policies

When having clear policies is a marketing advantage

This week I’ve had two clients get frustrated by media comments which did not allow a talk-back response.

Our solution?

Set up your company policies and publicise them.

Why policies are a point of difference

In both cases, bloggers and journalists were doing their job and calling out the client brand on key issues.

Professional disagreements are normal.

By stating your position on key issues, your brand can become better known and also has the ability to influence the way the whole industry thinks on these points.

How to market using your policies or principles

  1. Create a page where you list your principles.  e.g. We believe in transparency and not charging markups [that happens to be true for Creative Agency Secrets].
  2. Create a menu link to the page
  3. When a blogger or journalist contests a situation, write your answer on your blog. Also, write it in the comments on their site if you can.
  4. In writing your answer, refer to your principles/policies and link through to that page on your site.
  5. Create categories in your blog that relate to each principle e.g. transparency; fair pricing
  6. Also, make icons so each has a clear visual image associated with the principle – this helps readers further identify with each principle – you can link from each icon to the category in the blog so that case studies and examples can be read in more detail.
  7. Be prepared to stand by your principles and to be called out by media.

As an example, we use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile Raising.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

Identify prospects for your business (Map vector designed by Alvaro_cabrera - Freepik.com)

How can I identify prospects for my business?

Client acquisition. I need to IDENTIFY the most likely prospects for my agency. How do I do that? 

Good question and spot on…. you are in exactly the same situation as us here at Creative Agency Secrets.
My advice to you would be
  1. Focus on Local marketing…. set up SEO/SEM to be found in the metropolitan areas where you ALREADY have clients
  2. Testimonials – work these hard on Google My Business and any other relevant marketplaces
  3. Write blog posts to appeal to industry segments who could be clients e.g. I wrote this blog Top Tips for Marketing Tradesmen and got an enquiry from Vancouver, CA.
So that’s a direct answer to your question which you should be able to execute yourselves.
If you would like to buy coaching advice with more ideas for you to run as tactical marketing, we charge by the hour. I recommend having a conference call for 30 minutes every 2 weeks.

Further reading on Local Marketing tactics

marketing tactic blows away the competition

Devastating marketing tactic blows away the competition

Every marketer dreams of being able to help their clients achieve an unassailable advantage over their competition. Kinda like Asterix and Obelix the ‘indomitable Gauls’ against the Roman Empire.
Indomitable Gauls make Romans wary

Indomitable Gauls make Romans wary

A Killer App for Professional Services Marketing

I dream of finding a marketing tool or service which will knock my opposition’s pitch out of the ballpark.  Today I think I have seen one.
The commercially savvy partners at Simmonds Stewart IP lawyers have provided FREE a giant set of legal templates for download.
I’m very impressed with them giving away templated legal documentation as part of their brand building.  They caveat appropriately about the use of these, but for startups, it certainly gives gigantic brand building opportunity and of course allows the prospective client to quickly bookmark their favourite lawyers’ website for future reference.
Is there an equivalent which could make your professional services business stand out in the same way? This could be a devastating marketing death-blow (Vulcan death grip?) for competitors.
Just thoughts….
testimonials table example

Rocking Testimonials For Your Brand Profile 

Testimonials are self-evidently a great way to win new clients and grow your business profile.  If you want to consider adding them to your tactical marketing armoury, there are some prior considerations to resolve.

  1. Does your business get testimonials spontaneously?
  2. Have you got any existing testimonials?

If you aren’t a long-established business, then it will be more difficult to encourage spontaneous outpourings of delight and joy. 

Never fear, we’ve got a plan for you.

What’s already in the can?

Start with any existing documented positive feedback that you or your client can find. And plan

a page on your domain where you can drop in all the quotes from clients.

Make it easy to find e.g. www.yourdomain.co.nz/testimonials

Make the most of the page so the viewer finds it a helpful resource, not a chore.  Lay out the page so the most recent testimonial is at the top and the reader scrolls down to see others.  If there are obvious different services or products which have received reviews, clearly separate them too.  A series of embedded tabs can be a neat solution here.

testimonials table example

Tabbed testimonials example

Starting from zero

A different opportunity exists for businesses without any rave reviews.  You may feel it’s hard to ask for favours, to ask for sales or to ask for testimonials.  Let us help you make it easy.

Business “workflows” are a trendy catchphrase that is a way of describing ‘how-we-do-things-round-here’. Any marketing activity which you do more than once deserves a workflow process.  The reason is that it becomes part of normal business life and is easier to reproduce if you do it frequently.

Think about how you are going to set up the business process to get new testimonials regularly from clients and customers.

Here’s ours. 

