Category Archives: Assessment Marketing

Local Lead Conversion and How the Spaces Between Platforms Make It Happen

Long title, I know. Sorry about that. Nick here to expand a little on the presentation I’ve been giving lately to local service providers on lead conversion. We have been speaking a lot in front of groups like the Homebuilders Association of Austin, the Austin chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (aka NARI Austin for those in the industry) and so on. My recent presentation for these groups has focused on expanding Rusty Shelton’s overview of building a digital platform and understanding the three different auditoriums that comprise every brand’s marketing makeup.

The Three Marketing Auditoriums – Quick Overview

lead conversion

You’ll notice that all three platforms interact based on the diagram above and, ultimately, the goal is to feed the Owned Platform from Rented and Earned endeavors.  For reference, here’s a quick overview of the three arenas Rusty discusses.

Rented Media

Spaces where many flock to talk, share and consume, but they do not own. You can build an audience for yourself from the milling crowds running around in these spaces, but you have to stay in these spaces to continue the conversation. These spaces are owned by others and you have to subscribe to them and follow their rules if you want to play. Which means that the rules in these spaces can change dramatically and without warning. 

Earned Media

Other spaces endorsing you and lending you to their brand in order for you to gain attention and credibility. They control the messaging, the audience and the space, but their endorsement can drive a lot of attention your way.

  • Magazines, Newspapers, TV and other traditional pubs
  • Speaking/Presentation Opportunities
  • SEO: Google, Bing, Baidu

Owned Media

Spaces you own and control. You have to build your own audience for this space, but you decide how you display and disseminate information from these spaces, and when someone is in this auditorium, you control where their focus goes next.

  • Website
  • Newsletter

The Spaces Between Auditoriums Drives Conversions

When thinking about these three auditoriums (what we do in each one of them and who participates in each of them), it’s important to ask about what happens between them as well. Living between the auditoriums is where engagements of consequence tend to happen. These engagements are usually the action items that lead to real conversion. Let’s break it down.

The Space Between Rented and Earned Media

These are places where your audience lends their credibility to yours but neither of you owns the platforms where these conversations happen. In a word, think reviews. Think of Yelp, Facebook Reviews, and Google Reviews. These are platforms where folks can tell the rest of the world how they really feel, sometimes fairly anonymously and sometimes completely in the light, it just depends on the platform. For service-based brands in fields like moving, construction or remodeling, plumbers, real estate, cleaning, etc., these 3rd party platforms lend a level of objectivity to folks looking for these services, especially when they can see a bunch of perspectives on a single brand all in one place that a business can do very little to modify or change.

Gnash your teeth all you want at the unfairness of these sites, but even if certain claims about fake reviews making up anywhere from 2%-16% of all online reviews, the majority are real and mass review attacks from malicious competitors or disgruntled clients and employees are rare if happening at all. Many 3rd party resources like BrightLocal and Search Engine Land talk review why these review sites are so important to getting found and converting online. So, if your reviews are lacking, your brand is seriously lacking. Get them, respond to them, ask for more of them. If they constantly come back negative, the adage about looking for the common denominator in all of those responses most likely applies.

Also, besides review sites, getting mentioned on social sites in closed groups (think local swap groups and mommy groups on Facebook or sites like Nextdoor.com) can lead to significant lead generation if the general conversation about your brand is positive. Even if an unhappy customer posts something negative about your business in one of these spaces, if your general service for others in the area has been positive, then this can lead to more attention and opportunity for your brand.

Yes, this means you need to be monitoring these spaces, but it’s worth it if these spaces are generating leads. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask customers to give you a shout out in this manner. It really does generate growth for your brand.

The Space Between Earned and Owned Media

This is credibility you have some control over. You not only gain information and credibility, you create an informed position to determine what happens next. In this section, we are talking about testimonials and assessments.

