How to Launch a skincare brand on a small budget

The local business incubator here in Auckland is called The Icehouse.  It’s an impressive place buzzing with activity.

Creative Agency Secrets was asked to prove its salt by giving some free consulting to a new organisation, DirtyMan.co.nz Perversely, it is all about keeping men clean!

Avoiding costly product launches

The team is a start-up and was looking to gain profile without too much hard cost.  Our suggestions included:

  • Painting up an old caravan to take to events
  • Asking supermarkets about promotions based not in-store ($$$) but in the car park
  • Setting up google alerts for three phrases aligned to the 3 personae of their ‘ideal customer’ profiles
  • Set up a press or media page on the website to host high resolution pack images, past coverage and background information
  • Print A5 leaflets on light card single sided and then use the back for several different purposes: a Postcard; letterbox maildrops; product information – just overprint in black when you need them

Prioritising your time and money

We time showing DirtyMan how to prioritise their decisions with regard to which promotions to spend money on and how to pick the ones that would give the best return.  They were considering a radio show sponsorship, leaflet drops to households and joint promotions with other non-competing brands.

For a startup, we think the best promotions are those that

  1. Bring a customer face to face with the brand
  2. Drive awareness to a new audience based on someone else’s data list

We recommended assessing any joint promotion based on the size and quality of the database of the other company.  And so a sports team sponsorship that has a supporting newsletter (especially an electronic one) and a Facebook fan group is probably worth more than a radio show with no mailing list.

What were the outcomes?

Here’s what Tracey Orange, the owner had to say after the briefing with Creative Agency Secrets:

Yes I did find my meeting with Rebecca useful, we have been busy talking to lots of people over the last week or so and I guess I am taking bits from everyone I speak to, and then formulating our plan from here.

After meeting Rebecca we are going to use some of her suggestions, one was to get out and meet our customers face to face and we now are looking for a cheap promo vehicle brand up and use for onsite promos and events, (if you know of any old land rovers for sale please let Mike know), she also gave me some good things to be talking to organisations we want to align with and not to be just giving stuff away but to leverage product for contacts database names and she also suggested getting hooked up with a clothing brand or similar and then the next day we spoke to someone who is going to see about hooking us up with a menswear clothing brand so fingers crossed.

Would you like access to our ideas?  Think about how to apply these to your own brand.

Get in touch and ask for a FREE 20 minute chat on the phone or Skype.

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Name checking tool for social media sites

Awesome, lovely superb…. just finding which social media sites exist today is hard but having to chase round and research available ‘names’ on each one for a new client – time consuming.
Thank heavens for the wonderful people at NameChk.com

They do the grunt for you.

Now all I need is to go register the name…. there’s a handy text download file option that gives you the URL you could get for each one.

Just don’t expect me to know what they all do!

NameCheck social media name availability

Website design brief template

So,you want to brief an agency to redesign your website.  What is the best way to write a brief so that all the areas you need designed are covered?

Helpfully, OneSourceGraphics have written out their detailed survey which sets of the principal questions to which an agency will need answers before pricing up a brief.

So you want to redesign your website

Here are the questions you should answer:

This form will answer the question of what the site’s supposed to do for your business and what the site will look like.

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Company (required)

Email (required)

Phone Number

Website URL: (if available)

  1. Why do you want to have a new website, or have your current site redesigned?
  2. What will happen if you don’t have a new website, or have your current site redesigned?
  3. Please describe your organization in a few sentences.
  4. What is there about you and your background that sets you apart for a special (niche) group of potential customers?
  5. What problems do your prospects have that your business solves?
  6. How can your particular work background help prospects, compared to others in your industry? What’s special about your work experience?
  7. Why do you believe site visitors should do business with you rather than with a competitor?
  8. Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you offer in terms of benefits or features?
  9. Please describe your potential customers. Pay special attention to their income, interests, gender, age, even type of computer they use, e.g., old with dialup account or newer with broadband. If your website is a business-to-business site, what sort of companies are you hoping to attract?
  10. What is your budget for this project? (required)Very Small Project $75 – $300;Small Project $300 – $750; Medium Project $750 – $1,500;Large Project $1,500 – $3,000;Very Large Project > $3,000
  11. Who are the decision makers on this project? What is the turnaround time for making a decision?
  12. What staff will be involved? What are their roles? Is there a webmaster on your staff?
  13. What is your deadline for completing the site?
  14. Please list the names of five other sites that you like. Why are they attractive to you?
  15. Have you researched your online competition so you have an idea of what you do and don’t want on your site?
  16. What do you NOT want on your site in terms of text, content, etc.?
  17. Where is the website content coming from? Who’s responsible for updating it? Is it ready for use on your website?
  18. Do you have a logo?
  19. Are you planning to do online sales? If so, what is the product, and how many items do you want to sell online?
  20. If you’re planning to sell online, are you set up to accept credit cards?
  21. How much time will you be able to spend online, responding to inquiries that come in via your website? Once a day? Several hours a day?
  22. If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site? Which of these words or phrases is most important? Second? Third?
  23. Other than what search engines will produce, what methods do you have in mind to spread the word about your website?
  24. Once your website is completed, how long do you think it will be before you begin bringing in significant business from the website?
  25. How do you plan to encourage repeat visitors and referrals?

