10 Year Anniversary

10 Year Anniversary Promotion

In a previous article, we discussed ways in which you can promote a business anniversary. Recently, one of our clients celebrated their 10th year in business. To celebrate, we did three things. We created an eBook to highlight the changes in the industry over 10 years and where the next 10 years may take them, a timeline to show the company’s milestone achievements and a classic anniversary sale.

What must be remembered is that an anniversary is not just a giveaway to thank your customers/fans. It’s also a great opportunity to get closer to your customers, generate more sales and build your future audience.

 

The eBook

The eBook was created to give readers a summary of the major changes in the industry in the past decade as experienced by influential individuals within the industry. The changes were analysed by 10 expert individuals who are heavily involved in the industry but all play a different role. This provided an interesting range of insights, each focussing on a different area of the industry.

The eBook was promoted predominantly on Social Media and on their blog. A large portion of the social media audience and website visitors are not on the mailing list – and ultimately, the purpose of the eBook was to generate newsletter signups.

To download the eBook, customers had to enter their email address whereby they would be both sent the eBook instantly as well as added to the mailing list if they weren’t already on it. This was achieved using an autoresponder. In the email with the eBook, we also mentioned the anniversary sale and gave them the discount code.

 

The Sale

10 years in business, 10% off everything – hence the discount code “10years10%”. In the previous article, we mentioned that there were a variety of sale options to choose from (historical pricing, free shipping, free gift per $10 spent). We chose to utilise a simple 10% off by process of elimination. The products our client now sells are very different to the ones they sold 10 years ago so a historical pricing promotion (where the prices would be what they were 10 years ago) wouldn’t be nearly as effective. As the value of the products is quite high, but the products are generally small, free shipping is not a big incentive as it usually equates to a minimal discount. The free gift per $ spent option was ignored for a similar reason; no one wants 100 caps with every order.

The code was promoted front and centre on the client’s homepage, on their social media accounts, those who downloaded the eBook and to their existing mailing list.

The 10% discount code was enabled for 10 weeks, which not only tied in to the 10-year theme but also allowed enough time for anyone who was going to use it, to use it. We also left the coupon open for unlimited uses – if someone wanted to buy something then use the same code again a couple of weeks later, they could.

 

Timeline

A timeline is a nice, visually attractive way of showing progression. Although they can be complicated and contain too much information, simply picking 10 most important events to highlight is a simple way of avoiding clutter and confusion. We therefore chose to feature just the big product redesigns, new releases, and company milestones (such as the 5000 unit produced) during their 3652 days in business.

To make a timeline easily which can be featured on your website, I’d recommend TimelineJS. TimelineJS is a free, opensource tool, which enables you to build interactive timelines from a Google Spreadsheet. The great thing about TimelineJS is it can be embedded into any website.

 

The results

Our client’s mailing list increased (ironically) by 10%. The number of downloads for the eBook however was considerably more than those that were newly signed up. This is because those already signed up to the mailing list were sent links to the eBook directly for download – they didn’t have to re-fill in their details unnecessarily.

The client received a number of sales utilising the 10% off discount. Surprisingly though, even though the code featured largely on the homepage, social media and in the text to those who received the eBook, there were still a handful of people who paid full price.

copyright & trademark symbols

The Legal Side of Marketing – what you need to know

Whether you are a young entrepreneur looking to venture out into the world of small business, or you are a high level marketing

copyright & trademark symbols

Image from auocoms.com

firm, you need to fully comprehend the ins and outs of basic marketing and law.  It’s important to know what will get you (or your clients) in hot water, or even worse, put out of business. Claiming ignorance will not work as a defence when you’ve been dragged into court over trademark or copyright issues. There is a very thin line between what is protected and what isn’t; the following are ways in which you can assure that you are properly protected from a costly and time consuming lawsuit.

Trademarking

When it comes to names, catch phrases and images it’s generally a good idea to check a Trademark Database. If you find what you’re looking for in the database, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use it; however, you would be wise to ask permission from the trademark holder. Unless you are a direct competitor of the trademark holder, they tend to give or sell permission. This rings especially true in regards to using stock photos for websites and catalogs.

