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Our Business & Marketing Predictions for a Post Pandemic Era

0518 Our Business & Marketing Predictions for a Post Pandemic Era
18May

Oh to have had a crystal ball in January, right? What changes would you have made to your business structure? While hindsight is 20/20, the current climate during the pandemic has made many things extremely difficult to predict.

When will business operations go back to normal?

When will things fully open up again?

Is this all going to last much longer?

While these questions might be a little too unpredictable for someone like me, who does not have a medical background to fully understand all these things, I have seen so many things happen over the past few months, during the pandemic, that have really opened my eyes.

And you have too. And I’m not talking about the around-the-clock news footage, either.

You have seen entire companies go completely to a work-from-home model in a matter of days.

You have seen time fly by at crazy speeds…even though you are not leaving your house.

You have seen your 75-year-old grandmother invite you to a Zoom call from her own account.

So with that said, let’s take a look at some of the business and marketing trends that we are seeing currently, that we predict will outlast the pandemic, and become the new normal in our post-coronavirus world!

1. Video Calls: More companies will continue to utilize video calls with a higher skill level, in order to connect with clients and potential clients. The advanced usage of these tools, as well as the quick adaptability of those who never considered themselves “tech-savvy”, is on the rise. Video provides perks that written content channels do not: body language. We foresee that having video calls will enhance customer experiences across multiple industries.

2. Working From Home: Many companies may also shift to at least some remote days for their team members (if they never have done this previously). For some companies feeling the constant financial pinch in the post-pandemic environment, this will be a cost-effective way of scaling back while not reducing quality.

3. Social Media Communication: As everyone is trying to keep in touch remotely, we foresee more companies continuing to highlight their business’s activity on social media. Companies who were not that social media savvy previously, are now learning the ropes faster and finding the value in the interaction. Many online marketing teams are creating content specialized for social media as a way to connect with their existing customers. Not to mention the opportunities social media provides for customer service.

4. Increased Recorded Video Content: Since there are no in-person conferences, in-office meetings, or networking events – people have turned to video more than ever before. The result? A predicted hot trend for 5 years finally lives up to the hype. Also, people who were afraid or reluctant (too busy, etc) to adapt video technology are now leaning into it successfully. The possibilities are endless when it comes to video: you can include it in your email marketing pieces, post it to social media, add it to your website… and more. This is why so many successful content marketing strategies have included video in their content strategy for years.

5. Increased Live Streaming Content: Another increase has been in live content being streamed. Whether it be podcasts or live video streaming, people are jumping on board. This is another case of people having extra time to look into this, and then having the necessity to learn, in order to continue to engage. This will not change. I’ve mentioned above about how some of these trends will improve customer relationships with companies – and this is another one. Seriously, your customers can comment while you’re live streaming, and you can have a conversation with them in real-time. Literally priceless.

6. Rise of Online Advertising Channel Usage: People are now, more than ever before, looking for (and requesting) other forms of online advertising aside from the typical Google or Facebook Ads. They are now adventurous enough to look into geofencing, geotargeting, IP retargeting, and more. Marketing campaigns that utilize these avenues are benefitting from hitting their marketing goals.

Now we could go on, but these are the main large predictions that we have as our “Big Trends in 2020” and beyond. As time progresses, we will add more to this list. Whether you’re the CEO, Chief Marketer, or Marketing Strategist for your company, and you are currently seeing any of these trends, let us know how you are utilizing them for your own business. If not – let us know and we can help you get started!

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It’s Time to (Re)Define Your Target Audience

0513 Time to Re Define Your Target Audience
13May

Something that has come up again and again over the 11 years we have been executing campaigns for our clients at The Go! Agency, is a fairly obvious topic: clients and their target audiences.

This extremely crucial element, while seemingly simple, is often a missing piece of the puzzle, that many business owners struggle to identify, and may sometimes appear out of reach to nail down.

The typical answer we get to the question of target (or ideal) audiences is “anyone with money.” While I agree that this may be ideal, it is not exactly what we are trying to define here. A truly defined target market can literally make or break a solid marketing and sales strategy.

So how do you figure it out? How do you shake out the information that you already have about the kind of people who do business with you, and find your target audience from there?

This is exactly where I would begin.

Current Clients

If you are a company that has been in business for a period of time, the first place that I would go to look when (re)developing a target audience would be your current client base. What commonalities do your current clients have? Pull your current client list and take a close look at the data. Whether you have three clients or three thousand, you should be able to draw some similarities among your clients and customers. Look at everything from industry, company size, order size, geographical location, the title of contact on the contract/order, and more.

Depending on the number of reports that you have, you can find more qualified data than you think. Many people want to shoot for the stars with an ideal target audience based on dream scenarios, but looking at the trends you can draw from your own clients is best. These people chose you. They have given you money. These are the type of people that you should aim for.

Also, look to see how these people found you. This is crucial information when you begin to create your marketing campaign.

Prospects/Non-Closed

You should also have access to a list of past and other non-closed customers/clients. This is another often overlooked part of the whole system of (re)defining your target audience. Take a look at the data with these as well, and see if you can find more commonalities. Perhaps many of these clients didn’t close due to price. This might lead you to develop a new target audience (or sub-target audience) that you could create a more affordable package/product for. Don’t forget to also add where these people found you as it, again, will be useful when you begin to develop your marketing strategy. Try your best to identify what this group of people have in common. Remember too, knowing who your target customer isn’t is just as important.

