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What’s Hot In Digital Marketing?

Posted on: December 11, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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bigstock-Business-Cartoon--Cartoon-Bos-40111732Remember the “good ole’ days” when you could get clicks for 25 cents on Google paid search? It was Hot! It was the same for organic search engine optimization (SEO). Write a few articles, do a few links and you could get to the top of Google. Hot hot! And Email? ROI so big it set the e-world on fire!

Those who saw the opportunities and took action saw profits balloon. Those who waited? Many are struggling now to get any ROI whatsoever.

 

That Was Then…

Those same paid search clicks might cost you $10 today. And you can spend countless thousands on Search Engine Optimization and with one wave of the almighty Google magic wand, you could see it all disappear…overnight! That’s risky business. Literally!

And we all know what happened with email. Too many unscrupulous marketers dipped into the rectangular can of their favorite meat analog (SPAM) too often and ruined it for everyone.

That’s not to say there aren’t opportunities in all of those areas but its like fighting over crumbs compared to the early days.  The cats out of the bag and everyone’s doing digital marketing now so its getting extremely competitive.

I think of digital marketing like buying stocks. Startups are where the biggest opportunities are. But unlike risky venture capital, the downside with digital marketing is minimal because of the ability to test before rolling out a campaign. The Best of Both Worlds. But you have to get in early.

And believe it or not, digital marketing is changing even faster now so if you see an opportunity, don’t blink or you’ll miss it. The bottom line is if you want to stay out in front and keep a competitive edge, you need to stay in the forefront of digital marketing.

 

Big Data

So back to what’s hot now. In a word, data. BIG Data! Surely, you’ve heard the term. Yep, privacy is dead. The powers that be know everything there is to know about you and, more importantly, every one of your customers and best prospects too. While that’s bad news for privacy advocates, its great news for businesses. Why? Because the data aggregators are willing to sell that data.

We now have the opportunity to buy digital ad impressions with data attributes. Huh? Let me explain. Its similar to Google Adwords except, instead of just bidding on search terms, we can laser target our audience.

So if we want to show an ad only to females between 25 and 35 in zip code 52164, that make at least $100,000/year, drive a luxury vehicle and have searched for real estate within the last 6 months, we can do that (those are the data attributes). Not only that but we can bid on these ad “impressions” and the highest bid wins.

We can also bid on impressions on billions of websites including top national sites such as ESPN.com, MSNBC.com, Weather.com just to name a few which can give huge brand credibility. We can play where the big boys play! This was never a realistic option for small businesses until now.

Plus we get analytics to see how many people click on our ad, what day and time they clicked, which websites generated the most clicks, etc. But there’s more. Once they come to our site, we can put a tiny piece of code on their computer (completely legal) and then show them our ads once they leave and visit other websites. Not only that but we can show them ads based on the pages or products they viewed on our site. So if they viewed a 2008 Honda Accord when they were on our site, we can show them ads for that exact same car as they surf the web.

 

The Time is NowSlide-3

But here’s the best part: Although its growing by leaps and bounds, Real Time Bidding (RTB), as this media buying strategy is known, is still relatively new so competition is low at least in smaller local markets. This means that impressions (and clicks) can be had for cheap as compared to other digital marketing such as Adwords, SEO, etc. Larger, national markets are already competitive since the big boys like AT&T, General Motors, Verizon, etc. are investing massively in this technology. Why? Because they learn about big opportunities like this long before the typical small business.

Analysts are predicting continued growth for RTB of around $1.2 Billion per year into the foreseeable future….sort of like Adwords, SEO and the like back in their heyday.

The bottom line is now is the time to get on board the RTB train before it leaves town and you get left in the dust!

Call us at 219-670-6706 or  Contact us to learn more.

The Simplest Way to Grow Your Business…for FREE

Posted on: October 16, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising because not only is it free but customers who have been referred make the best customers. Its been proven that they have a higher lifetime value, are more loyal, less sensitive to price and are more willing to refer others.

But most companies pay little attention to this source of easy profits. If you’re not taking advantage of this opportunity, you’re missing a potentially huge area of growth. Implementing a formal referral system is the best approach to making the most of word of mouth advertising. In my first business I saw a 25% boost in referrals once I put a formal system in place. And I regularly asked customers for referrals before creating the system.

Create a Formal Referral System

Your referral system needs to be tailored to your business but in general you should offer incentives to customers to refer their family, friends and associates who could benefit from your products or services. Incentives might be credit towards products and services, a chance to win a prize, a gift card to a local restaurant or whatever makes sense for your customer base. You can use referral business cards that provide company information on one side and spell out the referral program on the other.

