March 11, 2014

5 Proven Steps To EARN and KEEP Your Client’s Trust

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You may have been hired, but are you trusted?

We believe that one of the most important tasks of a marketing company is to consistently win the trust of those who invest their marketing dollars in your hands. Earn the trust of your clients, and you’ll have the permission to execute comprehensive (even bold) campaigns that drive results for your clients. Lose that trust, and you’re dead in the waters.

For those of us who work to create and employ digital marketing strategies on behalf of businesses and brands, earning and keeping the trust of our clients must be one of our most important priorities.

With this in mind, here are our 5 proven steps to earn and keep your client’s trust:

1) Be thoughtful, not reactionary.

Sometimes, good marketing requires acting on a hunch in the moment. Always, great marketing requires a well thought-out and educated strategy. Do your homework, define the strategy, document it, and hold yourself accountable to each deliverable along the way. 

Own It: Provide written documentation of your strategy and deliverables to your client. Putting it in writing will ensure accountability, which builds trust over time.

2) Be realistic.

When we set unrealistic timelines, we rush projects and present less-than-desirable work. That work is easily questioned and rightfully so. Producing beautiful work requires time – there’s simply no way around it. Be honest and reasonable when discussing project timelines with your clients. If you need more time than they are asking for, communicate the necessity of the extended lead time.

Own It: Rather than simply setting dates, communicate about timelines with your clients. Educate them on the necessity of the lead time you’ve allotted, and set up a touch-base in the interim to communicate about the project and ensure that you’re on the right track.

3) Minimalize hype.

It’s no secret that those of us in the marketing business tend to lean toward the type-A personality type.

As such, we can easily fall into the trap of over-promising at every point of contact. It’s just our nature to think aggressively. However, lofty thinking can quickly sour the relationship with clients if we struggle to deliver on our own hype.

Own It: Rather than focusing on large goals, dedicate yourself to the sequential smaller goals that will build momentum toward the outcome you’ve communicated. For each large goal, set three to four small goals that you can use to communicate momentum to your client.

4) Listen more.

Negative feedback is a bruise to the ego. When a client returns our work with less than satisfactory comments, it can be tough to pull yourself together. However, smart marketers use negative feedback as a listening device – hearing beyond the words to further understand the values and priorities of the client and what matters most to them.

Own it:  Move beyond negative feedback to identify constructive steps for improvement. Ask the client what they specifically didn’t like with the project, and use those answers to build your approach moving forward. The client will respect your attention to their concerns.

5) Always follow up.

The absolute quickest way to earn a client’s allegiance is through a tenacious commitment to following up. Following up shows that you’re attentive to the details, and exudes confidence that you’ll effectively tackle the next steps desired by the client.

Own It: After each meeting, follow up with a summary of the discussion and clearly outlined next steps complete with realistic timelines for delivery.

Trust takes time to build, and only a moment to destroy.

Be tenacious in your commitment to earn your client’s trust. Communicate effectively about realistic goals and timelines, listen aggressively, and always follow up with meaningful summaries and clear next steps. Beautiful and compelling work starts with building trust.

March 7, 2014

The Weekly Top 3 Must Read Digital Marketing Articles

1) How Content Marketing is Changing & What We Can Do to Be Ready – Search Engine Watch

As content marketing continues to evolve, marketers will continue to adjust as well. The latest direction of content marketing brings more attention to the stages of the consumers. Content marketers will begin to focus on how to better understand their contents ROI along focusing on increased targeting of the different stages of the consumer. The article provides background on where content has been and where it’s going. Read the article here

2) A True Integrated Marketing Framework – Search Engine Watch

For an integrated marketing campaign to succeed, everyone team should be on the same page.  An individual department shouldn’t focus solely on their results. As an agency the goal should be to create an environment where collectively your team is sharing ideas, metrics and tools to reach the desired results. Read the article here

3) 7 Common Pitfalls of Google Display Network Campaign Management – Search Engine Land

Running Google Display Network campaigns involves a lot of time and focus. Understanding what to look out for and areas to avoid can be helpful in preventing mistakes in your campaigns. Review some of these common mistakes to ensure your time is being spent managing campaigns and not fixing them. Read the article here

February 28, 2014

The Weekly Top 3 Must Read Digital Marketing Articles

1) 3 Ways Merging Google AdWords & Analytics Can Improve PPC Results – Search Engine Watch

While AdWords provides a great deal of knowledge surrounding your paid search results, adding Google Analytics can be increasingly helpful. The extra layer of data can reveal key points about your campaigns that you would not see with just the AdWords data alone. This article lists 3 ways to start viewing your AdWords combined with Analytics. Read the article here

2) 3 Strides to a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy – Content Marketing Institute

