Should I Invest In Influencers To Find New Customers?

Venta Marketing sits down with Find Your Influence to discuss all things influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is not a relatively new term in the marketing world but its popularity has resurged thanks to social media and it’s easy to see why. For years, brands have struggled to solve the promotional component of their marketing strategy and find reliable brand ambassadors who can promote their products. The result of great influencer campaigns can pack a serious punch and help you find new customers while gaining legitimate brand exposure. The technology and resources surrounding influencer marketing have drastically evolved over the past few years and it is now a legitimate marketing strategy to consider.

 

Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?

Major celebrities and public figures were the original cast of influencers for decades but social media is now giving everyday people a powerful platform and voice. Thanks to the advancements in targeting and tracking engagement levels through social media channels, influencers can help you discover new customers, untapped markets, and engage your existing customers.

 

The internet created a complete shift in the way influencers reach audiences and the engagement metrics reveal the ROI that was never measurable before. Now that an influencer’s reach and your investment is measurable through a variety of data reports, influencer marketing is worth considering if your business offers a unique brand, experience, or product. But be warned, influencer marketing can be a huge waste of resources, budget, and time so it’s important to make it the best marketing tactic you’ve ever used. Great influencer marketing campaigns come down to two things: smart decision making and collaborating with the right people.

 

How Can I Find The Right Influencer For My Business?

In the past, well-established influencers usually had an agent that implemented costly fees for using their client’s likeness, so brands are now preferring to use a more relatable, and affordable figure in their ads. Because of their fees, traditional influencers like athletes and celebrities, are now getting overlooked by brands and marketers prefer using someone with a strong social media presence, otherwise known as being “Instafamous”. An individual’s “Instafame” is based on the number of Instagram followers they have and the clever tactics used to get likes, shares, comments, and participation from their audience. Very rarely are people Instafamous for fun and legitimate influencers are entrepreneurial businessmen and women just like you, the difference is that they care about making a brands business their business.

 

Finding the right influencers at the right price can be a difficult task so it is important to be cautious about who you are associating with your business. Social media profiles and the number of followers someone has can be easily manipulated or inflated with fake audience members. Many individuals on social media choose to purchase likes or followers to make themselves appear influential and end up wasting a brand’s money. So how are you going to find legitimate influencers who can grow your business? Well to prevent you from getting duped, here are a few things to look out for when researching influencers.

 

How To Spot A Fake Influencer Checklist:

#1 Evaluate Their Engagement Levels

  • It’s easy to qualify an influencer by looking at their quantity of followers, likes, and comments, but we recommend that you take things a step further and vet their engagement levels and the quality of their audience. The numbers associated with social media metrics are important but they can only be valuable to you if they’re genuine.

 

  • Looking at engagement rates will help you determine if their audience is legitimate and full of potential customers. If you see several profiles with a strange handle (aka the profile name), a large number of followers, limited content, and even fewer likes, that’s a red flag. This usually means those followers and likes have been purchased from a shady service selling fake engagement from a bot account. Avoid using accounts with these kinds of followers because it will only waste your time and hurt your marketing budget.

 

#2 Perform A Google Search

  • Grab your Sherlock Holmes costume from last Halloween because you’re going to become a detective. We can’t go a day without entering in a search query so why not perform some research on your prospective influencers? By searching the influencers name, social media handle, and the brands they’ve worked with in the past, this can give you a great idea of who they are how they do business. You may also uncover blog posts and other forms of content that can help you decide if they’re the right fit for your business.

 

#3 Ask For References  

  • It’s not up to the influencer to determine how valuable they are to you so don’t be afraid to ask for a reference or to see their results from a past campaign. If you’re going put in the effort and associate this person with your products or services, make sure that their influence is going to work for your business. Remember, a good influencer can tell you how many followers and likes they have, but a great influencer will show you a variety of engagement levels and data points to describe how much traffic was generated from their posts to an external site.

 

With these filters, you can verify an influencer’s legitimacy before engaging in a collaboration. The campaign strategy, terms, and fees are the next things to take care of, but for now, you can be happy knowing that you’re definitely not getting ripped off.

 

I’m Struggling To Find Influencers For My Industry

If you’re struggling to locate the right influencers for your business then let us introduce you to our friends at Find Your Influence (FYI). We sat down with Samantha Ley, the Director of Client Development, to find out more about how FYI’s platform and managed services help connect brands with influencers.

 

VM: How does FYI connect brands with influencers?

SL: FYI uses our SaaS influencer marketing platform to connect notable brands with a variety of influencers. It is our goal to work with brands, pair them with the right influencers, and deliver great results. We recognize that no two digital marketing campaigns are the same so we also offer our team of expert marketers to help you manage the influencers. Our network of influencers and brands have been curated and categorized by industry experts who use more than 25 data points to evaluate the influencers and their audience. Because we have a great network of influencers, we don’t bother with bots and are solely focused on providing results.

 

VM: What can brands expect when they subscribe to the FYI platform?

SL: When you work with an influencer from the FYI network, you know that you’re getting the real deal. We work with creative thought-leaders that have a history of driving results and increasing engagement for brands. The main benefit of FYI is our platform, which was the first of its kind and we’ve been relentless in fine-tuning our technology. You will also receive the benefits of great customer service and our 500+ brands are thrilled with their results.

 

VM: How much should brands pay for an influencer?

