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Digital Marketing Strategies for Market Entry How to Test, Gain Traction, and Scale

April 6, 2020

Jeffrey Cohen, Vice President at Imageworks is interviewed by Bill Kenney, Founder and Client Advocate at MEET about Digital Marketing Strategies for Market Entry How to Test, Gain Traction, and Scale on the Belly2Belly podcast.

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Bill : Welcome to the belly to belly podcast where we explore in-person business to business marketing.

This episode is brought to you by MEET, the company that helps international companies exhibit at US trade shows. Check them out at meetroi.com

Welcome, everybody. My name is Bill Kenney, and I’m here with Jeff Cohen from ImageWorks. This is the belly to belly podcast. It is a product of MEET and we help international companies exhibit at US trade shows. So one of the things that is so important with trade shows and really any marketing is is to have an integrated approach and to look at really a variety of ways that you can amplify what you’re doing and really nothing speaks to that more than what you can do today with in terms of digital media and we’re so excited to have Jeff Cohen here with us. That’s Jeffrey, welcome.

Jeff : Thanks. Hey, everybody.

Bill : So we have people, Jeffrey. So you know, we have people watching this from all over the world, what they’re concerned about is, you know, how do I get into a new market is effectively and efficiently as possible. And these are all b2b companies typically looking to attract, you know, that executive buyer who certainly is going to have specific needs they’re going to need, they’re going to have certain language opportunities and whatnot. So we’ll let’s get into that in just a couple minutes. But first, before we do, let’s make sure people know who you are your company, so that there’s context to your comments. So do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself? I know you’ve got a company called image works, but how did you get here?

Jeff : Yeah, how long do we have for this?

Bill : maybe a minute.

Jeff :Very storied past I actually have two different degrees, because I made a career change 30 years ago. So I have a degree in graphic design and then I have I went back to school to become a computer programmer, because I wanted a career change, not because I was smart enough to know that well if you wait another 10 years graphic design and programming are going to merge and this thing is going to be called the internet. So yeah, I found myself uniquely qualified once the internet was born.

Bill : Cool, thanks to Al Gore and all his hard work.

Jeff : Yes, of course.

Bill : So, let’s talk about imageworks you all and I’ve known you for many, many years now. And you know, it was originally a sort of web design firm. You all have you know, bolted on as the internet is developed as really digital media is develop, you have bolted on significant additional capabilities, but do you want kind of walk us through what you all do?

Jeff: Yeah, Sure. So that’s that’s actually I forget how long we’ve known each other. But it used to be that probably for the first 10 years, we were in business and we’re in our 23rd year, just to give some perspective. launching the website was the end of the project, we would shake hands, we would get paid, we would launch the website, we’d all raise a glass and good luck and they call us once every whatever if they needed update to the site. The launch of the website now has become the beginning of the digital marketing process, not the end. So we sort of and I don’t want to diminish the importance of a good website, but that’s sort of the window dressing. And I can hear a lot of people in my industry groaning at me saying that, but you have a lot of options now for getting a simple website. Done. Especially if you’re in a small service business, if you’re a restaurant, you know, you need five pages, a map with directions, pictures of your food, your menus, how to order. simple stuff, you have a lot of options of where to go. Now if you want to get that website found, that’s a whole different discussion. And that sort of begs the question now what? So about 10 years ago, we started adding the now what services in those are it’s a huge array of paid search and inbound marketing and reputation management, social media, and search engine optimization and retargeting and remarketing. It’s a really big bucket. But that’s sort of, that’s our growth area. That’s what we focus on online lead generation getting people’s phones to rank.

Bill : And how long have you been working with international companies? I know you’ve worked with Many over over several years long,

Jeff : yeah. Um, so I would probably say maybe 15 years. Hmm. And that has changed even more dramatically than our industry. But yeah, there’s there’s It comes with certain complexities. But yeah, for a long time, we had companies who came into the US or opened up the North America division of a German manufacturer for quite some time.

Bill : Hmm, cool. So let’s then that’s an awesome segue to really hop into our topic. So I know that you’ve seen some sort of the good, the bad and the ugly of market entry with regard to digital media. Let’s talk about some of the challenges that you’ve seen. international companies have when they’re when they’re entering a new market, and Kind of pitfalls that maybe have happened on the way?

Jeff : Yeah, so, um okay, so there’s the language and cultural barrier and these are in no particular order. But really having someone on your team who speaks English if you’re a non native English speaking entity, or hiring a translation company, we work with several to do that translation into sort of jump over the hurdle of the cultural thing because it is an issue and, and number two, not really understanding the competitive landscape. Just because you’ve been incredibly successful on your turf, whatever that looks like for you. Just thinking you’re gonna walt into this giant market. You’ve really got to do a competitive analysis. It’s something we offer. But frequently, I’m surprised when I begin to have the conversation companies will call us up and say, Can you help us? And we sort of go through the process of what defining success looks like for them. And part of that is the beginning of the buyer persona definition. Who are you selling to what your ideal client look like? And who are your biggest competitors? and frequently? You know, the answer is, well, we don’t really have any competitors. And then you Google, you know, flaming yellow widget manufacturers us and hit Enter. And you know, you get a half a million index pages. And so really understanding I can’t, I can’t stress enough doing that competitive analysis and the research is huge. I’m not really adjusting the tool set that they’re allowed And again, marketing in Spain is very different from marketing in, you know, England when it’s in the US. And so having a thorough understanding of what it takes to attract and the tools that are used, you know, if you’re in China you’re using what is it, Aladdin? Is that is the giant, you know that everybody’s using there. We’ve never heard of it here. I mean, I can’t say we haven’t heard of it, but it’s not used the same way. So you have to really understand what you’re walking into.

