So I finally took the plunge. After months of research and debate, I decided to begin my own podcast (Marketing Impact). I’ll save you the steps I took to get here, but I will tell you that within two months I have already attracted a small group of followers who for some reason continue to listen to the show (yes, that’s a joke, kind of).
When I first launched the show, my intent was to provide listeners with a world of information about marketing. I have to confess that I have probably learned more than anyone else.
Things I thought I knew about various aspects of marketing are few and far between. In the last two months, I have been able to broaden my own knowledge of marketing which hopefully I can pass on to others.
Recently, I had Tom Treanor on the show to discuss content marketing. After the show, we discussed past episodes of the podcast which gave me the idea to put together a list of some of the things I learned since launch.
How your website annoys people
Your website is your portfolio and often the first impression people have of you. If you are unable to capture them in the first few seconds, they will likely go somewhere else. Many times, there are “annoyances” about your website that cause people to simply leave. These include pages loading too slowly, being unable to find basic information such as a “contact us” page, and being mobile unfriendly.
“If there is something about a website that annoys you, chances are it annoys others if your website does the same thing.”
While you may have the greatest website in the world as far as content, failing to take care of a few annoyances can cause an increase in bounce rate. The easiest thing to do is make a list of things that annoy you about other people’s websites, then don’t repeat what they are doing. After all, you are a consumer as well.
Getting rid of fake reviews can be easier than you think
Everyone hates trolls. Even trolls hate other trolls. I’m talking about the people who hide behind fake names and attempt to destroy a business by leaving false and negative reviews. One such method that I was unaware of was how to remove negative reviews without litigation.
Many review websites have terms of service that require the person leaving the review to have actually used your product or service.
“Fake reviews can be resolved without litigation. You simply need to know the terms and conditions of the site hosting the review.”
Contact the sites that have reviews about you that are fake. If they have such terms and conditions, it is likely they will contact the reviewer and ask for proof they used your product or service. If they are unable to do so, the review will likely be removed.
While this method is not 100% guaranteed, it is another weapon to add to your arsenal when it comes to fighting trolls.
Time to get your employees involved
Ambassadors are very important to your business. Celebrity endorsements no longer cover your entire target market. As such, having employee ambassadors is key to your business. In addition, people are more likely to be influenced by someone who works there than a celebrity who is being paid to endorse you.
Many companies are scared to implement an employee ambassador program as they feel their employees will actually talk bad about them. This is shocking as I would think an employer that takes care of their employees would be more than willing to have them represent the brand. It basically comes down to a misunderstanding between employers and employees, not unhappiness of the people who work there.
“Employees will represent your brand in a positive light as long as you show them how you want it represented.”
I discovered that it is not all about bad representation. Employees often misrepresent a brand as they do not fully understand the goals of the company. As such, it is important not only to implement an employee ambassador program but to guide each employee on your values and goals so that they can truly represent the company.
Once an employee fully understands your goals and feels like part of the process, the return on your investment (the employee) will start to pay you dividends.
Companies are only as strong as their employees
Speaking of employee ambassadors, companies are only as strong as the employees who work for them. I am not saying that employees “are” the company, but I am saying they can make or break a company.
“Employees can make or break your business. Give them the tools to make it!”
I was blessed to speak with media expert Michael Levine who has worked in the media industry for over 30 years, representing clients such as Michael Jackson and George Carlin. We discussed his book Broken Windows Broken Business in which he applies the “broken windows theory” to business.
It is the little things that make or break a business, all of which are controlled by the people you hire to take care of those little things. No matter how much money you spend on marketing, it all comes down to how you perform once people see you in action.
Automation is good, but real-time marketing may be better
The debate is on. Real-time marketing is now the new rave and brands are expected to engage with customers immediately on social media. Others don’t agree and continue to use automation as part of their social media strategy.
After debating both aspects in episodes of the podcast, I now recommend sprinkling in a little of both. I love automation as it helps free up my time to spend on other things, rather than burying myself in social media. However, real-time marketing must also be part of your strategy.
“Automation is not dead, but real-time marketing is nudging its way into your social media strategy.”
So, nothing wrong with scheduling posts in advance, but make sure you are ready for responses from your followers so that you can still provide a personal feel. After all, real-time marketing is all about response and customers feeling that someone is actually there which increases your brand’s authenticity.
Website audits are not as difficult as you think
I hate auditing. I spent a portion of my career performing and analyzing them and at this point in my life, I try to stay away. They can be difficult and time-consuming and when people hear the term “website audit,” they want to run in the other direction.