SL:  We take a very realistic approach to influencer marketing and that means working with budgets of all sizes and influencers from across the globe. Just like any other marketing tactic, there is an investment and an extremely limited budget can stunt the potential of your campaign. We’re constantly adding a variety of influencers to our network so we always have the right people at the right price point for your brand.

 

Looking for more information about Find Your Influence? Request a demo and find your influencers today!

 

Here’s The Deal

So to answer your question, is influencer marketing worth it? When done correctly, the answer is yes and you probably have to use influencers in at least one marketing channel if you want your brand to remain relevant with potential customers. But much like the California Gold Rush of 1849, it’s attracting everyone and influencer marketing is making some business boom while others are a total bust.

The bottom line is that if brands want to mix up their marketing tactics and engage in influencer marketing, they should focus on their social media strategy with legitimate influencers. Using influencers allows your business to use an authentic voice, reach new customers, and separates your product or service from the harsh light of regular ads. The obstacles that remain in finding the right influencer or determining how much influencers should be paid will continue to be shaped by the changes in social media apps, the value of influencers, and companies like Find Your Influence.

If you’re not ready to commit to a social media agency the best way to protect yourself from dishonest social media users is to become social media savvy. Follow your competitors, follow people you meet through networking, do the research, and approach influencers with a plan. Developing a measurable goal and educating yourself will help you stay on top of your influencers and help make your social campaign is a success.

Creating Robust Buyer Personas For Your Business

The marketers guide to developing detailed and insightful personas

In the world of advertising, digital marketing practices are being redefined at a rapid rate while traditional marketing is catching up to the digital-first world. While much has changed for the way traditional advertisers think about reaching customers, the foundation of traditional is still relevant and every digital marketer can admit that they did get one thing right, inventing the customer persona.

Back in the day, personas described the average Tom and Mary, what they like, what they do, and why they would want to buy a product or service. Those persona traits still hold true but thanks to advancements in marketing and tracking, modern personas teach us much more about the customer and shine a light on their path to conversion. Let us show you how to create a persona and help you tailor your ads and website experience to their habits and preferences.

Who Are My Customers?

The first thing to know about personas is that they are fictional but rooted in research and your real-life customers. Personas will help define the most common characteristics and traits of your customers while unveiling their pain points and weaknesses. The foundation of every persona are the basic demographics like age and geographical location. You may be aware of these basic traits but it’s important to not make assumptions or overlook a major audience segment.

 

Here is the full list of basic persona demographics:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Educational level
  • Goals
  • Identifiers & Mannerisms

 

In addition to these basic traits, we recommend that your personas include more detailed characteristics. Below is a list of secondary persona traits that can make your personas more robust and detailed.

  • Needs
  • Motivations
  • Pain points
  • Decision Criteria
  • Personality Archetype  
  • Buyer’s Journey Process
  • Perceived Barriers
  • Preferred Brands & News Sources  
  • Preferred Channels
  • Preferred Technology/Device
  • Quotes

 

How Can I Learn About My Customer?

Research. Research. Research. There are several ways to perform great research and extract the important information from your past and current customers. Analyzing your social media tracking tools and running audience-specific reports through Google Analytics are valuable resources, but the best way to research this information is asking customers about their experience directly. Whether you’re distributing customer surveys, performing user testing on a website, or picking up the phone to call them, make sure your questions are in direct alignment with your business goals. Once you have collected their responses you should be able to easily determine why your customer converted, what their motivations were, and what obstacles were encountered during their path to conversion.  

If you’re a new business and do not have any customer data, surveys, or interviews then it’s time to establish tracking and analytics on your website and campaigns. Setting up tracking can be performed by your marketing team or a digital marketing agency. If you need help getting started, here’s Google’s blog post on how to set up proper tracking and analytics. In addition to setting up tracking and gathering your first batch of customer data, it’s important to observe your competitors and their marketing strategies. Analyzing your competition can help you understand what messages and promotions are worth trying and what you should avoid. Between competitor research and your own analytics, you will be able to easily find out who your customers are and who your competition is targetting.

 

The Evolution Of My Customer

Fact, your customer personas are going to evolve over time. When you start creating personas, your customer profiles will be based on basic traits, thoughts, feelings, and educated guesses. As your sales grow, you can analyze your customer’s behavioral data and learn more about how you can improve your marketing. Fine-tuning your personas on a frequent basis is the key to knowing your audience and how you should communicate with them.   

 

What Should I Do With My Customer Research?

Once you have gathered enough information about your customers it’s time to find their commonalities and organize them into specific audience segments based on their characteristics and behaviors. The best way to do this is by determining the broadest categories of your audience with a few basic demographics like age, gender, and location. While there is no limit on how specific you can get with a persona and the audience segment, it’s important to not get too carried away with the details. One persona should represent a variety of target customers instead of the specific individual and help you make more informed decisions about campaign targeting or the customer’s path to conversion on your website.

Think of it as marketing to John Smith, a 45-year-old, college educated man, who’s looking for a plumber versus marketing to “the Johns” who are college educated men, between ages 30-50, living in suburban neighborhoods, within a 20-mile radius of your plumbing business. Defining these collective audiences will make sure that you have covered the most common customer demographic sets and are marketing to enough of the right customers. Once you have defined these audience segments you can put this data to use and create a persona template for easy documentation. Don’t have the time or resources to create a custom template? Let Venta Marketing help you! 

 

TIP: Create multiple personas with different lifecycles so you can adapt the customer’s variations in purchasing while maintaining a laser focus on your ideal user.

