The One Question You Have To Ask Your Digital Agency Before You Hire Them

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/the-one-question-you-have-to-ask-your-digital-agency-before-you-hire-them

Digital Growth Agencies Have An Obligation To Get Clients Results Quickly

You’ve decided you need an agency. Congratulations! You’ve made the right choice. No matter what your internal team looks like and no matter what their experience, an agency offers expertise and skills that your internal team can never deliver.

Agencies simply have more experience executing plans that perform than any internal team. Think about it for a second. How many companies has your internal marketing team generated leads for? One, two, three or four at the most, right?

Over the course of a year, agency teams work with four to eight times that amount. They simply have more experience and give you a better chance to succeed if you pick the right agency.

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Reduce Churn, Even Post-Holiday Season

Source: https://postfunnel.com/reduce-churn-even-post-holiday-season/

Smart marketing is relevant marketing, and with the quantity of rich, contextual data available to marketers today, it’s easier than ever before to engage with customers at the right time in meaningful, relevant ways. That’s especially true post-holiday time when customers begin tailing off.

During any holiday season, people tend to step away from their normal routines, such as work social media, emails, and more. Customers may also use this time after they’ve stored away their menorahs and taken down their trees to purge what they don’t need. This alone makes it difficult to increase brand loyalty during the holidays.

More from PostFunnel on storytelling:
Why More Companies Are Expanding Their Storytelling With In-House Studios
E-commerce Storytelling: How to Captivate and Sell with Three Ingredients
Marketing and Storytelling: The Ultimate Duo

For this reason, it’s important to keep messaging softer and take on a more entertaining tone during these jolly times. Instead of aggressively promoting your new products, let that tactic take a back seat to sharing a story about your company relating to the holidays. Focus on your customers with short, entertaining or educational communications to keep you top of mind.

“Your promotional messages should be centered around big events and holidays. After the holidays are over, the vast majority of your messages should be centered around storytelling as well as creating content that helps your potential customers,” said Jacob Landis-Eigsti

owner and chief marketer of Jacob LE Video Production. “While you want to tell some stories about your brand and your company, you also want to tell your customers’ stories. Your customer should often be the hero of your stories. Place the focus on them and their achievements.”

It’s critical to form emotional connections with potential customers through storytelling as they’ll likely feel more emotionally drawn to your brand.

Retail Pulse

“Infusing storytelling in promotional messaging is a powerful strategy to utilize because it uses pathos to create an emotional and persuasive response in customers,” Leo Friedman, CEO of iPromo, said. “Customers will remember stories that are relatable, shareable and actionable.”

If the story captures customers’ attention, there’s no need to insert a pitch that’ll read more as desperate than engaging.

The Art of Storytelling

Sarah Tourville, CEO and founder of Media Frenzy Global, noted that today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to, but rather take part in an experience. Brands struggling with this will be left in the dust in favor of a new wave of consumer-friendly companies, especially where Gen Z is concerned.

“Through all of your marketing channels—from social media and activations to content marketing and media relations—you must tell an overarching brand story,” she said. “A story that pulls consumers in and captivates them. They should want to buy from you, not because you are telling them to, but because they feel a connection with your message.”

The use of influencers, she added, can further expand who interacts with the brand. A great example of this was Pepsi’s campaign at the recent Super Bowl in Atlanta. Pepsi placed a statue of its founder Caleb Bradham next to the iconic statue of Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton outside of the World of Coke museum, right in the heart of all of the Super Bowl festivities.

This sparked the #ColaTruce, a trending topic on social media that spread throughout Atlanta and the nation.

“While Coke may not have been thrilled about the stunt, the playful nature of it struck a chord even with devote Coca-Cola drinkers in the South,” Tourville said. “Pepsi took this a step further by pledging to donate a meal to the Atlanta United Way for every retweet of their #ColaTruce tweet.”

