I've recently purchased my first house and am currently experiencing the joys of its maintenance.
Don't let the last part of that statement fool you, I actually am enjoying performing various maintenance tasks and repairs because I'm excited to learn more about how my house works and how I can grow my, currently limited, handyman skill set.
As I find new items to learn about, fix, or install though, I often look to other experts online (often on YouTube) for helpful steps and tips on proper execution so that I correctly complete my task while also not killing myself. While my ability to read an instruction sheet has always been there and my confidence in certain maintenance capabilities has grown, I still find solace in leaning on experts who have performed these specific tasks hundreds of times when it comes to getting some of these helpful "expert tips" to make my life a little easier and ultimately get the results that I'm looking for.
I'd imagine that my home ownership and maintenance journey is much like many of yours when it comes to digital marketing. You know how everything works for the most part, you feel comfortable and confident in your ability to execute, but it's always great to get some tips from experts who do this stuff day-in, day-out.
As it turns out, the experts at our digital marketing firm and HubSpot Diamond Partner, Revenue River had a few extra minutes today to bust out some top-notch pro tips to help you get more out of your campaigns. Check out whichever campaign area that you're in need of the most help and feel free to reach out to us if you're not seeing what you're looking for!
Table of Contents - Click to Jump to Each Section
Your Expert: Your's truly - Marc Herschberger, Director of Marketing
Marc's Background: 5 years of digital marketing agency experience both implementing and building a strategy for multiple dozens of clients and campaigns.
Marc's Day-to-Day at Rev: Building integrated brand, content, and promotion strategies for clients while managing the Revenue River marketing services team. Whiskey normally finds a way into my schedule near the end of the day as well.
- Before you do anything else, make sure your brand is on point. One of the biggest issues that we see when taking over campaigns is that past activity fell flat because it was inconsistent with the brand. Make sure that you completely understand all elements of your brand (characteristics, voice, etc.) so that you can create messaging and overall campaigns that properly connect to your brand and your target audience.
- When planning your campaign, break it up into phases or sprints. There are often too many things that you could be doing within your digital marketing and it can often times be overwhelming to consider how you'll tackle everything. By breaking up your activity into specific phases, you can prioritize the most important and low hanging fruit at the right times to allow your campaign to properly progress while also driving the necessary results from day 1.
Your Expert: Deanna Yudelson, Content & Promotion Engineer
Deanna's Background: Deanna is a marketer from the Jersey Shore with a background in design. She loves social media, working with anything visual, and has two Instagram accounts (one for herself and one for food! Check out @forksandpassports).
Deanna's Day-to-Day at Rev: On a day to day basis, Deanna writes blogs, curates social posts, builds out emails and email strategies, and analyzes the results. By doing so, she ensures the clients have a strong brand voice and digital footprint.
- Everyone knows that including imagery in your social posts will help you garner more attention and engagement but few people seem to know what should be in those images. In many cases, I've found that posts with pictures of people (instead of a picture of a landscape, for example) get higher engagement. People like pictures of friendly faces.
- Build a community within a community for your specific brand. For example, one of our clients' overall following is a community of people who enjoy the outdoors, but there are a select few of those who are very active on social media (mostly Millennials) so we created a specific hashtag that lets those members of that inner community share their adventures with each other and increase exposure of their Instagram/photography/talents. What's great is that sometimes we'll have non-fans (artists, mostly) reach out with that hashtag to showcase their work in hopes of a partnership! Understanding the different micro-communities within your overall followership and tailoring your promotion to them will help you better engage with them while also helping you create and collect user-generated marketing collateral. Win-win for everybody!
- Don't be afraid to reach out to people who fit your brand. Sometimes I'll come across a page that fits one of our clients' brands and I'll reach out to see if they're willing to form some sort of partnership. Influencer marketing is on the decline as it's getting too expensive while providing fewer results, but if you send products to someone who actually likes your brand it's not technically advertising and they'll post pictures because they want to, not because they're being paid to. When I do this, I look for people under 10k followers because if it's above 10k they usually begin to charge.
Your Expert: Lindsay Rivers, Content & Promotion Engineer
Lindsay's Background: Lindsay brings nearly a decade if marketing experience to Revenue River. Over the years’ Lindsay has seen the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to building out marketing campaigns. Lindsay loves to add value by offering a creative strategy that is both smart and effective at achieving her client’s goals. She is a student of consumer behavior and geeks out when building a brand.