 

Marketing To My Customers

Now that your personas are documented you can start marketing to your audience segments. Personas will allow you to examine how each group within your target audience can be most effectively reached. As customers move through the engagement funnel make sure that each persona is targeted in your campaigns or used during the user pathing stage of website design. You will need to use different channels to reach your audience and your personas will help you determine your customer’s preferred channels. Some audience segments may prefer digital advertisements while others react most strongly to radio or billboard campaigns. You can also use A/B testing in your marketing campaigns and test what performs the best across different audience segments.

Another way to drive more than one specific segment of customers through your engagement funnel is by developing specific landing pages for their needs. These landing pages will be their expressway to conversion and prevent the customer from getting lost in other pages of your website. Let your marketing personas guide you and help you identify with your audience so you can solve their problems. When you solve a persona’s problems, everyone wins, and your customers will be most likely to convert.

 

For persona development and design email us at [email protected]

How To Create An Advanced Marketing Plan

Everything you need to develop an advanced marketing plan

As a business owner, it’s important to know that marketing your business requires a massive amount of planning. The best way to implement and manage your marketing strategy is to create an adaptive marketing plan that is driven by the knowledge and enthusiasm of your employees. By establishing the appropriate business goals and involving your team, the likelihood of accomplishing those goals increases greatly. This marketing plan should be your trusted, lead generating roadmap and it will hold you accountable for marketing your business while encouraging your employees to increase their knowledge and participation in your business. The following tips and resources are an excellent way to ensure that your marketing plan is thorough and applicable to your business. 

SMART Goal Setting

If you’re new to building a marketing plan, it can seem like a daunting task and you may be unsure of where the starting point is. The first step in creating your annual marketing plan is to gather your stakeholders or employees, examine your business goals from the past year, decide if they have been accomplished, and identify your goals for the new year. These business goals can range from increasing revenue, introducing new products or services, landing that dream client that you’ve always wanted, and more. During goal setting, your team may decide that they have an idea for the strategy and tactics needed to accomplish your goals. It is extremely important to document and differentiate your goals from your tactics so you can easily define the actions required.

Some people can get carried away in the goal setting stage because it’s exciting to talk about the big picture and they’re not exactly sure how their goals will be accomplished. The best way to stay on track with goal setting is to create SMART Goals. But what makes SMART Goals so, well… smart? For starters, the name SMART refers to the process of defining your goals by a specific set of measurable criteria and objectives. This helps people separate the realistic business goals from the big-picture dreams and take action more quickly. To make your goals SMART, they should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By structuring your goals with the SMART method, you’re laying a solid foundation for your annual marketing plan and making it that much easier to accomplish.

Below are some questions to ask yourself while developing your marketing plan’s SMART Goals: 

  • SPECIFIC – What does my business need to accomplish this year? Who will help me accomplish this goal?
  • MEASURABLE  – How are we going to measure success? What metrics will we use to measure growth?
  • ATTAINABLE – Is my goal realistic? Do I have the financial resources needed to accomplish this?
  • RELEVANT – Is this goal relevant to my business model? Is it relevant to improving my customer’s experience?
  • TIMELY – Is this goal time sensitive? How long do we need to accomplish this goal? How much time should I spend on this goal per day/week/month?

 

TIP: The most defining moment in SMART Goal setting is figuring out what you’re willing to invest. Having a figure or range in mind will let you know immediately if you can accomplish that goal.

 

Understanding Your Audience 

Once your SMART Goals have been established it’s important to know who you will be marketing to. Instead of spending time and money on every marketing channel, wouldn’t it be better to spend that time and energy understanding your customer? Understanding your audience and their purchasing habits is the next step in your marketing plan and if this is not performed, you may waste valuable dollars marketing to the wrong people. The best way to define your customer is by building out personas and segmenting your audience into groups based on their specific traits and habits. Once you have a detailed document addressing their needs and desired solutions, these personas can guide you towards the right marketing channels and away from the wrong ones.

Here’s a list of common persona traits and demographics that will help you get started on your marketing plan:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Educational level
  • Goals
  • Needs
  • Pain points

 

Want to create a range of personas for your business, but don’t know where to start? Here’s our guide to developing customer personas and their traits! 

 

Select & Test Your Channels

Some sources say that you should always start with selecting one channel for your plan so you don’t spread yourself and resources too thin. While budget and resources are the main factors in channel selection, it is important to use a variety of marketing channels because they speak to your customer in different ways. Comparing the levels of targeting and campaign formats of each channel against your customer personas will help you decide which channels are worth investing in and which channels can be left off the menu.

To keep track of each channel and it’s advancements in advertising, let one person monitor the changes and have them report back to you on a frequent basis so you’re adapting with their updates. However, this doesn’t mean that your team can sit on Facebook or Twitter all day. What they should do is subscribe to podcasts, blogs, or news sources that specifically cater to marketers and business owners. Frequently sharing these insights and conversations will allow you to move with the times and avoid using outdated products and calls to action like “Checking In” on FourSquare.

Below are some of Venta’s favorite resources:

Moz blog

 If you’re seeking knowledge from industry experts, then Moz is the place for you. Moz’s blog will provide you with weekly insights and opinions that will help your employees elevate their marketing game.

 

Think With Google blog

Gather the latest data, trends, and forecasting with Think with Google. Subscribe today to view these industry-specific resources that allow your agency to be an educated advertiser on the Google Ads platform.

 

MarketingLand blog

Marketing Land will provide you with daily updates regarding all things SEO, marketing, and advertising. They make sure that you’re aware of every single change in the industry and how it will affect your customer.

