My Thesis Behind Irrelevant Marketing
Before I get into the nitty gritty, let’s get one thing straight: Anyone and everyone can say they know how to market your brand. Especially if they have special access to a hard drive, monitor, mouse, keyboard, and a social media account. Sounds pretty legit right? If you say so.. Going into business for myself was risky – especially in the marketing and advertising spaces where plenty of amateur marketers give me a bad rap. At the same time, I knew that once I was able to clarify the value that I bring to the table, everything would work itself out. So, let’s discuss some of the inconsistencies in marketing and why I deem them as wasteful. After I’ve highlighted some popular waste, I’ll explain what PreFocus can do with a similar budget. Deal?
1. Purchasing Followers and “Likes”.
This has never made any sense to me.. Are most of you aware of how this is done? It’s quite time consuming and rather tedious, but people actually spend all day soliciting users to follow their personal accounts. If you’ve received an awkwardly short comment on Instagram, this is why. Once these “marketers” sell you on their “free followers” plan, they simply promote your company to the hundreds of random followers they’ve conned into following them. It’s almost like magic.. This is also done in data form. Websites and other forms of subscription content store email addresses and customer cookies, then attempt to sell this user information. It’s basically unethical, and for whatever reason, people buy it. In my opinion, nothing is more valuable than a customer you earn for free because you supply them with relevant and engaging content.
No matter your perspective, how can you be sure these users are even interested in your product or solution? You can’t – it’s just a numbers game that sustains engagement long enough for you to believe it’s actually working. The further you read this article, the more you’ll begin to understand that followers, likes, and shares doesn’t equate sustainability. This is the main objective behind inexperienced and irrelevant marketers. Although it feels good to see people like your posts, it doesn’t mean their interested in investing in you. Simple demographics and numbers don’t necessarily drive a solid return even though it seems like you’re “growing”.
How we address this with a PreFocus: We help you understand the value of original and purposeful content. Instead of taking shortcuts by purchasing followers, we enhance your presentation so that it resonates with those that are already engaged. We use your “shortcut budget” to capture relevant photos of your branded value in action. This can encompasses your staff, customers, facilities, equipment, processes, quotes, or even success stories. Users that already follow you will promote post they can relate to as they’re proud to be apart of the value you’re providing. When someone endorses you based on their own experience, others become intrigued. We call this an organic following that is genuinely interested in you – not just your posts.
2. Investing in Affordable Social Media Managers (SMM).
Outsourcing marketing efforts has been a commonality in the last few years. Finding a freelance marketer in order to increase your productivity is a solid idea, but not when their posts lack quality and purpose. Although they can drive down your costs, amateur marketers aren’t necessarily invested in your brand or the way it’s perceived. They’re invested in volume to collect a check and tend to follow the same checklists they use across other verticals for various clients. Again, you may see some improved engagement but you’re essentially trying to drive [growth] with the e-brake on. Let me paint a picture for you.
A few things bother me about the above post. First, I doubt this is an original photo from their gym with a paid athlete or compliant member. Plagiarism anyone? Second, the message has no purpose and means nothing to the average bear. Lastly, it’s an effortless design that lacks quality. The logo isn’t transparent and the typography doesn’t stand out at all.
If you’ve taken the time to research successful marketing tactics, I’m sure you already know that consistency is crucial. But, it’s important that you read between the lines here. Consistently promoting low quality posts without a strong message is a recipe for mediocrity. Whether you want to believe it or not, consumers trust brands that establish a voice and value consistently. Consider the second post that promotes an original shot of a member working out at the gym. The message is informational, but it provides meaningful substance behind joining a boxing class – which should be their only objective.
Although the first example targets daily motivation (for already converted members), those looking for a gym may associate the low quality of the post with low quality results. Moreso, this isn’t a real-life inspirational story they can relate to. To me, this is wasteful and a common tactic of amateur marketers hanging onto retainers. Targeting volume and general interest will keep you around a 2% conversion rate while purposeful campaigns create the most return.
How we address this with a PreFocus Solution: The best part about our business model is that we photograph all imagery (for a specific number of posts) on the front end while strategically captioning each photo. From here, we help you schedule out all posts to ensure you’re capturing your audience at ideal times with certain events and holidays in mind. In addition, all images are formatted to fit certain social media platforms in order to ensure quality resolution. Consider the value we’re providing by eliminating the hassle of communicating with your social media manager on a weekly basis.
For the most part, we strategically showcase your value. We avoid developing low quality posts that only satisfy monthly social post requirements. You’d be surprised at the results of a simple testimonial or caption with superior graphics and imagery. Our service costs more on the front end, but allows you to streamline your promotional strategy for months to come (compare this to your monthly retainer over the same time frame). You also receive exclusive rights to all photos which enables you to use PreFocus imagery in other forms of media as you please. You’ve got to see the value in this..
