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Archive for June, 2010

Survey: customer testimonials in marketing literature

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Do you use customer testimonials in your marketing literature?

Do you trust other companies’ use of testimonials and do they influence your buying decision?

Note saying 'Splendid work! Thank you'




I’m running a little survey. The results will - I hope - help me offer you tips on making customer endorsements work harder for your business. I’ll also publish advice soon on ensuring your use of testimonials complies with the new Code of Advertising Practice.

The survey only takes about three minutes: go on, do it now!

Thank you for your help.


Good As Gold writing service #07: blogging

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Does your blog lie abandoned, growing weeds? Maybe you’ve identified a patch of expertise that’s yours for the taking in the online world, if only you had time to water and nurture it …

Little green shoot from the earth










Here are five quick reminders why a regularly maintained blog is good for your business:

01) Blogs allow you to showcase lots of relevant and useful content, not only demonstrating your industry expertise and enhancing your credibility, but allowing your organisation to creep up the search-engine listings too.

02) Blogs are great for building online relationships. People can respond to your posts instantly, sharing knowledge, asking questions or offering feedback.

03) Blogs let you respond to topical things quickly. If your business, product or industry takes a blow from some bad press or a dissatisfied customer, you can use your blog to set the record straight, offer an explanation and show you are listening.

04) Your blog can have a global audience! You can tweet all day on Twitter or faff around on Facebook … but people will only see your efforts if they’re ‘following’ you or hooked in to your network. Blogs open you out to a world of readers who can stumble across you when they make relevant search queries.

05) Blogs are free to set up and use (if you know how) and are often easier to update and maintain than websites. If you integrate a blog into your main website, it’s a great way to continually refresh your content (which search engines love!).

So what’s the downside, I hear you ask? You already know: time! Researching, writing and uploading interesting articles is very draining on your day - and you need to concentrate on running your business, looking after clients and keeping your knowledge fresh.

But supposing you could hire someone to ghost-write your blog for you? Now there’s a good idea! 

Good As Gold is happy to …

  • write blog entries for you on a daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly basis
  • create a ‘tone of voice’ that is consistent with your business and brand, or adopt the tone of your existing communications
  • either source and craft news stories on your behalf or write blog entries from notes you give us (however skimpy!)
  • source images if necessary, either from stock photography or by commissioning unique work
  • help you set up your first blog, if you need us to, and integrate it into your website.  

The cost depends on how complex your subject is, and how much research is involved in writing your articles. But our blogging services aren’t expensive and - best of all - there is no minimum order. So if you wanted to test us out with just one tiny blog entry, that’s no problem.

It goes without saying that each entry will be written from scratch and entirely unique to your business.

Pour some sunlight on your blog and see what grows! Email Good As Gold today at and let us know what you’re thinking …

New Advertising Codes: don’t slip up!

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is launching new UK Advertising Codes, which will take effect from 1 September 2010.

You can download the new CAP as a PDF here. It is clear and easy to read, and contains important information on marketing, including:

  • When ‘puffery’ (obvious exaggeration) is acceptable


  • Where you stand on price information, including when you can or can’t describe a product as ‘free’
  • 'oh yes it's free'

  • Guidelines on making comparisons between your company or product (or price!) and a competitor’s. A Blackpool taxi company got into trouble recently for distributing leaflets that unfairly claimed its competitor was slow and did not value price, quality or service!


  • The need to back up your testimonials or endorsements. Hint: “you must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it”
  • fabricated testimonial

  • Guidance on minimising the risk of your communications causing harm or serious widespread offence
  • internet shock

  • Making sure that advertising aimed at under-16s is safe, suitable and ethical. This section of the Code has undergone perhaps the greatest number of changes, aiming for enhanced protection for children

Boy with football

  • Protecting people’s privacy (including, interestingly, members of the Royal Family)

email privacy

  • The rules on special offers, competitions and promotions
  • Raffle tickets

  • Guidelines on direct marketing, to complement the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 
  • Stop spam sign

  • The need for compliance with data protection legislation.(Are you keeping your contacts’ details safe and giving them the chance to opt out of your communications?)
  • confidential information

  • When you can and can’t make claims about a product being green or environmentally friendly

Earth in hand

  • Details about promoting medicines, medical devices, treatments, health-related products and beauty products. A water purifier ad was banned this month for making unsubstantiated claims that the product was “alkalizing, aided respiration and produced youthful looking skin”

Magic potions

  • Guidelines and rules on marketing communications for weight control and slimming aids; financial products (please note that these can go down as well as up); food; gambling products and lotteries; alcoholic drinks; and motoring-related products.
  • Cherry red summer apple with measuring tape

You may also be interested in reading the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP), which governs TV and radio advertising. 

If ever you’re unsure as to whether your marketing communications might fall foul of the Code, give CAP’s Copy Advice team a ring on 020 7492 2100. I’ve spoken to them twice recently on behalf of clients: once to check that a cleaning firm was OK to say its environmentally friendly products were ‘healthier’ than others (we had to tread carefully with this) and once to find out where we stood on making links between hypnotherapy and smoking cessation (again, we didn’t want to mislead with false or overstated claims).

Both times I found the Copy Advice team to be helpful and knowledgeable.

I’ll also be attending training on the new Code in the near future, to make sure I can always give you the best and most up-to-date advice. So if you need sparkling, lively, Code-compliant copy, call Good As Gold on 0121 236 7066.

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