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“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Wise words by none other than Winston Churchill. To his point, that is exactly why I wrote this article—because of results. Time and time again I have followed these 6 steps to get results like you see in the following screenshots:

One of Our Education Clients (14,635 Monthly Organic Search)

Search-Engine-Optimization-Education-Company

 

One of Our Fashion eCommerce Clients (31,682 Monthly Organic Search)

Search-Engine-Optimization-Fashion-Ecommerce-Company

 

One of Our Manufacturing Clients (12,200 Monthly Organic Search)

Search-Engine-Optimization-Manufacturer

 

One of Our Consulting/Information Clients (9,108 Monthly Organic Search)

Search-Engine-Optimization-Visa-Company

Before attempting to rank for a keyword, you have to understand value. Not only do you need to grasp what the search engines deem valuable, but what your users deem valuable. At the end of the day value is the only thing that matters when attempting to rank for a keyword or long-tail phrase.

So, if you can offer true value by ranking for a keyword then by all means try to rank for it. If you can’t offer true value, then stop reading this article.

Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say you end up ranking for said ‘keyword.’ If I am a user who found your site because you are ranked for this keyword, would your site offer me value further than that single page? Not just value, but usable value. Do you have a product, a service, a solution or an information database that compliments the reason I came to your site?

These are all pruning questions you need to work through before just going balls to the wall trying to rank for a keyword. That being said, let’s hop into step #1.

Have a Dedicated Page for the Keyword as a Baseline

Before you begin frantically writing content for your keyword, pause for a second. The first step is to create a static page dedicated to the keyword you are trying to rank for.

Companies, brands, and entrepreneurs who are ranking for a specific keyword (in most cases) have a solution, product or service directly related to that keyword. This holds true whether it’s a local business, you sell online, or a combination of both.

  • If you are a bakery that wants to rank locally for donuts, do you have a static page dedicated to donuts?
  • If you are a mechanic that wants to rank locally for oil changes, do you have a static page dedicated to oil changes?
  • If you are a feed company that wants to rank for organic feed, do you have a static page dedicated to organic feeds?
  • If you are a tractor manufacturer that wants to rank for riding lawn mowers, do you have a static page dedicated to riding lawn mowers?
  • If you are a food subscription company that wants to rank for protein meals, do you have a static page dedicated to protein meals? (We are going to keep using this example throughout the article, so remember it.)

You get the point.

Why am I pushing this so hard? Because in the current state of information online there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of other companies, brands and entrepreneurs trying to rank for the exact same keywords you are.

You need a core. A page that is the holy grail of the keyword…the 10 commandments of the keyword.

This is your baseline. This is where you backlink to (internally) from other articles, this is where you will have a strong call to action, this is where you will convert leads and/or sell, this is where you will meet the buyer in the “consideration” or “decision” stage of their journey. The following steps in this article are all outlined around having a dedicated static page to the keyword you want to rank for, so get this in place before going further.

Here are a few guidelines for this dedicated page:

  • Make sure it is at least 750-1,500 words (for these 5-10 articles, not necessarily every article you ever write)
  • Make sure it has supporting media elements (graphics, video, web elements)
  • Make sure the UX/UI of this page is seamless and beautiful (and responsive)
  • Make sure this page has strong CTAs that aren’t intrusive (whether it’s to generate leads or sales)
  • Make sure that you don’t “keyword stuff.” Use a 3-5% keyword density as an outline.

Here is an example from the Hubspot website (a marketing and sales SaaS company.) One of their products inside of their software is a landing page builder. Check it out:

SEO-Mastery,-create-a-dedicated-page-for-your-keyword

This page is ranked #4 for “landing page” and “landing pages”, which is impressive because that is just one segment of their entire suite of software products. In order to get this page ranked, they had to execute the following steps (on a much larger scale than you and I of course.)

You need to take this same type of intentional focus in creating a page that is dedicated to the keyword you want to rank for. That is if you want your page to rise through the rubble of second rate web content and hop to the first page of Google.

Do Keyword Research Like a Mad Scientist

Now that you have a dedicated page for your keyword, we are going to branch out.