Pepsi told their brand story in a unique way and won big when the odds were against them. Other brands can duplicate this strategy during post-holiday times when there’s less “noise” from other companies.

A Mobile Message

CMO of Swrve, Tara Ryan, said that when designing mobile campaigns post-holidays, she encourages marketers to approach their messaging as storytellers—identifying customers at the beginning of their journey and providing relevant, engaging content until they reach the point of purchase.

“Marketing interactions, whether they’re on mobile, social or web-based, should serve to surprise, delight and entertain customers,” she said. “We’ve seen that companies that engage their customers across channels in meaningful, relevant ways see much higher conversion rates than those who spam their users with boilerplate push notifications, posts and spam emails.”

One major European airline, for example, wanted to check in with passengers as soon as their flight landed.

“The perfect moment is the 20 seconds between when a user switches off flight mode, and before the phone connects to a network—and the deluge of calls, mail, social, etc. hits the phone,” Ryan says. “To target the right passengers, the marketing team set up their app to take information directly from a customer’s boarding pass.”

This lets them know exactly where and when a passenger was landing. With this knowledge, the marketing team targeted customers at precisely the right moment. This led to a whopping 70% completion rate in their customer satisfaction surveys when sent via pre-cached push notification, compared to just 1% completion rates when sent over email after the fact.

Instead of “selling” or pushing their products, brands must think outside the box and find different ways to connect with their audience. Risk-taking is rewarded, and those that blaze their own path will see far more brand loyalty.

The post Reduce Churn, Even Post-Holiday Season appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Personalize Your Sales Experience To Shorten The Sales Cycle And Close More New Customers

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/personalize-your-sales-experience-to-shorten-the-sales-cycle-and-close-more-new-customers

Old-School Sales And Execution Is One To Many; New-School Sales And Marketing Is One To One

The experience economy proposes that both consumers and businesses want more than just delivery of products and services; they expect that an exceptional, positively charged and memorable experience will come packaged with their purchase.

This is raising the bar for companies. For those who get it, they’re creating Netflix-like buyer journeys for their clients, and closing new clients faster and more frequently than ever before. 

For those still doing it the old way, they’re driving prospects right into the waiting arms of their top competitors. 

Does that scare you? If it doesn’t, it should.

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5 Lessons marketers can learn from Growth hackers

Source: https://postfunnel.com/5-lessons-marketers-can-learn-from-growth-hackers/

From Gmail to DropBox, growth hackers are the brains behind the ideas that have pushed start-ups from zero to virality. Growth hackers break into the market using minimum cost and achieving maximum effect. Here are five lessons marketers can learn from growth hackers.

 1.    Tell a Friend to Tell a Friend

Growth hackers know that referrals are a great way to leverage your existing customer base to generate new business. PayPal achieved 7-10% daily growth through referrals alone. If you already have people who love your business, start a referral program. Some best practices:

  • Give Great Incentives: send out surveys to understand your core customers, what they want, and what motivates them to share. Double-sided rewards (where both referrer their friend get rewarded), ensure you attract the perfect audience and create a unique experience.
  • Make Referrals Easy: Using Single Sign-on and social logins so customers can quickly access forms. Ask for minimal information during signups, and ensure rewards are easy to claim.
  • Nail Your Messaging: Keep your referral message short, clear, and memorable. Ensure your message represents your brand’s value proposition and use two different messages. Conduct A/B testing to figure out which message prompts the most engagement.
  1. Community is Important

For growth hackers, utilizing a loyal community is a great way to boost growth as it provides consumers with the social validation they need when finalizing a purchase decision. Ryan Hoover grew Product Hunt using community building exercises. Here are some successful community-driven hacks you can steal:

  • Ambassador Programs: Build a community of advocates to help you reach new customers. Men’s shorts brand, Chubbies recruited college students to help grow its customer base. Your ambassadors should be social influencers and reflect your target demographic. Communicate program responsibilities and what rewards ambassadors will receive for their efforts.
  • Online Communities: Build your community on an interest that’s important to your target audience and launch a pilot test. Keep your audience engaged by sharing valuable content, providing a space for real conversations and involving them in co-creation.
  • Offline Events: Organize events, or meetups to increase brand awareness. Your event should be experience-driven and focused on your target audience’s interests. Tinder gained traction in its early days by attending sorority events and organizing university parties.

