Reviews are essential for businesses building brand visibility online.
But bad reviews make my toes curl. Sometimes they are fair, sometimes not. What can the marketing team do about this?
Different pathways for different reviews
Treating different customers differently is a core principle of good CRM. But until the review is published, you won’t know whether the customer is going to give you a good or a bad review.
Take a look at this – an alternative pathway for your “less good” business reviews.
Make every review count
Starting from a review page set up within our software, your customer then moves down three possible pathways. If they give you a 4 or 5 star review, they arrive here.
And this is of course, the normal Google Business Reviews page.
If the customer selects a 1,2 or 3 star in the first screen they head off a different path, to this page. Where the review is captured and forwarded to the business. But the crucial difference it’s not on your public Google Business page.
The red square links to the Google Business page, so the customer can post a public review.
Sneaky or “allowable” marketing?
You choose – would you do this for your brand?
I have the contacts to set up this service for any business – get in touch.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Review-starter-page.png902964Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2019-03-18 15:36:092019-03-18 15:36:12Customer Reviews - what about the bad ones?
Solving marketing problems is difficult. I don’t like doing it – unless I know a solution or have a good, educated guess about what could work.
A client situation emerged which serves to illustrate the challenge. We reached an impasse. I had offered advice, our progress was smooth until we got to the point of marketing to new customers who don’t yet know the brand. And one of the client team was deeply opposed to the tactic I proposed. I’ll explain how we got through this later.
Solving marketing problems
One of my podcasts summarised three types of problem – messes, problems and puzzles. These are ‘complex’ problems – ones with multiple factors affecting the situation. Modern marketing gets more of these – because with omni-channel promotions it’s increasingly hard to isolate a single input-output signal to explain an outcome.
The author paraphrases Gerald Ashley as he describes the different approach needed for each type of problem
Messes are ill-defined in form and structure and so are most like real life.
Problems have a defined structure with potential solutions, but none are absolutely clear and right.
Puzzles are well defined and have specific solutions that can be worked out.
Marketing problems are frequently perceived to be puzzles, but in actual fact are probably messes. The big insight is in this quote:
Most of us crave certainty and as much control as possible. Politicians and business leaders are just the same and perhaps even more so. ‘Bring me facts and experts. I want a solution now!’ By implication, those in positions of authority tend to treat most issues as puzzles, sometimes problems and never messes. As a result they tend to seek shortcuts to answers that are probably wrong. The biggest mistake is to carve out part of a mess, treat it as a problem and then solve it as a puzzle. This can lead to very bad decisions.
Back to my client ‘problem’
We reviewed the situation and whether it was a complex problem or not. It was.
It wasn’t a puzzle because the structure of marketing activity was reasonably clear-cut.
It wasn’t a mess because there was structure, there was a framework of activity and the desired output was prospects who hadn’t previously known about the brand. And so we decided this was an actual problem.
I thought hard about what to do. This was the series of steps
I asked the client what they did when they were advising someone and had disagreement
I reviewed the steps we’d taken thus far and gained agreement around the success of the process, method and outcomes to date
I narrowed the discussion to the point where the “leap of faith” sat. What were the inputs we had prepared (there were 2) and these were acknowledged
Then I walked away and left the client team to discuss.
They have not specifically told me what they discussed or what they decided. But it’s clear we are still working together. And so I am presuming the first (tentative) step towards the leap of faith activity has been taken and I’ll hear what the outcomes are in due course.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/marketing-problem.png7101650Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2019-02-01 13:59:512019-02-01 13:59:53Problem Solving for Marketing
The most visited pages were prioritised for translation and the migration plan included adding shop products in descending order of popularity.
Integrations with MailChimp were also planned and a range of marcoms tactics to publicise to the existing user base.
Stage two was to add multi-currency to the site. Since German was the language we added, it was clear the Euro currency was needed. Finding a good plugin wasn’t hard – but customising the display to suit the site made usability better.
The default install is below – the user has to notice that the flag doesn’t match their country and then click the down arrow to find alternatives. This was clumsy and not very obvious since nothing actually mentioned that this related to payment choices.
Drop down currency choice
Our improvements were made with two changes – firstly displaying the currencies side by side in a grey bar and secondly by adding a label “Change Currency”.
Change Currency label
Lastly we recommended the client pay for the fully functioned version and add many more currencies – we selected these based on the countries where website visitors come from.
Full multi currency list
Unexpected outcomes and challenges
Here’s our list of things which we found challenging and which should help you shortcut your own learning.
