When looking to grow your company, it makes sense to hire a marketing strategist.

 
 

Business owners don’t blink when it comes to hiring specialists for their business such as accountants, lawyers, and customer service reps.

Yet, for some reason, many entrepreneurs and business owners resist the move to hire a professional marketer. Many times they think it can be done in-house, often resulting in a haphazard approach and questionable results.

Keep in mind that your marketing team is what puts money directly into your pocket. Therefore, spending money in this area should be seen as an investment rather than simply an expense.

Hiring a marketing professional does come at a cost. Based on the Creative Group’s salary guide for 2015, the average salary for a creative director is between $108,500 and $170,000 per year. Adding benefits to this base adds an additional 25 to 40%, according to Joe Hadzima of the MIT Sloan School of Management. If you choose to hire a consultant rather than bringing on an employee, you will shave the benefit portion from these figures. But anyway you look at it, if you’re going to hire a quality marketer with any level of expertise, it will represent an investment.

Based on these figures, doesn’t it make sense to ensure that you are hiring a marketer with the expertise to guide your marketing strategy with skill and precision who will give the proper direction to help grow your business? Choosing the wrong fit can result in wasted time and lost money. Therefore, use the following questions as a guide to help you find the best person for your business.

You may wish to start your interview with fact-based questions. These questions will confirm whether the candidate has the skills that you’re looking for, as well as provide you some information that can be verified.

Some examples of fact-based questions are:

1. How long have you worked in the industry?

2. What was your last job, and how long were you there?

3. Do you have formal training, and if so, where did you get it?

4. What is your favorite part of marketing?

5. Do you have experience managing others?

6. What has been your most successful marketing campaign to date?

7. Do you have any particular marketing strategies that you prefer to use?

Now that you have the basics, consider asking some situational questions. These types of questions provide insight into how the candidate will handle situations that may arise at your business.

Try asking questions such as:

1. You have received a call from a client who claims that he did not receive a package that you sent via courier, yet the courier confirms that it was delivered. How would you handle the situation?

2. Social media has a big impact on businesses these days. You’ve just found out that a negative review has been posted regarding the company. How do you take care of the situation?

3. The company is looking to rebrand itself from the ground up. What are the steps you would take to manage this redesign?

4. The company is planning a major event. How do you begin planning for this process?

5. One of the employees you manage has inadvertently posted a personal opinion on the company’s account. How would you manage this?

6. What do you do to stay up to date with marketing techniques?

7. Are there any recently developed marketing strategies, techniques or tools that have captured your interest right now?

The final area that you should be focusing your interview questions on is behavioral questions. After all, how people have behaved in the past is often a good indication of how they will react in the future.

Consider the following as a starting point:

1. We have all had the experience of having to work with a difficult colleague. Please tell me about a situation in your past and how you handled it.

2. Describe a situation where you had to juggle multiple projects, all with different deadlines.

3. Tell me about an incident when you made a big mistake and had to think on your feet to resolve the situation.

4. Share with me an example of where you had to put in a significant amount of time and effort upfront and then wait a long time to achieve success.

5. What was the last criticism that you received and how did you react to it?

6. Tell me about a situation in a previous position where you had to take initiative.

7. What is the project from your work history that you are most proud of?

The 21 questions listed above should give you a good blueprint of some of the questions you may wish to present to any potential new marketing hire.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, call me directly at 403-879-4297 or email me at admin@agapimarketing.com

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

Avoid Google Penalties

Don’t get caught making these simple mistakes that could incur penalties and affect your traffic.

You don’t have to be a search engine optimization specialist to know that there have been some big changes in how Google ranks sites over the past few years.

 
Nearly anyone who has a website has heard of the Panda and Penguin updates Google made in the past few years.

In the early days of search engine optimization, the “experts” would dump keywords heavily into content, often delivering something that might attract a higher ranking but certainly would not engage the reader. Another tactic was to build links with other sites that may have been low-quality links from directories and other spamming sites that few people ever really clicked on.

The changes that Google has made to their algorithms has actually resulted in better quality. These old tactics no longer work, thank goodness, and the trend has been toward content marketing. Providing people with content that is relevant and valuable to them has also proven to work well to assist with rankings.

But there are still some ways that you can inadvertently end up with penalties from Google while engaging in content marketing.

Avoid the following and your site is likely to stay safe.

