Head of the Line

Hail & Fail

#2 2nd March 2017

This week, we see how a great Twitter header image and showing your audience instead of telling them can win you new business. We also take a look at ways to avoid falling foul of Google’s policy on link schemes.


Guardian Environmental


Hail to Guardian Environmental for their Twitter header image shown above and on their Twitter page @GuardianEnviro. It does a perfect job of showing the problem and solution they offer rather than just telling us about how great they are.

One of the best things you can do in marketing is show your audience rather than telling them. People are much more likely to remember something visual rather than just words that are meaningless until put them into action. How many times have you encountered someone promising you that they can ‘save you money’ on your utility bills, tax or insurance?

The header image itself elicits a response from the person viewing it. They can immediately see that a lot of extra work will be removed from their busy schedule if they choose Guardian’s services.

If Guardian had said:

“If you choose us, you don’t need to have a lot of different companies. Dealing with one is easier”


“we make your life easier and more efficient because you only need to deal with one company instead of 12 separate companies. 12 separate ways of working, 12 separate invoices, 12 different organisations to align with. With Guardian, you can deal with one company that understands your needs.”


What would be the result? As well as taking a lot longer than looking at the Twitter header image, it’s easily forgotten and not as easy to believe. Guardian Environmental have shown its audience the value it can deliver.

Marketing Actions

Although there is always a need for words as a way to communicate, it’s equally important to show the benefits prospects can expect from you.

When trying to connect with your audience, instead of just saying “avoid processing 12 separate invoices” or “don’t waste you admin time having to approve 12 different invoices, just approve one”. You could write a story about how using a single company has helped to make their business more efficient. This is often done in the form of a case study.

Infographics are great and a very popular way to connect with your audience. They allow you to use graphical representations of statistics to make your point. This is telling with a very visual element.


Above is an example of a style and some common elements of an infographic. Something similar works well to break up a large report or to be shared independently of your report or blog post.

Another way to connect with your audience that could show your value to them could be through a comic strip or a video. In fact, through the production of a video, you may end up with a comic strip too. Two memorable pieces of content from one. The video may be hosted on YouTube, but you can embed it within your website and the same goes for the comic strip.

You also need to create images that will be absorbed instantly to the viewer’s subconscious. Use those images on all social media networks. The most effective position is at the top of your social media page. The top three social platforms for business all allow you to add a header image to your profile.

  • Change plain text into stories
  • Create infographics
  • Create videos
  • Create images that make your point instantly
  • Show, don’t tell


Remember to always tell cool stories. Humour and a light-hearted style can often help to get your point across.



ACME Link Seller

For this week’s Fail, we look at the ways you cold get into trouble when link building. In our opinion, at the time of writing, ACME Link Seller (which is a real website but shall go unnamed and unlinked to) would fall foul of Google’s policies. ACME Link Seller and sites like it, opens up the question of link building and how we should go about it.

ACME Link Seller is a really useful website that allows visitors to discover information about it’s target subject by making a search on the site. It doesn’t appear to be as polished as it could be, but a few small improvements would make it an invaluable resource for people looking for information.

As it stands, ACME Link Seller’s website is there to provide value for those wishing to increase their ranking in search engines by buying links.

Link Building

Link building is still an important part of having a website and getting traffic to it. The way link building is done, however, is very different from the early days of the internet.

Links to a website are seen as a vote for that website. Google and other search engines used links as a major factor in deciding how high to rank a website and so people would get links from anywhere they could and however they could. The more links you had, the higher up your website would appear in the search engine’s rankings.

Today, rather than getting as many links from as many places as possible, we need to get links that are from sites that would have a genuine reason to link to us. This is because search engines can now understand when we’re building links to be popular and when we’ve earned a link form a reputable source.

But never mind Google, if you’re going to put effort into getting links, it’s much better to get them from a source that will send prospects to you that are interested in your products and services.

Link Selling

Selling links was (and still is) big business, but over time, search engines have developed new ways to understand why a website should be ranked highly, so the importance of links has changed from the need for as many as possible to needing links from valuable websites.


The link on the homepage is asking if anyone would like to buy a link and there’s even a page soliciting advertisements for a monthly fee. There seems to be a fine line here between offering to sell a link and a paid advertisement.

However, buying links is frowned upon by Google, so they decided to penalise websites that buy or sell links. Google talk about their policy on link schemes here. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356 Take a moment to review the policy and see if you’re following it.

Link Earning

It could be great for you to establish a partnership with suppliers of spare parts or other product that visitors to your website may be looking for. We feel that’s the intention of Link Seller Japan’s request.

As a service management company, you might offer to provide or be asked for a testimonial. It’s usual for companies to link to some of their customers via testimonials or case studies. This is of value for both the software company and your business. How about the Hail example, creating a story to show how your company has delivered efficient contact and invoicing?

The software company is able to show how it helps you through use of its software, you gain a new link and more traffic from interested prospects such as housing associations looking for larger and more efficient companies to manage their services You could consider spreading the love by doing the same for your customers.

Another way to earn links is if your website gives visitors exactly what they’re looking for and provides valuable information they will want to share with their friends. You will gradually build links as people write about your content. This is a well-earned and highly prized link.

With a useful website, providing a good service and interesting content, you’ll also find your name and website recommended on social media. Word-of-mouth referrals are now happening online as well as offline. Are you in a position to take advantage?

Marketing Actions

If you do decide to take out an advert on another site (or allow others to advertise on your site), make sure it is clearly labelled as such and the link has rel=”nofollow” attached to it. Alternatively, you could make use of advertising on Google’s display advertising network if you want to get more clicks through to your website from engaged prospects.


Establish partnerships with complimentary businesses that provide services that could be helpful to your clients. Show your audience how valuable your services are with case studies that link back to your website.

Look for opportunities to be mentioned even on places like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Being recommended on social media will help you to get more traffic. The benefit to your search engine rankings is not guaranteed, but at least your reputation will increase.

Paying for advertising can be good, but the site should be one that people who need your services would go to naturally and no-followed, not put there with the sole purpose of building links in an attempt to increase your rank in search engines.

  • Do not offer to sell links on your website
  • Do not buy links from other websites
  • Seek mutually beneficial ways to earn links
  • Have a valuable website that people want to show their friends

Our recommendation would be that if you’re not sure what you’re doing is following search engine guidelines, don’t do it.

ACME Link Seller could just be looking to attract a sponsor that would be valuable to their audience and help monetise the site, but that’s not made abundantly clear.

We’ve decided not to mention ACME Link Seller by name and not to have a link to their website.

The most important thing you can do is earn your links by providing great content and services that people want to find. This will ensure people want to share your website both on social media and their websites.



What are your thoughts on this week’s Hail & Fail?

How could you use the Hail in your business and how would you improve and adapt the Fail to make a successful campaign in your business? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter using the hashtag #HailnFail and our Twitter handle @MoreThanVenice <–click to tweet.

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