Surprising Things You Need to Put in Place in Order to Save Thousands of Dollars on Digital Marketing


piggy bank

It wasn’t that long ago when an entrepreneur’s marketing options were limited to flyers, tacky magazine ads, or expensive TV commercials.

However, with the advent of the Internet, the number of marketing options available to both budding and experienced entrepreneurs has become staggering.

Sometimes, when I’m surfing the web—it’s what I do a lot—I find myself thinking, “Wow! So many tactics! So many choices!”

If I were just getting started in digital marketing, I would be in a total freakout mode. Where do I start? Which one should I pick? What do I need to do first?

But it gets worse. Few businesses have the luxury of trying a lot of tactics. Marketing costs money—quite a bit of it, actually. And if you’re just testing out a bunch of tactics, you’ll run out of money before you run out of tactics.

Thankfully, with a little bit of know-how, you can achieve more marketing success than you ever imagined, even on the tightest budget.

How do you go about shaving thousands of dollars off your digital marketing costs without sacrificing the quality and results of your marketing campaigns?

Seems like a tough call, right?

Maybe not as tough as you think.

I’ll show you how.

First, some ground rules

Before I delve into all of the juicy strategies for increasing the success of your digital marketing while saving money, I want to discuss the most important principle of this whole article.

Here it is: less is more

The ultimate goal of all the points I list below is this: eliminate the fluff from your marketing strategy, and focus only on the things that work.

This is why I recommend minimizing your approach and using the 80/20 rule. This rule dictates that

80% of your results come from 20% of your marketing.

image01

You need to understand that this means that you’ll have to give up good marketing opportunities—but only so that you can take advantage of the great ones.

image08

If you are looking to save thousands, you want to put your focus and your money only into the opportunities with the highest yield. That way you can not only save money but also increase your results.

With that in mind, let’s begin.

1. Create a rock-solid strategy

I know that the title of this article promised to teach you “surprising” things you need to put in place for a great marketing strategy. Some of you may be scratching your heads right about now, wondering why I put something so seemingly obvious as a rock-solid strategy as the first point in this article.

Quite simply, I put this first because most people don’t do it!

We live in an era when entrepreneurship has such a low barrier to entry that many first-time business owners and online marketers just throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

They don’t ever take the time to develop a proven plan of action with contingencies, review processes, and clearly defined goals.

Sure, it may not be the most exciting part of digital marketing, but it sure is the most important.

Before you even begin to try to save money on your digital marketing, you need to have a clear strategy in place.

Are you wondering how to create a strategy? Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • How much will I spend? This question is essential since it prevents you from spending money on low yield opportunities.
  • What are my goals? Do I want increased traffic, sales, SEO ranking? Everyone wants revenue as the ultimate goal. Back down from this top-level goal, and figure out what KPI-related goals will get you there.
  • What competencies do I have that can help me determine which channels to use? Am I good at SEO, copywriting, ad design? Use your existing skill set and resources to determine which marketing channels you’ll be focusing on.

Don’t just ask these questions. Answer them. And write your answers down.

There. Now you have a strategy.

Remember, like the Navy SEALs say,  “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.”

image03

Or in our case, “The more you plan in marketing, the less you spend on useless garbage and experimentation.”

Trying out new marketing tactics like Kim Kardashian tries on new outfits will only waste time and money.

image05

Get your strategy in place, and the smart tactics will follow.

2. Hire a team of experts for your niche

While it’s common sense to allocate a sizable amount of your budget to hiring experts and consultants with experience in digital marketing, it’s paramount to hire the right experts.

Who are the right experts? People who have experience in your specific niche.

Just because someone is good at digital marketing doesn’t mean they are the best fit for your company.

Remember, you need to find the best options, not just good ones.

image07

How would you like to have the guy in the middle working with you on your music label?

If you run a copywriting firm and are looking to rank higher on Google, what should you do? Hire an SEO expert with a portfolio full of previous clients from copywriting firms for whom they were able to boost rank and quantifiably improve results.

This will ensure you are hiring someone who not only knows the trade but understands how to optimize in your niche as well.

3. Set up a tiered approach to your marketing

It’s easy to get caught up in pursuing all the latest marketing fads and trends. The result, however, is not fun. You spread yourself too thin instead of focusing on one thing and mastering it.

This is why I recommend a “tiered” approach to marketing.

What exactly does this mean?

Basically, create a list of 3-5 digital marketing mediums where you have a certain amount of strength and expertise or affordable access to people who do.