Our marketing meeting has “Testimonials” as an agenda item.  We review a list of recent clients and pick a couple to approach.  The lead person who works on the client phones up and asks (using a pre-agreed script) if we can have a testimonial.  Further, we ask for it in three places – spoken, on LinkedIn and on Google.  The spoken one we write down as we chat and then send back to the client for approval. 

What’s so easy about this is that the client doesn’t have to actually write anything – they just talk.  Most people find that easier. 

Then we upload the testimonial or ask the client to do it on social pages.  Interestingly, almost 88% of sales are influenced by social media and 59% of consumers say Facebook is the most influential. We also link back to the client’s website (like we do on the Creative Agency Secrets Testimonials page).  It’s nice to give them back some strong SEO link juice.

Task completed! 

Testimonials add to your SEO

Ask for testimonials on your Google My Business page.  Note, you have to have a gmail address in order to create these so it can be a challenge for some clients if they have to create an account.  The great output from this is that your testimonials are visible in public search (alongside the search map) and when you have over 5 published, you get a star rating too.  That makes you stand out even more from competitors.

Get more mileage from each testimonial

Remember I suggested you get clients to ‘just talk’ and you write the testimonial?  Well that chatting will almost certainly contain a lot of information.  Take all your testimonials and copywrite a long and a short “sound bite” version of each.  Put the short version on the website testimonials page.  Copy the long version of each to a blog post – and link to it from the short version on the testimonials page.  Creating on-site links is good (reduces bounce rate) and also helps show an expanded authentic “customer voice” to each one.

Gamification of testimonials

Inspired by Gabriel McIntyre’s “Getting Paid Faster with the Invoice Challenge”, we set about adapting it to suit our need for client testimonials.  [Seriously, watch the video – it’s genius.]

Here’s the case study of the campaign we ran to get testimonials and support a good cause.

Now, where else can you get and share testimonials? We know they’re on Linked In, Facebook, Neighbourly (NZ local media), Yelp, Finda, Localist….. There are heaps of places – but don’t try to game the system.  Just pick the site(s) you know your clients and prospects use. 

Over to you to share your favourites.

This article was first written for publication in Marketing Online Magazine 

local marketing strategies for your business

10 marketing strategies for a local business

What are some breakthrough marketing strategies to grow and scale a local business?

Local teeth whitening business, already doing FB ads, Instagram ads, Adwords, little bit of content marketing on YouTube and will be “scaling” those channels over the coming weeks/months, but wanted to know about offline strategies or where else online I can get the best value for my marketing spend.

Great question – local marketing is absolutely essential nowadays.  Especially as few people are navigating social media looking for tooth whitening services, these will become more profitable than online over time.

Here’s a quick list of tools I suggest using to bolster your current work. 

  1. Set up a Google My Business account and get it address-verified (they mail you a code)
  2. Keywords – ensure city/ town / suburb / state or county are all included in metadata
  3. Directory listings – Get yourself listed on free and paid sites.  If you can afford a small spend www.brightlocal.com is worthwhile
  4. Use Facebook local targeting for advertising / brand building
  5. Set up Google Alerts for key phrases in the news that could allow you to comment / contact / build a mailing list
  6. Join the local Business Associations and contact all the relevant local business members
  7. Go to Networking events (BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Meetup.com, Eventbrite)
  8. Get happy customers to write Testimonials on Google My Business.  Also, reproduce them on your website
  9. Use media relations to get articles in local newspaper, local radio, local newsletters, (check out Yahoo Groups for local lists)
  10. Ask for Referrals – by sending two business cards with your invoice
  11. Make specific requests for social sharing via your accounts
  12. Surprise and delight the customer – e.g. pay it forward – you pay to have your teeth whitened, and I give a free treatment each month to a deserving individual and use that for publicity.

I hope that gives you a load of great ideas to be getting on with. 

But if you’d like specific coaching on what to do for this client – get in touch.  

How to get testimonials for your business

How to get testimonials for your business

 Firstly get a page set up on your domain where you can drop in all the quotes we get from clients.

Recommendations:

  1. Lay out the page so the most recent testimonial is at the top and the reader scrolls down to see others.
  2. Take all testimonials and make a long and a short “sound bite” version.  Put the short version on the Testimonials page.
  3. Copy the long version of each testimonial to a blog post – and link to it from the short version on the testimonials page.
  4. Link to the client website (like we do on the Creative Agency Secrets Testimonials page).  It’s nice to give back some strong SEO link juice.
  5. Have a plan about how you are going to set up the business process to get new testimonials regularly from clients and customers.
  6. Also ask for testimonials on your Google My Business page.  Note, you have to have a gmail address in order to upload these so it can be a big ‘ask’ for some clients for whom that’d be a challenge to set up.

