Are your business practices in line with your consumers buying habits?

We recently launched a new product to help companies in the Air Conditioning business generate more leads. The program is simply called BestACQuote.com and it’s based on the same premise that has made Lending Tree and other similar sites so successful.

 

For the most part, if you give consumers the opportunity to gather all of their information in one place, and that place delivers quality and trusted options, that will often be the preferable choice. For example when you look for the price on a plane ticket for an upcoming trip – do you visit each individual airline site, or do you go to Expedia or Kayak or a similar site?

This business model on the internet continues to grow in popularity as the sites become better at delivering valuable results in less time than it would take you to do the research. These results are very often competing on price, as it allows the consumer to ‘shop’ more easily.

I understand that most businesses don’t want to compete on price. Everyone would prefer to deal with consumers who are interested in the best ‘value’ for their money and bottom line pricing is not the ultimate deciding factor. However, reality in the marketplace weighs heavily in favor of the consumer shopping first for the best price, then looking at the value.

It was somewhat surprising to me at a recent air conditioning trade show, how many AC companies did not want to compete on ‘price’. They often stated that their not looking for that ‘type’ of customer, and that they were not the ‘cheapest’ guys out there. Really?

Value is all about comparing the price of something to what you’re getting in return. If I pay for one AC system that last me 5 years and pay $2000 or buy 1 AC that last me 10 years but pay $3,000, which one is the cheapest?

All that aside (basic best-selling practices), the bottom line is that the consumer does prefer to make decisions based on price, and if you’re not able to enter into that arena, how are you going to be able to enter into the value conversation?

I was in the music industry many years ago, when we would actually sell records. Records are these vinyl discs that would spin in a turntable or record-player and music would come out the speakers! I say this sarcastically because when things went digital (MP3 if you will) in the music biz, everybody pushed back, and everybody wanted to sue everybody.

Well, now iTunes is just a way of life…I mean, when was the last time you visited a record store? The point is when you don’t embrace technology, and learn how to leverage it and make it work for you, it will run you over and run you right out of business.

Get comfortable with www.bestacquote.com and www.lendingtree.com and www.expedia.com and any other site that comes along and delivers the needs of the consumer in the fastest and most reliable manner, because that is how business will be conducted online for many years to come.

The Five Keys to Increase Lead Generation.

The ultimate goal of a direct response advertising campaign is to generate new leads, and close more deals. As marketers we look at many different angles and forms of persuasion as possible, but business owner look at one metric: ROI. If you’re putting a direct response campaign together, these five steps are crucial to the success of your campaign:

#1 The Offer: In any direct response campaign the offer has to be appealing enough to capture the interest of the audience in a 2 to 3 second window. This doesn’t mean you have to include the word ‘Free’ or ‘Buy One Get One’ or ‘half off’, etc – it means the offer needs to be clearly understood and offer value beyond that of the competition.

#2 The Delivery System: Whether you use traditional media such as TV, Radio or Print, etc making sure that you have a ‘tradigital’ approach is key in today’s marketplace. Tradigital is using traditional media to drive digital for maximum results. A very small percentage of consumers choose to ‘call’ as their primary response to an ad. An overwhelming majority will prefer to email, text or visit a website, which is why you need to clearly communicate the preferred response option in your ad. Our best advice is to use a landing page online or ‘vanity URL’, that speaks clearly to the offer and only asks for name and email opt-in to redeem it.

 

#3 The Process: Far too often the creative overpowers the call to action, or the offer is cluttered in other messages and agendas. Keep the message to one clear offer, and just as important, one clear way to redeem it or take the next step in the process. If the ‘call to action’ is not clear, you may have a good offer, or a clever message that only a small percentage of people actually act upon.

#4 The Response: If the consumer does not immediately get a reply when asking for information or redeeming an offer, you can forget about making that sale. There are too many competitors and too many other opportunities and options for that consumer to wait for you. Whenever you can add a ‘personal touch’ to that response, it only adds value and increases conversion rates.

#5 The Follow Up: So the fact of the matter, not every inquiry will result in a sale – which is why we have email marketing. Don’t think of 5 new customers out of 500 emails a failure, think of it as 495 new prospects that may need a little more nudging or encouragement, or maybe just a little more time to come around. A sound e-mail drip campaign will dramatically increase your conversion rates as email remains a very strong closer for those on the fence.

Keep these five steps in place and you will see significant increases in the results of your advertising campaigns. For help with this tradigital marketing strategy to increase leads or any other marketing challenges, please call as at Baldrica Advertising and Marketing Group, or our digital agency, ‘b digital’. Thank you.

