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Help! My marketing campaign isn’t working…

After 12 years in the business, I’ve pretty much heard it all from clients. The good, the bad, and the ugly. In this month’s post I wanted to address some of the negatives associated with digital marketing campaigns, in the hope of setting realistic expectations for success.

One of the issues I’ve heard is that “my marketing campaign isn’t working”. That usually means different things to a client than it does to a marketing agency. When a client says that his campaign isn’t working, he’s usually referring to ROI. Either he’s losing money, or more likely he’s not earning as much money as he’d hoped or expected.

What we control (sort of) and what is easy to track… Traffic and leads. To be clear, there is a big difference between “I’m not getting any leads or traffic” (that’s a big problem) and “I’m not getting enough business out of this” (also a problem, but easier to fix). To an extent, a marketing agency has some control over how much traffic their clients receive. Yes budget reigns supreme, but the quality of the ad content, the bid strategy, the relevance of the keywords, and several other factors are very important to the number of overall website visits and leads that a client receives. Fortunately, we can track the number of clicks, impressions, phone calls and website inquiries our clients receive, as well as where their keywords rank, so determining how much traffic and how many leads they are receiving is pretty easy. What we have no control over, and what is not easy to track…

ROI. Once someone sees your ad, the agency’s ability to convert that search query into a paying client ends. We can do everything right, but we can’t force people to do business with you. Though unlikely, it’s possible that you could receive a ton of targeted traffic, even a bunch of phone calls and leads, and still not get a single sale from it. How? Perhaps your price points are too high relative to your competitors (this is common, and something we always watch out for with our clients). Perhaps your current promotions are a lot less attractive than what others are doing (again something we watch for on a regular basis). Or perhaps you’re not answering your phone when it rings (you’d be surprised how often this happens, especially with small business clients). Whatever the cause, they all contribute to a less than desired ROI. I find that setting realistic expectations at account inception with regard to time frame, traffic and lead levels, and ROI figures, solves a lot of these problems.

So what are those realistic expectations?

With a PPC or Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaign, we usually tell clients that they can expect traffic, and likely phone calls and leads, pretty quickly. With SEO campaigns, we usually tell clients that they should see ranking gains in the first 2 months, but that it will likely take 3-6 months before they start receiving traffic and leads out of it. Notice what is missing? ROI and sales/revenue figures. There is simply no way for us to know when those will come, as many of the factors that go into ROI and sales are out of our control. For that reason, we don’t even offer a guess. The take-away. There are no guarantees in advertising, but if you pick the right agency and you keep your expectations grounded in reality, chances are you’ll be very pleased with the results.

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Welcome to the new DanMatt Media website!

It has been said that all things in life must and do change. It’s been 10 great years since we last introduced a new website, and now we’re ready for that change.

Welcome to our new website (www.danmattmedia.com), which better reflects our updated suite of services and marketing channels. We think you’ll find the new site informative, easy to navigate, and fun to peruse. We’ve included a lot of great information, such as our campaign methodologies and our company history, to better educate our visitors on what we do and how we do it.

And when it’s time for your business to get started with a cutting-edge PPC, SEO, or Social Media marketing campaign, you’ll know just how to reach us. Thanks for visiting, and we look forward to working with you soon!

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Inbound vs Outbound marketing. Which is right for you?

These days I field a lot of questions about inbound vs outbound marketing, and which one is the “best” way to attract new customers. Let’s start with a simple definition of both.

Inbound marketing involves creating content to draw potential customers to your website, where they can read about the products and services that you offer (and hopefully buy from you). It’s “passive” in the sense that you are not bombarding people with solicitations, which are usually unwanted. Examples of inbound marketing include Google Ads and SEO (after all, someone has to search for your relevant keywords before they see your ad or listing appear in the search engines), blogging, and certain aspects of social media marketing.

On the other hand, outbound marketing involves sending out your message to potential customers, whether they want it or not. It’s “active” in the sense that you are reaching out to them, typically without their consent. Examples of outbound marketing include email blasts, cold calling, buying leads (usually worthless leads) and contacting them, trade shows, and certain aspects of social media marketing.

In truth, both can be effective ways of driving new business, though these days you’ll often hear that outbound marketing is old-school and less likely to succeed. To be fair, I do not think cold calling works one bit in 2019 (who wants to take a cold call anymore?), and my opinion of trade shows isn’t much better. Email marketing is effective if you are sending your messages to active customers, but it’s largely ineffective if you’re sending the emails to “cold” prospects who have never heard of you. However, paid Facebook and Instagram Ads can be very effective, and they almost always fall under the outbound marketing umbrella.