Make Stuff People Want

Wonder how Whatsapp grew to 400 million users without spending money on user acquisition? They had a great product people wanted. Successful growth hackers know that a perfect product-market fit makes marketing easier and helps achieve sustainable growth. Below are some tips from the product-market fit playbook that you can use to ensure you develop a product consumers want:

  • Know Your Audience: Identity who will benefit from your product and the problems they’re trying to solve. Know where your target audience hangs out online and which types of content they consume. This will help you to determine the right traction channels to target and which kinds of content to produce.
  • Solve a Problem: Don’t start creating products until you have a product-solution fit (i.e a product customers can’t leave without). Ensure you solve a real problem for your audience. Find out how valuable your product is to consumers, by carrying out a survey and use the feedback to improve your product.
  • Choose a Good Value Proposition: Your value proposition should give consumers a compelling reason to buy and differentiate you from your competition. Shape your value proposition based on your audience’s pain points and keep it simple.

The guide to advanced customer segmentation

Be Data Obsessed

growth hackers are obsessed with data and use it to supercharge their growth. Take the guesswork out of your marketing with these tips:                                                                            

  • Be Data-Driven: Establish a data-centric culture by ensuring all decisions are guided by data. Democratize your data and empower employees with the necessary skills and tools to analyze data themselves. Airbnb has a Dataportal that keeps employees data-informed.
  • Use Analytics: Invest in analytics to measure what’s working, what’s not, and what to improve. Choose key performance indicators that align with your business goals, set up automated tracking and reporting, and use advanced real-time analytics platforms to uncover hidden insights that can help you to understand your audience on a deeper level.
  • Embrace Experimentation: Growth hackers are committed to experimentation-it’s how they win. Adopt a rapid experimentation culture. Define your goals and set up analytics to measure whether you’re hitting your chosen benchmarks. Choose a small set of customers that can act as a data sample to carry out your experiments and learn to fail fast.

The Magic Of The ‘Aha! Moment’

While an aha moment sounds like something Oprah would say, for growth hackers, it describes when new users first realize your product’s value. Here are two things to know when using this hack:

  • Find Your Aha Moment: Find people who successfully use your product or service and dig deep into your analytics to identify which set of actions inspires them to continue using your product for an extended period of time. Ask your customers when the aha moment happened for them and use the feedback to supplement your data.
  • Lead to the AHA: Guide customers to your aha moment as quickly as possible. You can do this either by directing first-time visitors to the crucial point or nudging them to take a certain step. Remove all forms of frictions like sign-ups.

Adopt The Growth Hacker Mindset

Today’s marketing is about agility and experimentation. Ditch Mad Men era practices and adopt the mindset of a growth hacker. Get creative and see how you can leverage mobile, social, and location-based approaches powered by data and insights. Growth hacking doesn’t have set rules so experiment and don’t be afraid to push the limits.

The post 5 Lessons marketers can learn from Growth hackers appeared first on Post Funnel.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

Read more

NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

Read more

4 Real-Life Examples Of Last Minute Sales Funnel Launch Problems (A.K.A The Evil 5%)

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/four-sales-funnel-problems-before-launch/

Who doesn’t like a good cartoon?

I used to love them. I still do. But when I was younger, cartoons were an embarrassingly huge part of my life. 

And one of my all-time favorites was Dragon Ball Z. 

This Cartoon Network anime starred kung-fu powered humans facing off against spikey-haired aliens. And it used to get my heart racing every single day after middle school. 

What I loved (and hated) about Dragon Ball Z is what I call the “Final Form” hook. 

