client which needs to become responsive.  It’s a brochure-ware site and needs to rank well in local search.  That’s it.

So why, oh why does their existing developer recommend a CMS that scores highly for:

  1. Sell E-commerce: The core installation comes with a very nice E-commerce module
  2. Offer Exclusive Content: There is a membership module installed right out of the box
  3. Want Flexibility and Growth: Each website is built from the ground up. Another great feature is the multiple site manager
  4. Care About Security and Stability: there hasn’t been a major security breach in over 10 years.

I did some research comparing two CMS products and found this and Quora answers.   Which confirmed my own views of mis-alignment between client need and tools proposed.

Quality website developers don’t do this

It’s lazy and over-engineered for the requirements and will be costly for the client.

Game over for that potential relationship.

I do not see it as my job to specify the website build and design – that is what an expert web developer should be doing.  As marketing experts, we specify the functionality and features needed and let the experts propose appropriate solutions.

If you know a good web developer who would like to quote on this job – send them this link to the job description.

Cluetrain Original

Cluetrain has New Clues – time for newbies to read the original!

I listened to the FIR podcast #790 and found that Cluetrain has been updated!

Cluetrain Original

Cluetrain Original

New Clues published in January and numbers 52-67 apply to our marketing communications world in particular. [see below]
Oh, and also pay attention to number 100
You want to know what to buy? The business that makes an object of desire is now the worst source of information about it. The best source is all of us.
It will be hard to adhere to them – because marketers are busy fouling their own nest, much as we did with banner adverts, SEO and oh-so-many other internet tools which we over-exploited so the makers ended up changing the rules to exclude our actions.
Seems to me ever more of a message about the quality of content, ease of discovery and honesty of presentation.

Your marketing strategy for 2015

If your marketing strategy for this year even remotely resembles what you did for the past 5 years tear it up.  Forget it.  The businesses who will thrive understand Cluetrain, they present their wares at least in part in a Cluetrain-format and will reap the $$ rewards accordingly.
Just call us if you think you want to change and don’t know how.

Rant over.

Now, what do you think?
I’m going to get my whole team to read Cluetrain original next week as their homework!

New Clues for Marketers

The New Clues that directly relate to the practice of marketing. Numbered from the original. Read more

What Does My Website Look Like On A Mobile Device?

If you’re responsible for a website, you’ll know the importance of how it looks on mobile devices. While exact percentages of website visitors using mobile devices can be determined, this number can vary greatly month to month.

You might look at your website analytics and see you have only a few visitors viewing your site on a mobile device and decide that optimising your site for mobile devices is not worth the effort. But when one does view your website, what are they greeted with?

Remember, your website is often your first impression.

Remember, mobile devices being used for web browsing is rapidly growing

As there are many devices available, all with different screen sizes, how are you meant to test your website on all of them without purchasing a variety of devices or relying on friends and co-workers owning them?

How Can I See What My Site Looks Like On A Range Of Devices?

mobilemeFortunately there’s a simple solution. It’s called MobileTest.me. MobileTest Me acts as a browser based mobile emulator. It basically allows you to see how your website looks on a range of devices from your computer.

  1. Go to http://mobiletest.me/ and select a device you’d like to test with
  2. Enter the URL of the website you’d like to test
  3. Hit “Go”

To view the site from another device or to change the screen orientation simply use the “Options” and “Devices” tabs in the top left of the screen.

What Can I Do If I Don’t Like What I See?

wptouchIf your site isn’t responsive or doesn’t look as nice you you’d hoped there are a number of options available.

Obviously, the easiest solution is to get someone to fix it – however that can get expensive and time consuming.

If you’re on a popular platform such as WordPress you can always purchase a new theme which is responsive. The issue with this solution is that it can often be surprisingly time consuming and there is the potential for a large delay while you copy the content across to make it look consistent with the new theme.

