Yorkshire Warrior 2014

The Run from Hell

You should have all known a blog post about this would be coming.

Last Saturday 12th April, my good friend Dr. Cumbor and I took part in Yorkshire Warrior 2014, a 10 mile obstacle run from hell. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, except there was a LOT of mud!

Registration

We started off at registration, where we had to pin our numbers on our chests and write them on our foreheads – I also opted to add some face camo, which didn’t really have the desired effect, I ended up looking like I was taking part in some festival rather than a warrior…

Once that was done we waited for our wave time, and at about 10 minutes before our start time the warmup began…

The Run

The run started off with some gentle fields, a quick crawl under a cargo net and over a few hay bales, at this point I was kind of thinking “this is pretty easy”. Then came a few hundred metre wade along a river, a bog, a very steep hill and then some fire to jump over – so it quickly got harder. Running when you are soaked through and your covered in mud is a bit harder as it weighs you down.

Some of the later obstacles included an electric fence, a crawl under barbed wire and a 1km run through a pitch black tunnel – I can’t remember much else (I must have blocked it out because it was so horrible!)

Dr C’s GoPro

Dave actually was wearing a chest mounted GoPro camera, and he uploaded this 2 hour footage (sped up):

All For A Good Cause

I managed to raise just over £220 for Epilepsy Action, which was nice. At the time of writing you can still sponsor me, so head on over if you still want to!

Finish

Dr C and myself got a time of 3 hours 9 minutes, to be fair though we did spend a long time queuing, which was a shame.

Dr. C and I after finishing the Yorkshire Warrior 2014

If you haven’t done anything like this before, I’d highly recommend it.

Base CRM Contact Form

This came about when I started doing a few lead generation campaigns for my website, I noticed that contact form provided by Base didn’t do two important things:
1. Allow me to record a goal completion in Google Analytics
2. Provide any details over where the lead came from, other than via my website, when adding the deal into Base CRM.
3. Allow me to encourage email signups

This meant, essentially, that I couldn’t attribute any leads or customer value to any particular marketing campaign/source/medium. On top of this I couldn’t encourage email subscription. so I decided to commission a WordPress plugin.

I found Woody (a developer) on Peopleperhour.com, I knew how specific my requirements were so I was very particular about who I hired after having bad experiences with freelancers on Odesk in the past.

Woody did a great job, he runs a company called Stormgate and as you can see he specialises in rapid web development (he finished my plugin in less than 24 hours)!

So I told Woody what I wanted and he got down to work creating my brand new contact form.

Essentially this contact form directly posts the lead into Base, including all the necessary details, as well as the Google Analytics source and medium.

The Google Analytics bit ensures that you can choose a page to redirect to, which can then be tracked as a goal, so that you can keep an eye on things in Google Analytics separately from Base.

Finally it has a tick box that allows the person contacting you to signup to your email newsletter hosted by MailChimp.

I don’t think there are many things out there that do all this, and if you are using Base CRM I highly recommend you try out this plugin.

If you would like to download my plugin you can do so here.

Want to Buy Survey Responses? Check Out Instant.ly

I can’t remember what website I was browsing when I came across instant.ly, but I’m glad I did. After creating a survey and finding it difficult to recruit respondents, I decided I needed to find a survey provider that offered surveys for the UK. Sadly I couldn’t find any, this left me with the following options:

Google Consumer Surveys – released quite recently, it would have been quite good but the questions didn’t allow me to gain qualitative information, only quantative. I almost paid $300, but decided that the data I would get wouldn’t be that useful.

Next I decided to check out Survey Gizmo, which is where I created my original survey, but they didn’t appear to offer paid survey responses as an option (this is a shame as I quite like Survey Gizmo). So I checked out Survey Monkey as well, unfortunately I had to fill out some kind of form (despite the fact I was already registered) in order to get going, this was the weekend so it looked as though I’d have to wait until Monday before even getting access, unsatisfied I started browsing and eventually came across instant.ly.

I was initally attracted by their offer – $100 credit, no questions asked, no catches – it seemed too good to be true, but it turned out it wasn’t. Within 20 minutes I had created a brilliant, quick survey for respondents to fill in, I spent my $100 credit and got 50 people (who I had specified based on certain demographical data) to fill in my survey.

The insight from this was incredible – I had some great comments on what business owners’ main concerns are when it comes to their marketing, I got pricing information on a product by product basis along with turnover and marketing spend information. All for free.

So if you want to improve your business, check it out. It’s US respondents, but depending on your product/service, you should still be able to get some good insight.

