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Making Marketing Work
24 minutes | Apr 28, 2020
John Doherty: How Top-Performing Marketing Agencies Close More Clients
During challenging times, closing new clients can be difficult. That’s why I brought on John Doherty, the founder, and CEO of Credo. Credo is essentially a resource that many businesses use to find and hire marketing agencies, so John is the perfect person to break down what clients want in an agency and how to close more deals. We also uncover how he was able to find and work with high-level coaches and the three levels of inspirational people. Highlights: How to position yourself as a partner rather than a service (and why it’s important) The sales strategy that helped one agency grow from $1.5 million to 4 million in 1 year How to win the attention of a superstar mentor (and when it’s appropriate to approach them) Do you see any trends in agencies that consistently win clients? Absolutely. First of all, agencies that close a lot of work are specialized and don’t try to serve everyone. For example, they may only serve B2B SaaS or Direct to Consumer. Often times they actually know the business and industry better than the client does. Another trend is that agencies that close the biggest work are usually full-service, meaning that they have experts in each area (SEO, PPC, etc) in-house. Finally, the agencies that close the most deals are the ones that are looking to serve. They really come on as a partner looking for ways to help the company grow and use whatever they have in their “toolkit” (SEO, PPC etc) to get the job done. If you reposition how you sell and offer solutions rather than services, you’ll close many more deals. This is how you can achieve higher level buy-in (director of marketing, VP of marketing), and command higher budgets because you can justify the value of your services. If you’re selling services you’re just an expense, so you need to figure out how to become an integral part of the team. The solution, of course, is to become a partner that offers solutions. People cut expenses and invest in solutions. What’s you’re opinion on agencies that offer services that are very structured vs more experimental? There’s definitely a balance. Clients need to know what they are going to get. Look at their website and if you think that they need 4 blog posts per month, tell them that and that that will be their deliverable. Links can be a little bit different, but there should still be some underlying deliverable the client can expect every month. Give them a map of where they are going and make sure that the services fall in line with it. One of the biggest problems he sees is that agencies tell prospects that it will cost them $2,000 per month, but the client doesn’t understand what they are paying $2,000 for. Do you have any examples of really good sales processes? Yes! Go check out this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0dcTTI-2_I&t=34s He uses the DSSP framework. Discovery Call Strategy Call Scope Email Proposal The problem with marketers doing sales calls is that they make everything too complex. Keep it simple. We know you could do another million other things. But keep it simple. He had one agency on Credo that was struggling with sales. When they first came onto his platform they were at about $600,000 per year. They grew to about $1.5 million per year from working with Credo for a year but were still having trouble closing deals. John taught them this sales process and they scaled to about $4 million per year just by using this sales process! Chris Lema also taught him to spend your time getting to know them and what they need and then send them a few different options when you send the proposal. Offer a three-tiered package that is basically a done by them, done with them and done for them package. Done by Them: They are doing the majority of the implementation and you’re basically just sending them audits Done With Them: You might be doing some things and they are doing some things. For example, you might be writing content but their developer is actually putting it on the website, scheduling posts, etc. Done For Them: They don’t have to do anything. You handle everything from start to finish. Obviously, the pricing increases for each one. You can sometimes do a paid discovery process that is time-bound and scope bound and from there you can create your proposal. During this you show them: What your opportunity is You can give them first-hand experience of how you work together He often sees people that try to sell 6-12 month SEO engagements and then the client doesn’t even understand what the opportunity is. What are the most common problems companies come to you with when they realize they need to hire an agency? He asks this question on the initial discovery call to see if it’s a good fit. Guess what the secret answer is? Listen! You’ll find that they are more than happy to tell you what problems they have in their business. Don’t talk about blog posts or backlinks. Just listen to them. What’s going on in their business? This puts you in a partner position rather than a sales position. After listening, you’ll find that most fall into two different buckets: They are seeing a drop in their business and they want to get it back These ones are ideal because they really know what they are looking for and understand how to work with an agency. They have realistic expectations and close pretty well. Then there are businesses that have never hired an agency before These ones don’t usually close very well and they might well with a discovery call (paid) just to teach them a little more and show them the value. They usually aren’t ready to jump into a 6-12 month contract. Are the people coming to you usually from one industry? It’s usually pretty broad, but there are certainly a lot of B2B, eCommerce and SaaS customers. It’s pretty evenly split between the three of those. If a company comes to you with pretty good overall SEO and marketing in general, what is usually your approach to helping them? His