You see, every supervillain in the show followed the same exact pattern. 

They’d cause havoc all over the world until the hero took a stand. And then, cue the epic battle. 

There was armor tearing, muscle flexing, lots of over-the-top screaming, bruises and bloody noses and broken bones.

Finally… a crushing blow! 

It’d send the villain hurtling into a mountain and collapsing under a heap of rubble. 

But after what looked like the end of the battle and the triumph of our hero, an evil cackle would snake through from under the rubble. 

Then BAM! 

The villain explodes out of his rocky coffin and emerges a faster, stronger, and more intimidating version of his former self—his Final Form. 

Just when our hero thought he’d finally won, he had to face one more battle before claiming sweet, sweet victory. 

Now, I think everyone can relate to that feeling. You’re so close to the end and then surprise! One more bump in the road. And sometimes it’s a doozy. 

When we’re launching sales funnels here at AutoGrow, we call it The Evil 5%.

Today, we’re looking at a few real-life examples of The Evil 5% we’ve experienced, and what we’ve done to prevent it in the future. And hopefully, it’ll help you prepare for unforeseen problems and make your own launch even smoother.

So, What Is The Evil 5% Exactly?

So, what is The Evil 5% exactly? And how does it apply to building your business’ own sales funnel? 

Well, we like to think of it as that last little stretch before the finish line after already running 95% of the race (hence the “5%”).

And even though you can practically see the end and hear the cheers of the victory party, you almost always run into a mission-critical problem that stops you dead in your tracks. That’s where the “Evil” comes in.

In our experience at AutoGrow, we’ve found that The Evil 5% can be broken down into 3 main categories. 

These are the primary categories that describe the overarching problems holding us back from finally launching a successful and lead-generating sales funnel. 

And just to be clear, not all sales funnels (or even marketing efforts in general) will suffer from one of these problems. Why? Because each sales funnel is a unique snowflake of course. And we never EVER lump them together or deprive them of their own special beauty. 

But seriously, you may experience a variety of other problems that don’t fit into these categories. These are just the major 3 that we’ve come across so far. 

  • Technical — As the name suggests, this is when unforeseen technical challenges plague you right when you’re about to launch. Turns out your client’s platform doesn’t use the same coding language that you’ve been working on for weeks? Does their custom-built SaaS system not allow for the kind of tracking and lead redirection you need to tie your funnel together? Are they running on Windows 95? That’s a technical problem. 
  • “Aim” — This one comes down to missing the mark on your—or in this case, our—side. When your aim is off, you can absolutely nail every other aspect of your sales funnel: the design, the copy, even the ads. And you can be bringing in leads by the bucket full. But with bad “aim”, the leads you’re bringing in just won’t be right for your service. It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. It’s like meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife (isn’t it ironic?). And when your aim’s off without you knowing it, it can cost you some serious dough before you figure out what the real problem is. 
  • Clients — And last but certainly not least, there’s the “client” problem. Clients are great. They’re the people we’re trying to help. They’re the ones we forge very real and sometimes lasting relationships with. And they’re why we’re in business. But they can also lead to substantial hurdles that keep us from launching. Now, part of the problem is us not setting expectations or finding the right ways to communicate. But other times, it’s a matter of them not putting the work in on their end. And again, like any other problem you can ever hope to solve, the solution lies in how you handle it.

4 Real-Life Examples Of The Evil 5% In Action

Alright, now that we’ve clearly defined the 3 most common categories of The Evil 5% that we’ve seen so far, it’s time to jump into the real-life examples that we at AutoGrow have experienced firsthand. 

For each, I’ll point out which category of The Evil 5% we encountered before launch. On top of that (and this part is important), I’ll share with you what we learned from that problem and how we’ve ensured that the next time it shows its ugly face, we’ll be ready for it. 

We’re already predicting that our AutoGrow app for the On-Demand Service we’ll be offering soon is going to help us solve a lot of the problems discussed below by giving us a more complete overview of each client. 

