Author Archives: Rick

I need marketing automation but how do I convince the business?

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Marketing automation is more than just another buzzword but the chances are if you’re reading this you’ve already done the research and are aware of the benefits it brings. But how do you get everyone else who can’t see beyond the jargon on board? Don’t worry, this scenario is a lot more common than you might think. We hear it across meeting room tables on a weekly basis and can answer confidently as it was a key question we asked ourselves not so long ago. Here’s how to get started.

Talk to pain points

Chances are marketing automation first really grabbed your attention when you realised how it could make your role easier, more productive and therefore fruitful. Just like it got your attention, showing how it will solve others’ pains and needs will get their buy-in also. So what are the common ones you can use to get the ball rolling? 

We all have targets that drive to common business development objectives. Lead challenges, confusing sales processes and not having the full picture of what’s happening all get in the way of a successful day. Keeping track of and converting leads is time consuming and often suffers from a lack of valuable insights. Few know, but will gladly pay attention to, the value marketing automation can bring in nurturing and tracking prospects through the sales funnel so that an informed approach to converting them can be made just as they are ready to buy.

This often prompts a response of ‘it sounds too good to be true’ as many businesses have ‘a much more complicated sales process that includes multiple stakeholders’. However, the nurturing we talk of makes sure the opportunities are kept warm with the decision makers being taken on a journey in which they feel increasingly informed on how to make the right decision with you. The reporting available makes sure the business knows how far along the journey the lead is, allowing them to be scored and future revenue forecasted.

Show how it can be done

Many of our work routines are processes that have been passed from colleague to colleague having become accepted as they’ve stood the test of time. This is not to say they need to be re-written, as after-all they’re the foundations that have got the business to where it is today, but documenting the current ones and showing how automation will address the grievances expressed over morning coffee will get it prioritised on the agenda.

Understand where marketing automation will deliver value by taking a look at the manual, repetitive processes that everyone leaves until the last moment. This is your chance to answer ‘there must be a better way?’ Demonstrating how automating these will make more hours available in the day for talking to the prospects that count, rather than counting the number of people being spoken to, will gather the decision makers around the opportunity to drive better outcomes.

Talk the business’ language – ROI

Businesses are in the market to make money so nothing is more persuasive. Marketing and sales departments, although often viewed as separate entities, are the engine room for this. Unsurprisingly, they both therefore need to develop and jointly own marketing automation. This will not only ensure you have advocates but the solution will also generate a quick ROI. Studies have shown that not aligning the two teams around the right processes and technologies costs B2B companies 10% or more in lost revenue every year (Bizsphere).

Money talks so agreeing sales as well as marketing objectives and the standard metrics on which they are to be reported will give marketing automation a purpose in your business. These should demonstrate how new and repeat sales should increase whilst costs per lead decrease thanks to shorter sales cycles and better internal efficiency.

Would you like someone to talk it through with or to discuss how to make sure you select the right platform with the features required to deliver your plan? Call us today for an informal chat or take a look at our resource The Business Case for Marketing Automation.

Bizsphere article:



SEO – Is It Dead?

Portrait of business people pulling SEO banner

What was once a be all and end all in digital marketing is now becoming the last priority for many marketers. The rapid change in consumer behaviour and the ever-expanding nature of social media is affecting the way prospects find you. Does this mean Search Engine Optimisation is no longer all it cracks up to be?

The answer lies in your definition of SEO. When Google stopped providing data about keyword popularity in 2013, repetition of keywords throughout your website pages was no longer of help to your organic search performance. From here on, SEO became more complex and many marketers forgot the purpose of SEO and attached a new meaning to the marketing tactic.

Search engine optimisation is at its core, the process of making websites more understandable to Google, so users are provided with the most relevant and reliable content in their search. To put it simply, SEO is about website quality. However, in our competitive and fast paced markets, SEO has quickly become a game where marketers manipulate the system in order to outperform competition. It didn’t take long for Google to determine that this approach was skewing search results with mediocre content. So if this is your tactic, then yes, SEO is well and truly dead.

