Author Archive

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

By · 23 Dec, 2013 · Filed in Uncategorized · No Comments »

What do you think … could we have won “Strictly” 2013?

We wish you a Fabulous Christmas and a Prosperous 2014!

From Liz, Ian and the team at Roderick Pugh Marketing

Reputation Management May 2013 Special Offer

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in Reputation Management · No Comments »

“Proactively managing, protecting and monetising your most valuable asset – your reputation”

It has never been easier for potential customers to find out what others think about your business. A recent Nielsen study shows that 74% of consumers choose to do business based on online feedback – even when it’s feedback from total strangers. Your online reputation has never been more important.

We help you to grow your positive reputation online, encouraging your best customers to say great things about you and spreading those good words. We also monitor for negative comments (there will always be a few) and we help you to respond to them appropriately and make sure that they become the few odd negatives that help confirm the message to people that these are real reviews submitted by real people that tell a great story – the story that your business is the one to choose!

And, it gets better!

For this month only (May 2013) for readers of our Working Dogs Roundup, we have a special offer on our Reputation Management services.

What this means is that you can get your first month of reputation management services for free!

All you pay is the setup fee and we setup the systems for you, deliver your first pack of Social Accelerator Cards and start building your reputation. There’s nothing more to pay until we have been helping you build your reputation for a month.

To take us up on this offer (or to find out more about our Reputation Management services) call us now on 01554 775 738


How long is the commitment for these services?
As long as you want and need. There is no fixed commitment. We ask that you set out with the expectation of us providing the services for a minimum of 3 months but you can stop at any time.

Can we upgrade/downgrade?
Certainly! Our goal is to give you the service that best meets your need and you can upgrade or downgrade when you need.

How do I know which pack is right for me?
If price is your limiting factor then start on the Budget package. You can always upgrade as your business grows. If you are already using social media then the Premium package may be best for you. If you are unsure, our Professional package is our most popular.

How long does it take to get started?
The longest activity is printing the cards. It will take a couple of weeks to get the Social Accelerator cards designed and printed as they will be unique to you and your needs. Rest assured we will get you starting to attract more positive reviews just as quickly as we can.

What if I already have negative reviews?
We will help you to respond appropriately to these as quickly as possible. We will help you manage your overall online reputation, not just what happens in the future.

Do you work with anybody?
We will work with any business that we feel we can help with improving and growing their reputation. If we do not believe we can help your business with its reputation we will tell you.

How do we get started?
Call us on 01554 775 738 and we’ll get onto it straight away!

Lance – The Master of Habits

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in Marketing - General · No Comments »

We called him 5:15 for a long time – why …

because at 5:15pm he would go totally nutty … Lance got it into his head that  5:15pm each day he needed to let us know it was time for his dinner. This laid back Golden Retriever would become a hyper active pain in the neck, jumping up at us, onto our desks, generally being in our faces until we moved! A habit we are pleased to say he’s let up on over recent years …

His current favourite habits are tummy rubbing in the evening at around 8pm (Ian’s chore) and crisp snacking around 9pm (joining in on my bad habit!).

What’s amazing is how quickly Lance forms these habits – every day same time.

He’s a lovely boy but when his habit calls he makes sure he’s there and getting what he wants.

For us mere humans it’s said that forming a new habit (or behavioural change) takes between 18 – 224 days. It takes time and repetition.

Just seems that developing bad habits seems easier and faster – like my couch potato crisp chomping! And breaking them becomes a tough job. Maybe we spend too long focussing on breaking them rather than developing new ones to replace them?

If there was one habit you could form in your life in the next 18 – 224 days what would it be?

Buyer Beware – Remove Negative Feedback – Guaranteed!

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in Buyer Beware · No Comments »

Following on from feedback from our readers, we are pleased to offer the first of what may possibly become a regular feature … (or may not, let us know what you think) ….

Drum roll …. it’s “Buyer Beware” … ta da!

For this first “edition”, we are focusing on a type of email we have been seeing more of lately. Here’s one that we have taken a screenshot of (and disguised the business name):

You know we are fans of reputation management. So why have we brought this email to your attention?