Competitors

Are you a new business in the launching or pre-market stage? You MUST do your market research early, to not only prove the viability of your business but also find the audience in which you should begin to invest your marketing and sales dollars. Would your customer base spend more time on a specific social network? Do your potential customers prefer reading short social media posts, or long-form blog posts? Honestly, this is a lot of work, and you may have to do a full competitor analysis in order to complete this process (including signing up for the competitors’ newsletters and secret shopping to see how they serve their audience). Ignoring your competition, especially your successful competition, is a rookie mistake.

I tell you this because I have seen many companies latch onto a successful product or service concept, but never truly have a clear idea of their target audience. The result was off-market branding, poor targeting, low sales, and lots of marketing dollars wasted.

Website Visitors

Utilizing Google Analytics you can get an idea of where people are finding you online AND what they are looking for on your website.

Another great tool is our Web Wisdom AI – which is a plugin to your website that grabs all of the visitors to your website and sends you a report on each one of them in real-time. This valuable tool has enabled some of our clients to learn more than Google will allow in terms of the target audience. For example, one of our agency’s clients was targeting the entertainment field, but with this service, they realized that all of their website traffic was coming from financial organizations. When they found this out, they pivoted their approach and developed materials that were suitable to target this newly developed audience!

Now What?

Now you should jog over to LinkedIn Sales Navigator (another highly recommended service) to do a prospect search. Take the time to fill out all of the search fields within LinkedIn Sales Navigator – this should help you really define your target audience.

Looking more for B2C? Utilize the same process by looking at the demographics for Facebook Advertising. It is another great tool to help you remember the main factors that make up a target audience.

Redefining and re-examining your target audience is vital to making informed decisions and ensuring that your sales and marketing efforts are not wasted. If you’re struggling with crafting a message that your target audience is most likely to respond to or resonate with, don’t hesitate to reach out to my team of sales and marketing professionals at The Go! Agency. Every day, we help businesses across a broad range of industries fine-tune their audiences and marketing messages.

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COVID 19: Joining the Refocusing Revolution

0511 COVID 19 Joining the Refocusing Revolution
11May

From talking to many business owners in addition to watching the news cycle, we are very aware that many businesses are struggling due to the current economic climate caused by the Coronavirus. Let’s be honest: it’s a very tough time for a lot of businesses out there.

How we are going to come through the other side of this is going to be the true testament to the strength of a business – especially many of the small businesses that are struggling to make ends meet.

What I don’t want to do here is to focus on the negative. We all know that there are many unsavory elements here, and we cannot control some of the things that are happening around us.

The one thing that we can do, is to take the extra time that this has afforded us and reinvest into our current state of affairs and funding into our futures.

I call this the Refocusing Revolution.

In order to take part in this, you need to understand where you are and then decide where you are going in a few key areas:

Customers

How are your current customers and clients faring with their OWN businesses and personal lives? Have you asked them? Have you reached out to them? Have you tried to support them?

Or have you sent numerous updates as to how YOUR company is holding up?

Think about it. Everyone is vulnerable right now, and the people that you need to keep close to you are the ones that are keeping you afloat.

Contact them, send them a personalized message, give them an extra service or freebie – something to show that you are supporting them. For example, we have been offering our database of business prospects and clients free consulting services to how they can pivot their sales and marketing efforts to keep themselves afloat.

Now look to the future. How is your target market changing? In six months, will you be marketing and selling to the same people and businesses – or will it look different? You need to be on the cutting edge of what is going on in the news cycle so that you can make the right assumptions and prepare your marketing and sales strategy accordingly.

Employees

Whether you were one of the businesses forced to let go or furlough your employees or a business that has kept everyone on, it is important to continue to invest in your company culture. Whether it is by providing bonuses (if you can), additional training, or even just good old moral support – be there for your workforce.

For example, if you did monthly meetings – keep them going on Zoom. If you had a weekly happy hour, do it remotely. You regularly did group training? Don’t stop. Your employees are the ones that are going to help you, and you are going to need to lean on one another as times progress.

Now let’s look to the future. Do you have a “back to normal” plan of action? While I know that normal is going to be a little “abnormal” for the interim, you need to make sure that you have your hiring options in place. Perhaps the employees you had to lay off will find new jobs. What do you do then?

Have job descriptions and a hiring plan in place, so that you can hit the ground running when things switch back on. There will be a flood in the marketplace at that time – so it will be useful to be organized and strike early.

Finances

Have you applied for all of the subsidies, grants, and loans offered by the government? Do you know how to stay on top of those? You need to learn quickly if you do not. This is the first place to protect your interests, but also how has your money changed, and how has your forecast changed? Updating based on a worst-case scenario will help you budget effectively as there are so many outliers at this time.

The future look on finances needs to be more focused on what you will need to do to supercharge your business back to the same level as before this pandemic hit. Look at your first quarter 2020 numbers (or maybe an average of 4th quarter 2019 and 1st quarter 2020) to get a feel for what you need. You can always operate at a lower percentage – but knowing the numbers will help you make smarter assumptions and decisions.