Copywriting and Ad Copy

If you make your living writing ads that capture and engage an individual into purchasing your product, it might behoove you to check and see if your country has specifics on what is and isn’t acceptable. I check in with The American Writers And Artist Inc frequently to ensure that no new laws have been passed regarding copyright or trademark infringements.

It astounds me the number of websites and marketing ads that promise unobtainable results due to their products. Perhaps the most abused clientele are those attempting to purchase weight loss diets, pills, and exercise equipment. An example of this would be using false testimonials in advertising.

Copycatting Isn’t Only for Serial Killers

Anyone who has ever watched a crime show eventually sees an episode about a copycat serial killer. It’s inevitable. Now, I’m not saying that those in marketing that copy other people’s work are perpetrating as severe a crime, but nonetheless, it is a crime (and like all copycat serial killers, they will get caught).

It’s a simple concept to grasp. It was cheating to copy a friend’s homework in school, and it’s cheating to copy someone’s marketing work in the real world.

Just because someone else was successful using an idea or phrase in his or her ad copy does not allow you to copy it into your advertising campaign.

Faking It on the Internet

Possibly the fastest growing form of illegal marketing is the growth of black hat SEO techniques. This is the attempt to use hidden text, improper link building, and cloaking to raise a company’s website profile in search results.

Another illegal form of online marketing is creating fake reviews of companies and products. In a recent case, in which nineteen companies were fined for created fake reviews on Yelp and Google Local, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, stated:

“What we’ve found is even worse than old-fashioned false advertising. When you look at a billboard, you can tell it’s a paid advertisement — but on Yelp or Citysearch, you assume you’re reading authentic consumer opinions, making this practice even more deceiving.” Schneiderman continued “This investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution.”

Without a business law degree, it’s not always possible to know what is and isn’t allowed. Thankfully, the internet is always full of advice and answers, and there are always sites like Legal Vision that make it their goal to provide insight and solutions to legal needs.

When all else fails, remember the words of Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, “Being good is good business.

If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong…

 

Internship at Creative Agency Secrets

My time as “The Intern”

My name is Johan Ericson and I’m a marketing student from Sweden. I’ve just completed a three-month internship at Creative Agency Secrets and feel that in a short space of time I’ve learned a lot. Aside from having the benefit of getting to know the people and work environment at CAS, I got to experience how a marketing agency works in the real world. With a broad range of daily activities and interesting one off tasks, I quickly found myself dealing with actual work for actual clients. Some of the skills I have developed during my time at Creative Agency Secrets:

  • Blogging: One of the first things I did as a intern was to start a blog, “The Intern“. Through this assignment I learned how to use WordPress as well as learning to write and when to publish my content.
  •  Social Media: Having managed multiple Social Media accounts for clients across a range of mediums in Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).  I’ve learnt some of the theory behind Social Media (what to post, when to post etc) as well as some of the technological tricks you can use to drive traffic back to your website. Learning both the theoretical and technological aspects of Social Media have helped develop my skillset and increased my competence in this area.
  • Google Analytics: During my time, I’ve learnt how website success can be measured. I’ve learnt about the importance of reducing bounce rate, and how the information gained from analytics helps make websites better for both the user and the administrator.
  • Client Meetings: After spending time with clients and planning and preparing for meetings, not only has my level of comfort increased in these situations but I also have gained a greater understanding of the needs and pressures potential clients have which allows us to help them better.
  • Marketing Tools: During my time with Creative Agency Secrets, I’ve learnt to use many different marketing tools. This has allowed me to better help clients and broaden the range of skills and services I can now offer.

During the brief time I spent at Creative Agency Secrets I feel I’ve learnt a lot and gained a well-rounded experience. I’ve developed my skillset and have a better understanding to real life marketing which will help me to take the next step forward in my career.

What’s the advantage of FeedBlitz over Mailchimp?

We got this question from an SEO agency who works on a client and thought that our answer might be useful to others.  These services are mass email sending programs – each has different features and applications.