Back end is duplicated now in each language – but you have to select each page or post individually for translation
Creating new landing pages for each language means that the URL needs to also change, making the site structure more complex
The tags and categories can be translated, listed for the translation team to work on or left untranslated
Categories lists (created alphabetically in English) are listed differently in other languages
The media library is common to both – but labels, naming and searching is in each language
Publicity tools like OneSignal work across the whole site and were sending out updates in both languages. Customers noticed and told us they didn’t like this.
Mail Chimp allows editing of database field labels e.g. “Subscribe here” but we found that a lot more work was needed to update all the messaging with subscription confirmation emails, unsubscribe messages etc.
Overall we found that we needed to create “rules” for the teams using the site – marketing, translation, web and merchandising so that it was clear where and how we expected any product, image or article to display and be included in the taxonomy. Many of these rules could not be anticipated and so necessitated detailed checking of each others’ work to identify mis-matches.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Full-currency-list.png3461092Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2018-11-12 11:48:022018-11-12 11:48:02Case Study: Multi Language Website
Twice a year you get a chance to run a promotion themed around the biannual clock changes in spring and autumn (fall). We call it daylight savings or “summer time” but either way, the clocks advance or retreat an hour.
Here are 5 themes for promotions you can run in your marketing
Daylight Savings promotion for clean carpets
5 Daylight Savings Promotions
A reminder – some products change over time and so using this clock change as a reminder can help your customers. Toothbrushes need changing each season; Carpets get cleaned twice a year – a campaign we did for Cleaneze carpet cleaning.
Something to do – A new activity which reflects the new season we move into. Start a sport in Springtime. Or new clothes for winter.
Stopping doing something – This is great for diet products or changing habits – if you swim in the ocean in summer, you could move to pool swimming in winter.
A change of routine – working with children and particularly small babies is challenging getting them to sleep. Promotions for Sleep remedies, child care advice and behaviour coaching.
Modern clocks are often automatically set to change – but how about all your old manual clocks – could you offer a service to show how to change the clock on your car dashboard?
Meanwhile, what could you customer be doing with the time saved? Send her a stress ball, a gel eye mask to relax with, a new book or magazine voucher or a coupon for a free coffee and a muffin.
Today I received a GDPR email message from a LinkedIn connection – we are 1st degree connected. But because he’s in Europe, all his written electronic mass communications are now governed by GDPR – the European Union legislation General Data Protection Regulation.
The full email is reproduced below. Here is my analysis of why it’s such a nicely composed text. If you are in B2B marketing, I recommend taking a close look and deciding if this sort of annual review of your mailing list is appropriate.
Because we pay (mostly) for our email mass communications in a monthly fee calculated on the size of our mailing list, it’s worthwhile doing a “cull” to remove people who are either not reading your messages (since Gmail introduced the tabbed viewing this has increased for my list) or those who are no longer relevant to you or vice versa. It keeps your messaging tight and focused.
6 direct mail copywriting tips
The opener explains why – in large font. The subject line is “Why did we connect in the first place?” so I was intrigued to open it.
The addressee (me) is personalised.
The four points summarise Paul’s brand offering and gives me more reason to check out his current work.
Then he justifies continuing to mail me post-GDPR (not sure I buy this – but points for trying)
He gives permission to unsubscribe and suggests reasons why I should do this.
Lastly, in the footer he reminds me to update my LinkedIn contact preferences – a very nice touch
So here’s his article in which he explains what IDK means and here’s the list management options for future communications showing my selections.
I think this is clear and totally appropriate. Get in touch if you’d like me to review your mailing list strategies.
Email list marketing permission options
The Full Email Text
Rebecca, You are receiving this email because we are 1st. grade connected on LinkedIn.
“I did not have time to write a short note” sic. Mark Twain The words appeared in a letter [JRMT] 1871 June 15, Letter from Mark Twain to James Redpath, Elmira, New York
Was it because my profile caught you attention, or was it something in my Company page which appealed to you?
All good reasons and fine with me…, as these are my reasons too.
By connecting 1st grade you signed-in = pre GDPR opt-in – when accepting the connection request.
Your connection is as valuable to me as exchanging a business card containing all contact data during a life network event. A licence to contact… by phone, fax (I still remember), mobile phone (now WhatsApp), mail … This in order to set-up a business deal, meeting (now virtual) and social event… stay in contact.
And which is more, exchange or reach out for knowledge, an introduction, bring articles, whitepapers, books – all now with e- extension – which added to our success to each other’s attention and use. Shortcutting the learning curve, avoiding pitfalls, grow faster.
It is cumbersome to maintain contact with your network (it contains the verb …work) so here is how I do it: I am a giver – the golden rule in networking: give and not expect to be given – by sharing courtesy content, summits, introductions…. Proper GDPR set-up in place to safeguard and cherish our contact.