A good short term solution is installing a free plugin such as WPTouch. WPTouch makes a mobile version of your site and only appears when viewed on a mobile device. Best of all, it is available free and only takes a minute to install (though you may want to spend time customising the colours to match your site and the icons for each menu item).

Facebook Icon On Fire

How Facebook Boosted My Newsletter Subscribers

Email or FacebookFacebook hasn’t replaced any newsletter (at least not yet but you never know what Facebook’ll do next). What Facebook has done is equal the amount of traffic driven to our website from our weekly newsletter.  And helped us to recruit new opted-in newsletter subscribers.

Better yet – it’s all free.

Key things to note: Our weekly newsletter has over 4,500 subscribers. Our Facebook page had just 400 (over the course of this experiment we increased this to 550).  Wow – that’s ten times fewer subscribers but they’re visiting and re-visiting the website.

Everyone knows the theory of email newsletters – their open and clickthrough rates so I won’t waste time here. We’re going to tell you how you can drive more traffic to your website from Facebook.  Then invite visitors to join the newsletter.

What we were doing

We posted 3 times a day on Facebook, for Facebook – all of which was shared from other users and pages on Facebook. These posts were backed up by regular blog post entries (one every day) which were automatically fed to our Timeline. Very standard.

So what did we change?

There were 3 major changes.

  1. The first was to do with posting amounts and timing. We increased the frequency of posting and changed what time of day we posted Facebook updates. This was increased to 5-6 times a day (effectively doubling our previous posting frequency).
  2. The second major change is where we post from. We changed all sources of our posts to our website and then linked to them.
  3. Our third major change was where we sourced our content from. It’s important to note here we hardly ever created original content – we either shared others or repurposed our archived content.

To facilitate changing the source of our posts to our website we installed new plugins. People will spend less time on our Facebook page because we are directing them to our website. As a result, many of the plugins we installed were to make sure our content is still shared (which often doesn’t happen once you leave a social media site). As we knew many of our visitors would also be arriving from a mobile device (Facebook’s App is becoming more widely used) we paid particular attention to how our site looks on mobile devices.

Step 1: Smarter Posting Times

Our audience is active at all times of the day. We were initially posting 3 times daily between 9am and 5pm – Not the smartest move when you look at the graph below of our visitor traffic over 24 hours.

When Fans Are Online

Click To Enlarge

For this reason – we opted to post every 4-5 hours. Remember – we don’t want this to take up all our time and we definitely don’t want to be up all night so we chose to schedule our Facebook posts. To enable auto-posting of blog at all times of day we installed new plugins which I’ll discuss below.

Step 2: Make The Website The Destination

We want to drive traffic off Facebook to our website.  This is marketing real estate that we control and manage.  We’re not dependent on Facebook’s grace.  Making most of your posts direct to your website is therefore logical.  And remember our objective is to drive readers from Facebook to becoming opted-in newsletter subscribers.

This of course means publishing content designed for Facebook on your website. Whether you’re sharing an article or a photo, upload it to your site (add a link on the post to credit the photograph if appropriate).  Don’t just link them straight to the original source, ideally you’re seen as the source of the content so they spend longer on your site and less elsewhere.

With our new plugins – photos are uploaded from our website to Facebook automatically. When a user clicks on a photo expecting it to enlarge they are instead redirected to our website (where there is a larger image front and centre). Bingo – we’ve just driven traffic from Facebook to our site. From here you have 2 challenges –

  1. How can they share this with their friends?
  2. What’s going to keep them from leaving your site?

The first challenge is easily answered – plugins which I will discuss later on. The second is to have an attractive website littered with quality content – this is discussed just below.

Step 3: Sourcing Quality, “Original” Content

To ensure our content is appealing, we need it to be socially shareable. While there are no guarantees, using already proven socially shareable content is a start. But you don’t want to appear a copycat. So how do you get proven socially shareable material while still looking “fresh” and “original”? The easiest strategy is to find content from sources other than Facebook. Pinterest was a great resource for me as pictures make the best Facebook posts and most photos came with a short description or piece of information – perfect.