By contrast, inbound marketing is now almost universally hailed as a more effective means of getting your business in front of interested parties. And I would agree with that assessment. Pay Per Click (PPC) and SEO have the HUGE advantage of connecting your business with potential customers at the moment they are searching for the products and services that you offer. Guest blogging and organic social media marketing offer similar abilities to connect with people who are interested in your company’s offerings. So which channel is right for you?

Here at DanMatt Media, we very much believe in diversification of your marketing dollars. We do not advocate putting all your proverbial eggs in one basket, but in this case that means diversifying within the inbound marketing channel. Running properly designed and executed SEO and PPC campaigns, perhaps with an organic and a paid social media marketing component, is a great way to attract new customers who actually want to hear from you. When you’re ready to do that, we can help. Give us a call at 877-924-1543 to find out how easy and economical it is to get started.

And let someone else make those annoying cold calls.

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Difficult to see the future is…

One of the most difficult things for any business owner or strategist to do is to forecast the future. Case in point: even Jedi master Yoda couldn’t forsee the Sith threat in the Star Wars prequels.

When DanMatt Media was founded way back in 1994, the only service we offered was yellow pages advertising. Search engines and social media weren’t really around back then, and the yellow pages were in full-force and in high demand as an advertising channel. We knew that we had to expand our suite of services to continue to stay relevant as an advertising agency, and so we began the uphill battle of creating and establishing ourselves as a leader in digital marketing.

Though the yellow pages are still used (predominantly in the middle portion of the country) their usage has declined significantly in the last two decades. As a result, these days our growth is predicated not upon the yellow pages, but rather on digital marketing channels such as PPC (Google Pay Per Click), SEO (Google organic search), and SMM (Social Media Marketing). But while those channels aren’t likely to disappear at any time in the near future, history tells us that they cannot be counted on as a viable form of revenue forever.

That’s why we’re currently hard at work researching and identifying the next revenue stream for our company, while we still have viable and in-demand marketing channels to offer our clients. Identifying the next channel that your company can hitch its wagon to requires foresight, hard work, and a lot of luck. Let’s hope we have more success predicting the future than master Yoda did.

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Running a Pay Per Click campaign on a shoestring budget

We offer many different types of marketing solutions here at DanMatt Media, but without a doubt one of our most important channels is Pay Per Click (PPC). It’s one of the the only digital solutions that provides immediate results to clients. They can expect phone calls and leads right away, and most other marketing channels cannot make that claim. But Google has very much become a pay-to-play operation, and while organic search (SEO) remains a cost-effective and important channel, the coveted spots at the top of page 1 still belong to the paid search side of things. If you want new business right away, you go with PPC.

Pay Per Click marketing is an especially attractive option for service-based companies. Lawyers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, dentists, and others excel with this type of digital solution, as searchers actively use Google to find their businesses. As such, there is a tremendous amount of traffic and potential new business that is available via paid search. But as the popularity of Pay Per Click has risen, so have the click prices. And that presents a very big challenge for many of our clients.

Let’s face it, even successful and somewhat larger businesses do not have unlimited marketing budgets. There is always a limit to the amount of money that a company is willing to invest in any one marketing channel. For clients in the legal and roofing professions, prices for the most competitive keywords can easily top $100 per click. Even a 5-figure monthly budget can quickly be consumed with click prices at these levels. So what to do?

You need to mitigate these high click prices by creating a robust bid and keyword strategy that takes advantage of a mix of highly-desirable (and expensive) keywords and somewhat less competitive (and cheaper) keywords. You need to create an ad schedule that maximizes traffic at the most important hours and days of the week and forgoes the less important hours and days of the week. And you need to formulate a comprehensive negative keyword strategy to block invalid searches so that your precious marketing budget isn’t eaten-up by searches that will never turn into paying customers. If this sounds too labor-intensive and out of your league, it probably is. But this is precisely why you hire an experienced agency to manage it for you.

If you’re looking for placement at the very top of page 1 of Google, and the immediate leads and phone calls that it provides, you should give our Pay Per Click solution a try. You’ll be happy you did.

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Negotiating 101

I don’t consider myself to be a great salesperson. There are some things I do well in the sales world, and some I do not. But one of the things I do very well is negotiate.

Over the years I have literally negotiated hundreds of things. Big purchases like houses, cars, and mortgage rates, and little things like cable bills and satellite radio fees. On the business side of things, I’ve negotiated salaries (my own as well as other people’s) and pricing for our services (quite often in fact). And I’ve negotiated a ton of great deals for clients. I’ve been around the block and I’ve gotten pretty darn good at it. I get asked by friends and family quite often how I do it, so I thought I’d dedicate this month’s blog post to spelling it out.

