3 Reader Questions Answered

Every week I get a number of questions from people who visit my site. A lot of the answers I give can benefit others so this week I will answer them in public.

Leave a comment if you have something similar irking you or have a perspective on the questions.

Q My burning question is…How can I find my voice on social media?  At the moment I feel like I’m just posting for the sake of posting but my unique voice isn’t there and I don’t know how to make it shine through to ensure I stand out in the crowd.

Louise Deed – www.indeedwecan.co.nz

A Facebook is a huge channel. When approaching it from a marketing perspective it’s easy to fall into the trap of approaching it differently than we do when we are using it with our friends and family.

Pay attention to what you share, like and comment on in your own feed. Are they overt, direct marketing and sales messages? Probably not.

Businesses get traction on social media when they share and curate stories their audience resonate with. People share and interact with these stories when they make them look good in-front of their peers or reaffirm already held beliefs. Look at Humans of New York or Upworthy for examples of this.

In the case of a virtual assistant service; aligning with the audiences beliefs around freedom, entrepreneurship and the concept of being ‘busy’ would be a start. Purely the act of curating content for this audience is valuable to them. Giving in this way without expectation of return will paradoxically give you a far greater return in every area.

Q….I do all the marketing myself. I know I’m doing some things right and some wrong. We have grown and I think I should hire someone. How do I know if that’s the right thing to do?

Anonymous (question is from an NZ based ecommerce website owner)

A Without an overall strategy hiring an internal marketing person will replicate what you’re doing now – just with an extra salary on the payroll. If you are going to hire someone you either need to prepare a strategy for them to execute or hire someone at a level that they will do it for you.

Many companies engage outside help (like me) at this point. The strategy comes first and gives them confidence that the investment they are making in a new staff member is much more likely to succeed. This approach also helps focus on what type of skill set you should be hiring for rather than just a ‘marketing person’.

In summary; work out what you should be doing to grow your business and it will become clearer who should do it.

Q I’m starting a price comparison website.

Am I stupid getting data from websites who I won’t be making money from (eg via referral or them buying ‘clicks’)

Drew – suppmarket.co.nz

A Short answer:

No – You’re not stupid. Get as much data as possible

Long answer:

Ask yourself the question: What is right for the audience?

The nature of a marketplace like a price comparison site is providing transparency to the consumer. To provide price transparency you will need the largest source of data available. This means publishing content without a clear revenue model.

I’ve designed or run (and continue to) dozens of B2C marketplaces and have learned to always make strategic decisions that favour the consumer side. Marketplaces aggregate demand and supply. You need supply on one side, in this case groceries, before you can generate demand on the other side. Look at how many people have tried to compete with TradeMe but lacked supply of listings to attract enough buyers…

Businesses will always go to where the audience is. Build a valuable audience and then you can commercialise them on your terms.

Screw complexity: Choose the Boring Path

Gym’s are strange places.

There’s the machine people who seem to sit there for days idly peddling, barely raising a sweat. There’s the muscle heads who scream, throw weights around and wan’t everyone to know they are there.

There’s also the guys who are using the latest piece of fancy equipment and inventing extremely complex new exercises.

boring training

What could possibly go wrong?

They have the best intentions but they arent doing things that worked for hundreds of years

Exercise is a lot like business.

Despite the latest, trendiest fad the old way’s often work.

Big, shiny ideas are everywhere. They come to us in the middle of the night, we read them on blogs and scribble them on whiteboards.

Idea’s are magnificent, powerful things that fuel innovation and passion.

But just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

My Dad used to tell me that more millionaires were created from dry cleaning than any other business.

Dry cleaning.

It’s not sexy or disruptive or innovative. It’s washing other people’s dirty clothes.

But they have a strong business by solving a problem for a large group of people in a way that people are prepared to pay for.

That’s what makes a good business.

A good business is not made by viral marketing campaigns, celebrity endorsements and massive PR.

Do those things help?

Sure. But unless you’ve got a good product that solves your customer’s pains and gives them tangible gains then you’re always going to be tough.

How I Regularly Disappoint Clients

I work with a range of businesses to grow their revenue through digital channels. When we get to the end of the strategy day there are two things the client often feels.



Relief in the sense they have tasks to execute to move them towards a goal.

