Author Archives: Small Business Planned

About Small Business Planned

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Why This Ad Sucked (For Me)

Occasionally I come across a bad magazine ad- one that I can’t understand, despite gnawing at my top lip. Below is one such ad – for a brand named ‘Breakaway’.

This was a full page print ad in a recent edition of Victoria’s Royal Auto magazine (a motoring club that provides insurance and roadside assistance).

breakaway magazine ad

What The Hell Are You Selling?

What The Hell Are You Selling?

This is a pure brand ad for Breakaway. It has all the calling cards of a brand ad, such as:

  • minimalist messaging
  • one big image no overt product/service to buy
  • no prominent call to action

But since I had never heard of the brand Breakaway, the ad became ambiguous to me. Who the hell are Breakaway? What do they do? What can they do for me? Based on the ad, I figured they were either a:

  • life insurance company
  • holiday company
  • life coaching company
  • clothing company
  • furniture company

There were no clues in the support copy or any disclaimers. The casual man just smiled at me, almost laughing at my frustration.

So I asked around.

No one under 35 years old had heard of them. But my Mum had.

Apparently they are a clothing company.

Was This a Bad Ad?

Not necessarily. I’m guessing the ad was aimed at building an emotional connection for people with existing knowledge of the brand. And if you’re someone else… go to hell.

This approach reduces the support copy needed, keeping the message as pure as possible. And in the world of ad clutter, fewer elements yield better cut through.

That being said, I would have put some sort of category identifier on the ad – perhaps at the bottom. This would have helped the puzzled readers start to begin a relationship with the brand.

David Moloney


Powershop Review | Get your $75 Sign Up Credit Here

Powershop logoPowershop is an energy retailer that currently services Victoria (Melbourne) and NSW (Sydney) – yes, Powershop launched in NSW in Feb 2015. And from Feb 2017, they are available in South East Queensland!

They are a relatively new kid on the block (~2012) and focus only on electricity for the time being. In Australia, Powershop is an alternative player to the big energy retailers such as Origin, AGL and Energy Australia. Naturally, because they are a smaller player they need to offer some sort of differentiation / better value proposition. And Powershop does.

Personally, I switched to Powershop after calculating I could save a further 20% off my already 19% discounted Origin Electricity bill. I’ve since provided the numbers for four different relatives – and they’ve all switched too after realising real savings that are above and beyond any fancy discount from an existing retailer.

Plus, enter your email below and I’ll send you a sign up link that gives you a $75 Powershop credit. This is for both residential and for businesses.

  • Enter your email address so I can send you your $75 code. Your email address will not be added to any other lists. I promise – because I hate spam too.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Energy Retailing Works

It can be a bit difficult to understand how it all works. So, even though I don’t have a background in energy retailing, I will try and explain it the best I can. For example, in Victoria there are a handful of energy wholesalers such as;

  • CitiPower
  • Powercor
  • SP AusNet
  • Jemena
  • United Energy

You can’t buy power directly from wholesalers though. You need to purchase power from energy retailers (who have arrangements with these energy wholesalers). When it comes to choice, Victoria has a heap of energy retailers to choose from. And they all supply the same core product – so price is a very important factor when comparing offers. When asking for an energy quote, an energy retailer will quote:

  1. a usage charge, variable by seasons (along with a discount of anything from 5-22%)
  2. a fixed daily supply charge, say approx 85c per day

You then compare this offering among other energy retailers to determine the best deal.

Newsflash: Daily Supply Charges Aren’t Discounted

I can’t stress this sneaky daily charge enough. When getting an electricity quote, a company may promise a 20% or a 30% discount. But that’s only off your usage component. The discount is never applied to the daily supply charge that you need to pay every single day. And because the daily charge isn’t discounted, it’s a sweet little earner for energy companies. With Powershop, your daily charge is built in to the price and therefore has a discount applied.  And that is amazing.

Comparing Energy Savings

Comparing your energy savings the old way was a damn hassle. You needed to tally the daily service charge, the peak hours amount and the off peak hours amount. Pretty soon, your piece of paper had a bunch of numbers that were hard to follow. Here’s a really simple way of determining how much you would save when switching to Powershop. Grab your electricity bill, flip it over and look at the usage kWh figure.

