The Creative Store, recruitment, creative jobs, NZ creative industry, Creative store logo

What’s new in Search Engine Marketing 2018

What is new in SEM for business? Rebecca Caroe discusses the Wild West of agency service providers and how to avoid getting ripped off by a marketing firm.

Louise runs the Creative Store – a recruitment and placement agency specialising in the creative industries. This is her interview with Rebecca published in August 2018.  When starting our companies, Louise and Rebecca shared offices in the BizDojo and shared jokes about English sweets and beer!

Q. How do you define search engine marketing?

A. Anything you do for your business that gets it showing up in search results.  So this  can cover keyword SEO on your website, having a strong LinkedIn profile, guest articles, Slideshare presentations and advertising.The Creative Store, recruitment, creative jobs, NZ creative industry, Creative store logo

Q. Are many companies doing a terrible job of this?

A. It is my view that SEO service provision is a “wild west” there are a lot of cowboys.  This is not just a supply side problem, it’s also caused by clients who do not brief well, are not experienced buyers and have unrealistic expectations of what is possible.  We know that business owners come to our events because they want to learn.  Many tell anecdotes about past experiences which didn’t go well.  To challenge and counteract the wild west, I am part of a Facebook group called The Ethical Digital Marketing Community (EDMC) – you’re very welcome to join us, share and learn together.  I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers.

Q. How do you identify your clients?

A.  Our clients are businesses who sell to other businesses.  Many are new to marketing and do not have in-house staff with expertise.

Q. You can spot pretty quickly where they are going wrong

Normally, they aren’t going wrong – they are getting started.  For many, the part of their marketing which they notice is not performing is their website.  It’s not showing up in search, they aren’t getting inbound enquiries and competitors are more prominent.  We recommend they do a self-test using WooRank Checker or Hubspot Website Grader Tool and see what their website score out of 100 is.  That identifies many of the areas where they’re underperforming.

Q. If clients wish to engage you, is this on a retainer or do you do a sweep of their work for a charge?

A. We do both.  Unusually for an agency we are very happy to train and up-skill the client’s team and also work with existing agencies who they already have on retainer.  Our strategic leadership allows both to deliver better outcomes for the client – and that is always the end goal.  By having a clear strategy and goals we are able to brief agencies better, they work to a clear objective and the client trusts us both to get the results.  It’s a win-win-win scenario.

Q. You are hosting an exciting event with Blair Enns in October about this subject – how do you put a price on your work – what will we expect to see from this workshop?

A.  Blair is a world expert in how to win without pitching.  October is his first event on the topic of pricing creative work.  His thesis is that most creative firms under-price their skills and expertise.  And so he teaches “value pricing” where you learn how to price the client, not the job.  Watch Blair’s summary webinar and understand where you could improve http://pitchpack.co.nz/pricing-creativity-free-webinar/

Q. Who needs your services the most?

A.  Owner-managed businesses where the owners don’t know modern digital marketing and are too busy to do it themselves.

Q. Where is the future of SEM going?

A. Deeper and wider into ever more businesses.  Good SEM techniques are straightforward to apply to any business.  I summarise this into – State what you do, Answer questions clearly and Keep your focus on local or niche audiences.  Then repeat and improve. 

Q. Any helpful tips and hints to our clients on their SEM and simples fixes they could be applying?

A.  Sure – Three things.   1 do a website check and see what your score out of 100 is.  2 connect your Google Analytics and Search Console so you can see the queries driving your natural search traffic.  3 review where your last 10 new clients came from – was it referrals or web search or directories or public speaking or something else.  Then double down on what’s working and do more of it.

Q. Where to from here for Creative Agency Secrets

A. More collaborative relationships with other agencies and mutual clients.  I firmly believe that collaboration is an under-used business principle and it is working amazingly well for us.  Who doesn’t want to look good in front of the client?

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

AirNZ gamifys its customer segments

As a marketer I love being marketed to and so when I got invited by Air New Zealand to “Find out what’s your travel style?” I clicked to do the self-test quiz.

Backstory – Customer Differentiation for CRM

Air NZ Contest quiz, CRM, customer segmentation

Facebook advert for Air NZ Quiz

Brands need to be clear about different messages to different audiences.  This is basic database marketing concept is easy to achieve using segmentation based on actions.  The difficult part is identifying customer attitudes and desires which have not yet become actions.

