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 Even hardware is quickly outdated and replaced by newer models with updated functions and features.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.

Do What you Do Best!

I am often told “don’t tell me how to run my business”. In fact, it might as well be the slogan of every small business in America. I absolutely agree, the question is – what business are you in?

If you’re a baker, a mechanic, a doctor, a restaurateur, whatever business you’re in, you’re only a ‘marketer’ if you’re in the marketing and advertising business. My point is, no matter how well you know your business, it does not qualify you to best ‘market’ your business.

Despite the millions of books and articles and even blogs like this one, the most successful businesses seem to have learned the golden rule…’Do What You Do Best!’ Those who don’t learn this, prefer to ‘do their own advertising’, or worse, they hire a marketing agency or rep, only to tell them what they want in their ads.

This is why the majority of newspaper ads look like a cluttered piece of mayhem with no clear call to action or visible headline, etc. Many TV and Radio ads just want to cram as much information as possible, and Billboards look more like graffiti than anything else.

Let me ask you, as a business owner, would you let me go into your business and tell you how to run it? Then why would you want to tell your marketing or advertising agency or media rep how your ads should look or sound like?

Even after many small business owners have failed miserably when it comes to their own marketing efforts, they still insist on calling the shots. Recently a new account tells me, “we lost a lot of money advertising and printing brochures on our last go-around” but he still wants to tell me what his billboard should look like.

I’m not sure if it’s the A type personality or the desire to control everything that hampers the ability of small business owners to let go of this part of their duties. Whatever it is, I can always tell when a local business has ‘made the switch’.

I’m not saying that all marketers get it right every time, but the basics of marketing and advertising are immediately recognizable. The clear message, the simple and creative approach, the clear call to action, and the better ones include the clear next step which should feature a ‘digital’ component such as a landing page, website or social network component.

I’ll summarize with this, if you want to take your business to the next level, you may want to consider a professional marketing agency. To be successful you need to give them as much information on your business as possible, and let them go to work. Otherwise, keep on ‘doing your own ads’ and then blame the media company or the rep when it doesn’t work.

If you’re ready to have this conversation, we would be happy to meet with you. Otherwise, we wish you well as you attempt to learn a new profession while trying to run your business.

“Hey, Traditional Media…If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em”

After working 6 years at the largest daily newspaper in Palm Beach County, I have first-hand witness of what technology can do. I actually saw the same thing happen in the recording industry, when I managed the sales and marketing for a record label in New York.

When I started in the music business, vinyl or ‘records’ as it is commonly known, was still the preferred method of choice for DJ’s throughout the world. In less than a 5 year span we saw a huge shift to CD’s, which created a whole new generation of sophisticated CD players and all the sales that came with it. It hence moved to MP3’s and the use of laptops. Now, many world-renowned DJ’s play their entire set using sophisticated Apps that cost only $24.99 on their iPads.

Technology proves again, you either adapt or get out of the way. Well, I’ve added one more option, if you can’t beat the technology, join it. I’m talking specifically to traditional media, such as TV, Radio and Newspapers.

Again, my experience with Newspapers saw Craigslist sweep across the nation, from West Coat to East, slowly destroying the holy grail of newspaper income, the Classifieds! Once Craigslist added your city to its list, you can rest assured that income was going to go away.

THERE’S NO NEED FOR THIS TO HAPPEN:

To me, although there are many complexities, there is one glaring and obvious solution. Traditional media needs to facilitate the ease of access to the internet by providing more content and features of what’s going on online.

For example, if the newspaper created a ‘Found it on Facebook’ section, which could even be ‘advertorial’ or ‘pay for play’, I believe it would be very successful. Why, because it’s much easier to look through a daily paper, and read this section, and find new and wonderful pages on Facebook, that are local and relevant, then it is to go on Facebook and search all over. Beyond that, the feature could alert you to things you may not have ever even thought to search for, and expose new opportunities you would have never found looking online.

I’ve heard rumors of TV commercials being more interactive. Featuring a few buttons you can press on your remote to ‘respond’ to the ad. This technology seems way behind to me, and needs to be fully developed and implemented soon. With all of the internet TV’s already on the market, the world is begging for commercials with coupons you can redeem with the push of your remote, as long as say you’re logged in to your Facebook account – now who’s old fashioned?!?

Radio is not as easy, but bottom line, effective radio ads have proven to drive more targeted traffic to a website than any other form of mass media. Unlike other forms of mass media, you listen to the radio, as you do other things. Vanity URL’s have replaced Vanity phone numbers, and most of the audience prefers to respond to ads online, on their own time. When was the last time you picked up a phone after you heard an ad on the radio?

