Raz Chorev, Marketer, Australia,

Raz Chorev talks Email Newsletters

Raz is CMO of Orange Sky CMOs in Sydney, Australia.  We caught up recently and got his insights into the latest in email newsletters for business marketing.

Raz Chorev, Marketer, Australia,

Raz Chorev

You’ve been doing email newsletters for years. How frequently do you change something major e.g. layout, frequency, type of article?

Every couple of years: content, structure and design.

When you assess the analytics on a newsletter, what are the top 3 metrics you use?

Open rate, engagement rate, and unsubscribes. This keeps me focused on people opening the email, reading / engaging with it, and not getting pissed off or bored with it.

Do you have a view on whether B2B brands should re-use blog content in newsletters?

Content can be repurposed, based on the audience. not the sender. You can use blog posts, videos, images, tweets, quotes – anything to engage your audience and add value to them as they read.

What’s one tip for the future in newsletters?

Talk to your audience, like as a person, like in a conversation. See what I’ve just done here? Don’t talk AT them. Try talking WITH them – and they’ll respond.

What’s your favourite AdTech for newsletters?

I’m not fussed either way. they are all pretty similar. it’s your content which is the most important, not one fancy feature over another.

Connect with Raz via LinkedIn or Orange Sky outsourced CMOs.

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?

Guest Posting

4 Ways to Enhance the Results of a Guest Posting Campaign

Guest posting is the practice of developing content for the purpose of publishing it on a third-party website or platform other than your own, typically as a guest author who provides a well-written article. This process is mutually beneficial for both the author and the publisher because the author is able to gain brand awareness and insert a link to the page of their choice, while the publisher gets a great piece of content to further boost the authority of their site. However, there are ways to do guest posting wrong and actually wind up doing more harm than good. To avoid such mistakes and generate optimal results in your guest posting campaigns, try heeding the following four tips:

1. Set Very High Standards for Content Quality and Placement

A poorly written guest post is a complete waste of time, money, and effort. Even if it’s published online, it probably won’t convince anyone to take any sort of meaningful action – certainly not as much as it would have if it were written in a highly informative and entertaining manner. To ensure your guest posts are sending out the right message for your brand, it’s best to work with an experienced creative agency that will ensure your company is being represented by the most professionally written guest posts, which are only published by the most reputable blogs and media outlets.

2. Create a Content Strategy

A content strategy gives you a series of topics, keywords, and trends to target within each of your guest posts. During this step, you’ll be looking for ways to create headlines and concepts that will captivate your target audience. You’ll also be identifying which blogs have the most primed audiences for the type of product or service you’re representing within the guest post.

3. Stick to a Marketing Plan

Now that you have a content strategy, it’s time to plan out a schedule that will help you achieve a set of production and distribution goals. For example, you may decide that you’re going to write and submit 50 guest posts per week. Sticking to minimum productivity requirements within an overall marketing plan will help you see consistent ongoing results from your campaigns.

4. Use Video and Infographics

Studies have proven that visitors stay on the page longer and are more persuaded by guest posts that contain videos and infographics. Try to have some of your guest posts accompanied by infographics initially, and then as your budget increases, you can look to include video production as a component in your campaigns.

Guest Posting is Only Legitimate When the Quality is There

If you think about it, the only difference between guest posting and spam is that the latter lacks quality. In other words, if you were to distribute 1,000 poorly written, horribly formatted guest posts across 1,000 poorly designed, low-authority websites, one could argue that you’re just propagating spam at that point. However, if you were to put out 25 extremely high-quality posts across the top 25 blogs related to your industry, that would be an impressive and commendable marketing effort that involves creating excellent content and collaborating with industry leaders. Thus, quality is clearly the sole distinguishing factor that needs to be considered and controlled within each of the methods mentioned above.

Scrabble It Is Marketing

We’re hiring! – Digital Marketing Assistant

Creative Agency Secrets provides digital marketing services for brands and businesses. We are a leading agency innovating with new marketing techniques like SEO, community building, direct response and advanced blogging.

When working with us, you will learn how to run and manage digital platforms such as a website, e-commerce shop, blog as well as learn the ins and outs of email marketing, database management, and social media marketing.