Look at the red box in the example below:


Comparing electricity rates
kWh stands for ‘kilowatt hours’ and is a measure of how much electricity you are using for the given bill period. The easiest way to estimate how much you would save by switching to Powershop, is to divide your kWh by the number of bill days (to get your average daily usage), then multiply this by 365 (days).So for the above example:
226 kWh divided by 89 days x 365 = 926 kWh per year (this is a very low number as it’s someone’s holiday house). Now, armed with that number (926 kWh), you visit the Powershop comparison page here:
The Powershop Cost Estimate Page

The Powershop Cost Estimate Page

On the above page, simply add your postcode, region, meter type and total kWh annual usage. Powershop will then give you an indication of what your electricity bill would be if you switched to Powershop.

I’ve so far done this exercise for 4-5 people and have saved them between $250 – $500 per year.

Sweetner: Get A Bonus $75 Credit on Sign Up

In addition to having some of the cheapest power in Victoria and New South Wales, you can also score a $75 power credit with a special sign up link. Enter your email address below and I’ll send you the $75 sign up credit link (I won’t use your email for anything else).

  • Enter your email address so I can send you your $75 code. Your email address will not be added to any other lists. I promise – because I hate spam too.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recap: How Powershop is Different

  1. Powershop’s daily fee is counted in its discounted rates
  2. Powershop doesn’t have contracts, so you can cancel at any time
  3. You get the same flat rate all day (no ‘peak/offpeak’ daily times)
  4. Powershop has been cheaper for 100% of people (about 7 personally) that I have surveyed
  5. Buying power is a little different…


How to Buy Power with Powershop

Are you used to paying your power bill after you’ve used your power? That’s how it’s done pretty much everywhere. And you have the option of doing this with Powershop too. They’ll email you an invoice about 12-14 days after usage.

But Powershop also offer the ability to ‘pre-pay’ for power. And this is where you can make big time savings of 20%. Put simply, if you check your account once a month and click ‘buy online saver’ you’ll save 25%+ on Powershop’s already cheap rates. That’s it! If you don’t pre-pay for your power you’ll just be emailed an invoice as normal.

It’s important to note that no matter which option you take – your power isn’t going to be cut off. And if you’re unhappy – you can always switch away from Powershop – as there are no lock in contracts.

Periodically (approx once a fortnight) Powershop will contact you about one off cheap deals that you can purchase as well. These deals often give you an even cheaper rate.

The best way of using Powershop is to download their Android or iOS app. This allows you to view your account balance and be notified of any special deals as soon as they occur. It also allows you to view your energy usage on a per day basis.

Where Does Powershop Suck?

Ok, I’ve blown the Trumpet in support of Powershop, pretty much all post. But no one’s perfect. Below is a quick snapshot of parts of Powershop that could be improved:

1. The first time you buy power: it would have been great to have someone to hold your hand, either with a step by step demo, live chat or a phone call. Yes, Powershop do provide a video – but I think it could be a little bit clearer. Rest assured though, after your first experience buying power, it just becomes second nature. Their phone contact centre is great at helping and they’ve even answered email queries for me on a Sunday – twice!

2. Explaining power roll over: When buying power, you buy it in periods. Sometimes you may buy more power than you need for a specific period. As a newie I wondered whether this power was rolled into the next month, or did I just forfeit it and lose the money? Now I know that the power rolls over to the next period, but that isn’t explained anywhere I saw.

3. Lots of little transactions: One of the great things about Powershop is that they will send you special deals every so often. But this does mean that you are approving a number of monthly micro-transactions, which litter your credit card statement. It would be a whole lot neater and easier if your credit card was just billed one amount each month. In Powershop’s defence, this does stem from their point of difference and you can always view your total monthly spend online or via their app.

4. Fluctuating unit charge: The first time you sign up – you estimate how much power you are going to consume. Powershop will calculate a per day unit charge based on this estimate. It’s likely you are going to either use more or less power than this estimate. In the next 4 week window Powershop will re-calibrate your unit charge based on your actual usage. This may mean that your unit charge goes up or down. It doesn’t mean you’re suddenly paying more. It’s because the per unit charge includes your daily supply charge, which is averaged out based on your consumption. So if you use less power, the daily supply charge needs to adjust (ever so slightly) to bring this back to reality. But this is a small price to pay for having a discount applied to both your usage and daily supply charge – no other energy retailer offers this.

