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Archive for September, 2016

Website Content and Social Media Content Offer Unique User Experiences

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

It’s common for trainers, consultants, and professional coaches to think of social media and their website as the same thing.  This false assertion often leads to mirroring navigation and content that rarely suits either channel. While social media content and website content are related they are two very different channels that will result in very different user experiences.

Social media content is like a festival market shop where your website is like a store in the mall.  Both have a certain product offering surrounded by a larger market but the environments are much different.

The primary difference in the social media environment is that it is constantly changing and competition for attention is immediately prevalent.  Like a festival, it’s difficult for a user to define exactly what they want to buy because the environment is not well suited for a targeted search. You rarely see a festival market with a map of shops because the vendors, products, and availability are too fluid to map out. Likewise, social media does not provide that structure, so the experience needs to draw people in.

Users are guided by what is current and interesting to them. What makes festival markets compelling is the excitement in discovering unique items that aren’t widely available elsewhere.  In that way your social media channels need to provide timely, relevant, and unique information to your target audience.  Like a festival, the next shop is right next door so if your content is dated or irrelevant then the next more compelling shop is immediately available.

Alternatively, your website is like a store in the mall.  There are other stores available in the mall but there is a barrier that makes the store your own defined place. A store at the mall is typically calmer with less outside distraction.  Well organized stores help shoppers find a particular item that they have already defined.  Websites should function in the same way.  There should be an orderly flow for visitors to find what they want or get assistance. Search engines serve as the mall map, so once people arrive in at the site it should be obvious how to find what they are seeking.

A word of caution not to use the analogy to celebrate one channel over the other.  Reactions like “social media is a flea market of crap,” or “websites are stuffy stores with no excitement,” miss the point.  Unlike physical stores, digital channels have an opportunity to leverage the strengths that each channel offers.  Crossing these channels so that users can get distinctive content and then switch to a structured environment to gain specific content allows you to appeal to a larger user base.

B-to-B Digital Marketing: Setting a Budget

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Digital marketing is a business development activity which means it should directly or indirectly generate revenue. For trainers, consultants, and professional coaches that sell their services to other businesses, the contribution typically comes in the form of leads. Since marketing’s goal is to generate revenue the budget should not be set higher than a reasonable projection for generated revenue. Establishing a clear vision of projected return on the digital marketing investment serves to set a budget cap that makes facilitates profitability.

To set a budget start from the end state and work backwards. Here are the steps and an example of how to work backward:

Step Description Example
1. Start with an estimate of viable prospects in your market. 10,000 prospects.
2. Estimate the number of prospects that might become a lead based on industry data. The below chart is broken out by industry for website visitors so it’s best to halve these numbers as half your prospects likely will not even take an initial step of engaging your marketing channels. 6% is average, so let’s work from 3%. 300 Leads.
chartofweek-10-23-12-lp
3. Divide that number by the number of years you believe it will take to engage your entire market. Be realistic, anything less than three years is aggressive. 5 years for full engagement, so 60 leads per year.
4. Divide your leads by your average rate of turning an interested party into a real sales opportunity via a meeting or phone call. Hopefully your leads will be more engaged than average leads and meet at a higher rate but use the average to stay conservative. A 30% meeting rate results in 18 meetings from the leads.
5. Divide your meetings by your close rate. 33% close rate is 6 sales.
6. Multiply your expected number of closes by your average sale. $6,000 average sale is $36,000 in revenue.
7. Use ¾ of that number as your annual budget cap to give some buffer for marketing to generate positive ROI. $27,000 (¾ of $36,000).

In this way you are providing a guideline on how much you can spend on digital marketing and have it remain profitable. Remember, it’s a guideline and doesn’t mean you should spend that much. It means that’s your cap. For example, if you are a sole trainer, consultant, or professional coach with annual revenues of $100K, it wouldn’t make sense to budget a third of your revenue to digital marketing.

Also keep in mind that this would be your total expense, so marketing tools, data, and labor would need to fall within these parameters.

The primary reason for this guideline is to avoid setting your digital marketing up for failure. Many trainers, consultants and professional coaches get caught up in branding themselves or their business without considering the potential return. If you set a budget that is higher than a reasonable expectation on your return then the marketing effort can’t fulfill the baseline goal of being a business development activity.