Part of the ‘Real Deal with Bob Kehoe’ series

WHEN MARKETING ISN’T ALL ABOUT MONEY

Per the Oxford Dictionary, misconception is defined as “a view or opinion that is incorrect because it is based on faulty thinking or understanding.”

Over the years, I have been on either the correcting or corrected end of many misconceptions. Most notably – and correct — are these few:

  • Mrs. O’ Leary’s cow did not start the Great Chicago Fire by kicking over a lantern.  This was a myth made up by a newspaper reporter.
  • Bill Buckner’s legendary between-the-legs blunder did not cost the Boston Red Sox the World Series. It cost them the sixth game which resulted in a seventh showdown with the New York Mets.
  • America, not Neil Young, topped the charts with the 70’s hit “A Horse with No Name.”

When it comes to an online presence, one of the biggest misconceptions I hear from business owners and CEOs is “we do not sell products online and our operations aren’t geared towards attracting clients to our site, so there’s no reason for us to heavily concentrate online.”

Recently, we were charged with providing a contractor with an evaluation of his current online operations. In all communications before our sit-down, the CEO of the company was skeptical, to say the least, that our services could benefit his company.

When most companies search out potential contractors and vendors, they will take to the web to get as much information as possible before and after initial meetings to vet the prospects.

“Business has been good,” he said. One of their biggest contracts is with the federal government, and they were able to thrive despite the economic downturn the last half dozen or so years ago. Additionally, the nature of their operations involves no online sales to clients whatsoever. It simply provides an overview of his company’s history, key staff and major clients and accomplishments.

When most companies search out potential contractors and vendors, they will take to the web to get as much information as possible before and after initial meetings to vet the prospects. It’s common sense these days when companies are about to get into business together. Given the nature of the prospect’s operations, mainstays such as the Better Business Bureau’s site may offer little, if any, additional information.

if you were hiring a new employee you were about to invest resources in, what would you think if you couldn’t find a trace of them online or verify their credentials?

Any well-constructed business website allows companies to prove they are who they say they are before the conference call or the multi-media proposition. This step is critical in making the decision of whether or not to go into business with someone. After all, if you were hiring a new employee you were about to invest resources in, what would you think if you couldn’t find a trace of them online or verify their credentials? The candidate would most likely be considered suspicious. Bottom line: You don’t want your company to appear sketchy, cheap or suspicious as a result of your online presence (or lack thereof).

To address these concerns, Leverage tailors a custom program for its B2B clients. Along with a site design tailored to their unique needs and for optimum search engine reach, we implement B2B advertising in their marketing plans. This process lets prospects know that the company is exactly who they say they are. We are applauding a recent innovation by Google that allows for ads to be received on Gmail based upon e-mails the user has been receiving over the course of his or her operations. By incorporating Google’s new product into our B2B marketing strategy, we take B2B advertising directly to the e-mail of the user seeking out operations similar to those of our clients’.

 

Gmail Ads for B2B Advertising

Gmail Ads for B2B Advertising

 

Also, Google’s program allows us to target Gmail users seeking out competitors’ businesses. By utilizing the competition’s domain name, prospects can be directed to land on a page showcasing our clients’ operations and, through our specialized program, put our client in the running for their business when the user probably wouldn’t have heard of them otherwise.

Our contractor prospect walked away from our meeting not only impressed by the opportunities available to his outfit but educated as well. And we were more than happy to show him that a well-constructed site and course of action can be as valuable as a site whose primary concern is if its viewers take Visa or Mastercard.

In other words: another misconception debunked.

 

Insuring Optimum Mobility

Responsive Design for mobile shopping

© Solidsdman | Dreamstime.com – Mobile Retail Shopping Photo

For many folks, insurance is perceived as an evil, be it a necessary one or otherwise.

 

But a few days ago, I found myself actually amazed by insurance. Or, to be more specific, how that industry has embraced mobile technology.