First, if you are going to get testimonials, try to get them as video testimonials, especially if you’re a B2C (business to consumer) type business. And with the video testimonials, you can always transcribe them for the written one. Typically, I encourage B2C companies to focus on building their reviews on 3rd party sites, but there is always merit to owned testimonials as well. For B2B (business to business), it’s easier to lend credibility to testimonials that come from other brands – accountability is easier to maintain.

Now, for the game changer in this category – assessments (or quizzes, if you prefer). Not just surveys. Surveys miss a step and provide non-specific results when someone hits the submit button. Create an assessment with results logic at the end of their feedback journey that provides them with specific calls to action or things to do based on how they answered your questions. Not only are you capturing all that useful data, you are driving your captured audience to then do something you want them to do. Basically, you are earning their feedback and then in turn controlling what they will potentially do next after giving you their knowledge. For satisfaction surveys, if they score high enough in their satisfaction, drive them to leave your brand a review. If you want to build an email list, then use an assessment to not only capture their email address but give them something of value in return and drive them towards action items that matter to them and to you. There are a few systems out there you can use for this. We use Catch Engine for assessment marketing.

The Space Between Owned and Rented

Gain some control over a rented space for your messaging. This one is all about Pay Per Click Ad campaigns. Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Youtube Ads – you name it Digital Ads.

For this arena, it’s all about great content and crafting the right audiences for your ads. The nice thing is that you can control exactly who can see your ad campaigns on platforms like Google and Facebook. These platforms are getting eerily good at tracking everything from individuals’ interests to income to job groups to family dynamics. Seriously, it’s messed up, but man can it be effective.

Know your audience, research your competitors, craft your message, spend some money on design and start testing campaigns against each other with different focus groups.

You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to run decently successful digital ad campaigns that focus on lead conversion. Sometimes $40 on the right boosted post on Facebook, with the right audience, can generate 5 deck jobs. We had it happen for one of our construction clients.

Wrap It Up, Nick

This is a fairly brief overview of what I dive into in my seminar, but hopefully, it gives you something to think about when considering your marketing strategy. All three auditoriums are crucial to local lead conversion, long-term brand development and marketing success, and do not neglect the spaces between. And if you’d rather have someone else handle your marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us. Cheers y’all!

How to Build an Online Presence for Your Business

online presence

Building an online presence can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. Hopefully, this article will serve as a guide on how to get started online and tell you what we, at Alter Endeavors, think is necessary for every business to have online.

Pick your Platforms

Let’s start with the fact that in a world where there are literally endless social platforms on the Internet, you absolutely have to set limits. Which means you don’t have to be on every social platform. At AE, we suggest starting with a 1-3 approach. Meaning, at a minimum, choose between one and three social media platforms, and concentrate on doing those well. But how do you choose which platforms are right for you? First and foremost, your choice is based on WHO you are trying to reach. Who are your essential, must-have customers? Are they even on this platform? If your people are there, you HAVE to be there. Once you decide, you may need a basic guide on how to start a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Houzz account.

Focus on your Core Values

A major part of establishing a company is promoting your core values and your mission statement. When setting up your platforms, the “about section” should have a strong description that is unique to your brand. Consumer loyalty increases drastically when their values align with a brand they use, and this can be a key aspect of who your loyal customers are. Once again, consistency in your about section/bio is important across all platforms to enforce your brand’s image. So, when choosing your mission statement, be sure to take the time to develop it so that it exemplifies what is unique about your brand and what makes you stand out from your competitors.

High-quality Images

When starting to build your online presence, it is paramount to collect high-quality images and logos for your company. An example of high-quality photos that you may want to use on your accounts is pictures of the interior and exterior of your brick and mortar locations to use in your marketing efforts. Not only do you need easy access to these photos, they should be consistent across all of your platforms. Your brand must be the same in all of your marketing, or your customers won’t recognize it easily. Once you have high-quality photos of your logos, you can use them as your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to help people recognize your online accounts as legitimate. By keeping your logos consistent across all of your platforms it will increase your brand recognition. After collecting all of your high-quality photos and logos to create your online presence, it’s smart to save them all together somewhere so that you have a source for content later as well.