 

 

5 Tips on how to beat a video conferencing interview

Interviews are always a nervous ordeal but more often than not a well-prepared candidate will always rise above the rest of the pack and successfully take the job. That said, many candidates make the mistake of preparing for a video conference interview in the same way as a face to face interview which can leave an interviewer unimpressed. Here are my top 5 tips to help you beat a video conferencing interview:

1. Remove all distractions

If your video conferencing interview is taking place at your home then make sure you deal with any possible interruptions before the interview. If Fido has a tendency to barge into the room every now and again I am sure he wouldn’t mind playing in the garage for a while until the interview is over. Similarly, if you have kids who tend to be quite loud, it will make you and your interviewer lose concentration as well as making you look much less professional. Get hold of a babysitter or have them spend the day at your parents or friends. Whatever you do, just try to be home alone when the interview takes place.

2. Look at the camera

Just about every interview guru will tell you to make regular eye contact with your interview and a video conferencing interview is no different. This can catch out many interviewees since it is a common habit to look at the computer monitor instead of the actual camera. The camera is transmitting the picture and therefore if you don’t look at the camera it will look like you are looking away from the interviewer thus giving the impression that you are not interested in the interview. If you find this particularly difficult to do then try putting a picture behind your camera which will make it feel like you are talking to an actual person when you are looking at the camera.

3. Proper grooming

When doing a video conferencing interview it is easy to forget that you are being interviewed for a potential job offer. You may be at home but that does not mean that you can take part in the interview in your favourite carrot fit jeans with a T-shirt that has some a funny comment on it. Make sure you dress like you would if you were participating in a face to face interview as it will make you look more professional as well as making you feel more confident.

4. Set the scene

When carrying out a face to face interview, you go to the interviewer which means that the interviewer will make his decision based on you and you alone but on a video conferencing interview, the interviewer will be able to see you and your room, therefore, your room should also give a professional feel. I am not saying that you should completely redecorate but make sure all dirt has been cleaned and the room looks well organised. In addition to this, temporarily remove any posters which may embarrass you during the interview although sensible pictures and paintings can help create a more sophisticated atmosphere. This will help to give a positive first impression and will start the interview on a good note.

5. Practice makes perfect

Rehearsing your answers to popular interview questions as well as general interview techniques is essential for a successful interview but a video conferencing interview brings with it its own challenges and therefore more factors need to be added to the mix when rehearsing. You will need to get into the habit of talking out loud when nobody else is in the room so set up your own video conference system prior to the interview and ask your friend to interview you. After the interview ask your friend to give you some feedback.

Website holding page – how to use for marketing gain

Taking your website offline is rarely welcomed by the marcomms team.  sometimes you have go do it.

Brand Glue did a great job of making a strong message come through their holding page.

In fact, since I took this screen shot, the timer doesn’t seem to have ‘counted down’ any more…. wonder if it’s really a permanent thing.  Tho they have added an article below it about their newsfeed optimization service.

in any event, don’t allow a 404 redirect to show up if you can avoid it.

Plus, having a ‘timer’ on the page keeps the focus  pressure on the team building the new website.

Which’ll probably be late.

That’s life.

Good practice: A website holding page

Following on from yesterday’s post about delays publishing a new company website – take a look at this one:

What I like about it is

  1. it sets a deadline (the counter is clocking down all the time)
  2. it still says what the company does – USP – so the holding page continues to sell the brand
  3. contact details are still there
  4. there’s an invitation to subscribe to notifications about the re-launch

Does your brand demand a launch date that can’t be changed?

Website holding page for BrandGlue

Marketing using Business Christmas Cards

Corporate greeting cards can be used in many ways to promote your business and to show appreciation to supportive clients; some traditional and some a bit more creative. However, there are some rules and tips you should keep in mind to get the best return on your investment of sending out a Business Christmas card:

1. Procedure/mailing list

Make sure you keep your company contact information up-to-date on a regular basis and take your time to add new contacts you gain throughout the year.

A good way to control if your contact details are up to date is by including your return address so that the post office will return the card if the address is no longer valid. It will also serve a dual purpose by providing your contact information to your recipients.

2. Timing is everything

Don’t send your cards late, set yourself a deadline. December 15th is a convenient cut-off date for having your cards in the mail. If you’re sending business Christmas cards internationally, they’ll have to be in the mail much sooner. Here are some helpful links for recommended Christmas mailing deadlines: NZ Post, AUS Post, Royal Mail, USPS, Canada Post. If your Christmas card arrives after the holidays, you have just sent the wrong message to your customers. Read more

Cold email introduction – copy this campaign

Want to use cold emails as part of your customer acquisition?  We get dozens of approaches by digital media agencies usually picked up by our clients’ spam filters.