Very simply, they are promising something that cannot be delivered, by anybody! And they are guaranteeing that they will do it. What is the promise that they cannot deliver? It’s to remove bad reviews about your business.

Google says that you can “flag a review as inappropriate”. They will then check it against their guidelines. They go on to say “Google Places reviews are a forum for users to share both positive and negative opinions. We do not arbitrate disputes and more often than not, we leave the review up.”

Yelp automatically filters reviews and decides itself what to show. You cannot influence this, even if you pay for an account with them.

Qype allows you to contact them and they will check to see if a negative review conforms to their guidelines or not. If it does, they will leave it there and suggest that you reply to it.

And so it goes on. Every review site is different and will have their different rules and arrangements but the underlying principle is the same … a bad review is there to stay.

You’ll have already read our suggestions about how to respond to bad reviews so I won’t repeat them here (they’re here if you missed them).

Please check carefully the offers you are made in emails similar to the one above. Some people will make impossible claims in order to get their hands on your hard earned money. If you are in any doubt about an email you have been sent, feel free to send it on to us and we’ll take a look for you.

The $1.7m Blog Post

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in Content Marketing · No Comments »

What would you do? Your business has been installing swimming pools for 20 years and it’s going backwards. You’re based in Northern Virginia and the weather there is great for pools, but the economic climate has turned extremely wintery. Instead of installing about 5 pools a month you are struggling to find two new customers a month.

What would you do?

The crunch hit when four customers changed their mind and asked for their deposit back causing the company to overdraw its bank account for three consecutive weeks.  Marcus Sheridan, the CEO of River Pools and Spas decided that things needed to change!

And change they did! So much so that the company is now doing better than ever. And just one of the things that they did resulted in $1.7m of sales.

The company had been spending around $250,000 each year on TV, radio and Pay Per Click advertising. Marcus realised that they could not afford this and yet they needed more business. He changed the company’s advertising approach to Content Marketing.

Content Marketing is all about putting valuable content out on the Internet where people will find it and using it to demonstrate they you and your business are experts and are worth contacting by anybody who is a serious prospect. What we refer to as building your KLT (Know, Like and Trust) factor.

In an interview, Marcus explained how he went about it: “I just started thinking more about the way I use the Internet. Most of the time when I type in a search, I’m looking for an answer to a specific question. The problem in my industry, and a lot of industries, is you don’t get a lot of great search results because most businesses don’t want to give answers; they want to talk about their company. So I realized that if I was willing to answer all these questions that people have about fiberglass pools, we might have a chance to pull this out.”

The first question that Marcus chose to answer is the one that he and all his competition had always attempted to defer or avoid answering for as long as possible: “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” He explained that pool companies “hate talking about how much a pool costs until we have you in person because there are so many options and accessories we want to sell you. As a result, pool companies never mention price on their Web sites. But I said, I don’t care what the question is, we’re going to answer it.”

He realised that he could not give an exact answer to the question so he answered it as best he could with a blog post on his website words along the lines of: “there are a ton of options, so it depends, the price can range anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 and a lot of our customers end up between $40,000 and $80,000.”

And that did it! By next day that blog post was number one for “every fiberglass-pool, cost-related phrase you could possibly type in”. Marcus tracks his marketing activities and “so far to this day, I’ve been able to track a minimum of $1.7 million in sales to that one article”.

His next blog post was answering another question he would previously try to avoid: What are the problems with fibreglass pools? The “concrete pool guys” would emphasise the disadvantages of fibreglass pools so this question came up quite often. Marcus wrote a blog post setting out the problems with fibreglass pools and their pros and cons as clearly as he could “Here are the issues. Here are the benefits. You decide.” Again this post ranked well on Google because nobody else was answering the question. People would read it and think “Oh my gosh, these guys are so honest.”