One way of building a relationship with your customers is through social engagement. You can develop a strategy that provides for your content to be shared while also allowing your users to share their information. Here are 3 tips to building a social content strategy. Read the article here

3) Matt Cutts: Submit Scraper Sites That Outrank You on Google – Search Engine Watch

Google’s Matt Cutts announces the release of a new way to help locate copied content. This copied content is content that is scraped from existing content and placed back out on the web. The problem marketers face is that this scraped content can sometimes end up ranking higher than the original. This new form will allow users to now identify and report copied content to Google. Read the article here

February 25, 2014

WHY REAL LEADERS SHOULD QUIT (AND ENCOURAGE THEIR TEAMS TO DO THE SAME)

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You’ve heard the old adage that quitters never win. What if we told you that isn’t always the case, especially in the marketing world?

Now, before you draft that resignation letter or send that email you’ve fantasized about sending (you know the one to that client), know that we aren’t talking about that kind of quitting. Nor are we talking about the kind of quitting that lazy cubicle-dwellers do everyday – the kind of quitting found in missing deadlines and disregarding work to play Candy Crush or whatever on Facebook.

Nope. We’re talking about the kind of quitting that helps you work smarter, harder, and more effectively. We’re talking about the kind of quitting that makes you and your team more productive more prestigious. These kinds of quitters are our kind of people because these kinds of quitters always win.

So, stop writing the resignation letter and learn how to quit more productively.

Here are the four things you should convince yourself and your team to quit immediately:

Being a yes man.

You weren’t hired to fall in line – you were hired to achieve the goals your client expects. We get it – saying no, or pushing against an idea, isn’t the most popular thing to do. If your experience and your knowledge tell you that an idea smells sour, you should provide meaningful feedback and present your case. Blindly saying yes might just cost you the business in the long term.

START HERE: Provide insight via a similar case study. Don’t just be a no-guy (no one likes a no-guy), but be a perspective-shifter. Share your concerns about the project or goals and back those concerns up with data from the field. Refuse to simply say no – give your client and your team the bullet point reasons. 

Fizzling out.

We’ve all been there – a project starts off as an inspired idea with everyone in the room excited and on board. The work begins at a furious pace and progress starts moving forward. You start focusing on other tasks and projects, only to come back to find that progress has slowed and the vision has fizzled out. What went wrong?

START HERE: Focus on small tasks to create the big picture. The big picture generates the enthusiasm, but the small tasks move projects forward. If your team is struggling to produce, consider breaking large tasks into a series of small deadlines. Small relay points will keep the team moving while keeping the finish line in sight.

Looking for love. 

You might not be bothered by what people think of you, but we guarantee there are people on your team who live and die by the praises they receive. The need for praise is a cancer – growing steadily and turning deadly over time. Convince your team that the real praise is found in meaningful work rather than a quick compliment.

START HERE: Focus on delivering valuable work. Bring it every day, and energize your team to work with heart rather than obligation.  Call out great work within your team and let them know when you personally missed the mark. Create a culture that hustles, and the accolades will take care of themselves.

Chasing rainbows.

One of the many great things about working in the marketing world is the vibrant creativity found within our teams. While our agencies depend on well-crafted and powerful ideas, the real value of our work is found in execution rather than creative thoughts. Move beyond the constant idea shuffling and do the work, plain and simple.

START HERE: Refine rather than redefine. When your idea meets resistance and struggles to get off the ground, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a totally new idea. Often, however, the answer lies within tweaking the strategy, not changing it completely. Convince your team to make small changes, rather than trashing the strategy and scouring for another viable option.

Sometimes, quitters win.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and find yourself surrounded by an uninspired team, put down the resignation letter and choose to quit in areas that are robbing you of your professional and creative best. Inspire your team, not with accolades, but with the sweat, hustle and beauty of putting in the hard work.

February 21, 2014

The Weekly Top 3 Must Read Digital Marketing Articles

1) What’s more effective: Long or short landing pages? – The Next Web

The best way to determine the perfect length of your landing page is to test and test some more. Running A/B tests to see which type of landing pages, long or short, receives the better results from the sites audience. The tips in this article will help identify which type of landing page to use to drive the desired results. Read the article here

2) Google Shopping Campaigns are Now Live – How To Get Started  – Search Engine Land

After being in beta since October, the Google Shopping campaigns were released this week to all users.  The new functionalities found within the Google Shopping Campaigns will improve the way Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are managed in Google AdWords. The article introduces new components and how to get started using them to create PLAs. Read the article here

3) 5 Ways to Optimize Your Social Media Content to Combat Content Shock – Content Marketing Institute

With the need to increase content marketing, readers are being exposed to more and more everyday. Using social media to put content in front of more readers can help you stay ahead. The tips found here, such as making your content more engaging, is great guide on how to increase the chances having your content shared and read. Read the article here