If you are however, climbing the SEO leader board by providing genuine, quality content and a seamlessly designed user journey, your results will be more positive, but don’t singularly rely on SEO to drive website traffic. To perform organically, you must stay on top of consumer behaviour and foresee industry changes so you can respond accordingly.

People want what their friends have and would trust a recommendation from their friend on Facebook rather than an unrecognisable website in their search results. As discussed in our previous article, 68% of people trust customer recommendations they read on social media, online forums and blog posts.

When looking for a new foodie destination would you visit Google or Zomato? When in need of a popular event to attend, do you find it on Google or Facebook? And what about finding a ride to the event? Uber is your answer, not a Google search. Today, social proof and apps are everything. We have entered the era of the sharing economy where ratings provide credibility and we trust opinions of the faces we see on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. Even Google could foresee the social era, although their attempt to jump on the social trend with Google Plus was a little underwhelming.

So what does this mean for you? Rather than pouring your resources into tricking Google to attain SEO leadership, dedicate your time towards understanding your customer’s behaviour online and create a strategy that will increase your engagement using social touch points.

See our digital strategy services

See our social media marketing services

Choosing The Right CMS For Your Website


If you’re creating or improving your website and content strategy, do not look past the primary and most critical step that will deliver your vision, or constantly leave you with tedious roadblocks that exhaust your resources; your content management system (CMS). Your CMS is the foundations of your website content, responsible for administering and displaying your website material. Be strategic in your CMS selection process with research and consideration of the following:

Does your CMS tick all your boxes?

Keep your priorities in check before sealing the deal with your chosen CMS system. Take the time to talk to developers and test the system to ensure it will meet your requirements and bring your vision to life.


Is there a high level of flexibility and customisation capability in the system? This is necessary for you to position your brand throughout your website, present your content in the way you choose and add the plugins you desire. The last thing you need is a CMS with unreasonable design constraints.

Core functionality

Is the user interface of the software easy to navigate and does it provide you with the functionality to complete core tasks such as creating, editing, deleting and organising pages?


It’s strategically important to appreciate that issues could arise and determine how you would combat these. Is there a support team that is available to help you resolve any CMS and website issues.

Which CMS do we opt for?

There is no one-size-fits all, ‘right’ platform when it comes to a CMS, so we implement a CMS which best caters to our client’s needs and their business vision. We do however, always opt for an open source CMS as it provides flexible accessibility options. This is beneficial for our clients as they can easily adjust their website and hosting, preventing them from being tied to one agency. We also ensure that the CMS is equipped with optimal security, maintenance and backups.

If you’re a small to medium businesses with a budget of $10 – $100k, there are a multitude of efficient platforms that will fulfil your requirements. For an e-commerce website, Shopify is a user-friendly option, offering a large selection of add-ons, templates and 24/7 support, for a seamless and secure website. Shopify has been our CMS of choice when developing earthYARD and Hennings Jewellers.

For a content-driven website, WordPress is a professional, cost effective and feature-rich software option, which has assisted us in bringing Making A Difference, Govinnovate and CeBIT’s vision’s to life, as well as our own website design.

For our large and global clients looking for an enterprise option, we recommend the Windows based CMS, Umbraco for it’s ASP.NET technology, where performance controls, such as caching, pre-built easy to use API’s and custom API capabilities are provided. A rich text editor, full customisation, e-commerce plug ins and security has also made Umbraco a successful CMS software for developing SOL Republic and CNH’s New Holland and CASE IH Parts website.

All in all, taking time to research and carefully consider key factors is imperative in order to find the most effective CMS for your website. Ask yourself ‘what am I trying to achieve?’ and be realistic in your list of requirements so you commit to a CMS within your price range. Be conscious of how your business needs could develop in the future, but only pay for the things you will use.


Want More?

