The grass is not always greener on the ‘digital’ side.

Now that we are well into the ‘digital’ age, and everybody has a website, and just about everybody has a computer, and smartphones and tablets are the most popular forms of surfing the web, has digital changed the way you do business?

I really look forward to your responses because there is no doubt that digital has changed the way consumers form their purchasing decisions, but it’s also very clear that businesses have not kept up with their savvy prospects.

I’ve seen many businesses basically at the point where they’re throwing their hands in the air, frustrated that all of the promises the techy sales rep sold them are NOT coming to fruition. SEO, SEM, Landing Pages, e-commerce, lots of different investments with very little ROI; a common result we hear over and over. So what gives?

The fact is that ‘digital’ still has a long way to go to be able to stand on its own. Any business who has a digital strategy without taking into account the ‘traditional’ side of marketing is surely setting itself up to fail.

The grass is not ‘greener’ on the digital side. You will not simply be able to replace all of your traditional marketing and advertising efforts with SEO and behavioral targeting and think that you will be successful and here’s why.

Except for simple e-commerce, where consumers shop based on price, reviews and specifications, the digital battle is won on the traditional side. The businesses that use their well-crafted newspaper ad, TV ad and radio ads to drive traffic to a landing page (mobile enabled of course!) will see an increase in traffic and leads and real ROI.

These hard-fought battles in traditional marketing will increase all of your digital results by creating top of mind awareness. While ‘Google’ will always get the credit for driving traffic to your site, how a person decided to Google you in the first place, or click on your link on the Google results has a great deal to do with your non-digital or traditional efforts.

The acronym AIDA, ‘Awareness’ ‘Interest’ ‘Desire’ ‘Action’ is one that many professional marketers fully understand.  The less aware I am of your company the less likely I’m going to take action if I somehow stumble across you online.  In fact, on average you can expect a 25% increase in your search results when you are running a traditional advertising campaign.

So rather than abandon your tradigital side, learn how to best leverage it with a ‘tradigital’ strategy for maximum results.

5 Lessons your marketing department can learn from the presidential campaign.

1. They call it a ‘campaign’ for a reason.

One of the major mistakes so many smaller companies make when it comes to marketing and advertising is they keep trying different things to ‘see what works’. The truth is they can all work, if they are executed properly, but the best chance for success comes from a sustained ‘campaign’. With the fragmentation in media, expecting a few commercials, or a few flyers or a few ads in the paper to ‘work’ is a recipe for disaster.

 

(picture credited to CNN Tech)
2. Reach and Frequency
Not only does the well-rounded campaign sell the candidate, making sure you have enough reach and frequency is crucial. For example, have you seen a presidential commercial? If you haven’t you probably don’t own a TV, but if you have, you’ve probably seen it on more than one channel. In order for a message to be ‘consumed’ it requires to be seen and seen often enough that it breaks through the clutter.

3. Media Mix
TV is a reach medium, radio creates momentum closer to the buying decision and print is your closer. We often create campaigns that use TV in weeks one of two of the month, followed by radio in weeks 2 and 3 and then we drop the printed ‘coupon / direct response offer’ in week 4. Each medium builds on the other, and creates more awareness. By the time the printed piece is received the consumer is well aware of the promotion or offer and is more likely to respond.

4. Digital Destination
Barack Obama is very good at using the digital technology that websites, landing pages, mobile sites and social media have to offer. Catchy website names that are easy to remember and great to promote on TV and radio generate huge amounts of traffic. Collecting data from these visitors is then much easier to do. This builds your own network and database by collecting emails and offering opt-ins, which becomes a very powerful tool when you include e-mail marketing to the back end of any campaign.

5. Don’t be afraid to call out your competition.
Good creative copy points can come when you feature your strengths in a side by side comparison over your competition. Unlike the candidates however, doing this correctly requires research and making sure your information has the facts to back it up!

Take these five lessons into account as you craft your next campaign and your company may just win over your prospects business.  Feel free to call or email us to get your campaign on the right track.

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.

7 Reasons you need a mobile website

These are the Top-7 reasons a mobile website is no longer optional for business (as posted by Jennifer Gaines).  If you need more reasons, just keep track of your own mobile habits!

  •  51% of business travelers use mobile devices to get travel information. (Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision, 2011)
  •  70% of all smartphone owners use their mobile device while they’re shopping. (Google/OTX, The Mobile Movement, U.S., 2011)
  •  By 2015, more Americans will access the Internet on their mobile device than on their PC. (IDC, 2011)
  • Users expect their mobile experience to be as good as their desktop experience. (Compuware, What Users Want from Mobile, 2011)
  • Users take action on mobile-friendly sites. 1 in 5 website visits lead to an immediate call to the business. (DudaMobile Internal Data, 2011
  •  There are 7 billion people in the world. About 2 billion people are connected to the Internet. And 1 billion have smartphones where they can (and will) access the mobile web. (Eric Schmidt MWC Feb. 2012)
  • You risk losing business if you don’t have a mobile site. Nearly 2 in 3 users are unlikely to return to a mobile site where they had trouble and 40% said they’d visit a competitor’s mobile site instead. (Compuware, 2010)

 

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

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.

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

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.