 

A friend of mine works as a sales representative for a big-name commercial insurance company, specializing in small business liability and property coverage. Like many, he and I both alternated between shooting the breeze, feeding our faces, and tending to our respective smartphones when we met up for lunch.

 

At one point, he raised his fist in victory, having bound coverage for a 24-unit condominium – a $10,000 policy when all was said and done – with a few scrolls and punches on his iPhone.  He then gave me an impromptu demonstration, creating a full and thorough quote for an apartment building that was good to be bound from where we sat. From start to finish, it took him ten minutes, I’d say, to put the quote together.

 

“Even ten years ago, this would’ve taken us at least a day to get a quote like this together,” he said. “From here, I can e-mail a full proposal to a client and offer multiple coverage options. Anyone that knows just enough about quoting insurance to be dangerous and knows how use an iPhone can do this. I’m not kidding.”

 

He’s right. The fields he went through to enter the quote were simple to understand and simple to maneuver. And for me, the setup and design of the quoting program he used was as impressive as his ability to create a $4,500 apartment quote over a chicken sandwich and diet coke.

 

The availability of the technology at his fingertips – especially given the competitive nature of his profession – as well as the user-friendly mobile responsive design of the program is paying off for my friend with his bosses when they track his sales numbers.

 

Websites that are optimized for mobile viewing are seemingly becoming the norm these days rather than the exception; Google is now alerting users if a site isn’t mobile-friendly as opposed to indicating a site has mobile capabilities. To me, that’s saying something about the importance of mobile accessibility for both the myriad of businesses embracing the platform as well as their visitors.

 

Additionally, the program my friend used to generate the quote was, he said, the same as the one he used at his office and on his laptop. Today, one website takes care of both pc/laptop and mobile strati as opposed to separate sites for each individual use, which was the case early on in the mobile era.

 

While mobile operations are becoming more and more commonplace, we at Leverage have long been aware of its potential and the rewards clients can reap from factoring this into their overall online operations.  We incorporate mobile use into our plans for clients and see the rewards of its applications and designs as essential in the long run.

 

Case in point: a client of ours who switched to a mobile-responsive design saw his order volume increase more than 150% over the first six months of this year when compared to the same time period last year. Additionally, his order revenue nearly matched that, up 148% the first half of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013.

 

Seeing my friend make $10K over lunch on his hand-held device and watching clients up their total revenue by 148% YOY reinforces my belief that there are many other companies out there that haven’t begun to scratch the surface of the potential benefits from smart phone ecommerce and responsive design. We’re ready to start scrolling and tapping away on any size device when you are.

 

Teeing Off for Success – Internet Marketing Strategies

I, like many, take golf seriously. Teeing off for marketing success

During the summer, a set of clubs can always be found in my trunk, and weather forecasts during scheduled business trips in warmer climate locales are monitored well in advance for even a remote chance of getting 18 holes in. I’ve owned copies of “Caddyshack” on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray, and in many bonus and anniversary editions.

Lastly  – and big surprise here to those who know me  – I have drunk out of a golf bag-shaped beer mug after a day on the links (and depending on the company I’m keeping, I’ve hoisted a couple of them before the first tee-off). Read more

THE DOORS OF MIS-CONSTRUCTION

There’re a few things about myself I am certain about. I’m a father and husband, first and foremost. After that, I’m the CEO of a digital marketing company.

As of late, though, a title I’d never earn came to light: expert handyman.

Over the course of the last four Saturdays, I undertook the responsibility of replacing and hanging eight doors in my home because that’s the manly thing to do, right? Rather than pay a professional for the material and labor, I opted to save a few bucks and do the work myself. Read more

Confidence & Digital Marketing Results | The Real Deal Blog

It’s often said that “nobody likes a braggart,” but I have to admit, they’re often fun to listen to.

 

Hello I am Genius nametagMore often than not, a lot of braggarts – most notably athletes –write checks with their mouths that their asses can’t cash.* In the 60s, Mohammad Ali turned bragging into an art form: whether he won or lost, his pre and post-bout rants have become the stuff of sports legend, with future generations in pretty much all sports following his lead.