 Sizing for Photos

When creating your online presence, make sure that your platforms are uniform and appealing to the consumer. Incorrect sizing can easily mess up the look of your photos. Whether it is your cover photo on Facebook or an Instagram photo, it is important that you use the appropriate size and dimensions, or your page could look unprofessional. For an easy guide on what dimensions you need to use on certain platforms, click here.

Add Updated Contact Info

If a customer wants to contact you and can’t find the correct information, it could quickly lead to bad PR. To avoid potential bad publicity, it is necessary to add a link to your website, as well as your correct phone number and address to your online accounts so that customers can reach you. By adding your contact information, you are able to openly communicate with your customers and hopefully strengthen the connection between your company and its customers.

Establish your Business

A good way to establish your business online is by claiming your business on Yelp as well as setting up a Google My Business account. While there are many benefits to claiming your business, the biggest one for growing your online presence is that it improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Your company will show up when searched for and potentially when someone searches by your location. By setting up an account for Google My Business, you verify your business information, help customers find you, as well as continue to tell the story of your business.

Ask for Reviews

Last but definitely not least, growing a positive image for your brand online is necessary. While people may find your product interesting and want to try it, many consumers go to your website, Yelp or other review pages to find out what others think of you. This is why it is important to reach out to loyal customers and ask them to leave a review. This extra bit of work may end up being what makes a person decide to support you or not. In a constantly changing online world, people expect to know if they can trust a company prior to buying from them. By asking your loyal customers for reviews, it ensures that your business is receiving positive and sincere reviews that can help your brand.

Start with these tips and you’ll have a solid online foundation for your business. Hopefully, this article was helpful in leading you to create your online presence. If you need more help building and maintaining an online presence for your small business, we would love if you considered Alter Endeavors!

Site Case Study: Steve H. Lawton

Steve H. Lawton

While all of our clients are different, it’s not every day that you encounter a person like Steve H. Lawton. An executive at Dell, Steve had a snow skiing accident that nearly ended his life. He came out of that experience with a powerful perspective on living. His was a site we knew we had to build.

A SPECIFIC PERSONALITY

Alter Endeavors builds our sites to engage the visitor. Conversions and usability are at the top of our list. After that, however, the site is about the person or business; who they are and how they want to be perceived.

Steve was starting his branding from scratch. Aside from the cover for his book, the Steve H. Lawton brand had no look. Part of our process is having the designer interview our clients. We do this so the designer understands the vision and personality behind the site. As Steve and his designer—also Steve, funnily enough—talked, it was clear this site was going to be special. It was going to be capital-b Big on personality.

THE MAN. THE MESSAGE. THE SITE.

When we began our engagement, Steve’s book Head First: A Crash Course in Positivity was being finalized and on its way to the printer. With that in mind, it was important to identify the purpose of the site. Does it begin and end with the book? Or is the site about Steve H. Lawton beyond the book?

Steve wanted a platform to continue to share his message. His blog is front and center. Prominent newsletter signup forms and calls to action ensure those who want to hear from him can easily sign up to do so. An RSS feed signup is also offered.

Steve needed a stage for his speaking efforts. Steve’s speaking page is a study in how to do it right. Testimonies and client logos build credibility. Potential clients can see the topics he speaks on, and watch Steve in action in his videos. Steve’s bio and print-ready photos are there to be downloaded and included in programs and on event sites.

While the site is a solid platform for the book, it has a life after; accommodating all of Steve’s efforts and his mission moving forward.

A QUIZ THAT PROMPTS

The message of positivity carries an introspective aspect. To foster that interaction, we worked with Steve to put together a quiz that engages his visitors. The results of the quiz get them thinking about positivity in their lives, furthering the impetus to buy his book. (They can also sign up for his mailing list when they take the quiz; or not, it’s up to them.)