A New, More Improved Domain Name

Hi all

Just a quick update, I’ve changed domain names after catching davidwhitehouse.co.uk via snapnames.com, it was a bit of a surprise as I didn’t even expect it! Anyways, if you are currently linking to me, you’ll have to make a quick change from www.david-whitehouse.org to www.davidwhitehouse.co.uk.

Or if you have my email address stored in your address book you’ll need to update from [email protected] to [email protected]

I’m still hoping to get whitehouse.co.uk, sadly they didn’t take my offer of £1,000! I’m not sure it’s even worth that, but maybe I’ll get it in time…

If your wondering about how changing domains affects your Google rankings – it doesn’t as long as you follow their simple guidelines.

Joining The IDM

Last month I took the step to further my career by joining the IDM as a member. The entry requirements are quite high, but I was fortunate enough to pass the diploma which allowed me to become a member without having 6 years experience!

I’m a strong advocate of the IDM, the first time I heard about them was after looking up copywriters on Wikipedia, I figured if I needed to improve I should try and learn from the best. There I heard about Drayton Bird, who has written a number of books and is also a Fellow at the IDM. Then I heard about the IDM through a contact, and decided that although I had a fairly strong background in Internet marketing, without knowing much about offline marketing and understanding how to combine the two I’d be at a disadvantage.

From now on I’ll be using the “M IDM” honorific after my name in my work related communications. I’ve often thought these are a little pretentious in the past, particularly with people adding BA (Hons) after their name. But the reason I’ll be using this is two fold – one it helps grow awareness of the IDM, and secondly it helps establish that I’m not just making things up as I go along – it builds trust. So if you see my email signature with “David Whitehouse M IDM” on it, it’s not because I’m trying to show off!

Rank Checking Your Google Ranking

Introducing Authority Labs

Rank checking can be one of the most time consuming, tedious tasks there is – if of course you don’t know how to do it quickly that is. The first time I did a rank check I counted everything manually, it took literally hours – very boring!

Then I learned how to use Advanced Web Ranking, which was a great solution, but sadly it has become increasingly problematic. So last month I set out to find a solution to my problem, and I’m happy to say I’ve found it!

I discovered Authority Labs through a client at work, who had found that they supplied Raven Tools with their rank checking service. So I checked out their plans and prices and I’ve found that they have plans for as little as $24 per month (around £15), but if you don’t need as much as that you can simply sign up for the 30 day trial and then if you don’t pay to use the service they simply let you use a free plan which is limited to 1 website and 10 keywords – perfect for my needs.

Here are the rankings I’m tracking at the moment:

Checking my rankings on Google

It is however a great solution if you’re an SEO and you want to track keywords for multiple clients, or alternatively if you are an in house SEO or a business owner and you have perhaps a lot of website or keywords you wish to track.

The thing that I think makes Authority Labs so unique is that they allow you to tag keywords – so say you sell bedroom furniture and you have two sets of keywords, one for beds (say the keywords are: bed, divan bed, double bed) and one for wardrobes (say the keywords are: pine wardrobe, oak wardrobe, shabby chic wardrobe) you can then tag these keywords with beds and wardrobes respectively and see a visibility chart for them. In my example I’ve tagged my brand (for my name), marketing (for keywords containing “marketing”) and seo (for keywords containing “seo”):

Tag your keywords

So for $24 (£15) per month to track 100 keywords over 10 domains, you can’t really go wrong. So head on over to Authority Labs and signup!

(Disclaimer: I DO get commission if you signup through these affiliate links, however I think its a product worth using otherwise I wouldn’t have recommended it).

Announcing My First FREE Tool: Optimal – Get A Report On Your Website

I’ve been having a play around lately and managed to come up with a quick way for me to give you some simple advice on your website.  I’ve created an easy to use tool called Optimal.

It’s still in the early stages of development, so if you notice a bug or an improvement that can be made, or if there is anything you don’t understand, please let me know.  I’ll be making additions to it overtime, I hope to assess sites speed and also link out to various resources where you can find out how to fix each problem.

For now, please check it out and let me know what you think.

Thanks,

David

 

 

Passed With Flying Colours!

Hi all, this is just a quick blog post to let blog followers know that I have successfully passed my course in direct and digital marketing with the Institute of Digital and Direct marketing.

IDM Graduate Logo

I’m extremely proud 🙂

I’m hoping to be accepted as a full member (as soon as my wife lets me pay £185 – the annual membership fee)!

