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WSI Measurement

Tim Stauning - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

More Dunks and Fewer Air Balls: The Importance of Marketing Measurement

basketballLegendary Princeton University basketball coach Pete Carril once said the following about one of his players:

“He has the shooting range. What he doesn’t have is the making range.”

Every business owner on the face of the earth is capable of marketing their company. But if you don’t make enough of your shots and market your business effectively, you won’t stay in the game for very long.

Some people think the best approach is to keep shooting and shooting. Eventually, enough shots will go in. That may be true, but this approach is as risky as it is inefficient.

The only way to find out if you’re making enough shots and getting the most from every marketing dollar is to measure and manage the results of your campaigns. By analyzing data, you can find out what’s working – and working well – so you can make better decisions, improve the customer experience, and maximize ROI.

The great thing about digital marketing is that virtually anything can be measured with web analytics. Unfortunately, most business owners don’t know how to take full advantage of analytics tools.

For example, most people have heard of Google Analytics. However, we’ve learned that very few business owners know how to use it. They don’t know what metrics are relevant. They don’t know how to adjust the settings to track and present anything beyond the most generic data such as visitors, traffic sources and page views.

That’s okay. We do.

As WSI Internet Consultants, we use the Digital Marketing Measurement Model, which provides business context for every marketing tactic and everything you measure.

The first step is to identify the type of website you have and establish business objectives that are achievable and easy to understand. For example, is it an ecommerce site built to get customers to buy online? Is it a lead generation site built to get visitors to submit contact information so you can convert them into customers?

The next step is to identify goals to meet your business objectives. While the objectives are strategic and high-level, the goals are specific things that need to be done to realize those objectives.

When setting goals, we focus on the three core components of analytics:

  • Acquisition, which involves anything associated with generating website traffic
  • Behavior you expect from visitors when they arrive at your website
  • Outcomes that deliver value to your company’s bottom line

To make your goals measurable, we then have to establish key performance indicators, or KPIs. KPIs will tell you which metrics should be used to measure each of your goals and how your campaigns are doing. Good KPIs must be relevant, timely, simple and instantly useful. Examples of KPIs include conversion rate, days or visits to purchase, loyalty (how often a visitor returns to your site), and time (how long it takes a visitor to return).

Once we have KPIs established, we need to segment the data. Most analytics tools will show you aggregate or average data. However, there’s no such thing as an average visitor. Visitor behavior can vary quite a bit based on a number of factors, which is why aggregate data can be misleading. We segment data into specific groups so it’s easier to understand and take action. We also determine which segments to focus on for each KPI so you can meet your objectives.

Finally, you need to establish targets – the numbers that indicate success or failure. It does no good to look at numbers if you don’t know what those numbers mean. Remember, the value in web analytics isn’t in the numbers. It’s in the insight gained from those numbers.

The beauty of the Digital Marketing Measurement Model is that it shows you how every part of your marketing strategy is relevant to your business, and how each step is connected to the steps before it.

Does this sound a little overwhelming? It certainly can be. That’s why it’s important to follow a proven process that can be customized for your business. If you’d like to learn more about how WSI can measure your digital marketing to maximize results, call 609-750-0505 or email tim@drivenbywsi.com.

How to Identify Your Unique Value Proposition

Tim Stauning - Friday, August 7, 2015

keyMost small-to-midsize business owners know their business inside and out. They know their products inside and out. They know how to help their customers get the most from their products, and they can fix any problems that may arise.

But when it comes to explaining what they do, and the value of what they do, many of these business owners struggle. When it comes to identifying who their target audience is, they struggle. When it comes to explaining why someone should do business with them instead of another company, they struggle.

In many cases, the answers we here are inconsistent. Three salespeople say three different things. The messaging on the website doesn’t exactly align with the messaging on the brochure.

This often happens because the business hasn’t identified and documented its unique value proposition, a critical component of any marketing strategy. Instead, they take a piecemeal approach to marketing and messaging, which leads to inefficiency, inconsistency and lack of clarity.

A value proposition, in the simplest of terms, is a promise of value that your company is capable of delivering. It explains why someone in a very specific target audience should buy from or do business with you and not a competitor.

A value proposition is an internal document that serves as a point of reference, launching pad and idea generator for your marketing strategy. It can also be used to establish business partnerships and entice investors.