The key to making the system as effective as possible is to make it a company wide policy and standard operating procedure. All sales staff, employees, vendors, customers and other associates, need to understand the program and be able to communicate it effectively to others. Results need to be tracked and the system needs to be tested and tweaked until you find what works best.

Make creating a formal referral system a priority and if it is cemented into your company, you will grow your business in the best and simplest way possible.

Need help? Call us at 219-670-6706 or click to contact us.

How to Save Thousands on Advertising and Marketing

Posted on: September 28, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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Making business decisions without good information is like going to the casino…the house usually wins and YOU usually lose! Good information can often mean the difference between making thousands or losing thousands on your marketing campaigns.
 

Track Results

If you don’t know which of your ads or other marketing tactics are profitable and which aren’t, you will most likely waste lots of money on ineffective marketing. Granted, branding and social media campaigns can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure but there really is no reason to guess with most of your marketing.
 

Track Website Activity

Analytics software such as Google Analytics (free) is helpful and should be on every website. It helps you understand where visitors to your site are coming from and what they’re doing once they get there. So for example, if you’re doing a Facebook campaign designed to drive traffic to your site to make a purchase, Google Analytics will show you how many of your visitors are coming from social media.
 

Track Email

Email autoresponder services provide analytical data to show how many of your emails are opened and Google Analytics will show how many site visitors come from emails.
 

Track Phone Calls

For many businesses, even more important is tracking phone calls. According to research, 65% of people will call a business before making a purchase. So it doesn’t do you much good to see what’s happening on your site if you don’t know how many of those visitors become customers.
And this goes for all of your marketing efforts. If you have multiple ads, giving each ad its own trackable phone number is the easiest way to know without a doubt how many leads and customers each ad is generating. Check out our call tracking service here.
 

New Or Existing Customers?

For some businesses, getting new customers is the lifeblood of their business whereas repeat business is the crux of other companies. So make sure you track how many new customers and how many repeat customers a campaign or ad brings in to understand the full value. New customers will have a higher lifetime value than existing customers but new customers almost always cost a lot more to acquire.
 

Tracking is Profitable

Once you have a handle on which ads and campaigns are profitable and which aren’t, you will know which ones need to be improved or dropped altogether most likely saving you thousands of dollars a year. It might seem a daunting challenge to keep up on all of these “statistics” but I assure you it will be one of the most valuable investments you can make if you rely on advertising and marketing to keep your business profitable and growing.

 

Don’t Have The Time To Figure It All Out?

We offer cost effective solutions to help you track and improve your marketing campaigns. For more information, click here or call us @ 219-670-6706.

The Most Often Overlooked Source of Revenue

Posted on: September 16, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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The Money Is In The List

Marketing gurus have long said that “the money is in the list”. They are, of course, referring to customer and prospect mailing lists. Since many small businesses don’t make use of or even have a mailing list, it must be a secret that communicating with customers and prospects is the crux of a healthy business.

Following is a list of the many profitable uses of a mailing list:

  • You can market on a mass scale instead of only to those who happen to be doing business with you this week/month.
  • You can survey your lists to understand more about them and their needs and where your company is falling short.
  • If you know which customers buy which products/services, instead of the shotgun approach, you can do very targeted marketing, increasing your return on investment.
  • You can monitor attrition (customer loss) and try to win back lost customers.
  • You can exchange lists or rent or sell your lists to other related but non-competitive businesses as a source of new revenue.
  • You can educate your customers and prospects on a mass scale to maintain healthy relationships which will greatly improve customer loyalty.

 

Existing Customers Are Low Hanging Fruit

As you can see, there are many inherent opportunities in a mailing lists that are, sadly, overlooked by the majority of business owners. It has been proven that getting a new customer is many times more expensive than keeping an existing one and by the same token, improving sales is much cheaper and easier utilizing a list of existing customers than trying to sell to new customers.
 

Technology Makes it Even Cheaper and Simpler

There really couldn’t be a better time to have customer and prospect lists since, with the advent of the internet and digital technology, communicating with them can be largely automated and the cost reduced significantly using a blog, email and/or social media.
 

Start Today

If you don’t currently collect customer and prospect information, start today. You may need to offer a small incentive such as a discount or a chance to win a prize in a raffle. Get creative. If you offer them value, they will be happy to give you their information. If you already have a list but aren’t utilizing it, put a plan into action to start communicating with your customers and prospects and, if done right, I guarantee it will have a positive impact on your bottom line.
 

Don’t Have the Time to Figure it All Out?

To find out how we can help you to start building or utilizing your own mailing lists, click here or call us at 219-670-6706.