Lindsay's Day-to-Day at Rev: Each and every day at Revenue River starts out for Lindsay by petting all of the resident pups. After drinking a cup of fancy decaf coffee while soaking up her calendar for the day, Lindsay; like a well-oiled machine cranks out and promotes innovative and engaging content for her clients.
- Write a catchy subject line. The old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" does not apply here. People will judge whether or not they will read your email by the subject line. This is why it's important to take a few risks and be a bit more unconventional with your copy. The emails that perform well are ones in which the subject line evokes curiosity in the reader, makes them feel special and calls them to action (i.e. reading your email). If your email marketing tool allows you to personalize your subject line, do it. Nothing catches the readers eye more than when you call them out specifically. Also, this is important -- in today's mobile-first world, make sure your subject lines are ~50 characters or less so they don't get cut off, so be concise. Here are a few examples for you:
- "Jim, we have a secret to tell you..."
- "Bob, all the best athletes in the world share this one tip in common""
- Write engaging copy (obviously). Always, always write as if you are talking directly to them. Not as if a CEO to a boardroom. Even if you hare a B2B company, you can and should use your emails to make the readers feel like they know you. Ask questions, be more casual. Relate to your reader and be human. If your email looks like it came from a textbook both in tone and length, it will not get read. I personally like to use the second-person in my emails. The power of "we" and "you" translates into loyal customers.
Your Expert: Kelley Wrede, Conversion & Automation Engineer
Kelley's Background: Kelley has done just about everything at Revenue River from full campaign execution as an Inbound Coordinator, to planning as a Strategist, to now mapping and building marketing automation structure for our clients as a Conversion & Automation Engineer.
Kelley's Day-to-Day at Rev: Kelley's days include drinking and petting dogs, segmenting databases through automation, building workflows, building form systems, managing custom properties, troubleshooting automation errors between forms, and creating custom properties used as triggers in workflows. She is always learning and implementing new tools to assist in automation and implementing integrations to drive the bottom line. Put simply, Kelley is a conversion-focused rockstar that automates processes to drive more sales.
- You should approach automation from two different perspectives: 1) What can I automate to make the campaign more effective? and 2) What can I automate to make me and my team more effective? From a campaign perspective, automating nurturing is absolutely key. Automating drip campaign emails will achieve your goals much more effectively than sending out a lot of erratic blast emails because you can already build out a sequence and account for somebody's engagement, interaction, and behaviors ahead of time so you're already one step ahead and can capitalize on timing and what information you've fathered on the recipient to boost your conversions. From a team perspective, there are so many manual and administrative tasks that can be automated instead. Create quick automated workflows to help you and your team remember to complete certain tasks or to automate the updating of a contact record or the booking of an appointment onto your calendar is a lifesaver. If you can dream it, and your current marketing automation platform can't do it on its' own, Zapier most likely can!
- Document your automation! If you've tried automation even a little, you know that everything is connected somehow and one tiny tweak to a form or a webpage URL can totally effect and possibly break everything you have in place. Having key triggers or critical workflows that affect your whole automation ecosystem documented somewhere that is easily accessible by your team will save a lot of headaches. Tools like LucidChart are awesome to track the flow of the different paths you have in place and how they interact with each other. And when in doubt, whiteboard it out!
Your Expert: Alex Bair, Content & Promotion Engineer
Alex's Background: Alex has a varied writing background, but is predominately focused on content marketing from her background and as the lead written content creator for a fashion-tech startup. She's responsible for writing everything from blog posts, social media, promotional emails, interview questions, and video scripts.
Alex's Day-to-Day at Rev: Monitoring social media performance for all of my clients, doing research in support of the content I'm creating that week, finding a good playlist to listen to while I write, finding inspiration in collaboration and the awesome work my co-workers are doing.
- My favorite long-form content, especially blogs on a subject I don't know a lot about, are highly narrative-based with a strong voice. Complicated topics and technical subjects can be tricky to write about, but if you have a clear through-line in your writing and something meaningful that you want to communicate, you can engage almost any audience. Having a story to tell makes all the difference, plus a unique voice will set you apart.