A value proposition isn’t a slogan. It’s a simple statement that conveys the value of what you do, followed by a paragraph or two of information that supports your value statement. To identify your value proposition, follow these four steps.

1) Identify your Buyer’s Persona

Get beyond basic demographics and take a hard look at who your customers are, not who you think they are or wish they were. What do they do for a living? What is their family situation? What brings them joy? What keeps them up at night? When you identify your target audience, you can more easily determine what influences their purchasing decisions.

2) Identify the Most Common Customer Challenges

What problems do they have that your company is capable of solving? What pain point is your company capable of relieving? As you answer these questions, make sure these problems and pain points actually exist, and that they’re worth someone’s time to seek out a solution. Many businesses spin their wheels because they claim to be able to fix a problem that their target audience doesn’t think is a big deal.

3) Identify your Solutions and Process for Overcoming these Challenges

These are your key points of differentiation – the ingredients in your secret sauce that separates you from competitors. Align each customer challenge with the most relevant solution and explain that solution. Explain how you overcome these challenges so everyone on your team, and all of your marketing initiatives, work from the same playbook. Explain why your solutions and process are the best or most desirable.

4) Identify the Results or Outcomes that you Deliver

Ultimately, people don’t pay for the pleasure of using your product or doing business with your company. They pay for the results you deliver. What results will someone experience after they use your product? How will their lives be better? Each result or outcome should align with a specific customer challenge and one of your company’s solutions. When you take the time to develop and document your company’s unique value proposition, you’ll have a valuable tool that serves as the foundation of all future marketing initiatives and messaging. This will provide the clarity, consistency and cohesion that customer and prospects demand – and most small-to-midsize businesses lack.

Having Trouble Navigating the Choppy Waters of Digital Marketing?

Tim Stauning - Monday, June 29, 2015

websiteThe internet is equal parts opportunity and confusion. Our primary goal with this blog is to remove as much of the confusion as possible so you can take full advantage of the opportunity. I’m Tim Stauning. My wife, Karen, and I have spent more than 30 years in marketing, advertising and business strategy, gradually shifting our focus from traditional media to online platforms. We’reWSI digital marketing consultants.

What exactly does that mean?
Well, WSI isboth an acronym and a company. WSI stands for “We Simplify the Internet.”We’ve had a lot of conversations with business owners in the Princeton area and across Central and South Jersey, and wrapping one’s head around digital marketing continues to be a common struggle.

Everyone knows they can make money through digital marketing, but very few understand the internet and how to use online tools to grow a business. We want to use this blog to change that.

WSI the company is a worldwide network of marketers with offices in more than 80 countries. WSI has strategic partnerships with industry heavyweights like Google, Microsoft, Constant Contact and HubSpot.

As local WSI digital marketing consultants, we have direct access to a wealth of resources and expertise that we bring directly to local businesses.In an age of faceless communication, we actually come to your place of business, meet with you face-to-face, learn about your business and goals, and work with you to develop the best possible digital marketing strategy.

One great thing about our partnership with WSI is that if you’re dealing with a specific problem, there’s an excellent chance that a WSI professional has already helped another business address a similar problem. We can increase ROI and minimize risk by using that knowledge to make smarter marketing decisions. Having access to WSI’s global resources also enables us to market more efficiently and intelligently rather than simply looking for ways to cut costs. There’s a big difference. Efficiency improves how you do business. Cost cutting is typically a reaction to bad business.

How We Make Digital Marketing Work
We use the WSI Lifecycle, a six-step methodology that helps us better understand business processes and goals, develop and manage a customized digital marketing strategy, and measure the results. Our solutions integrate four key areas: Site, Search, Social and Mobile.

Site.It may seem shocking, but only about half of all small businesses have a website, according to SCORE. Many websites don’t deliver a strong user experience, and even fewer use analytics to measure activity and improve ROI. We make sure your website is a valuable marketing tool, not an afterthought.

Search. SEO, SEM and PPC. Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird. Search marketing strategies and algorithm updates are enough to make your head spin. We help you understand how to use search to drive more traffic and close more sales.

Social. Social media success requires more than creating a business page and collecting likes, fans and followers. We use the “social” in social media to engage customers, cultivate stronger relationships, and build long-term customer loyalty.