“Your competitors are auditing their website, why aren’t you?”
However, I learned that performing a website audit is not only required (especially to keep it from being “annoying” – see above) but much easier than I thought. There are simple things that can be done such as checking for site speed, broken URLs, and issues with being mobile friendly. Again, simple to perform and almost as easy to fix.
One thing I will tell you is that sticking your head in the sand and avoiding the topic is likely to cost you money in the long run. After all, your competitors are running site audits and fixing those issues that cause people to leave your website. So what’s your excuse for not doing it?
Podcasts can be used throughout your entire marketing strategy
I was happy when I published my first episode. I thought I finally made it and kept publishing one after another. While it was great to have people listening to the show, I soon realized that I was sitting on a gold mine that I was not fully utilizing.
Podcasts are more than just audio for people to listen to. They can be used for a number of marketing activities.
First, landing yourself as a guest on a podcast can be invaluable. Podcasts convert 25x’s more than blog posts. So, instead of spending your time trying to get a quote in a newspaper or online journal, spend some time landing yourself an interview on a podcast.
“Podcasts not only convert 25x’s better than blog posts, but they are great for embedding into posts in order to increase readership.”
Podcasts can also be repurposed for a variety of other marketing activities. Once such way is to embed them into blog posts related to the topic. After all, if visual graphics help readers stay and read your content, I am sure an audio can do something similar. It has for me and my blog.
One plan I have for the future is to use some of the episodes for an email course. This is a perfect way to build your email list and show your expertise. Use your email host (I use Mail Chimp), and build templates that can be used for when people sign up. Then, schedule them out ever a period of 5 to 7 days and you have a “7 Days of Marketing Lessons for Beginners” or a similar titled course. Use the landing pages with referral links and calls to action to obtain revenue as well.
Stop listening to Google’s PPC keyword recommendations
If you are into pay-per-click advertising, you already know that Google will help you out. After all, it is a large source of their revenue so they will gladly help you spend your money. While they are very good about teaching you the “ins and outs” of PPC, I learned that their keyword recommendations are not always in your best interest.
“While Google is great at helping you with your PPC campaigns, your best interest is not always in mind when recommending additional keywords to use.”
If you run a PPC campaign with Google, you have received that email everyone gets, recommending additional keywords to add to your campaign. Many people jump on the chance and immediately add the additional keywords. However, this is not always beneficial.
By adding additional keywords, you could actually harm your campaign. You dilute your target audience and will likely spend money attracting people who you are unlikely to convert. I advise that any keyword recommendations given to you by Google are thoroughly evaluated against your goals prior to implementing them. Don’t just add them because they told you to.
You MUST make it easy for people to share your content
People no longer take the time to copy a link, paste it into their social media account, and then add a description. We are in the age where people want a one-click experience in order to share your information. As such, you must add social sharing icons to your website.
“Basically, if it is not easy to share, people won’t do it. Sometimes making it easy can also make it viral.”
Once added, make sure to adjust your settings so people only need to make a single click to share. By this I mean that people clicking on a social share icon should have all the information pre-formatted and ready to go (e.g., if it is for Twitter, you should have a Twitter card activated as well as your username and description in the Tweet so all people have to do is hit the “share” button).
When it comes to media outreach, don’t spray and pray!
Some people still do not get it. When doing media outreach, they feel that the more journalists they pitch, the more likely they are to pick up coverage. This is a theory of percentages. If they believe that they will receive a 10% response, then they can do the math from there and blast as many outlets as they anticipate a response from.
I knew media outlets are busy and they receive quite a few pitches. However, I now know that they receive so many crap pitches that it is difficult for you to get your message out through all the clutter.
“Media outlets need to wade through the clutter when looking for pitches. Make yours stand out by giving a personalized pitch, not a template that you send to everyone.”
When doing media outreach, it is all about quality, not quantity. You must make your pitch tailored to the person receiving it. The likelihood of success increases and you no longer need to adopt a “spray and pray” theory.
Know the right and wrong way to pitch journalists such as using personalized messages, not templates. Make sure your clients know what you are pitching and do not promise a journalist something you cannot deliver (e.g., an interview with a C-level employee when you only have access to the mailroom).
Summing it up
While I have not been at the podcasting game very long, I have realized that it is a great way to learn more about my field. In as little as two months, I have increased my knowledge of the world of marketing and have been able to pass these lessons along to clients. Can’t wait to see what happens when two months turns into two years.