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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!