- A major trend in content marketing has grown from the ubiquity of social media. Not only does your audience expect excellent content, they now expect that content to reflect their wants, needs, and input. Engaging with your audience takes more work than just creating whatever types of content that you want to, but the return on that time investment can be huge. Start thinking about the kinds of content that will engage your audience the most and then listen and respond to their feedback.
Your Expert: Kate Ahokas, Creative Director
Kate's Background: With over 15 years of experience in the field of design, and a background in Science, Tech, and Literature, Kate has a wide gamut of interests that is complemented by my love for art and design. She's had a unique opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds, and Revenue River is no exception.
Kate's Day-to-Day at Rev: As Creative Director, Kate is always trying to learn new styles, techniques, and tools that are constantly evolving, and to find ways to always improve. She ensures that Revenue River always brings the best to our clients.
- Above the fold is not the end all be all. In the past, web design gurus always told you that the most important aspects of your website needed to be above the fold so that you had more of a chance to get people to see or do what you wanted them to. While being strategic with what is seen first on your website's pages is still important, users are calling for and web design is allowing for more long-form page designs that provide a greater amount of information for the user. Consider your users' preferences and your marketing's approach to content when building out your next web design and be prepared to create a longer page design that still takes into account what needs to be above the fold.
- Always start with a wire frame. Pretty expert insight, right? While this tip seems a little 101, what I want you to take away from this is that 1. Not everyone actually builds out wire frames before creating designs of any kind and that can lead to major issues later on in the review process, and 2. Wire framing allows for you to focus on the functionality of a page before the design, making sure that you're considering key elements like content flow, conversion points, and user experience. Find a good wire framing tool out there (there are plenty to choose from with price ranges that meet most budgets) and start planning your pages out before you even start thinking about design.
Your Expert: Tom Burgess, Director of Multimedia
Tom's Background: An experienced campaign driver and strategy wizard, Tom has a solid background in “thinking outside of the box.” With a keen eye for the video world and where it's heading, Tom brings a wealth of ideas for your multimedia campaign, and damn good ones. On top of that, his background and attention to the strategy and your audience interaction, your campaign will drive off of structured goals and implementation tactics to get the most of your video content. His personality and how he leads your multimedia campaign will leave you feeling refreshed and excited…and you might possibly get a laugh from his deep thesaurus of “Dad Jokes” (even though he has no kin yet.)
Tom's Day-to-Day at Rev: Besides everything Big Data, Tom’s day is spent solving for his clients to drive bottom-line success as well as advising on key digital marketing strategies, specifically when it comes to video. If he’s not staring into the eyes of our Marketing Director, Marc Herschberger, he is plugging away on building the Revenue River brand through multimedia mediums.
- If you begin a video project without completing a company video micro-audit, you’re not beginning with the end in mind. This is especially sound if this is your first touch with that specific client. By performing a company video micro-audit, you’re educating yourself on three critical pieces for success: the clients brand, their multimedia strong or weak points, and where their competitors are winning in the digital video marketing world. A micro-audit takes under 30 minutes to complete if you do it right, and it’s a launching point for understanding where your client needs immediate help when it comes to video production.
- Your video project roadmap: I see a lot of people get caught up in the excitement of signing a client to produce videos, and when they kick off the project they lose sight on the bigger picture - stating intent and giving full visibility into the project from start to finish. In our video process, this is broken down into three critical areas, with specific milestones your clients should note in each: Pre-Production, Production, and Post Production. Now, everybody’s process is different, but I would advise you if you haven’t mapped out your video project roadmap and timeline before you get your first client, back up and build it. Your stakeholders will thank you.
Your Expert: Sergey Dubinin, Paid Media Strategist
Sergey's Background: I've been building paid media campaigns for the last 4 years with brands like Audi while also helping to build inbound campaigns meant to help drive long-term success alongside those paid campaigns.
Sergey's Day-to-Day at Rev: Sergey spends his time building paid media strategy for clients, and he manages paid search & paid social campaigns for Rev's clients in different verticals with different campaign objectives.