See our resources page or contact us

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How To Use LinkedIn Groups For Lead Generation


LinkedIn is by far the simplest and most cost effective way to build professional relationships and cultivate B2B lead generation initiatives.

LinkedIn groups are a great place to start. These are communities within LinkedIn that focus on particular topics or interests, bringing like minded professionals together. Not only are they helpful for staying up to date with the latest conversations in your industry, they also provide you with an established group of potential prospects.

Finding the right groups to join

When joining groups for lead generation, many marketers look in all the wrong places. It’s automatic to gravitate towards familiar ground, however joining groups where your competitors are hanging out will not bring you any new business.

Instead, put yourself if your prospects shoes. Ask yourself what industry they work in, their role within the workplace and their location.

Use the LinkedIn search bar to specify your search according to these key indicators and then filter the search by choosing “groups”.


Become a “Thought Leader” in your chosen groups

Positioning yourself as a thought leader will soon have group members associating your name and business as the ‘go to’ source for information and service. Achieving this is simple, with time and consistency. Do not expect instant gratification or attempt to accelerate the process with a hard sell approach. Instead, Offer insightful information and provide solutions that solve common challenges within the group. A personable, helpful approach is the most effective way to build trust with your audience and thus convert them into sales-ready leads.

Use groups to determine your top prospects

Looking to improve your targeting strategy? You can use the following function to target a specific type of prospect within a LinkedIn group.

In your chosen group, click the members list and scroll down to load as many members as possible. Then press “Command +F” on your keyboard to access the keyword search feature.

Type in the keyword (such as a job title) you want to target, and your browser will highlight the members within the group who have that keyword in their job title.

You can then open each person’s profile in a new window and send a personalised invitation to connect.

Send messages to LinkedIn group members

Staying up to date with the latest group activity will allow you to monitor what people are discussing and therefore see the challenges they are facing. With this information, you can determine valuable leads that may be worth reaching out to via Inmail or a LinkedIn connection.

For your message to be effective you must include a key purpose. For example, you could address the current LinkedIn group conversation, offer a free consultation or send an invitation to a “special” webinar relative to the issue they are facing.


Found this helpful?

For more information on using LinkedIn for lead generation read our “5 Top Tips to Find Prospects On LinkedIn” or learn “How to grow your business with LinkedIn”.

Alternatively, see our resources page or contact us

How to Optimise Your Marketing Automation System

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You’ve heard the excitement about marketing automation and discovered the seamless experience and huge ROI your company can achieve. You’ve taken the next big step and bought into a marketing automation system to optimise your sales opportunities. Now that you are fully equipped with all the tools you need to transform your business, are you asking yourself ‘where are the results?’

Still unsure on what marketing automation is all about? Have a read through our article, Transform Your Marketing from Manual to Modern, to learn why marketing automation will be the most powerful marketing tool in your business.

At first, your new marketing automation solution and requirement for change in your marketing processes may be a challenge. Like anything new, it will take time for your team to adapt to a new strategy and achieve the results you are expecting, but there are practices you can follow to improve manage this change.

Gaining an edge in your new marketing capabilities requires tapping into both sides of the brain. With a perfect combination of science and creativity, you can optimise marketing automation in your business to produce better customer experiences, increased awareness, leads and revenue.

Read the following tips to learn how to apply your marketing automation system for optimal success:

  1. Be a goal setter and plan accordingly

A destination and road map are essential for a marketing strategy that will thrive long-term. Create a yearly plan that is then managed on a month to month basis. Setting goals and creating a detailed plan will give your team the detailed direction they need to create and implement seamless campaigns that will deliver results. Your goals may include:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing
  • Growing brand awareness
  • Integrating sales and marketing

Identify which goals are important to you in the current stage of your business. For more on goal setting and implementation see our SEO = Sales webinar video.

  1. Sync Your Data

Your automation system is capable of hosting all of your data in one place. Ensure that your contacts from Salesforce, LinkedIn, email and any other primary communication channels are synchronised and at your fingertips. Also, ensure that your social, email and website analytics are synchronised so you can successfully monitor and personalise campaigns.