 

And usually badly at that, I have to add. If Ali was the Beatles of trash talking, today’s boxers, with very few exceptions, are the equivalent of Nickelback**.

 

From our sales staff to our creative team to our technical crew, Leverage Marketing is made up of nothing short of Ali-esque players, all superstars in their field and not a B-team player in the bunch. This is a boast I gladly put out there to everyone from prospective clients to colleagues within the industry to acquaintances wondering what it is that I do on the Internets.

 

To me, it’s not bragging, nor is it arrogant: it’s what I like to call “justifiable confidence.” The Leverage team has proven, time and time again, they can come through for our clients’ online marketing needs and, more often than not, exceed their expectations.

 

Not too long ago, for example, we took on a property management company with more than 2,000 commercial buildings in their care. Despite growing $40 million in pre-Leverage revenue and operating with a $500,000 marketing budget before we assumed the reins, their-then online performance was hit and miss, and they found themselves lagging behind their competition in terms of bookings.

 

Our response to their lack of marketing results – which included retargeting, bid optimization, and focusing on improving the amount of their online spending while increasing their bookings – resulted in growth by leaps and bounds. Over the course of 12 months, the property management company brought their costs per acquisition down 24 percent, their online spend decreased by 15 percent, and saw a 32 percent increase in online bookings. These internet marketing results are hardly small potatoes.

 

In 2014, the property managers are expecting to see their profits continue to grow based on the programs we implemented. They’ve also rededicated themselves to effective online marketing as a whole thanks to The Leverage Way: this year, they have committed to an additional 50% increase in their online marketing budget.

 

Admittedly, this is an example and these are numbers that roll off my tongue without hesitation when asked of recent digital marketing success stories as of late. Yet our successes with and for the property management company is just one of many, and is the foundation for my “justifiable confidence.” Add our second-to-none all-star roster and the hard work and enthusiasm they bring to each project into the mix, and I have plenty to boast about on a regular basis.

 

Basically, I can put my money where my mouth is without question or reservation, which is something a lot of business folk in most any field can’t do. And that’s an awesome feeling.***

 

 

* “Pro Wrestlers” and  “Reality TV contestants” don’t factor into my above hypotheses.  In fact, they really don’t factor into anything.

** Or, for those of a certain age, Milli Vanilli. Or CCR without John Fogerty, if we have to go back farther

*** “Nya-nya-na-nya-nya.”

 

Contact Us today to be on your way to a successful marketing campaign!

Why You Should Give Soccer & SEO a Chance

With the World Cup just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about my conversion to becoming a fan of the game. I like soccer and I’m not afraid to admit it! But, it wasn’t always that way. Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago during the late 70’s and early 80’s, soccer was not a popular sport in my neighborhood. Not that we disliked the game, we just weren’t exposed to it. Our sports were pretty much limited to football, basketball, baseball and hockey. My youngest daughter is the reason I’ve been exposed to the sport. She has been playing soccer since she was 6 years old, but in the beginning, I was not even close to appreciating the game. Read more

Why to Hire Specialized SEO & PPC Marketing Experts

Bob Kehoe grilling kabobs on faulty grillThis past week, I was staying at a rented house in Austin. Whenever I rent a house in the city of our company headquarters, I like to have the core Leverage team over for dinner.  I consider myself a pretty good cook, and I got my bragging rights from cooking alongside Emeril Lagasse on his show “Emeril Green.” Through my experience, I’ve become fairly proficient at cooking for large groups. I have some go-to recipes I can cook blindfolded that please a majority of the crowd the majority of time. At the rental house, I found something a little alarming: the grill there was made by the same company that makes vacuums. As anyone who cooks frequently will tell you, the degree of difficulty goes up an order of magnitude when not using your own equipment, especially shoddy equipment. I certainly missed my grill while cooking up that dinner.

