Lifeblood

referrals

Referrals are the headwaters of lifeblood for an agency – new business. We greatly appreciate our solid clients, but to survive and thrive, an agency needs new clients. Agency network Second Wind tells us that most agencies average 15% per year in lost billings due to client turnover.

What this means for us is a continual need to find new clients. And, what’s the best way? Agency development consultant John Heenan recently completed a survey of marketer preferences. In it he found that 51% of marketers prefer to learn about a new agency by way of a referral from a friend, colleague, or peer. The numbers for other methods of contact fall off dramatically.

Another interesting discovery from Heenan’s research is that you are being flooded by agency news business contacts. In this survey, 56% of marketers report receiving 3-10 new business inquiries per week from agencies. And, this was a tremendous reminder of how much we appreciate our loyal clients. Despite being bombarded by agencies promising you the moon, you choose to work with us. Our sincerest thanks for your loyalty!

This is where you come in – we both need and appreciate your help. If you feel you’re getting great work and solid results from PWB, why not tell a friend? We’re not looking only for people who are actively seeking an agency, we love to build solid relationships that grow and evolve. Know a peer at another company who might need our services? Please help us connect. Whether they’re in a marketing role or not (while marketing is best, leaders in other functions are also generally solid), this really helps us cut through the onslaught of agency inquiries.

We appreciate these referrals more than you know, and we’ll definitely show our appreciation in return. We’re not talking “send us a referral and you’ll get a gift card from _______.” We’ll show you in real, thoughtful ways that are personal and indicative of our gratitude.

As a closing thought, those of you who haven’t worked in an agency environment may not fully grasp the challenges of finding and acquiring solid new business. This quote, from one of Heenan’s respondent is both funny, and a bit depressing (if you’re an agency…):

“We do not like receiving unsolicited contact from ad agencies. We do not like them Spam you am. We do not like them in a boat or with a goat. We do not like them while stung with bees or up in a tree. We do not like them Spam you am.”

-anonymous-

How can you help? A conversation with your peer, friend, or colleague would be great. If you’re not comfortable with that, a simple e-mail connecting both parties would be equally awesome. Or we’ll buy you both lunch, or breakfast, or and adult beverage (or two…).

Thanks, in advance for any help you can lend in PWB’s continued success! And, thank you for your loyalty!

-Sean-

Digital – The New Face of Branding?

Is Digital the New Face of Branding?Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion at the Eastern Michigan University Center for Digital Engagement. The topic was “The New Face of Branding” with an emphasis on how digital has changed branding.

As I was considering my remarks, I realized that digital really has changed the face of branding, but that two key tenets from traditional marketing need to drive any effort:

  • 1. You need to know who your target market is. With digital’s increased potential to precisely zero in on prospects, this becomes even more critical to maximize efficiency.
  • 2. Clearly articulated messaging is key to success – you need to know who you are, what your advantage is, and how you’re unique. Life moves fast in the digital space. You have even less time to engage prospects.

Initially, my thoughts centered on the notion that strategy was paramount and how this doesn’t change for digital. In fact, digital makes having a sound strategy even more important as it enables unprecedented targeting and customization of message to audience.

But…

Digital HAS changed a lot of things. Do I think it really is “The New Face of Branding”? No. For most marketers, a balanced, integrated program is still the best solution. However, there are two scenarios where digital has been a game-changer:

The Little Guy
Once upon a time, a small marketing budget really limited what you could do. A full-page ad in the Harvard Business Review (one of my favorites) costs roughly $30,000. Assuming you need to run at least 6x, you’ve already eaten up the better part of $200,000. Ouch. But digital is scalable. Using digital display on HBR.org or LinkedIn, you can target these same prospects. Mix this with a solid program of organic and earned social media and you have the potential to be a giant-killer.

The Niche Market
The Internet has enabled makers of niche markets to reach a global customer base. It started with vehicles like Ebay and Etsy, but it quickly expanded to include social media, remarketing, and networked banner buys. Looking to reach customers for organic alpaca yarn in Northern Canada? Need to connect with left-handed engineers in the ski industry? With digital you can target them effectively without the waste built-in to traditional media.

The New Kid on the Block
Digital has levelled the playing field, enabling new products from emerging companies to compete with established players. Using WordPress you can easily create a site that creates a world-class image. Social media helps you introduce new products to established audiences and even target your established competitors.

In short while digital hasn’t lessened the importance of a sound strategy, it has created tremendous opportunities for many companies.

Sean

Contact Us

contact pagePity the poor Contact page. The most valuable place on your entire web site – yet often the most overlooked. I’m stunned by how little thought people put into this page.

Some want a simple “whaddya’ want?” form-to-e-mail fill in. Others put a little more thought into it, but not much. Mostly, they’re designed for the benefit of the host, not the visitor.