  1. Segment Your Database

Segmenting your database will revolutionise the way you run your marketing campaigns. By leveraging the lead scoring functionality in your automation system, you can segment your prospects according to their actions, so you can keep track of where they are in the sales funnel. This will allow you to send targeted communications that generate an optimised ROI.

For a detailed guide on how to define and track your leads with a lead scoring system see our Marketing Automation Strategy Guide.

  1. Start Experimenting

There’s no better time than now to start testing communications. Mix up your content with both visual and written communications, sent at various times, through various channels, to see which resonates best with your audience.

  1. Creativity is Key

When creating campaigns and sending communications, don’t shy from creativity, this is the edge you need to engage prospects.

  1. Keep Communication Alive

The beauty of marketing automation is the ease in which you can send continuous communication to develop your brand awareness and nurture your leads. In no way do we encourage spamming your contact list with a mass message as this will only jeopardise future business. Your retargeting communications must be personalised and timely, in order to resonate with the reader.

  1. Analyse & Improve

Measuring the progress of your marketing strategy will allow you to identify what is and isn’t successful, so you can strategically improve your campaigns and prosper. Read our previous article on how to optimise your data collection and ROI reporting using your marketing automation platform.


Want More? 

See our resources page or contact us

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Choosing The Right Marketing Automation Platform

Marketing Automation software

When it comes to successful marketing, 91% of marketing automation users agree that their platform is ‘very important’ to the overall success of their marketing across channels (i), and 67% of the best-in-class companies are more likely to use a marketing automation platform(ii).

If you’ve heard the term but you don’t know what it is or why you need it? Check out our previous article to learn how marketing automation will transform your marketing from manual to modern.

With that being said, the rapid growth in marketing automation means there are multiple platforms to choose from. While it may seem logical to go with a high end, flawlessly designed marketing automation tool such as Hubspot or Marketo and call it a day, it’s critical to make a decision that best suits your resources and will integrate best with your business processes. These vital aspects of the marketing automation decision making process will ensure your receive the best ROI.

Evaluate your business goals and action plan

As marketing automation platforms are not a one-size-fits-all solution you must outline a clear set of business goals, resources and guidelines to make a strategic decision and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the many choices available.

Consider where your opportunities lie. What is your internal skill set and what features are necessary to achieve your business goals? Are you trying to increase website traffic with email marketing or social media? Do your sales reps need to access your marketing data, thus requiring software with strong CRM integration? These factors should be considered in alignment with your price point for the most sustainable outcome.

Platforms to consider

All platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, so use your business goals to find one which matches your guidelines. If you’re sold on the idea of high end automation software, Marketo and Hubspot are renowned for their intuitive usability, quick and easy setup and seamless integration of tools. Although the steep jump in price or Hubspot 12 month contract may not suit your business.

For a price conscious purchase, Infusionsoft offer a well-designed user interface and are great for nurturing sequences. They are also one of the only platforms that offer a built-in eCommerce system. However, it will take more time to learn the platform and if you’re after integration, it comes at additional costs.

There is also always a middle ground, which is where vendors such as Act-On come into the mix. Act-On provides straight-forward navigation, value in email campaigns, integration and an intelligent support team. While act-on offers many tools and is more affordable than Hubspot and Marketo, it lacks a content management platform and access to detailed analytics that are needed for an effective content strategy.

Contact Appropriate Vendors

After research and consideration, contact your best suited vendors and schedule demos with platforms you are most interested in. This will allow you compare and confirm critical aspects of the platform such as usability, alignment with your marketing needs, and included support and training. Most importantly, you can confirm which platform offers the most value to your business.

Top Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask for a demonstration of specific features. You should also carefully consider all areas of the contract, ask the important questions and be strong in your negotiating efforts.


Want More? 