Promote the Heck out of it…Build it and they will come!

Oh, but how often do we ignore that first little line…Promote the Heck out of it…and just go right to the building part.

Back in my good ‘ol days, well before I ever had a ‘real’ job, I was a ‘DJ’. Any DJ worth listening to was also a great promoter. Any great promoter also had a team of promoters, insuring that thousands of flyers, were given out, by hand (this is before Facebook and MySpace, heck before the internet!) so that everyone knew when the party was, where, what time, who was DJing and of course, how much you had to pay to get in!

Thanks to all of those efforts we had many successful events, and long lines of people waiting to get in, even on those frigid winter nights in Jersey. That’s what I call social networking!

Sometimes I forget those lessons I learned, and what it really takes to create a buzz, and get enough excitement built around something so that a significant amount of people make it a priority on their busy social calendars.

One thing is for sure, I would never DJ at a club unless I was absolutely sure that the ‘street team’ as we called it, was in full force, handing out thousands of flyers, and submitting guest lists well in advance.

 

That one lesson could serve so valuable to so many new businesses that open up each day, without any fanfare or following to speak of. It seems they all think that they can simply open the doors and the people will come, and more often than not, their doors close within a year. To think that you can spend all of your money getting your new business ready to open and not have any budget to properly promote and market it, is a recipe for disaster.

As an entrepreneur myself, I know how anxious I get each time I have a new idea and want to bring it to market. I’m working on a new project right now and I just want to get the show on the road, BUT, a big part of getting the show on the road is the pre-show.

It doesn’t mean that you’re not moving forward, it just means you’re laying down the best foundation possible and opportunity to succeed. This entails many different tactics that in today’s world including PR on the web, social media, YouTube videos that go viral, events, sampling, endorsements, and so on.
Don’t wait until you’re open to start promoting, you should get your street team together and start promoting six months before you open. Set up a landing page, and offer a VIP invite for anyone who signs up, and they will also receive a special something on your grand opening.

Akin to a famous Abrahm Lincoln quote: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax”…if you have a new venture on the horizon, spend most of the energy getting the word out, to insure a successful opening and a strong foundation for the future!

How many of your 2013 business resolutions are influenced by digital?

“That’s it, this year I’m going to fix my website, figure out my SEO and SEM strategy, and keep consistent with building my email database and sending out great emails, and getting all my social media right and doing a better job following up on my leads!  Oh yeah and get a mobile site, and make sure my site looks good on a tablet…”

Many of us tasked with marketing our companies have a list like that and may include many of the above tasks.  Unfortunately, it may look very similar to last year’s list, and most likely the list for the past 3 to 5 years.  One thing is for sure, ‘digital’ continues to grow in importance and command more of your attention, but are you focused on the right tasks?

 

The reason that list keeps getting longer, and your results keep failing  to deliver positive results, is that you’re caught up in the digital wave of hype and want to make sure your Facebook page has as many ‘Likes’ as your competitor.  At the end of the day, are you generating more qualified leads?  If the answer is no, than you may want to shift your focus to a marketing campaign that focuses on lead gen.

How do you do that?

Implement a ‘tradigital’ strategy that starts with a  well-crafted traditional advertising campaign that asks your viewers, listeners, readers, etc. to visit a web (landing-page) to complete the process, receive the offer, get more information or whatever you call to action is.

Stop giving out phone numbers, stop printing coupons, stop sending people to an outdated website that doesn’t’ capture leads and does not even feature the offer that you’re currently promoting.

We’ve proven time and again, that a good offer, advertised in right media will drive up awareness, search activity and increase traffic.  When this traffic generated lands on a professional landing page you will convert that traffic to leads.  Any traffic not converted to leads become prospects that you will continue to engage through social media and emails.

We make it sound simple, and really it can be.  Implementing a tradigital strategy will keep the focus clearly on generating leads, and cut down on a lot of the costs associated with getting your ‘digital house in order’.

Call or email us for a free ‘tradigitial’ consultation today.

‘The Tradigital Strategy’ 3 simple steps to increase traffic, leads and close more sales!

If you determine the success of an advertising campaign based on the results it generates than this turnkey ‘tradigital’ package is what you’ve been waiting for. By integrating a tradigital strategy, you will clearly see how to best leverage traditional media to drive traffic to digital for maximum results.