Bill : Sure. now that that makes total sense. So what you’re thinking about digital marketing for international b2b companies who are entering a new market, you know, why, what are the advantages of digital marketing specifically, because it you know, obviously, there are a lot of attributes that it has. Yeah, our focus is you In person, which is quite a bit different. Obviously, they complement each other. But why what are the advantages of digital in particular for market entry?

Jeff : So we could do a four hour segment just on this topic. But the reality is, it’s just where people are searching right now. So there’s no more Thomas register. And again, I’m hearing the Gremlins from the Thomas register. But it used to be the Bible. For manufacturers. That’s where manufacturers and b2b people went for. It’s largely gone at this point, people have been given, you know, in Google we trust. So people go to Google, and they start doing their research. And if you’re not showing up, you’re missing opportunity. That’s why that competitive analysis is so important. Because if you don’t understand who you’re competing against, and what they’re spending and what they’re doing, you know, the Google algorithm For paid search is incredibly complex. And a lot of times people don’t understand that. You know, the last call how much for an ad? Well, that answer is largely based on who else is buying out. So if you want to compete with them, you have to spend what they’re spending.

Bill : That makes sense.

Jeff : So Yellow Pages is gone, trade journals are gone. trade shows have shifted. trade shows are amazing for meeting potential companies, but the buyers themselves don’t actually attend the trade shows anymore. So to a large degree, not like it used to be. So going to a trade show to gather that information and industry and find out who the players are. Huge power. I’m getting the introduction from the person who’s attending the trade show, bridging that gap to who’s the actual decision maker and buyer take A little more work than it used to. But if you’re even in the US if you’re a 100 year old manufacturing company looking for business buyers, and this is true of business services as well, I don’t mean to pick on the manufacturers. You know, 20 years ago, your marketing was trade journals, trade shows, and the Thomas register. That’s it, that’s what you did. If you were regional, if you were local, you probably throw in yellow pages as well.

Bill : Let me hop in for a moment cuz just so we were kind of not talking about digital marketing as much as the other types of marketing. So, you know, thinking about if we think of market entry in three basic phases, one is sort of pre departure. In other words, they’re on their shore, maybe they’re exporting or even doing some pre market testing, and maybe their phase two might be in market. But through partners, and phase three might be in market with their own with their own team or resources and facilities. So thinking about that first phase in particular, are there some digital marketing strategies? Or maybe one in particular, you know, thinking about, you know, maybe they haven’t fully made up their mind in terms of actually should they enter the market or what geography they should locate in obviously, for example, coming to the US huge geography and and very different regional strengths. Are there some things, some unique strategies that you might do? pre market entry to see the ground?

Jeff : So, surveys, surveys and surveys right there, they’re reaching out to the partner channel reaching out to the direct consumer channel. What are your buying habits doing research offering some instant Give you know $10 amazon gift card goes a long way. I’m actually shocked at how well it works for some things. Setting up a US based if you’re not a.com, if you’re a.cn or a.edu, or a dot whatever, setting up a.com US based website only for the US market has a huge advantage unless you’re already worldwide. So I would add to those layers that you described as you know, first, second or third level entry point. Really, how big is your footprint? Right? Are you going worldwide? Are you just in, you know, Switzerland and now you want to get into the US is very different than creating one website. And you know, you’ve been to global website. So if you go to, you know, worldwide manufacturers, the first thing It comes up as a map of the world and it says click your country. Right? You may or may not want to do that, depending on how big you are, I would say if you’re a global company, that’s probably a great thing to do. If you’re not, if you’re being selective as to where you are, it would be really helpful to have a website in their in their country with their domain name.

Bill : Got it. Cool. Cool. So we talked off the top about some of the digital marketing mistakes. When you see those kinds of mistakes that companies make, you know, are they repairable? What’s the, you know, how do they kind of how do they pull out of the nosedive?

Jeff : Yeah, so I’m having an open mind. And, and I don’t know if you want to talk about some more of the mistakes that we see frequently as well. That’d be great. So not committing, not being all in. That’s more of a business mistake than a, you know, specific to the US market mistake.