Mobile. The world has gone mobile. It’s time for local businesses to catch up. We help you integrate and optimize site, search and social marketing efforts for mobile devices and audiences.

Information, Not Sales Pitches

We know you receive endless phone calls, emails and social media messages from people who are trying to sell some kind of advertising or marketing. They claim to have the solutions to all of your problems before they even know what your problems are.

You’ll never see a sales pitch in this blog. We plan to share our own experiences, WSI resources, and client success stories so you can apply some of this information to your own marketing strategies.

We hope this initial blog post gives you an idea of who we are, what we do, the value of what we do, and how we do it. We invite you to subscribe to our blog and share any posts that you find interesting and helpful. Thank you for reading – you’ll be hearing more from us soon.

An Introductory Guide to the Language of Search Marketing

Tim Stauning - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Did you realize search engines have been around for 25 years?

The first search engine was Archie (“archive” without the “v”), which launched in 1990 as an index of directory listings. More modern search engines came years later with AltaVista and Yahoo (1994), Google (1996) and Ask Jeeves (1997), which evolved into Ask.com – minus the butler.

As people’s appetites for information have become increasingly insatiable, an organization’s ability to be easily found on search engines and provide solutions to people’s problems has become a business necessity.

Most of the people we speak with understand this fact. They use search engines all the time. But they don’t know how to use search to grow their business.

Understanding search marketing begins with understanding the basic language of search. Here is a list of foundational terms every business owner and marketer should know before diving into the vast search marketing pool.

  • Search Engine. A search engine is a program that uses sophisticated algorithms to locate and index information across the internet based on a user’s search criteria. Although most people associate the term with services like Google (where most search marketing occurs), most websites also have search engines to help visitors find specific information within that website.
  • Keyword. A keyword is a word or phrase that search users enter into a search engine to find a product, service or information. The search engine then lists the most relevant results based on that keyword.
  • Long Tail Keyword. This is a longer, more specific version of a keyword. For example, “painter” or “house painter” could be a keyword, while a long tail keyword could be “interior house painter in Mercer County, NJ.”
  • SERP. A Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is what appears when someone submits a query in a search engine. It includes the most relevant results as well as ads that target search terms used in that particular query.
  • SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the use of a number of tactics to improve a company’s organic search ranking in order to increase or maintain website traffic. This will help you rank higher on all search engines without paying for advertising.
  • SEM. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves purchasing ads on a search engine to increase visibility and generate business leads on a website.
  • Landing Page. Technically, a landing page is the page a person “lands” on after clicking a link. In the world of search marketing, a landing page is built and designed to get a visitor to take a specific action (fill out a form, subscribe to a blog, download an eBook, make a purchase, etc.). Every SEM campaign should have a customized landing page.
  • PPC. Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising pricing model that requires an advertiser to pay a certain amount of money each time an ad is clicked, rather than paying based on how many times people are exposed to the ad.
  • CPC. Cost-per-click is exactly that – how much an advertiser pays when someone clicks on an ad. For example, if an ad with a CPC of $2 is clicked 50 times, the cost is $100.

According to April 2015 data from comScore, Google owns nearly two thirds (64.5 percent) of the search market, making it the most popular search engine by far, followed by Microsoft’s Bing (19.8 percent) and Yahoo (12.8 percent). Here are Google-related terms that you should know before launching a search campaign.

  • Google AdWords. Google’s paid advertising system that allows advertisers to use a CPC pricing model to place clickable ads in search results when potential customers search for certain keywords. These ads can appear on different parts of the SERP, including the top, bottom, or beside search results.
  • Google Analytics. This website statistics service from Google helps you analyze visitor traffic, better understand website visitors and their needs, measure conversions and sales, and test different strategies. These insights help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing and your website.
  • Google Trends. Based on Google search results during a specific time period, this service shows a search term’s popularity in different parts of the world in nearly real-time. It can also estimate how popular the term will be. Google Trends can be helpful when choosing keywords.

Search marketing, like any marketing tactic, can be overwhelming, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of the value it can provide to your business. That’s why we’re here.

As a WSI digital marketing consultant, I specialize in helping small-to-midsize businesses remove the risk and uncertainty from marketing so they can make more informed decisions and grow their company. If you’d like to learn more about search marketing and how your company can benefit, please give me a call at 609-750-0505 or email karen@drivenbywsi.com.

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