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Authenticity in Business Relationships

Authenticity in Business Relationships

by Stephanie Lemley

In the world of texting, emailing, and working remotely creating a personal connection can be challenging in our business communities. Yet connections in a technical world still rely on our innate, intelligent, and very human instincts because we all know when Bullshit is Bullshit. It is felt in a cold and self-serving email, the email will take on a tone, a cheesy factor; but integrity, warmth and personality are also indicators that are sensed in the same form of communication. Our ability to read the other person is now done through the filters and veil of technology protecting all from pausing and wondering out loud, “what did they mean by that”

The sales consultants at TSEG know that creating valued and authentic relationships in business begins during the inception of the service we provide, whether its unique web design, discussing creative digital marketing strategies, commercial creation or a social media roll out, experts say you earn the listeners decision to move forward during that first minute of exchange. We are all journeying into the new frontier of a multi-platform communication with emails, Insta this, Snap that or Link it ! We now interpret the response our brains and hearts once processed with a hand shake or eye to eye contact, through a lens of punctuation and tone.

At TSEG we are relationship pioneers, meaning our mission is connection. We mindfully decide first before the communication begins  “Do we have something to say that offers our clients valuable information” and the team goal becomes “How can we help this company, law firm or startup grow”. We know when this mission is the motivation the other party will feel the intention and whether its in person, through an email or a phone call; the feeling is the transactional exchange.

This creates an authentic business-relationship energy; it begins during those first few words and the energy continues to build with the exchange of information creating a visceral growth for all parties involved. The relationship then evolves and morphs naturally into welcomed calls to avoid the emails, because the sounds of shared wisdom, humor and gratitude between colleagues and friends is exactly where the good stuff lives! 


How do I know if I’m spending my PPC budget wisely?

Pay-per-click marketing is difficult to master. It can either boost your company’s profitability or drain its resources (if the campaigns are not optimized correctly). There are also so many variables to consider, like how much to spend on search versus display, and whether your PPC is focused on e-commerce or lead generation. To avoid losing money on PPC, it is worthwhile to take a careful look at how you are spending your PPC budget and what you can do to improve it.

Start with the Basics

The first question to answer in figuring out the best PPC budget for your company is what do you need to generate more quality leads? To determine this, consider the essential elements of leads:

  • The frequency of visitors: How often are people coming to the site?
  • The cycle of buying: What is the typical buying cycle of each visitor?
  • Location of visitors: Where are the visitors located geographically?
  • Quality of leads: How well do the leads translate into measurable results?
  • CPL (target cost per lead): What is the cost for each lead?

Starting with these questions can help you paint an accurate picture of what your site’s activity currently looks like. Before you can envision a goal and create a path to get there, you need to know where your beginning point is.

Calculate Target Lead Goals

Once you gather this necessary information, you can distinguish your leads in terms of profitability and define your target lead. Some factors to consider in deciding what your target lead is includes the following:

  • What is the ideal number of leads for our company’s goals?
  • What makes a lead valuable?
  • What is our CCR (current conversion rate)?
  • How much money can we spend on each lead?

These are more difficult questions to answer but taking the time to do so will pay off as you enter the answers into formulas designed to make the most of your PPC budget. For example, you need to calculate how many new clients you need each month, what your close rate percentage is, and how much your cost per lead is. Using these numbers, you can figure out what your PPC lead goal should be and how much you need to spend to reach it. Let’s break that down into five steps with an example:

  • Step one: calculate your goal cost-per-lead–$50 per lead
  • Step two: decide on your new client goal—500 new clients per month
  • Step three: calculate the close rate of leads—30%
  • Step four: figure out your PPC leads (divide step two from step three)—1667
  • Step five: establish the amount your company needs to spend per month (multiply step one and step four)–$83,350

Final Considerations

Fine-tuning your company’s PPC budget is an excellent way to ensure that your company is in a fiscally responsible position, as well as to analyze its marketing strengths and weaknesses. Rather than just looking at how many leads you’re generating, for example, you can break down the quality of those leads and hopefully discover ways to improve not only the quantity but also the quality of the leads. Some of the considerations that can help you do that include the following:

  • Do leads from certain areas consistently result in higher conversion rates?
  • Do certain times of the day produce more leads than another?
  • How much time do visitors typically spend on our site?
  • How user-friendly is our website concerning the number of clicks that a user has to make?
  • Which search engine makes the most sense for us to use?
  • Would negative keywords winnow out the leads that don’t lead to conversion?
  • Should we adjust our bids according to traffic and pay more for leads during more profitable times or days?
  • How well does our site perform on a range of devices such as tablets, and laptops?