Revolutionize Your Business

Remember all of those great ideas that you have been shoving into folders marked “future ideas” and the like? It is time to dust those off and plug yourself into them. As you probably have some extra time available, lean into streamlining your business, cutting financial corners on unnecessary subscriptions, finding new tools to market and sell your business through automation, website redesigns, starting that blog, and more.

Now is the time to propel your business to the next level. Looking at the main factors above will help you get on your way. Take this time to reinvest in what is important, and supercharge your own sweat equity by building a realistic and solid business model for post-pandemic activity.

As I mentioned above, we’re offering a free one-hour consultation with no obligations. We just want to help businesses (whether they sell goods or services) to successfully refocus their marketing and sales strategies in a way that best allows them to regain momentum and remain successful. Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to my team at The Go! Agency.

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Geofencing: Finding Where to Draw Your Map

Geofencing Finding Where to Draw Your Map
6May

Anytime that I talk about geofencing, people get extremely excited. What better way to target and grow my audience! But then as we go through the steps, many elements of this amazing online advertising opportunity can get lost in the shuffle. In short – how would you like to draw a line or ‘fence’ around your competitor’s waiting room, then deliver targeted ads to anyone who enters that area with a discounted invitation to come and visit your business? Think of the possibilities here!

As we have seen, many people don’t take advantage of this great online advertising tool – therefore, the team has urged me to write a blog that is basically a “Geofencing 101” to help everyone out there who could benefit from this geographic fencing tool understand exactly how it can explode their business for pennies on the dollar.

Geofencing, a location-based marketing technology, is opening up a world of opportunities for strategic marketers and small business owners alike. Geofencing gives your business the ability to target people who have visited a specific geographic area, not just a zip code (that’s geotargeting).

You can put your geofence anywhere: stores, events, conferences, competitor locations, and of course: YOUR BUSINESS.

Geofencing can help companies increase awareness of their companies to new and existing customers. It can also help drive traffic to websites, and foot traffic to their physical locations. It also works for both products or services with or without brick and mortar locations. All types of companies have a unique opportunity to reach potential customers if they can get into their target audience’s thought processes.

When we’re working through options for geofencing campaigns for our clients, we start with a list similar to this:

  • What other products does your target audience buy?
  • What stores could you foresee selling products in?
  • What stores does your target audience shop in?
  • Who are your direct competitors?
  • Who are your indirect competitors?
  • What types of activities does your target audience do?
  • How far would your target audience drive to visit your location?

Let’s explore some examples together. First, we’ll start with location-based companies.

One way brick and mortar stores can use geofencing to their advantage is to retarget people who have already visited their store. This is a great way for businesses to stay top-of-mind!

1. Senior Living Communities.

We’d recommend setting fences around all of your local competitors. Home health agencies could be another option, as they would become a referral source for you. Adult daycare centers would be another option we’d look into for the same reason.

By fencing your competitors, you would not only be capturing everyone who currently lives in those competing communities, but also everyone who is visiting and taking tours. Isn’t that powerful?

2. Dental Practices.

Since we know dental insurance plays a factor in who a patient chooses to see, we’d suggest taking your targeting one step further by only including dental offices who accept the same types of insurance as you.

3. Yoga Studios or Fitness Studios/Gyms.

First, we’d suggest fencing other local yoga studios, pilates studios, or fitness centers. Next, we’d also think about where your target audience might buy health and fitness supplements and vitamins nearby.

4. Nutrition Products.

We’d recommend targeting places where your product could be sold, such as nutrition centers and vitamin stores, but also expand this to gyms and fitness centers. Your marketing campaign may also benefit from targeting fitness expo events, marathons/race weekends, fitness competitions, etc.

5. Athletic Wear.

We’d recommend targeting places such as fitness and dance studios and gyms. We’d also suggest stores where your (or similar) products are sold. Another tactic would be to use fences during fitness expos and competitions.

6. Hair Care Products.

You could target beauty schools and major hair salons. This would be for both using your products in their locations, as well as presenting a re-selling opportunity. The thought process we have for this one is: if a consumer is paying to go to a nice beauty salon to get their hair done, they might enjoy recreating that beauty salon experience in their own home with your products.

To generate results in an online advertising campaign, you need someone to measure the results on a regular basis and make adjustments to the campaign. If you’re noticing one adset tanking, or one adset generating tons of results, change something! Turn off weak-performing ads!

So, does geofencing seem like it could help you hit your goal, or be a great addition to your marketing plan? Yes? Great! If you have any questions about geofencing and how it can help your company hit your marketing goals, reach out to our team of Go! Agents.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Marketing with Testimonials

7 Ways to Improve Your Marketing with Testimonials
4May
As a business professional, the concept and value of testimonials should not be something new. For many years we have seen them on everything from billboards and magazine advertisements to packaging and television commercials.

But when it comes to incorporating these valuable little nuggets into an online marketing strategy they seem to have slipped the mind of many business owners completely. I can count the last ten conversations that I have had with a marketing head at a company who, when talking about a redesign to their website, did not mention adding testimonials or social proof at all. Not even to a page called “Testimonials”.