Creative Agency Secrets uses FeedBlitz…..

  • Firstly because they did RSS to email first before others offered the service.
  • Secondly they were a client for a couple of years – we did a lot of copywriting for them.
  • Thirdly they do not require double opt-in for new list imports (AWeber does).
  • Fourthly they enable an autoresponder to end and then you can migrate people onto a mailing list from the autoresponder (so lists mutually build)
  • Fifthly they allow you to pick a random subscriber for prize draws (very cute)

Downsides of FeedBlitz

Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor do most of these same features.  I like the templates in these services better than FeedBlitz’ options.
I also like the mail-as-many-times-as-you-like during a month with FeedBlitz where you pay once and just mail.  Whereas Campaign Monitor charges $5 plus every time.  But depending on your list size and mailing frequency other services may give you a better price.
You can import a list but FeedBlitz insists on mailing the people and checking they know you’ve added them to a list before you can send messages to them.  It has high anti standards.
It doesn’t make creating and managing a large number of lists easy. This is because it’s principally a publishing/sharing platform not a mass email service.
Happy to amplify further or give readers a guided tour inside the services we use most and some of the cute nice-to-have features like who your social media influencers are.

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The DOs and DON’Ts of newsletters for accounting firms

Newsletters are an essential form of communication between companies and their stakeholders. More often than not though, those that sign up to a newsletter are (potential) customers who are interested in what you do. Many accounting firms are adding newsletters into their regular marketing activities and we’re here to help you build your newsletters for new business success.

We’ve taken time to analyse a couple of newsletters from accounting firms around New Zealand and we’ve noticed one major pitfall – these newsletters are LONG!

They often involve several articles, a lack of links and often their content just isn’t well focused on their business or those who may be signing up to their newsletter.

For a broader picture, lets take a look at the common successes and mistakes some accounting firm newsletters are making…

 

Successful elements in accounting newsletters

Relevant content: accounting firms are experts in their field and they show that well through the article content they provide in newsletters.

1Great use of spacing: the newsletters we’ve seen space out their content well and use headlines or boxes to separate content. Making content discernable is a good thing as it draws readers eyes in and encourages them to read. Content that is jumbled or squished together deters readers, and you should want your newsletters to be read.

Well planned structure: titles, headlines, blocks of content and different sections are commonplace in accounting firm newsletters. This differs from spacing as a coherent structure helps a reader flow from one piece of content to the next, until they’ve read the entire newsletter. It’s simply another way to encourage readers to read all the way through.

Include social media/ web page links: newsletters help drive website traffic, and so integrating links to online presences is vital. What’s more is that accounting firms include these links well by using images. These links are often included in sidebars or at the bottom of the newsletter so as not to distract from main newsletter content.

 

Common mistakes

Text-heavy/ too much content: often entire pages are included in accounting firm newsletters for any one of the articles they include. This is more so for less frequent, quarterly newsletters than regular monthly ones but does still happen. Entire articles belong on web pages or blogs, and we’ll tell you why after pointing out some more common mistakes.

Content Heavy Newsletters Risk Losing Reader Interest

Content Heavy Newsletters Risk Losing Reader Interest.

3Irrelevant or unnecessary content: we’ve seen accounting firm newsletters that point out nearby office areas to buy or that their neighbours or friends are raising money for a charity and would like some help. While this content may be great to share with your readers, it isn’t NEWSLETTER content. Share these bits of information in email blasts to your email lists (possibly including your newsletter mailing list) instead. Your newsletter subscribers subscribed to a newsletter for information about YOU, not about local news.

Lack of an introduction or voice: some newsletters we’ve seen don’t include introductions or conclusions at all. Instead they’re collections of potentially exciting articles lumped into a series of pages.  This is a great place for the marketing partner to be the voice of the firm and to give a good face, tone and feel to the newsletter.

No website link backs or calls to action: one big thing missing from accounting firm newsletters to date are links and calls to action. Newsletters do more than inform, yes, but more importantly they exist to bring readers closer to the sender.