Next, decide what strongest one is—the one you believe will have the highest ROI based on the data for your industry.

Master that one.

I mean really master it. Don’t be content with a novice status. You’ve got to nail this thing!

Once you master the first medium (I’d say Facebook Ads), you can move on to the next one.

Keep doing this until you have mastery over several forms of digital marketing.

If you take this approach, you’ll be able to understand the best practices for each medium, know how to optimize your investments within each medium for maximum ROI, and automate your marketing systems.

You’ll be amazed at the impact. Not only are you gaining solid ROI, but you’re also building a foundation for future marketing efforts.

For example, let’s say you own a landscaping company in Tennessee. You understand Facebook marketing, AdWords, and have a basic grasp of SEO.

Your approach may look something like this:

  • Master Facebook marketing with a budget of $1,500/month and an ROI goal of $2,250 a month.
  • Once you hit your ROI goal and have created systems or hired experts that allow you to continue this marketing, move on to AdWords.
  • Using the ROI from Facebook, invest into AdWords marketing with a budget of $750 a month and an ROI goal of $1,500.
  • Now, you have mastered both mediums. Plus, you’ve been able to boost your ROI within each. You are now spending a total of $2,000/month for digital marketing between the two mediums but netting $5,000/month. You’re already winning. But don’t be content.
  • You can now systematize both your Facebook and AdWords marketing based on the mastery in each field. Use a set amount of the profit from the marketing to fund your next step, maybe SEO.
  • And on and on it goes until you start dominating each marketing medium.

You see, most people (myself included) dive into a new project and focus on far too many things at once, blowing their budgets and diminishing the potential for their ROI.

By limiting yourself to a single medium at a time, you’ll be able to master each one and save yourself time and money in the long run.

4. Analyze your metrics, and be willing to adjust

If you’re familiar with Murphy’s Law—”anything that can go wrong will go wrong”—you understand the struggle many digital marketers face.

image10

Even if you have a rock-solid strategy, completed an 80/20 analysis of your business, have a team of experts at your disposal, and you are focusing on one medium at a time taking a tiered approach, you can still fail at your digital marketing efforts.

Which makes this point the most important.

Analytics.

And pivoting.

Marketers must know their numbers. Become BFFs with Google Analytics or whatever analytics platform you choose. Know your numbers. Understand them. Interpret them.

The only way you can make smart marketing decisions is with data!

For example, if you have an analysis system in place, you’ll be able to see why your conversion rates significantly increased between the 15th and 22nd of June. Then, you would be able to replicate the process moving forward.

You wouldn’t know any of that if you aren’t tracking your progress and monitoring your analytics!

To be successful in digital marketing and save yourself thousands of dollars, you need an efficient way to analyze your efforts.

This happens through knowing data.

For example, let’s say you have gone against my previous advice and are trying to master Facebook marketing and AdWords at the same time.

After you’ve run a few campaigns and been investing for a couple of months, you decide to take stock of your efforts.

Let’s say you are spending $10 on AdWords a day and are earning back $10.50. That’s a positive ROI. Great!

But when you look at your Facebook marketing, you notice that you are actually losing money on the ad campaign. You’re earning more likes but seem to be hemorrhaging more money.

This presents an interesting conundrum.

On the one hand, logic would say to ditch Facebook marketing and double down on AdWords. However, depending on your niche and your vision for your company, those likes and views may be worth more than the pennies you are earning from AdWords (especially if you earn money from affiliates or sponsorships).

Without a clearly defined goal and an understanding of your ultimate vision for your marketing, you’ll be like a ship in a storm with no anchor, getting tossed around by the waves of emotion and confusion.

That’s why it’s important to know your numbers, analyze your data, and make strategic pivots based on what you discover.

Once you’ve clearly defined your goals and selected a marketing medium to pursue, don’t be afraid to discard other campaigns and move on.

If you are not seeing the results you want after a reasonable amount of time, pivoting is your best option.

5. Build a personal brand

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

People rarely buy from a company; they buy from a brand.

Others have made this point and even written books about it (so maybe not that much of a secret, after all).

image00

It’s true.

A company is about profits, losses, products, management, revenues, and shareholders. How boring is that?

A brand is about excitement, engagement, smiles, experiences, and personality.

You’ll understand this dichotomy if you recall the old Apple ads.

image11

Think about it: there are thousands of companies failing every year. While there could be a great number of reasons for their demise, one of those reasons is poor branding.