So the question truly is why have these slipped from people’s minds when discussing or strategizing their digital approach? In my humble opinion, when it comes to online marketing there are so many opinions, and so many shiny new toys to choose from. I always have a tough time with this, as I think that many (not all) of the traditional marketing strategic tactics have great value when pivoted into your online strategy.

Just think of it – there is nothing more engaging than a third-party endorsement of your products or your services to help you drive online conversions. This inherent thumbs-up not only shows the value of your business but the results of your products and services. That is a whole bunch of return on investment (ROI) without a dollar spent. In my world, that is marketing gold.

So…why aren’t you asking for them? Many people don’t want to be bothered or are not sure where to start. Others are afraid to see what they find. No matter what your reason for not using them, as marketers it is important to overcome these as the power that you can find in these for your business will pay dividends.

In terms of testimonial generation – you can go the traditional route of simply asking your previous or current clients via an email survey or request. Many online shops will make the request as part of your checkout procedure. At The Go! Agency we even offer a service that requests first party and third party reviews on your behalf…and then automatically post them to your website to drive conversion.

So as you can see, there are many ways to generate valuable testimonials. Now – let’s talk about how you can incorporate these great third-party endorsements into your online strategy:
  1. Social Proof Pop-Up: you may have seen these before on websites you have visited. These will show up in the bottom corner of the home page, on your website (and any other page you wish), and then cycle through all of the recent reviews of the company and its products and services. You can also have these click directly through to a full testimonial page, or through to a special offer page where you see even MORE testimonials.
  2. Website Testimonial Page: this is the traditional way of showcasing your positive reviews of products and services. Some people like a mixture of a testimonial plugin (as they will add new reviews automatically) in addition to cutting and pasting them onto the page. This is a great place to showcase your older testimonials or ones that you have received outside a review service or via a third-party website (like Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc).
  3. Add to Email Signature: have a wonderful review that is succinct and to the point? Add it as a line on your email signature for all to see. Extra credit if you change it monthly to keep it fresh. You could hyperlink it to the testimonial page of your website to drive traffic as well!
  4. Email Marketing: make sure to feature a new review in your email marketing. If you are doing a newsletter, have a “What They Say About Us” type featured section to pop the testimonials in, or you can even use it as a conversion statement to entice people to order your product or reach out for more information.
  5. Social Proof: aside from the Social Proof Pop Up I mentioned earlier, you are also able to add your testimonials to your posts on your social media channels. If you feel comfortable and it is relevant – tag the person or company who gave the positive review. Post these in real-time for some on the spot positive social impact.
  6. Online Advertising: the wonderful world of television and print have been doing this for years, so why not add your testimonials to your online advertisements?
  7. Video Testimonials: your online audience probably engages more with video than anything else. Get a filmed testimonial and add it everywhere you can. Also – throw some ad dollars behind it to spread the word!
As you can see, these are just a few ways you can incorporate your glowing customer testimonials into your marketing strategy as a way to appeal to your potential customers and increase conversion rates.

If you’re interested in generating more online reviews to showcase on your website, social media, and industry review sites – reach out to The Go! Agency! Every day, our agents help companies gain valuable reviews through our Online Reputation Management & Review Generation Service. Or, if you need help executing a marketing strategy that showcases all of your positive testimonials – we can do that too.
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7 Rules For B2B Lead Generation Success

7 Rules For B2B Lead Generation Success
29Apr

I was recently speaking to a prospect on a phone consultation and I was trying to get to the bottom of what their problem was. When I’m on calls like this, honestly this is my favorite part. I’m trying to see what they might not be seeing which could be hindering their success.

This company was a Business to Business (B2B) service company who was desperate to make sales. So far, this tracks right?

So I wanted to dive deeper.

“How many leads are you generating and fielding in a month?”

Silence.

“How much does the average client net you once they come on?”

Uhh… more silence.

The person was beginning to get a little defensive at this point – and I wanted to make them feel more at ease. The truth is, that I have been on hundreds (or more) of calls with business owners, marketers, sales managers, and everyone in between, and this call was not unlike its predecessors.

The issue was that they were missing some of the basic rules of B2B marketing.

I’ve said this before recently, and I will say it again, I never look down on people not having the correct data to track and execute marketing strategies. I read the marketing and sales press, I see the number of gurus popping up every two seconds with a new funnel that is the magic answer to your nagging ROI problem. And you know what, I think that a lot of those magic solutions DO work. The systems are well-built and the strategies are sound.

So what’s the issue?

You need to follow these rules for B2B Lead Generation first, before you start making major moves with these “perfect sales systems.”

Rule #1: Know Thy Audience.
If you do not know who you are trying to target, you will never be able to target them. Write down a DETAILED demographic makeup of your target audience. Then look at your customer/client records. Your sales to the target audience that you defined better be reflected in at least 80% of those sales. If they are not? Back to the drawing board.

Rule #2: Know Thy Decision Maker.
If you have ever had to cold call or execute a multichannel (or multilevel) marketing campaign, it will come as no surprise to you that there are a lot of time wasters out there. People that tell you they love your service, your product is the best, or that you are really changing the way they think would love to work with you! But guess what? They don’t have the pull to make the decision. They don’t control the money. They just wasted a lot of time and (emotional) energy by taking you no closer to the end game. Knowing your decision-makers titles will help you narrow your opportunities and reduce the time of your sales cycle.