With that said, here are my rules for negotiating…

Rule 1: It never hurts to ask…

You’d be surprised how often people don’t negotiate simply because they’ve afraid to ask for something. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone says “no” to your request. Big deal. My wife and kids tell me “no” 100 times a day. Get over it and ask already.

Rule 2: Leave your entitlement at the door…

While it never hurts to ask, you aren’t entitled to a discount on something just because you want it. People get petulant when they don’t get what they want. Stop doing that. It’s nothing personal.

Rule 3: Everyone has to get something out of it…

I’ve seen this problem manifest itself at plenty of car dealerships. A person wants to buy a car, but expects the dealership to lose money on the purchase (and then gets pissed when they refuse to do so). In order for a compromise to be reached, everyone has to win, and everyone has to lose. By that I mean that all parties must get something and give something up in return. Do your research ahead of time so that you know what you want, and what is fair. Keep that in mind when you’re negotiating a deal.

Rule 4: Be prepared to walk away…

If you aren’t willing to walk away from a deal, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll get the best bang for your buck. Whether that’s a house, a car, or a new job, have in mind what you want at a minimum, and if you can’t get it, then be prepared to walk.

Rule 5: Be nice…

Patrick Swayze’s advice in the movie Roadhouse was good. “Be nice”. The best negotiations are not adversarial. You don’t have to be someone’s best friend, but being arrogant, miserable and rude to someone is hardly the best way to reach a compromise. Be firm but polite. Again, don’t take it personally.

Negotiating, whether for personal or business reasons, isn’t all that hard. You have to be willing to ask for what you want. Be polite but firm. Do your research ahead of time and try to find a common ground that leaves both sides walking away feeling good about the deal. Do that, and you’ll get what you want more often than not.

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Here is why we don’t buy “leads” (and you shouldn’t either)…

If you own a business, you’ve no doubt come across plenty of unsolicited emails asking if you’re interested in buying “leads”. I put leads into quotations here because they are not really leads (at least not in the way that we define leads), and they’re almost never a good idea for your business.

Typically, these emails come from an individual (rather than a corporation), usually with a personal Gmail or Yahoo address. That’s a red flag right off the bat. They usually claim that these are “hot leads” or that they represent companies that are dying to do business with you. Don’t believe it.

Most of the time, these are simply lists of companies, sometimes with an individual’s name and contact number, and sometimes without, that these people pulled off a simple Google or LinkedIn search. They’ve never heard of your company and they have never reached out to the provider of these leads begging (or even asking) for the services you offer. And more often than not, this provider is selling these “leads” to more than one company at a time, which means you’re not even the only one who has access to this list. You’re competing against someone else (or a lot of other companies) for the same business you just paid good money to contact. It’s a sham.

Think about it. If these “leads” that were that hot or that valuable, why would this provider be willing to sell them to you for a very inexpensive price (we see something like $10 to $20 per “lead” offered quite often). If these companies were indeed looking to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on your services, don’t you think they’d be worth more than $10? And if the provider actually spent the time and effort required to cultivate these “leads” you’d think he or she would need to sell them for more than $10 to recoup that time and effort.

By now it should be clear that this is a scam, and that you should avoid it at all costs. So how should a business owner go about recruiting new customers? Well, the most cost-effective option is to mine your professional network on a regular basis and recruit new business that way. It’s free and you already have an “in”. But many business owners have neither the time nor the vast amount of contacts needed to support their companies. That’s where targeted advertising and marketing comes into play.

Unlike buying lists of garbage “leads”, a properly targeted and executed digital marketing campaign will bring you qualified customers who are interested in the products and services that you offer. Google search (whether paid or organic) connects these interested prospects with your company at the moment they are searching for businesses just like yours. These marketing campaigns aren’t “cheap” per se, but they are cost-effective, and you get what you pay for. So the next time you’re looking for new business, stay away from the crooks peddling garbage “leads”, and turn to a real marketing company to bring you new customers.

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You can’t build your business on a house of cards…

Recently, while talking to an old friend, I was reminded of a company I know of (to protect myself from the overly litigious I won’t mention how I know of them, what my relationship was with them, or even where they were located) . This company (which is now out of business but shall remain nameless all the same) sold online traffic to clients in all types of industries. They were a performance-based marketing company, meaning their clients only paid them for the traffic they received (leads, sales, etc).

This company had many problems, from poor management to a flawed business model, and just about everything in between. But the biggest problem was that their entire operation was based on a house of cards. More to the point, what they were doing was fraudulent. Specifically, the traffic they were sending to their clients was garbage, and they knew it. The traffic was called “incentivized” because users were compensated to complete offers (such as surveys, quotes for auto insurance or credit cards, or even purchasing actual products). Once those offers were completed and the users received their rewards, they would promptly opt-out of the surveys or cancel their quotes or purchases, usually leaving the advertisers (their clients) with nothing to show for it. Eventually of course the advertisers would wise-up and cancel, occasionally sending an official cease-and-desist letter in the process. They would then have to find new clients to replace those that had left. It was a shell game. Not surprisingly, and most deservedly, the company eventually went under.