5. No gas: Powershop currently only offers electricity. So you still have to find another energy provider to look after your gas bill. It’s annoying having two power providers – and in some cases you can’t secure a good gas discount without coupling your electricity bill as well. Hopefully this changes in the future.

6. Victoria & NSW only: If you live anywhere else, sorry – Powershop is only available in these states. They have plans to expand in QLD and SA very shortly though – so hang tight.

How to Get the Best Out of Powershop

  1. Score a $75 power credit by sending me your email below –
    • Enter your email address so I can send you your $75 code. Your email address will not be added to any other lists. I promise – because I hate spam too.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  2. Download the Powershop app (Android or iOS). It’s damn good – helping you analyse your power usage to the smallest degree
  3. Proactively buy power from Powershop (rather than sitting back and letting them do it). You’ll get better rates
  4. About once per week, Powershop will send out notifications of a special power deal that generally expires in a few days. This special deal will usually be at an excellent price, but just be for a limited amount of power. Whenever I get one of these notifications on my phone, I skim read it, compare the offered rate, then buy it with a click.


One More Thing – Be Prepared

Energy retailing is incredibly competitive. The moment you move, your old electricity retailer will call you back with an offer to entice you back. This will often be a combination of a further discount, plus an account credit. I’ve always costed these up and they have never ever come close to the value Powershop is offering. Like all good offers, run the numbers and compare before you make a decision. And don’t be afraid to say no. All the best for a cheaper electricity bill.

Let me know about your experience – I’m keen to hear how you went.


David Moloney


Is Black Friday Really Good For Business?

Well, another Black Friday has come and gone to cheers within the media. Maybe you yourself picked up a bargain on electronic goods, music or perhaps a fancy shirt. But are Black Friday sales events really a big win for business?

Black Friday Market

Black Friday Brings Bargains. At Cost to Businesses

If you listen to the media, YES! But I’m not so sure. I agree that Black Friday contributes billions of dollars ($11.2 billion in 2012) to the retail bottom line. But my question is, at what cost? Retailers shouldn’t be focusing on the total value of sales but whether the gross margin that they receive on their sales makes the whole campaign worthwhile. Because at the end of the day, sellers need to be selling things for a profit rather than just selling things to achieve a revenue target.  And looking at some items like solid state drives and other equipment – I’m not sure many sellers are making much money at all.

In order to survive, a business needs to make a profit. Anytime a business discounts goods, they’re making less profit. They’re making less margin and reducing the growth prospects for the business.  In this way, discounts should always be used sparingly with sales rather than regularly. My top line view of discounting is that it should only be used to run up old stock which is significantly different from the new stock coming in. Unfortunately many business as revenue targets, which makes it easy to sacrifice profit by slashing away at prices.

Sure, this approach to discounting helps move inventory off the floor to make way for the new inventory. And it can help to attract new customers. But the downside is that it sets a new perceived anchored price point. For example, if I have a stereo system on the floor that I’m trying to sell at my store and its usual retail price is $1,000 and I then discount it to $750. The new perceived price of that stereo category is $750 – for future stereos.

So, if I bring a new stereo into the store with hopes to sell it at $1,000 – it’s going to be an uphill battle. Prospective buyers have seen my previous stereo discounted to $750 have the $750 price point in their mind. This, therefore, makes it very difficult to re-establish your price as the $1,000 stereo. You can avoid this situation by only discounting lines that are being discontinued or far removed from your other business.

So, in summary, don’t use gross revenue as a measure of success. Use gross margin as a measure of your success and only discount on products and services that you are looking to discontinue and that are far removed from your continuing business lines.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


AAMI’s New App. Waste of Money?

When I mention AAMI car insurance, the first thing you’d probably think of is Rhonda and Ketut. They’re the stars of a popular AAMI ad campaign that has been running for over a year now. Now whether or not Rhonda and Ketut have overshadowed AAMI brand or complemented it isn’t something that I’ll be examining. I want to assess whether the current AAMI ad promoting the Claim Assist app. Was this ad a good idea, or a wasted opportunity to strengthen the brand? Open the window, let the breeze in and let’s find out.