See our resources page or contact us

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  1. Marketo & Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success” (2015)
  2. Aberdeen Group“State of Marketing Automation 2014: Processes that Produce” (2014)

5 Top Tips To Find Prospects On LinkedIn

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“LinkedIn has over 313 million members and here in Australia we have over 6 million members. That’s north of 80% of Australian professionals.” – Mike Derezin (LinkedIn, Sales Solutions VP)

Read our following 5 top tips to conduct a LinkedIn search that will grow your network and provide you with sales-ready prospects.


  1. ‘Search’ for Opportunities

Target the right audience with LinkedIn’s effective search tools. You can search using any keyword such as a name, company or industry. The fact that prospects will see that you’ve viewed their profile already puts you one step ahead by increasing your visibility. Prefer a more accurate search? LinkedIn’s advanced search tool has got you covered. You can use this to filter by relationship, groups, location and industry. You can also save your searches for easy access or set up weekly, fortnightly or monthly alert emails that will update you with new results that match your search.

advanced people search


  1. Use LinkedIn Groups

With over a million groups on LinkedIn, you will have access to at least one group, which aligns with your company and prospecting goals. Being active in relevant groups will generate exposure and is the perfect way to build your personal brand, communicate and connect with prospects. Groups allow you to view prospects’ topics of discussion, which will help distinguish your most sales-ready prospects.


  1. The “People Also Viewed” Sidebar

You’ve found a perfect sales-ready prospect and you think, “Where can I find more people like you?”  On the “People Also Viewed” sidebar of a LinkedIn profile you are able to view a list of related profiles that users are also viewing.

In the same way, the “People Similar To” sidebar is a useful tool that will navigate you to similar LinkedIn profiles.

people also viewed


  1. Alumni Search

LinkedIn’s standard search is a great starting point, however you may find it difficult to connect with these prospects without a mutual connections or interests. It is best practice to find three things in common with a prospect to offer a personable and valuable approach. allows you to search among prospects that attended your specific university, school or college.


  1. A Job Change Means Business

Your prospects may be right at your fingertips, within your current network. As your connections enter a new position in their career, they will also be in need of new services and will be open to developing new relationships. Access your connections tab to view your contacts that have recently entered a new job that may make them a worthy prospect – make sure you reach out to them before your competitors.



Found this helpful? 

See our article “How to grow your business with LinkedIn” and learn the first steps you should take to become a LinkedIn expert, increase your leads and boost your ROI.

Alternatively, please see our resources page or contact us

For monthly updates on our latest engaging ideas, best practices for business success and company updates subscribe to our newsletter

Social Selling – The Strategic Approach

social selling strategy

The shift in buyer behaviour has pressured B2B sellers to change their tactics to avoid being left behind by competitors. It is proven that 62% of salespeople who do not use inbound social selling miss their quotas (The Arberdeen Group).

But before you go jumping on the bandwagon with full force to take advantage of the power of social selling, it would be beneficial to understand the strategic approach that will provide you with long-term sales and a greater ROI.

The goal: To connect and build trusting relationships with potential buyers so you become the ‘go to’ expert and achieve repeat sales.

To be a successful social seller you must lead the online conversation and actively involve yourself in the discussion with relevant and insightful content. Your interactions should have other’s needs in the forefront in order to provide quality information and avoid being seen as a ‘hard-sell’ sales representative.

When listening and facilitating the conversation you should keep a close eye out for prospects and review their discussion and profile to understand what they are saying and what they need. When you find a prospect with a mutual connection or interest, you have the perfect opportunity to engage with them.

In your approach, treat each social media follower as an individual and act in accordance with their individual needs and personality. If you seem to have other’s best interest at heart, your relationships with potential clients will be effective and meaningful. For example, you should be responding to all messages and initiating follow up conversations that are unique to your interaction with each prospect.