I promised myself that I would never engage in business practices like that, and that I would do everything in my power to make sure that our services were not only legitimate, but also in the best interests of our clients. I’m happy to say that at DanMatt Media both are true.

The traffic we use comes from either the world’s largest search engines (Google, and to a much lesser extent Bing) or from our vetted collection of online and offline pay-per-call publishers. None of these sources reward their users for completing offers or buying products. That vastly improves traffic quality and ROI for our clients. To be fair, not every marketing campaign we run proves successful for our customers. Some do not obtain the ROI they are looking for, and eventually cancel. But that’s not because the traffic is fraudulent. Sometimes things just don’t work out, but if the intent was honorable and the traffic is legitimate, we can always hold our heads high.

One can learn a valuable lesson by studying this unnamed company. You can’t build your business on a house of cards. There is no get-rich-quick scheme in business that works longterm. Offer your clients a valuable service, based on legit traffic, and give them the customer service they deserve, and you’ll be rewarded with a successful career. It won’t work out for everyone, but by and large it will work well for most.

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Why you need diversification in your marketing plan…

Diversification. It’s something we all hear about from our financial advisors and nutritionists. Turns out, you need it for your company’s marketing plan as well.

Here at DanMatt Media we have a lot of clients. Big ones and small ones. Local ones and national ones. But one thing that many of them share in common is a lack of diversification in their approach to marketing.

We offer all kinds of solutions to help grow your business. Pay Per Click, SEO, Social Media, Print, Direct Mail, Radio, and TV advertising, to name a few. And though we always harp on our clients to use as many of these channels as possible, many of them choose to only focus on one of them in order to save on costs.

The problem with that approach is that you’re leaving too many sales on the table. You’re not reaching enough people to actively and aggressively promote your products or services. It’s like choosing to only eat grilled chicken for every single meal. Sure, it’s healthy, but you’re missing out on the valuable nutrients you’d receive with a balanced diet. The same is true in marketing. You might be doing really well on Google organic (via your SEO campaign) but you’re missing out on the paid search traffic (Pay Per Click) and the social media traffic, and that’s costing you a lot of new customers and the subsequent growth in revenue.

I know what you’re thinking. “Sure, I’d love to use all of these channels, but my budget doesn’t allow for it”. We get that, and it’s a reality we face with almost all of our clients. But that’s precisely why you hire an expert marketing team like us, so that we can do the research for you and apply our decades of experience to advise you on which channels make the most sense for your company, all while staying within your budget constraints. Typically, that will involve all or some combination of at least SEO, Pay Per Click, and social media marketing.

When you’re ready to get started with your diversified marketing approach in 2019, give us a call or send us a website inquiry. We’re here to help you grow!

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It’s Thanksgiving. Time to be thankful!

I don’t believe there is any greater feeling in the world than gratitude. After all, if you’re grateful and thankful for something, you can’t help but have warm feelings about it. In that vein, it’s time for my annual list of what I’m thankful for. Hopefully, you have some or all of these things in your life too…

Health: My wife is healthy (very healthy now that she’s on her healthy eating plan). I’m reasonably healthy (though I could certainly drop 20 pounds). My kids are healthy. Even my fish are healthy. It’s true that without your health you have nothing.

Business: I’m thankful for my job. I’m thankful for my clients (the big ones and the small ones). Without them, I wouldn’t have a job and no one would be able to read this incredible blog post. And I’m thankful for my co-workers, who not only put up with me, but take great care of our clients as well.

Golf: Even though my golf skills have seriously diminished of late (see last month’s blog post) I’m very thankful for this greatest of games. Golf gets me outdoors, burns calories, and gives me some much needed diversion from work and parenting. If you’re not yet a golfer, I urge you to take up the game.

Perspective: Unfortunately my wife and I have lost family members and friends in the last few years, all of them too early. Their deaths have given me a greater perspective on life. It’s short, precious, and shouldn’t be wasted worrying about things that don’t really matter. I try to remind myself of this when I lose a client or my kids have a tantrum. Easier said than done, but I’m working on it.

Tomorrow: If you’re healthy, there is always tomorrow. Tomorrow brings the promise of new opportunities, new experiences, more snuggles with my kids, and maybe one more round of golf in the 60s (this is the first year I haven’t broken 70, even once, sigh…).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!