1. Duplicated content: Google claims that it does not penalize for duplicate content, however this claim should be approached with a measure of caution. Strictly speaking, you can duplicate your content on other sites and social media platforms. But do this in a safe, deliberate fashion. When taking an article and replicating it on another site, wait a few days between postings. Google understands that different audiences will find your content in different places, but to throw it out there in a spam like fashion could cause penalties. Many newsletter and other content creation services encourage inclusion of curated content-that is, content gathered and attributed to other sites and other authors. Although this can be very useful and very valuable, use caution in this area as well.

2.  Lack of unique content: Another area where you can run into difficulty is by providing a lack of content that is unique. Duplicating other content in a copy and paste fashion is like playing Russian roulette and it is likely only a matter of time until your site is penalized. If you are an affiliate marketer, do your best to avoid the simple copy and paste method as well, as this will be seen as not providing value and may end up causing Google to penalize your site.

3.  Over-optimizing or low quality internal content: What of the things that Google algorithms search for is the quality of your content within your website. Make sure you are providing unique, new content to your website on a regular basis and avoid rampant repetition of your content throughout your site. This not only will help you avoid incurring penalties, but also will significantly boost your organic rankings. Use different types of content as well, like podcasts, video as well as written blog posts. Google will notice and you should be rewarded.

4.  Keep current: I have often heard people say that they have finished their website. Now, I know what they mean by this, but keep in mind that your website is never finished. It should be seen as a living, breathing entity that requires some attention. Ensure that your website is kept current, removing content that is no longer valid, updating content, and making sure that all your links are working properly. If you don’t have current information on your site, not only will visitors not want to return but Google will also lose interest in your site.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, call me directly at 403-879-4297 or email me at admin@agapimarketing.com

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

Before you can define your marketing strategy, you must understand exactly what a marketing strategy is.

 

 

Simply put, a marketing strategy is a plan structured around the resources available to you to promote and grow your business, targeted to your defined ideal client.

So now that you have this definition, review the following list to measure the current status of your marketing strategy and consider where it could go by integrating a structured marketing strategy in the future promotion of your business.

The top dozen questions to define your marketing strategy:

1. First of all, what is it about your business that you are passionate about? Reflect back on what motivated you to start your company.

2. What is it that you provide to your target market in ways that differ from your competitors?

3. Just like people, businesses have – or should have – a personality. What is the dominant trait in your business that you want your customers to identify?

4. What does your ideal client look like? This, really should have been identified when you were planning your business. After all, you can’t be everything to everyone, and if you haven’t defined your client by now, your business is probably flailing.

5. You’ve heard about the “elevator speech”. What is yours? Come up with a simple 10-word message that defines, explains and excites prospects about your business.

6. How does your target market become aware of your business? Within this question, you should be able to identify where and how you can best reach your target audience.

7. How do you build trust? People do business with those they like, no, and trust. What are you doing that will build trust to your target market, assuring them that you are the best person to do business with.

8. How is your cash flow? Be realistic. If you aren’t honest with yourself about your cash resources, you can’t be realistic about what you can achieve. If you are in a position that you have assets but require interim assistance was financing projects, what revenue sources are available to help you grow your business?

9. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. By walking a mile in your clients’ shoes, you can define and refine the customer experience. Happy client not only becomes a repeat client, but also becomes a source for referrals by becoming an advocate for your business.

10. Once you have defined where you want to goal, what gaps in resources do you face? None of us are experts at everything. Define what you can do and either assign tasks to someone else in your organization in their area of expertise, or outsource to a professional.

11. Do you require partnerships with others in order to achieve your goals? In some cases, it makes sense to partner with complementary business professionals to keep costs down, share resources, and benefit.

12. Finally, now that you’ve answered all of these questions, what does the result of implementing this strategy look like? If you see any holes in the results, review the list again and refine your strategy further.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, call me directly at 403-879-4297 or email me at admin@agapimarketing.com

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.


Does deciding how to allocate your search budget seem like a daunting task?

 

Should you use Google PPC or social PPC?

This question comes up often, especially amongst entrepreneurs and small business owners who are trying to manage their online marketing budgets themselves.

There is of course no right answer, and it’s hard to know right off the bat which of these avenues will provide the best return on your investment. Therefore, let’s take a look at a couple of determining factors to help make your decision.