We all agree that referrals are one of the most effective ways to acquire a new customer. It’s human nature to trust recommendations from friends and colleagues and as a result, that trust is transferred onto the recommended business. This means that half of the relationship building is already done for you! Social media makes referral requests simple and a lot less confronting. Take advantage of social networking to create positive opportunities for referral requests. You may gain referrals without asking, but asking for a referral online will increase your value and your lead value.

And of course, the way to continuously provide value to prospects and customers is through your social content. It’s important to stay topical with relatable posts to boost engagement. Asking questions to encourage discussion, optimising headlines and posting frequently at key times for your target market will increase your relevancy in the industry.


Stay with us for our next articles as we show you how to optimise the content on your personal and company page.

See our article “How to grow your business with LinkedIn” and learn the first steps you should take to become a LinkedIn expert, increase your leads and boost your ROI.

Alternatively, please see our resources page or contact us

For monthly updates on our latest engaging ideas, best practices for business success and company updates subscribe to our newsletter

The Future of Innovation

future of innovation

“Innovation. We need to innovate. We are innovating. It’s all about innovation…” Yawn.

The word “innovate” is so ubiquitous in marketing and all who reside in it, that it’s in danger of becoming redundant. Another buzzword to throw on the heap of trendy.

Too many businesses are focused on innovation for innovation’s sake – but today’s innovators are actually the businesses with no tangible product at all but possess a strong sense of customer-centricity. You may not be able to touch it, feel it, see it – but customers know it’s there, at every step of their journey from beginning to end. An invisible comforter.

The term ‘customer-centricity’ was coined when organizations began adopting customer relationship management. CRM software vendors started banding it about and many companies who are actually the polar opposite of the term adopted it, shouting about how customer-centric they were.

But today the whole user experience has turned on its head; meaning organisations – and not just failing ones – really do need to start upping their game.

Customer-centricity is about giving back control and delivering value beyond cost savings; the customer knows what they want, why they want it, when, how to get it, for how long for and what the cost is.

And the big draw cards are simplification and transparency. Remove all suspicion and confusion. Make it a speedy and easy process. Who has time to read the fine print anyway?

And that goes for everything – the product, its app, website, marketing campaign, direct interactions with the business and, God forbid, the experience if they have to phone a call-centre. And of course, feedback. Freely available reviews that can be found and shared on social media – and that goes for all reports, not just the glowing but also the good, the bad and ugly. Warts and all.

Don’t get left behind as businesses adopt and grow a customer-centric culture. Stay with us in the coming weeks as we will inform you on how to optimise your social media presence to increase your value and boost your success.


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Alternatively, please see our resources page or contact us


80% of Customers are MOBILE – Top Tips to Get Mobile Ready

shutterstock_266993819 blog

In our previous article, we revealed the crucial facts about your customers need for a seamless mobile experience, as well as important considerations you need to make. Follow our top tips to get your website mobile ready and prepare to be optimised.

Don’t use Flash   

While special effects are fun and exciting, many of your customers won’t see the flash plug-in. The iPhone and some other Smartphones are incompatible with flash. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use special effects; HTML5 is an effective program you can use to create special effects that actually work on mobile.

Make phone numbers and your business address clickable

Including clickable buttons is the epitome of a seamless user experience. Your customer will be more inclined to contact you with this high level of accessibility. Additionally, confirm that Google map listings are up-to-date so your address link provides accurate directions.

Advertise on Google

As previously mentioned, customers engaging in a mobile internet search for local businesses are likely to follow through with a purchase. To reap the benefit from mobile users, you need to have good exposure. Advertising on Google using the AdWords platform allows you to target customers when they are on a search for the products or services you offer. Once you gain impressions from mobile customers you can take advantage of local extensions which boost click through rates by 10% (i). The AdWords location extensions feature will provide a clickable phone number and map directions to your business address on your Google ad, encouraging people to visit you. Ads can also be designed according to location to further increase the accuracy of your target.


Want more information?

Join us for our webinar

80% of Customers Are Mobile – Is Your Business?


Alternatively, please see our resources page or contact us