But that being said, there are quite a few lessons we learned from The Evil 5% we ran into with our clients. And I’ll dive into each as we go along. 

Now, we love our clients. And we always do everything in our power to forge real and lasting connections with each of them. Because doing so actually helps us serve them better

But in the following examples, I’m going to change the names and a few other key details about each business to help keep things anonymous. So be forewarned: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Industries is not actually a real business. 

Diamond In The Rough Branding

Type Of Evil: AIM

This Evil 5% came from one of the worst possible problems on our end—AIM. 

For this one client from our Done-For-You service, we wrote a convincing copy. The web design we created was crisp and pleasing to the eye. And all of our funnel assets were set up to usher prospects smoothly through the sales funnel. 

However, after launching this client’s account, we found that we weren’t bringing in nearly as impressive of results as we were hoping for. 

And the problem was we weren’t attracting the right kinds of prospects. 

The result? The people who landed on our page weren’t interested in what our client was offering, no matter how good the copy and website design were. 

We were tossing out a big net into an ocean of fish trying to catch tuna. But when we reeled it in, all we got was a net full of grouper. 

After taking a closer look, we realized there were two main reasons for 

  • Our keywords were off. The way we set things up on the technical side meant that we were ranking for all sorts of keywords that had nothing to do with the client. For instance, sometimes we were bringing in visitors looking for staffing agencies, even though Diamond In The Rough was a branding agency. You can see why they weren’t interested.
  • Our copy was off. While the copy had the right personality, it wasn’t as clear as it should have been. And the clarity of the copy is a problem we’ve talked about before too. Vague wording may sound clever. But when your prospects have to think too much about what you do, it increases mental friction and makes it more likely that they’ll drop off the page. Better to be clear, direct, and simple.

The Takeaway: We’ve since refined our ad creation process and developed new ways to weed out keywords that don’t match what our clients are selling. This allows for more targeted ads that only bring in the right kind of prospects. On top of that, it ends up saving our clients on ad costs and boosts their return per dollar invested. 

We’ve also tweaked the way we create copy too. Clarity is now front and center when writing the copy. And while we still inject plenty of personality and pizzaz to keep prospects reading, it comes second to easy-to-understand writing.

Picture Perfect, Inc.

Type Of Evil: CLIENT + TECHNICAL

This one was a mix of both client-side problems as well as technical problems. As we started getting closer and closer to the final launch date for Picture Perfect, Inc., we were right on time with all of our funnel assets. 

Landing pages (copy and design) were finalized, the lead magnet was looking irresistibly clickable, and ads were ready to go. We were set! 

But not long before the official launch, Picture Perfect reached out to tell us about a few organizational changes on their end. They were bringing in a changeup of executive-level leadership. And as a result, they needed to put everything we had worked so hard to create on a full pause. 

About 6 weeks later, Picture Perfect was ready to begin again, but restarting came with its own challenges. 

  • We had to reacquaint ourselves with the new leadership contacts. And they had to be reintroduced to our services too. In a way, then, we had to sell AutoGrow to Picture Perfect all over again.  
  • New leadership came with new protocols. As a result, we had to re-convince them to give us access to their servers and show them why this step was a necessary part of launching their funnel. 
  • Their goals had changed over the past 6 weeks. Rather than going with our original target market, they felt that the funnel should be segmented to 3 different niche markets. And that meant reworking the copy, design, and underlying structure of the funnel. 

The Takeaway: As we’ve seen, client-side problems are often the hardest to fix. Our main takeaway from this client was that it’s best to clearly set expectations from the outset. And getting buy-in from key decision-makers can prevent having to continually re-sell your service should organizational changes arise. 

On top of that, launching quickly can help bring in results early on. And that means happier clients that won’t need to be sold on why your service works. Because the numbers already speak volumes. 