A SITE THAT BELONGS TO STEVE

Building Steve’s site was not only a pleasure—he’s great to work with, we were sad to see him go—but also fed into Alter Endeavor’s mission of making this world a better place. Another one of our values is constructing sites that are unique in the marketplace. There’s no one like Steve. There’s no site quite like his either. (Just try and get that from one of those cookie-cutter templates we all see the ads for.*)

*Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Catch Engine: Assessment Marketing and Building Brand Power

Assessment Marketing

Survey marketing has proven a very popular and effective brand building tool online for decades. Systems like Survey Monkey and Google Forms provide very polished and easy-to-use platforms by which anyone can create surveys to capture information. Typically, survey marketing focuses on data trends, gathering large numbers of responses for macro analysis and determining “big data” points of interest that occur when viewing large numbers of responses all in comparison with one another. This can be a very effective approach for brands to review these big data trends based on the questions they ask and then direct their operations, marketing, sales and other brand development efforts accordingly. Sure, a brand using survey marketing potentially captures some way to continue re-marketing to their survey takers, but there tends to be a massive, missed opportunity to assess and respond accordingly and immediately to every person who takes a survey. So, enter assessment marketing.

The Value Exchange

Every day more people are being more selective about how they spend their time online and what value they receive by not only giving their contact information but also their responses to specific questions. Assessment marketing, also referred to as quiz marketing, maintains the survey marketing element but takes things a step further by creating targeted responses to people on how they took the survey. Providing these targeted responses can be achieved by treating surveys more like quizzes, where every answer has a score and those scores then dictate the best response to send to the end user, all based on their participation.

In order for an assessment to provide something of value tailored to the end user, the end user has to provide an accurate input of information. For example, they answer a series of questions about their communication preferences and in return, the assessment provides them a response page gauging what kind of communicator they are. Both sides of the exchange are getting something from this engagement. The brand gets valuable information from an engaged end user along with their valid contact information (since that is the only way the end user gets their results.) The end user finds out something about themselves that they were not necessarily able to gauge readily or accurately on their own.

The Call to Action

You have heard us talk about calls to action before on this blog. Some calls to action are necessarily plain and simple (like “Call Us”). But that may not be the best approach when building brand awareness or vetting possible leads. An assessment, although a call to action in and of itself, can drive incredibly focused and appropriately targeted calls to action to those who participate in taking it. For example, a satisfaction assessment can determine whether someone is happy or not with a brand’s service—driving happy customers to Yelp or Google and unhappy customers to continuing the conversation until the brand makes things right. An assessment may also drive a budding author to consider a webinar series created by a particular writing coach based on their focuses and interests. All the while, the brand is being provided valuable demographic and feedback information about current customer satisfaction, potential leads, market segments, etc.

Furthermore, as a call to action, an assessment can also become a magnet for others to visit a brand’s website. People who take the assessment will likely share their results with their spheres of influence if the information is tailored enough to describe them and/or help them. A great example is the Narcissism Test by Dr. Craig Malkin. The assessment does more than tell you whether or not you are a narcissist. It determines how much of a narcissist you are and whether your narcissism is the healthy type or the extreme type or if you are not enough of a narcissist for your own health. This assessment has been taken hundreds of thousands of times because people share the test and it has built a very powerful brand for Dr. Malkin.

The System To Get It Done

Historically, creating assessment or quiz systems like this have always been expensive, temperamental and cumbersome. Most brands can’t afford to spend $30K or more (plus monthly management costs) for a system that cannot be easily manipulated on the fly. So, to build these assessments quickly, efficiently and cheaply, the principal over here at Alter Endeavors, Nick Alter, designed and developed a platform called Catch Engine.

Catch Engine allows for brands to effectively build out assessments (or quizzes, whatever you want to call them) with an intuitive system to build out the questions, answers, response pages, logic system and additional actions (like alerts and MailChimp or Infusionsoft integration). By creating assessments with Catch Engine, building brand power becomes a much more focused and tailored experience for both the brand and the end user. The end user benefits while the brand’s power builds exponentially.