How To Survive in a 2020 Digital Landscape


We are far from the days of digital being easy. The business world is online and competition is fierce. The industry is evolving faster and faster and if you are not nimble and focusing on the correct growth in 2020 all the clicks, leads, and purchases are going to the competition.

Every year our agency game plans the most important strategies, channels, content, ad platforms, and digital direction we provide to our clients. With 10 years in the digital marketing space we have seen a lot of change and 2020 is going to be the hardest year yet.

Here are the 2020 digital strategies that we will be focusing on with our clients.

1. Master Attribution

You may have Google Analytics or a Facebook pixel, but do you really know what turned that individual from prospect to profit?

Do you know what platform is getting you the best bang for your buck? 

Now in today’s digital world individuals will visit your site several times prior to converting. They’ll find your Facebook ad, a blog, maybe a promoted LinkedIn article then return directly a week later, and click a retargeting ad a day later. Then, they will finally convert!

So which marketing channel gets credit? Was it your blog? The Linkedin article? Or was it the Facebook Ad?

Make sure you have the right attribution model, so you know what touch point is influencing and contributing to the sale!

Accurate data is going to be pivotal in 2020. Invest in hiring a professional to setup your Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Google Data Studio. Test everything and report multiple attribution windows (First Click, Last Click, Time Decay, etc) then compare to your backend numbers to ensure it is at least minimum 90% accurate.

Example: Google Data Studio Report

2. Organic Social is Going Obsolete

In 2018 Facebook rolled out a huge change in organic reach for business pages after they decided to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.”

Similar changes are happening to Instagram and other platforms that were once organic utopias. Even in 2019 we continued to see a steady decline in the majority of platforms businesses previously invested a lot of time and money in growing. Page like campaigns and other social asset building strategies are turning into more vanity metrics then actual ways of increasing audience and sales.

In 2020 we predict that more platforms will continue to become ‘pay-to-play’ and the days of reaching all your followers are long gone. 

Of course this doesn’t mean that there aren’t places you should be investing in organically (ie: YouTube, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, Google Search). But if you think growing your Facebook Likes in 2020 is going to solve your sales problems, you are going to have a bad year.

Facebook organic reach 2020
Facebook organic reach in 2020 is dead.

So what can you do in 2020 to dominate on organic?

It is extremely important to selectively pick which platforms your business grows on and then use the other platforms for good ol fashioned advertising arbitrage and retargeting. The platforms of course need to align with your demographic. If you own a funeral home, Tik Tok may not be the best platform due to its younger user base. But you should already be all in on Google Search, YouTube and other platforms where you can target people looking for relevant information.

To be honest the one organic platform that is most effective across all businesses is Google Search. But you should be looking at YouTube as well. Most platforms burst your entire organic reach in the first 24 to 48 hours. With YouTube your views continue to grow quite significantly over the long tail. So you can post a video, maybe get 100 views the first couple days, but over time this number will continue to increase significantly if you know how to properly rank videos and even better, add a little paid promotion. Try this on Facebook and Instagram, you will get 99% of your views in the first 48 hours and then will never get any additional reach on the post. Making all that time you invested almost worthless after 48 hours.

Be smart with your organic investments in 2020, make a solid plan with your agency and double down on the networks that will grow over the long term. Also only pay for growth on platforms that have organic reach.

3. Thinking in house…. Think again

Now, In house marketing seems like a great idea, you have staff on the payroll you have them under your influence, you can be agile and responsive. Great!

But what’s the reality… 

Unless you have endless hoards of cash it can be quite difficult to maintain the upkeep of world class media buyers, copywriters, graphic designers, video editors and web developers.

And let’s be real they have a cushy job… they don’t always have to perform.. It’s not as if though you’re not going to pay their salary next month if they don’t drastically improve your business’s revenue. (and legally you can’t just sack them).

Now, If you’ve read this far I’m almost certain that you’re a smart business owner and know that the ROI in marketing is paying word class marketers to think of new and innovative ways to acquire and retain lucrative customers. 

So, allow us to run the numbers for you

Now do you really think this one media buyer will understand ad buying on all platforms? Facebook? Google Ads? LinkedIn? Content Networks? Tik Tok? … Probably not. We have to hire all these media buyers individually, a great Facebook marketer is usually never a world class Tik Tok marketing, or advertising on OutBrain and Taboola.

