Day One Strategy – Series Recap

For the last nine weeks we have been running the Day One Strategy blog series. Its goal was simple, to tackle one topic at a time and explain how to get started in that field, from day 1 and forward.

Like all blog series, this one has come to an end. But before we start anew with our next series, here is one last chance to relive all nine weeks and catch yourself up:

  1. Email List Building
  2. Search Engine Marketing
  3. Creating a Website
  4. Remarketing
  5. Lead Nurturing
  6. Conversion Rate Optimization
  7. Social Media
  8. Signing a Marketing Agency
  9. Hiring a Marketer

Day One Strategy – Part 9

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Signing a Marketing Agency.

Today’s Topic = Hiring a Marketer

The way you build your company matters. But there is no one-size-fits-all model. Some companies begin with a marketer as a key member of the founding team. But many do not. That’s who we want to focus on here, the companies that are out there looking to hire someone to manage their marketing.

Defining the Job

Before you start the process, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. No two marketers have the same set of skills, so it’s important that you outline your goals for this position before you start looking or interviewing. Develop a job posting that is as specific as possible, including what tools you expect the person to know, how much experience they should have with different processes, what they will be held accountable for.

A well-crafted job ad should narrow the pool of potential candidates to those who can actually do the job. And it will be used by you, the hirer, later as a measuring stick for who fits the bill.

Conducting the Search

Use all of the tools and channels at your disposal. Online job boards, LinkedIn, employee referrals, and head hunters can all help you find the right person. If this is your first marketing hire, it will be important to find the right person. You don’t want to settle for the first decent person you find. Your goal should be to find as many qualified candidates as possible before you start narrowing them down during the interview process.

When candidates apply for the position, look for a clear demonstration of skills on their resume and in their application. Weed through the cookie-cutter cover letters and find the people that are truly passionate about this position. A good candidate can prove that to you in his or her application.

Interviewing

If your candidate pool is large, start with a brief phone interview to narrow it down. With some prepared questions, you will be able to find out who knows what they’re talking about and who is not telling the truth on their resume.

Bring the best people in to meet with you in person. Use the interview to get to know the person, remembering that it is important you can work with them day in and day out. Are they passionate about the business? Are they coachable? Can they demonstrate expertise in the areas you care about? How would they respond to real-life situations they are likely to encounter if hired?

Testing

When you narrow it down to your top two or three people and still can’t make a decision, it can be a good idea to test them. Offer them a real-life scenario and give them a chance to tell you how they would handle it. This gives you a sense of their work style and creativity, and can help the very best candidate shine.

Hiring and Managing

When you do find the right person and make them an offer, be sure to do two things right away. First, make sure everyone is on the same page as far as roles and responsibilities. This way the new hire knows exactly what is expected of them. Second, set a timeline for reviewing progress. By making it clear from the start what is expected and how you will judge performance, you give the relationship the best chance to succeed in the long run.

In the end, hiring the wrong marketer is a costly mistake, so you want to handle this process with care and find the person that is going to really help you grow your business.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.

Day One Strategy – Part 8

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Social Media.

Today’s Topic = Signing a Marketing Agency

There are a number of reasons that companies hire an agency to handle some or all of their marketing – their experience, it may be easier than hiring staff, etc. But hiring a marketing agency is not as straight forward as many business owners think. That’s because you need to find the right marketing agency, as not all agencies are created equal.

Here’s how to get started.

Define Your Goals

It is important to know first why you need an agency. What are your objectives? Don’t leave that up to the agency you hire. At the end of the day you are responsible for your business, not them. When you come with pre-defined goals you will know what kind of agency you’re looking for and you will have more effective introductory conversations.

Do Your Research

Once you know why you need an agency and what you want them to do, it’s time to find them. A list on a spreadsheet will allow you to check off boxes and compare one to all the others. You want an agency with experience doing what you want them to do, preferably for clients in your industry or with similar business models. Location may be important as well, since face to face time can help, especially at the beginning of a relationship.

Use Google, ask colleagues and friends, and find out what agencies your competitors are using. There are thousands of agencies out there that do what you need. So keep looking until you are satisfied with what you’ve found.

Interview Some

After doing your research, it’s time to start the interview process. Just like you would for an internal hire, you want to use the interviews to narrow down your pool of potential partners. Remember that they will be working for you, so it’s critical they can answer your questions and explain in detail how they plan to help your business.

Follow Up with References

Just like you would with an internal hire, you want to ask for and follow up with references. These will be other clients that they have done work for in the past. Get feedback on how well they met their goals, how they handled the relationship, overall trustworthiness and response time. You want to verify that after you sign a contract, you will get the kind of attention and care you are being promised.

Do the Planning

Before you sign a contract, a good agency will help you put together some projections. When you put numbers on paper, everyone knows what they are going to be held accountable for. The agency should be able to tell you in detail how the process will work, what activities will get done along what timeline, and how soon you should expect to see results. If they won’t do this until after you sign a contract, they are not worth your time.