One of the key tenets of web marketing we advocate for our clients is a customer-centric view of their web site. Take a moment to think about the reasons you’d visit a Contact page…

• Sales inquiry (the obvious one)
• Looking for a job
• Having a technical problem
• Having a billing question
• Looking for driving directions

Get the idea? There are a lot of reasons someone might want to get in touch with you beyond simply wanting to talk to a sales person. Why not make this easy for them? We recommend a simple e-mail address (like info@yourcompany.com that might go to several people in the intended department. One recommendation – NEVER put in individuals e-mail addresses on your web site. You’re simply inviting a mind-boggling volume of spam.

Number one on most people’s sources of irritation? The lack of a phone number where they can reach a live warm body. Yes, I know you want to reduce your call volume. Too bad – people who aren’t comfortable contacting you through digital channels won’t. They’ll go somewhere else. Let that sink in for a moment.

Another major opportunity is your location, or locations. In addition to helping people find you when they need to this has potential brand value. For example, if you’re an America company and Made in the USA is something your customers. Some customers will want to know your global presence – do they have a location in my country or at least my part of the world? Having this information on your web site offers nothing but potential.

Finally, pay attention to your dialogue with your customers. If you’re hearing that not having something on your Contact web page is a problem – get it on there today!

Sean

Let’s Get Hitched

Been thinking about online engagement a lot lately. I’ve had a few clients who wanted to increase online engagement, especially using social media. That’s a noble goal, but ultimately a bit like jousting at windmills. What is online engagement? Likes? Shares? Comments? Re-posts? Sure, it’s probably all that. But do those things build brand loyalty. I suppose.

But when I take off my marketer hat and put on my consumer hat I don’t think they are the metrics that truly matter. So I’ve been watching tactics others use on social media that attract me. Two come to mind.

Rio Products

Fly line and accessory maker Rio does a solid job on social media. Encouraging fans to post photos, responding to questions, and running contests. But they ran a promotion that really caught my attention. Simple in concept, mighty in impact. Rio posted a photo of their booth on Facebook, with instructions to stop by the Macomb Community College fly show and mention the post – and get a free Rio hat! I love swag, so you know I was all in. And guess what? While I was there, I had a look at some new lines. Even ended up ordering one of the new ones from my local dealer. I’d call THAT engagement.

Stormy Kromer

These folks are brilliant. They’ve taken a goofy looking (but warm and comfortable) hat and parlayed it into a full-blown apparel brand that’s right on-target with the new “lumbersexual” demographic. Genius. Pure genius. And they’re every bit as smart online. Being a visual person, I’m a big fan of Instagram. I follow the Kromer folks and recently they ran a program looking for 19 “Kromer Ambassadors” to represent their products. Since I don’t make artisanal firewood or ride a fixie, it was hardly surprising when I wasn’t selected. But they did something really cool – they sent me one of their Kromer Koozies (these things are sweet – you need one) and a nice letter from the president explaining the overwhelming response. And then they gave me a code I could use for 50% off an online order. And what did I do? Yup, bought a bunch of stuff. Once again, now I’m really engaged on a financial level with them. I’m trying their new products. And I likely become an evangelist for the brand.

What’s this all mean for you? If you truly want online engagement, on a pure and financial level, you have to give some to get some. Will these fit into your social media dashboard? Possibly. Will they move the needle for your brand? You bet.

-Sean-

Beware of the Vultures: Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

Being a marketer can sometimes be frustrating. As an example, frustrations increase dramatically with every reported Google algorithm change – Like the change happening April 21. Certainly these algorithm changes can improve search, but they also release the search vultures. Those predators who create a feeding frenzy in an effort to scare businesses into buying their services. We have received a plethora of messages promising that without website improvements, our company will experience the end of the world as we know it.

Google-Vultures-PWB

Before you buy into the hype though, let’s understand a few things. Most websites built within the last few years are mobile friendly. To a certain level. The trouble is, mobile has changed dramatically within the last few years. Responsive design and even how devices are used when searching has changed. So let’s take a step back and look objectively at the coming change.

The Google mobile algorithm change promises this – that mobile-friendly websites will appear in search results.

“Starting April 21, Google will be expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

What does that mean exactly? It means this, how your website appears on a variety of mobile devices (iPhones, Android devices, tablets, etc.) may affect how your website is found to those searching for your products or services when they use something other than a laptop or desktop computer. That means that those sites that incorporate responsive design are likely to appear higher in mobile search engine results. In other words, this algorithm change might only affect a portion of those searching your website using mobile devices. To get a better idea of how your website will be affected, run a website analytics report; A very small portion of your website traffic may be affected.

Any time these changes are announced though, I get client calls and emails. To say that anyone can make promises though is foolish. One can ever truly know how a website will be affected due to Google algorithms being proprietary. For this next Google Algorithm change though, I suggest clients use the Google tools to run a mobile-friendly test.