February 14, 2014

The Weekly Top 3 Must Read Digital Marketing Articles

1) How-to Guide: 5 Ways to Use Google Webmaster Tools to Maximize Your SEO Campaign – Search Engine Journal

There’s great value to leveraging both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to manage your SEO efforts. Using the tools found in Google Webmaster Tools can give you a unique insight into strategic campaign data. Search Queries and Keyword Insights are two of the ways listed here that you can use Google Webmaster Tools to gain an upper hand. Read the article here

2) Google Refreshes Page Layout Algorithm – Search Engine Watch

Keeping up with the Google changes is incredibly important, including the latest layout refresh announced by Matt Cutts. Are you including too many ads at the top of your page and not enough content? If so, this site may need reviewed to avoid this refresh and any future changes to the algorithm by Google. Read the article here

3) Yahoo’s New Long Game: Contextual Search – Mashable

Taking to a growing approach in search, Yahoo begins to build their contextual search efforts. These results would be tailored to a user through their continual search patterns. Giving users a larger range of results for their searches from websites and ads to reviews and coupons. Read the article here

February 13, 2014

5 Bad Habits Every Account Manager Should Avoid

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An account manager’s day can be aptly summed up as a hurricane. Agency life is pretty much a whirlwind of activity surrounding a flurry of deadlines, with an onslaught of stress and pressure.

That’s kind of why we love the job, isn’t it?

People in our kind of jobs are just different – we love the vulnerability of proving ourselves and our work daily; of promising and delivering products and services that grow our client’s business. To come out on the end of delivery and not failure, however, requires much more than intestinal fortitude.

You need good habits! 

We’ve put together a kind of A/B test that allows you to test your daily actions that you can carry into the cubicle every single day to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Here are 5 habits account managers should avoid every single day, and how you can make sure you’re not doing them.

Skimming the details. 

You earn trust by being thorough, not by having great ideas. Bad account managers operate in the world of vague – communicating fluff goals and skirting the questions about implementation and execution. The result of detail-less communication? Frustration, anger, and a client who’s already pretty much exhausted by talking in circles and ready to move on.

Do this: While it’s not reasonable or practical to communicate every detail of projects with your client, select the few details of each project that will make or break its’ success. Report on those details and show your client that you’re progressing toward the major goal by dominating the small tasks. 

Setting vague deadlines.

Missing a deadline is one thing; but not setting one is undeniably offensive. Account managers who refuse to set firm, written-in-ink deadlines are setting themselves up for failure before they even get started. Refuse to drag your feet; set up meaningful project deadlines with your clients and you’ll strengthen your relationship significantly.

Do this:  Determine a reasonable deadline for your project by understanding that the measure of success is quality, not speed.

Responding late to communications.

There are a couple reasons to respond late to emails, and none of those reasons are valid excuses. It doesn’t matter if you’re overwhelmed, confused by the request, or just don’t want to break the bad news – what matters is that you respond in a timely fashion with an action item. You want the client to know that they are being heard, and that their needs are important and not lost in the shuffle.

Do this: Make it your MO to respond to non-urgent needs within a 4-hour time frame during business hours. If you don’t have a good response for the client’s question off-hand, simply send them a note saying that you’re looking into it and you’ll get back to them.

Losing sight of the follow up.

Account managers can quickly lose sight of what’s needed next. A bad account manager will refuse to determine next steps in meetings and quickly settle for the most minimal amount of work required. Want to be a rock-star account manager that your clients love? Be clear about the next steps, and deliver them without fail.

Do this: After every meeting, or every question presented by a client, establish and communicate next steps with solid deadlines. The client will love the tenacity you exhibit to take their project to the next level.

Being unapproachable. 

It’s okay to have a personality, even in the business world. Responding coldly to communications can come off as an affront to the client – subtly communicating that you’re bothered by them, and not interested in them. Take the time to smile, to ask how they are doing, and to actually show them your personality – it really does influence how the client responds to you.

Do this:  Begin every email with a personal introduction. Listen for details about your client’s life through meetings and chats, and make notes to follow-up in following meetings. Don’t be a stalker; just be attentive.

A final thought,

If you’re under the gun, feeling overwhelmed by the pressure and the expectations, start by implementing small habits that will set you up for success. Communicate, set realistic deadlines, follow-up, and be involved and caring with your clients. The best way to quell a hurricane is by protecting yourself with strong habits bent toward success.

What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!