role is basically to look at what prospects coming into Credo are trying to accomplish and see if marketing is really even a good fit. If there isn’t an opportunity, he’ll let them know. Outside of Credo, he usually starts by checking if it is really a solid technical foundation and if they really have a good content strategy. Unfortunately, about 98% do not. Many companies will tell you that they have a content strategy, but if you look at it, it’s usually a 500-word article and not very useful. Educate them and let them know why it isn’t working. This comes back to taking the stance as a partner and showing them what they need rather than selling them services. Where did you find mentors and how did you go about asking them for help? He thinks about professional relationships on three different levels. The first one is peers. These are people that are on about your same level and might have come up with you. Then there are coaches. These people you pay and they hop on a weekly or biweekly basis and answer any emails and questions you have. Then there are mentors. These people you aren’t really ready to work with yet. Say you’re a 3 (on a scale of 1-10), these people are an 8. You really only need someone that is a 5 or 6. You might outgrow your coaches and then be ready to move onto mentors. To get in touch with higher-level people, he started by just being helpful. He would engage with their content and share it out. He would also sometimes email them if he saw something wrong with their website. Be careful how much you do this, but if you only do it once in a while, it can be helpful. Eventually, after engaging with their content and emailing them, the people John wanted to work with reached out and offered to coach him (for pay). Overall, don’t worry about being annoying. If you think that you’re being annoying you probably are. Instead, shift your mindset to helping them. For example, if you see a typo on their sales page, you might want to let them know. (If it’s just a blog post, it’s a little annoying). Email them maybe every 3 months with a specific question. For example, if you’re struggling with broken link building, you might ask if they have any training or blog posts on broken link building. In this case, you aren’t asking them to write you back something super long and in-depth. Don’t think about how much you can get, think about how much you can give. I heard you love Ahrefs. Can you tell us one feature in there that you love? He uses it primarily for keyword research. He loves being able to click into a keyword and you can really understand what it’s going to take to compete on that keyword. www.Getcredo.com Twitter: @dohertyjf The post John Doherty: How Top-Performing Marketing Agencies Close More Clients appeared first on Ignite My Site.
23 minutes | Apr 21, 2020
Mark Schaefer Explains How to be Invited Into Your Audience’s Inner Circle
Just a few years ago, it wasn’t difficult to buy people’s attention. But it doesn’t work like that anymore. You have to be invited into your audience’s circle. So how can you do that? Mark Schaefer came on today to talk about how he helps companies make it into their audience’s inner circle by becoming the most human company. He explains exactly what it means to become a more human company and actionable strategies you can implement. How did you build your own brand? Everything starts with content. It’s really the fuel of a personal brand. He began blogging in 2009 after leaving the corporate world and at the time was consulting and teaching. Eventually, he realized that every new business opportunity that came in was from the blog. This was a pretty significant realization and he became more disciplined in the process. Creating content not only makes you discoverable, but it also makes you more authoritative as well. He later went on to write books, which lead to speaking engagements and eventually that led to more higher-level consulting. You say that the most human company wins. What does that mean? People don’t see a lot of our traditional advertising like they used to. For example, instead of watching TV like we used to, we now just pay for Netflix and never see ads. Similarly, a lot of people listen to Spotify and never hear ads with their music. Therefore, interrupting people doesn’t work anymore. In fact, 2/3rds of our marketing occurs without us. So how can we get invited into those 2/3rds? You can’t simply buy your way in like you used to be able to. People want to be connected with in a human way and that is not robo calls, spamming inboxes or interrupting them. Therefore, you have to ask; “How can we add our passion, faces, and smiles to the community.” How do you teach your employees how to be better storytellers? Truthfully, it isn’t easy. He has some friends on Instagram that can turn absolutely nothing into a great Instagram story. The first step is to teach your employees how to be aware of daily events happening around them that they can turn into stories. You also need to capture the idea right in that moment. Write it down, because you’re going to forget later. Finally, if you’re really serious about building a human-centered brand, you need to block out time and be consistent. At the end of the week, pull out all the ideas that you wrote down and spend time crafting that content. Consistency is incredibly important- it’s more important than being a genius. Your marketing isn’t about you. It’s about your customers. So how do you do customer research? The first thing he does when he goes to work with a company is he asks this question: “Only we___”. If there are five different people in the room, and each one gives a different answer, they have no marketing strategy. So we start there. What is different about our brand? Why do people love us? What is our story? Even if the company brought him in to work on a marketing strategy, he asks them to stop and take a few weeks to do some customer research. His research process is literally going into the customer’s place of work and asking them, “Why do you love this product?” “How