We need to create an ecosystem around this dedicated page and it’s focus keyword (as you will see in the next point). But first, in order to do so, we need to take to SEMrush to conduct our keyword research. SEMrush is a competitive search engine tool that works wonders for businesses who want their:

  • site to be TRULY optimized
  • content to be effective and have a better chance to rank
  • advertising to be competitive
  • competitive research to be high level in general

With this software, you can run site audits, search any keyword, search any website, and dive deep into the organic and/or paid elements of anything on the web, especially competitors in your space.

That being said, let me give you an example:

Let’s take my previous bullet point mentioned above and act as if we were a food subscription company trying to rank for “high protein meals”. I am going to type our keyword into SEMrush and see this report:

SEO Mastery, using SEMrush for Competitive Research

A few things that I am immediately going to gain insight into are:

  • A complete list of phrase match keywords
  • A complete list of related keywords
  • The top 20 sites currently ranking for that keyword (and the exact pages on their site ranking)
  • Any search network or display network ads currently being run

Let’s check out that first position, just to see what we find out.

SEO Mastery, researching competitors on the first page

I can immediately see that it’s an article with recipes ranking #1 for this specific keyword. When I clicked through to the page, I noticed it was 18 recipes organized very well, with a decent amount of social shares (3.5 thousand.)

Why is this information important so far?

  1. Having this insight shows me what it takes to be position #1, regarding quality and delivery of content. Not that we’d be able to steal the #1 spot right away, but that sets the standard for the content we are going to provide for this keyword.
  2. It shows me the users intent, clear as day. We may have originally thought that we were going to write this beautifully optimized article with 1,500 words about high protein meals. But we see here, now, that a user values recipes the most when searching this keyword. There for, it is recipes that they intend to find (or at least that is where their mindset is.)

Side-note: If we really wanted to get down and dirty with our keyword research, not only can we conduct research for all of the pages ranking for high protein meals, but we can dive deeper and type in the exact pages and/or exact site URLs into SEMrush to get full page or full site results.

But for now, we just want to research the content that is currently ranking for our keyword and write better content. Period.

Here is the kicker of the keyword research step. If we back up to where the report that shows us the phrase match keywords and related keywords, this will give us fantastic insight into other opportunities for content ideas and/or supporting keywords for our next step…writing content. So, what we are going to do is write down our top 5-10 keywords that support the keyword we are trying to rank for.

In this case, for high protein meals, our goal is to gather keywords that have a similar search volume. Because our goal is “focus” keywords (long tail, lower search, low-medium competition) and not broad keywords (high search, high competition.)

We might want a list that looks something like this:

  • protein diet (9,900 search volume)
  • foods with protein (8,100 search volume)
  • protein rich foods (8,100 search volume)
  • protein snacks (6,600 search volume)
  • vegan protein (6,600 search volume)
  • high protein breakfast (6,600 search volume)
  • high protein meal plan (1,000 search volume)
  • high protein low carb meals (880 search volume)

Do you see where we are going here? On to the next step—let’s create a content ecosystem now that our keyword research is done.

Create a Content Ecosystem Around Your Dedicated Page

Now it would not be suffice to simply do our research above and only write one great piece of content. The internet is too populated with valuable information for that kind of simplicity to generate results. We now have to create a content ecosystem around our dedicated page in the form of blog posts.

For now, our goal here is to create 5-10 valuable posts and then strategically backlink to our dedicated page internally through:

  • Strong Anchor Text: the words you choose to highlight and link in a post act as your anchor text. If the words in your anchor text add value to the users experience, they may just click through!
  • Strong Call to Actions: sometimes anchor text IS a call to action. Other times you need to go a bit further and have graphics or CTA buttons that link back to your dedicated page.

Your articles should be based around your supporting keyword list and a few should be solely centered around your focus keyword. In our case here, we might write some articles title something like:

– Why Vegans Can Have Their Protein and Eat it Too
– A Week of High Protein Breakfast Recipes That’ll Keep You Swoll
– Hacking Your Protein Diet with Protein Rich Snacks

While I can not provide you with creative writing direction (because you are the expert and need to be authentic) I can provide you with SEO direction. Your biggest goal with each article is to make sure that it is completely optimized. Here is a checklist that you should follow when optimizing each one of these articles.