Rule #3: Know Thy Price Point.
It is important to understand how much your target decision-maker is willing to pay for your service AND what monetary benefit it will bring them. Not sure how to find it? Figure it out. Ask your peers, do secret shopping, just flat out ask them on the call. Price is everything to many, so if you are not aware of how to present your value proposition with conviction that lands, bye-bye lead.

Rule #4: Know Thy Services Inside and Out.
When you are doing a sale (technical or more straight-forward), understand your services/products AND target decision-maker enough to be able to develop a custom solution that will delight and excite. Creating excitement with a lead, as well as offering something that makes them feel special is beyond perfect.

Rule #5: One Shall Not Bark Up the Wrong Tree.
Target audiences are made to be edited. Just because you only did business with one audience for 10 years does not mean you should continue for the next 10 years. Businesses and corporate roles are changing – and you need to be malleable. Have you ever looked at who is visiting your website? Probably not. This is exactly why my team at The Go! Agency developed a tool call Web Wisdom AI – which identifies every visitor to your website and sends you a detailed report. Based on data like that, you could see that your top industries could be something you never considered.

Rule #6: It Is Not All About You.
Ask questions. Be sociable. Listen. Just because you got this call (or are on this call) doesn’t mean that it can’t end soon or go downhill fast. People do business with people they like. Truth.

Rule #7: Thou Shalt Want to Prospect.
Nothing will kill a B2B salesperson or process more than one who is sitting at their desk, waiting by the computer or phone for a “hot lead” to be delivered. In fast-growing companies, intelligent prospecting has been proven to be a major growth stimulant, taking business through a tough time while competitors that rest on their laurels become stagnant. Get off your butt and get to action. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool here!

I’ve seen so many clients break these rules, and hurt their sales numbers in the process, which is why I wanted to share my rules with you. That being said, if you want to learn about which companies are visiting your website or if you want help executing outreach to your target audience on Linkedin, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my team of sales and marketing professionals at The Go! Agency. We’re happy to help!

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How to Attract More Visitors to Your Website

How to Attract More Visitors to Your Website
28Apr

Two of the things that I am constantly asked during prospective client calls is how to create more conversions on their company website, and how to retarget the visitors who are currently visiting their website. Both of these are definitely doable things…but what happens when you find out that you don’t have enough traffic to create a meaningful result? You work on increasing that traffic!

In this article, I am going to share some tips on how to drive more traffic to your website (and keep them engaged). But, what I first think we need to talk about is the actual traffic you’re getting to your website today.

Do you know how many daily and monthly visitors you have?

Do you know where your traffic is being generated from?

Do you know what pages people are visiting and the time they spend on each page?

Do you know your current bounce rate?

Finding and tracking the answers to these questions is the first thing that you need to do before you try to execute any inbound marketing strategy. Why? Without this first step, how are you going to know how to effect change and drive success, if you are not sure how your website is performing?

Google Analytics (a free website tracking tool) will have all of these details for you – so make sure that you have this installed into your website, and you are reviewing the data often. Creating an inbound marketing campaign without having any idea as to how much traffic your site is even getting is not putting your best foot forward.

After you take a look through your website data, it is now time to start building those inbound visitors. Here are some of the best ways to drive traffic and start building the power of your website today:

Consistently Blog: having a blog posted on your website and regularly linking to each article from outside your website is a powerful tool to drive meaningful traffic. If you’re stuck on what blog you should write next, think about the questions you hear from your clients (or potential clients) and work backward. Make your blog a resource for them to utilize!

Social Media Marketing: utilize your website content when developing your social media posts and try to get out links to your website in nearly every post (where it is meaningful). You can include links to your blogs, specific service or product pages, and share fun facts about your team or company while linking back to your website.

Email Marketing: create a regular email marketing strategy that is developed to drive traffic to your website and stay on top of these! A consistent approach will drive consistent traffic. One thing you may consider is purchasing an email list to send your blasts or offers to. These emails would link to your website, and provide you a way of gaining new eyes on your site.

Choose a Landing Page That Converts: don’t just send traffic to the main homepage of your website, send new visitors to specific pages that you feel will convert them into a lead. Figure out some enticing incentives that your target audience would enjoy. Hide these incentives behind forms to capture their information for outreach at a later date. Having lots of incentives on your website is one way to establish yourself as a thought leader and increase your credibility. Not to mention – these incentives are great things to advertise across your other marketing channels.

Online Advertising: paid advertising is a great way to drive traffic. You can try Google Pay-Per-Click, Geo-Targeting, Geo-Fencing, and even social media advertising to get new visitors that may have never heard about your business to visit you online.

Link Building: a little bit more on the lengthy end of things, getting your posts shared on popular blogs and websites as guest posts (with those all-important links back to your website) will help you gain more traffic with little to no cost.

These are just a few of the quick ideas that you can incorporate to drive traffic. But a few last pieces of advice. Keep in mind the following if you are driving people to your website:

Advice #1: Make sure that your website is free of errors. Make sure that there are no typos. Make sure that the links/buttons work on your website. If you’ve written the content for the site yourself, take the time to copy the paragraphs on your site and run them through a spell checker and grammar checker. If a potential customer is comparing your site to a competitor – and yours has typos, and theirs doesn’t – I hate to tell you they’re probably not going to work with you. The same thing goes for broken links: go page by page through your website to make sure that the links you’re including work! (And do this often, as platforms change, updates are made, links that work one day, may end up broken the next).

