Renewal Marketing Done Right – Rewarding Repeat Business

Walking away imageWe’ve all been there. Every year, renewing your car/home/whatever insurance, you’re hitting the comparison sites because your current provider’s 2nd+ year quote has leapt up a notch. One year, instead of ‘renewing’ the traditional way, it was cheaper for me to leave my car insurance provider and rejoin the same company immediately(!) than it was to straight-up renew. Absolutely absurd.

Too many companies focus on rewarding new business, not on trying to keep what they have. Bearing in mind that it’s supposedly 6-7 times cheaper to keep a current client/customer happy than to win a new one, you realise just how crazy that is. I always used to laugh whenever I received direct mail from BT… the new customer/crosssell/upsell materials would be nicely printed, colourful and on nice glossy paper, while your bill would be printed on rough paper and look cheap (in the days before they went paperless/online).

So it was a nice treat to be wowed by a genuine exception to the rule recently…

I own am a slave to three cats and we use VetProtect as our pet insurance provider, which also includes check-ups, jabs, flea treatments, etc. at our vets (Heath Vets, who run VP) for free on top. I recently received a letter thanking me for continuing to use VP and I was offered a thank you gift. When I read that the thank you gift was worth £160, my jaw hit the floor. A company rewarding loyalty, and by doing something like that? What the hell, right?

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The Rise & (Supposed) Fall Of Google Authorship – My Port80 Localhost Talk

Burning books imageOn Wednesday evening I spoke at Port80 Summer Localhost 2014 in Newport, alongside three other excellent talks on the subjects of product launches, intellectual property and the power of using emotion in UX.

When @Joel_Hughes (@Port80Events‘ organiser) and I first discussed my talk topic earlier in the year, which was going to be about Google Authorship (a.k.a. rel="author"), it was before Google’s John Mueller announced the changes to Authorship in late June. Rather than to ditch the talk topic entirely and talk about something else SEO-related instead, I decided to stick with it, talking about its past, present and potential future.

Here’s the slide deck on Speaker Deck (an alternative to SlideShare, which seems to upload decks at a much higher quality):

UPDATE: As you can’t click on the links in the above slide deck, here’s a link to the deck as a PDF, where the hyperlinks – such as the list of ‘References & Further Reading’ near the end – will work.

UPDATE #2: Just over a week after my talk, Google kills Authorship altogether. Oh well, so that’s that then…! (Although some speculate that it may live in the form of AuthorRank…)

[Burning books image credit - LearningLark]

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Offline (Face-To-Face) Networking For SEOs: My #maximpact Guest Slot

#maximpact Hangout screenshot
#maximpact Offline Networking logoI’ve been a huge fan of Max Minzer’s #maximpact series of Google+ Hangouts On Air ever since I first discovered and joined in on one back in August last year. Since then, I have become a regular attendee, alongside the likes of the mighty Steve Webb (a.k.a. US Steve), Barrie Moran and Tony Dimmock.

43 episodes and nearly a year later, I was delighted to be asked to be the main speaker on a topic close to my heart: offline, face-to-face networking for SEOs. The Hangout took place this past Thursday (24th July).

During the Hangout we talked about:

  • My networking approach, which is not to sell – just getting to know people, listening to them and answering any questions that they have. “Anti-sales is the best kind of sales.”
  • Going to events on your own. What’s best to do? Try and go where you know someone is going, or bring a friend with you.
  • How networking doesn’t have to be seen as your traditional business networking events. Networking is what you make of it. You can network at social meetups (just so long as you don’t just sell, sell, sell – that’s sleazy). Just give people help and advice.
  • Researching events before you go – e.g. finding out who else is attending.
  • Networking at events where you’re also speaking, especially in terms of keeping calm or not acting too aloof or egotistical!
  • Networking at conferences, of both the SEO and non-SEO variety.
  • Not being one of those networkers who tries to leave a conversation the moment they realise that the person they’re talking to isn’t a potential customer/client – it’s not about selling to the person in front of you, it’s about getting to know them and vice versa. “You have no idea who knows who.”
  • Using social media (especially LinkedIn) for following up and keeping in touch with people after you’ve met them in person.
  • How to handle ‘hecklers’, i.e. people who have a negative impression of SEO when you meet them.