  • Make sure you are using Google tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools
  • Install Yoast SEO Plugin (this has become the standard) if you are using WordPress
  • Create an enticing title for your user that contains your focus keyword if possible
  • Your article should be 750-1,500 words minimum (the 500 word blog post isn’t worth it anymore)
  • Include your focus keyword in a few of your headings, especially your H1 tags
  • All of your images should have alt text and the title of the image should be optimized before uploading
  • Use your strong anchor text and CTAs as mentioned above
  • Don’t use or create duplicate content
  • Incorporate 1 piece of media or imagery per article if possible
  • Have modern/effective social share buttons

If you have great creative copy that is optimized following these guidelines, then your 5-10 articles will start pulling their own weight as we hop into these final few steps.

Advertise Each Post

Once your articles are published, there is something magical about giving your articles a little social boost/credibility. Well not magical, more like practical. And the search engines love it.

Example of a socially credible article

Allocating a budget of $5-10 dollars to boost the social visibility of your content is a solid way to send signals to Google that people are socially interacting with your content. And if you’ve properly optimized your content, then Google will also recognize what keyword(s) and or phrase(s) are so valuable in your article that users are liking, sharing, commenting etc.

This alone can jumpstart the ranking process tenfold.

I’ve had articles rank in under 72 hours consistently for client accounts as well as this site. Even if you have a small budget, spending $25-100 on FB ($5-10 per article) to potentially rank for your desired keyword is a lot more viable than wasting your time and efforts creating the content and it never being seen. Or worse, blindly hiring a 3rd party to “optimize” your site to help you rank, without providing true value to your audience.

Tip: Advertising your content works extremely well if you have any size of an email list. Upload that as your target audience as your email subscribers are much more likely to share your content than users who haven’t been in contact with your brand.

Syndicate The Content Tenfold Via Social Media

It’s been over a year now since I heard a concept taught by the guys over at Fizzle.co that your content marketing efforts need to follow the 80/20 rule. Applied, you need to spend only 20% of your effort creating the content, and 80% of your effort promoting the content.

Social syndication is a fantastic way to do this. I am not talking about using social media software to simply schedule posts. (Because by this time in the game, most of our parents and grandparents could probably figure that out.) I am talking about taking the top 8-10 points in every single article and creating a social media post out of each one. One-liners, quotes, stats, data, facts, sayings, etc. Anything that could possible make a great social media post out of each of your 5-10 articles, extract it and upload it into your social media software.

This means you should have somewhere between 40-100 social media posts derived from those initial 5-10 articles. Those posts should last you a very long time and give each article several chances to gain social traction.

Side-note: I highly recommend Meet Edgar for this tactic as you can upload your content into categories and put those categories on a queue schedule. If you are writing evergreen content, then your category pools will forever get larger as you add to them, all while staying relevant.

Amplify the Content Through Repurposing, Immediately

You may have heard of repurposing before. Taking old content and using it as a foundation to create new content. And of course this is 10x easier if the old content is evergreen.

But why wait for content to get old?

Let’s repurpose our content immediately and create segmented pieces of content out of each article.

  • Let’s immediately take a few of these articles and post them to LinkedIn Pulse and/or Medium.
  • Let’s immediately take a few of these articles and create 1-3 minute video shorts and throw them up on Youtube AND upload them directly to Facebook (that’s 2 uploads per video)
  • Let’s immediately take a few of these articles and create an infographic and or presentation for Slideshare
  • Let’s immediately take a few of those articles and create a lead magnet out of it

All of a sudden your content not only has 8-10x the social reach, but now you have your content atomized to several different platforms where different audiences gather.

Conclusion

You might be thinking, “that is a ton of work just to rank for a keyword!”

It is. And that is a fact you have to face. There is no short cut here. But if you are diligent, this can be done in a few days, easily.

  • Day 1: Create a static page on your website dedicated to the keyword and conduct keyword research
  • Day 2: Create half of your articles
  • Day 3: Create the other half of your articles
  • Day 4: Create and schedule all of your social media posts
  • Day 5 & beyond: Begin amplifying your content through repurposing

The bottom line is this—you can not rank for keywords without putting in intentional work. Intentional work, however, sounds a lot less stressful than racking your brain trying to find shortcuts to rank your content, but still falling short in the end.