AAMI Claim Assist App. Worth Promoting?

Now in the car insurance industry, pretty much all insurers offer the same product (sorry, I’ve worked in the industry). So there’s very little differentiation. Therefore, car insurance companies really only compete on awareness and price.

With the release of this new app, it seems that AAMI is trying to create a differentiator that will help give them something to shout about rather than price. Personally, I think that this is a mistake (although not the biggest mistake) for a few reasons. Although, I don’t have the market shares statistics I’m guessing that AAMI car insurance is probably the number car insurance company in Australia. Therefore, to defend this title, it should constantly be talking about how it provides the best quality cover at the cheapest price… because that’s what people care about.

This new commercial deviates from this strategy and instead starts talking about an app which I don’t think really offers much value besides contributing to the epic Rhonda & Ketut love story. And the app doesn’t even work well in the first place. So it’s puzzling why AAMI are investing millions of dollars to talk about an app rather than use the duo to continually reinforce that AAMI provides the best quality car insurance at a cheap price.

Anyways, here’s the AAMI app commercial:

YouTube Preview Image

AAMI Claim Assist App

Apart from being promoted on this television commercial, the app is also promoted on the homepage of the AAMI website. If you listen again to the commercial, AAMI tell you to download the app. But is this really realistic? Let’s just say you’re an AAMI customer and you’re going along having a nice Sunday drive. Then suddenly the next thing some crazy cardigan smashes into you. What’s the first thing you’re going to do?

It certainly won’t be visiting the app store to download the AAMI app. Instead, you’re going to get out of your car, have a conversation with the driver, exchange details, take some photos  and go on your merry way. Assuming all parties are civil.

Now, AAMI may argue “but you’ll download the app before you have an accident” but c’mon, that’s rubbish. People don’t expect to have a car accident. If they don’t expect an accident, they aren’t going to download the app. It doesn’t make sense.

What’s more, if you actually visit the AAMI claim assist download page, you’ll see that there are only 6 people have gone there and left reviews (at the time of publishing). The app gets 3 out of 5 stars. So, the damn app isn’t even getting any glowing reviews – which must be disappointing considering its being heavily promoted by AAMI.

Going further into the reviews, the app is getting quite a few lackluster responses saying that it’s either ho-hum or that there are other apps out there that actually do a better job. This is not a good sign for AAMI.

So, in summary, AAMI has chosen to invest, dare I say, millions of dollars promoting an app that no one’s downloading. Yes, the Rhonda and Ketut are minor celebrities – but this is a wasted creative that does not strengthen the core message. The smarter thing to do was to continue the Rhonda & Ketut story and invest those millions in positioning AAMI as a good quality car insurer at an affordable price. It’ll be interesting to see how long commercial lasts for.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


We No Longer Feel Better On Swisse?

After a huge blitz earlier in the year, Advertisements by Vitamin company Swisse seem to have largely dropped off our screen. I’ve previously discussed multivitamin endorsements before. This article is about the battle to embed a perception into your target audiences mind. Because if you’ve embedded a perception, it lives on for quite a long time. Even without watering. It’s about how Swisse extracted full value from their tagline, before the strong tagline suddenly disappeared.

Swisse Logo Without Tagline

No Tagline: Swisse No Longer Pledges That You’ll Feel Better

Firstly, businesses aren’t stupid. They know that this perception is key to a brands success. If you can win the battle of the mind, then you can always count on your assumptions prevailing and encouraging sales.

In 2011, Swisse increased its  total revenue by 60%, and an increase in profit of 131%. In 2012, I have no doubt that it’ll realise another healthy growth number at the end of this year.

This healthy growth number will largely be driven from a huge media spend in the first half of 2012. Wind your mind back a few months… Swiss had plenty of TV ads on high rotation to embed its tagline ‘Tired? Stressed? You’ll feel better on Swisse’. Heck I even went along to a corporate event and was handed a bunch of Swisse Multivitamins as I legged out the door. “No Thanks”.