- Your Paid Search Campaigns: Conversion tracking is a must! Before you start spending money make sure it is setup and working (properly!). Place your conversion tracking tags on result pages ( thank you page, confirmation page etc.) and assign dollar amount values to each conversion (for ecommerce, setup transaction specific conversion values). Having this setup will help you get a more accurate sense of your return on investment (you know, that fancy ROI term everyone is always talking about).
- Your Facebook Campaigns: Use the right campaign types depending on your goal. Let's use event promotion as an example. Target your ads better with an event engagement campaign before starting a ticket sales campaign. That event engagement campaign allows you to capture the audience who might be in the consideration stage. From there, use this audience to generate a lookalike audience and use it for your ticket sales campaign. When starting your new campaign, under the consideration column choose Engagement and then Event Responses.
Your Expert: Nicole Lawrence, Director of Search
Nicole's Background: Nicole has half of a decade of search engine optimization execution and strategy creation experience. She's Revenue River's in-house guru for both client and agency side SEO.
Nicole's Day-to-Day at Rev: On a daily basis, Nicole (a.k.a. "Larry") spends her time developing SEO strategies for new and current clients. Larry is the leader of the development of the search department of Revenue River.
- When it comes to making your website rank higher within the search results, it is extremely important that you optimize more around topics rather than exact match keywords, which is what you would have done in the past. Because of Google’s AI, RankBrain, it can understand what concept you are trying to rank for, so you can focus less time on keyword density and more time actually giving the user what they want by adding additional context and insight to a piece of content. A more important way to optimize a page, rather than placing an exact match keyword, is to ensure that you are covering different synonyms within the particular topic you are trying to rank for. This will most likely happen naturally as you write your piece of content, but it is always good to go back and check.
- Keeping the above in mind, it is important that you create long-form pieces of content to go along with each topic that you are trying to go after. This will give value to your readers and give Google all the information it needs to rank your website for the right stuff. Once this page is created, you will want to support it by creating topic clusters. This just means making sure to link back to this page from topic-related blog articles. This will help it get more traffic and give it an extra boost in authority from those pages, which in turn will help it rank higher.
Your Expert: Amanda Daume, Director of Sales Enablement
Amanda's Background: Amanda started out as an Inbound Coordinator at Rev in 2014. Shortly thereafter, she moved on up to Inbound Strategist, serving on several interesting campaigns with complex system elements. That was her first exposure to enabling Sales teams with access to lead intelligence, performance visibility, and centralized data. It was love at the first integration and she's been looking for opportunities to increase system and process value across client tech stacks ever since.
Amanda's Day-to-Day at Rev: Some combination of researching, implementing, or testing creative solutions, whether it's a new tool, a new functionality inside an existing toolset, or connecting platforms for improved data flow, Amanda is always on the hunt for ways to optimize the systems and processes our clients' people need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
- There are eleventy billion tools out there aimed at increasing sales productivity and improving overall sales performance; just because you can implement a cool new tool doesn't necessarily mean that you should implement it. Adding unnecessary layers of tool management can result in overly complicated processes that do not yield justifiable results. What evaluating a potential new technology, consider the below questions. If you're not sure about the answers to any of them, you need to spend the time digging deeper to fully understand. Obviously, if the answers indicate you don't actually need the new tool... don't get it.
- Do we have an existing tool that provides this functionality?
- Could this potential new technology replace any pieces of our existing stack?
- What is the true impact on the user's end? Is this a tool they can leverage within other work spaces (email integration, CRM integration, etc.) or is this a tool the requires separate management?
- How are you going to evaluate whether it is "helping" or not?
- Don't overlook your adoption plan. Building out new systems or updating existing ones can be an incredibly taxing process, so it is easy to lose sight of what happens once the task at hand is complete. If your users don’t know what they’re doing because they haven’t been properly trained, your shiny new system is going to add zero value to the organization. To avoid launching a system that falls flat on its face, bake in a series of team updates and training sessions to the project plan. Be sure to give folks ample time to prepare mentally and physically for the changes they’ll be seeing as well as plenty of opportunities and resources to learn how to utilize the toolset properly.
There you have it! Real tips from real experts.
Don't see the kinds of information that you were hoping for? Don't worry, we're full of more great stuff. Feel free to reach out to any one of us with questions and we'll spill the beans on what we're working on at the moment and how we think it's helping our clients succeed online.