Use these steps to rank for your keywords and let us know how you did!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mark Machesky

    January 10, 2017 at 3:40 am

    This is great! well organized and to the point in every section. Well done.

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How To

How to Bridge the Frustrating Generational Gap in Business

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How to Bridge the Frustrating Generational Gap in Business

It is all too often we witness stereotypes being placed on individuals based on the generation that they were born into. In recent years, we’ve become aware of the generalizations that fall upon the Millennials… and now the youth following in their footsteps.

Not sure what I’m referring to?

Kids these days are entitled, impatient, too reliant on technology, and suffer from poor communication skills as a result of their addictions to the internet and their smartphones.

Sound familiar? Have a listen to Simon Sinek’s talk on “Millennials in the Workplace” that currently has over 6 million views on YouTube.

But, why is it that in this day and age, we are witnessing young professionals developing at rates far more advanced than ever before??

Sixteen year olds are running their own ecommerce businesses, 25 year olds are traveling the world making a living from their laptops, and members of the millennial generation are entering top level roles for companies of all sorts holding real positions of influence.

millennials are killing it

The reality is that there’s a generational divide being created by the digital era. What we need is to understand how to bridge the gap and build cohesive workplaces.

Dear Millennials, we aren’t entitled to anything

So you’ve completed your 4-year degree, you have a TON of relevant courses to list, plus some internship experience, and now you are totally ready for that coordinator role with a $50K salary and plenty of vacation time. Sounds great!

Only problem is that scenario is not very realistic at first, but it can be with the right approach. Patience is key.

The bad news: companies don’t want to hire you as a coordinator or manager…yet.

The good news: they want to hire you at entry-level and that is OK.

Who cares if you are assigned mundane tasks at first. I spent 50% of my first year laminating and cutting print collateral for trade show events and direct mail campaigns.

Guess what? I cut and laminated like it has never been seen before and I was glad to do it. Guess who was first in line when that administrator position opened up…

Don’t be afraid of putting in extra hours, don’t hesitate to accept new projects. Use your first 6 months or year to hit the ground running and learn as much as you can.

With social media and the internet we are so used to getting instant access to things and expecting instant gratification. We want to reap the benefits, but usually hold back when it comes to volunteering our time and energy.

The sooner you realize that actual work experience outweighs your textbook knowledge, the sooner you’ll start developing to be the professional you want to be.

be the professional you want to be

Here’s what you should know:

Utilize your co-workers and managers as mentors

You may not have experience yet, but they do and you can gain valuable insights from them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter what you are working on. The more experienced employees have been in your shoes before, and they will be willing to help as long as your motive is genuine.

The more you humble yourself on the things you don’t know, the sooner you can start addressing your own weakness.

Technology is your friend

Technology and digital experiences are second nature for us. Use this to your own advantage!

Always be on the lookout for solutions. Employers love problem solvers and our generation is just that. (Thank you smartphone. Thank you Google.)

Your ideas may not always get brought to fruition, but your voice is important.

Younger generations have an obligation to promote technological advancements within our organizations. We need to use our platforms to bring a fresh perspective. We need to use our platforms to help our companies understand and see the power of digital integration.

Social media is important.

Capitalizing on digital distribution is important.

Using technology to be more efficient in the workplace is important.

Show them why!

Age doesn’t exist in business but, skills and experience do

After attending HubSpot’s INBOUND 2016 conference in Boston, my eyes were opened to the ever evolving world of tech in business. Hungry to learn more even after the sessions had ended, I played my odds by messaging the host, HubSpot’s Senior Director of Global Marketing—Ryan Bonicci.

I asked him on LinkedIn about his age and what tips he had for somebody aspiring to reach similar levels of success. To my surprise, instead of responding, he put me on blast with a screenshot of his inbox and added it to his Instagram story! His caption was, “Age doesn’t matter people; all that matters is the impact you can deliver for a company.”

Wow did I feel stupid for asking his age!! But, it changed my thought process on how to approach my career development and I think we can all learn from it.