Stay Involved

After the deal is done, your work is not over. Like I said up top, your business is your responsibility. You have to hold the agency accountable if they veer off course or don’t live up to their promises. At the beginning of a relationship, it is important to show them that you are involved and there to make sure things go as planned.

And if they don’t, it’s time to start the process over and find a replacement.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.

Day One Strategy – Part 7

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Conversion Rate Optimization.

Today’s Topic = Social Media

The benefits of social media for companies were disputed for a long time. That’s primarily true for two reasons: 1) the platforms themselves were initially built for people, not companies and 2) companies had not yet had time to experiment and find the right way to use social media to boost their business.

Now that we can all agree that social media is essential for companies to communicate with consumers, here’s a high-level guide to getting started.

Which Platforms

First you have to choose the platforms you want to use. You don’t have to use them all. You should start with 2 or 3 that make the most sense based on where your customers are and how you want to use social media for your business. Facebook is the obvious first choice. From there you can pick from Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

Define a Purpose

What do you hope to accomplish on social media? The more specific your goals, the easier it will be to move forward. Do you want to use it primarily for customer service? To increase brand awareness? To create a customer community?

Don’t try to do everything. Companies with a specific set of goals outperform those that don’t have a clearly defined goal. The primary reason you are using social media should be clear to your customers and staff, and will guide your decision making going forward.

Account Setup

I won’t go into detail here because setting up your accounts is simple across the board, as each platform provides a step by step procedure if you just visit their sites. Be sure the keep the branding and naming consistent so that when you start using them to communicate with consumers, it’s easy to find you and know who you are.

Posting

Once your accounts are set up its time to start using them. Choose someone, or a group of people, at your company who are responsible for the social media presence. Make sure they understand the goals you’ve set and how to use each platform.

Create an editorial calendar that you will be able to stick to. The key at the beginning is consistency in the frequency, the tone and the style of posts. This will all go toward defining your brand and who you are to social media users.

Give them a reason to read and follow you. Don’t sell or be overly promotional. You want to join the conversation, or start one of your own.

Paid Opportunities

Once you have established your brand on social media and you have built a following, you can explore other opportunities that cost money, but have the ability to greatly expand your reach. All the major social platforms now come with an advertising program. You can use them to target new customers, promote deals and discounts, boost the reach of your organic posts, and more.

Read more about Facebook’s and Pinterest’s and Twitter’s here.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.

Day One Strategy – Part 6

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Lead Nurturing

Today’s Topic = Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization, commonly referred to now simply as CRO, is the process of improving the overall conversion rate of your campaigns/websites through continual testing, analysis, and updating of individual elements.

This assumes you’re already marketing your website. You have a baseline conversion rate that you want to improve. Here’s how to do that.

Technology

Google Webmaster Tools offers some good website testing capabilities. There are a number of larger – more expensive with a lot of great tools – software packages you can purchase. But if you’re just starting out, the best bang for your buck can be had by using a simple tool like Optimizely.

You sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee based on how much traffic you get. From there, you will get a piece of code to add to your site. And you’re ready to go.

Running a test is very easy. You enter the URL or URLs that your test will run on and you can design the test from inside their platform. For most tests you don’t need a developer or a designer. You can do it all yourself.

What to Test

Deciding what to test is a mix of art and science. First, you want to be aware of everything you can test. The universe of all things you can test is large. It includes every element of every page on your site, as well as any ads themselves, and outreach you do (emails, direct mail, etc.) A test might be as large as two completely different versions of a signup page, or as small as two identical versions of the signup page with the color of the submit button on one slightly darker.

You can test it all. But in order to get clean results, you want to test one thing at a time. And so making your way through a full list of tests can take time. For that reason, you want to start with the tests you expect to have the biggest, most immediate impact.

Start with the pages that get the most traffic, the elements that most people see and interact with on their way to a conversion. Identify key hurdles or obstacles that might be leading people to drop off and not turn into a customer – pages with higher than normal bounce rates, for example.

How to Test

The simplest test you can run, and the one you will likely get the most benefit from most often, is a basic A/B test. This type of test starts with the element you want to test in its current form. That becomes the “A Version”. Make the change you want to test and that becomes the “B Version”. Then you run A vs. B, sending traffic to both pages to see which one has the higher conversion rate.

Optimizely, or whatever tool you’re using, lets you set up specific actions to track. Since we care about conversion rate, you want to measure the percentage of people who go on to “convert”, whether that means a purchase, a signup, etc.

Once you have a statistically significant result, you declare the winner, updating the website to the “B Version” if that one beat your existing one, and then move on to the next test.

Multivariate tests are another form of testing you can do. For more on how they work, you can click here.

 

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.