Here’s a link to the event page on Google+, which contains a few comments as well as a video embed, which I’ve also included below:

I also have an interview with Max in the works (similar to some of the interviews I’ve done before), which I hope to publish very soon.

Events, SEO, Social Media , , , ,

The Business Of Web Design Conference 2014 – An SEO’s Perspective

Yesterday I attended The Business Of Web Design 2014 (#tboWD), which was held on my doorstep in Cardiff. Although I am not a web designer, I could see from the conference’s talk topics that a lot of it would relate heavily to SEO freelancing – and I was right.

The question “how much does a website cost?” is so similar to the question “how much does SEO cost?”, when you’ve not even been told the prospect’s industry, their goals (e.g. whether they want to rank for a really tough keyword or a few less competitive keywords) or even the URL of the site. Determining how to price yourself as a consultant – whether it be on a basis of time or the potential value/ROI offered to the client – is applicable across both industries. And getting a client to say “yes” to things can be just as tricky in SEO as it is in web design.

In addition to eight fantastic talks, there was a panel Q&A at the end, and to my terror (but also delight), the wonderful world of SEO was debated. I spent the first few minutes of my recent unified.diff talk tackling the subject of SEO’s terrible reputation – especially in the eyes of the web design/development community – and have previously blogged about how one of the best compliments I’d ever received was from a highly-respected local developer. Fortunately, while there were some stirrings of the typical “SEO is evil” type talk that we’re so used to seeing, I was really surprised and pleased to discover that the debate was handled really well. I’ll go into more detail below.

(Note: for those where it says “[Slides TBA]” for now, I’ll update the post with the slide deck embeds as-and-when they all become available.)

1) How much does a website cost? – Sean Johnson

[Slides TBA]

Sean Johnson photoSean (@seanuk) kicked things off with the question from prospects that often causes the most chagrin: “how much does a website cost?” Why? Because the answer is always: “it depends!”

What’s your industry? What are your goals with the website? Do you need eCommerce functionality? Does it need a blog? This applies to SEO so, so much: What’s your industry? What are your goals? Is the site brand new? Is the site even live yet? Has SEO work been carried out before, and if so, were spammy tactics involved? How can a web designer or SEO quote effectively without knowing that type of info first? The answer is: not very effectively. Not very.

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Events, SEO , , , , , ,

3 Things I Learnt Muting 50 World Cup Twitter Hashtags

Deflated football imagePeople who know me well know one thing about me: I’m not a fan of football. So much so that one time, when I guy I didn’t know for very long asked me over Facebook if I’d be keen to join him in a game of 5-a-side, an old school friend of mine joined in in the comments in what can only be described as “hysterical laughing”…

With World Cup fever taking over these past couple of months, I got in the habit of muting WC-related hashtags on Twitter. I did the maths following on from the final and found out that I’d muted 50(!) of them altogether (you can see the full list below). Looking back, I learnt 3 things…

1) Football fans love their consistency

It irks me when you go to an event and people on Twitter use 2 or 3 different hashtags for the same thing – e.g. #EventName, #EventName2014, #ENAbbreviated, etc. etc. It sucks because it’d be good to have all the event-related tweets all in one place, assigned to one hashtag. Well, with football, that ain’t gonna happen…

The Germany vs Brazil game saw #BRA, #BRAGER, #BRAvGER, #BRAvsGER, #BrazilvsGermany and #GERBRA all in use as once. Football fans: WTF? Seriously, you guys needs to decide on a consistent hashtag and go nuts on that one.

2) Muting some hashtags is a tricky business (if they overlap with other topics)

The mighty #CRO… Conversion Rate Optimisation or Croatia? Suffice to say I left that one unmuted (or thinking about it, I could’ve just muted it for a period of time – e.g. one month, instead of forever – but never mind)…

3) No matter how much you mute…

…You’ll never be able to stop some tweets – especially those where people don’t use a hashtag.

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