But we see that frequently, you can always pull out of a nosedive. Right? I had a conversation with a prospect a few weeks ago, who was they asked us to do an audit, which is something we offer in through that process, we realized that they were just throwing money out the window. And they were very confused. They’ve been given a lot of bad information, wrong information, or what’s worse, what I call half information, about 50% of what they actually needed to know. And at the end of the audit, I said you should stop what you’re doing. You should actually just turn off what you’re doing whether you hire me or someone else is irrelevant, just to stop and then let’s regroup. And figure out a strategy and talk through why things aren’t working. So yes, you can always pull out of the nose dive, you know, we stopped, you can always pivot. Part of the really cool thing about digital marketing is to varying degrees, you can turn it on and off and you can always adjust. And if you find even organic keywords, which takes can take months for Google to catch up and start indexing your pages. If you realize over time that the organic keywords that you’re doing are not performing or not the keyword you wanted to be found under or dry driving the wrong kind of traffic. You can adjust. It takes a little while but you can always pivot the power of paid search on the internet. This is true with anything paid. This is true with Facebook ads, Google ads, retargeting remarketing, anything you would pay for, we’re doing it the right way. You’re creating multiple ad sets from the beginning and you’re counting Constantly a b testing, which ads are generating the highest conversion rate, which ones aren’t. And you can turn things on and off. What’s really interesting is we have clients who when things get slow, they double down the spend and throw more ads up. And then we have the same client or different clients in the same vertical market, who when things get slow, they turn things down, they want to like, well, we’re gonna hunker down and save the war chest. They both work. They’re just two very different. I would put forth that the ones who double down and spend more are going to gain market share faster. And you know, I think the data supports that. But I understand the other methodology as well.

Bill :Sure, Yeah, no, it well, and it’s so situational I suppose. Those decisions so now, I think We can start getting into maybe some of the specifics and meet you so you’ve mentioned Google AdWords, you’ve mentioned a variety of other tools, but what are the sort of the major modes of digital marketing that an international company might employ?

Jeff : So again, at the basic b2b level, and again, if we were talking about b2c or you know, Britney Spears, she should be tweeting and Facebooking every day, right? But and I’m not saying b2b folks shouldn’t be doing that. But it’s more about how you do it than what you do and what your returns are and whether you spend money in advertising. So the major sort of the biggest things number one, organic SEO, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, and how it relates to inbound marketing. Because people for b2b companies who really Understand inbound marketing and and execute it and live it and breathe it, they can crush it, they can own their market doesn’t happen overnight. It’s expensive. It’s complicated, but SEO in its purest form. Again, give me an example of a company who’s, you know, manufacturer or business service company that’s coming into the United States. If they want to be found, you know, and somebody types, you know, photocopiers, you know, what’s the latest and greatest photocopier? They want to come up if they’re if they’re a photocopier company. So being able to do that at SEO, number one, it’s also long term. If you stop doing it, you will eventually begin to slide backwards. But I have clients who had been doing SEO now for four or five, six years and the stuff they wrote Three years ago was generating traffic today, it’s still generating traffic. And you can continue long term to create a very horizontal. NET on the web. So people searching for who knows what? Get that. Number two paid search, Google paid search it, you can turn it on tomorrow. Okay? It takes a week to get approved and set up the right way. But very quickly, you can turn it on people saying it’s expensive, but again, if you’re looking at it as a profit center and not a cost, the track ability of the tools today we can track phone calls, we can track forum fills, we can really track how many people click the ad. How many people saw the ad and didn’t click, what did they do once they clicked on it all these amazing tools that exist now to be able to just get that information so you can create what’s working and what’s not working? So organic search, paid search, Facebook advertising, retargeting remarketing, LinkedIn advertising. Again, you have to be smart about it. But with LinkedIn and Facebook, you get these demographic overlays. So you can say I only want companies in New England that are over $2 million, that etc, etc, etc. So you can, you can really have sort of the pick of who you’re trying to target it used to be in the early days. For those who are old enough to remember just going to any website, there were credit card ads and just as everywhere, there were very little controls over who saw what contextual display advertising Really important. It’s really kind of cool how it works. Again, if you’re in financial services and you’re moving into the US, you can show your ads just on the Wall Street Journal, just on people who are looking for fix and flip loans. So they’re reading about that you’re showing your ad specific to the people who would be interested in your product or service. So highly desirable. And then inbound marketing, which again, very complex, but that is also known as content marketing. And that’s where you’re just laying a huge foundation for different buyer personas, at different points in their buying cycles. And you’re just filling your website with pages and pages of content, answering questions by people who are specifically asking what’s the best camera equipment to buy these days? What is the best camera equipment for underwater photography? What is the best ball bearing manufacturer? How do I know which ball bearings are going to last the longest? Right? If your articles answer that your stuff’s going to float to the top, you’re going to train Google that your stuff’s important. And they’re going to reward you by posting it more quickly. And having it float to the top. And then of course, all of this ties in not just to its native self, but to voice search as well, because everybody’s just going Hey, Siri, what Who? Stop? Right, but I mean, that’s, that’s alright. You say it again? No. Okay. So there’s a real world sort of, that’s how people are searching these days.

Bill: Gotcha. And so yeah, we started With the website as being sort of the primary asset or the at least the initial asset, how can we talk about sort of these modes and how they integrate with the website or not to sort of compliment? How this all works, because obviously, an integrated strategy is ultimately what you’re going for our guests.