STEP 1 – The ‘Vanity URL’ –
Many small to mid-sized companies continue to struggle with a website that is less than optimal. Many have a long wish list of how their site should be, but do not have the time or resources to get it there.

Enter the “Landing Page or Vanity URL”!
Simply stated this is a one page website, whose sole purpose is to welcome your visitors, show off your product or service and allow them to quickly and easily find and act on your current offer or promotion. That may or may not be something you have done, but the key here is to come up with a name that is easy to remember and ties in your company.

One of our accounts Freedom Boat Club was in need of this solution when we came up with the vanity URL: www.ownthewater.com In all of their marketing and advertising this slogan came up over and over again. Using it in their advertising was a natural fit, and the results were staggering. Well over 1,000 visits and a conversion rate of over 2%. For a hi-end consumer product, this is a tremendous response.

 

STEP 2 – The FB tie-in –
A good tradigital strategy allows consumers to respond on their terms. If the landing page does not attract their attention, a FB custom tab that serves the same ‘landing page’ function also works very well. Of course the ‘social’ nature of FB, with the ability to ‘share’ or simply come across the offer because your friends also participated in it, can quickly multiply your responses.

STEP 3 – Email Marketing
With FB now charging you to ‘sponsor’ an ad to reach a larger portion of your ‘fans’, email marketing remains the most effective way to close a prospect that is in the decision making process of buying your product or service. As you collect all of your leads from the landing page, and from the custom tab on your FB page it is essential to have an email marketing strategy set up and ready to go.

The emails can reinforce your offer, and then add that one little ‘extra’ that can push them into your store or your site to purchase. This 3-pronged ‘tradigital’ strategy, that uses a well-crafted TV, Radio, Newspaper ad, etc to raise awareness of your company and add a sense of urgency to your offer will increase the results of your campaign by 35% or more!

The best part is we offer this turnkey package for a very low price, and understand how this strategy works, better than anybody else. Visit www.tradigitalsolution.com or call 561-683-0404 ext 119 today to schedule your free consultation. This offer is brought to you by b digital agency a division of Baldrica Advertising and Marketing, Inc in West Palm Beach, Fl.

Is your marketing campaign a vote for ‘Traditional’ or ‘Digital’?

This election year, there are two very clear choices for the future of America. You can either choose the Republican Nominee or support the Democratic incumbent. Either one you choose, you can basically count on one thing, the one who wins will govern without the support or cooperation of the other.

Lucky for us, your marketing campaign does not need to suffer from the same non-partisanship that we see in our government. The truth is that the best marketing campaigns combine the best elements of traditional media and integrate it with the best practices of digital, for maximum results.  We call it ‘tradigital’ and it has proven time and again to be the best approach in a society that continues to find more comfort with technology and everything it has to offer. Unlike our government option, you will never see the benefits of a ‘DemoPublican’ solution, which I think is unfortunate.

Simply stated, we believe that traditional media such as television, radio and yes, even newspapers are effective forms of media that when properly crafted ads appear, will drive a significant amount of traffic to your digital space (website, landing page, social media, etc) and allow you to grow your customer and fan base.

Let’s face it, organically ranking on the first page of Google search results is not an easy thing to do. It is much easier to create an advertising campaign and appear on the first page of the newspaper or in highly visible TV programs, and on the most listened to radio stations. These campaigns will allow you to get in front of your target market on your timeline, and then move that audience forward to respond online, and collect that valuable data so that future campaigns will also include drip email marketing.

This is the best way to use media in 2012, and not be focused on one form of media over another. Use traditional to set up digital, then continue the digital momentum with email, and newsletters and optimizing your site with original content, offers, promotions and opportunities, not available anywhere else.

If you don’t have a ‘tradigital’ strategy in place, and keep ‘pushing’ your message out, without seeing results that build your own audience, you need to change the way you vote and leverage the best of both worlds. Call or email Baldrica / b digital agency, inc for a free consultation and start creating your own tradigital plan and a synergy that will produce maximum results.

At what point should you consider an advertising agency?

I heard a quote recently that I love:

 

As a small company, the question of whether or not to use an agency for marketing and advertising is one that is not considered often enough. I believe there is a misconception that agencies are expensive and that no one knows how to market your company better than you (the owner) does.  When you weigh the costs of bringing the marketing ‘in-house’ it may at first look like a cost-savings move.  But in fact, the majority of the time the media spend becomes less efficient and less effective, and some companies never fully recover.