Advice #2: Make sure that your website is responsive on mobile devices. There is absolutely nothing worse than a site that’s not responsive on a mobile device – it’s 2020 you must ensure that this is happening on your site. Read your blog; try clicking on your links. Remind yourself that this is how the majority of people will be viewing your site. If it’s tricky to navigate you need to get with a web designer pronto.

Advice #3: Take an audit to see how long it takes for your website to load – if it’s too long, your visitors will bounce. As a society, people have less and less patience these days. If someone has found you through social media, or Google, and have clicked on a link to your website, statistics say that they’re not going to wait very long for your site to load.

Making a good first impression is definitely one of the most valuable pieces when it comes to conversion, so if you want to drive traffic to your online point of sale – make sure it is conversion ready!

Should you need any help reviewing your site, or if you realize you need an entire web design overall, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team of talented sales and marketing professionals at The Go! Agency.

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What is the ROI of Online Advertising?

What is the ROI of Online Advertising_
13Apr

This is a subject that I cover on a nearly daily basis with prospective clients, consulting clients, and even sometimes our current clients at The Go! Agency: what is the ROI of online advertising?

Usually, when I hear questioning of the value of online advertising, I have an exact idea as to why it is coming up: ROI has not been proven.

Online advertising can be the one marketing activity that you execute online that you CAN track and provide ROI data. In fact – the whole process thrives on data. If your tracking methods are in place, not only will it be easy to prove the worth of your online advertising campaign, but you can also provide an equation that will allow you to scale it and change focus, as needed, to enhance results.

To help you understand the elements that go into this equation, I want to explain each of the key areas you need to consider prior to executing an online advertising campaign. This is due to the fact that these components will help you track, report, measure, and decide on campaign, audience and, most importantly, budget.

1. Google Analytics

By far the most powerful thing that you will need to track the ROI of online advertising will be Google Analytics. This is a tool, installed to your website, that measures all of your website traffic, tells you where they came from, what visitors are viewing, and will help track sales conversion. Many companies believe that this tool is only useful if you are doing a specific SEO (search engine optimization) or Google Ads (PPC or pay-per-click) campaign. This is incorrect.

The holy grail of online marketing is to organically show up on the first page of Google search results for your keywords…which means that you get on the first page of Google without having to pay for it. So Google is an important tool for tracking the importance and effectiveness of your campaign.

This free tool is easy for your website designer to install and begins tracking immediately. Note: it does not track retrospectively….so install it ASAP to begin tracking.

Want to use something easier with a friendlier interface? Go for it – but install Google Analytics anyway. Like I said above, you can’t recreate the traffic, so have it running in the background in case you change your mind.

2. Your Online Sales Figures

Whether you are using a shopping cart service like Shopify or WooCommerce, or another plugin to a WordPress site that your designer has touted as the next best thing since sliced bread – you need to have a realistic view of your sales.

Many times, since online sales can be automated (for product-focused companies), your team may not be paying close attention to where the sales are actually coming from. Many will rely on the customer choosing the right “Where Did You Hear About Us” option from a multiple-choice dropdown. This is not always the best place to hang your hat, more data is needed.

You need to know how many sales of what product you are receiving and at what rate. You need to see (using data gathered from your website or shopping cart analytics) as to where these people are coming from. How many people are using your coupon codes, and what are they? Did you know that nearly 100% of clients think that their sales are coming from a different channel than they actually are?

So why do you need to have all of this information? So that when you begin to jump into online advertising you know where to focus first. You can look at your sales trends, look at your popular traffic sources, and then “throw gasoline on them” as they say.

I’ve had clients tell us that Facebook Ads were not working for them. But after a bit of digging into their sales figures, we saw that we got nearly a 500% (yes, that much) return on their ad investment. But they told us $0. Obviously, a client would not be motivated to lie in this case so it was obvious, they just did not fully understand their sales figures. Talk about leaving money on the table.

3. Tracking Pixels

When I am on a sales call with a prospect, retargeting is a request that I hear again and again. In order to properly retarget you need to know two things: how many people go to your website (is it enough to warrant a retargeting campaign) and where are they mostly coming from (acquisition).

If you have a low number of website visitors, retargeting is going to be challenging unless you have a strong traffic-driving marketing focus that will get people to your website. Once people are there, THEN they can be retargeted to, but not before. Second, when I mentioned where they are coming from – sometimes this is a good indicator of where you can start your traffic driving focus.

So now that you know, what do you do? Each site or advertising service that you use will most likely have a corresponding tracking pixel that you can install into your website that will not only help you capture the audience that is visiting your website, but also will help you retarget this traffic via online advertising campaigns.

Tracking pixels look complicated but are straightforward. As a rule, what I always suggest is listing the main marketing channels that you would like to utilize to drive traffic to your website (maybe Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) and get the associated tracking pixels installed onto your website.

If you are looking to generate new traffic outside of the trappings of social, you may also choose to do a Geo-Targeting, Geo-Fencing, or even IP Retargeting campaign. All of these can be tracked via Pixels too.