A pang of disappointment that most of those tasks are logical and simple.

They wan’t to use the latest and greatest tactics in their business and regularly they do.

But until they have laid down a base of proven actions that deliver measurable ROI they shouldn’t.

Choose Three Things

What one action will improve traffic to your website in the next 30 days?

What one action will improve conversion on your website in the next 30 days?

What one action will improve the profitability of your customer in the next 30 days?

Choose something that works.

3 Tools to Sell More (For Less Than $1 a Day)

Using the right tools will make you faster and more efficient.

But choosing the right sales and marketing tools can be like pulling teeth.

marketing tools

This is what Michelle and I do for fun in the weekends

If you type ‘marketing tools’ into Google you get a mere 529,000,000 results…

Here are 3 that I use:

None of these are affiliate links and I’m not getting paid to promote them.



Yes. I operate at inbox zero

I’m a bit nervous about this one as it’s my dirty little secret and not everyone is going to like it.

I have automatic tracking on all the email’s I send using this tool.

What it is:

Yesware installs a status bar at the top of your Gmail inbox. Every email is tagged with a tracking pixel that loads when someone on the other end opens your email. It also tracks links that you insert into emails and lets you force a registration on people who open them.

How to use it:

If you’re in an email exchange with someone you want to impress or sell to you can use tracking to engineer serendipity. See they opened your email? Send a ‘hey I just saw this article you might like’ or ‘thinking about your project and had this idea’.

Devious? You decide. I prefer to have as much information as I can.


Free plan gives you 100 emails per month. Basic version is $12 USD a month

2. Active Campaign

active campaign results

I’ve talked about email and marketing automation frequently – and for good reason.

They are the highest ROI strategy to make more sales for most businesses.

What it is:

Email newsletters and marketing automation for small and medium businesses. Active Campaign is perfect for most without going to the complexity and expense of something like Infusionsoft.

How to use it:

I’ve showed you how I use automation to capture and nurture people automatically by giving away as much value as I can. Setting aside a day or two to copy this funnel would be one of best time investment’s you could make.

If you wan’t someone to create and execute one for you then send me an email.


Start’s from $9 USD a month for up to 500 users


canva review

You know those nice images you see posted on social media with a quote incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein? Chances are they were made in Canva.

How to use it:

If you lack design skills then Canva have thousands of pre-done templates for social media, proposals, designs and more

What it is:

Design is very important as it defines the impression of you. If an image in presentation or proposal looks cheap and nasty then it doesn’t create a great impression of your expertise. If in doubt be minimalist with your design choices.


How to get an 80% email open rate

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

Bill Gates said he would always ‘hire a lazy person to do a difficult job’ at Microsoft ‘because a lazy
person will find an easy way to do it’

I take great solace in this because I’m lazy.

I spend a large amount of time working out how to do the minimum amount of work for the maximum result.

When I was a sales person I always had the least amount of customers and prospects but mine were consistently more valuable. It’s just easier to get someone to spend more rather than finding a new customer.

It’s because I’m lazy I love marketing automation.

I also love it because it works.

Marketing automation is technology that repeats repetitive tasks through multiple channels.

I use marketing automation on this site to generate leads, enquiries and opportunities.

It works like this:

marketing automation

In all there are 10 emails in the sequence. When the sequence has finished a subscriber gets weekly posts or interviews.

I wrote 10 emails and they get sent hundreds or thousands of times.

The content aims to be helpful and gives away ideas of how you can execute different strategies in your digital marketing.

Most people will either do nothing with them or implement a small number themselves.

Some will ask me to do it for them.

So what happens when you regularly send people helpful, actionable content?

They open and click. A lot.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 14.26.32

If you don’t know much about email marketing the average email open rate is usually around 20% and click rates average 3%.

and the most responded to email in the sequence? It contains 10 words.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 15.27.45

It’s personal and ‘expects’ a response.

How to get started with Marketing Automation

  1. Choose a platform http://www.infusionsoft.com/ – powerful but complex and $$. http://www.activecampaign.com/ – cheap and simple. I use it.
  2. Start an email list – offer something that people wan’t in exchange for their email address
  3. Write 8-15 short, helpful emails. Don’t aggressively sell. Show your expertise and value.
  4. Make occasional offers


Episode 003 – James MacAvoy of Goodnest

Welcome to Growth HQ Podcast, Episode 3.  Today’s guest is James MacAvoy of Goodnest.  James has been involved in several internet businesses over the course of his life including Xero, Trade Me, and Retail Works.  Goodnest is an on demand cleaning service with several locations in New Zealand.