 

Our suggestions / good practice for newsletters

Short is successful: newsletters aren’t books. Newsletters are in fact short notes and pockets of information that a company provides its readers to keep them informed of their expertise and activities. Short is the key word there, and there are many ways to shorten a newsletter while also keeping it informative!

One great way to do this is to post articles or news reels on your blog or website, while linking to them in the newsletter along with an excerpt of the article – this encourages newsletter readers to navigate to your website and helps with google page ranking so that people searching for accounting firms find YOU!

Call to action: while you shouldn’t flood your newsletter with links it’s a good idea to link back to your website in some way shape or form. Getting newsletter readers (people who are interested in YOU) on your website improves the chances of them becoming a future client! You don’t necessarily have to develop a call to action or sales pitch but newsletters a good place to redirect readers to such a thing. A blog (if you have one on your website) is a great example of an opportunity to include articles in your newsletter and include a link back to your website that entices readers to click and read more.

 

Sidekick accounting brand mascot.

Build a brand, use a voice and provide colour: a newsletter can be the essence of your firm and how you share your company culture with stakeholders. Use it to build a brand by creating a voice and an image! Sidekick Accounting achieves this with their superhero icons and friendly writing style.

 

Conclusion

In short – accounting newsletters should embrace a short and unique style of presentation while providing links back to their website and social media as they beware of including irrelevant content. If they follow these guidelines it’ll result on a more engaged audience and better chances for turning a potential customer into a full client!

 

Interested in this article or accounting marketing in general?

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Need accountancy marketing help?

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Interview with TrustRadius founder, Vinay Bhagat

Image representing Vinay Bhagat as depicted in...

Vinay Bhagat, TrustRadius Image via CrunchBase

We were lucky to find out about TrustRadius the enterprise software comparison site founded by Vinay Bhagat

Image representing TrustRadius as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

through a search we were doing for clients.  As a result, we got in touch with them and secured an interview.

Why did you start TrustRadius?

We’re trying to change the way software is bought and sold. If you’re a consumer who wants to buy a product or service there’s a wealth of information out there.  But if you’re trying to buy a piece of technology which could have a huge impact on your career, or business – it’s more challenging; more opaque.

Technology marketers try to control the information flow a customer gets.

Our belief is that through a platform like TrustRadius we can give buyers a more authentic, rapid way to make smarter decisions.  It’s not just picking the right product – it’s the right product for your use case.

Every business has unique needs – on TrustRadius you can crowdsource different perspectives about the context around the problem the business is trying to solve. This allows the user to made a more informed choice.

This isn’t trying to provide all the answers.  TrustRadius is a layer to get intelligent and get insights, way to avoid mistakes.  It’s more than a content layer, it’s a way to allow people to connect with each other. a contextual social network.

What are the issues with other solutions?

The Gartner magic quadrant is not appropriate for everyone.
We have a user who contacted people through the site and did information exchanges to get to the real story behind their tech selection and purchase.

People have tried to do backchannel references for years – it’s hard to get peer input rapidly at scale.
Reviewers have authentication – and we use Linked In – in connect button to verify identities.

What’s your business model?

Today we are not focused on making money – we’re trying to create a trusted at scale network – as a young company we

have to concentrate at this.  If we can wedge ourselves between the buyer and seller its a $4trilliion marketplace.  We bootstrapped for 1 year and now have raised VC money last June – we maniacally focus on getting to scale through effectively recruiting reviewers, sourcing content and engaging vendors. Read more

Google = advertising around intent; Facebook = demand generation

I was at a networking event yesterday and the Sales Lady from Facebook New Zealand was presenting.  She made this statement

Google is advertising around intent; Facebook is about demand generation

And it started me thinking.

Google – yes I get it – the intent is shown by your search string.

Facebook’s claim is harder to back up.

Why Facebook’s demand gen claim is slack

The sales lady says that because on Facebook brands advertise to drive likes, then it’s demand generation.

I think because it’s hard to get visitors off Facebook and onto your website where you can actually make prospects take actions that lead them into the sales funnel, the effectiveness of this strategy is low.

