Is your Marketing Campaign in the Cone of Uncertainty?

Living in South Florida we are often carefully watching the projected path of oncoming tropical storms or hurricanes. Technology continues to improve, and forecasted paths are becoming more and more accurate, which got me to thinking…if your marketing campaign was a hurricane, do you know where it’s headed, or is it all one huge cone of uncertainty?

Based on the hundreds if not thousands of conversations we’ve had over the years, (more often than not), marketing representatives do not know what path their campaign is on. They may know certain aspects but overall, you get an uneasy feeling as if the impending storm was whirling out of control.

This brings us back to square one: the target market. The process of digging deep within your customer records and developing a profile of your heavy user, as well as where they come from, and what product or service is in highest demand, are all crucial pieces of identifying this target.

 
Social Media, and Google analytics can also serve as great tools to help you pinpoint the target market, with all of the rich information you can access. Facebook insights break your fan base down by demographic (male/female broken down by age groups) as well as their geographic location. Our FB page shows that in the past month 57.6% of our fans are made up of males and 20.1% are 18-24 yrs. old. So while we would like to attract an older, decision making base, we have to understand that our current image appeals to a younger demo.

No matter what product or service you sell, there will be a certain segment of the market that makes up the majority of your customer base, and there may very well be a close second, third, etc. The path of your marketing hurricane should be directed at your heavy user, which will have a spillover effect on your secondary market.

If you have an advertising agency, that has not taken the time to clearly identify this target demo with you, and they are presenting marketing and advertising campaigns, why don’t you ask them what are they basing their strategy on? I’ve seen it over and over where an agency and a client get hooked on the most ‘creative’ idea regardless of how it’s going to resonate with their target market. Those campaigns are doomed to fail, and in hurricane terms – turn into a fish storm – that just whirls out to sea and nobody takes any notice of it.

If you feel your marketing campaign is languishing in a huge cone of uncertainty contact us for a Free Media Audit, so we can help you identify these issues and get you back on the right path.

You don’t need a website, there, I said it!

Well…sort of…depending on what kind of business you have…let me explain. One industry which social media and landing pages can not only replace the need for a website, but used effectively, are actually much more valuable than a website is the restaurant industry.

Let’s face it, how often do you visit a restaurant website for more than maybe info on the food, location, reservations, and reviews if available. All of this can be easily facilitated on a landing page, and the interaction on social media that multiplies the reach, will be a tremendous advantage in your marketing and advertising efforts.

An approach we like to recommend restaurant owners is a ‘tradigital’ marketing campaign that directs traffic from your traditional advertising to a vanity URL or landing page, that links to your customized Facebook business page.

A screen shot of a custom Facebook tab

Ah, but what about Google rankings and a blog you ask. Well, your landing page is for all intensive purposes a website, just a much more streamlined and effective one. So, you can make sure that this is the page that you use for Google Maps/Places, which is not reliant on a robust, content rich site.

The landing page also allows you to create a simple intake form, asking for visitors to sign up for your weekly or monthly newsletter. This newsletter, can become your ‘blog’, and offer links back to your site while featuring, photos, information on events and the ever popular ‘recipe of the week’.

All of this will be replicated on your custom Facebook tab, and links will feed back and forth from FB to your landing page. Your Facebook page can take reservations, welcome comments and reviews, create events and accepts RSVP’s, feature ‘special offers’ and create engaging contests for one your lucky diners to win an all-expense paid birthday party for 10!

When you wrap all this into an e-mail marketing campaign, you really start to see just how effective this strategy is. The names you collect on your landing page, as well as on your Facebook page will help you build a substantial list of engaged customers in a short amount of time. Sending weekly deals, and rewards for loyal diners will increase your repeat business, and show the customers your appreciation.

All this without a webmaster, or hosting fees, or expensive maintenance programs. We’ve seen this strategy deliver amazing results. In fact, we guarantee a minimum lift in the results of your marketing and advertising efforts of 35%.

So if you own or market a restaurant, and are not seeing any return from your website, find out more about how you can incorporate a tradigital strategy by clicking on this link, and then contact us to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

The traffic driving value of social media

So many business owners today quickly discount social media as an ineffective medium to drive sales. They barely budge on the value of using social media to increase engagement or as a way to improve customer service, let along ring the register.

