You might have heard that 2020 is the year for getting clarity on your business and it’s digital marketing. 2020 vision…get it? You certainly shouldn’t need the start of a decade to get you going on your marketing plans, but let’s do this. Another year, another opportunity to grow and be better.
Pixeld has been growing rather well and is fast approaching it’s fourth birthday. I find that kind of hard to believe. My own marketing in that time has shifted quite a lot. From having no budget and loads of time initially, to having some kind of budget and no time at all. In 2020 the Pixeld marketing plan will not only include a fiscal budget, but a time budget. Time committment is actually where most digital marketing plans fall down.
The following are the key channels I plan on committing to, and why.
Hubspot is a customer relationship management tool that makes it easy to track how customers interact with your business and deliver highly targetted, intelligent campaigns. A contact database with every email, website page view, form submission, potential deal, phone call and much more all stored in an easy to use website. Great for automating your marketing, but also great for arming yourself with information when taking a phone call with a prospect.
We recently became a Hubspot Agency Partner, and for good reason. They are clearly a market leader with their software, customer service and just overall service delivery. Unfortunately this comes at a cost. We ploughed well over $15,000 into Hubspot last year around September. We are barely scratching the surface of what the platform can do for Pixeld and are more focused on our clients using the platform at the moment. It has already been well worth the investment as we evolve our service offering from simple transactional type marketing to hollistic campaigns that map out the entire customer journey. Hubspot centralises the entire marketing process.
The major benefit is data. Google Analytics can tell us where our traffic is coming from, but Hubspot can tell us where our revenue is coming from. We’ll be using Hubspot this year to generate a much larger and longer lead pipeline so we can predict our sales better. We’ll be providing information, tools and advice to users that interact with our business to build relationships and trust.
We’re a Google Partner. What does that mean? Not a lot actually. We just manage a sufficient budget for our clients to qualify and have passed a couple of tests. Some agencies try and align themselves with this partner badge as if they are best buds with Google. Let’s be clear, it only shows some level of competency with Google Ads (the paid platform) and has nothing to do with search engine rankings. It’s still kind of cool none the less.
Google Ads is a part of the vast majority of our client’s strategies. Every industry is different, and the goals of each campaign also vary greatly. Running Google Ads for marketing agencies can be very expensive. The cost per click is very high, and the cost per lead equally high. Lots of competition, and a long decision making process (that is not everyone who is researching is ready to buy). For high value products or services such as websites, you are going to need more than a Google Ad. There needs to be lead capture, nurturing and a considered sales process to get any kind of return on investment. Without the supporting follow up, Google Ads is a complete waste of money.
Targeting relevant searches can also be a challenge. A lot of the time industry peers are searching for things like ‘best website designs’ for inspiration. They will never be a customer, but are sometimes costing $20 per click!
Pixeld’s goal for 2020 is to create very specific Google Ads campaigns that speak to niche audiences to try and hone in on relevant, qualified searches. Specific industries, software platforms and locations.
When I first started Pixeld I hated being on camera but made myself do it. I knew it was absolutely essential to building awareness of my new brand. Fast forward a few years and it has fallen a little by the way side. The reason? Business was coming in and I became complacent. A terrible excuse and one I warn my own clients about. Marketing activity that has no immediate reward but sucks up a lot of time is always the first thing to go when we get busy. So this year I am committing to producing regular content like I know I should be.
Each team member at Pixeld will produce one blog per month on a topic of their choosing. I think it’s best to blog on something you are passionate about or have just learned. You can then expand on that learning by writing about it and researching further. You also become more eloquent when talking about the topic because you have already articulated your thoughts.
Another great option is to update or revise an existing blog post. We’ve got heaps of blogs in our archives and I can definitely say that digital marketing has changed in the last four years. Some of these posts need updating. You can also look up your Google Analytics data and see which posts performed the best. Find those and make them even better. We’ve got one particular blog post on submitting your website to business directories for better search engine rankings. We’ve updated it and will probably work on it further.
We’ll then allocate a budget to promoting the content we create on social media. Partly to attract a new audience, but partly to nurture leads or past visitors to our website. Maybe they found us through a Google Ad but weren’t quite ready. A week later our latest blog on website trends pops up on their feed. Maybe they click it, maybe they don’t. But it’s another touch point in the buyer journey that hopefully leads to them working with us.
We created nine podcasts last year. I really enjoyed the process of creating them and inviting guests to speak with me. Nick actually stopped me from spending a fortune on podcasting gear, so I settled for a humble setup which did the job very well. I even tried to film the majority of them to post on Youtube.
Did we get any business out of it? It’s really hard to say, but that’s not why I did it. The podcast for me is all about positioning. Positioning as an authority on digital marketing and websites, but also as a deal closer. If someone has received a proposal from us and is on the fence, the podcast demonstrates that I really know what I am talking about and might convince them to sign on the dotted line. I might send a prospect a link to a particular podcast that is relevant to their business.
This changes the whole premise of the podcast. I’m not in it to get thousands of listens for every episode. I’m in it to create high quality, helpful podcasts for a very small audience. The plan is to create 12 podcasts in 2020. We will probably not spend any money on promoting the podcast with advertising.
We got to Digital Marketing Tip #60, a series of short videos posted on Facebook and Youtube about any kind of helpful advice on websites, social media or Google. That was two years ago. We got loads of exposure from these and used paid advertising to build more awareness of Pixeld in the Geelong region. The peak of fame was when I walked into a restaurant once and the guy behind the counter said “you’re the guy from Facebook!” It was kind of a big deal, I was famous. The consistency was great too. I was posting all of the time. Then I got busy…
Looking back at some old videos, I seem to have aged quite a lot in four years! Oh dear.
This year I plan to attack video once again. I might bring back the tip videos, but I mainly plan to create video content based on the blogs the team creates each month. This will help cut down on the creative aspect of scripting. Just pick the snippets of goodness to talk about, speak to camera, slice it up, post.
We will definitely allocate a budget towards promoting video content across social media and Youtube for lead nurturing and new audiences.
Courses / Workshops
I’ve always wanted to run small workshop groups in our office that focus on topics like search engine optimisation or content creation. Initially the focus will be on offering these to our existing clients as a value add. We want to enable our clients to create kick ass blog posts that generate heaps of traffic and leads. If that works out, then maybe we will offer them online or to the public. I think it would be a great way to build better relationships with our clients.
We’ve built plenty of online course websites for clients, so why not for ourselves? Expect to see at least one course created for Pixeld in 2020.
I’ve never been comfortable running sales. It’s just not natural to me, and lots of my clients are the same. Hubspot actually have this down pat, and I didn’t pick up on it until they told me (which is what they intended).
Don’t be salesy, be helpful.
People don’t want to speak to you if you are salesy. You can sense those kind of interactions and the defences go up. So forgetting sales, just attempt to help people. It could be help with a solution we offer, but it could also be directing them to a blog, a video or another service.
This has helped me tremendously when dealing with new leads. I’m not trying to trick them, I’m genuinely trying to help them solve whatever problem they have. If that results in us working together then great. If not, that’s completely fine, it wasn’t a good fit at that time. Who knows what could eventuate from that contact further down the track.
So the focus for all of Pixeld’s marketing for 2020 will be on being helpful to our audience. It’s something we’ve always done naturally anyway. It’s just time to ramp it up a notch.
Good luck with your business and digital marketing this year. If you’re creating plans of your own I’d love to grab a coffee and talk it through with you.