Jeff : So I’m going to draw that for you. Excellent. And your viewers because it’s really simple in people tend to way overthink us. And this is so this is so pre PowerPoint. I know. There’s the kind of WWW that is that is your center of the universe. That is your website. And what you do is if you do it the right way You have all of these things that are driving, driving traffic to the web. So that’s your blog, that’s your Facebook ads, that sure you’re not going to put your videos on Facebook, you could but your video library is going to live on your website. Sure. And so everything you do your LinkedIn profile your offers your your paid search, organic search, everything is going to drive traffic to this hub. It’s going to be really important to make sure that your website is laid out in a manner where it speaks to all your buyer personas. Which can be difficult for some people if they’re serving multiple masters. So we got an IT firm that we’re working with and they’re really great. And they sell to two different people. They sell to C level executives and they sell to directors of it. The conversation they have with those two buyer personas is very different. In fact, the director, it sees them as a threat, because they’re going to replace me Actually, they do a remarkable augmentation and they make the director of it look like a hero. But if you don’t know that, and you’re director of it, and I’m just trying to sell you on IT services, so you segment your audience, right and on their homepage. Now it says, I’m, I’m a C level executive or I’m a director of it. You allow people to self select, you also have to understand where they are in the buyer cycle. Are they ready to buy? Are they doing research? Or do they not even know what it is you do yet? Right? So you’ve got to be having those conversations, since you don’t know where they are in their journey when they go to your website at two in the morning with a hot cocoa in their bunny slippers. Right? You have no control over that you better make sure That you can connect with them pretty quickly. So that segmentation on the website is very simple. It’s the same thing. Another frequent sort of mistake we make is people will. A service company that offers an array of services, will create paid search ads on Google that drive them to the homepage of the website should be driving directly to that service page within their website.

Bill : So I have a So actually, I’ve been thinking of a question that actually that is a is a perfect segue for. So now let’s talk about sort of the digital marketing strategy for people that are exhibiting b2b companies that are exhibiting in trade shows. And it seems like there are a variety of me we’ve just talked about so many of the different modes and certainly the website being the hub of all this activity. What you know thinking about that exhibitor? Who wants to really leverage their tradeshow investment? How would they how would they use and what tools would be best to use from a digital marketing standpoint to complement their trade show? Maybe both pre and post event?

Jeff : Yeah, so the pre event is pretty simple. You just make sure they can register ahead of time, you make sure that you know, come visit us at booth number, whatever, make sure that information is there. I would pre gather information as much as possible. So that when somebody walks up to you, you’re Oh yeah, great. He went on our website, you filled out this form, etc, etc. So some great tools there. And then I’ll bridge the pre and the post because you’re going to use the same tool set. We happen to be big fans of something called a HubSpot There’s Peridot. And there’s Eloqua. And there’s what used to be the Adobe Marketing Cloud and there’s act on and there’s sharp spring in all these tools are in a class of MAS marketing automation software, but really simplified dumbed down. It’s just a bridge into your CRM. So that as people pre fill or fill out at the show during the show, it’s all going into one centralized place. And again, I know you see it in your people aren’t set up to do it. It takes about 20 minutes to set it up the right way. Some of these tools HubSpot has a remarkable CRM tool that’s free. You don’t have to buy the rest of their whatever, but you should be using something and then they all have list segmentation right? So people who came to the show, people who registered and didn’t show up, people who showed up and entered the free drawn, you can continue to manipulate all these tools. So you now got a segment segmented lists that you can now market to after the fact. Thanks for stopping by sorry, you didn’t make it, hey, you entered our drawing, you didn’t win or you did win or whatever, on being able to quickly and easily have that all that data at your fingertips is priceless. I mean, that is the you know, that’s the holy grill that people look for for years. And again, you remember the days pre pre electronic where it was all slips of paper and forms and can only go into these databases now very simply.

Bill : You mentioned the notion of a buyer persona and how a lot of people we certainly see it in what we do. We tend to think of it as persona creep, but where the, you know, who, who people might imagine this their persona over time just gets broader and broader and broader and so then that communication invariably ends up getting fairly vague and confused. So thinking about you know, going to a specific trade show, obviously, you’re you’re focused at that point on a specific persona. would you suggest having any specific assets on your website or refreshing that part of your website or even having some specific content on your website for trade show attend, you know, for that specific show attendee, I guess whatever the you know, when you think about the strategies for You know, here, you’re gonna be in a room of 1000 of those personas or, you know, whatever number. You know, are there some ways that you can sort of leverage that to to get people to super relevant content for them, I guess would be the pert the summary, So