This media and sponsorship saturation no doubt worked wonders in embedding the key brand message. Again, brands know that if you win the battle of the mind, then you can always count on your assumptions prevailing in the future.

…Anyways, the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Complaint Resolution Panel started playing bad cop and asked Swisse to cease promoting that some of its products were “clinically proven” or “independently tested”, as well as its tagline “Tired? Stressed? You’ll feel better on Swisse”. This went to the Federal court. Unfortunately the ultimate findings were suppressed. Don’t you love it when that happens.

But guess what happened before a judgement was even handed down? Yup, Swisse stopped using its ‘Tired? Stressed? You’ll feel better on Swisse’ message. Was this just a coincidence? I’ll leave that up to you.

I bet Swisse won’t be game to roll out its you’ll feel better on Swisse’ tagline given the court case, but it doesn’t matter. Swisse has already conquered the battle of the mind. It has already embedded its brand message. And this halo effect will live on in the minds of the public for at least the medium term. While, barely a few thousand will be aware of the behind the scenes court case.

And that is a great example of a brand nailing its brand message, while skirting (largely) unharmed on the edge of regulation. If I was a competitor like Blackmore’s, I’d be quite annoyed.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


Why You Shouldn’t Buy Fake Reviews

No. No. Naw. No. Don’t buy fake reviews for your business. You’re playing in dangerous waters. Yes, reviews are huge endorsements of your products and can help sway people to purchase your products that would otherwise be non-committal. But it’s dangerous – hugely dangerous to pay someone a few bucks from Fiverr to smudge out a rosey review. Here’s why:

Reveal & Backlash: If it’s uncovered that someone wrote a fake review about your business, your reputation would instantly take a hit. And the reputation of your brand is your most important asset. Once it’s broken, you can only glue it back together piece by piece – with the cracks forever remaining

IP Address  / User Tracking: Google ain’t stupid. It knows that people write fake reviews. They also know that reviews drive purchases. To maintain an ethical environment, Google may (or may have already) choose to track the IP addresses of people offering fake reviews. If sites are found to be harbouring fake reviews from these people and Google finds a way to sift between fake/legitimate reviews, I bet these sites will be hit with a penalty.

Shouldn't Buy Fake Reviews

Don’t Buy Fake Reviews. They Will Hurt You Eventually

The New York Times recently wrote that one company was even offering full rebates on products in exchange for reviews (hint… hint… please be positive). Perhaps scarier, a comment following the article stated:

“My employer creates software applications for websites that allow companies to automatically generate fake reviews. We are one of the top WCM companies world-wide.  The “reviews” generated are unique and seem quite real but, in fact, are not. Surprisingly many of our customers use our products to generate comments and reviews for news articles (especially political news articles concerning the upcoming election). The U.S. Army uses our product to add positive comments to articles associated with the war in Afghanistan.”

Language Tracking: We are creatures of habit. We write in a similar style, using very similar phrasing. No doubt the people writing reviews have their own time honoured phrases that they inject into their fake reviews. Google could combine an algorithm that seeks out the IP/username of known fake reviewers and combines this with known fake language. This would be a powerful tool and stripping out those devious reviews.

And that’s not mentioning that you could cop a fine from regulators for being misleading.

Want to Check if You’ve Been Hit With a Fake Review?

Review Skeptic uses an algorithm based on research. It’s claimed to be 90% accurate in determining whether a review is fake or real. Feel free to try it out yourself to see how nasty deceptive you are.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


Here’s A Very Bad Magazine Ad. Grrr…

I often see bad ads. Usually I just skim over them or shake my head wondering whether the client knows they are wasting money. But occasionally – very occassionally – I come across an ad that is so bad it makes me stop, stand up and walk over the nearest person chanting “have you seen this ad?”

I’ve done a few ad reviews on this site (Tom Waterhouse and Nikon) – and to be fair, I wouldn’t go after ‘Mum & Dad’ operators, because chances are they are behind the 8-ball in terms of marketing knowledge. But big institutions should know better. They should have the tools and knowledge to make effective ads. Or at least know how to avoid making lackluster ads.

Below is perhaps the most confusing printed/magazine ad I have come across in a long time. It’s by Lockwood. Although I stared at it for a few minutes, it took me a while to figure it out. Let’s examine the ad and find out what went wrong.