After analyzing these factors, you’re in a much stronger position to create an optimal PPC budget that gives you the most marketing power for every dollar you spend. The investment you make in smarter marketing practices will pay off as your site becomes more productive in attracting and retaining users. Additionally, your site will generate more quality leads, and your conversion rates will increase as you analyze and then adjust the way you spend money on PPC. You will also have peace of mind knowing that your PPC budget is being spent wisely.


Is Your Company’s Website Sending the Right Message?

You have probably visited a company’s website and never completely understand what the business offered or what they were selling. A company can spend a significant amount of time developing a well-designed website or writing tons of content, but you may not understand what it is they do. Far too often, the company has overlooked a crucial component – the message that they need to communicate.

Improving your company’s messaging can make all the difference between getting leads for your business or scaring off visitors. It takes time for a business to develop content, however, it is not effective if it neglects to clearly showcase what you’re offering. Communicating what you do and what separates you from your competitors is something that you must get right from the get-go to attract new business, or it may cost you potential revenue.

Effective Messaging

Your website must solve a problem and create value for potential clients. You have a short window of time to convince visitors to your site that the service or product you offer is what they are looking for or need. If the audience can’t understand your message or understand the website content, they will leave in matter of seconds and move on to another business.

Communicating your company’s message isn’t always easy. Most business owners make the mistake of believing that visitors to their site view the business the same way they do. Remember that visitors don’t know your business inside-and-out, and you need to showcase what you do in the clearest way possible.

There are three relevant questions to ask about your website’s messaging, which include:

1. What Is Your Business About?

It’s important to communicate the value your business creates for your market. Although this may sound obvious, sometimes this is overlooked. You need to think about how you would pitch your business to a total stranger in an elevator. When you meet someone for the first time and describe your business, do you use similar words as your company’s home page? It may be wise to ask people who are not familiar with your business to read your homepage and then ask them to explain what your business is about.

While it may not be easy to describe your business in a brief elevator pitch, you can ask this question to narrow down the focus of your business content and to help visitors see the value your business creates.

2. What Makes Your Business Different from Your Competitors?

Working in a competitive world brings challenges. Regardless of how unique or unusual our product or service is, there may already a similar product or service that is offered elsewhere. If you are unable to communicate on your website how your business is different from your competitors, potential clientele may assume your business offers nothing different and lose interest. You need to highlight the strengths of your services or products on your website homepage and make it stand out.

It is also important to refresh content on a regular basis. Adding new content that includes the latest information about your company and your brand is important attracting more customers and drawing in more business. Remember that the content on your site is also a reflection of your brand and its principles.

3. Have You Set the Right Expectations?

Not only should the message on your website communicate the value the business creates and what makes you stand out, messaging also plays a crucial role in establishing credibility for your business and turning visitors into clients.

Some websites lure visitors with clever messaging, but they fail to deliver on their promises. Your message must set the right expectations and convince potential clients that you will deliver the products and services as stated on your business site.

By effectively communicating what your business offers, how you differ from the competition, and setting and delivering on expectations, you can demonstrate your company’s value to visitors and boost business based upon the message and content listed on your website.

The more content you have, the better the website, but don’t forget that the focus is on quality above quantity. Your business content and messaging can only be useful if your audience finds the information on your web site insightful and valuable in the long run.