Dear experienced generations, dig a little deeper

I hear you when you say, “Help! My Millenials aren’t working!” Some aren’t. (But then again, some in the older generations aren’t either.) Instead of stereotyping an entire group of people, help your younger employees realize their importance and the impact they can have.

Empower and guide

Just because I might be in an entry level role doesn’t mean I can’t handle more responsibility! If there is one thing I notice in the workplace, it’s that employers get too comfortable handing off the small, mindless tasks, but hesitate to give lower level employees some real authority.

help them stay accountable through responsibility

Trust your educated millennials to put their education to work. They don’t need to be VP of sales to feel recognized. Let them get that new blog page going, let them take lead on new initiatives, get them involved in social media content.

Don’t trust us with B2B interactions? Let us get more involved with internal company campaigns.

We want to be empowered and we want your constructive criticism. Give us more chances to do something big.

Develop and train

Maybe a promotion isn’t realistic in every situation, but additional training is always an option. If your younger employees don’t have the means to learn continuously on their own, then make that investment for them. (And in them.)

There are plenty of free or affordable digital resources to help your employees gain new skills. Here are some of the popular channels for online courses:

  • Udemy
  • Lynda
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Hubspot Academy
  • Google Certifications

Two years ago I sought out the free Inbound Certification from HubSpot. My employer was not a customer, so we did not use the software. I wanted to understand their methodologies anyway.

That course was enough to give me a foundation to start evolving our marketing department alongside my manager.

I went on to make that course mandatory for new hires and interns. It’s the single most important decision I made in terms of my education outside of my degree. I wish my first employer would have encouraged more of this!

Digital is now

Older employees need to learn it and understand it. Younger employees have been on computers for years. Your processes may be outdated and new programs or software could be a great fit.

At the very least enable your employees to know that innovation is accepted and welcomed!

These skills are ones that our youth need to take pride in. Companies need to embrace the changes that are happening in consumer behavior and stop resisting the movement.

Embrace the digital era and maximize your returns on the people you are hiring. Let your employees bring you up to speed and reward them for it.

embrace the digital era

If your company hasn’t adjusted to technology and capitalizing on digital mediums, it’s time to start by recognizing and welcoming the skill sets of the younger generations.

Conclusion

It’s no surprise that a generational gap exists. Growing up in completely different social environments and having different perspectives on consumer behaviors is enough to create several generations that just don’t see eye to eye.

Like any other conflict, a strong factor here is a lack of understanding.

There’s a lack of understanding from upper (and typically older) management on how their younger, digital-driven employees function efficiently. There’s a lack of understanding from our youth on how to communicate properly to draw connections with our experienced co-workers or managers.

The solution is simple: both the older and younger generations need to communicate with one another to bridge the gap and find the best ways to utilize one another’s gifts in this brave new world.

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Business Life

How to Failproof Your Startup

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how to fail proof your startup

Every entrepreneur and business owner I run into has a yearning to do something deep with their business. Whether it’s forming strategic partnerships, creating new divisions of their business, or rolling something new out, the desire is there to do more.

But the thing that holds them back is the immediate needs of their business. In other words, that stuff that they think deserves priority within the coming 24 to 48 hours. Those immediate things get in the way new customers, sales, business development, putting out fires.

There are consequences to prioritizing those immediate needs though, and it comes as a slow fade as we continue to give our energy to the things that aren’t in alignment with our business’s core vision.

Your mind simply cannot live in the now for the sake of survival. You have to think beyond the immediate or you may not have a business in a year.

Your business cannot be sustained on product or service deliverables alone

Many business owners strategize their growth around immediate profit centers. And on the surface level, that makes some sense. You want to make more money by capitalizing on what is already working in your business.

That is, namely, your products or services.

“But look— if you focus solely on getting more customers or clients, making more sales, that’s all you’re ever going to be doing. It’s going to you constantly trying to sustain your business on what you have now.”

Customers and clients will come and go, they cannot be relied upon as means to scale your business. The return on your investment in deliverables is not sustainable in the long term. They are not the singular foundation for growth in your business.

customers will come and go

You cannot deviate from your vision and the plan you have for your business just because you hit a tight spot or else you won’t have a sustainable ROI. Constantly set yourself up where you’re working on things that are going to grow your business.

That’s why you have to look beyond your deliverables and think long term. How can you create sustainable profit beyond the products or services you offer?