Jeff : Yes, and yes, and it takes some work and forethought and planning. But again, some of these marketing tools have what’s known as smart content or buyer specific content I’ve heard a number of, so let’s say that, so we have a cable manufacturer and they make cables for bridges, and they make cables for tunnels. And they’re two different buyer personas, believe it or not, people who build tunnels don’t build bridges. You can actually tag that person with a cookie and everybody’s you know, compliant now with a with the euro and the American and whatever but you’re you’re, you’re changing the content of the website based on who the buyer is. So somebody comes back to your website three times they keep clicking on the bridge cables. The fourth time they come back you can actually show them America’s number one bridge builder and they don’t even see the tunnel stuff. So you can actually again the complexities that are behind the technology, it’s all there. But yes, I would say if you’ve got a show special, a lot of people do that and trade shows, there should be a show special page that you send people to in your in your post show, marketing or pre show or whatever. You can also put right on your homepage, you know all attendees, click here for Right, which actually doing is pretty smart. Because people who didn’t go to the show, click on it go, how come they’re getting special treatment? They pick up the phone and call, hey, I noticed this thing. I wasn’t aware of the show or I wasn’t able to go. Can you work with me? Right? It’s beginning the conversation, which is really all you want to do. So yeah, I would say it’s really important to, especially if you’re not a one size fits all company. So some of our companies are and they really need that end to end. Yeah, we’re going to do your cables. But we’re also going to do this and this and this and this, otherwise, you’re not our client. But if you’re like us, yeah, we do websites. Yeah, we do digital marketing. Yeah, we do audio and video. Not everybody uses us for everything. So if you’re a video buyer, I want you to go to the video stuff. I want you to be aware that we do this other stuff. But we don’t need to have those conversations. That’s why Buying a car is so difficult, because they’re trying to shove this information down your throat about everything. And again, I’m talking about traditional car buying. You only want to learn about x, you’re not interested in all this other stuff, and they’re too busy to listen to you. So yeah, I think that sort of focused content approach is really important.

Bill : Cool. Yeah. That notion of speaking, one to one almost to that to that buyer. Yeah. So maybe shifting up just a little bit. So the clearly, in all this execution is really important. But before execution, there’s got to be a good strategic plan. So can you walk us through the process of how you know how to how do we develop that sort of strategic plan, ultimately, that is both effective and also efficient or manageable because you know that we’re all we’re all. We all sort of have dreams. are up here, but we have sort of bandwidth that may be somewhere below that. So maybe you could help walk us through the strategic planning process.

Jeff : Sure. But before I do that, I’ll make a distinction. It’s not only the bandwidth that you know, your visions here, but the bandwidth is here. It’s also the market. Yeah, we’ve got a client that wants to be they came to us and their commercial equipment, reseller. And I asked them what success looked like to him and he said, I want to be the biggest commercial reseller of equipment in the continental United States. And I said, Great, no problem. That means you sell about 10 a year. And he said, What? No, I want to be selling hundreds. There’s only 10 a year people buying to not that’s his market, right? We did work for a stunning office in Middletown, Connecticut. I mean, it’s a beautiful office space. And he said For the money we’re spending, our phone should be ringing off the hook. Well, we did the research and there’s, you know, seven people a month looking for his type of commercial office space in and he was dumbfounded. He said, Well, why did my competitors tell me that? I don’t know. But sort of setting realistic expectations in that first phase. So step one is what does success look like to you? Sure, right. And it’s extremely varied. I have a client who if I get them more than three customers a year, they’re buried, they can’t handle. That’s what success looks like to them. I have another client who’s expecting 70 to 80 purchases a day. Very different. Very different goals. Right, very different. So number one, setting realistic, what does success look like to you? And yeah, so that’s important, and there are sort of sub steps to that which I won’t get into in too much detail. But understanding your buyer persona, understanding what’s realistic, understanding the competitive landscape, really important. What are your competitors spending? Are they blitzing? Are they worldwide competitors or regional competitors, because we have clients who have come to us and we figured, after doing the research, maybe you don’t want to play in this market, maybe you want to play in another market. It’s very competitive here. We have a lot more opportunities there. It worked out very well for them, and then they slowly crept into the other market. So really understanding that landscape. Understanding the budgeting process, understanding that they’re not our numbers. I’m not just making the numbers up. Oh, you need to spend $1,000 a month to compete. I’m basing that off of what your competitors are spending. And it’s important to understand again, how Google Ads works. If your next lowest competitors are spending $5,000 a month And you want to spend $500 a month, you know, imagine, imagine a billboard that’s up on the highway, and your competitors are showing thousands of ads, and you’re showing one ad every week. You’re just not going to get the same market penetration. So that’s sort of the real understanding those pieces, step one.

Bill : And then, in terms of developing the strategic plan, where do we go from there? Yeah.

Jeff : So then we lay out again, what it is you’re trying to accomplish. So it dovetails off what a success look like to you into How does that break down into specifics? So I have clients who do four things. And I have a security company and they do armed security sort of the men in black right? And then they do mall security. And then they do cameras and You know that sort of stuff, an entryway? And do you want to target market all of those across the board equally as fast? Or do you just want to focus on one segment of your business? So doing that segmentation and marketing plan? Are we just doing this for a while? Or are we going to follow up with the other one once we get some traction here? That’s sort of the the next piece from there you come up with a media calendar? Mm hmm. Right, the media calendar, I’ve seen one page media calendars, and I’ve seen, you know, volumes of media calendars. And that is the who is responsible for what and when piece, right, who’s blogging? What are we blogging? What are the offers that the blogs tie into? What are we doing before this trade show after that trade show? All of that’s defined, so you sort of your margin Orders are put together in then add design, add layout, copy, a b testing, all of that stuff is sort of put together. And you can do it in a manner where you crawl before you walk, walk before you run. Let’s do this and then meet but again, that media calendar is going to have your meetings. So we do have some clients that are set it and forget it, right there. hyperlocal or regional. We’re selling this product line to this, these states. That’s it, we turn it on, we check the performance, we tweak the ads once every 45 to 60 days. If we find certain ads aren’t performing well, we’ll get rid of them and try to do more like the ones that are performing. So there’s always some work. We’re also checking budgets because new competitors show up. Old competitors disappear. So there’s constant work that needs to be done. But that’s really what you’re paying your agency to do or hiring a full time person to manage that for you. So hopefully you’re accomplishing it.