What this essentially means is that I can competently create a full strategic marketing plan – I have little experience, but I’m willing to drop my asking price for my early clients. So if you feel your business needs a bit more direction, you have a budget of at least £500 per month available for marketing, you are passionate about what you do and also have great ambitions for your business – then please get in touch.

Using Duedil To Identify Potential Prospects

Duedil is a great free new web service that allows you free access to the entire companies house database, any time of day. It’s great for researching companies, whether that be for a job interview, to check up on your employer or what I am going to show you how to do, identifying potential prospects.

Step 1

The first step in this process is to have a look at your existing customers, identify the more valuable ones – the ones that take less work and earn you more money. There is actually a number of statistical techniques for doing this, but these are very complex and would require much more than a blog post.

Step 2

You look up these customers using Duedil, you make a note of their SIC code (the type of business they run), their employee count, their turnover, location, the legal status (ltd, partnership, sole trader etc.), and how long the business has been established. Now look at these and see if you can find some common patterns between your most valuable customers, such as high turnover or number of employees for example.

Wolseley details on Duedil

Step 3

You can now do a search for companies using the Duedil search facility, putting in your search filters such as turnover. This should then produce a list of potential prospects, you can then go through and if you have logged in with LinkedIn it will show you people that are in your network that work for the company or are in your 2nd, 3rd degree network. This gives you a contact to get your foot in the door. Simply record these people and you have your list!

Base CRM – CRM Software For The Small Business by Future Simple


Base Value Partner Program Badge

Simple CRM by Base

 

 

After spending sometime using Capsule CRM (which became to clunky to use) and Highrise (which is to simplistic and doesn’t have nearly enough advanced features for sales) I have finally found Base by Future Simple. Funnily enough if you look for it on Google, you can’t find it! There is in fact another CRM called Base, which looks like it was designed in the 90’s – do not confuse the two!!! You’re looking for the one at FutureSimple.com.

I discovered Base CRM whilst looking for a CRM app that worked on my Android – Base had the best reviews and after I signed up I could see why. It has an Android app as well as an iPhone app – for all those Anroid users out there I can’t tell you how much of a relief this is, I’m sick of tired of online software with just an iPhone version, letting the Android users put up with a mobile version of their web page.

The Sales Funnel

First up it already has a well thought out sales funnel process which you can customise if you wish (you probably won’t). It’s simple to customise and the actual reporting system is also simple, but at the same time extremely useful. Here’s a few screenshots from my account:

Base CRM Funnel Report

This is a great way to estimate the value of leads – we can see here that of the leads I get, 20% are unqualified – that means I don’t want them. We can work out what percentage of leads actually result in a deal – in this case 4/10 (or 40%). If we apply this to the average value of these leads (£437.50) we can estimate the value of the lead, in this case 40% of £437.50, which is £175. So now I know that each lead I get is worth £175.

I can now use this as a goal in Google Analytics (or other web analytics tool) and from this have a basis to calculate my ROI for my advertising campaigns. Anyways, onto the rest of Base’s cool features…

Reasons For Lost Deals Report

This report is great, when you lose a deal you have to enter a reason – this is some brilliant customer insight that you can feed back into your business when trying to improve your sales process, your marketing or even your product. Anyways, here’s mine (actually I’ve not lost any yet so I had to make some up – but you get the point):

Reasons For Lost Deals

There are a load of other reports, but these are my two favourite – on top of that I think we’ll see some more useful ones coming out as they improve, they have a great user based feedback system using User Voice – so any features suggested get voted on and if they get enough votes they get implemented – great huh?

Other Features

So what else has it got?

Well you can integrate it with your website for starters – I didn’t fancy this because I’m obsessed with my Google Analytics and they won’t let me redirect to a thank you page, but naturally I’ve requested the change so hopefully they’ll be making that improvement shortly. But still, if you don’t pay much attention to Google Analytics, then the web form integration is ideal.

Again they’ve got a very intuitive system for adding contacts (companies or individuals) and you can check back over past sales. All data can be exported (or imported) if needed, and they have a special import facility for those using Highrise, Basecamp or Salesforce – so switching to Base CRM Is Easy.

Check It Out – It’s Free!

Anyways, I suggest you check it out, because after all it is free and it’s a shed load better than all the other CRM systems out there.

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this blog post when I was trialling Base CRM, since then I have referred enough people to earn myself a free account, so any further referrals may end up earning me commission if they end up subscribing to Base CRM. I just thought it was best I cleared that up 🙂