Creating a differentiation matrix for your customer base is worthwhile and if you have never done one before, ask us to help you create it.

After you have actions plus attitudes then you can create a layered differentiation plan – plugging your customer journey and content plan with clear guidelines which your team will love because it makes it very easy to track progress towards your goals.

Here’s Per Caroe’s slide from our Unhurried Conversation in which we focused on discussing customer journey maps.

Activity scoring for customer segmentation

Back to Air New Zealand’s segmentation strategy

The team will have created the segments based on research data (Qual and Quant) but their challenge is how to populate their existing customers into the data grid.  Here’s where the fun quiz fits.  By running a campaign with a prize draw, they are creating a series of Golden Questions and the obliging customer fills in the quiz and creates a score which populates their preferences in the database.  What follows is the clever part – using the insights gained, AirNZ will be cross-populating the insights into their current database of customers who did not fill in the quiz – by inference from other customers who look alike.

What I’m looking forward to is the communications that should follow – will I (A Lounger) get more customised messaging?

The Travel Style quiz told in screenshots

First up the quiz questions – you can guess the alignment between the four travel styles (lower down) and the questions if you choose to base your own quiz on this format.

Then the detail of the travel styles.

And lastly the up-sell in every travel style description – mine was for the Skycouch including a video and a transcript (very important for people using social without sound enabled).

Air NZ how do you holiday?

Quiz step 1

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz question 2

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz question 3

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz question 4

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz question 5

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz outcome – Travel Lounger segment

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz result Savvy selector

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz result segment opportunist

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Quiz result segment Goody gatherer

Air NZ, holiday styles quiz, CRM, Customer segmentation tool

Skycouch advert from my segment profile

Air NZ Skycouch video and 360 tour - with transcript

Skycouch video and 360 tour – with transcript

tax books, shelf of books, business books

Professional firm needs refreshed website

Leading financial advisory practice needs a refreshed website designed “mobile first”. tax books, shelf of books, business books

Our client is a leading financial advisory firm whose website already has very strong SEO.  We need to move to a modern CMS with easy editing without losing the SERP.

Website launch end September 2018.

Deadline for costed proposals 5pm, Monday 27th August 2018

Website specification:

4 informational pages

News blog

Functionality:

Website needs

  • CMS
  • Recommendations for security
  • Recommendations for plugins
  • On-site Google Search
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search console
  • Mailchimp integration

Get in touch for a full specification and to find out more…… rebecca@creativeagencysecrets.com

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An Intern’s Experience At CAS

Before I Start

Before I go into what I learned from Creative Agency Secrets and the benefits of the experience, I wanted to start by explaining what an incredible opportunity this really was. Very few people are given the chance that I was. An international work experience is absolutely invaluable. The fact that I was able to, halfway through my undergraduate degree, fly to another side of the world for two months simply to experience another culture and essentially take a potential career path on a “test-drive” is absolutely insane and I am deeply grateful to all the amazing people who helped me make the most of it.

So Let’s Talk About CAS

That being said, Creative Agency Secrets has been a strongly defining part of my time here and has introduced me to a variety of new skills in the digital marketing realm. It’s worth noting that, with the ever-rising presence of social media, mobile integration, and online interactions, digital marketing becomes increasingly more important to understand by the day. While it is true that print media and other forms of “traditional marketing” are not dead, as a member of the younger generation, I do know that what we see doesn’t come from newspapers or magazines, but from websites, Instagram, and YouTube. This is where the future of marketing lies and this is exactly what I was trained in during my time here.

The benefit of working for a small company like Creative Agency Secrets is that, as an intern, you aren’t simply filing papers or running errands; you’re applying your knowledge from the classroom to a real-world context with actual clients. During my time here, I did everything from plan, design and build landing pages in six different languages, to run social media campaigns for events. Just to highlight a few, these are some new skills I learned during my time here:

  • How to optimize blog posts with internal links to decrease a website’s bounce rate
  • How to use WordPress to code websites, landing pages, and press pages that enhance the user experience and achieve the site’s goals
  • How to create graphics, logos, and sites that align with a company’s brand and make the mission/message of the company clear in every aspect of the experience
  • How to plan a business promotion event with everything from creating the concept, planning the marketing strategy and adapting to hurdles
  • How to use a variety of programs send out newsletters, emails, and promotions

And much, much more.