But there are work-arounds – read this technique which we developed for our clients How Facebook boosted my newsletter subscribers.

Is Facebook still good for brands?

The answer today is yes… but.  We have great client brands who are successfully recruiting new readers through their Facebook promotion, advertising and status updates.  But without a clear set of tactics to drive those readers off Facebook and onto their website, all this work would be hard to monetise.

For many brands, especially B2B, their audience isn’t on Facebook.  So it’s irrelevant to their marketing plans.

Take a look at this FB post and the comments below.  We are seeing readers adding in their friends’ names to their comments in order to draw their attention to this bit of content, and that’s bringing in new visitors.

Facebook Comments promotion

How To Create A Seamless Facebook Profile And Cover Photo

Ford on Facebook

Ford on Facebook with matching cover photo and profile image.

A matching Facebook cover photo and profile picture looks professional and exciting.  Look at the Ford one here – see the large image becomes the background behind the smaller logo picture?  Cute!

You can do so many things with it such as making your Facebook followers laugh or just to make your profile look professional. But how do you line up the two images and make it work? Read on.

How to line up Facebook cover photo with a profile picture

1. Screenshot your Facebook profile page: The first step is to take a screenshot of your profile page for size reference. Paste this screenshot into  PowerPoint or a similar programme where you can CROP the screenshot. We’ll be using our client, Rowperfect, as an example:

Screenshot of Rowperfect Facebook page

Screenshot of the Rowperfect Facebook page

2. Crop your chosen picture into two images: now that you have your profile screenshot and have pasted it into  PowerPoint you can begin cropping your desired image. Detailed instructions follow this image…follow steps 1-4 frame by frame below.cropping

  • FRAME 1: mark your cover photo and your profile photo. The blue rectangle we’ve created represents the cover photo size area and the red square represents the profile picture. Remember to paste the screenshot exactly as it is and do not re-size it, even though it is larger than the PowerPoint work area.
  • FRAME 2: import the image you want as your combined profile picture and cover photo. Then re-size it so it is as big as the blue and red rectangle combined. Line it up as you wish.
  • FRAME 3: duplicate your now re-sized imported image, place it in the same location as its original and crop your imported image and its duplicate to be the size of the blue rectangle and red square respectively.
  • FRAME 4: now you have your two images, save the big one as COVER PHOTO and the smaller square one as PROFILE PICTURE.

3. Place them on your Facebook profile page: now you have your two images you can place the PROFILE PICTURE image on your Facebook profile picture and use the COVER PHOTO image as your Facebook profile cover. If all is done correctly your Facebook profile cover photo and profile picture will now line up together and look flash, just like the Rowperfect Facebook page!

Screenshot of Rowperfect Facebook page

Be creative: more interesting ideas

Here are a few ideas we found that might spark some inspiration for you… speech bubbles, a cartoon bird house, multiple images overlaid or a camera icon.  Be creative.

ideas

Facebook profile picture ideas and improvements

The Top 5 most popular articles of all time

Writing a cold email introduction

Copywriting for new business development involves meeting and starting conversations with new people all the time.

Sometimes, you have to write to someone you don’t already know and this is called “a cold” email.

I just received this one – and I think it’s quite good.

Hi Rebecca,
 
I bet you’re inundated with emails so I’ll make it quick.
I’d like to write some free killer content guides for Start-up Marketing software for your blog.
Here’s an example of my writing style. I write content that sells:
I’ve written for Huff Po, Social Media Explorer, Creative Bloq and I’m writing for Mens Health atm.
Let me know if you’re interested and I can send over some article ideas for you to review!
Kind Regards
 
 
David Duncan,
Social Search Consultant,
Here’s what I like about the message
  1. it’s short.
  2. it opens with a statement to make me empathise with the writer
  3. it comes straight to the point and makes the offer in line 3
  4. the reassurance about the author’s skill is designed for a business reader (like me)

There’s only one thing wrong with it.

The link to the article is NOT actually authored by David Duncan – it’s by his boss.

Pity