 

TechCrunch blog

Craving the latest in tech and business? Then look no further than TechCrunch. With a focus on innovation in technology and business, TechCrunch’s articles will keep you in the know.

 

HubSpot blog

If you’re in business to make money then you need to subscribe to HubSpot’s blog. HubSpot’s resources on marketing automation and sales growth have helped countless businesses streamline their sales process and increase revenue.

 

TIP: Assign specific platforms and channels to your team and meet with them at least once a quarter to discuss changes in the digital marketing landscape. 

 

Study Your Results & Your Competition

Comparing and contrasting your marketing tactics against your competition is important, especially if your industry is defined by a niche service or product. Watching and learning from those in direct competition with you can show you any missed opportunities or weaknesses in their marketing strategies, allowing you to build a better marketing plan.

Venta has found that the best tool to use for competitor research is SpyFu. SpyFu allows you to enter your competitors URL and download their most profitable keywords for Paid and Organic campaigns. This powerful tool will allow you to pinpoint their mistakes, increase traffic to your website, track better keywords, and make better business decisions.

 

SpyFu-Competitor-Research

Subscribe to SpyFu and gather competitor insights and campaign data.

 

Ask For A Second Opinion & Help

Once your marketing plan is documented, review it with an informed mentor or business advisor. Present your entire strategy, explain the nuances of your marketing funnel, the tactics involved, and any data that supports your plan. Their participation will allow you to reaffirm or question your strategy and let you make revisions to it before implementing your tactics. This critical thinking will improve your marketing plan and advance your process while helping you grow as a business owner.

After consulting with a trusted business advisor, you may feel that the resources needed to accomplish your marketing goals are too advanced for you and your team. This is when you should consider using an external resource like a marketing agency because they can execute the most challenging tasks on your behalf. Agencies come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of expertise. If your customers are making decisions and converting on your website then it is important to work with an agency that specializes in digital marketing. At Venta Marketing we are available to help customers manage their marketing campaigns, solve their most complex lead generation problems, and improve their business’ overall performance. Most importantly, we help our customers develop strategic marketing plans that evolve with the ever-changing digital landscape while building trust and loyalty.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about how Venta can help you develop and execute your marketing plan, email us at [email protected] today! 

 

Building a Trustworthy Agency

Venta Marketing CEO, Max Prokell sits down with Neil Howe and Business Innovators Network

 

Key Takeaways

#1. What makes a trustworthy agency
#2. Leaving a positive impact on your client’s business
#3. Making decisions together and the importance of collaborating with clients

 

Situated in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona is a noticeably well-furnished office space where Max Prokell, the CEO and President of Venta Marketing, sits at his desk on the phone with Neil Howe, best selling author and the voice of The Authority Architect on Business Innovators Radio Network. Howe’s thick, Scottish accent booms through the computer speakers, “Welcome to the show Max!” After exchanging pleasantries and settling into the show, Prokell describes his decade-long journey through the evolving digital landscape and dishes on his agency’s shining moments of success, humble beginnings, and the mission to become the most trusted digital marketing agency.

 

It All Started With This THING Called SEO

NH: How did Venta Marketing get started?

MP: I started Venta Marketing roughly 8 years ago. I was working for a company that needed this thing called SEO and at the time, I knew nothing about Search but I was eager to learn. As I worked on the project I found a passion for digital marketing as well as growing a business through digital tactics. Eventually, I started Venta out of my guest bedroom in 2011 and learned everything about digital marketing from my own experiences. Fast forward to today, we have served hundreds of happy clients, we have 20 employees and counting, and our agency is now located in three states, Arizona, Colorado, and Missouri.

We Want To Make A Positive Impact

NH: Tell me about your clients, who do you like to work with?

MP: At Venta Marketing, we don’t specifically focus on one particular niche or industry. We certainly have identified some industries that benefit greatly from digital marketing tactics but we primarily work with small to medium-size businesses that are looking to attract new business and grow their sales. We don’t work with Fortune 500 or enterprise level clients because our services are tailored to the business owner and we want to make a significant and positive impact very quickly. That’s difficult to accomplish with very large organizations and our results-focused team always wants to deliver on our promise of great results. Our team is built from a talented group of industry experts and we have found that the most successful campaigns are supported by clients who understand the time and investment required of a great campaign.

“Building trust with our clients is vital”

Digital Marketing Is The Wild West Of Advertising

NH: What are the most frequent problems or challenges that you help your clients solve?

MP: In addition to solving our client’s business problems, we help people overcome their trust issues with agencies. Building trust with our clients is vital and this industry has very little standardization so it really is the Wild West of advertising. We come across a lot of clients who have been let down by their previous agency experience because it didn’t live up to what they thought it would be. The second most frequent problem is the lack of campaigns that specifically address the client’s business goals. First, we listen to the client, learn about their industry, use a goal-centered approach to address what they want to accomplish, and show them how our services will accomplish their objectives. A lot of agencies push the latest trend or tool on the customer and we prefer to build trust with the client through great recommendations.  

Looking At The Right Metrics For Your Campaign

NH: What are some good goals for a digital marketing campaign?

MP: Typically, the main goal is to increase revenue and grow sales. Specific metrics can range from different levels of conversion for lead generation, anything from sign-ups, form fills, downloads, or other interactions that are valuable to their sales process. There are campaigns that don’t require a direct sale and we use micro conversions to nurture the lead along. Our team is fantastic about taking action on behalf of our clients and we unpack their unique selling points so we can leverage the right tactics for their business.