Live Video in 2019

There are many different digital marketing strategies that will increase the demand for companies’ products or services. Some of these strategies include social media, chatbots, artificial intelligence, video, and live video. One essential digital marketing trend for 2019 is live video. Live video goes one step further than video in that it instantly allows consumers to connect deeper with the specific brand. Forbes magazine states that, “Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.” This one fact alone should encourage companies’ to experiment with live video. Companies can easily stream videos through Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Livestream.com, and YouTube Live. The ever increasing amount of live streaming platforms allows companies to easily market themselves with live Q&A’s, behind the scenes experiences, and product demonstrations.

We hope these facts encourage you to take your marketing videos to the next level. The Search Engine Guys can implement live video into your digital marketing strategy and help your brand soar.


5 Reasons You Should Be Using WordPress

Search Engine Friendly

This is pretty plain and simple. SEO experts have performed case study after case study that show that Google ranks sites that use WordPress higher than those built on other platforms. The reason for this is because the WordPress framework makes it easier for Google to crawl and index the pages on the site. The easier you make it for the bots to crawl your pages, the better off you will be.

Adaptability

The adaptability of WordPress sites cannot be overlooked. WordPress is flexible enough to accommodate any plugin, extension, or update you need. There is no easier way to update your site compared to other platforms. Whether you are a small business, e-commerce, or personal blog site, WordPress has the ability to adapt whatever you need.

Mobile Friendly

Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly by displaying them lower in their results. With WordPress, you don’t have to overhaul your entire site to make it accessible on tablets and smartphones, since most themes are automatically responsive. WordPress also has an option for websites to be viewed in “mobile view” for themes that aren’t responsive.

Cost Friendly

Whatever the focus of your site is (commercial or personal), it doesn’t cost a penny even when your traffic increases. Any update you need to the site can be done by you or your developer without any additional WordPress publishing costs.

Integration

WordPress has the ability to integrate with popular third-party platforms to help make the site more efficient. There are plugins that you can use for just about anything you can think of that would be useful for a site. WordPress can integrate with just about anything out there, which makes it invaluable for publishers in any industry!


Five questions to ask your digital marketing agency before hiring them

Working with a digital marketing agency can increase the speed and return on your digital advertising investment. An agency most likely has the resources and experience to achieve better results than either an in-house team or the up-and-down world of freelancers that come with widely varying skills and ability.

However, while most agencies will be quick to assure you that they have the capabilities to meet your digital marketing needs, you don’t want to be oversold. Choosing the right agency can reduce costs and lead to faster and more pronounced growth, while choosing the wrong agency for you can mean the wrong fit, a lack of results, and can be costly.

To choose the right agency for you, it is a good idea to ask some specific questions to see how they align with your expectations:

1. What is your process?

You can tell a lot about how well a business understands your digital marketing needs when they describe how they’ll meet those needs.

This slightly less-common question (compared to the standard “how can you help me?”) requires the agency to tell you how they work and how they’ll handle your campaigns. You can also tell how experienced and knowledgeable they are about your specific needs by how well they can describe their process to you.

2. What experience do you have handling clients in my field?

Here, you get more directly into the experience of the agency. While many will claim to be able to meet your expectations, not everyone will have experience in your particular field.

Ask to see examples of their previous work for clients that are similar to your business and your marketing needs. If they can’t produce them, they may not have as much experience or expertise as they claim.

You may be tempted to go with an agency that is unproven in your field, in the hopes that they’ll bring a fresh perspective or new skills to your campaigns. That decision is up to you – and could pay off with the right agency. For other business owners, trusting your campaign to an experienced firm that can show results in your field lessens the risk that you’ll spend money to get little or no return.

3. How do you use digital marketing for your own brand?

Perhaps experience isn’t as important to you as the skillset available at the agency. In that case, you’ll discover a great deal from how they market themselves. You might ask to see how they’ve handled their own campaigns to get a glimpse of the creativity they will show your campaign.

This isn’t the most important factor, however. Many successful agencies do little for their own brands, largely because they are focused mainly on their own clients’ success.

4. When will I see results and what will those results look like?

Agencies can be either too reluctant or too eager to answer this question, and that’s telling in both cases. If they aren’t willing to pin down precisely what success looks like within a reasonable span of time, that may indicate they lack the capabilities to deliver.