If you want to get a career in marketing but haven’t found yourself a job – this will get you your first position on your CV and some solid experience.

Being a digital native on the internet is essential, so a Marketing, Communications or Business Studies degree would be considered favourably. No prior knowledge of websites, blogs or online marketing is needed – full training is provided.

Send your CV and Cover Letter to Conrado along with one page describing an event you ran (party, event, gig, etc), outlining what you did to market and promote it, the tools and techniques you used, what worked and what didn’t work and the outcomes.

This job is a 4-week unpaid internship. The start dates and hours are negotiable, and can be suited around your studies. If there is work available for the best candidate after 4 weeks, you may be offered part-time work at $20 per hour.

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.

We Review a Service Business Website

We pitched a client – we didn’t win.  And so I decided to show you all how we assessed their website in scoping out the work that is needed to improve the search engine optimisation for this company.

They offer a local service and have two principal products.

First impressions of the website

Hubspot, website assessment, website grader

Free appraisal offer for your website

Go to the Woorank checker or Website Grader tool on Hubspot.
Find out how your current site performs.  Both give you a score out of 100.  Easy to see your score.
This site scores 53 out of 100.  Definitely in the could-do-better group.

Summary areas for improvement

  1. Both the named services should be in your meta description
  2. The Headings structure needs adjusting so it includes H1 as well as H3 (currently all 4 are H2 which is not good)
  3. Change the SSL certificate from BlueHost to your own business name
  4. Incoming links are low – so we’d recommend getting local directory listings to improve this (there are 36 free ones)
  5. You should be on Google My Business as well because that will enable Reviews and a location pin to appear when people search

Improve website messaging

I think there’s some other places where a bit of clearer marketing communication could help
  • Strapline.  The name of the business does not describe what you do [I also provide sensational services – but of a different type]
  • Pearl Waterless is a strong point of difference for one of the services – but you don’t EXPLAIN it.
  • Plus it’s a “Green” product and you could be selling the environmental benefits.
  • One service page does not have any heading titles, it doesn’t have any testimonials and it doesn’t explain that you offer a mobile service
  • The other service page has a gigantic photo and doesn’t explain the service in detail compared to the other service page.  They should be similar – consistency matters.
  • You have a Facebook page but there’s no link to it on the site.  42 people have shared your website onto Facebook – but you aren’t tracking links like this.
  • Have you got any customer testimonials?
  • Have you got any photos of your ACTUAL Team doing the work?
  • Any funny stories to tell about your jobs? What about the Facebook photos you share – the team celebration – could these go on a blog on the website too?

Why would you change?

What’s important here is that the website owner sees a rapid return on investment for his marketing spend.
The areas where I believe we can show a quick ROI are the services descriptors and aligning them to search phrases, pulling out the points of difference.  And then making it super-easy for the site visitor to get in touch by phone.   That rapidly increases enquiries, the business owner feels his spend is justified.  Later we can get more sophisticated.
And so if you would like us to improve the SEO and re-write some of the pages, go to our shop and buy our SEO Starter Pack and then come into the office and we’ll prioritise, get started and tick off all these things for you.

Kiwibank, this is how I’d re-write your email

Kiwibank email text confuses

Kiwibank email text confuses

And I made a fool of myself on LinkedIn by explaining how I totally mis-understood Mark Wilkshire’s message.

Re-write to clarify the message

Here is how I would re-write the email in order to prevent others doing what I did.  [Aside: surely I’m not the most stupid customer Kiwibank has…please, humour me!]

Dear Rebecca

You have a Notice Saver bank account with Kiwibank.  The interest payments for this account come from our PIE Unit Trust.  The money you save in your account is invested in the fund and profits are paid back to you in the form of interest.

As an investor in this fund, we are obliged to share its recent financial performance with you. You can view an electronic copy of the financial statements for the year ended 30th June 2017 on our website via this link.  

[insert rest of the statutory text here].

Lots of love, Mark Wilkshire, Kiwibank

Why is this clearer?

I think this text improves the context for receiving the message.  It explains an investment I didn’t know I had and how the investment performance is relevant to my personal situation (bank interest).

Personally, I wouldn’t try to push out messages about other investments in this message.  Make it simply about this one thing, and how to contact us.