He also went on to answer the question “who are some of the other good pool companies?” He wrote a blog post titled “Who Are The Best Pool Builders in Richmond Virginia?(Reviews/Ratings)”. Here he posted short reviews on his best competitors. As a result, this blog post appears for search terms when people are reviewing his competitors and he is attracting much more traffic to his website. Not only that, River Pools and Spas are coming over as open and honest.

The rest, as they say, is history. The company grew and they now post other forms of content such as videos but the principle remains the same, they offer valuable content that their prospects might genuinely want to know. As Marcus said “If somebody reads 30 pages of my River Pools Web site, and we go on a sales appointment, they buy 80 percent of the time. The industry average for sales appointments is 10 percent. So, our whole marketing campaign revolves around getting people to stick around and read our stuff, because the longer they stay on our site, the greater the chance they’re going to fall in love with our company.”

And how do his competitors react to it? “They still don’t really get it. They’re nice about it. I’ll have one of my best-pool-builder lists come out, and I’ll run into them. And they’ll say, ‘Hey, man, thanks for including me in that list. I’m not sure why you did it, but thanks.’”

So, go to it and create the content that your prospects want to see. Or give us a call if you want us to lend a hand.

No. 1 Today, Gone Tomorrow

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in SEO · No Comments »

Stopping your SEO/SEM activities is not an option in this day and age. If you’re not holding the number 1 position then someone else is and they will be getting more visitors than you.

Getting to Google’s number 1 position is one thing but it’s not the time to take your foot off the peddle; it is a continuous process. If you have been top and lost your “mojo” or you’re struggling to get there here are our proven ways of getting to the top and staying there.

Let’s start at the beginning. The world of SEO has moved on considerably and continues to do so at a pace. However, the premise of what a Search Engine like Google states its mission as hasn’t wavered and that is

to provide a searcher with the most relevant information available based on what the searcher is looking for”

Once we as marketers understand this and understand how the Search Engine works this out then the game gets much simpler. Of course, the algorithms used are complicated but the premise is simple:

Content – relevant, timely, fresh

Given the value that Search Engines put on content it makes sense to use a platform that will manage content for your website. We recommend WordPress for many reasons however, there are other platforms out there.

There are 2 key areas to master:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – also known as “onsite SEO” are activities that you need to do within your site
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – also known as “offsite” SEO” are activities that you need to get done off your site

So what do you need to do for each of these on a monthly basis:

Keyword Research

Well the absolute first thing you have to get done is your Keyword Research. You have to know the keywords that you are going to focus these activities around. You have to identify the most relevant and popular keywords that are most likely to result in additional relevant visitors finding your site.

SEO activities:

  • Write and publish blog/news post to your site that visitors will want to read and search engines will like. We recommend at least 1/week but more is better, especially in a more competitive environment.
  • Write an article each month that you publish on your site and syndicate online for additional SEO value and to attract more visitors.

SEM activities:

  • Write a “guest” news item, unique to you and published onto a manually sourced, relevant website with a link back to your site. We recommend at least 1/week.
  • Take the article you wrote for your SEO activities, rewrite it and syndicate it to 10 – 20 Web 2.0 mini websites such as Blogger, Tumblr etc..

Monthly Monitoring & Reporting

You must monitor your performance and keep track of your results. These will give you a good understanding if what is working and what’s not. Also, they will show you areas that you can improve on and give you early warning signs so you can act before the horse has bolted.

These are the key activities you should have planned and actioned each month to keep ahead of your competitors. You need to ensure that you are doing them or you have someone who is.

In the meantime if you want to know how you match up against your competitors you can take advantage of our Competitive Analysis Report. Mention that you read about it here and we will produce the report for you showing how you match up against your competitors and we’ll do it completely free for you.

They’re back …

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in Online Marketing · No Comments »

Yes Evian’s dancing babies are back! And they are set to become the most watched ad EVER with over 29 million YouTube views in 5 days.

Not only does the campaign highlight the power of getting a message out through YouTube, the campaign is being taken to a whole new tech level …

The Evian campaign, titled Baby & Me, has adults hooked by seeing themselves as babies in a mirror. They both then break into reflected complicated dance moves.