With the advent of social media, there has been an increase in companies taking their marketing in-house. Now that this ‘free’ medium is out there which makes it easy to market, many are of the mindset that money can be saved, and real ROI can be increased.  We’re all for that, and it’s a big part of our ‘tradigital’ strategy, but often the savings of in-house marketing is lost in wasted efforts that deliver poor results, as many find out that social media is not so easy, and generating results is not ‘free’.

In addition, many owners and employees fall victim to the old adage, ‘you’re too close to the forest to see the trees’.  By this we mean that many owners often do the advertising or marketing that they like the best, not necessarily the one that their audience likes the best.  We always start with the target market (demo) and the available budget and work it backwards to insure that we’re buying the most cost-effective media that delivers the largest share of your audience, combined with the best strategy (why buy) with tactics (why buy now). 

Many times as an agency we find that the owners and those who are responsible for marketing really do have the right ideas, but it’s a matter of pulling out the best ones, and then executing on the back-end. Ultimately a collaborative process yields the best results, combining the best ideas, with proven copy writing and creative production that delivers results.  Add that to the buying power of any good agency, and you can also significantly save on the cost of the media.

An article written years ago by Tony Benjamin still has just as much merit today as it does when it was written. It’s entitled 10 Reasons to Think Small, as in a ‘small agency’. Here are the 10 points:

1. You get better creative
2. Small agencies are less expensive
3. Substance over surface
4. Clients are more important to small shops
5. At small agencies people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
6. Small agencies are apolitical
7. Small agencies are faster
8. Small agencies are friendlier
9. Small agencies make a client’s budget go further
10. Small agencies need every client

Future posts will elaborate on each one of these points, but if you own a company or are tasked with the marketing and advertising success of that company, pick up the phone and give your local small ad agency a call (our number is 561-683-0404…shameless plug!).  Most often an initial consultation is free, and you can determine if they are the right fit is for you.

We consider our agency to be an extension of your company. When you work with us, it’s like partnering with another company that is focused on one task – increasing business through the message you convey. The goal is to allow us to do our job, and in turn let you focus on your job of running the company, and growing your company.

Don’t think you’re too small for an agency, the money you think you’re saving could be costing you a great deal. To schedule a free consultation with b digital, please visit us online at bdigitalagency.com (A division of Baldrica Advertising and Marketing) or call 561-683-0404

Champagne taste on a beer budget! 5 questions for establishing your marketing budget.

When we first meet with a prospect, we use a comprehensive list of questions to discover their needs, goals and wishes. Often the list of wishes is full of creativity and aspirations that make a lot of sense, and it becomes our job to craft the best plan to bring them to fruition.
Once we have that, it’s not long before we ask the dreaded question…what’s your budget?

“A good marketing budget should always mirror the goals of the organization–no matter how aggressive or conservative they may be”.

In our experience, less than 5% of the time do we get an answer we can work with. Typically the company doesn’t know, and most times when they do have a number in mind, or on paper, it does not match up with either their goals or expectations.

As marketers, we are the ‘doctors’ who are trained to make the best recommendation possible. Our recommendations are based first on meeting the goals or objectives of the company. The budget is determined by those expectations. The problem is when we come back with a campaign that far exceeds the investment the advertiser was willing to make.

To try and get ahead of this, we often give clients a range, based on their goals that they can expect to allocate. To help clients better understand how we create a plan, you can ask yourself these questions:

1) Who are the customers you’re trying to reach through advertising and marketing?
2) What stage of business are you in? Do you need to attract new customers, or create
a strong brand that keeps the old ones coming back? What are your objectives?
3) How much do you think your competitors are spending on marketing?
4) How much have you spent in the past, and did you get results?
5) How much can you realistically spend?

That last bullet point can seem a bit overwhelming. As an industry standard, it’s good start with 10% of the projected gross income or go off of last year’s numbers. This amount may be more than you need to achieve a particular objective, but in the course of the year, if you’re able to allocate and commit to this amount, you should achieve the marketing goals you set out for.

If however you have highly aggressive goals and attempting to reach a very large market, any agency worth their weight should be able to tell you if your budget is in line to achieve those goals, or if you need to adjust them, which may include not only reducing your forecasts, but also extending the length of time you will require to accomplish those goals.

“Even in recessionary times, it is wise to keep the marketing budget intact. Yet, it’s often the first thing to be cut when times get rough. However, it’s been proven that cutting back on marketing will mean losing out on even more profits.”