Now, lets compare this to an agency like ours, we have hand picked some of the best talent in the world (this is why we have staff globally). We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on training, development and testing with our staff.

Our staff have all designed, manufactured, written and launched campaigns that have profitably generated millions of dollars for our clients online.

Media buyers, copywriters, account managers, graphic designers, videographers, video editors, web designers and web developers.

All of this world class talent at your fingertips, working in the trenches, helping you take your business to the next level for only $5-10,000 a month. 

Or annualized: $60-120,000 

You’re a smart business owner so we’ll let you make your mind up

4. Content First

In the Digital age we are no longer influenced by someone shouting from the rooftop “buy my stuff” “We’re better, our product is superior.” 

You may even be finding yourself asking the same question of businesses, “Why are they better”, “What makes this company superior to the other company.” You may even ask, “What’s this companies mission, what do they stand for.”

And these are all the questions people are asking of your company, and that’s exactly why “content first” is the way to sell and absolutely dominate an industry. 

Now what does “content first” mean, content first means producing informative content for the viewer (your prospective buyers) before you ask for the sale.

Make a video, a blog post or even an animation showing why you/your company are the experts in your field, show the customer ways the product/service can help, show them what problem it solves, show them other ways you/ your company can improve their life, give them industry information.

Think: How can I give information away for free that would improve my prospects life?

2020 advertorials
Advertorials are a great example of content first marketing

Now, down to business. Why does this work?

We have this psychological phenomenon called reciprocity. When someone does something nice for you, you want to do something nice back. Interact, encourage, support and ultimately become a lifetime customer to the company that helped you have greater knowledge when other companies just expected you to buy.

An example of this is in December 2019 after Black Friday when we typically see campaigns fatigue. We started using content first for a photography client that sells different training worksheets and courses.

Our direct response ads were working great and generating record high ROI, but we were starting to get stuck scaling and needed to get to the next level.

So our plan was to go content first. Giveaway 6 eBooks in a listical article, no catch, completely free. In this article we would link to some of our paid funnels and insert options throughout for people to checkout our paid assets. This is of course a very simple explanation of the entire strategy, but goes over the main principles.

Results

2x increase in ROI compared to the direct response campaign
4x decrease in link click cost
2x increase in overall reach and impressions on the campaign

This campaign didn’t just help us ROI more, but it also helped other campaigns by increasing our audience size and remarketing lists considerably. This strategy doesn’t just work on Facebook ads, it literally works across majority of paid networks. This is the future. Let’s call it stealth selling.

Why does it work? Because users are tired of being sold items, most ads online are direct response and going directly for the sale and provide no value to the user. Users are more likely to click on articles and less likely to click on posts that they consider ‘ads’.

5. Multi-Channel is a Must

What is multi channel marketing? 

Multi-channel marketing is the practice of using multiple mediums to advertise and reach prospective customers. This gives you the ability to reach customers you couldn’t reach on one platform alone.

You may have a user that initially views your branded content on Facebook, then searches Youtube and again views you content and converts on the Youtube advertisement. 

And you will also have scenarios where an individual may not have Facebook, Snapchat or Pinterest, but they see you on Linkedin and Youtube when searching for solutions to their current dilemma. 

Social Media Demographics
Social Media Users by Age Demographic 2019

Conclusion

If you tackle these five items, you should see significant return on digital investment in 2020. They will help you save money, get a clearer picture, and make sure that you are expanding into the right places.

If any of these steps are confusing to you or you need help, book a free 30 minute consulting call with us and we can help you with direction on any of these key pillars. Also follow us on Facebook, where we will go in-depth on each of these strategies throughout the year.

Successful Entrepreneurs Never Compromise on These 5 Fundamentals


If you’re reading this, more than likely, you have ventured into the world of online business at some point. As an entrepreneur, you have a dream to create residual income or a clientele base to satisfy the hunger your business craves daily. Sadly, many people who start out on a business venture won’t be able to see it to completion because they lack the strength to push through obstacles which eventually stand in their way.

For this article, I interviewed Rohan Sheth, founder of Rohan Sheth Consulting, and asked him to shed some light for entrepreneurs who are continually searching to make themselves and their businesses better. Here are five habits you should practice in order to achieve the success you desire.