However, I believe the most important thing I learned from my experience here was not the technical or business skills: it was the ability to face and overcome a challenge that arose in the process. This sounds straightforward, but it’s an underestimated and vital skill to have. I believe that regardless of the company or job, every project will have some challenge or problem; this is inevitable. What defines a strong worker from a weak one is the ability to effectively deal with these setbacks and turn them into successes. This isn’t really something that can be taught in textbooks or lectures, but rather, needs to be experienced. During my two months here, every single issue I encountered taught me a little more about how to deal with hurdles and that is more valuable than anything I have encountered here. While marketing platforms and relevancy of strategies might change over time, this is a skill that will stay constant through the years. For that, I cannot thank Creative Agency Secrets enough.

 

Shout-outs And Thanks

I would also like to give a small shout-out to the CAS team for being such a cool group. Thank you to Conrado for being the best supervisor I could ever ask for and teaching me so much over the past two months. I don’t think I have met a more dedicated and patient teacher in my life, and without you, I probably wouldn’t have learned half of what I did. Tabhitha, your incredible knowledge on social media and website design never fails to amaze so thank you for showing me how logical and interesting digital marketing can really be. And of course, shout out to Rebecca for helping me with my email writing skills and explaining whether I should say “bollocks” or “bugger”. CAS team, I will miss our morning coffee sessions, midday snack runs, and all of our amazing conversations. Thank you all for helping make my internship abroad such a valuable one. I can’t wait to take what I have learned to future endeavors and wish the company the best of luck as I move on.

Stay cool, fam.

 

Your favorite (favourite) intern,

Shubha 

Dear Valued Customer – How Not To Write Customer Service Letters

From: Jim Bird  On Behalf Of reviewus@XXXXX.com

Sent: 16 October, 2012 10:04 PM

Subject: Thank you for using XXXXXX – Please Review Us

 

Dear Valued Customer,

According to our records you placed at least one order through XXXX in September. Thank you very much for your business and may it continue for a very long time.

We at XXXX hope that you are very happy with our services and ask that you spend just a few minutes leaving us a review at either (or both if you would be so kind) of the below sites:

http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/evaluate/www.XXXX.com

http://www.reviewcentre.com/add-XXXX.html

Of course we would prefer a glowing 5 Star review, however we are also interested in any feedback, suggestions or ideas you may have.

Thank you once again for using XXXX, and please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

Kind regards,

Jim Bird

Customer Services Manager


What could be improved in this letter?

I find it incredible that this type of templated mass messaging is being used FOR THE FIRST COMMUNICATION to a customer.

Hey did someone just think – it’d be a great idea to get some customer feedback?  What ho, Jeeves, let’s off and ask them to say we’re wonderful.

Crikey.

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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 and update all the free listings services that have your company and office.
  • Create a unique email address so you can track effectiveness e.g. macraes@jwt.com would have worked here.
  • Contact yourself 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.

And if you need help, let us know! Hire a 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.

More With The Creative Agency Secrets GUIDE TO AUTORESPONDERS

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MBH Law logo

Law firm website case study

Mandee Sebire is the Practice Manager of the Wellington Law firm, Mahoney Burrowes Horner Lawyers.  She recently workedMBH Law logowith Creative Agency Secrets to get website redesign quotes for the business and we asked her to talk about the experience.

What was the challenge you faced when needing a new business website?

We didn’t have the knowledge of the basics – where to look for suppliers and what to look for.

What went well during the job?

Working with Creative Agency Secrets we gathered the right information, so we knew what we needed to look for. The businesses responding were giving prices in a range which helped with the selection of the agency we chose.

What was offered and was it what you wanted?

The people that applied gave us a good sense of what was out there and what we are looking for – we narrowed it down with different points for each one.

And if you were to give advice to someone else in the same situation?

Give Creative Agency Secrets a call – trying to do it on your own and not having the knowledge and the experience is like a needle in a haystack – talk to someone who has the knowledge of what you need and where to look.

If you want to use the Creative Agency Secrets team expertise to brief in your marketing project – get in touch.  We offer a range of services from briefing, assisting selection and project management.