Read more

Force Multipliers, Vietnam & Our New Badass Software

This week I had breakfast with a good friend of mine who is recovering from knee replacement surgery. We hadn’t seen much of each other in recent weeks, so it was great to see him. There are many reasons I enjoy spending time with Bill. One of those reasons is that he is a living encyclopedia whose knowledge covers a wide range of topics. In fact, the only time I ever won a trivia contest was when I was partnered with Bill at a local sports bar on trivia night.

One of the interesting things about Bill is that after he graduated from the University of Texas in Austin he went straight to Vietnam. He served there in the U.S. Army from 1968-1972. His official title today is LT. COL. Bill Puckett, U.S. Army (Ret.) The other interesting thing about Bill is that he also worked for the CIA, and that comes with some incredibly interesting stories.

 

LT. COL. Bill Puckett, U.S. Army (Ret.) at right

 

I’m not sure how it came up in conversation but somehow we started talking about force multipliers. I wasn’t surprised when Bill started telling me a story about an important development during the Vietnam War when Laser Guided Bombs were used to destroy a target for the first time. The story began with the attempts to destroy a bridge in Vietnam named the Thanh Hóa Bridge. It was a critical link between different regions in the North Vietnam and a strategic passage for supplies and reinforcements to the Viet Cong fighting in South Vietnam. Both road and rail traffic passed over this bridge.

From 1965 to 1972 many attempts were made to destroy this bridge. In all, 873 sorties were flown, the largest being the first strike which was comprised of 79 aircraft. After dropping 1200 bombs on the bridge, many of which drifted off course, the only damage was some charring and traffic only stopped for a few hours. Sending that many planes up to hit the bridge gave the enemy an incredible number of targets including bomber aircraft, radar jammers, search and rescue and tankers to name a few. Realizing the importance of the bridge, Bill said the Viet Cong had an impressive air defense network with 5 regiments being assigned to fight off U.S. air attacks.

In 1972, the bridge was finally destroyed by 12 USAF F-4 Phantoms, 8 of them equipped with laser guided bombs (LGBs), making it the first time in U.S. Military history that LGBs were used. This was a breakthrough moment as now fewer troops would be put in harm’s way and fewer resources would be needed to accomplish the same mission, making LGBs a force multiplier for the U.S. Military.

After breakfast as I was driving home, I thought about the term “force multiplier” and how it relates to my digital marketing business. In no way was I comparing it to the gravity of the story Bill had just told, but how the term itself relates to what we do.

One of the things we do to continue to provide value to our clients is to try and squeeze as much out of an hour of work as we possibly can. Companies like Leverage Marketing are paid for our time and knowledge, and if I can add efficiencies to any one of our processes or services, we’re helping our customers get more out of the money they spend with us. A good way of looking at this is through the term “force multiplier” we have a number of platforms and technologies we use that fit in this category.

Our latest force multiplier is a new PPC management tool on the market right now. It works backwards from business goals to achieve the ultimate efficiency and profitability in PPC for our clients. The platform is called Marin and it is a bad ass system.

 

Marin-software-logoAt its core, Marin is not a PPC management tool. It’s a revenue acquisition management platform. It’s built to acquire insights that drive bottom line revenue. That’s something we like!  At Leverage, we take pride in transparency and delivering the most profitable results to our clients. This tool helps us do just that by separating the wheat from the chaff of digital advertising, and then taking that wheat and turning it into bread. Marin integrates data from nearly any data source you can think of: CRM systems, accounting software, AdWords, Analytics, Site Catalyst, you name it. The data needs to be free in order to be useful.

The system takes this data and uses algorithms that are informed by business goals to forecast profit potential, find pitfalls and help advertisers turn on a dime. Scaling is more efficient when technology takes into account the realities of your business like seasonality, margins and competition. Software like this allows analysts to spend more time on high value tasks like strategy, market share, messaging, and building lifetime value. We can move faster and more efficiently.

Combine these features with insightful executive-level reporting and granular reporting for analysts, and you have a force multiplier that is a unique competitive advantage in the right hands. A well-trained analyst will see and proactively prepare for potential pitfalls while simultaneously growing revenue.