The full truth about what I did on Kiwibank

And, I would anticipate possible confusion among customers by enabling self-help tools on the website to be advance programmed to have answers to questions relating to this investment.

My “Kiwibot” experience below reveals more about the lack of customer orientation and more about the regulatory communication box-ticking which probably sits behind this email misunderstanding.

Kiwibank Bot does not answer questions

Kiwibank Bot does not answer questions



Why the HELL NOT?

How Can an Increased Time on Page Boost Conversions?

How Can Increased Time on Page Boost Conversions?

Attracting traffic to a website can be a big challenge, even for the most experienced professionals.

However, more than just herding the masses to your digital spot in the world, it is essential to understand what they’re doing when they’re there. And what they’re NOT doing as well.

One of the most important indicators in your Google Analytics report is the Average Session Duration. If your visitors are abandoning your website without spending a decent amount of time checking it out, chances are something is not working as it should.

This could be happening for one or more reasons. Investigating the causes through experiments is critical to understanding your public. There is no absolute truth in marketing, and everything can be tweaked to perform even better.

Keeping user experience in mind is essential in times of task overload

The enormous amount of information that’s being thrown at us online is forcing us to learn faster what’s important and what’s not. Pop-ups, banners, native advertising: look around and you’ll see that you are completely surrounded. Thankfully, like the sight of your own nose, your brain just filters them out and disregards the majority of those.

We developed the habit of going straight to the answer to our questions by “scanning” text or searching for terms with a “ctrl+F” command. The number of shares, the size of the fonts, a user-friendly layout; there are many key elements that will determine if you are hanging around or running away from a website.

Unconsciously, we are always measuring the effort required to consume content

Remember that time you looked for a dinner recipe on YouTube and decided to watch a video that’s 5 minutes instead of another one that was 12-minutes long? Why did you do that?

Video and audio have a fundamental decision factor displaying right in your face: the time it takes to watch/listen. In the end, because we’re always busy, we do everything possible to avoid wasting time.

Overcome your visitor’s objections

As you probably know, there’s a massive amount of written content online. According to WordPress, around 80 million posts are published every month using their platform. Take the Creative Agency Secrets’ website as an example: organic search is responsible for 80% of our traffic and the overwhelming majority lands first on one of our blog posts. But we are not the only ones. More companies are using this as a strategy to bring traffic every day.

With so many options out there, your audience has to feel assured that the time invested in reading your content is worth it. One of the visual tricks we use is subtle but powerful: we tell people how long it’ll take them to read our posts. Moreover, a little coloured bar on the top of the screen shows the progress of your reading while you scroll down the page.

estimated reading time

Showing the estimated time needed to read an article might calm down the reader’s anxiety. It increases the likelihood of the visitors to finish reading the text because, in their minds, they’ve already allocated that precise amount of minutes for that.

More time spent on your website, more chances of conversion

Worst than not attracting visitors is wasting what you already have. Traffic by itself is useless if your website does not have a clear objective. It might be getting new leads, selling products on your e-commerce, giving you a call, etc. When you increase the time on page, the visitor is spending more minutes experiencing your brand and one step closer to fulfilling your objective.



Creative and Search Agency Collaboration

How should creative agencies and search agencies collaborate when relaunching a website?

The key part of any site build and launch is continuity for the search engines.  Few brands are creating websites for the first time nowadays (although SMEs are).  For me, the key parts of this agency collaboration are based around making sure the visitor experience for the new site is an improvement on the old one.

You must not lose any of the strong key word traffic which the old site had.  And so a careful keyword tactical plan ensuring similar phrases are used on the major website pages, meta descriptions and alt tags is needed.

Secondly, check whether the URL structure is going to change or not.  Frequently ecommerce stores use different structures and so this risks breaking all the historic data for the site.  Set up a 301 redirect so that traffic gets to the right page.

As a marketing agency, I always recommend running an inbound campaign to drive traffic to the new site as soon after it launches as possible. This starts the process of “re-educating” the search engines about the new site structure as quickly as possible.  And above all, test and measure EVERYTHING.


This was a submitted answer for Northcutt’s Experts, Gurus and other Mythical Entities article series.