The key point is the newer your brand or company, the more effort and thus corresponding budget you should allocate. A rocket trying to take-off, experiences the majority of its resistance when first trying to get off the ground. According to the SBA (in addition to other reputable studies) 70% of new firms with at least one employee survive for at least 2 years. About 50% go on for 5 years. Meaning half of all businesses fail within 5 years.

There are several key factors for business failure, and one that often is cited is that most companies allocate all of their money into the resources it takes to ‘open the doors’. But then once the doors are open, nobody knows they’re there.

Be realistic, marketing and advertising, even in the age of social media take time, and money, and professionals in many cases in order to reduce waste and maximize your budget. Being penny foolish and pound wise with your marketing and advertising budget has shuttered many companies both big and small.

The new ‘Mind Your Business’ Video Blog

Welcome to ‘Mind Your Business’ a new video blog featuring your company! The idea is simple, we want to speak to as many business owners and marketers and find out how you’re integrating digital with your traditional efforts.

We call this ‘tradigital’, but you can call it whatever you like. The key is to learn what is working and what some of your challenges are. As an agency who focuses on ‘tradigital’ we see the many challenges business owners have today as they try and integrate digital.

The most obvious challenge is learning a new technology and deciding if it makes sense to apply time and resources to it. At what point do you decide that a certain tool or digital strategy is not ‘fly by night’ and that you’re company stands to benefit from it?

It seems that as soon as one strategy or resource reaches a critical mass, there is a new one waiting to replace it. While this has always been the case in technology, we have never seen such a rapid cycle of it. Even hardware is quickly outdated and replaced by newer models with updated functions and features.

There are however several undeniable digital products and services that have proven their worth, and though continually evolving, should be part of any marketing strategy. Search Engine Optimization using proper keyword strategies and blog posts for original content continue to dominate the internet ‘marketing’ space.

The practice of purchasing ‘adwords’ on Google, Bing and Yahoo, (maybe the original ‘online advertising’ strategy) continues to show dividends today, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Social Media seems to be the new ‘too big to fail’ strategy that has shown tremendous promise as more and more consumers look for new ways to interact with the brands they love the most. Facebook continues to dominate the space, but giants such as Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube and Google+ make managing the process that much more challenging.

This new video blog seeks to interview business owners and marketers and find out how they’re integrating these digital assets and what results they’re seeing.

Questions like:
• Are you seeing increased traffic to your website?
• Are your prospects finding you through social media?
• Are you using Pinterest, Instagram, Viddy or other social tools to drive traffic?
• Do you use Twitter for customer service purposes?
• Have you tested the use of a landing page or vanity URL?
• How do you integrate your blog with your marketing plan?
• Do you use custom tabs on Facebook and has it increased likes?
• Do you advertise online or on social media sites?

The key takeaway we’re looking for is to see how businesses are integrating digital with their traditional efforts, and what kind of results are they seeing? If you’re a business owner or marketer that has seen some success integrating digital, we’d like to schedule a 30 minute interview and find out how you’re minding your business! This video will be used on our site, and syndicated to our entire social media community, as well as sent out over the PR wire. In addition, you will receive a copy of the interview to use as you wish.

We hope this video series will not only teach and inspire other businesses and marketers, but that in true ‘Social Sense’, will also direct some eyeballs and eventually new business your way! Thank you for taking the time, please email me at jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com or call 561-288-1625 to schedule your on-site interview.

Slow and steady wins the race

Ok people, let me make something very clear…Social Media Takes Time!

I’m not sure where the misconception began, but many people seem to think that with Social Media you can ramp up and ‘get your message out there’ a lot quicker than with traditional media. The truth is, it’s completely the opposite.

Traditional media is about ‘pushing’ your message out, and getting it in front of as many people as possible, whether or not they want to hear about it. All that takes is some money, depending on the size audience you are attempting to reach.

Social media, or ‘inbound’ is based on not only permission based marketing, but also on relevance. If the ‘audience’ is not interested in your message, not only can they tune it out, they will not even look for it.

So how much time does it take?

Here is a handy chart by Beth Kanter that could easily be updated every day. However, even based on these estimates you’re looking at 15 hours per week! Hello…Is anybody home? The average work week is 40-45 hours per week, that adds up to 1/3rd of an already packed full-time job. Dare I say, a successful social media marketing plan requires full time effort?

Don’t let any ‘marketer’ or agency sell you the story that with social media your brand will be the talk of the town in a few days. But at the same time, ignore social media at your peril. Your audience continues to prefer to engage with your brand, rather than be bombarded by it, and you need to find that sweet spot in your marketing strategy.