Bill : Two other questions on the plan. So we’re in the process, because obviously there are tons of different modes. And primarily the modes are driving traffic to your website. But there may also be some direct contact like the news and whatnot. Or conversion type tools like an E news. But when in the process of us selecting what mode you’re going to be utilizing, and whether it’s Google ads, or E news or whatever it might be.

Jeff : So the research the competitive analysis will tell you on. So again, in the early days, you were sort of Well, let’s try it all and see what works. Now if you’re, again, whether using internal resources or outsourcing The person you hire or your or agency should be able to tell you what your competitors are doing. And so if you know what your competitors are doing, and they’ve been doing it a while, there’s tools that tell us this company has been spending roughly $7,000 a month for three years, or they continue to spend that money if they weren’t seeing, right, two fairly solid educated guess that is working for him.

Bill : Hmm. Got it. Cool. So and you talked about a minute ago talked about A B testing that may not be a term that’s familiar to everybody. Just kind of spending a minute and describing A B testing is obviously it’s a huge part of not only of digital marketing, but it’s also an incredibly valuable tool for market entry. Yeah, so maybe you want to talk about it, but no, no, no, no, it’s just as well. But yeah, I mean, conceptual conceptually. It’s testing more than one, whatever to, you know, just a B testing theory to improve your final outcome. So you can a B test how you’re manufacturing something. Let’s try it this way. Let’s try it that way. Which one gives us a higher yield, which one lowers our cost? And directly as it relates to marketing, you’re running multiple ads and trying to be found for multiple keywords and phrases for the different products and services that you offer in finding out which ones lead to ultimately higher sales. In your tracking number of times we show the ad number of times someone clicked on the ad number of times someone actually purchased from you. And then the nature of that business is also going to help dictate that a B test right. And you can test with different salespeople. Well, this salesperson has 30 plus In closing, this other salesperson is 50%. Closer, let’s figure out what that other salesperson is doing. Right? But running multiple ads in different formats at different times of the day at different cost per impression. Does your ad do better showing up number one or number three, we can actually move your ads around the page. Not number one is not always the best. And so we’re constantly moving and checking in generating and then tracking doing the analysis to find out every time we run an ad on toner cartridge lowering your ultimate toner cartridge cost. We get you know for every hundred times we show the ad we get one phone call. If we run an ad for free toner usage analysis, we get Having calls every time we show that 100 times, well, let’s turn the other one off, let’s not spend that money. Let’s find more opportunities that people want reviews of their products and services.

Bill : It’s another really good explanation, one of the things that we look at with with A B testing. I think, besides what you shared as well as is that it also takes the ego out of marketing. You know, you know how, you know, every time you’re in a room full of people brainstorming about, you know, building the strategic plan and everything, you invariably you sort of have the, you know, it could be the loudest person in the room, there’s, there’s always there’s just different levels of influence that happened in any strategic conversation. And our reaction now to those conversations, you know, and it’s all good. These are all good ideas is to say, instead of instead of, you know, the sort of attempt to show how smart you are Which, you know, often you go down in flames when you do that is, is instead is to just say, you know, that’s a great idea, that’s a great idea, that’s a great idea, we’re going to get it work. Those are, you know, part of what we’re going to be testing for. And so, you know, and, and we’ll just develop, you know, tests around that, those various hypotheses, and, and to treat each of those sort of, you know, almost, you know, when they’re delivered, they’re, they’re less suggestions than they are, you know, this is what you need to do, and turning them into No, these are, these are great hypotheses and and reframing it, we find really helps. And it’s amazing how often that that you’re wrong and how good the data Well, I mean, ultimately, it does help you, I think, not only test what communication works, what calls to action work and so on, but really Who your personas are we find that there our knowledge of the persona changes quite a bit. You know, it’s almost, we kind of look at it, it’s almost three steps, right? It’s that sort of, it’s all thinking of fishing, right? You’re the, you’re the first decision to Fisher, somebody that fishes makes is, you know, what do I want to catch? And then they decide what body of water they’re going to go fishing, and then what bait they’re going to put in the water. And, you know, when we think of sort of testing, those are kind of the, you know, those are the first three things we’re going to be trying to figure out through whatever, whatever testing we’re doing, and

Jeff : It’s really fun when something completely all together starts biting. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bill: Can we go and see this opportunity? Right. And that’s a pretty tasty fish. Yeah. How do we get more of those?

Jeff : Listen, I can’t tell you the number of times I’m fairly active these days on LinkedIn. Sure. I’ll do a post that I’m just sure is going to change the world and I get three comments and and you know, two likes, right? Nothing. And then I’ll do a throwaway piece says, I’ve been meaning to do this and it’s a filler until I come up with a better idea. And you get that email from LinkedIn, your post is trending on LinkedIn. And I’m like, that’s what people want to talk about. Okay. You know, you said to me years ago, we were working on another project. Many years ago, you can’t Oh, guess the market. And you just, you just can’t say, good.