do you use it?”, “How is it different from the competition?” This is where you can really get to the meat of a company’s “why”. A big mistake that companies make is that they confuse what they selling with what people are buying. A big mistake that companies make is that they confuse what they selling with what people are buying. For example, he was working with a very geeky telecom company. They had the latest technology and were really proud of being a cutting edge company. However, when he did some customer research, the customers said that they loved their service because their system never goes down. It’s reliable. They didn’t actually care what kind of technology they used, they just wanted it to work. The company was selling: We’re the latest and greatest technology The customers were buying: They are our security blanket and we can set it and forget it. Therefore, he changed the marketing program to sell what customers were buying. You actually go out to the customer and talk to them in their place of work. Does it make a big difference versus doing customer research online? Yeah, that personal connection really does help. For example, with an online survey, you can‘t ask any kind of follow up questions. Sometimes people also aren’t honest on surveys and just do it to get it done. However, even if you did a phone call with a customer, you don’t get to experience the customer’s daily work life. What are they actually doing? How does your product fit into their daily life? What kind of pains do they have in their day to day routine that we could help solve? This also helps with upsells. If it’s a product displayed in a store, you can ask customers why they picked the competitor’s product over yours or vice versa. What are some of the best questions you ask to get information? What is it about this company? Why do you love it? Or if they don’t, Why do you like their competitors? Another super important question to ask is What do you do in your job that you hate? For example, you might find that they really hate billing and if you could offer quarterly billing instead of monthly billing, you’d have an edge over your competitors. Going back to the topic of social posts, what are some mistakes that you often see people making when creating their social media posts? Usually, social media posts that perform poorly are too brand-centric and brag solely about how good the brand is rather than focusing on what the customer wants to hear. To really connect with your customer your content needs two key elements: Human Presence This can be a face, or person because it’s difficult to fall in love with a logo. There should be some sort of voice and face that people can fall in love with. Create Unique Value This could be teaching them something or entertaining them. For example, there was recently a case study about Walmart. Now think about Walmart; there’s nothing sexy or luxurious about it. People just want to buy their toilet paper and shampoo and get out of there. However, in this case study, they had a grumpy little old lady posing with various products. Soon enough, it really caught on and went viral. The reason being that it’s no longer just a picture of tires. Now you just want to see what this grumpy old lady is going to be doing next. They actually had her on Good Morning America and people drove from all over the country just to see this little old lady. The reason why it won was because it had a human element and a unique value (entertainment). The most human company wins. That’s what people want today. I noticed that you’re also a marketing professor. In my experience, everything I learned in college was no longer relevant because marketing changes so quickly. How do you face that as a professor? The reality is that most marketing programs are terrible. The probem with most universities is that they hire professors that no longer practice. And unfortunately, if they aren’t practicing, they probably aren’t up to date on the current situations. Connect on Twitter: @markwschaefer The post Mark Schaefer Explains How to be Invited Into Your Audience’s Inner Circle appeared first on Ignite My Site.
29 minutes | Jan 9, 2020
Andy Crestodina: Creating Original Content, Building Real Relationships, and More
Google almost any SEO related term and you’ll probably see at least some of the information is repeated. The problem is that people don’t care about what you repeat. They care about what you have to say. Andy Crestodina is a master of creating original content and talks about how anyone can find knowledge gaps, create original data (for less than a few hundred dollars) and generate thousands of links without ever asking of one. He also discusses why keyword research is really a backward way of creating content and how he develops real relationships with people over social media. The best part is that you can repeat all of this yourself. Your conference, Content Jam, just passed. What were some of the biggest takeaways? They had great speakers like Mark Schaffer, April Dunford, Will Reynolds, and Britney Muller. Mark Schaffer made the point that a lot of marketing isn’t in our control anymore. We can’t control word-of-mouth marketing and reviews. The best solution, therefore, is to create a small group of raving fans and give them red carpet treatment. Take a stand and believe in something. I noticed that you invest a lot in relationships, education, and conferences. At what point in your business did you decide to do that? He started building websites and after doing that he realized that he needed SEO. Once the customer has a website and basic SEO, they need ongoing content to keep up to date. That’s when he started offering content as well. As for events, building websites is a very high trust business, so it was important that there was some face to face interaction. He needs a lot of people to know who they are and a few people to trust them very deeply. When you are first starting out, how do you choose which type of content is right for you? For B2B, you need more bottom of the funnel content. (Lower