The campaign follows the company’s past campaign ‘Roller Babies’ which holds the official Guinness World Record for the most-viewed online advertisement to date.

This time Evian are taking the campaign to a whole new level and are leveraging technology to do it. An outdoor campaign using digital posters is going to be launched which will bring the baby and adult mirrored concept to life. There is also an app that will allow users to ‘babify’ themselves via facial recognition software.

Can’t wait to see and engage in all of it! What a hoot.

While many of us may not yet be at the stage of investing in digital posters and purpose built apps to promote our businesses – there is no excuse for not starting to embrace these concepts in our marketing.

It is very easy these days to film a short video and put it onto YouTube. If you are not already doing this, then get started now. YouTube is the World’s second most popular search engine and is where many people spend a lot of time looking for things. Some of these people may be looking for the products and services you offer right now.

We’d love to see your videos too. So please send us a link.

Virgin Media’s Mishap Goes Viral

By · 01 May, 2013 · Filed in Reputation Management · No Comments »

Jim Boyden opened a bill from Virgin Media addressed to his recently deceased father-in-law. The bill showed a £63.89 charge along with a note stating “D.D Denied – Payer deceased” and, because the direct debit had been denied, the bill also included a late payment charge of £10.

After repeated, unsatisfactory calls to Virgin Media attempting to close the account, on 22nd April, Jim chose to post a photo of the bill, along with a public message to Virgin Media, onto his Facebook profile. Over the next couple of days, it went viral! When I checked yesterday, 98,162 people had shared Jim’s message and photo with their Facebook friends.

On 24th April, Virgin Media announced a deal with Sky Sports. This is a really important deal for Virgin Media and should have dominated the day. However, it was completely eclipsed by Jim’s bill.

By 25th April, Virgin Media had publicly and privately apologised, cancelled the bill and made a donation to the hospital where Jim’s father-in-law had been cared for. Jim and his family used Facebook to publicly thank them for resolving the problem.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people have seen the bill and read Jim’s message. Some of these people may choose not to use Virgin Media at some point in the future.

There are a few lessons that all business owners, large or small, should take from this:

  1. People will be talking about you and your business! Put systems in place to find and alert you to these messages.
  2. Things can happen fast! Monitor on a daily basis and have a plan in place for how you will quickly respond to a problem. Virgin Media could have stopped this from ever becoming a problem when handling Jim’s phone calls. But even if they missed that, when Jim first posted the bill on Facebook (and placed a link to it onto the Virgin Media Facebook page) Virgin Media did not respond. One day later, Jim re-posted it and it had started to gain momentum. By then, it was too late for Virgin Media to hold back the flood.
  3. Apologise! We all make mistakes and most of the time, all people are looking for is the business to say “I’m sorry”. So apologise and explain what you are going to do to put things right. Jim said “We weren’t doing it for revenge; we just wanted to be heard.” Virgin Media did a good job of saying “sorry” and Jim Boyden thanked them for their response. The managed to take a lot of the sting out of this problem.
  4. Never retaliate! It doesn’t matter if this was “the client from Hell”. They are probably not going to read your response but many new clients and prospects may read it. Respond with them in mind.
  5. Always respond! It is good to respond to all messages posted about you or your business and it is vital to respond to all “negative” messages. People infer that you don’t care or that you completely agree with the feedback if you ignore it. Responding to negative feedback is a fabulous opportunity to explain what you do care about. Also, everybody knows that problems happen everywhere from time to time. Your response to the negative feedback will demonstrate to future prospects that if they are unlucky and something were to go wrong, you will go out of your way to fix it. In this way, negative feedback can be more valuable than no feedback (as long as not all your feedback is negative!)
  6. Encourage the good messages too! More people will share and spread “negative” messages than “positive” messages. Jim’s was an extreme example with nearly 100,000 people choosing to spread the message. Swing the balance back in your favour by actively encouraging your best clients to spread the message about how great you are.