However, most business owners believe that there is value in driving traffic to their website. After all these years, many are convinced that a visitor, who frequents their site, is more likely a loyal fan of the brand or a very motivated buyer, and the chances to convert increase with each visit.

Using this mindset with social, and tracking the results, can prove just how valuable your social media network is to driving traffic to your site.

When you post a link on your Facebook page, and nobody ‘likes’ it did it have any value to your company? It is quite possible that although nobody liked the post, they actually simply clicked on the link because they were interested in learning more about it.

By adding a tracking tag to the link using a tool such as bit.ly you can instantly see just how often this occurs on each post. There have been times where I posted a new blog and have received hundreds of clicks on the link with barely a ‘like’ or new follow.  If I had not been tracking it, I may have been quickly discouraged and continued down the path of skepticism when it comes to the value of social media. The bottom line is that your Facebook Fans and Twitter followers freely chose to be a part of your network, and that is one of the most valuable commodities you have at your disposal.

This built-in focus group, may not reply the way that you want them to, by liking every post and sharing it on every network they are a part of, but they are looking for new information from you, and will engage if the message resonates with them.

It’s amazing how some things go viral, and completely change the landscape of that company’s business. There is no denying the power of a social media campaign that is embraced by the masses, and the impact it has on the recipient. Achieving that kind of success remains the result of creative posts, and consistently seeking the feedback of your network.

When you push messages that focus on you, you’re missing the target. Find out first what your audience is interested in and match your message to meet those needs. When you do that successfully, you will quickly see that your Facebook and Twitter account will become major traffic drivers to your site from your Google Analytics reports.

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.

Social ROI – I’m not getting any!

There are many challenges faced by today’s business owner. In addition to the things you learn in school like, cash flow, inventory, pricing, policies and all that other fun stuff, you now are concerned with the ROI of your social media campaign.

This is one topic that even polarizes the professional marketing community with recommendations at both ends of the spectrum. This is disappointing since business owners look to us for the best advice, and hearing two different messages can be cause for concern or even doubt.
The position we take, is the same one we take when it comes to outbound advertising, ‘it takes two to tango’! Now, a quick disclaimer…I’m no dancer, but I feel the analogy works here. You can dance by yourself, and some people can make it look good, but with the right partner, everything comes together.
Those who say there is no room in Social for ‘direct response’ ads are wrong. There, I said it, but here’s the proof:


The number one reason, garnering 40% of the audience polled is ‘to receive discounts and promotions’. Nothing new here, folks are just trying to get the best deal, and stretch their dollars in a difficult economy. Are these loyal fans that love to look at your funny posts, or engage in a conversation about your new organic products that save the Earth? Maybe, maybe not, the point is if you’re not offering discounts and promotions on your page, you’re not talking to a large majority of your fans.

 
However, in a very close second, with 39% of the audience poll responding: ‘to show my support for the company to others’. Well, I’ll be darned, that is the other side of the argument, and I believe proves the point.

You need to post so that both the analytic side of your fans brains, who join to save money, and the emotional side of your fans brains who join to show support get what their looking for.
 
The ROI from the discounts and promotions you offer can be clearly monitored and tracked. The other measure you need to be aware of is ROE, or return on engagement. When you look at your page for both of these measures, you won’t be ‘disappointed’ when someone comments on your latest ‘cute cat pic’. You can take pleasure in knowing that something you posted meant enough for someone to comment on it.
 
Now here’s where I think we can all agree. The return on engagement is ultimately more valuable because the more engaged a fan is, the more loyal they become, and the more likely the are to do business with you, thus feeding the ROI.
 
So to recap, your social strategy should offer a balance between buying incentives, and engagement incentives. Learn to measure not only your ROI, but your ROE. As you increase your ROE, your direct response messages will have a better platform, and you will see the results in your bottom line.
For more social media strategy please contact John Garcia at jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com

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.

Think of ‘Tradigital’ as a way of teaching an old dog, new tricks!

The more we have these ‘tradigital’ conversations with our clients, the more I see the light bulb go off in their heads. It’s almost as you can literally see a flip switched and all of a sudden ‘they get it’.