1. Give content away for free.

As an entrepreneur who is trying to pay the bills, the thought of giving something away for free is a hard pill to swallow. In fact, it seems contradictory to what you’re trying to accomplish with your business. However, there is a strategy involved in giving away free content. Naturally, companies have tested this, and Costco was one of them. In 2014, the company told The Atlantic that sales jumped 600 percent after testing their market with free samples.

Sheth explained in order to create a brand people can know, like and trust, you need to build value around what you do. The good news is, you don’t have to continue giving things away for free. Once you have trust, you can build your reputation in your niche. Balance the give and the ask, and your business will begin to see results.

2. Stay consistent on tasks.

Like any entrepreneur on any given day, your workload is tremendous. You juggle 50 different tasks at one time, and it seems there is always something you could be doing.

During this phase of your business, it’s imperative you stay consistent on the projects you send out, especially on the web. Your audience sees what you are producing and during this time, they become acquainted with what you are giving them. For example, if you publish a blog post every Monday, your audience would be upset if, come Monday, a new article wasn’t there. Make sure you stay consistent with everything you are sending out.

Pushing consistent content to your audience does a lot of things to help your business. Not only is most of this going to be free for your audience, it will build your credibility and help you establish a foothold in your industry. Plus, it’s always nice when your audience is not only reading but consistently talking about your brand.

Being consistent is crucial in order to balance this dynamic within your target audience.

3. Live a healthy lifestyle.

I know what you’re thinking — I’m too busy to workout or do cardio, said every entrepreneur on the planet.

Those who understand the need to take care of their body as much as their business are the ones who benefit from the effects of leading a healthy lifestyle. One of the greatest benefits of exercising is the fact it increases your endorphin levels, which helps your brain think more clearly. It basically clears out the cobwebs. Better yet, being cooped up in your office all day with low light in front of a computer screen leads to serious depression issues.

Living a healthy lifestyle can eliminate all of this and create less stress levels for you to deal with later on in your workday. In fact, there’s a good possibility you’re not exercising enough, says CBS Atlanta. Take some time out of your day and go for a run or walk the dog. Just do something.

4. Have a plan for your goals.

Goals help you stay on track. Plans allow you to get there. Sometimes entrepreneurs are just ready to start their business, not really knowing what to expect or what their end goal is. Having a business goal can help you measure success and, if you write it down somewhere, it becomes more real to your company because it transfers from a thought in your head to a tangible thing you can see. Now you can start to focus on the goal you have.

Where do you want your company to be in one year? Write it down. Where do you want your company to be in six months? Write that down as well. Now, create an action plan on how you need to achieve these goals.

No matter which successful entrepreneur I talk to, each one of them have grasped the idea of setting and achieving goals in their business. This is where a lot of so-called entrepreneurs miss it. They have the vision and the dream, but they fail to plan it all out so the business can realize what they’ve seen in their head.

It isn’t real until you write it down.

5. Take time for family.

Part of being a successful business person is knowing how and when to manage your time. There is a balance between family and work, and you have to be a professional time master in order to accomplish it. One of the reasons entrepreneurs burnout and quit is because someone forgot there’s other people living with them. The job can put a strain on the whole family if you cannot figure out which time is best for work and which time is best for family.

One suggestion is to sit down with your family and explain the rules. This is just an example, but if you begin work at 6 a.m. every morning, and you know you could be finished with everything by 6 p.m. every night, tell your family. This way they know if it is 5 p.m., you’re still at work, and you shouldn’t be bothered. On the other side of the coin, if it’s 6:30 p.m. and someone emails you, it’s up to you to adhere to the rules of time management.

Sit down with your family and pick the time that works for everyone. Set aside time for a day off, too.

Conclusion.

Not every entrepreneur will become a success. Some will choose other things over their business. Others will burnout because, frankly, they burnt the candle at both ends. Worse yet, some will be completely ignored.

However, Sheth believes if you follow each of these five habits, you can be found in the ranks of successful entrepreneurs who have realized it’s a little bit of strategy, a little bit of healthy and a little bit of family that makes up the whole part of the entrepreneur in the end.