James says on demand services are enjoying steady growth.  Goodnest allows customers to book cleaning services for their home or business and cleaners employed by the company take care of the job.  Word of mouth has been a great tool for the ability for James to grow the business.

We dive into many details of the on demand service market, hiring the right people and gaining trust.

James warns not to underestimate the operational work that’s involved with managing a service based business.  Technology is helping immensely, but there is no substitute for face-to-face training and execution to business operations.

For James being an entrepreneur means having the curiosity to aspire to do something unique.  He says look at what other companies are doing, but don’t follow in their footsteps, do something a bit unique from the others.  It’s a matter of finding things consumers want and building upon that.

If you enjoyed the show today please head over to iTunes and leave a quick review.  I read every one of them and would really like to hear from you.  Thanks.

Episode 002 – Trent Mankelow of Trade Me

This week on the Growth HQ podcast I sit down for a chat with Trent Mankelow, Chief Product Officer at Trade Me.  Trade Me is New Zealand’s largest market place and Trent and I have a really dynamic discussion around the growth this business model in recent years.

The feverish adoption of mobile content consumption has driven marketplace businesses challenge the assumptions they’ve made in the past few years.  Ebay Now, Tinder, and others are disrupting these markets every day and making other founders reexamine the approach they’re taking to their businesses.

Trade Me itself is changing quickly.  With some software and website updates coming in the next few months it is preparing itself for some of the changes that Trent sees coming very soon to the web.  Changes like this are important to the web community in New Zealand as Trade Me is a cornerstone of the web business.

You can learn more about Trent and find out what he’s up to on Twitter @TrentMankelow and on email him at trent.mankelow@trademe.co.nz

If you enjoyed the show today please head over to iTunes and leave a quick review.  I read every one of them and would really like to hear from you.  Thanks.

Episode 001 – Richard Conway of PureSEO

Welcome to Episode 1 of the GrowthNZ podcast.  I’m your host and founder of GrowthNZ, James Kemp.  Each week on the podcast I will be interviewing the best and brightest minds in the business of SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, and Audience building.

In this episode I sit down for a chat with Richard Conway of PureSEO to talk all about SEO in 2015.  Richard and I discuss how he’s been able to build PureSEO as a high end, above the noise SEO company that doesn’t dabble in any of the ‘tactics’ that so many of the other companies involve themselves in.

PureSEO is amongst the largest and fastest growing companies in New Zealand, and with it’s partnership with Tony Falkenstein last year, it’s poised for even quicker growth going forward.

Some of the keys that Richard points to in his success are retaining the key members of your team, thinking globally, and surrounding yourself with people who are more successful than you.

You can reach out to Richard directly through the PureSEO site, or call him at 0800Search or (09) 950 3888.

If you enjoyed the show today please head over to iTunes and leave a review.  I read every one of them and would really like to hear from you.  Thanks.

Vanity Metrics

vanity metrics

Vanity is my favourite sin.Al Pacino

What you focus on grows

In a digital world we collect a lot of data and have huge amounts of information readily available to us.

Unfortunately sometimes we get false hope by focusing on the wrong ones.

Good metrics guide our decisions.

What works. What doesn’t.

Here’s some that can be dangerous.


Unless you are selling advertising views then the total amount of pageviews your website generates is irrelevant in isolation. I have had many people proudly tell me how many ‘hits’ their website generates but when asked how many prospects/leads/sales it generates they don’t have an answer. Having a high number of pageviews is an opportunity you need to be leveraging. They are all people. On it’s own, having a website with lots of traffic is not enough.

Email Open Rates

The likelihood of opening an email has more relation to who it’s from rather than what it’s about. Think about it. What is the open rate of emails from your Mum? I would estimate 100%…

Unless you’re looking at your interaction rate and the behaviour of people who have opened your email then your looking at the wrong thing.

Facebook Likes

Facebook have been reducing the organic reach of page posts for a while. They wan’t to sell more advertising and deliver a better experience to their audience. Who can blame them.