Yet, most commercials do and say the same thing that they always have, and results are weakening. If traditional media featured the ‘digital world’ in such a way that people would find value in reading, watching and listening to the messages again, mass media would be much more relevant again, and our plugged in world would benefit tremendously.

Vol III – The new role of traditional media

In the last two blogs we introduced the Four Pillars of Social Media, and then gave you a ‘big-picture’ overview to set the right expectations and mind-frame when it comes to integrating digital strategies.
In this blog we are going to show you how to use traditional media, such as radio and TV to quickly drive up your audience on your website or social networking sites.

 

Despite all the talk about social networking, a new study has found that “Traditional media advertising remains a more effective driver of online traffic than the social networking equivalent,” reportsWARC.COM.

 
What this means is that, while to many, social media is still in it’s infancy, traditional media has very large footprints and thus can deliver a message to a large audience. This audience however is less interested in being forced to listen to an offer they don’t care about, and more interested in an opportunity to engage with or take the message one step further.

 
For example, rather than tell everyone about your great ‘one-day sale’ you are going to tell them to “Like” your Fan page where you can receive exclusive offers every day. Your goal now with mass media is to drive them to your social networking pages (or landing page, website, etc) so that you can build your own audience. We call this strategy ‘tradigital’ using traditional outlets to drive traffic online.
Looking at 2012, you may consider these two inverted triangles.

The Orange triangle signifies the amount of your budget being allocated to ‘outbound’ efforts. This will initially encompass about 80% to 90% of your allocation. Remember, the key difference is that you are now using this medium to drive traffic to your digital space.

 
By the time you reach the start of the 3rd quarter, you will see nearly a 50/50 split of ‘outbound’ efforts to ‘inbound’ efforts. By this time you will have built up a significant following, and you need to increase your efforts to keep your audience engaged and in return, talking about you.


By the end of the year, your allocation has completely flipped, and you are now driving the majority of your sales efforts via social media. This will be a very exciting time for you as you have learned to rely less on traditional media outlets and now have a built-in audience of loyal customers.

 
Sounds too good to be true, but we’ve seen it happen many times, and for some it has even outperformed our expectations. There are also times when it may take more than one year to reach the scenario above, but one thing is for sure, if you don’t start looking at it like this, you will never get there.

 
And let me close with this: You may be able to still get away with a 100% outbound strategy, but once the teens and twenty-somethings of the world become ‘old-enough’ to make a difference in your bottom line, how are you going to reach them, and the generation after that? Will you be relevant or irrelevant?

How to be ‘tradigital’.

If you advertise in the newspaper, on television or radio, use direct mail, billboards or any other ‘traditional’ advertising medium and are not incorporating a ‘tradigital’ strategy you are not maximizing your results.

What is Tradigital? It is using traditional media to drive traffic to a digital destination, whether it is a website, landing page or social media page.

Basically, the new ‘call today’ is ‘visit out site’, and the new ‘visit our site’ is ‘visit our landing page or Facebook page’ for increased recognition. A landing page is simply a web page that is customized specifically for converting traffic responding to a very specific offer or promotion.

If you send traffic to a home page that does not reflect the details of the advertised offer, or does not have easy data capture and follow-up, it will result in a very low conversion rate, and is a poor strategy. The reason is this, whenever you advertise, no matter how many people you reach, only a small percentage of that audience is actually in the market for your goods and services.

For example, if you sell tires, everyone who owns a vehicle, at one point or another, will require new tires. If you can get that person to engage with your message regardless of whether or not they are currently in the market for new tires, you do not limit your potential return.

In this scenario, your radio ad says ‘visit tirestogo.com and sign up for our buy one get one tire free promotion, and take advantage of our offer whenever you need new tires’. A message like this, does not limit the audience, or the offer. Now you have a new email address, and can create an email drip-campaign that sends offers on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, that keeps pulling leads forward. The ‘tirestogo.com’ landing page also has links to your Facebook page which says ‘Like’ us on Facebook and shares our coupon with friends and family.

This takes guts, this takes vision, but this is what people expect not only from business, but from the messages their hearing and seeing every day. The world of ‘call today, this is a limited time offer’ just does not resonate anymore. People have too many resources at their hand and don’t need to feel pushed or forced to react.