Bill: It’s amazing how right customers are. So this is the perfect segue to sort of our last topic area, which is metrics. So, you know, this is all, this is all wonderful. But, you know, how do how do we know what’s working and what isn’t and how do we sort of set up because it you know, measurement is hard measurement is really hard and and And being consistent with it and, and and also, not just in the measurement, but also the analysis because that’s that’s part and parcel. So maybe walk us through that, that sort of that module a bit and tell us, you know, what are the best practices today?

Jeff : Yeah. So again, thanks for that sort of duality. There’s the actual capturing of the data and the analysis. And there are two very different skill sets. And again, who’s ever handling your digital marketing today should have a very deep understanding of what it is, especially if they went through the exercise of what is important to you, what does success look like to you, they should be able to show you that at the end. So capturing the data. There’s Google Analytics. If you have, it’s free, you just go to google.com slash analytics sign up for a free account. There’s also Tag Manager and there’s a whole bunch of other things that you can do beyond that, depending on how sophisticated you want to be. Again, if you’re, if your in house digital marketing person is doing it, then they got to do some research and figure out these tools. To you, it’s sort of some cost as a business owner because they’re there and they’re working and this is part of what you expect from them. If you’re outsourcing it, your digital marketing agency should be able before you even hire them to demonstrate that they have a deep thorough understanding of a the pieces and B analysis. Certain firms I know we have our own dashboard, and if you’ve ever logged into a Google AdWords account, it makes most people’s brains leak out their ears incredibly complex. And there’s thousands of links and even more data, and helping you sort through So we built our own dashboard, which goes right into their API. So it’s still their numbers. But it gives them to you in how many times we showed your ad, how many times people clicked on it, how many times they clicked on it and filled out a form or picked up the phone and called you. There’s call tracking. There’s extended call tracking, which will actually record the call and there’s just so much available. Also any of the marketing automation tool sets that I mentioned before. Again, we know HubSpot best. So I’ll use that as the example. The tracking of we actually have clients we’ve been doing this so long for that we know for every 10 blog articles, we get six visits for every six visits, we get three form fills you want six form fills right 20 blog articles, right you just double up on all of that data is there. People are often shocked when We start doing the analysis, when we’re doing blogs and nothing’s happening. And then you go into the data set and look at every page that has driven traffic to your website. And in one case, 64% of all of their web traffic was coming from their blog articles, and they had no idea. No idea. So again, okay, that’s great. Now, how do we take that and turn that into something more meaningful? No, no, people just find us on the web. Well, how are they finding it? Let’s do more blog articles. Let’s, let’s now add the pieces of the metrics that can be measured in and turned into something meaningful,

Bill : when I suppose you’re also looking at is, you know, 64% of the traffic’s coming from blog articles. And then what happens from that traffic? Are they are they whether they’re purchasing or whether they’re setting appointments or whatever the next step is, I suppose

Jeff : Yeah. So in their case, Because they didn’t understand the value of what they had, they had no offers at the end of their blog articles. They had no Call today for a free appointment. Click here to fill out a form for a no obligation, whatever. Didn’t have any of that in place, the end of any of their blog articles leave a comment of what they had. This is what percentage leaving comments, right? They got their information. Now in some cases, people were going, Okay, this is a company I want to talk to. And they just picked up the phone and call them. But there was no way to tie that phone call into the fact that they just write a blog article. Right? We now do that we have another scenario. There’s cross device analytics. So we had a company who was spending a lot of money on the weekends. On Google AdWords being told by an by a competitor of ours, you’re spending way too much money on the weekend. nobody’s buying on the weekends, all your sales are coming during the week. But because we had a cross browser cross device analysis, we were able to show them that 70% of your visitors on Monday found you over the weekend. They didn’t do any work, right? They just found you. They read a little bit, then they came in on Monday or Tuesday and made a follow up call or went back to the website. So turning those ads off. By the way, here’s the beauty of it. You don’t believe us? Turn it off. See what happens next Monday. When your sales Monday dropped 60% like that. You’ll know that and they actually said great. Try it. Let’s see what happens. So you can test it, right? It’s more than a B testing. A begged us to turn it on as quickly. But that’s you know, right. It’s a real world scenario right.

Bill : Now and it’s and it’s good. You know, the beautiful thing about it is you can Actually, you know, what’s the old adage? 50? We know that 50% of our marketing dollars are wasted. We just don’t know which way Yeah, in this in what you’re talking about, you can actually begin removing a lot of that error that those wasted resources and reapply them in a place where they’re going to be much better applied. So that’s all good.

Jeff : We also found 60 to 70%. Then again, these are not my numbers, you can google them 60 to 70% of an in house marketing’s ad budget paid ad budget is wasted.

Bill : Hmm. It’s, it’s amazing.

Jeff : They just don’t have the resources to check 50 times a day and see what their competitors are doing.