Creating multiple silos of profit

The key to overcoming this endless cycle of solely profiting from the immediate deliverables is to create other sources of profit. This means loosening your grip on hyper-focused optimization of sales and looking far ahead.

Yes, this consideration of the long term means putting your time and energy into profit that is not certain.

But unless you open your business up to profit opportunities that can only be attained by investing in the long term, the future of your business is not good.

Think of your business as a pie. Your product and service delivery is only a slice of the pie. That may come as difficult news if you are currently pouring all your time and energy into that one slice and the rest of the pie is going untouched.

think of your business as a pie

The first step in overcoming that narrow focus on the one slice of pie is to identify other silos or profit centers in your business.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a breakdown of the other slices in your profit pie:

  • Strategic partnerships
  • B2B commerce if you’re a B2C business, and B2C commerce if you’re a B2B business
  • People and things that can sell for you: brand advocates, your content, networks, etc.

Identifying each of these silos, or slices, and what they would look like in your business is key in beginning to dispel some of that uncertainty about the future of business.

Map out the process within each silo

After you’ve identified these silos as they apply to your business, it’s time to take a deeper look into each of these silos.

Keep in mind that the sales process for each of these silos will not be like the sales process for your products or services. Why? Because the ROI in these silos is achieved over a longer period of time. It’s a long term investment.

This takes patience, diligent planning, and an acceptance that the profit will not come immediately.

Take Gary Vaynerchuk for example. He didn’t just wake up and create Vayner Sports one day. He looked at the class of upcoming athletes in schools and made a conscious effort to develop relationships with them so that when they graduated he had a base to launch Vayner Sports. That took time and patience.

What makes companies huge are the things they do outside of their immediate delivery of their product or service. It’s that longevity, thinking years ahead, that makes them huge.

what makes companies huge

So mapping out the objectives of each of these silos and understanding how many touch points it will take to accomplish those objectives is what it’s going to take to tactically approach those longer term investments.

Consider that it may take a lot longer to land a strategic partnership than a new customer, but that partnership could yield 10 to 50 times the ROI than that new customer.

Once you’ve mapped out the process, you have to prioritize accordingly. You only have so much energy and time to give.

So if you’re going to exert a lot of energy, wouldn’t you prefer to do it over a longer period of time for a greater ROI?

So stop spending 80 to 90% of your time in the silo of product and service delivery. The energy you’re putting into that short term silo is yielding far less ROI in the long term.

On top of your silos, create value-based investments

After you’ve identified your other silos and mapped out the processes for each, it’s time to add the next layer: value-based investments.

What are value-based investments? This is stuff you can’t see as ROI, but it could be the biggest move you ever make as a business, such as investing above and beyond in a relationship or education in your own skills.

what are value based investments?

Value-based investments may not have ROI today, but they could in the future.

It’s the same concept as going into higher education. If people are willing to go $100k into debt to get higher education all for the sake of getting an unguaranteed higher quality job, why should we think any different as business owners?

A great example of a value-based investment I made is in The Modern Marketer itself. I didn’t know that this publication would be as big as it is now, but I decided to invest my energy into it anyway. If you added up all the money and every hour I put into it, it would be at least $50k.

Now The Modern Marketer is everything for us. It’s the only thing that separates us as an agency from anyone else in our industry.

So on top of creating those silos, always have three to five things that you’re putting time and energy into as a value-based investment. Keep that higher perspective in mind, or else you’ll always be relying on income from cash flow.

Have some uncertainty? Think about the “Best Case Scenario”

Every company that’s had a massive payout has made value-based investments. For these greater things to work out, you have to plan for them to work. You have to slowly chisel away at value-based investments.

The way we measure the ROI of value-based investments is a benchmark technique called best case scenario.

For example, if you were going to not listen to anything I’m saying here (which is fine), what’s the best thing that could happen? You get 10 more clients? You make 30 more sales? That’s your benchmark.

But if you take a day to plan ahead and consider the best case scenarios for the payoff of your value-based investments, you’ll realize you need that and the other silos. You can’t rely on product or service delivery and expect growth over the next 12 to 24 months.

take a day to plan

If I told you that you wouldn’t make money for the next year and a half, but on December 15, 2018 you would make $1 million, wouldn’t you drop everything to make the investments necessary for that to happen?