It’s why we’ve tweaked our Done-For-You service to focus on leads first so our clients can start seeing results right away. 

Happy Homes Real Estate

Type Of Evil: CLIENT

So there we are: we’ve made it through the entire process of creating the funnel. And everything (everything!) is ready for launch. The only missing piece—a thumbs up from the client. 

The problem—they didn’t show up for the final walkthrough. 

Now, life is messy. We know that. And things pop up at the last second that demand your attention. It’s understandable. 

And that’s exactly what happened with Happy Homes. So once we didn’t hear from them after the final walkthrough, we reached out to reschedule a few days later. 

Their response… crickets. 

When we did hear back, they had already missed two scheduled final walkthroughs. And what made this all so frustrating was that this was literally the last step before launching. 

We did end up launching (albeit a week late). But even still, this delay may have cost them leads and money. 

The Takeaway: We actually solved this problem through a bit of creative thinking. 

Instead of risking another missed final walkthrough, our lead funnel strategists actually filmed a short 20-min video and sent it to the client. 

They covered all the same points that were planned for the walkthrough and still got all the same quality assurance benefits (checking correct linking paths, looking for small design or copy inconsistencies, etc.). 

And this way, the client could go through the funnel walkthrough on their own schedule

It turned out to be a fantastic solution that everyone benefited from in the end. 

Digital Artists Unlimited

Type Of Evil: TECHNICAL

Digital Artists Unlimited is a SaaS (software as a service) business. This, of course, can be an awesome and lucrative model (as our interview with Tranual’s founder Chris Ronzio showed). But it also means that their product is custom-coded and integrate into their own website. 

And with Digital Artists Unlimited, that caused some serious technical difficulties on our end when it came to presenting prospects with a special offer.

For instance, one of their main pain points was their prospects would love all the free content they put out. They’d engage and consume that content at a fantastic rate. But very few would ever take the next step and become actual paying customers. 

So our solution was to help sweeten the pot with a special offer. 

Originally we wanted to offer prospects a free trial for the service with a credit card required. This would help turn prospects who were only ever consuming free content into actual paying customers. 

However, they already had it built into their site that prospects could go through a free trial without needing a credit card. 

And switching things over would have meant that they would actually have to re-code how their app functioned.

The Takeaway: Instead of asking the client to put in an enormous amount of work on their end (after all, that’s the opposite of the point of our Done-For-You service), we tried to work around their system. 

Rather than focusing on adjusting the free trial built into their site, we instead offered a $100 discount for any prospects that quickly upgraded to a paid version instead of going through the entire 14-day free trial. 

This gave leads a direct incentive for signing on immediately instead of just consuming the free content and moving on. 

We also learned that it’s in our best interest to set technical specifications we need at the outset. For instance, communicating with the client beforehand about whether or not they could actually implement the changes we were planning could have saved us a lot of trouble down the line. 

Conclusion

The Evil 5% can be a beast—especially when you’re on the verge of breaking out the champagne to celebrate another well-made lead-generating sales funnel you wouldn’t be ashamed to write home about. 

But as with almost any other problem in life, the Evil 5% can’t stand a good ol’ dose of foresight, strategery, and planning. 

The more you can anticipate the twists and curveballs of a business initiative, the better you can prepare for them. And with any luck, the better you can prevent them entirely. 

So I hope that these real-life examples will help you pick out potential soft spots in your own personal business sales funnels. They’ve certainly helped us tighten up our processes and implement new changes to safeguard against them. 

Because no matter where you’re at in your business, there’s always always room to improve. And the best indicators for improvement are, of course, falling flat on your face. We’ve certainly learned from them. Have you? 

What is your dreaded Evil 5% in your business? What kinds of unexpected problems have taken your legs out from under you on the 5-yard line? And what are the invaluable lessons you’ve walked away with, leaving you eager only to make that final dash again?

Let us know in the comments below. 

And as always…

Keep funnelin’, stay focused,

Alex T.

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