volume of higher value prospects). B2C, (t-shirts, shoes, etc) (higher volume of lower value prospects) and more top of funnel content. B2B Examples: Blog posts Lead Magnets B2C: Instagram Facebook Email Newsletters Let’s say you just produced a piece of content. It’s not so much the format of the content. It’s more the promotion channel. Is that piece of content better promoted in search or social? Great content strategists can look at a headline and determine where it should be promoted, (For example search vs. social). Are there any social tactics that are working really well right now? (For example, going live). His favorite is networking. There are small numbers of people that have a lot of visibility with a small group of people that could really move the needle in your business. Talking to people is going to do a lot more than just dumping links on social media. Don’t use social media to drive traffic. Use social media to reach out and network. Then you can leverage those relationships and collaborate on content. Those influencers can then help promote your content. So for example, he does a blog post once a year that is very deep. To ensure that it is well promoted, he asks major influencers to contribute a quote. Now they know about it and are likely to want to share it as their name is attached to the work as well. I find that a lot of people struggle to make genuine connections on social media, particularly those just starting out. How do you create real relationships and make sure that the collaboration is mutually beneficial, even if you are just starting out? It doesn’t have to be a one way street. For example, this podcast is a two way street because I’m getting great content and Andy is getting promoted He also points out that a lot of people enjoy giving information. As for creating real relationships on social media, consider going from an email to a video call with the person. Then you can also connect with them in person or at conferences if they live far away. Andy puts on a marketing get together once a month in Chicago as a way of keeping those relationships alive. The key is to continue to upgrade the form of communication. If you do this, the communication won’t be a one-way street. I find a lot of people creating content that they think is original, but if you look in the SERPs, a lot of it is repetitive. How do you ensure that you are creating original content and how do you define what is not original? When you create content, start by looking at where the gap in the SERPs exists. Ryan Holiday once said, “It’s a failure of the market that information doesn’t exist.” An example of this is when Andy wanted to know the average lifespan of a website. The information didn’t exist, so hired a VA to go into the top 50 marketing websites on Wayback Machine to see the interval at which they redesigned. She sent back a spreadsheet with the answer. It was 2 years and seven months. That data didn’t exist before. It now exists in people’s content everywhere. That’s how you know that it is original. If you are creating an ultimate guide, consider taking a stand that nobody has taken before. Your hand might shake a little before you publish the post because you know that you are giving away so much value for free. What is the best way to find where these content gaps exist? First of all, don’t start with the keyword first approach. Consider the content-first approach. Start with inspiration. Then ask if your idea aligns with a keyphrase. For example, he once created a 20-minute video because he wanted to show people how he wrote some of his most successful articles. It wasn’t until after the idea was formed that he thought about how he could align that with a keyword. Inspiration 1st and Keywords 2nd There needs to be some passion or difference otherwise you’re doing a job that one day a robot will do. Let’s back up for one second. You mentioned that you created the average lifespan of a website statistic and it didn’t sound very involved. About how much did it cost? Is this something that everyone can be doing regardless of budget? It was a couple hundred bucks. The VA was about $25 per hour and it didn’t take her that long to put it together. Another example was finding out how much the average marketer makes. He went to payscale.com and glassdoor.com and looked at the data for the top 7 marketing job titles. He calculated the medium and now had an article that had more data from either of the two sites. A lot of people have data and don’t know it. He has access to about 700 Google Analytics accounts simply from websites he has worked on and he currently has a VA going through them and calculating the average bounce rate. This will give a benchmark number for certain industries. Also, this will make backlinking so much easier. We just talked about the two things you need for backlinks: Relationships with content creators + Original data = Backlinks 7,000 websites have linked to us organically and we have never once asked for a link. What are some of the most common mistakes that you see when you are mentoring startups? (This is more specific to startups) Startups struggle to articulate what they do. Write it out in 6 words and make that your headline. The visitor, oftentimes, can’t tell what the startup does at a glance. So don’t assume the visitor knows what you do. He does a live website critique and at one of those, he came across the headline: “Be ready for your next big moment. Try Company Name Today” Now it says: “The Number One App for Public Speaking. Start Sounding Like a Leader” Now the visitor knows what the company does. Use the Backyard BBQ test. If you were to describe in 10 words what you do, and I have to ask you a followup question, you failed. It should not be a mystery what your company does. Go get his book: Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing Follow him on Linkedin The post Andy Crestodina: Creating Original Content, Building Real Relationships, and More appeared first on Ignite My Site.
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