NH: What is the biggest problem when driving traffic to a website?

MP: The biggest problem for our client’s is understanding the impact of every digital strategy and knowing how to measure that traffic. What is that traffic doing? Is it the right kind of traffic? These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves to make sure that we’re getting the right visitors to a website and most importantly, we help our clients understand the impact of pivoting or changing our strategy.

NH: How do you measure these factors?

MP: Our agency produces detailed reports with insights and a proactive strategy on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. Before we implement the campaign strategy, we identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and determine how we are going to measure success so our reporting is clear and easily understood. Once we have delivered that actionable reporting, we collaborate with our clients and continue to improve their results or make adjustments.

Your Website Is The Foundation Of Your SEO

NH: How do you implement an SEO campaign?  

MP: In addition to great content, link building, and proactively using new keywords to drive traffic, on page content is extremely important when delivering great results. When I say “on page factors” I’m referring to the user experience of the site and how fast or responsive it is. All of these factors play a role in how your site is ranked and we make sure that every website and SEO plan use industry best practices. At the end of the day, Google and Bing want to keep their users coming back so they are going to do everything in their power to deliver the best results possible. It’s on us to make sure that our client’s website visitors have a first-class experience so the search engines don’t drive traffic elsewhere.

NH: What makes someone stay on a website?

MP: In addition to paid and organic best practices, Venta takes empathy with the user and we think about the problems that may have while trying to convert. What are they looking for and how can we eliminate any friction during their search? By asking this question we can solve problems on their behalf while aligning the user experience design and the clients business objectives more easily.

NH: Would you recommend using video on my website or in my campaigns?

MP: Absolutely! Venta Marketing committed to producing great video and multimedia projects early on and we now have an in-house team dedicated to solving our client’s needs with creative concepts. Video is especially important when telling brand stories and we also use video in ads to attract and engage customers. But this doesn’t mean that every ad or web page needs a video. It is important to know that there are alternative and equally effective ways of converting users without video as well.   

Misconceptions About SEO & The Digital Marketing Industry

NH: Who is responsible for the SEO myths or misconceptions about digital marketing?

MP: To an extent, I believe that the industry is the main culprit of these misconceptions. Some agencies tend to preach that they have the “magic formula” for SEO and it’s simply not true. While there are best practices and talented specialists who understand the technical factors behind great SEO, this magic solution for everyone is fictitious. We make sure that the expectations of our SEO strategy are known and met so the client knows exactly what we are doing.

“Let’s Make Good Decisions Together”

NH: Does the client always know best?

MP: We work best with clients who collaborate with us and trust us to execute these campaigns or projects on their behalf. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram make it very easy to run ads and we have had clients that want to drive the campaigns themselves but get taken advantage of in the end. There is a certain level of experience that comes with effectively managing spend, optimizations, and technical campaign practices that most clients don’t have because they’re busy running their business. We like to rely on our clients to be the subject matter experts in their industry and we enjoy making good decisions together.

NH: What are some of the pitfalls that you see business owners make when trying to increase traffic?

MP: Hiring the wrong agency can quickly lead you down the wrong path. It’s important to work with someone who has your best interests in mind and I started Venta Marketing to make our clients business, our business. I also encourage business owners to avoid the quick-fix solutions like boosting a post or increasing spend too rapidly. It’s easy to become addicted to those tactics, thinking that they’re helping your business but they can hurt you in the long run. Being selective with your channels and steadily growing your strategy is much more helpful in finding a long-term solution.

NH: Care to leave us with some of that trustworthy agency wisdom?

MP: When I look back on the past 8 years of doing business, there’s always been that constant commitment to service. If I could do things over again, I would have hired Account Managers first so they could deliver great communication and customer service. Trust is essential to the client-agency partnership and I think every agency should find employees that truly care about providing great resources to the client. It’s not just about finishing the project or launching the campaign, clients are really looking for great results and service so they can buy into your agency.  

Listen to the entire interview!

Beneficial Business Twitter Accounts to Follow

Follow These Twitter Accounts To Gain a Better Understanding of the Business World

  1. Productivityist

This account focuses on how to make your life a little easier. It posts articles about keeping up with your work, honing in on the important tasks, how to stay motivated, and more. With key tips on balancing your life, it is perfect for anyone who tends to have a lot on their plate.

 

  1. The Financial Diet

The Financial Diet is exactly what it sounds like, tips on staying financially on track. It gives helpful advice about keeping your money in your pockets instead of spending it on unneeded products. The posts encourage saving which in turn, makes you a happier shopper when the time is right.

 

  1. CareerBuilder

These posts and articles are perfect for people who are in search of employment or want to climb the promotion ladder. They provide tips for a successful interview to land the job that is right for you. It shares companies who are hiring and what they are looking for in their candidates.

 

  1. Entrepreneur

This account is perfect for anyone who wants to stay more in tune with the business trends. It provides information about keeping your business afloat and how to become a successful business owner. Articles about gaining customers, increasing income, and social media marketing, are all important for anyone in the business world.

 

  1. Inc.

Inc. teaches business owners how they can stay motivated and add value in their work. It provides important strategies to have a more productive work day. They encourage self evaluation to gain more insight about what your business needs to be the most successful.

 

  1. HubSpot

HubSpot provides information to enhance your marketing tactics and create a more visible platform to the public. They have information about SEO, marketing, and social media engagement that is useful for bettering a company.