Above are my three key areas to focus on prior to executing your online advertising campaign. Depending on how you categorize ROI, you will need to find the way that works best for you to track it. Is your ROI based on the number of email addresses you will obtain? Then you need to know the numbers in your email database or email marketing program.

Is your ROI based on the number of form completions requesting a consultation or quote? It is crucial that you understand the level of inquiries your website is currently generating and how you will track this on a daily basis.

This goes back to the question: what is the actual ROI of online advertising? The answer is simple: it is up for you to define as a business. The issue: you need to know how you are going to track it prior to launching it. If you do not have a clear measurement strategy at hand, you will never truly know what is becoming of your investment and how you can maximize it.

Not tracking online advertising ROI adequately can result in overspending and a campaign that never reaches its full potential.

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Crisis Communications 101: How to Let Your Customers Know and Keep Them Informed

Does your team know how to best communicate for your business during a public relations crisis? Creating a crisis communication plan is the key to success.
18Mar

In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, the team and I have been increasingly approached by many of our friends, clients, and business associates as to how to best communicate how they are dealing with the situation. So, in other words, crisis public relations or crisis PR.

What you may be surprised to hear is that there are still countless numbers of companies who are still taking their time to put together their official statement!

In situations like this, swift, informative action is an absolute must – no matter how light or severe the situation actually is. But why don’t people act fast?

The reason is, quite frankly, because they are in the middle of a crisis, and in times of crisis it is challenging to pull together your team, thoughts, and create a solid plan of action when the environment you are working within could be compromised, high stress, or in a state of panic.

If this has happened to you (or if it has not), I have some solid tips for how to deal with crisis communications in order to inform your customers, clients, as well as the community that surrounds them. These tips will help you manage your reputation, avoid costly PR crises, and enable you to respond quickly when a potential crisis occurs.

Tip 1: Circle Your Wagons Immediately

When a negative situation arises that needs immediate attention, call a crisis meeting immediately. If you are able to have this meeting pre-crisis that is ideal. The goal of this meeting is to go over the full story of what is going on and what the phases of the communications should be.

The key players who will be in charge of delivering this message must be in attendance (you can pull people in through video conferencing if you need to). In this meeting you will discuss:

  • The full situation and the factual state of affairs
  • What key elements need to be addressed first
  • Who will be delivering the messages
  • How will they be distributed
  • What is the internal messaging strategy
  • What is the external messaging strategy

Having these pieces of information immediately will help you divide and conquer the messaging strategy and keeping everything as consistent as possible when the crisis hits.

Tip 2: It’s Not About You, It’s About Me

When you are deciding what key elements need to be addressed publicly first, take a step back and consider the standpoint of the people you will be distributing the messages to. Even though the situation may be dangerous or dire, you want to ensure your clients, shareholders, and community that your organization is on top of everything and will ensure that the situation will be handled swiftly and with great care and attention.

Businesses sometimes will go into defense mode in their crisis communication strategies, but this is the wrong approach. Take accountability and reveal actionable steps to rectify the situation to ensure business continuity.

Tip 3: Get Your Story Straight

Whether you have 20 locations or just one virtual location, having everyone on the same page is an absolute must. In order to do this, you will have to make sure that you draft a message that covers all of the questions and concerns that your clients, shareholders, and the community will have.

In crisis situations, it is imperative that you communicate with your internal team FIRST. Empower them to have all of the details that they may be called on to share in the event of being questioned by anyone, including the media. Empower them also to have all of the pertinent details, and have a person they can refer questions out of their realm of expertise to.

If you have a large company, an internal email with a followup by each fo the department heads with their teams is a must. If you have a small company, direct communication is important. Never simply send a canned statement without having any followup. By having solid communication lines open you will create a united front that will benefit your public image and put peoples’ minds to rest.

Tip 4: Start Spreading the News

You should always know all of your main communication channels that you can shoot a message out electronically in order to do a blanketing of the messaging to your audience. Even better? Know how to access them!

Some of the main deterrents for sending out messages I have heard in the past from clients is: I can’t find the login details, I don’t know if we use that account, do we have an account on Facebook, etc. Yes, these are real responses.

So maybe create a crisis response list, including login details, so that if you need to move fast anyone can step up to the plate and get the message out there. Here are some of the most important channels that you should consider:

  • Email: send out a blast addressing the matter to your email lists
  • Press Release: distribute an electronic press release utilizing your preferred service
  • Website: post your statement on your website somewhere prominent (as a pop-up or as a spot on your homepage)
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram): create statements that are specifically designed for each social channel and make sure that you have the full coverage needed

Internally you can also create posters or flyers to keep clients and staff updated on the process.

Tip 5: Keep the Communication Coming

Just because you sent out your initial crisis communication, doesn’t mean that you are done. Any serious situation that may cause concern or scrutiny of your practices needs to have additional communications as new developments occur. If the situation gets more serious – draft a message that reflects that. If the situation gets better – communicate that through another communication.

The level of how many of these that you would want to be sending out is really determined by the seriousness of the crisis event and the intensity of your audience in terms of how they are scrutinizing your every move. Just know that one communication never cuts it with an engaged audience.