You would certainly re-prioritize.

Of course, you’ll never actually reach that best case scenario. You’ll never have the best of everything. But if you take the time to carefully consider these scenarios, you realize that longer term investments have a far better ROI than the short term ones.

I went through this process of realizing three to six months of my energy had been dedicated to things that were not for the sake of bigger growth for the company. ROI is not about volume of product or service sales, it’s about silos and value-based investments.

We have to be more practical with the prioritization of our energy.

Longevity of your business must always come before immediate needs

You have to prioritize longevity over your immediate needs. It’s not a recommendation, it’s a requirement.

Statistically, a year from now, more than half of you will not have your business.

Think about that.

The only way we can prevent ourselves from becoming that statistic is by strategically planning into the future.

True ROI in business comes from those other silos, by seeing the whole pie and not just the product and service delivery piece. That and your value-based investments are the keys to not only sustaining your business over time, but growing your business.

Identify those silos, map out their processes, and create some value-based investments. If you prioritize your business in the long term, the immediate needs will be taken care of as a result.

Don’t let your business fade away because you were too focused on the short term. Prioritize longevity.

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Digital Advertising

Advertising 101: How to Crush Campaigns on a Budget

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How to crush campaigns on a budget

Everyone wants to find the cheapest way to advertise their business. It can get pricey to get your products or services in front of the right people, particularly if you don’t understand your audience.

But when you’re a small business and working with a tight budget, it can be especially challenging to determine how best to use your advertising dollars.

However, there’s a trick to digital advertising… are you ready?

It’s not necessarily about understanding your audience, it’s about understanding what you’re trying to get your audience to do.

If you understand your objectives, you will be able to spend your limited budget in the right way.

Understanding your Objectives

A lot of marketers make out advertising to be a matter of “figuring it out.” But when you’re advertising digitally, there isn’t anything to “figure out,” because the information is all there.

What’s key in making decisions for investing your ad dollars is knowing your objectives, and then split testing the right things. There’s no “right way” to advertise on a budget, there are ebbs and flows.

This is why we split test.

You may be reading this and think you really do know your objectives… but do you really?

Once on a sales call with a client I asked, “What is your objective for this campaign? What would you consider to be a successful campaign?”

They responded: “Honestly, the goal is to drive a ton of traffic to the page and hope it converts, right?”

It’s a typical response we hear, and there’s a chance you think that’s your objective too. But it’s very seldom the true objective in advertising.

“Driving traffic” is very general, and perhaps an overarching goal in advertising. But it’s not nearly specific enough. You have to go deeper with your objectives.

So perhaps you’re rethinking your advertising objectives now. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

  • Who do you really want to connect with?
  • What actions do you truly want a prospect to take?
  • Are you going to rely on the law of averages to convert 1-3% of your prospects into sales?
  • If not, what type of nurturing touch points are you going to have with the prospects to guide them towards conversion?
  • How will you retarget nurtured prospects to get them to buy?

Keep in mind that while the maximum amount of traffic and lowest cost per lead may seem like reasonable objectives when you’re working within a tight budget, it’s not a strategy that will yield a profitable amount of conversions.

creating profitable conversions

For example, for a client of ours it cost us $15 per ticket to sell out their conference. The cost of tickets were $125, so obviously the profit is $110. If our cost per lead was only $1, but we sold 20 tickets instead of 300, that wouldn’t have been nearly as effective a campaign.

In other words, casting the largest net won’t get you the best fish. When it comes to sales, you need to put quality of leads over quantity of leads.

Define your KPIs (key performance indicators) based on quality, not quantity. It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics and think your advertising dollars are being well spent.

But if you understand the buyer journey and have objectives for each step of the sales funnel, you can more readily measure the success of your ad campaigns— not based on the number of leads you end up with, but the actual profit on conversions against what you’ve spent.

Focusing in on the Funnel

Too many people quit their ad campaigns too soon because they focus on entry level data rather than their actual objectives.

I’ve had clients that say, “oh, that campaign didn’t really work out,” when they don’t get the results they wanted and I ask them to explain what “didn’t work out” means.