When your interest, position, business evolves, it is okay to: * Unsubscribe * or hit the * No longer interested *, * Unspecified * , * Other * (a reason appreciated) tab. No hard feelings!
But don’t throw * Did not sign up * back at me because you did – pre- GDPR – check your linked-in connection list.
It gets worse with * Inappropriate content *: how am I supposed to know things changed when you are not telling me, your once 1st linked-in chosen contact, what changed, what your interests are today… so Update your preference.
Getting digital marketing sponsorship right is a challenge. Activations using digital channels depend on robust messaging strategies and careful persona creation. In this presentation we have a case study from Air New Zealand and Akzo Nobel Volvo Ocean Race which you can adapt to your needs.
Rebecca was speaking on the topic of digital channels for sponsorship at the Conferenz Sponsorship Summit and NZ Marketing Summit joint event. Here are the slides and a video of my keynote.
Celebrating an anniversary whether it be one, ten or a hundred years is certainly something to be proud of. You, as a company should almost be bursting at the seams to tell potential and existing customers the news.
Of course, for customers to get as excited as you, they expect something in return. That’s how the system works. They support you for x amount of years and at each anniversary expect a little appreciation. As Mark Twain astutely noted: “It is better to give than receive- especially advice” and following this I will offer my own – He’s right. And this is why businesses offer sales; they give a little in order to gain a lot.
The question of course is how to celebrate and promote your anniversary. This can depend on a variety of facets such as the length of time of existence, the size of the company and the type of company.
It is for this reason I have come up with 4 simple categories.
4 types of anniversary campaigns
Sales & Giveaways
Promotions & Interaction
Reincarnation (Sticking with the religious theme)
1. Sales & Giveaways – Clever discounts and freebies
This one is relatively straightforward. Simply reducing the final bill for the customer will obviously get them interested – more bang for your buck has traditionally been the ‘go-to’ strategy. Giveaways however can work equally effective. The total bill may not reduce however the value perceived would still have increased. Better yet, it means more of your product is being consumed by your customers.
A common tip often acted upon is to link the number of years celebrated to the sale/gift. Whether it be 10% off if you’re celebrating your tenth anniversary or every 5th item is free for your fifth, linking the years to the deal instils that number into your customers brains, meaning they will be more likely to associate your business with success and longevity. As has been hugely publicised, customers who associate success and longevity with your business are more likely to purchase from you.
Remember, you can be clever about it – 40 years 40% off may be too much of a discount for some stores so be clever! 40 = XL in Roman numerals so have an XL sale, whether it be just a larger sale than usual or a sale focused on extra-large items, it will most likely prove cheaper than 40% off but have a similar effect.
2. Promotions & Interactions – Get the word out there
This deals with how your company reaches out to your customers and the general public. Obviously, if no one has heard that it’s your anniversary no one will be excited. This therefore is critical that it is done right. Larger companies may not have to worry about it and let word of mouth do the work. Smaller companies however have their own competitive advantage – personalization.
Personalized, handwritten notes prove effective time and time again. These interactions will obviously be critical to making your customers aware of your anniversary. Under interaction I have associated cut-cost ways to deliver value to your customer – tours. Customers are always interested in how their favorite good is actually made, so offer it! They aren’t expensive to run as attendees would actually prefer to see the business running as normal as possible and give your business greater exposure to the public..
3. Reincarnation – Bring back the past
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the reincarnation of old products and methods when companies celebrate birthdays or anniversaries so I won’t go into any detail about it. However, many don’t even consider replacing current prices with the traditional ones. An example would be if Coca-Cola were to sell cans for 5c each – their original price. You may be thinking, this should be under the sale category and you’re probably right, but as it refers to the original price, it could be seen as the rebirth of the price; okay compromise, it’s both.
4. Internal Interaction – Celebrate your team
They say nothing is more important than the customer; if that’s true then employees can’t be far behind. When celebrating an anniversary, celebrate your employees’ efforts. They are just as much a part of the company as the customers and therefore, deserve similar recognition and perceived benefits. Traditionally a party always goes down well, however ensure that at least the long-time employees receive a memento, something which they can be proud of and something that will portray your eternal appreciation.
Most successful anniversary campaigns utilize more than one of these categories so for greater success, try and aim to hit at least two. And remember, no matter what strategy you choose, conveying your appreciation for the past and enthusiasm for the future never hurts.
Need help brainstorming and planning ideas? We’d be glad to help. Click here to get in touch with us.
Thanks to Dawn who wrote in asking “What does a client brief look like?”
Let us help you out.
What to do when hiring an agency
If you sub-contract your marketing to an agency or to freelancers, you want to be sure that you pay for and get good quality work.