On the other hand, a time frame that seems too short with results that sound too optimistic should also make you reconsider.

Look for a reliable, scientific means of proving positive results and a time frame that gives enough time (but not too much) to start seeing those results. Digital marketing should take half a year or more to start seeing improvements, depending on your industry and area of focus. Make sure you have a way to measure the success of the agency with some data at some point during the working relationship.

5. What will this cost?

Cost is always a significant concern any time you are investing in your business. Before settling on your digital marketing agency, make sure you set some hard numbers, and there’s an understanding of just how much you are willing to invest to meet the results you expect.

Once you’ve received the right answers to these questions from a digital marketing agency, you’ll be in a much more comfortable position to select the team that is right for you. It’ll be easier to decide on the agency with the capabilities to meet your expectations and to deliver the results you are looking for.


Are these valuable leads? Why communication is key to optimizing PPC campaigns

What do you define as a conversion? A conversion, in internet marketing, occurs when a visitor on a website completes a desired goal, such as filling out a contact form, calling the phone number, or engaging in an online chat platform. That is the simple way to look at a conversion. On the other end of the spectrum, a conversion to a business owner may be defined as a purchase or a potential client sign-up. This is what makes our conversion numbers so important and something we always want to focus our efforts on.

Of course, it is not reasonable to expect all conversions will be high-dollar purchases for an e-commerce business or million dollar cases for a law firm, but at some point the conversion must be valued. Too often, I see a disconnect in communication between the marketer and the client when discussing which conversions from a paid ad campaign were worthwhile. This information is important to the marketer so they can figure out what keyword brought in that million dollar conversion and they can continue optimizing their PPC campaign. With this information, paid search experts can really focus on what is worth their time and effort, versus wondering, “Sh*t! Are these actually leads?”

Most marketers find themselves wasting time focusing on conversions/leads that may not be a qualified lead. This stresses the importance of following up with your clients to make sure that the leads you are bringing in are worth their time and money.

To sum this up, it’s important to ask yourself and your client the questions below when considering what to focus the campaign budget on and how to tailor the ads for those big-money keywords.

  • What does an ideal lead look like?
  • What are things that can make a lead disqualified?
  • What are you willing to spend for a qualified lead?

Communication is KEY. As a marketer, we can create pivot tables to analyze our ads and keywords with our conversions to better optimize our campaigns. But if the client says that 80% of those leads were junk, then our optimization is thrown out the window. We must follow up with clients on a consistent basis to make sure our efforts are giving them great return on investment. By implementing this practice, we can set up a pivot table of QUALIFIED leads and focus our efforts where they really need to be.


How Effective are Google Ads?

Spending money to advertise on Google is not cheap, so it’s a smart question for any business to ask how effective paid search marketing is in 2018. Have browsing habits evolved? Do people still click on ads?

In a 2017 study of Google users, 60% of participants responded that they will click on any result that is relevant to their search, regardless of whether it is an ad or organic result. Only 24% of participants responded that they would actively avoid clicking on ads. This means that 3 out of 4 people will still click on your ad if it is relevant to what they are looking for.

Because these potential clients are already looking for your product or service, it’s merely a matter of a click and an action (phone call, internet purchase, email, contact form, etc.) on their part to convert that into a sale or a potential sale.

Inbound marketing strategies like paid search advertising tend to generate a more significant return on investment (ROI) than outbound marketing strategies (email campaigns, scattershot social media advertising, postcards, flyers, etc.) because your audience is specifically looking for your services.

It is important to hire an experienced and reputable internet marketing firm as a resource to handle your online marketing efforts, including creating and managing your paid search campaigns. It is entirely possible to spend (and lose) quite a bit of money if you do not set up and manage the campaigns the right way. By hiring a firm that has experience in running successful campaigns, you can rest easier knowing that your money is being spent the right way.