Then when we start talking about the actual objectives, then they realize that the campaign is working, it’s just one part of the sales funnel that needs fixing.

Remember that in your advertising campaigns, if you’re not getting the results you want, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not working. No, it means that only a part of your sales funnel isn’t working up to par.

part of your sales funnel isn't working up to par

Don’t dump your entire campaign just because it’s not working the way you wanted it too. You need to step back and see the bigger picture. Look at the campaign within the context of the stages of the buyer journey:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

Awareness

Are you connecting with the right people? Are the people you’re connecting with taking the action you’ve set out for them? Is your lead magnet offering enough value?

Lead magnets are a great way to attract the right people into your ecosystem. By offering some sort of value in exchange for the user’s contact information, you can quickly pull that person in and turn them into a lead.

But if your lead magnet isn’t interesting or doesn’t offer enough value, people will have less incentive to give you their information.

This is where split testing comes in handy. Try different lead magnets and see what works.

Try targeting half your audience with an ebook lead magnet and targeting the other half with a video tutorial. There’s lots of ways to attract leads in.

So experiment. Try new things. Remember, there’s no “right way” to do this.

your lead magnet must offer value

Consideration

Are you relying on the laws of averages to get those conversions? Maybe it’s time to more actively connect with your leads.

You will get some leads to convert without much effort, but not many at all. If you want to maximize conversions, you have to stay at the top of the leads’ minds.

This means not passively sitting back and waiting for leads to decide to buy. It means touching in with them, feeding them a little more value, reminding them you’re there.

Decision

What kind of nurturing touch points can you have with your leads to guide them to buy?

If you have a substantial list of email subscribers, your best bet is to schedule out a nurturing email campaign. After several nurturing emails, you can send them emails with calls to action. This is what will drive more leads to buy.

If you lack an email list, Facebook retargeting ads are a great way to prompt your leads to buy, and can be easily tracked.

Whatever route you decide to take, you’re going to get the most bang for your buck if you more actively nurture your leads and retarget rather than passively leave the buying decision up to them.

Creating Loyal Customers

Are you continuing to engage customers after they’ve bought from you? If not, you’re missing a crucial opportunity for growth.

How can you continue to build relationships with customers so that they return and advocate for you?

I say it all the time: you cannot grow your business from the first sale. You need a second, third, fourth, fifth sale in order to grow. This doesn’t mean that you need a lot of customers, it means you need loyal customers.

This stage of the buyer’s journey is ultimately what will pay off your limited advertising budget multiple times over. If you seek to build relationships with these customers rather than use them for the transaction and forget about them, you have the capacity to pay off your advertising 3x.

After the sale, you can continue to engage these customers with email marketing and retargeting ads. They may not buy from you again right away, but you will be kept in mind and they may even refer people they know to your business.

It’s not rocket science. You’re trying to maintain a relationship with another human being. These are important touch points.

So if your ad campaign is struggling to get the results you want, it doesn’t mean the marketing advertising isn’t doing its job. It means a part of the funnel isn’t working.

So focus in on the funnel and identify what needs to be fixed in terms of the objectives you’ve set out for the campaign.

Conclusion

Like I’ve said multiple times throughout this post, there’s no right way to do this. With any ad campaign, there will be ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Think of your ad campaigns as ongoing experiments.

If you’re going to focus on experimenting with ad campaigns on any platform, make sure it’s on Facebook.

Facebook is a great advertising platform because it marries native advertising and interactive media. Whether it be canvas ads, bleed ads, video ads, there are literally brands being built off of this platform. So I really advise you lean in and experiment there.

Understand there’s multiple levels to advertising. So if you’re working within a budget, it’s crucial to define your objectives. Make your KPIs about quality, not quantity. It may seem like it’s worth your money to cast a large net, but it’s not.

You need good leads, not the most leads.

I get it, ad campaigns can be nerve racking when you put money into them and you’re not seeing the results you want. But don’t react by breaking off the campaign. Focus in on your sales funnel. Focus on the objectives of each stage of the funnel. Fix the parts that aren’t working up to par.

This will allow you to optimize the funnel you have and crush every campaign on a limited budget.

Let’s get it.

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