The title might sound a little crazy but bear with me.
You don't need marketing, what you really need is quality leads.
Let's face it, marketing without any improvement in leads generated is a waste of time and money.
Certainly, the only trackable, verifiable way you know marketing is successful is when it brings you good leads you can use.
But sometimes marketing doesn't generate good leads.
I don't want to get lost in semantics.
The point is unless you've got a huge advertising budget, and have the money to burn on what's called 'brand advertising,' general tactics and broad methods don't help at all. You need to focus on your goals. You have to hone in on what you want and target specific audiences for specific reasons.
Let's look at television and radio, just to take two examples. They're expensive, but they're in our lives everyday and are practically everywhere. Everybody uses TV and radio, when they have money to spend and a product to sell. The problem is you can spend thousands of dollars on radio and television and get absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, I pretty much guarantee you'll come up empty, unless you have an extremely focused campaign and literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw at it.
Does that sound very efficient?
Not in the slightest.
That's why I like digital marketing. If you do it right, your dollars go a very long way with digital. Digital marketing is agile and robust. It's easy on your ad budget, and it generates huge leads and sales.
Let's start with a little test, something to let you know whether or not you have a good marketing plan in place. I designed a questionnaire that's quick and easy (it'll only take you a minute). When you're finished, you'll have a great idea of how far along you are, as well as some good suggestions about how to move forward. This test will let you know your strengths and how to improve on your weaknesses. Some of the areas it covers are SEO, CRO, SEM, as well as many others.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important marketing tools a company can use. If you've ever purchased customer leads online, there's a very high chance those were generated with SEO. I tell companies to make SEO their number one priority. Sometimes it's tough finding the right partner, somebody who can deliver. A lot of people make big claims, and only about half of them can back them up. You could learn the techniques yourself, but the essence of good SEO, really is experience. Years of tracking, and working with various clients, can't be copied in a few weeks, or even in a few months. I'm glad to let people see the track record I have with SEO. You can check it out here, at my home page, http://www.baldyne.com.
Search Engine Marketing is another tool in your digital marketing work-kit. It's very close to SEO, though the mechanism is very different. SEM usually refers to the use of paid advertising. Without a doubt Google Adwords is the biggest online player in that game. Advertising itself, of course, is as old as the word 'media' itself, but frankly the largest hurdle with SEM is its rising cost. Take for example the aforementioned Google Adwords. Their prices increased by twenty-five percent in the past year alone. They know businesses pay more for branded keywords, and they charge accordingly. Ads that use these keywords can produce dividends for their owners, but everyone on the selling end is aware of that and the price will only go higher.
There's been the hope that more competition (from companies like Facebook and others) might slow the inflation. That hasn't happened yet, but its' still early to tell.
When it's all said and done, you have to decide what matters for you. How many clicks does it take before someone who visits your site commits and becomes your customer? Are you willing to pay for that? What is the price per clicks? If you can afford the cost from Google Adwords, and others, it might be worth it. The great thing is that these are simple numbers, and it's usually easy to do the math and make a decision.
Ads in places like Facebook are cheaper than Google Ads right now, but that's starting to change. It's easier to target your audience in social media, and as I said before, everyone wants that. You can get specific and really focus on the interests of your potential customers. You can check out your competitors and maneuver around them (if necessary). You can try different methods and play with a number of options.
I use Adesprosso to create Facebook ads. I like to put out multiple versions and do a quick test to see which ad is the most effective. You can do a lot of variations in just a few minutes. It only takes forty-eight hours or so to be able to tell which ad is getting the best response. If you're going to invest a lot of your time into generating SEO leads, I suggest you definitely check out using Facebook ads, as well. This keeps you from being at the mercy of SEO, which can fluctuate, with the rise and fall of the markets. Having another channel to generate leads doesn't hurt. In fact it's healthier for your business and gives you more resources as you grow.
CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, involves generating leads and future clients form the traffic you've already got. You can do this by making various changes to your site. Maybe you need to spruce up your landing page, or add some pep to your special offers. Sometimes it just a matter of 'rearranging the deck chairs' to make the deck itself look better. The goal is to improve the conversion rate of traffic into leads and/or customers. Let's dig into the weeds a little and talk about how you crunch some numbers to make that happen.
It's actually fun to take the data science, bring it together with the math, then look at your tests to see how well you're performing. There are some tools available, like Optimizely, that are a great help. In all truth, though, you have to be consistent and diligent with your testing, to see where you've gotten better, and how you can improve. You want to see good long-term results. That takes commitment and use of a methodology of preparation and evaluation.
Remember it's the details that give you the biggest changes. You can have the greatest impact with something as particular as changing your headline. Displaying your phone number or putting a check-box in a different place can affect conversion rates enormously. Find out which elements move numbers by testing and re-testing. Use the results to know how to prioritize and to get better customer attraction and retention.
The answer to this headline question is an absolute, Yes!
You should know what your competition is doing, what they're thinking and what they are planning. There's no plagiarism of good ideas. You wouldn't refuse to go down a nice street, just because others have gone there before you. Find out how your competitors advertise. Know who they target, and why. Find out where your competition looks for customers, and how they plan to reach them. On the other hand, don't forget the famous 'road less traveled'. As the poet said, it can make all the difference. Sometimes a market is too saturated, or an area becomes too congested. Maybe you're better served opening new channels, offering something different, or even just building that better mousetrap.
"See what your competition is doing, and do the exact opposite."
Dan Kennedy, a well-respected direct-response marketer said that, and I agree with him completely. You absolutely need to know your market, but sometimes innovation is more successful than imitation. Being first on the scene can give you the best choice of location, as well as make you the first choice for fresh customers.
Let's be honest, you know they're out there. The world is full of great possibilities, but it's also full of thieves, rapscallions and hucksters. These people will take your money and give you nothing in return. I've had too many clients, who were burned in the past, who ran across those ne'er-do-wells, and have the scars to prove it. How do you protect yourself, and what do you look for? I'll offer some advice, and understand when you're talking to me, you're talking to someone who's never had a client cancel on him (People stick with you, when they know you're one of the good ones, especially if they've had the misfortune of seeing the bad ones).
There are three tried and true methods for finding good marketing help:
If you do have a need for digital marketing, I'm pretty sure I can help you. First, though, I want to tell you a few things upfront:
All that being said, here's why I know I can help you:
I'm not bragging about this; these are the facts. I've got credibility where it counts, and I can deliver.
I'll tell you honestly if I can help you or not. Right now I've got eight different businesses in California, as my clients, and a couple from out of state. I'm old-school when it comes to business. I like to meet up once a month. I like being face-to-face to make sure we're on the same page. If you're not in Northern California, please contact me anyway. If you've just got a few questions, I'm happy to spend some time.
Let me get the bad news out of the way: I'm a one-man marketing firm. I don't have a lot of time to take on new clients. The eight clients I have keep me pretty busy. There is some good news, however: You may not even need my help. If you do need it, there's a quick way find out if you do.
I've put together a sixty second survey of ten easy-to-answer questions. Once you finish the survey, depending on the results, you'll receive a form, that allows you to sign up for my waitlist.
You're not on my waitlist to become my client. Instead, it's a way to set up a discovery meeting. I want to talk to you about your business. I want to hear about your goals and your problems. I'll give you a lot of free advice and a nice amount of my valuable time. After that I'll carefully write a report and email it to you immediately. I call it "The 1-Page Digital Marketing Plan". The report gives you insight into my methodology and tactics. It'll tell you things that you can probably apply to your business now. Most importantly, it gives you a great overview of a marketing strategy and a plan that works.
Shoot me these questions or any others that you have. I'm always willing to listen and look forward to hearing from you.