How ‘social’ is the Auto Industry?

Have you purchased a car recently or know somebody who has? Did a pic of the new vehicle make it to the Facebook wall?

Increasingly sharing these lifestyle events on social media are becoming more popular. Let’s face it, purchasing a new vehicle (even if its not new) is a big deal and one that many people would like to share with their friends and family. In fact, I’d like to share some recent statistics from the dealer.com website.

No other medium lets you enter into the conversations your customers and prospects are having quite like social media does. These slide prove that this segment continues to grow, and the sooner you understand it, the better you will be able to leverage it, and compete.

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.

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.

How much should you pay for a website?

Wow, that’s a loaded question, and one that has many variables. For the sake of this blog, let’s explore the scenario that you, “the client” does not have any prior experience, and that there is no one ‘in-house’ to manage or administer the project, and that is an informational site not e-commerce.

Typically a website is built in 3 parts. The first is the wireframe or blue print based on the needs / goals / wish list that you have determined are important. A good wireframe is the result of several good ‘discovery’ meetings that explore what the purpose of the site is, what a conversion looks like, and what the user can expect to find/access.

The second phase, once the wireframe is approved is to design the site so that it aesthetically meets with all of your requirements, as well the functionality/ tools & resource features you agreed on. If the website developer is experienced, this is where a great deal of that knowledge comes into play. The warning flag is to find your developer agreeing to all of your requests, without any question or challenges. The more you ‘want’ the more they can charge based on more development time.

This is why your initial discovery and needs analysis should be very clear and focused, and that your goals is to build a functional site, that can grow with your needs. I’ve seen many projects go over budget and overtime because the client wanted everything at the same time. Cover your basics, make sure the site is focused on a conversion strategy, and the rest can slowly be added over time.

The third phase is the coding so that the site becomes live and you can actually test all of the functionality and make sure everything is working correctly before it’s published for public consumption.

On average for a new site developed from scratch, you should anticipate anywhere from $750 to $1,000 per unique or “Index page”. For example if one of your pages is a blog, that is an Index page; each blog entry although it counts as a new page on the site, should not have any ‘development’ cost associated to it. Main navigation pages such as ‘About Us’, ‘Services’, ‘Results’, etc., are also referred to as ‘Index Pages’. The pages that are contained under each Index Page, typically referred to as ‘Content Pages’ require much less development cost because they build off of the theme and schematics already developed for the Index page.

A new site, like the one I described above, typically consisting of a Home Page, and 5 to 7 Index pages, which are featured on your navigation, and then 2 to 3 content pages under each index, would end up being between 10 and 15 pages. This is more than enough to launch your site, and should cover all of the information a visitor is seeking on their initial query. The site’s future relies heavily upon the original content added through blogging, updates and links with Social Media, and smart search engine optimization.

So, the answer to the question of this blog is: (for a website developer that understands the process, and implements a good conversion strategy), you should pay between $5,000 to $7,000 dollars.   The best developers never leave off your mobile version of the website, and can be included in this range or add an additional $500 to $1000 dollars for a basic mobile version of the site.  

Of course, there are many variables, and a site that integrates back-office enterprise functions as well as an APP can easily run you $50,000 to $100,000 or more. This post is a good gauge for an effective website that will start generating leads, and move you in the right direction. If you’re in need of a new site, or require updating your current one, feel free to contact us for a website evaluation and make sure that your endeavor gets off to the right start.

Is it time to call in the SWOT team?

A SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – and this is a great time of the year to pull it out, and get your plan ready for next year.


I particularly like this graphic because it also takes a look at the back-office (if you will) and starting from Marketing/Sales all the way down to Systems, it forces you to consider the whole operation.

What I would suggest is to do this as a company, and not silo the information by department. Sometimes the marketing department feels it’s doing a perfectly good job, but people in Operations have some insights that have not been considered. By involving a representative from each department, and allowing them to make their view or suggestion part of the process, you get an internal focus group that can uncover many competitive advantages, or spot possible areas of weakness you may have missed otherwise.

This information, in the hands of a capable marketer, and partnered with a competent agency will serve as the foundation for a sound marketing strategy that identifies the target market, and a plan to reach that them will have the best chance to succeed.  A SWOT analysis is also vital for the proper formulation of a marketing budget that will be required in order to support the initiatives ultimately deemed important to the success of the campaign.  More often than not, perfectly good plans are abandoned because the planning process did not properly take all aspects into account, and the necessary budget was not allocated.

If you have never conducted a SWOT analysis or would like our assistance, we offer this service for no-charge. Feel free to call or email to schedule your SWOT analysis, or click here for more information.Ping BlogHyper Smash

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