Setting Up Your Website: Plugins Used

Below is a list of the plugins you’ll want to install if you’re on WordPress. I’ve described the types of plugins you want before stating what plugin we used. These plugins are all free and you may have your own preference.

  1. New Automatic Posting To Social Media (Facebook/Twitter).

    • NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster [Hands down the best autoposter plugin. Fully customisable, plenty of social media options and looks like the posts were shared straight from Facebook. 2 great features of this plugin are that you can choose individual posts to be image posts or linked posts etc & Imports Facebook comments so your website appears popular]

  2. A more simple “Like Us” button further up the News main page.

    • Facebook Social Plugin Widgets (This plugin installs widgets to be used wherever – we used them in the sidebar of our blog page [note page and not post])

  3. When someone enters our site (for the first time) a like us on Facebook plugin pops up [This doesn’t interfere with our pre-existing Newsletter signup popup].

  4. Horizontal social sharing toolbar along the top is non intrusive and doesn’t cover any text unlike many vertical floating ones.

  5. Sharing of individual pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest by simply hovering your mouse over the picture.

  6. Floating Sharebar down that follows the user down the side of the post. It allows sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc

    • Digg Digg (Leave a comment if you’d like my custom CSS code so the spacings etc look nice and clean with no borders or ads)

  7. Mobile Plugin so website looks good on every device

 

Results?

Results of Our 1st Change

So what were the results of our changes? The graph below reveals all. With a simple change in the frequency and timing of posts our weekly reach exploded. This is most likely due to reaching more individuals as opposed to reaching the same people multiple times.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

 

Results of Our 2nd Change

The screenshot below is of our website’s referrals for the 2 week period before and during our Facebook efforts. As you can see, vast improvements. We basically received 1000 extra page views each week (remember, at the time we only had 400 people liking our page). I’ve highlighted the Twitter referrals as well (t.co) as although we designed this campaign for Facebook – using the NextScript Autoposter plugin we also published the same content to Twitter (although we changed the structure of the titles and links etc from within the plugin’s settings). You’ll notice the amount of referrals we got from Facebook Mobile (m.facebook.com). Good thing we had WPtouch installed so our page would look good on any device.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

 

Did Our Plugins Do Their Job?

I was initially skeptical when installing the Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox – no one likes popups. After 2 weeks though, we picked up 50 likes from external “Like” buttons. These buttons were only in 2 places, the first was in the sidebar on the blog page the second was the aforementioned lightbox. I’m almost 100% sure the lightbox is where we picked up all of those likes.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

Sling pic and both social sharing bars (vertical and horizontal) picked up a few extra “Likes” and retweets which was nice – nothing to write home about but every little bit counts. WPtouch can be attributed to the 13 mobile likes as although it means people liked our Page from Facebook (on a mobile device), the website must have been attractive enough to have convinced them.

Conclusion

The initial results are all very promising, only time will tell how good a long term strategy this is. The short term gains were an instant increase in likes going from 400 to 550 in 2 weeks, engagement going up and a large increase in unique visitors and page views. There were of course more minor, intricate strategic choices made during this period and still being made now – these will be discussed in a later post.

 

If you’d like any help setting these plugins up or want to discuss how this can apply to your online strategy get in touch by leaving a comment below.

Hire the right digital marketing agency – a guide

Here’s a great guide to how to find the best digital agency for your business brand needs.
Getting an organisation who matches your needs and is able to deliver to your brief takes time and careful analysis. Get yourself all the information you need in order to find the best agency and then you have to brief them well.

Writing an awesome creative brief is a challenge and one we can help you out with – even if we’re not doing the work for you. Getting the language and the articulation of your requirements correct will shortcut the selection process of finding the best digital marketing team for your needs.

Types of Digital Marketing Agency

Types of Digital Marketing Agency

 

Get the report from Search Engine Land – a Buyers guide to Digital Marketing Agencies 2013

 

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