 

  1. Harvard Biz Review

HarvardBiz focuses on the important aspects in a managerial role. It hones in on the strategies of keeping happy employees that are motivated to produce positive results. It provides advice to keep employees engaged, in touch with the audience, and on track for valuable outcomes. 

 

  1. TED Talks

TED Talks gives better insight to improve your life at work and at home. It gives a glimpse at successful tactics to enhance motivation and results within your company. There are videos on just about any topic to keep updated with the business trends that can are happening within your industry.

 

  1. Bill Gates

 Bill gives great advice to keep in touch with the changing business trends. He provides book recommendations, the best apps for your success, stories about the condition of other countries, and more to keep you knowledgeable about the world we live in.

 

  1. CIO.com

CIO posts about the benefits of having soft skills to keep those important business relationships. It provides articles to encourage the best ways to think within a company to get the most out of every interaction you have.

Best Books For Entrepreneurs

Learn How to Grow Your Business With These Informative Books

Take a look at some of the best books about gaining crucial entrepreneurial skills. Creating a business from the ground up can be exhausting. Having better insight can transform your business to being one of the most successful and interesting companies.

1. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

In this book, Gary teaches the importance of creating your own brand and following the steps to make it come alive. He explains why the typical career path in a corporation may not be for everyone and that a creative, passionate, and motivated mind can transform an idea into a flourishing business.

He touches base with the use of all social media platforms and the power of using them to enhance your business. He targets how to use each platform by connecting to the right audience and encouraging them to visit your business.

He uses the knowledge of his own experience and by talking to other entrepreneurs to relay the best tactics for your business’s success. By the collaboration of other influencers, he has created a tool for your next steps in building the perfect business.

 

2. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

This motivational and thought-provoking book encourages the idea that happiness comes from the hard work you put into your job rather than “following your passion”. Cal dives deeper into how you can find what makes you fall in love with your job. He creates strategies you can follow to learn what aspects of your work you love the most and what you want to continue doing.

He meets with different people to find how they get their satisfaction from their work. He believes that passion comes from giving your complete effort into the job. It is creating a platform of hard work that turns into successful skills.

Cal explains the true meaning of being passionate about your career. This is important for entrepreneurs to understand as they venture into their crucial roles. It takes hard work, motivation, and feeling that your skills are valuable to find the true love in the work you are doing.

3. Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

This book focuses on the importance of creating a worthy company and keeping it alive. There are many factors that go into the first stages of a new business from enthusiastic employees, net income, media presence, and so on. However, Gabriel and Justin focus in on the most crucial step on maintaining and growing customers.

They focus on the best tactics to gain new customers and how to put your business’ name in the public’s eye. The authors meet with many successful business owners to get a better insight for their own business’ growth. After speaking with the owners of Wikipedia, Kayak, and Reddits, the authors include information on how to create a larger audience viewing. They focus on creating medias that are specific to key customers, enhancing email marketing to catch the viewer’s attention, and more tactics to get customers engaged.

Through the book’s 19 channels for new customer engagement, it is a beneficial read to entrepreneurs to gather more information to get customers in your store.

4. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

Seth dives into the key factors that can make your business and products stick out. The four P’s of marketing (price, product, placement, promotion) are important in determining your business’ future, but Seth explains the additional P that will make your company that much more successful.

The Purple Cow explains the purpose of making your company stand out against the rest. He encourages you to find what makes your company worth the attention. The success of your company relies on if the audience feels that it is worthy of their time.

Seth teaches the steps to get your products the most marketable and interesting. He knows the importance of making your company stand out and encourages customers to see your products.

5. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi

This book mentions the unique skills and information you can receive through the relationships you have around your business. Keith explains how to build your network to gather the resources needed to make your business a success. You have heard of the famous statement “two minds are better than one” and Keith dives deeper into why having more connections can help your business flourish.

Keith reached out to his past and present connections to gain more insight about the power of networking. He learns how each interaction can be a teaching moment for business owners. By having those relationships, it enforces the practices that have worked for previous business owners.

The business world is built on the connection map that people have created over the years. It is crucial to stay in tune with the trends you desire your business to be on. Staying connected not only enhances the skills to maintain a successful business, but also helps your name resonate with potential customers.

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Learning more about the business world and how to stay relevant is important in owning a company. The more skills and information you take in about being an entrepreneur will transfer to having more powerful strategies that will lead your company to the top. Take a deeper look into building your products and marketing plan to engage the customers for a more successful business.

My First Week as a Venta Marketing Intern

Take a Look at My First Week

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I am a senior at the University of Missouri studying Business with an emphasis in Marketing. My classes focus on marketing tools like how to research the market, design a plan, analyze competitors, and many other aspects of the business world. Even with three years of marketing classes under my belt, I know there is so much more to learn once I hit the workforce. Reading and testing about marketing is one thing, but performing the job in the real world requires more knowledge and experience than what one can learn on paper.

Last week was my first day working for Venta Marketing. I have always been very intrigued with marketing agencies and how they design different websites. It is so interesting to me that a team can create various content, each including a different voice and tone. On my first day, I jumped right into the process. My first task was to revise and edit our very own Venta Marketing website. I knew this assignment was crucial for our company. Our website is the face of what we stand for, providing a platform and example of our expertise. Our online presence is what clients use to decide if we are the perfect fit for them. Having a good first impression is very important online, as this is often the first introduction to potential clients.