If you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s great (read on!) and if you have been having tradigital conversations, than you probably know what I mean.

Let’s go back for a minute…tradigital is the integration of traditional media with digital for maximum results. Basically, we teach that traditional media is by no means dead, it’s just that the message needs to evolve to match the expectations of the audience.

If our plugged-in society, in general, ‘Googles’ everything, why are you giving them a phone number exclusively in your ads? Or, for that matter, sending them to an unprofessional website home page that doesn’t even feature the offer you are promoting?

A colleague of mine was recently telling me about a new account that had been advertising their product specials every week, in a half page ad. Because they had stores at each end of the market, they were buying two major newspapers, and spending about $150,000 per year to do so.

They first redesigned their website to make it professional and functional. Then they changed the ad in the paper to half-page, and basically promoted a call to action that asked the readers to visit the website and sign up for weekly specials via email. The owner was reluctent, he was ‘old-school’ and didn’t think you could use a newspaper ad to drive people online. Well, he did get about 50 calls from the portion of his customers that absolutely refused to change their old ways. However, in just over two weeks he has received over 2,400 email opt-ins!

In the past 6 years combined this retailer had not collected that much information from it’s customers. Here we are two weeks into a tradigital campaign and the opt-ins are increasing daily. Think of the power this retailer will have at it’s disposal once this list gets to 10,000 or 20,000 names.

Do you think he will keep advertising in the newspaper? Absolutley, because when you have a well-crafted ad, with a call to action that drives people to respond online, it works! At the same time, he was able to cut his advertising expense in half (sorry newspaper), and now has an available budget to do the same with radio or TV.

Tradigital can teach an old dog new tricks because you keep enough of the old to keep the dog happy, and then once they see that the ‘new’ is good, they quickly embrace it.

For more tradigital strategies contact John Garcia at b digital agency, inc / bdigitalagency.com

A Tradigital Strategy in 3 easy steps.

We keep pounding tradigital, using traditional media to set up digital because we understand not only the value of traditional media, but how readers, viewers and listeners prefer to respond. This graphic shows that of all the respondents to an online streaming radio ad, only 5% chose to call. An overwhelming majority of the responses were digital in nature.

So, if you are running an ad, and your call to action is ‘call or come in today’, you’re tapping into the preferred response action of only a very small amount of your audience. We see that most advertisers are actually starting to understand this, but without the money or resources they feel they have no other choice but to remain with the standard advertising model.

To address this, we have developed a 3 part strategy that allows you to easily leverage the power of mass media, by offering your audience an ability to respond and engage with you on their terms.

1st – Custom Landing Page. It has often been said website home pages are where good leads go to die. It’s true even of our own site, if we offer a ‘free marketing makeover’ and send the audience to our home page, and that page does not have that offer immediately accessible, that the visitor will most likely leave. If however we send them to ‘yourfreemarketingmakeover.com’ and that page has the detailed information, and how to take advantage of it, your conversion rates increase dramatically.

2nd – Tie in Social Media! Even if they convert on the landing page, you still want to offer the visitor a reason to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ you. These touch points give you much more influence and in an age of declining email open rates, this gives you an additional point of contact. If you can add an additional incentive, say ‘Like’ us to double your coupon, it may be worth testing that out.

3rd – Email Marketing Campaign. There is a big difference in unsolicited emails and opt-in email lists. Once someone has declared that they want to hear from you, there is a much larger likelihood they will open the emails and consider your message. Also, many buying processes take more than one exposure to the offer or business. Effective drip-email marketing campaigns remain one of the most effective tools to convert your prospect into a buyer.

At b digital, we have mastered this tradigital strategy and are partnering with media companies in South Florida to offer these services to their advertisers. By doing so, the media companies are allowing advertisers to leverage this strategy, and significantly increase the results of their campaigns. In return, the advertisers remain loyal and increase their buys.

If your preferred media company does not offer a tradigital strategy or offer the triple-pack we described above, ask them to contact us, or you can contact us directly and we will be glad to schedule a free consultation. We have seen advertisers increase results by 35%-50% or more!
One thing is for sure, more and more people will opt to respond online or digitally over responding via phone or coming in, and you need to make sure your company offers that choice. We hope you will choose us to get you there.