February 7, 2014

The Weekly Top 3 Must Read Digital Marketing Articles

1) 4 Steps to Audit Online Content After Hummingbird and “Not Provided” –  Content Marketing Insitute

While knowing where your pages rank is important, even more important is grasping “what” your customers are finding. Without knowing what content is on the pages that are ranking well, you could be missing out on key areas for improvement. These 4 steps will help you audit the content within those pages to better understand “what” visitors are finding. Read the article here

2) Link Building with a Healthy Dose of Marketing: 8 Ways to Solve Problems for Free  – Search Engine Watch

Strengthening relationships between your clients and their customers is important. Using the tactics mentioned in this article, you can bring your clients closer to their customers by unearthing new and unique connections. All of these tips can help you employ positive link building strategies for free. Read the article here

3) 9 AdWords Optimization Tips for Ecommerce Stores from 382 Account Reviews – Search Engine Journal

This article provides a great list of tools for Ecommerce advertisers to find new ways to improve AdWords performance. Steps ranging from basic to expert level are included to allow for any and all advertisers to get started right away. Taking the time to ensure that all of these tips are implemented is important to opening up a new perspective on results.  Read the article here

November 19, 2013

Google Organic Keyword Data is Back on the SEO Dashboard

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Google dropped the encrypted search bomb in September effectively hiding the keywords used for all Google searches. Without keyword data, it is nearly impossible to understand what percentage of organic traffic is coming from branded and non-branded keywords. And without that understanding, it is hard to measure the true impact of an SEO campaign in generating more traffic from new prospective customers.

This being the case, the analytics gurus here at BringShare immediately went to work developing a new dashboard allowing users to easily create reports with valuable Google search keyword data included! How? An integration with Google Webmaster tools with awesome sorting, filtering and reporting tools on top. The end result is a new dashboard that allows you to report on search queries and their impact on organic traffic. With this new dashboard, you can…

  • Easily see the percentage of organic traffic that comes from branded and non-branded search queries (Google only of course) to get an idea of how much traffic is coming from previous vs. prospective new customers.
  • View changes in the percentage breakdown of branded vs. non-branded traffic to see how organic traffic is evolving over time. This is particularly valuable if you are focused on increasing non-branded search traffic.
  • Track the average ranking position of both the branded and non-branded keyword groups. Over time, you can monitor changes in the average position for each group making it easy to report on the rankings of each group of keywords as an index.
  • Identify the top branded and non-branded queries having the most impact on organic traffic. Easily sort the list of search queries by various metrics and identify keywords that are important targets for SEO efforts.
  • Keep a list of priority keywords for immediate and focused optimization efforts. This allows you to easily monitor changes in ranking, impressions and clicks for any search query you deem important.
  • Monitor the average ranking position for every single keyword. Curious how you actually rank for a keyword taking into account all personalized and geo-specific results? GWT data shows you the average position of every single search query based on actual searches and actual clicks.

Tour the Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard

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Branded vs. Non-Branded Google Search Keywords Made Possible — Again!

The GWT Query Breakdown (pictured above) automatically filters all the search query data into branded and non-branded keyword groups. With this report, you can see what percentage of search queries fall into each category and how the two groups compare in generating impressions and clicks.

You can also see the Average Ranking for each group of keywords and how it is changing over time.

Quick Visual Comparisons 

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View ALL Search Queries and Create Custom Lists

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The GWT Top Query List is a comprehensive view of all the search queries that drove traffic to the site for any date range. You can sort the list of queries by impressions, clicks, CTR or average ranking position (Avg. Pos) to determine which keywords matter most.

See a query you want to monitor closely or use for reporting? Mark it as “Priority” and easily monitor changes for that query on the “Priorities” tab.

When generating reports, you can choose to only include the priority queries.

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Using the “Branded” and “Non-Branded” tabs, you can automatically view a filtered list of all your search queries segmented by branded and non-branded keywords.

Edit Branded Keywords Easily… in Real-Time!

Clicking the “Edit Branded Keywords” button allows you modify the keywords you want to mark as branded. Forget to add an important keyword to the branded list last month? No problem, add it to the list anytime and all of your current and historic data is automatically updated right away to reflect your changes.

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The new Google Webmaster Tools report is a fantastic addition to the 8 other automated SEO reports included in the BringShare dashboard. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Not using BringShare yet? Awesome. Your life is about to change. 

OTHER NEW SEO FEATURE: The Top Landing and Exit Pages Report. Get the details here.

November 18, 2013

Top Landing and Exit Pages Now Included on the SEO Dashboard

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An extremely important part of any SEO campaign is understanding which pages get the most incoming traffic and how they perform in contributing to a conversion. The BringShare “Top Landing Pages” report makes it easy to monitor all of the important pages  and how they are improving in performance over time.

Simply identify the pages you want to target for improved performance, mark them as priority and track your results on the Priorities tab over time.

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Just as important as the Top Landing pages are the Top Exit Pages. This report works like the Top Landing Pages report allowing you to identify the pages that need the most attention and then monitor how they change over time.

Have you seen the new Google Webmaster Tools report in BringShare? Get the details here.