If you are considering hiring a firm to help you take advantage of the more than 160 billion searches per month on Google, there are a few questions that you will want to ask your rep, including:

  • Have you handled campaigns in my specific industry before?
  • What type of ad spends have you worked with in the past?
  • What is the spend-range that you recommend for my specific campaign?
  • What is the communication process like? What type of reporting do you provide?

Once you have discussed their experience and plans for your particular campaign, you can be comfortable in handing the keys to your paid search advertising over to professionals who do this on a daily basis. As always, make sure to select a firm that you trust, and someone who you know will be looking to maximize your return on investment.


Communication is the Root of All Success

Have you ever purchased a service from a marketing company who promised to be there for you no matter what happens? After signing up, did your account manager fail to answer your call, or return your call much later in the week?

This is a clear sign that the company is either a.) unable to keep the commitment they made or b.) are trying to hide something from you. Companies don’t usually stay silent when they have positive results to show and are often quick to avoid you when something negative happens. The whole key to successful marketing is figuring out what is is working and what is not. Your success should be their success. Marketing is not a science and there isn’t just one equation that is successful for everybody.

Every account is different and there needs to be an ongoing dialogue between the account rep and the client. Marketing companies should use the data from campaigns that are not working just as effectively as they can from campaigns that are delivering. An unsuccessful campaign can tell them what efforts are not worth the time, effort, and investment, and they can instead put more work into strategies that are currently working for others.

As the client, it is essential that you feel comfortable to contact your rep whenever you have questions about anything. At the end of the day, the marketing company needs to be responsive to your concerns, feedback, and suggestions. They don’t have to agree with you and should be comfortable enough with you to voice their own concerns or tell you why they disagree with specific suggestions, but again, a healthy dialogue needs to take place.

Make sure you get to know the history and the strategy of the marketing company that you are signing a contract with. Also, be sure that your representative gets to know you as well. You should have a very good idea of what kind of company they are and how they handle their business by the flow of the conversation leading up to the signing of the contract.If they are missing scheduled calls or are rescheduling meetings consistently, these are red flags that most likely will not change when you sign up with them. Also, communication should not be limited to emails. There need to be phone calls included here and there to maintain that communication, trust, and professional relationship. It’s better to over-communicate than to not talk at all. Communication is the first step to solving any issues and alleviating concerns and needs to be present in every step of business.


Custom Photography Challenge

When I began my career at Cloud 8 Sixteen, Inc., I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to photograph attorneys from one of the most prestigious law firms in America. Fast forward two years and I am pulling up to Williams Kherkher’s office, a massive building located in Houston, Texas. Williams Kherkher is a personal injury law firm that was founded in 1983. Over the last 35 years, the firm has recovered billions for victims across the country. Photographing a firm of this caliber was both scary and exciting at the same time. I knew the shoot would be a challenge, but it was one I was ready to take on.

When I was first asked to do custom photography for this client, I thought, “Wow, what an honor! I wonder if I’m ready for this?” While I have years of photography experience, I had recently taken on this new role at work and was honored to be given such a huge opportunity. I spent the next few weeks mentally preparing for the assignment. I knew that this photoshoot would be very different from photoshoots I have done in the past. These lawyers were not my close friends or family. In fact, it was the first time I was meeting them. The only thing I knew about them was they were a big freaking deal.

I was so anxious the morning of the photoshoot. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the unknowns. It was my first time seeing their office and I didn’t know what kind of space I would be working with. Lucky for me, all my nerves disappeared as soon as I was introduced to the lawyers at the firm. I finally realized that the day wasn’t about me but was about all the awesome people standing in front of me. The rest of the day was better than I could have ever imagined. I really enjoyed being pushed outside of my comfort zone and loved learning more about their practice. I left the office feeling extremely grateful for the day I had.

The most valuable thing I learned from this experience is that the client always comes first. If I would have continued the photoshoot believing that the day was about me and my photos, I would not have gotten the shots my client needed. Understanding this allowed me to capture images that highlighted the special qualities Williams Kherkher has to offer as a personal injury firm. When I look back on the day, I am proud of what I accomplished. I captured photos that I loved, but more importantly, I took photos my client was proud to show on their website.

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