This means having a big audience of Facebook does not equal you being able to communicate with the audience.

Take 5 minutes today to check what metrics you’re focusing on.

Do they help you make better decisions and contribute to the bottom line or do they just make you feel better?

Get More By Doing Less

I want to tell you about an entrepreneur.

She is great at so many things. Building teams, pitching investors, developing her product, strategising and ideas – she has the hustle you need for something to work.

But there’s a problem.

Because she is good at all these things, she does them all. But none of them quite well enough to get the one thing her business needs right now – rapid growth.

We are human (duh)

We all have the same 24 hours in the day. But some people seem to get so much more done

How come?

If you scratch under the surface it usually comes down to one thing.


We are trained from a young age that results and hours are linked. If we work harder then we get more. While that isn’t untrue, it’s not completely accurate. What really counts is the relationship between time and results.

We can achieve outsized results by focusing our time on the things that really matter.

Warren Buffet owes 90% of his multi billion dollar wealth to just 10 investments.

When I was at GrabOne, there were dozens of metrics we could focus on. Traffic, visits, revenue, new members etc etc. The whole business in different ways could affect any one metric but I asked what my team could affect.

One of the key day-to-day responsibilities was email – the largest traffic source and revenue driver.

Every day if they focused on Revenue Per Email that would take care of the other metrics.

It was the one metric.

Did we get dragged away from it constantly? Yes.

Did we all focus on it every single day? No.

But as long as someone was asking themselves the question “Is what I’m doing right now going to improve RPE?” then it was usually going in the right direction.

Your area of focus doesn’t have to last forever. Business goes through cycles where it might not be fit for purpose but having a singular focus on one thing will always give you momentum.

What are you focusing on today?

If it’s moving you towards that big, hairy goal then keep doing it.

If it’s not, stop, think, and focus.

Why Your Business Shouldn’t Be on Social Media

Like, tweet, share, snap.

All words that have rapidly become part of our lives.

Businesses have flocked to Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and to a lesser extent in NZ; Twitter and Snapchat. They are attractive as it is free to establish a presence on them and there are huge amounts of people on them.

Facebook alone has 1.4 billion monthly active users.

So it must be good for business right?


What You Focus on Grows

I’ve spent millions of dollars of mine and other peoples money on marketing.

I get asked what works best A LOT.

Social media is very rarely on that list.

Why? Because other things work better and most people aren’t doing them right let alone tackling multiple social channels.

There are two elements that are always scarce inside a business – time and money. It doesn’t matter the size of the business, it’s impossible to do everything well. Unless your a Silicon Valley unicorn with a few hundred million in the bank then you need to focus on the things that work to grow.

Here’s a nice graph from McKinsey showing ROI per $1 spent on different marketing channels.


roi graph

Boring old email comes out on top by a mile.

If you’re not building a customer database and sending them something regularly you’re crazy.

Yep, flat out bonkers.

It’s the cheapest, simplest, highest leverage marketing channel there is and I’m yet to find an industry that can’t use it.

Does it make sense that spending time and effort on improving (or starting) email marketing, SEO and driving targeted traffic from paid ads could give you a better ROI?

If you’ve squeezed every ounce of performance from these channels then fill your boots on whatever social channel you like.

Social Media, What is it Good For

All that said social media can play a part in your business without a massive effort.

I frame it as a good customer service and engagement channel – any sales achieved from it are a bonus.

If you’re going to tackle social media then start with focusing on the right channel first. For consumer businesses this is likely Facebook or Instagram for B2B probably LinkedIn. Go where your customer persona is most likely to be.

These are the rules:

  • Post regularly – a half-dead social presence makes your business look half dead.
  • Don’t ‘sell’ too often – people like to buy but hate to be sold to
  • Be useful – if you’re helpful and knowledgeable about your industry then people will engage
  • Reply – it’s a public channel so anyone can engage with you. Make sure you reciprocate

Seems logical but I don’t actually see many businesses following best practices.

There are of course, a lot of good reasons why you should use social media in your business. With the right content, and a modest advertising budget, some businesses can do very well.

However, those are generally the businesses that have made a plan and know what their goals are with social media.

If you haven’t done the other stuff first then don’t bother.