First of all, like every other marketing initiative, you must identify your goals and the metrics you will use to measure the success or failure of your undertaking. What is the purpose of your online campaign? Are you looking for an awareness campaign that will generate clicks to your page? Is your focus on getting leads? Are you looking to advertise at the lowest possible cost per lead? Or maybe you’re simply looking to increase your following on various social media platforms.

Once you’ve identified and clarified your goals, see which platform is the best fit for your target audience. Based on what your product or service offering is, some social media channels make more sense than others. For example, LinkedIn is more of a business/professional network, as opposed to Facebook or twitter which is more social in nature.

The next thing to do is to define your budget. Paid search has improved greatly over the years, and allows you to drill down to a finite definition of your target audience. And, in some cases, you can even designate what times of day your ad will appear. Remember that some of your keywords may be more competitive than others, and more competitive they are the more expensive they will be. Remember to set your daily spend a limit so that you do not blow your budget.

Once you got this figured out, my best advice is to run a small test campaign. Allocate a small portion of your budget to each of the areas that you have determined are a good fit for your target audience and run the test campaign for three days to a week. Check your metrics on each platform to determine which is working the best for you. Once you have learned what is working, focus your efforts on that area.

Remember that there may be a benefit to advertising on a specific platform even if it’s not the most inexpensive choice. Organic search rankings can be augmented by paid search ads, regardless of whether it is on social media platforms or on search engines. Weigh the pros and cons; only you know if the cost of running a small paid campaign will help you attain your goals.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, call me directly at 403-879-4297 or email me at admin@agapimarketing.com

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

email-campaignAre you still measuring your success by open and click through rates and the size of your email subscriber list?

Yes, these metrics do still matter.

 

But measurement and evaluation of email campaigns has become much more sophisticated as email marketing has become more sophisticated.

Once upon a time, it was cause for celebration and doing the happy dance if your measurement tools showed that most of your emails were being opened and clicked through, and that your subscriber base was growing. As the saying goes in e-commerce, the money is in the list. This will never change. After all, sales is a numbers game and the more people who see your offerings, the more sales you will get.

But times have changed. More and more business happens online, and this avenue only continues to grow. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your email campaigns are following a specific strategy. And it just like any other marketing strategy, be sure that you are starting by defining the goals of your email campaign.

When determining your goal, use the following blueprint to help define it:

1. Be specific. If your message is unclear, you risk confusing your audience. In a confused recipient is unlikely to become a buyer.

2. Make sure your campaign is measurable. Regardless of what type of marketing campaign you are running, if you can’t measure your results you are simply wasting your time and your money. Make sure that you are using qualitative and quantitative goals within your measurement format.

3. Make your goal achievable. You have to do this for a number of reasons, but most importantly if you set goals that are outside of your scope, you risk running out of resources or facing dramatic disappointment, potentially tainting your outlook for future campaigns.

4. Set a time for your campaign to run. Deadlines are important. If you do not set a deadline, you are missing one of the most critical elements for measuring the success of your campaign.

5. Make sure that your campaign is relevant. Yes, it’s important to communicate with your subscribers on a regular basis and to ensure that you are providing them with opportunities. But if these offers and opportunities are not relevant to your audience, they will lose interest and unsubscribe.

Now that you have structured the blueprint for your email campaign, be sure that you are clear on your goals. Back to measuring the success of your campaign, being clear on the purpose of the email campaign will greatly affect the outlook.

The main reasons why people send email campaigns are:

1. To increase conversions. This is an important goal regardless of whether you are just starting out in business or whether you have a well-founded online presence. It’s not enough just to lead subscribers to your site. If visitors are not making purchases, something in your sales funnel is working set a goal to turn visitors into buyers.

2. Building loyalty. It takes a while for your e-commerce brand to mature. But when it does, you’ll learn that not all subscribers are created equally. Do you know how to differentiate between your subscribers who are high-value buyers and those who are “window shopping”? When looking at your high-value buyers, think of them not only in terms of the immediate value they bring to your business, but also of their reach and influence for referral business and social media promotion.

3. Obtain subscribers who are engaged. Let’s talk about that old, original metric of getting subscribers. This is a must. Email subscriber lists fluctuate; it’s just the nature of the beast. But the ultimate goal here is to acquire engaged subscribers. What is your objective to increase your opt in list, extending your reach? If you keep your subscribers interested in engaged, you are not only more likely to keep them subscribed, but will also benefit from of their extended reach helping you build your list and grow your revenue.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, call me directly at 403-879-4297 or email me at admin@agapimarketing.com

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.