To see a larger version of the ad, click the image below:


Ineffective Lockwood Ad. Click to See a Larger Version

Why Did This Ad Suck?

Taking a step back, I think this ad suffered from too many people trying to say too many things. This was probably driven by an internal political decision within Lockwood to keep a bunch of people from different departments happy. Unfortunately it doesn’t keep the reader happy.

The ad tried to mix a sponsorship experience message and product offering. Given there’s not enough room to achieve both these objectives, this decision was poor. The ad comes across as a mish-mash that totally kills its purpose. A good ad is always single minded and has a clear headline and call to action. This Lockwood ad is multi-faceted, containing multiple call to actions, spread across the whole ad. And confusing imagery. After reading it I needed to lay down.

To really experience the ad, you need to imagine a spruiker on outside a Lockwood store, bringing the ad to life. He would take a deep breath and say:

“Win a Bathurst experience at $7,000 – come ask me about it. And you’ll never have to carry keys again. And we’ve got V8 Super Car driver Fabes Couthard riding a bike here. Oh and don’t forget our $50 cash back offer that closes soon. I’m from Lockwood by the way. And we have a product called 001Touch. It’s a touchscreen that you put in your home, so you don’t need keys. Give us a call.”

…That’s literally how the ad presents itself. A zillion thoughts without any cohesiveness.

Parts of the Ad That Failed

  • No clear headline: Where does the reader start?
  • Multiple images: Making the piece too complicated and confusing
  • Person on the bike: It’s not clear who this is. If it’s the V8 Super Car driver, what has cycling got to do with V8 driving?
  • Logo position: Bottom middle. Perhaps the worst location possible
  • Ill positioned headline: The headlines aren’t being positioned with the relevant pictures, causing confusion
  • Multiple call to actions: The ad has three separate call to action boxes.

“Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn’t sell much of anything.” David Ogilvy

(Also, Darren Rowse has a good post about David Ogilvy quotes)

Elements to a Good Ad

Although ads have many different objectives, which are either highly emotional based (e.g pure car brand messages) or highly rational based (e.g supermarket specials for the week), there is often a middle ground that most ads play in. In general a good printed ad will have the following elements:

  • Headline (stating problem or solution)
  • Image
  • Body copy (the more copy you have, the less people will read your ad)
  • Brand
  • Call to action (call us, visit our website or store)

By following the above formula, there’s a good chance that your ad will be on the right track to being engaging.

Helping grow your small business,
David Moloney
Small Business Planned


The Stupidest Online Decision I’ve Seen

I’ve seen some stupid decisions. And I’m not talking those online text formatting mistakes I see every day. I mean, something big. There’s one recent decision I witnessed that one made me physically stand up and declare ‘this is the stupidest decision I’ve seen all year’. Perhaps it was a bit melodramatic. But I think it was on the money. In the deepening webby world, your website address is your key physical online asset. It’s where people go to check you out, to interact with you and to link to you (Yay Google Juice).

Anyway – here’s the stupid decision in all its detail:

I’m a member of a financial institution that’s been around for probably about 30 years. Let’s call it Dcredit. It’s been known as the same brand throughout all of those 30 years. So there’s a lot of history. And there’s a heap of members spread around the country. About 12 months ago it decided to rebrand – as in – change its name to Dbank. I actually agreed with the rationale and supported the change. So all is going well so far.

A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice – Bill Cosby

It’s important to note that the existing company domain name and website were one in the same  – Given the rebrand, the primary website address needed to change from to That’s fine. It needs to be carefully managed, but it’s fine.

So anyway, after changing the brand the company moves all its content to and everything is functioning fine. They then make a class A dimwit decision – they just turn off the previous domain name No redirect, no message. No nothing. If you typed the old website name into the browser you will be met with a ‘not found’ error. What the?

That’s what made me stand up and exhale, exclaiming that this was the stupidest decision I’ve seen all year.


stupid online decision

Man, Even I Would Not Be That Stupid and Stuff


Why Was it a Stupid Decision?