People like to buy from people they trust.

I want you to take a look at the branding behind 3 SUPER successful online entrepreneurs.

Here is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income:

image09

Here is Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich:

image02

And here is, of course, the 4-hour emperor, Tim Ferriss:

image06

Do you notice anything in particular about these blogs…other than the fact that the owners are multi-millionaires?

All of them are about PERSONAL brands. They are focused on the face behind the site, not some ambiguous logo that people can hide behind.

I’m not saying that every business needs to have a figurehead like Ferris or Sethi. What I am saying is that your brand needs personality.

image04

Before you invest a cent into digital marketing, you need to make sure your brand has attitude, emotion, and an authentic feel.

And then, by all means, build your personal brand too—the brand of you.

As an ambassador for your businesses, you can use your personal brand to drive your business.

The better you brand yourself, the less business-focused digital marketing you’ll need to do. People will find you, and they will want to buy from you without needing to be persuaded to do so.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses and seminars I knew very little about. Why? Because I trusted the person selling it and knew their track record as a top performer.

Conclusion

Saving money with digital marketing is more straightforward than many “gurus” would want you to believe.

To have a bigger marketing impact you don’t need a bigger budget.

What does it take instead?

It takes discipline.

It takes discipline to pick a single marketing medium at a time and stick to it.

It takes discipline to invest all your money into your personal brand and continue doing so even when you aren’t seeing an immediate ROI.

It takes discipline to develop a strategy, hire the experts to execute it, and then trust them to do their jobs even when results aren’t coming as fast as you want.

Like most things in life, mastering digital marketing on a budget is simple but not easy.

If it were easy, everybody would do it.

Tactics are tempting, but it’s the rock-solid strategy—driven by experts, strategically structured, backed by data, and built upon a personal brand—that will get you places!

How have you learned to save money while also improving and expanding your marketing reach?



Source link

5 Things to Know About Today’s SaaS Customer


Today’s SaaS customers are savvy.

Old marketing tactics don’t excite them. And features disguised as benefits are easily recognized.

As technology evolves, consumer behavior changes as well. Buyers expect quality products backed by efficient service.

This is an opportunity for your business to experiment with new strategies and cater to customers differently.

“As marketers, it’s essential to pay attention to consumer behavior and to be creative within the constraints of each marketing channel we use,” states Ash Read, content crafter at Buffer.

Start selling like it’s 2016, not 1916. Here are five things you should know about today’s customer.

1. They Research First

Adweek reports that “81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying.” With access to more information than previous generations, consumers are taking the time to do their homework.

Customers want to know if your product is actually worth their money and time. And to gain that insight, they look for reviews.

Products reviews are vital in online shopping. They offer an honest perspective from a current customer’s experience.

Take advantage of this trend. Post reviews from customers on your product pages. Consider creating case studies to showcase how customers benefited from your services.

Unbounce offers their prospective buyers a collection of case studies. Below is a snapshot from the website:

read-and-watch-case-study-unbounce

“Businesses that want to generate leads online should focus on making their websites a top destination for information with custom content. People use search engines and social channels to learn about items before purchasing, whether they’re shopping for themselves or their businesses,” states Lauren Kaye, marketing editor at Brafton Inc.

And potential buyers aren’t just interested in learning about your product. They want to learn about your whole brand.

How are you treating your SaaS employees? Do you use locally sourced suppliers? Are you donating to charities on an annual basis?

Your brand’s overall image is important to buyers. So, make your company’s information readily available.

2. They Desire Quality

Quality, results-driven products will always outweigh more features. People want reassurance that your services will do more good than harm.

Customers possess explicit and implicit performance expectations. That includes anything from specific product features to service benefits.

For example, if your software experiences an outage, will the problem be solved in a few hours? And do your offer 24/7 customer service?

slack-status-screenshot

Quality is a win-win situation. Consumers receive what they desire. And your business has the opportunity to charge customers more.

“Customers desire the best product and service quality and are willing to pay a premium for it. High reliability is assumed,” says Ken Dooley, founder of Madison Productions.

For quality to exist, your entire team must be on the same page. Inform employees on how their actions impact the customer.

“Transparency on quality measures helps create buy-in on quality management and enables employees to understand what role quality plays in how they do work, how they can impact quality, and its effects on their customers’ satisfaction. Transparency breeds accountability at the most basic level…”, writes Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, research program manager at APQC.

Quality is dependent on the customer’s perception. Figure out what they want. Then, work with your team to create a transparent strategy.