Bill : So a quick follow up question on in this area of metrics, and we talked about sort of, you know, it’s great to have the metrics, but how about the analysis. So how often on whether it’s whether you know, it’s the time You’re normally getting together with clients, or the How often would you suggest the team if you will the marketing team sit down and review these analytics and make action because it seems like this is something that needs to be on the calendar is a recurring event. Yeah. So.

Jeff : So again, really simple question with a really complex answer. Number one, it depends what you do. If you’re, if you’re a, you know, a local hyperlocal plumber servicing three towns, you probably don’t need to meet very often. Keep in mind that you as the end customer, whatever it is you’re selling, or service you’re providing will have access to these analytics 24 seven. It’s your Google account. It’s your paid search account. It’s your dashboard. It’s your whatever it is your HubSpot account. You’re going to be able to log in and check the data whenever you want. So you should not be held hostage by your agency. For many customers, and again, it depends on business cycles, we have customers who, you know, they, they, they do landscaping in the summer, and they do snowplow removal back when we had snow. So in the winter, so, so you’re gonna have times of the year where it’s a little more frequent. But I would say at a minimum, you want to do a monthly review, right. And in the beginning, when you’re setting all this up, you’re going to have a lot of frequent touch points, and reviews and processes once it gets going. I tell most people, so again, organic search, you’re going to have a 30 day review and then you’re going to get a quarterly report. We’re going to do a deep dive in that quarterly report, because organic SEO takes a while to actually track and measureĀ  azure Google has to do stuff, you have to wait for it. So that’s paid search, you’re going to check daily and see what’s going on. In the beginning, you’re going to have the setup the deployment, a lot of touching, then you’re probably going to go to a week or every two weeks, and then by month three or doing a month review, right? Also, you should find agent, paid search, if you’re going to outsource it, who don’t have a long term contract, it doesn’t work for everybody. It just doesn’t work for most and if your agency strong, they’re going to be able to prove it. But you don’t want to get locked into a one two or three year contract for something that isn’t working. That doesn’t help anybody. And that we see that a lot people come to us and they’re, you know, it’s been a year we haven’t seen a single lead. Hmm. And my first question is, why did you wait a year Well, we signed a contract we did this. Now I’m going to be able to prove to you regardless, organic paid Facebook, 90 days, three months, I’m going to be able to prove to you this is working. If you’re not happy on day 91 pull the plug. You’re free to go. important to understand don’t you don’t need to get locked in.

Bill : Cool. Now that’s awesome.

Jeff : Content Marketing is different. Yep. And that’s all that’s a two to three year play. Right? Yeah,

Bill : yeah. Yeah. more strategic than transactional. Huge. Yeah. Wow, this has been a ton of information, really, really good information, any sort of final words of wisdom that you’d want to make sure, again, specifically that international b2b market entry company would you know, as you sort of think broadly about all these digital tools, and certainly what you’ve been evangelizing is the idea of integrating these tools in a in a meaningful way, almost as opposed to having a beautiful instrument. really having a beautiful concert or a beautiful band? Play? Yeah. Any, any final words of wisdom on the top?

Jeff : I think number one, whoever you choose as a provider, again, whether it’s in house and you’re hiring people or you’re outsourcing, you have to make sure they have a proven track record and can show you their dashboards show you this is how we measure. Now understand what you’re getting at the end, right? That’s number one. Number two, you really have to be committed to this. And you have to keep an open mind. It’s really important. We see a lot of people who sort of attempt it with half measures. And then they say, Well, if we tried digital marketing, it didn’t really work for us. Well, let me take a look at what you did and we find out they didn’t really commit. You have to commit. You couldn’t run in the old, couldn’t run a yellow page ad, you know, every other month. Right? You were in or you were out, you had the biggest ad, or you had the smallest ad or you had something in between. and it either worked for you or didn’t. And people now it’s really interesting. Again, maybe not so much for the foreign market. But I guess it translates pretty well that that people would would actually say, Wow, this seems really expensive to me now, because they’re going to spend $4,000 a month or whatever it is, we think they should spend based on what their competitors are spending and $4,000 a month, what did you use to spend on yellow page ads? Oh, that was eight grand a month, we had the biggest ad and let’s go on some producing for you anymore. It’s actually less expensive, and you’re getting trackability which you could never get. So it’s really changing that mindset. Stop looking at marketing as an expense and look at it as a profit center. And you’ll be fine.

Bill : Cool. Awesome. So I would imagine there’ll be folks who hear this who would love to have a conversation with you talk a little bit more about image works and what you’re doing to help international market entry companies. What’s the best way for folks to get a hold of you?

Jeff : So the phone still works. Right? 860-454-0582 also, always www.imageworksllc.com that’s www.imageworksllc.com and you can also email me Jay.Cohen@imageworksllc.com And then there’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, you know, we’re on all those channels as well.

Bill : Sounds good. And yeah, with the phone number a plus one before the phone Number for international folks. Are you on WhatsApp as well?

Jeff : Uh, not the way you’re asking but yes. Okay. All right.

Bill : Cool. Well, thank you very much. This has been wonderful. Thank you everybody for joining us. And we’ll look forward to seeing you on all the podcast platforms and YouTube and, and in our blog as well. So thank you, everybody. We’ll talk to you all real soon.

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