  • Existing customer lag: You’ve got a brand that’s been around for 30 years. That means that the company has people on its books that are used to referring to it as ‘Dcredit’. This behaviour doesn’t change overnight, or in a few months. It can in fact take years for people to start to call a rebranded brand by its new name. Think about it – how many older people refer to the radio as ‘the wireless’. Or when sports stadiums change names – people still call them by the old name. Even my Dad calls the TV channel ‘SBS’, ‘028’ – and it hasn’t been 028 since the 1980’s!
  • Existing customer visits: We’re creatures of habit. If we’ve typed in a business’ domain name dozens of times, it becomes  a learned behaviour that’s engrained into our muscle memory. We automatically type the url without thinking. By failing to redirect or manage this behaviour, the customer experience significantly suffers. Members may wonder if the business has gone bust (and taken their money), or if there’s a problem with their computer. It’s only after they conduct an online search of Dcredit that they learn that the website address has changed. Ouchies. That customer experience sucks big time.And what’s more, Dbank aren’t even measuring how many hits are pinging to Dcredit, so they can’t understand the extent of the issue.
  • Google Juice: Given the business has been online for about 10 years, there would be plenty of third party links that direct to Because this site has been shut down, the new site doesn’t benefit from any of this Google juice. A simple permanent redirect would pass this benefit on.

…But it doesn’t end there.

I like to think that I’m a helpful kind of fellow. So I contacted Dbank and let them know that they really should add a redirect from their previous website, for the reasons outlined. They gave me a stock standard response of ‘passing it to the appropriate department’. Thankfully, they came to their senses and implemented a redirect over the next day or so.

I rejoiced. I applauded. Rather than send them an invoice, I celebrated with a slice of rhubarb pie.

The redirect lasted for five days. Then guess what?

They took the redirect down. I’m not sure why. It had me stumped again. Don’t make the same mistake if you are faced with the same situation. Always include a redirect from your previous website to your new website.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


Guaranteed Google Ranking Claims Are BS

Let’s put it simply – no one can guarantee you a top Google ranking. Because… they can’t control how Google ranks websites. Anyone that says they can guarantee a Google website ranking is either:

  1. Talking about listing you among the paid ads section
  2.  Lying
  3.  Guaranteeing that you rank for either your company name or some obscure search term. This is easy and nothing to brag about


Guaranteed Google Ranking is a Scam

Guaranteed Google Rankings Are a Lie

So let’s take a closer look. If you shmooze on to Google and search for something, you will be met with a screen that’s peppered with paid and free search results. Here’s how it looks:

Google Free vs Paid Listing Image

Google Paid vs Organic Listings

Paid Listings – Google Adwords (Section A)

These are ads that businesses buy through Google to promote their products and services. Every time a user clicks on these ads, they are taken to a the website of the business owner. And the business owner pays Google for this transfer. This form of advertising is known as ‘pay per click’. It can cost the advertising business anything from 20 cents, right up to $50 and beyond (for insurance), depending on how competitve the industry is. This and similar advertising scores Google 97% of its revenues.

As a business, it can be expensive to play in this space especially if you in a high competition industry. But if you’re smart and generate positive ROI, adwords can be a good lead generator.

The order of ads in this section is determined by another Google algorithm. It’s based on the amount a business is willing to pay for their ad and the ‘quality score’ of their website. In this way good websites can effectively pay less to show ads than poor websites.

Organic Listings or Natural Search Listings (Section B)

Here are the natural unpaid search results. This is what your long term focus should be. Google uses algorithms to determine the quality of a site for a given search result. The higher your website quality ranking, the higher your ranking in this section. Naturally, if you’re a highly ranked website, you are put at a competitive advantage.

It usually takes some hard yards to convince Google that you have a quality website. And naturally, the more competition in an industry, the more difficult it is to compete.

Can You Rank Me Highly For This Search Term?

To rank highly in Google’s natural listings, Google must deem you an authority on your target search term. The more general the search term, the more difficult it will be to rank. E.g ‘Hairdresser Malvern’ is a lot easier to rank for than simply ‘Hairdresser’. When naming your website and your business, you should consider the best website name as that can assist your Google ranking.