3. They Demand Speed

SaaS customers want solutions to their problems today, not tomorrow. With next day shipping and one-click subscriptions, buyers consider speed a minimum standard.

This benchmark holds true for customer service. And buyers are accustomed to using fast communication tools.

“Today’s customers are media agnostic, having grown up using the phone, email, Web chat, IM, and social media interchangeably. They are comfortable, and may even prefer, communicating online versus face to face or over the phone,” writes Laura Bassett, director of marketing at Avaya.

Some businesses consider speed a downfall. But your customers may think differently.

Zendesk found that “69% of participants associated their good customer service experience with the quick resolution of their issue.”

what-makes-customer-support-interactions-good

To encourage speedy response times, Facebook also offers brands an opportunity to earn a page responsiveness badge. Companies that respond to 90% of their received messages within five minutes get the designation.

nordstrom-facebook-page-july-2016

But offering fast service isn’t a new strategy. Innovative businesses have always strived to perform better.

“Forward thinking companies realized how much customers hated being on hold while waiting for a service rep that they invested in technology that would automatically call a customer back when it was their turn,” states Shep Hyken, a customer service expert.

So, start responding to your customers’ questions in a timely fashion.

4. They Prefer Consistency

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. The same is true between your company and customers. Buyers want to know that your website won’t disappear after they swipe their credit cards.

Plus, consistency eliminates brand confusion. And builds upon your previous success.

“By maintaining the same branding across all your resources – both online and offline – your customers will be able to recognize you much faster and will, hopefully, start to show loyalty to your brand,” says Kelly Haggard Olson, creative content strategist at Blue Zoo Creative.

Research shows that “45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it.” Consumers prefer a consistent brand experience, whether talking to a salesperson or shopping on your website.

Beth Pop Nikolov, content strategist for Venveo, offers a good analogy:

“When you’re getting to know a person, you start to develop opinions, ideas and assumptions about them based on your interactions. If they are dressed in a business suit one day, bermuda shorts and a ratty T-shirt the next and then a scuba diving suit another time, it may be hard to nail down exactly who they are and what they are all about.”

Align your marketing and sales team to ensure the same messaging is communicated to consumers. Talk with your customer service reps to streamline quality across all channels, including live chat and email.

Give your customers the trust they deserve. Be consistent.

5. They Seek Novelty

Boring isn’t cool anymore (and it never was). SaaS consumers want one-of-a-kind experiences to share with their colleagues.

Adding novelty to your marketing mix demonstrates creativity. It sparks customers’ interests and gets them to pay closer attention to your brand.

Sid Bharath, an entrepreneur and growth hacker, states, “We all want new experiences. We want to see new places, meet new people, and use new products. So don’t stop creating something new. Create new products, create new features, create new content, and give your customers new experiences.”

Build originality directly into your company. For instance, how can you enhance your loyalty program?

Coffee maker Nespresso entices their loyal customers with personalized orders, delivery, recycling and customer-service options.

Nespresso-customer-care

“Put a smile on their face and in their heart. You can do something special for their child, their parent, and their pet. Make them laugh, thank them in a showy way for a major purchase, have a contest or a drawing for something fun that they could share with family and friends,” says Sydney Biddle Barrows, New York-based business consultant.

Go the extra mile. Surprise your customers with your latest product or a free trip to your next conference. Give them an experience worth sharing with others.

Know Your Customer

Customers are smart. False promotions or useless features don’t fool them.

Learn how to meet your customers’ needs. Make product information readily available. Offer quality that can’t be found elsewhere. And give them a unique experience.

Be in the now. Know your SaaS customer.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.



Source link

SMX Advanced recap: Dr. Pete’s Guide To The Changing Google SERPs


dr-pete-smx-advanced-e1467226881881

For those of you unfamiliar with him, Dr. Pete Meyers is a marketing scientist over at Moz. He is responsible for building the MozCast and likely as a byproduct of that has spent a lot of time examining all the different changes to Google SERPs.

Local and social have been huge parts of the constantly changing Google SERPs and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The average SERP can have 5+ different features just as a rule, with the local pack, knowledge graph, AMP and in-depth articles being increasingly common.

In fact, mobile SERPs have moved so far away from the traditional 10 blue links, it’s not even worth thinking of them in that framework anymore. And since Google seems to think they can offer a better and more information-rich mobile experience than in websites, that isn’t likely going to change anytime soon.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.




Source link

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE