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.

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.

What if you stopped advertising?

I’ve often asked this question, and it’s amazing to me the different responses I get. Generally speaking most ‘advertisers’ are unsure what the return on their advertising is, and so they’re unsure what the repercussions would be if they stopped.

I realize it takes a lot of effort to track advertising results and often busy small companies don’t have the resources in place (or so they think) that it takes to properly track campaigns. For all these reasons a ‘tradigital’ campaign makes all the more sense.

Tradigital simply means ‘traditional and digital’ working together. The sweet spot is using your TV, Radio, Newspaper ads etc, to drive traffic to a website or custom landing page. Basically, the ‘call now’ call to action is much less impactful in a plugged-in world, and offering a ‘digital’ response has shown to increase the response rates by 35% or more!

A report on radio campaigns that offer an easy to remember landing page or website, dramatically increase the number of response. Let’s look at the chart below:

So whether or not to stop advertising is not the question you should be asking yourself. Rather, what do you need to do in order for your advertising to evolve, is what you should be asking. The days of using media to ‘call today’ or ‘come in today’ are no longer relevant. Even JC Penney for goodness sakes is now promoting their ‘everyday low price’.

The key is to use digital components to increase responses and custom landing pages to increase conversion rates and build your own audience. As the number of people you Tweet, Facebook, Link-In, Google + and YouTube grows, your influence grows. Now when you take a break from traditional adveritising you still have an opportunity to reach those who most want to hear from you.

So don’t’ stop advertising, just be smart about it and you will know exactly what is working and why.

Build it, Furnish it and Accessorize! The 3 simple steps to an effective website.

The more websites we build the better the flow of the process. I thought that breaking it down to a process similar to building a house would help establish the right frame of mind, and allow you to digest this large undertaking in smaller bite-sized chunks.

1. Built it – This seems obvious enough, but in our experience, most companies tend to group everything into this first step and that’s where the trouble comes. In fact, if this is step 1, we have a step 0.1 which we call wireframing. This step can be compared to a builder receiving a blueprint from the architect. In the wireframe, web designers or consultants sit with the client to ‘dig-deep’ and find out three main questions:

1st – Who will this website represent? A visitor needs to quickly identify with the brand, or they may just as quickly leave the site. 2nd What do you offer that can make my life a little easier or serve one of my needs? This is accomplished with concise content and clear navigation. 3rd, and often the missing link in most sites is – what do I do next? As in what is the visitor’s course of action? A large majority of amateur websites do not offer the proper lead-generating opportunities, which results in very low conversion rates.

2. Furnish it- Now that all the walls are up and its clear what the intentions are for this space it’s time to add the content. Content is to websites what Jelly is to a bean. Not only does it give it depth, it also determines its identity. Generic content, generic site, custom content, exciting, vibrant, interesting, relative site.

3. Accessorize – Even with all the proper thought that went into your wireframe, your build-out, and your content, your site doesn’t go from house to home until you add the accessories. We believe most websites are just too serious and well, BORING! Digital savvy people, who are online, are ready for new themes, and colors and fresh approaches. Don’t be scared to experiment with a few options on each page that bring the site to life, and truly separate you from your competition.

So there you have it, Build It, Furnish It, and Accessorize your way to a great new website, and you’ll see amazing results. For more great ideas or to discuss your next website project, feel free to call or email us.