Allow those people to engage with your brand, be exposed to your products and service, and take advantage of offers and promotions on their timetable and you have a winning ‘tradigital’ strategy.

If you want to learn how to move from a traditional strategy to a tradigital strategy, please contact us for a free consultation.

The Four Pillars of Social Media Vol II – The Big Picture

We gave you a big chunk of information to think about in our first volume, with the hopes of helping you to focus your social media efforts.  But, before we dive into real strategy and tactics, let me give you a big picture view first.

 

Most small business owners have survived on what is now referred to as traditional ‘outbound’ marketing.  This is the stuff like direct mail, coupons in the paper; for some it may include a little bit of radio and spot TV advertising as well as other locally targeted media.

 

In a not too distant world, this was a very effective way to reach the local audience and raise awareness as well as drive people to the stores with your offer or call to action.  However, even with the best of marketers, it is impossible to know who is in the market, and where to properly position your message.  Add to it the segmentation of media today and it’s just about anyone’s guess.

 

If you ask most advertisers what their return on any particular investment in advertising is, they most likely will have no idea.  The old adage, “half of my advertising works, I just don’t know which half”, is a line many in the industry would still like to hide behind.

 

The reason I preface this is that social media is really the age of ‘inbound’ marketing.  All of your efforts in this space are about adding value to the audience that is actually searching you out.  Every day millions of people use the internet to find things, services, events, etc.

 

The buying cycle now has a huge piece of the pie called ‘research’ that continues to grow.  It is in this space that you have an opportunity to become relevant to the user and increase your worth by offering the value, information or insight the prospect is looking for.

One key take away is that this opportunity is not limited to a ‘one-day sale’.  Your ongoing efforts through time build a relationship that fosters trust and reliability. Whether you are in the oil-change business or the pizza business, the majority of your customers do business with you first, and the more they know you, the more business they do with you.

 

So, is ‘outbound’ marketing done?  Absolutely not!  I do not go to the extreme of some social media experts that a blog a day will keep the media reps away.  Depending on your type of business, it may make complete sense to actually increase your traditional ‘outbound’ spend, but your goal or message will be very different.

The Four Pillars of Social Media –

Is there such a thing as Social Media Baby Steps?

So, I’ve been helping local advertising companies in South Florida integrate their traditional marketing efforts with digital solutions for the past 6+ years, and now I am doing it for myself. After a successful career with The Palm Beach Post, I am tasked with creating the same synergy for” b digital agency”, an internet advertising agency in West Palm Beach, Fl.

Immediately, I am focused on what I call the ‘Four Pillars of Social Media’. These four pillars are made up of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and You Tube. And if these are the Four Pillars than the cement foundation that they are built on is the almighty Blog! We also have a very close eye on Google+ since Google is such a dominant player in search, this latest product is showing promise and can soon be the Cornerstone of your Social Media efforts.

If you were looking for baby steps to make in this bold world of inbound marketing this would be your starting point. While you can ‘dabble’ in these efforts personally, you need to quickly decide just how much time you are willing to commit to inbound marketing on a daily basis, and if it makes sense to outsource as well.


Even with out-sourcing, there are no shortcuts. You may be able to take baby-steps by focusing on the foundation and four pillars described above, but to truly be successful it will require your consistent and dedicated personal attention. Whether that is you the owner, or you the marketing executive I offer one caveat: without skin in the game, you will be sadly disappointed.

I understand that a person can quickly become overwhelmed and spend time and effort on less beneficial efforts which only increase your frustration. In this blog series, The Four Pillars of Social Media, we will help you set the foundation and teach you how to create a strategy that requires a minimal amount of effort to achieve maximum results.
We will show you:
1) Where to actually start
2) How much time it takes to successfully update and manage your social media / outbound marketing campaigns.
3) How to set a 12 week strategy for each pillar
4) How to leverage your blog and properly position it for your audience.
5) The most effective tactics for each pillar.
6) How to work with a digital agency to maximize your return
7) When and where to use traditional / outbound marketing and advertising and how to truly integrate it with digital to grow your audience.
8) Outbound v. Inbound – the paradigm shift you need to fully understand and embrace.
If you’re a small to mid-sized company that has seen the return from your traditional advertising efforts dwindle in recent years, it’s time to stop ‘blaming the economy’. The fact is consumers don’t consume media the same way anymore, and the longer you wait to integrate a digital strategy the more difficult it will become for you to remain relevant and grow your company. If you would like to learn more sign up for our weekly blog below. To speak to one of our strategist or to schedule a free consultation, call or email us directly.