3. Paying a Content Strategist to Curate Relevancy.
Let’s start off by defining the term relevancy. In this case, it refers to generalized topics a marketer assumes your perfect customer is interested in. In other words: conceptual guesswork lacking purpose with hopes of possible attraction. What really grinds my gears is that some companies pay up to $1,500/month for these randomized topics. In my opinion, spending initial capital on content that has nothing to do with your provided value is wasteful – and my experience backs it up.
Over the years, I’ve been blessed to work with some exclusive brands in Phoenix. I’ve also been forced to deal with unhappy clients that second-guess campaign effectiveness – and rightfully so. For the most part, their poor experience derives from a well written article with high bounce rates. I can only imagine the drop-off for those of you investing in an amateur marketer. For the most part, objectives are only geared to drive traffic and shares so marketers can attempt to claim attribution and monetize your results.
Some examples include: opinionated articles, guest writing, tips, top 10’s, guides, etc.. I’m sorry, but this is a waste of everyone’s time. From experience, these types of strategies mainly generate an influential relationship. If you don’t tie in your value or present a solution, users tend to only return for free advice. If you’re paying someone to develop content on your site without purpose, I beg you to throw your dollars elsewhere.
How we address this with a PreFocus Solution: To be frank, it’s really as simple as understanding which topics and ideas drive users with intent to your website or business. If you’re a landscaping company that continues to promote articles teaching homeowners how to care for their garden themselves – how can you ever expect them to request your service? We focus on helping you alter the message so it clearly funnels into your product or solution. Instead, we would educate homeowners on reasons why weeds keep growing throughout their grass patch – but, we’d also reiterate how lawn care and treatment is one of the many things you address with your landscape maintenance package. They’ll figure out the convenience and effectiveness themselves.
Here are some additional ways I’ve altered campaigns to ensure they don’t veer away from brand objectives.
4. Paying an Advertiser Then Staying Away.
Investing capital without a vision never seems to sit well with me. Although I can understand some business owner’s mistake of paying a social media manager or content writer, I will never understand a blind investment with an advertiser. Whether you’re paying someone to manage your social media ads or pay per click (PPC), your outsourced team needs to understand your customers and vision. Some of you may say: “Well, I’ll just fire them if they’re ineffective, it’s their job to figure it out.” That’s fine, but you’re still flushing dollar bills in the meantime. Advertising is no joke, and once you decide to go all in it’s imperative you have a plan. Trust me..
I’ve literally witnessed external PPC managers use up monthly adspends on some of the most general phrases, such as “care”. Do you know if you’re paying for stuff like this? Do you even know what I’m referring to? If not, please call me and I’ll gladly explain for free. While managing overseas teams, I’ve even come across instances where we were paying for keywords with another state’s abbreviation – and we were local! This is unacceptable, but it’s the reality of hiring amateur marketers for the low.
To be honest, advertising can be one of the most wasteful expenses in your bottom line. Most companies think it’s essential so they invest in the cheapest option and it can be a huge mistake. Not only are you paying someone to manage, but you’re also paying on a CPA, CPM, or a CPC format. This can become very costly quickly and there’s nothing you can do once a user “clicks.”
A previous employer chose to ignore my concerns and their overseas team ended up spending $30,000 on advertising in a 3 month span. The worst part? They didn’t even set up their analytics properly and were unable to attribute any results. Save yourself the headache and understand the importance of an ad strategy before you start throwing money at someone to experiment with. To put this in perspective, you can pay an inexperienced advertiser $300/month and garner $600 in sales (2:1); or invest in an advertising strategist for $1000 and drive $10,000 in revenue over a 6 month span. (10:1)
How we address this with a PreFocus Solution: For starters, we follow a discovery process that helps us understand your brand, customers, goals, and competition. In order to clarify expectations, we help educate you on the media buying process so you can accurately determine focal points throughout the campaign. Instead of targeting broad search terms like “care” or “home service” – we drive intent with long tail keywords. (Examples: Phoenix child care at home, Senior care for homebound patients, Emergency HVAC home service in Phoenix, or 24/7 certified home service.) Using phrases like these tell us the person searching is in the market. We also help you develop display ads for social and display networks. Honing in on all of these moving pieces and solidifying everything on the front end allows us to place campaigns on autopilot and select specificities when the time arises.
It’s Your Money, but Amateur Marketers will Cost you in the Long-run.
One of the hardest things about working with small business owners has been their misconception of marketing. Although I”ll never get used to being stereotyped due to someone else’s failure, it motivates me to improve my presentation and prove my tactics are effective. For those of that are content with your current performance, I challenge you to ask questions and seek answers. I’m personally tired of combatting what others believe works, and I’m committed to helping my clients return to promoting substance and value. Hopefully I was able to inspire you to be better and do better. Feel free to inbox me with any questions and best in success nonetheless..