The Importance of Vertical Video Marketing for Mobile

If you depend on your smartphone for almost everything you probably switch on to your social media and favorite websites on your smartphone especially when you are on the go. Social media and any website now extensively use video content to share stories from users, or video marketing from businesses and retailers to create brand awareness. If you are a smartphone user you would be aware of the hassle of turning your smartphone horizontally just to see the full-scale video presentations at hand. Gone are those days as most social media interface is switching to vertical videos. You can switch to your favorite videos without changing the orientation of your phone.  Vertical videos prove to be the future based on research on click per minutes, favored by users everywhere. For businesses and retailers, this should be an eye-opener as they shift to vertical video marketing as part of their social media marketing strategy.

Social Media Marketing and Social Videos

Most people are now on some type of social or another and when we mean most people, we mean about 2.77 billion people worldwide as of 2019. Social media platforms are the most extensively used sites where people interact, share stories, communicate and message.  If you are a business or retailer you will find most of your customers or leads on social media.

Users love videos, as percentages go 91% of customers have watched a video about a product or service they care about.  Businesses know the importance of videos as well, 82% of businesses perceive videos as important to their overall marketing strategy. It is a fact that videos are all important but people are caught on the impasse of going vertical or horizontal. At first, people frowned upon vertical videos because of the reduced size compared to wide screens and it just plain looks like amateurish stuff and no business wants that. However, with the popularization of smartphones comes the preference for vertical videos and vertical video marketing saw better results and everyone found that they should just go with the flow.

People Use their Smartphone to View Social Media

People only have a short time frame to access their social media as they go to their workplace and they usually access it on their smartphone. Smartphones are designed to receive and make calls and so it has been designed to be vertical. All of your experience on your smartphone including online browsing is designed to be vertical including videos, in fact, according to a MOVR Mobile Overview Report 94% of users hold their phone vertically when watching a video!

Social media platforms know this fact and have increasingly become mobile friendly. Holding your phone upright allows you more access and freedom to type away and access menus, and use social media interfaces in a more natural and intuitive way.  Social media platforms know that optimizing mobile experiences is the way to go and major social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat have removed the black bars on vertical videos to give videos a more appealing look for users.

Social media platforms have embraced the Vertical Format

Social media platforms know the impact of mobile use on the way they should present media such as videos on their sites. It has been estimated that 52% of global internet traffic comes from mobile traffic.

YouTube is the number one video sharing app and number one video-oriented social media platform. They adopted a vertical video format not just on their mobile but on other devices such as desktop which adjusts size based on video aspect’s ratio.

Facebook stories were released on mobile apps, desktop sites and WhatsApp strengthening their hold on vertical videos.

Instagram direct their users to use their Instagram stories interface more and have released IGTV which is kind of like YouTube for vertical videos. IGTV is a vertical video application that allows you to upload videos up to 10 minutes in length as a regular user or up to 60 minutes if you are popular.

Snapchat is the original in making attention-grabbing self-destructing videos and images go viral. They are constantly upgrading their interface to encourage vertical videos for both its users and advertisers. Snapchat is constantly upgrading its features to catch the interest of its community.

Vertical Video Marketing for Better Engagement

Businesses that have adopted vertical video marketing attest that it did wonders for their social marketing strategies and customer engagement. Vertical videos catch more of user’s attention and according to Wibbutz, a platform for creating automated videos there is a 130% increase in views and 4 times more engagement in Facebook when using vertical videos.

Vertical videos on mobile phones also have an added advantage: it takes up the entire screen space so your viewers will not be distracted by other factors such as comment sections. A full-screen space gets your products full focus and no other distractions giving you the time to shine.

Vertical videos also have a higher completion rate. According to MediaBrix, a digital advertising company, they found that viewers only watch horizontal videos till the end 14% of the time while vertical videos are watched to its completion 90% of the time.

Vertical Video Equals Minimal Effort

It is human nature: people are just too preoccupied or to be honest, too lazy to turn their phone sideways to watch a video. If you are on a cramped train on your way to work, it’s just too much hassle to put your phone in a certain angle. Constantly on the move, or passively sedentary, horizontal is just an unnatural way of looking at stuff on your smartphone.  A lot of businesses are going vertical and shooting videos in a vertical format including the New York Times. If your business is still using a horizontal format, better look in user’s trends and adopt the format that clicks with the majority so your videos and infomercials on social media can gain traction. You might be losing the opportunity to connect with your customers if you are still not using the vertical format. Vertical videos are also easier to record so if you are planning your next social marketing strategy use vertical video marketing formats for ease of use for both creators and viewers.

If you would like to know how we can help you create vertical videos that convert more customers, get in touch today!