There are still more elements and tips that can be added to this list:

  • Creating FAQs about the situation for staff to reference
  • Video communications or a live statement
  • Press conference
  • Reaching out to local media

In times of crisis, the biggest takeaway here is that swift action is the best action. The longer you leave items unaddressed, the more serious the repercussions will be. Bouncing back from backlash for some businesses can be impossible, so focusing on a proactive approach is the way forward.

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Successful Professional Social Distancing: The Five Point Work from Home Answer to COVID-19

Successful Professional Social Distancing: The Five Point Work from Home Answer to COVID-19
17Mar

With the Coronavirus pandemic reaching new heights, social distancing is something that is being suggested to contain the spread of the disease. If this is being suggested now, it could become one of the new norms for the months ahead. What this means for businesses is that employee travel into the office may be something of the past very soon. But if you have never worked from home, how can you successfully comply professionally with the social distancing due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) without hurting your work output?

At The Go! Agency our employees are on a rotating schedule which allows them to work remotely on a regular basis. It is a great way to motivate as well as mix things up to keep our approach fresh and the flow of ideas consistent. This usually happens after 3 months of work, and when we switch an employee to an in-office and remote schedule, we empower our employees and set them up for success.

Over the past 10 years we have seen what works and what doesn’t and see many of the same pitfalls hit again and again. So, in the times of social distancing, Coronavirus, and working from your home office, my team urged me to share the 5 Point System that we use internally in order for you to be successful in your remote work from your home office for the days and weeks ahead.

Point #1. Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

Take a look around your office and desk. What items do you use every day? What items do you never need? This can be everything from obvious items (computer, keyboard, mouse, reference files) to items you may forget (mousepad, back support pillow, stress ball, books you refer to).

To ensure you are able to jump right in, make sure that your home office has all of the comforts of your actual office.

Also, don’t forget the basics: pads, pencils, pens, post-it-notes, or any other normal office supplies that you may not have access to at home. Finally – don’t forget those physical client files (or important files) that you may need. Anything that is important and not available digitally should be taken with you.

Point #2. Make Sure You Have the Right Setting

Now we need to move over to your home office. In the best-case scenario you will have a room that you can dedicate to your office preferably with a door. This is important if you need privacy (odds are that you won’t be the only one at home with social distancing hitting schools and many workplaces at once). This will help you keep distractions at bay and enable you to have phone and video calls (which will probably increase during this time) uninterrupted.

You may also want to get a sign or a symbol to put on the closed door when on an important call so that your family or housemates don’t barge in. While your home office doesn’t need to be dedicated to a full room (if you are trapped for space), make sure that you are somewhere that keeps you out of the main traffic flow and keeps distractions at a minimum.

What I always tell my staff is that you should NEVER work on the couch, sitting with a laptop resting on your thighs. You should create a work environment that mirrors your current one. If you are sitting at a desk, make sure that you have a desk and chair friendly environment at home.

This will help you easily stay focused. Key words of wisdom: working from bed or couch (both places your mind associates with rest) and you will struggle to stay focused.

Point #3. Make Sure You Have the Right Access

As The Go! Agency is a marketing and sales agency, we need to have login access to hundreds of different accounts and services. My guess is that you probably do as well. What you may not think about when you are scrambling to prepare is that like many professionals, you may have saved your passwords (to Google Chrome or the browser you are using) so that when you go to a particular site, you are already logged in. This will not be the case at home.

Also, for some sites (especially Google or social media related services) if you are logging in from a different location (which they pick up using your IP address) you may get locked out of your account as a security precaution. So before you work from home officially for an extended period, try logging into all of the sites that you use from home to make sure you have the ability – and if you can’t log in, troubleshoot them from the office as soon as you can.

I also like to have a printed list of passwords as well, just in case. If you do decide to do this – make sure that you are truly careful with this precious info! And don’t forget your wi-fi! You need to ensure that you have the right bandwidth to handle your daily tasks.

Point #4. Make Sure You Limit Distractions

Are you watching Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ at work? Listening to music on blast? Then don’t do it at home when you are social distancing. Again, try to mimic the environment that you have at the office. Do you have a good view of the pool?

Sounds like a serene place to set your desk…if your family is not playing in the pool and making a ruckus. Do you work with your dog on your lap at the office?

Then don’t do it at home to start off. This is where really sticking to a solid routine comes in.

Point #5. Make Sure You Are Working From Work, Not On Your Home

When you are in the office you have a very specific routine, right? You get in, power on your computer, go make yourself a cup of coffee, chat with employees about a project, and strategize. So when working from home during this time of social distancing, you should not start your day by having a conference call while making your breakfast and folding laundry.

Do not alter your routine too much, and keep to your normal schedule. The beauty here is that you will have extra time in the morning, evening, and your lunch hour.

This is where you can be productive and start executing work-life balance. Grab a workout. Clean up the kitchen. Play with your pet. Just make sure that you are still clocking in and clocking out when you are puttering around the house.

Distractions to routine can really hurt your effectiveness at the task at hand and sometimes make your work hours a bit skewed.

By following this 5 point system, as well as having a talk with your loved ones to create boundaries, you will be able to mirror your office success at home so that you can continue to get your work done while practicing social distancing. If you have any questions about anything above or would like more tips, please reach out. During this sensitive time, we all need to help one another not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity.

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