I spent the week editing each page and making sure it was seamless for our upcoming launch date. I learned how to insert pictures, forms, and change layouts. I even was able to create my own written content and have it published with the launch. One of my biggest accomplishments from the first week was incorporating the Venta YouTube channel into the site and making sure it was uploaded to display each video correctly. It’s a small victory, but I am very proud of my work and that I had the ability and knowledge to embed the videos for clients to see. My team was so appreciative and encouraging. They kept telling me how impressed they were that I had the skills to add the videos.

As the year continues, I know I will gain a tremendous amount of knowledge regarding website design and creation. I am beyond excited to work with such a helpful and passionate team. Each member brings something new and exciting which creates a wonderful environment to be in. I cannot wait to see what other opportunities and tasks this internship brings so I can continue to learn and grow in my marketing abilities.

 

Weekly Roundup: Top Digital Marketing News, Tips & Tricks 11/9 –11/13

Keep Your Website Up-To-Date

Welcome to our weekly roundup of noteworthy digital marketing insights, tips and trends from last week. Staying on top of the latest digital marketing tactics can be a long and strenuous journey. It doesn’t have to be. #TeamVenta will keep you up-to-date with all the latest news and advice.

1. How To Design The Perfect Contact Page

By: Brad Shorr
How To Design The Perfect Contact Page

People generally visit a site’s contact page with the intention of contacting the business. Ineffective design can make that intent difficult to achieve or even turn the user away from contacting you in the first place. This article really hones in on the importance of a well-crafted contact page and some tips on how to make it great.

Shorr recommends various steps for improving your page, such as limiting the number of required fields in a contact form, embedding Google Maps onto the page (Good for SEO, too!), including a privacy statement, and more. Here at Venta, we like to incorporate a lot of these “Contact” tricks on various pages throughout the site. Placing contact forms in sidebars on various pages and even in the footer can help users more readily convert, and an attractive design will help make that possible.

2. Moving Your Office Without Losing Rankings: The Local Business Owner’s Guide

By: Joy Hawkins
The Local Business Owner’s Guide

For a local business, ranking well in search engines is vital for obtaining new business and attracting those customers who are already searching for your services or products. When a local business moves and changes it’s address, a lot can go wrong with how that business ranks locally in search engines.

Fortunately, Joy Hawkins has provided us with a step-by-step guide on how to make the transition smoothly, so that search engines can easily recognize the move and not penalize your local listings in search engines. Many important steps include updating your Google Business Listing, ensuring the business listing of the business occupying the space prior to you is marked “closed”, embedding the Google Map onto your website (there’s that tip again!), and more. Moving offices is natural part of a growing business, and it’s tough to avoid. Enjoy your new space, and read some of these tips without worry of falling behind in local SEO.

 

3. Four Ways Marketers Can Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

By: Tessa Wegert
Four Ways Marketers Can Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

The data is in, and according to the “2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America” report, 94 percent of B2B marketers rely on LinkedIn as part of their content marketing strategy and is now the most used social network among B2B marketers. LinkedIn gives businesses the tools to connect with influencers within the industry, share valuable insight and even generate new business if you’re doing it right.

This article features 4 ways marketers can get the most out of LinkedIn, including tips on creating long-form content, “supercharging” your company page, utilizing sponsored InMail and more. These tips are valuable for marketers and business owners alike who want to get more out of their social media marketing efforts. While we all know there’s value in being active on social media, insight on particular platforms can help you navigate what works best for you and your business.

4. A Look at Uber’s Landing Page Testing from 2015

By: iSpionage
A Look at Uber’s Landing Page Testing from 2015

This article features commentary on Uber’s landing page changes over 2015, an unbelievable example of what high-volume A/B testing can look like. In 2015 alone, Uber has thus far launched 47 different variations of its landing page. On average, they are altering the landing page that it’s PPC visitors arrive on at least once a week.

With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, we have the ability to implement new strategies, track real-time results and react to those results almost immediately, and that is why this is such a fun industry. The article highlights some of the potential successes and struggles of A/B testing. Some landing pages remained the champion variant for weeks, but Uber’s PPC team monitored the results so closely that other pages would only be live for one day. With this example, we can truly see how many failures it can take to reach a truly successful design.

Want more? Stay tuned for next week’s Weekly Digital Marketing Roundup!

Top Digital Marketing Tools We’re Thankful For This Year

Four Helpful Marketing Tools to Enhance Your Online Presence

Even though we’re marketers at heart, we don’t do it alone. These tools help us better manage our client campaigns and push them to the next level. Thanksgiving is a time to press pause and reflect on what we’re thankful for. We are here to say “Thank You” to the companies who have built these tools and share our insight to help make your life easier, too. Below we feature the tools #TeamVenta is most thankful for:

max-prokell-venta
Max Prokell
Founder & CEO

1. Harvest

“I am very thankful for Harvest. Harvest is a time-tracking software that allows our team to easily track and associate time spent on specific clients, projects and tasks.”

“There are many time-tracking software’s out there, but the one feature that sold me on Harvest was it’s running clock. The clock allows you to press start and stop when working on a project, and then you can get to work. The clock then runs and tracks your time up to the 100th of a minute. No more checking the clock and manually logging your time.”

harvest

“As an agency with locations in two cities, Harvest helps me understand exactly where and how we are spending our time. I can pull reports at any time that show me the time spent on specific project, service, or client, which make us a much more efficient and educated agency.”