With the continued growth in our lives going online and the easy, global access that we have these days, reputation management to monitor your online reputation, grow your positive feedback and manage your negative feedback is becoming essential to every business. If you need some help with this then you may be interested in the special offer that we have for readers of our Working Dogs Roundup on our reputation management services. It is for this month only and you can learn more here: Reputation Management May 2013 Special Offer

WordPress Websites Being Attacked By Hackers

By · 16 Apr, 2013 · Filed in Websites · 3 Comments »

In the last week or so there have been reports of WordPress websites being attacked by hackers. You may have come across an article the BBC published about this yesterday (15th April) (

WordPress is a very popular platform for websites and is estimated to power 17% of all websites in the World. It is also a very secure platform.

We are hearing reports of some WordPress websites being hacked into using a “brute force” method. The hackers simply try to login to the site’s admin area by guessing a username and password and if that does not work they try another guess. They keep trying until their list of thousands of possible usernames and passwords are used up or they happen to hit “lucky” (or “unlucky” depending on your point of view!) and find a match. Of course they do not type these details in, they have “robot” software that can try a huge number of these possible username/password combinations every second.

The immediate effect of this attack is that some web servers have been reportedly running slowly due to the large volume of attempts being made to login. And, for a few unlucky website owners, if the hackers gain access they then have their site modified by the hacker to the detriment of the website owner and the site’s visitors. In addition, it seems that the hackers are adding extra copies of the robot software into sites they hack into so that the hacked website is then being used to search for more vulnerable sites.

At this stage we are unclear on the real extent of this “problem”. It has been suggested that some people are trying to make this out to be a bigger problem than it really is so that they can sell security services to website owners. On the other hand we have experienced some sites running slower over the last two weeks and we do know that websites (WordPress or not) do get hacked from time to time.

Therefore, we recommend that, if you have a WordPress (or any other type of website), you do the following:

  1. If the username that you use to login to your website is “admin”, please change it to something different. “Admin” was the standard username for all WordPress websites for many years.
  2. Please make sure that your login password is “strong”. This means it is 8 characters or more in length and contains uppercase Letters, lowercase Letters, numbers and, ideally, symbols. If it is not, please change it.
  3. Check what version of WordPress your site is using. Ideally it should be the latest version (v3.5.1).
  4. Make sure that your site is backed up regularly. If it should be hacked into you need to know that there is a copy of it “pre-hack” that you can get back in place quickly
  5. Consider installing extra security software depending on the criticality of your site.

We’ll post up some quick guides to help you do all the above tasks on our website over the next few days so please check for them there.

Also, you might want to re-read the article we posted in February titled Been Hacked Yet?

If you have any questions, let us know.

The Fruits Of The Vine …

By · 04 Apr, 2013 · Filed in Social Media Marketing · No Comments »

People prefer looking at photos and images rather than reading text. They also prefer watching videos to looking at photos (as long as the video is not a very long home movie about your holiday cruising the Norfolk Broads last year).

The trouble is, it takes a lot of hard work to create a video and edit it and then load it up onto the Internet, doesn’t it?

Well, actually, “no”… it doesn’t need to!

Of course, if you are producing the next movie blockbuster, it’s going to take a lot of time and money. The thing is that video content has evolved and we have evolved with it. If you watch the TV you will see that there are generally two main types of content. The scripted, edited, researched, well acted, expensive content and the un-scripted, “reality”, inexpensive content. What is quite interesting is that the TV companies like the second type of content because it is quick and inexpensive to create and the audiences like it too because it is more “real”. For instance, 10.7 million people tuned in to watch the BBC’s “reality” dance programme: Strictly Come Dancing.

So, “reality” video works! It’s inexpensive and popular. Now Twitter has joined up with Vine to take this evolution on to the next logical step.

With Vine you can now record a very (very!) short video clip (a max of 6 seconds) and immediately upload and Tweet it. The video clips loop around, playing over and over again. The Vine App makes it incredibly easy to film and publish your videos. And, of course, the best ones are going viral. I have to say that I am a fan of this one from Marlo Meekins:

So what have you come up with? It would be great to see your Vines. Please send us a link.

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