Today we’re publishing one of the better ones as a crib for you to copy for your own use if you want to buy email lists and try to start working cold call emails for your B2B brand.

Here’s the copy

Subject: Oneupweb would like to work with you

Cold Email example text

What do you think?

A short, neat message.  Starts with reassurance – do what you’ve always done.  But we all know how that sentence ends…. “and you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

Nice use of the word “earn” in the second sentence – they are going to work for you to gain trust.  I like that.

The words for the services list are all hotlinks with custom tracking codes – good practice to see where your campaign is working.  I clicked on the link and it took me to a standard page… no special landing site after the page had rendered using the tracking code.

Bullet points

A neat filtering tool is used here.  By quoting fees or likely media costs for services, they filter out any brands who can’t afford to pay $2,000 per month for Search Marketing or $15k for social media campaigns.

Be attracted by the big names they’ve worked for but be put off by the fees = you are not my target customer.

Interesting that it came in to my private email address.  It’s a dot com so maybe the list buyer figured I must be in USA and it’s a long-registered domain (2001 approx) and short so again, it maybe didn’t filter me out for being a person not a business.

Call to action

A question as a call to action is a subtle approach.  Do I think next week is a good time to talk?

Enough time to get into my diary and a question that can be easily answered.  Interestingly, no easy-call buttons for direct line phone numbers added here.  Wonder why?

Footer has company contact information and the usual range of social media links plus an unsubscribe.

What happens next?

We sent a reply – will let you know what happens next.

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Email auto responders – a quick tutorial

I am a fan of email auto responders that send a pre-determined email reply out from your address.  They can be very helpful for new business development as an information tool for prospective customers.

As ever, there are good and bad examples of automatic emails.  Here are four examples we have received recently that can show you the best and worst examples.  Most are from marketing and sales agencies / organisations and so the bad examples make me cry with shame….. there’s so much to improve.

Let’s get to work.

Example 1 – failure message

We got this after trying to email J Walter Thompson in Houston, TX.  Their website didn’t list the office contacts so we used a directory called MacRae’s Blue Book.   This is what came back from our email:

Directory Listings fail message

A request for contact that failed.

  • Check all the free listings services that have your company and office.
  • Update your details if needed
  • Create a unique email address so you can track effectiveness e.g. [email protected] would have worked here.
  • Contact yourselves through them as a mystery shopping exercise at least once a year, preferably 6 monthly
  • Where do email enquiries go?  which phone number do they list and who answers it?

Email effectiveness 4/10

Example 2 -zero information

Membership organisation NYAMA (New York American Marketing Association) whose membership-based services are surely the profit engine for the organisation.  But hey, send them a membership enquiry on their auto form and one week later [hardly an automatic response] this comes in:

Thank you for submitting this form

  • “Thank you for submitting this form.”  Great – send me what I already know I sent you
  • What happens next?  No mention of next steps towards becoming a member
  • Timeliness – this reply came back 5 days after we completed the online form
  • Nothing happened

Email effectiveness 2/10

Example 3 – Inbound emails

When you send an enquiry in to a company’s ‘general’ email whether by form on the website or direct, what happens to that email?

Everyone knows that spammers and malcontents will be using it too – so what reassurance can you give people that their message has got through?

Great information auto-response

  • This one came from a retail marketing agency fronted by a TV celebrity.
  • They have good information about what to expect from the agency, the celebrity and where to get more information free / cheap and also training
  • But the email came from one general email address – they need to split the contact so people interested in the celebrity and people interested in the agency are directed to different places.
  • We wrote back to confirm our interest in the agency and received the same auto-response again.  Irritating.

Example 4 – the perfect first reply

And finally, a look at a nice, short friendly reponse from a media agency.

Perfect auto response email

  • The message gives a real person’s name as a point of contact
  • Sets clear expectations about what the agency will do next
  • Sounds genuinely friendly

Copy this one.

Autoresponders are a good tool to kick off your online marketing.  
Simple. How many emails do you write daily? How many blog posts? You only have to write an autoresponder once. It will then go to as many new recipients as activate the trigger. Forever. It will always go out in the same time format that you set up at the start. It’s easy. You don’t have to think about it. And all the while it keeps up a relationship with your readers. Voilà.

But don’t just take our word for it –  See how it all works by signing up to our Services autoresponder, you’ll see the benefits immediately.

Hire Creative Agency Secrets team of copywriters to set up your auto responder – we know what we’re doing and can give you the shortcuts to great outcomes and customer engagement.

Learn More With The Creative Agency Secrets GUIDE TO AUTORESPONDERS

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