Increasing speed, efficiency, profitability, and insight at the same time is the definition of a force multiplier. Just like the U.S. Military was able to take out Thanh Hóa Bridge.  By combining our highly trained and experienced analysts with the world’s best revenue acquisition platform, Leverage is able to take down the competition of its clients.  If you’re a competitor of one of our customers reading this, hopefully you’re not going to show up with a bow and arrow and expect to win.

The Best Place to Hide a Dead Body

Goodfellas has gone down as one of the greatest mobster movies that doesn’t contain the word “Godfather” in the title. Watching it the other day, I drew some parallels to a unique incident that happens in our industry. Let me take you through it. In Goodfellas, Joe Pesci, playing the role of Tommy DeVito, shot someone (Spider for those who remember it) and then had this exchange with Jimmy Conway played by Robert Deniro. (Graphic language blocked out for the young ones.)

Jimmy Conway: You stupid b*****d, I can’t f****n’ believe you. Now, you’re gonna dig the f****n’ thing now. You’re gonna dig the hole. You’re gonna do it. I got no f****n’ lime. You’re gonna do it.

Tommy DeVito: Who the f**k cares? I’ll dig the f****n’ hole. I don’t give a f**k. What is it, the first hole I dug? Not the first time I dug a hole. I’ll f****n’ dig a hole. Where are the shovels?

What a great scene in a mobster movie! BUT what does that have to do with digital marketing? I’ll tell you what it has to do with digital marketing. Jimmy and Tommy spent a lot of time digging a hole to make a body disappear to never be seen again. But the best hiding place for a dead body is really on the 2nd page of Google or beyond. Studies have shown that about 91.5% of search engine click throughs occur on the first page of search results. The rest of results pages only make up a slender 8.5% of clicks.

Google_search

Even worse, recently, we have been approached by more and more companies that have been serviced by non-forward thinking SEO firms. These SEO firms pursue outdated and frankly lazy SEO tactics that put their clients’ sites in jeopardy. These tactics might have worked some time in the past but now, they do way more harm than good. Companies using these SEO providers have seen sharp declines in their organic traffic due to Google penalizing their site for spammy SEO tactics. In these cases, your site’s rankings go the way of Spider – buried on the second page of search results or far, far beyond that. We’ve even seen companies ranking on the 10th page of search results for their own brand names!

web-traffic-decline

More and more companies are facing sharp declines like this because their SEO agency took the easy way out. The road back to Google’s good graces is not a fun one and can leave your business struggling while the traffic is not coming in. Overall, when confronted with a penalty there are really only 3 approaches.

  1. Fix it – Go through the arduous process of fixing it and pleading with Google trying to convince them that you’ve sworn off anything spammy.
  2. Hybrid – Look for a place to move your site or fold it into an existing partner site. This will allow you to distance your site from the past practices but still build off the SEO value of an already existing site. An example of this approach is folding a penalized satellite site into a subdirectory of your main company site.
  3. Start over – The cleanest approach to get back your rankings over time is closing shop at your penalized domain and reopening on a different server with a different domain name. This is also perhaps the clearest path to success since the ball is in your court and not left to the whim of Google and the responsiveness of their web spam team.

Each of these approaches has pros and cons, but you have to determine the best approach for your business based on what the data is telling you to do. We are strong believers of the mindset that the data has all the answers and that the answers are just waiting to be uncovered. So the next time Goodfellas comes on, enjoy the movie, but you also might want to think about how close your site is to being buried in a deep, deep hole never to be seen again.

 

Suspect your site has been buried by a penalty?  REQUEST A FREE PENALTY AUDIT

 

Your Mom Hates Your Site

Your mom may be a lot like visitors to your web site. She may not want to or be able to tell you the bad news — your site sucks. Your site could actually be a huge factor in why you’re not seeing leads, sales and other conversions. In fact, a new study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology has found that it only takes two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form an opinion of your brand. Read more

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