If your site is not as mobile-friendly as it should be, then perhaps it is time to consider updates to change that. Web sites once had a shelf life of several years before needing updates, now however the ideal website needs to have constant improvements at some level. If you need help with making your website more mobile-friendly, PWB can help. Please contact us at dialogue@pwb.com or 734-995-5000.

Social Media Posting Frequency

Last week I read with dread a Tweet and subsequent blog post answering the question “How many times should I post on Social Media Sites?” It even went so far to advise readers the ideal “number of times/day (or week)” for social media posting frequency. In reading the post, it really made me consider… Wouldn’t it be great if my Magic 8 ball told me how many times to post and what to post on social media sites?

Wouldn’t it be great if it everyone knew the magic social media posting frequency? The problem with giving that bit of advice is, in telling clients “how often to publish on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter” or anywhere else, is that individual company needs and goals are not being considered!

Instead, I would argue that completing a social media audit is the first step in determining social media posting frequency. Determine what a company has first THEN develop a well thought-out marketing plan. Here is what I suggest doing to help determine how often to post to social media.

First review, review and re-review all available analytical information. Look at Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook Insights, or other available analytical data. Then answer the following questions:

  1. Does the analytical information indicate when potential clients are viewing shared content? Wednesday at noon seems to be a hot time for many of my Facebook clients, however a friend of mine who is a divorce attorney has found that weekends are when more people are viewing his content.
  2. Does the information offer insight into what the audience is looking at, what they are reacting to AND what content an audience is taking an action on? Knowing this will help determine what content “moves the needle.”
  3. Are the individuals viewing the content the desired “audience”? One of my clients encourages the office staff to “Like” everything on Facebook. While this is all well and good, a better idea might be to ask the office staff to comment and share the content to increase the reach of the post.
  4. What are the company goals in sharing content on social media? Is the goal to become more visible to an audience? Is becoming an industry expert the goal? Should posts only share the latest deals? It’s always good to take on the 80/20 rule where only 20% of shared information is self-promotion. It is important though tat all content shared is still relevant, and liked, by the audience. Sometimes it’s not about what moves the needle,  but instead just a venue to share good information.

My final bit of advice when considering social media posting frequency, is to consider the time and resources available for the platforms being considered. There is nothing worse than wanting to participate on all of the social media platforms when they can not be managed properly. There must be time available to share, collect and analyze the data. Take the bite that you can actually chew and don’t have eyes bigger than your stomach!

Understanding CTR vs. Conversion Goals

I am working with a couple of AdWords clients right now that are really struggling with meaningfully analyzing the return on their AdWords campaigns. I suggested that they add conversion codes to better understand what may be working when the question came up, “Well what is the difference between Clickthrough-rate (CTR) and Conversions? I’ve been looking at the CTR as a means of identifying how well my campaigns are doing, so why will looking at conversions be better?”

To understand this we first need to understand the difference between “Clickthrough-rate” and the “Click conversion rate”.

The Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown. In this example, the ad was available to be seen by 343 individuals (impressions) and was clicked on twice. That would mean the ad had a 0.58% Clickthrough rate. .58% of people clicked your ad after it was shown to them.

Converted clicks are the number of clicks that convert within a chosen conversion window. This means that you know how many clicks resulted as a result of an “action” being taken. The Click-conversion rate therefore is the number of converted clicks divided by the total clicks that can be tracked to a conversion. Here are some more details on conversions directly from Google.

Still confused about what a conversion is? Many clients are.

To determine what your company conversions are, you need to determine what action you want visitors to take. If you are a B2C company, then it is likely your conversions are sales which can be quantified by revenue. For B2B companies this often gets trickier. To determine conversion goals consider what you would like to see visitors do.

  • Do they have the option of signing up for a newsletter?
  • Are there areas of your company website with specific calls to action?
  • Does your website include tools for clients that could be launched or downloaded?

All of the above listed ideas are actionable activities that likely carry some weight within your company. Conversion goals therefore should be very specific to your business and include actions on a webpage, calls from ad extensions, or actions from a mobile app. Create good, strong conversion goals, and you will be amazed at what insights you may be able to see as a result.

 

 

PWB Helps Kasperek Optical Create a Whole New Space

Company Branding

Today’s independent optical retailers face incredible competitive pressure from big chains, forcing many to be less profitable and give up market share. Industry leader Kasperek Optical saw a better way. They turned to PWB to help bring new branding to life and develop tools to help both retailers and consumers understand the program and its benefits. The new brand marketing program centers on a simple premise — one low price for both a standard glasses frame and a sunglass frame. Good for the retailer. Good for the consumer. PWB started with a simple, thought-provoking name. Then we developed key messaging and high-impact logo. We’ve also developed sales literature for both retailers and consumers.