Here’s a case study of a cute campaign we ran to get testimonials and support a good cause.

Now, where else can you get testimonials….. Linked In, Facebook, Neighbourly (NZ local media), Yelp, Finda….. over to you to share yours.

How to Get Leads from your Business Website

This speech was given to the Grey Lynn Business Association on 10th June 2016.  It includes tips on testing how your website is working, 12 ways to make local marketing work including inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

Profile Raising

Step four: Profile raising for new business

Getting well-known for what you do is a very long-term process. But this should not deter you because it’s relatively easy nowadays to become known for a specific skill or product.  

Becoming famous for being good at what you do in a public forum takes a few simple steps, repeated.

Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

The goal of this step in the new business development process reinforces prospects’ decision-making when they come to select someone to do work for them or with them. If they can find out about you independently, and online they are far, far more likely to hire you then if they cannot find out about you.

Where is your brand findable in public?

So let’s have a look at the different places where a stranger could find out about you and your business and the things that you do.

  1. Do you write articles?
  2. Have you been mentioned in the news?
  3. What about public speaking?
  4. Have you ever been to a conference?
  5. Do you ever speak or present at business events like BNI, the Chamber of Commerce or Local Business / Professional Membership Associations?
  6. What about running workshops or webinars?
  7. Do you host events at your own premises?
  8. Could you invite clients and prospects to learn more about your skill and expertise in a face-to-face environment?

Here are some of the things that you could do to improve your “find-ability”.

Business awards Does your industry run annual awards and could you enter?  Many parts of New Zealand have local Westpac Business Awards happening every year.  This not only adds to your internal feelgood factor for the team by entering, but it also gives you handy PR and some external credibility if you get through to the final stages.

What about opinion formers? There are always people who are prepared to stand up and talk about your industry; could they quote you? These people may be journalists but often nowadays they might be bloggers or podcasters.

Networking is important for most businesses particularly if you want to win clients locally. Having actually met someone is a very strong and easy way of building trust. Find out where your local networking opportunities are. This may be the Chamber of Commerce, local meetup groups or BNI.

I do recommend you check out the website meetup.com because a lot of good events are run and publicised through there.  You can search by location to filter.   And also, look at Eventbrite for your country. You will see that Creative Agency Secrets does a lot of Eventbrite work and we find the people actually search this site and sign up to our events.

Members of your staff also talk about your company and it’s important that every time they mention your firm you want it to be positive and also consistent. It’s important that you, the business owner, are not the only ambassador for the business.  Can you enthuse them?

Conferences, trade shows and exhibitions are another good place where you can get better-known. You could run a trade stand or you could just attend and see who else is there and talk to the other people you meet. If you’re able to get onto the conference speaking platform as a speech-giver then of course it’s a very good way to put your message across in a subtle manner and showcase your expertise. Do your research locally – are there conferences running and can you get a copy of the full attendees list if you are a speaker?  This gives you an opportunity to get in touch with people after the event as well.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development

Read the other posts from this series here!

Coworking space

How to get your first co-working members?

We have just opened a coworking space and although we are getting good traffic to the website we are struggling converting paid members, both online and offline. Any tips from those who have started coworking spaces on how you signed up your first 10 or 20 members?

The answer is the same for any new product or service being launched.

I have been a coworking user for 3 years (not an operator). Local Marketing by Experience is what you need to do. By this I mean get visitors to the space and pitch them when they are there…

My advice is this

  1. offer the space as a meeting venue for Meetups locally. Get people visiting the space through meetups and ask the organiser to allow you to pitch all attendees about the available space and “special rates” for their members.
  2. Research highly networked people you know and ask them to help you publicise on social platforms. Ask them to occupy the space free of charge on the condition that they use your space to host their meetings – so they bring people in.
  3. Offer the space short term for the use of local business incubator (they typically run Lean Canvas startup programs for 8 – 12 weeks). This gets visitors in the space and it looks busy… again, you achieve the objective of getting people in and using the space and used to visiting.
  4. Review your pricing. Find out why visitors choose to go elsewhere and if it’s price – adjust accordingly.
  5. Review your offer. Can you offer Co (collaboration) and Working (shared workspace)? Most only offer workspace. My advice is to proactively manage the collaboration part. How can you introduce workers to each other, now can you facilitate them winning new customers in your space, how can you leverage your networks to help them win business… .
    Coworking space

    Coworking space

    How can you use your platform to help them sell more?  If you do this, people will want to use your platform for their business because it grows as a result of the collaboration and the working together.  And the condition for that is to pay you to occupy your workspace…. problem solved.

Although all these tactics can work, my view is that the last one gives the most opportunity – but it takes work and is possibly hardest to deliver on quickly.

This is in answer to a question on Clarity.fm