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Dillon Lara
Lead Web Developer

2. Sublime Text

Sublime Text is my code editor of choice for design and development. I love how stripped down it is. It never crashes and has the ability to add plugins, which can greatly increase efficiency in code development. I use it everyday, and it loads quickly so I can get started right away. The customization of the platform allows me to set up a theme with colors that are appealing to me and make the experience more personal for myself. I prefer it over all the other code editors on the market for it’s consistency in performance.”

sublime

“Here’s a list of a few of the packages I’ve added to my Sublime Text setup:”

graham-ahner-venta
Graham Ahner
Director of Paid Search

3. Unbounce: For A/B Testing Landing Pages Without I.T.

Unbounce is by far one of my favorite tools that I use multiple times a week. We’ve been using it for almost two years now. We were impressed during our initial product demo, and the product has continued to improve since. Here are some of my favorite aspects:”

  • The software allows us to create beautiful landing pages at ease, without having to bother our developers for extra help.
  • Simplified A/B testing so we can continuously improve our client’s campaigns backed by hard data.
  • Unbounce’s Client Support is amazing, and we use it regularly for tips, troubleshooting or any other related questions.
  • Unbounce regularly has free, conversion-focused webinars. Our schedule is busy, but it is always useful and worth it when we join them.
  • Although you don’t need to be a developer to be successful with Unbounce, using it has allowed me to understand some base-level coding that I am thankful for.
  • They give out super soft T-shirts when you see them at a conference. 🙂

unbounce

“Overall, I am very pleased with the experience we are able to provide our clients through our use of Unbounce. I expect that to increase as the tool continues to improve moving forward.”

courtney-lindbeck-venta
Courtney Lindbeck
Director of Internet Marketing

4. Canva

“Before I discovered Canva, I spent much time in Photoshop looking up font names and styles, creating shapes and graphics to complement the image and make it unique, resizing graphics for various platforms (Facebook post size, Pinterest post size, etc.), and more. Finding free and high-resolution images also took time away from the content itself.”

“For the busy digital marketer’s out there, Canva is a simple graphic design tool that you can use to create flyers, social media images, presentations and much more – in half the time. It has beautiful and free templates, images, fonts, graphics and styles to use at your disposal – by simply dragging and dropping. You can customize each design by color, font, etc. and upload your own graphics and images for use. Canva also stores all your past projects in your account, so you can always make edits or begin working where you left off.”

canva

“Canva has saved me a lot of time and energy on creating beautiful graphics. What I am most thankful for is that Canva opened my eyes to trendy designs, fonts and styles that I would’ve had to spend time searching for. This platform can help all types of marketers and everyday people improve their design and their content, and I highly recommend it!”

Weekly Roundup: Top Digital Marketing News, Tips & Tricks 11/16 –11/20

Keep Updated With Our Weekly Marketing Suggestions

Welcome to our weekly roundup of noteworthy digital marketing insights, tips and trends from last week. Staying on top of the latest digital marketing tactics can be a long and strenuous journey. It doesn’t have to be. #TeamVenta will keep you up-to-date with all the latest news and advice.

1. The Hip-Hop Guide to Landing Page Domination

By: Aaron Orendorff

What’s better than hip-hop and shareable memes? Not much, but this article goes there, utilizing both to share five data-driven lessons for creating high quality landing pages that work.

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Orendorff reveals some great points on how to use paid advertising to the best of your ability and budget. From designing a landing page with a “one shot, one opportunity” mindset to focusing on your buyer’s real-life journey, this article will provide you with useful design and marketing tactics that is sure to improve your current strategies while also putting a smile on your face. ☺

2. From Pages to Patterns: An Exercise for Everyone

By: Charlotte Jackson

This article provides some techniques to help teams communicate better when identifying terms for site elements as well as determining when to do a design review for a site.

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By identifying key patterns for a website – such as headers, footers, calls-to-actions, buttons, etc. – we can identify inconsistencies on a site. While each site we make at Venta is unique and coded specifically for the client and their goals, we do occasionally reuse patterns such as a testimonial slider, header or footer. For example, we might use a slideshow to cycle through testimonials identifying this as a “testimonial slider.” If want to use a similar carousel on another site or page of the same website for cycling through products or images, “testimonial slider” then becomes a bad pattern title and will cause confusion for the staff. Code is no longer semantic across other pages. A better title could simply be “slideshow” or “page-carousel.” This not only makes the understanding of the pattern easy for all of us at Venta but also can increase the readability of the code.

3. CMOs Share Roadmap for Building Modern Marketing Organizations in New Report

By: Daniel Newman

This article lays out five very distinct attributes that top CMOs have learned during their path to building a successful marketing agency. As digital marketing agencies grow and acquire more business, it’s a great idea to be constantly comparing and learning from top industry standards.

cmos

Top CMOs advise having a clear direction for your agency, while also having specialists for each department all under one roof. At Venta, we all have knowledge in each sector of our agency, but we all have unique strengths. This allows us to give each other help when needed but also allows us to allocate our time best by assigning certain projects to different team members. Learn from the best to be the best!

4. 25 Calculated Metrics for Google Analytics

By: Charles Farina

Calculated Metrics for Google Analytics is now available for all GA users and allows users to develop custom formulas to automatically calculate and analyze data. This article highlights 25 calculated metrics for best using this new, long requested feature in Google Analytics.

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Want more? Stay tuned for next week’s Weekly Digital Marketing Roundup and subscribe to our newsletter for more digital marketing news, tips & tricks!