A lot of the quality of output is due to high quality input. By that I mean, briefing documents. If you can explain clearly what you want, how you want it done and timeframes, you are far more likely to get high quality work back.
For briefing we always give a lot of detail and we also ask the freelancer to write back with answers to our questions.
We choose these carefully in order to show us that THEY have read the brief.
Please tell me what access permissions you need before you start the job
And we also ask them open questions whose answers tell us if they understand the scope, how they would approach the job and allow us to assess how good their English is.
Estimate how long the job will take
Tell me what problems you anticipate
Below is a template document which we use when we receive instructions to do some marketing for our clients. You can download it from the link.
Each sub-heading is self explanatory – as a client you should fill in each section as clearly as possible and then send it out to the agency or agencies you want to work with asking them to send you price quotations.
Alternatively, you write longhand what you want and the agency will fill in the gaps in the document. Then you should approve it before instructing the work.
Sage publishes an annual survey of accountants attitudes – what’s interesting is that it is global and the summary report details some good findings about the profession.It’s called The Practice of Now 2018
As a marketer who works with professional services businesses, my reading highlights some big numbers in the research about artificial intelligence, fear of competition, lack of optimism and increasingly demanding clients.The implications for marketing, I will cover at the end of this article.
10 take-outs from the Practice of Now 2018 report
Clients are changing faster than accountants. – 42% of clients expect accountants to provide business advice.This shows how frontline accountancy is in the mind of the client and how banks and business mentors have failed to take up the slack here, which is an opportunity for growth.
Revenues rise as cloud accounting allows firms to be more productive.56% of firms saw a revenue rise.If your firm didn’t see this fee income growth – start to review your working practices.
Practice Management in the cloud is at 53% adoption – clearly we are into the mainstream majority now.
But confidence is lower – 40% feel less confident about the prospects for their practice.Clearly Xero’s goal of putting accountants out of business is realistic and beginning to come true.
Competition within the industry is more visible – are you buying up a practice from a retiring competitor?Clients will go to an accountant who serves their needs – even to another city or country.This is both a threat and and opportunity for new business development.
Artificial Intelligence is helping free up administrative tasks and it’s more than just automation. Moving from data entry, email and diary management to higher value services is a no-brainer… but how to set it up is the challenge as these skills aren’t in-house and they may not be in the IT services organisations who work with accountants either.
Most accountants are doing some workflow automation – 49% want to do more of it.So the benefits are noticed (see 2 above).
The language of accountancy is changing – “Tell me how much money I have” and “How much am I owed?” is SO refreshing compared to “debtors, creditors and accruals”.From a marketing point of view, these messages are very powerful and simple – but does your firm use this language?
Advisory services are wanted by 42% of clients – but if you don’t market & position the firm to capture this revenue, clients will go elsewhere.
The BIGGIE – 67% of accountants say that cloud technologies make client collaboration easier. Phew, glad that worked out because it jolly well ought to be this way.
Should I worry about artificial intelligence?
If you’re not sure what A.I. could do for your business, start asking questions now.Because we all understand automation in things like bank feeds, this is a very small part of the working practice move towards higher functionality for humans and lower functions for machines (or software robots).
The easiest way to understand the potential for AI in accountancy is this extract from the report
“Candidates for automation already include assigning incoming bank statement entries with the correct nominal codes—via training the machine becomes able to predict what codes should be used—but in the near future the power of AI to learn means it will become involved with operations like analytics and report creation. For example, software will be able to predict a client’s cash flow based on the company’s previous behaviour. Based on self-generated data, AI will be able to make predictions and decisions. This isn’t limited to client data. By examining things like seasonality data, AI can help with practice management. AI and automation aren’t just desirable because they make life easier. Research has suggested that the tedium of repetitive tasks can lead to a high staff turnover, introducing additional costs for a practice such as recruitment and training. Automating these processes makes complete business sense.”
It goes on to say
“AI can flag the anomalies, saving time and resources, making the accountant more productive.”
Your strategic marketing pathway
And as a marketer, if I am advising a modern accountancy practice this is what they should be doing for strategic marketing.
Firstly get your brand positioning updated to reflect modern working.Think Nena and Kim Wilde – “Anyplace, anywhere, anytime” and you’ll be on the right track.
How that branding plays out into your collateral, positioning, services and online profile should be straightforward.The key is to get the strategy right first and the rollout should be clear.You will need new keywords for SEO, your client communications will become driven by client preference and choice and your language will simplify and align with clients’ choices of words.
Other than that, it’s marketing business as (un)usual for a modern accountancy practice.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpg00Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2018-05-31 16:56:132018-05-31 16:56:13The (b)leading edge of Accountancy marketing