Although Google’s exact ranking algorithm is a secret, the world’s internet marketing industry invests millions to test and retest ranking assumptions. They have found that the following things have a positive effect on your website ranking:

  • The number of good quality websites that link to you
  • Your website title and headings
  • How old your content is
  • How fast your website loads
  • Social media mentions and clicks

Naturally, the above factors all require a bit of elbow grease to ensure success.

No Guaranteed Rankings. You Need a Good Foundation

No, you can’t guarantee Google rankings, but you can build your website so it has the best chance of success. For instance, my small business website design service understands the principles of search engine optimisation. I craft all my sites so they sing to Google’s latest tune. I’ve lay the strong foundations that the site owner can build upon to achieve website success.

Some other web designers either focus too much on design or text. Although these are important – they should always work in harmony with search engine optimisation and branding to ensure a positive user experience. After all – you can optimise your website to high water, but at the end of the day people aren’t going to buy from a site that looks like a dry turnip.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned


Do Multivitamins Work? Endorse It

Credibility and trust. It takes a lifetime to build and an instant to shatter. You need to understand that your credibility is one of your strongest assets in business. People will back you if you’re credible. People will disown you if you’re not.

Before a I jump into assessing whether multivitamins work, it’s important to understand the crux of credibility. As this is the real underlying business lesson.

Do Multivitamins Work

Do Multivitamins Work? Would You Endorse Them?

You can lend your credibility to a causes to help boost its profile. The Royal Family are geniuses at this approach. When assessing a cause, some issues are easy to get behind (child abuse, saving orangutans). Others require a bit more risk (admiration for a political party or coming out). But all in all, these causes exchange your profile and brand image for more publicity for the cause.

Enter the grey area of celebrity endorsements. When done well and appropriately, celebrity endorsements do work. The product gets a celebrity halo effect and more sales hit the bottom line. The celebrity is paid. Smiles all round.

But the celebrity endorser needs to recognise they just can’t walk away once their pay cheque clears. If they endorse a product and something goes a bit smelly with that product, that reflects badly on the celebrity. People wonder whether the celebrity was lying, just in it for the money or didn’t care.

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.

Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder)

Take the multivitamin industry – which seems to be all the rage at the moment. Type – ‘do multi vitamins work?’ into Google. You’ll see plenty of content, even from trusted health websites that have health professionals. Most of this content is negative or at least indicative that multi-vitamins aren’t needed if you have a balanced diet.

The efficacy of multivitamins ‘for all’ is therefore not clear cut.  Which is why I’m so surprised that celebrities with a well credentialed health backgrounds have put their hand up to endorse multivitamins, when the science isn’t black and white.

Swisse for instance, market their multivitamins with the definitive statement: ‘You’ll feel better on Swisse.’ So Swisse is effectively saying that everyone will feel better on Swisse, regardless of their health situation. If I was a medical professional, I would be uncomfortable attaching my name and reputation to this water tight statement. Some may discount this tagline as being ‘puffery’. But I think it’s dangerous to do so. No study has found that multivitamins reap benefits everyone. So why are multivitamin companies able to infer that they do?

Interestingly, the Therapeutic Goods Council put the heat on Swisse recently, forcing them to remove the slogan ‘You’ll feel better on Swisse’. And to ditch a few ads. In response, Swisse moved that they weren’t given enough time to answer the allegations  before this ruling was made. Swisse won the right to be given more time (and for the ruling to be struck out in the interim).

It’s important to note that the win for Swisse didn’t counter the Therapeutic Good Council’s claims. Instead it provided Swisse with more time to argue against them. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. And it will be interesting to see who remains a celebrity endorser once this saga ends.

In answer to the question, do multivitamins work? There are two answers, both revolving around perception and reality. The current perception is set by the industry advertising (Swisse reportedly has a $50 million marketing budget this year). They are telling us that multivitamins do work. Other sources indicate the reality is a bit more grey.

If a future judgement finds that multivitamins have limited health benefits – or at least benefits that only apply to a subset of people, this perception could change. Especially if the story was picked up by general PR. This would have the potential of changing public perception which in turn could alienate those celebrities who have endorsed the product.

Beware who you endorse. Beware the organisations that your business endorses. Conduct due diligence and if in doubt say no. You can’t afford to have your brand image tarnished.

Growing your small business,

David Moloney
Small Business Planned