Crafting an effective and results-driven digital marketing strategy for your business
Lori is the president of Keystone Click, Keystone Click is a strengths-based organization, which means that they identify the strongest aspects of each their employees and give them the opportunity to excel in that area. She keeps the team energized and on track and brings in new opportunities. Outside of the office, Lori enjoys staying active by playing ice hockey and bike riding!
I have this simple thing in my mind that marketing gets the phone to ring and then sales kind of takes it from there. Is that accurate?
Marketing is a number of different things. It's your product; it's your positioning; it's how you promote it. That's where the advertising comes in and then where your offering lives as well. That's your core. So the advertising part is what helps to make the phone ring.
Where did you get the name Keystone Click?
So first, it started with what domain names are available. I knew we were going to be a web development company, so we needed a good domain name. So, I dove into playing with different words related to website design and development. The web itself is information architecture. It's how you organize information online. So, I started playing with the word architecture and found the word Keystone, and I really liked the definition or what a Keystone is. For those that don't know, it's that centerpiece that holds an arc together. So, I liked that it was holding information, pulling an arc. Then the "click" is the action item that you want people to take. So, in marketing, you always want people to take action. So that's, that's the backstory.
When you started, was it specifically web development for you?
It was just going to be website design and development. And again, this is early 2008, so Facebook was barely getting started and had any sort of momentum. And my background was marketing. I went to school for marketing and business, and people would come to me and say, "well, how do I get people to my site now?" And then I would just tell them what to do because I already knew all those things. Then, they say, "well, can't you just do that for me?" So we kind of shifted and realigned from being just the website design development company to a full service, a strategic digital marketing agency.
Marketing's kind of like a scary word to me. It seems like something that we can't measure. How do you kind of help somebody through that and help them with that blind spot?
When I have a conversation with someone around marketing, there might be a lot of fear around it, but there's also a ton of information. Anyone could DIY their website if they wanted to. However, the value comes into the strategy and expertise. I could try to make an amazing meal, but I wasn't trained in France to learn how to make amazing meals. I can read about it. I can try to replicate what I'm learning and make assumptions and maybe use different ingredients. But am I using the right ingredients? I have no idea. So, identify working with someone that knows what they're doing is extremely important or investing the time to educate yourself.
But going in without having a plan or a strategy can be harmful to your business. So investing the time to understand what message is going to connect and resonate with your target customer will reap so many more rewards for you down the road vs. just assuming that you're saying that what's going to be important to you your customer.
What do I have to do versus what do you do? How do you integrate into it?
Even when we started building websites, I would tell people; you can spend half a million dollars to have the most amazing website with all the bells and whistles. But if nobody knows it exists, nothing's going to happen. This isn't Field of Dreams. "If you build it, they will come doesn't work for businesses. You could have the absolute best product in the world, but you have to tell people you exist and what the benefit is and why, what they're going to get out of it by hiring you or buying the product that you've created?
How do you measure ROI?
With anything you're measuring, you need to have an end goal. What are you trying to achieve? So you start there and say, "this is what success is going to look like for us." And then you reverse engineer that and say: this is the path we're going to take to achieve this success. These are the items we are going to measure to make sure that we're on track on the path that we've mapped out. Or if you have the right data points to keep track of, you're able to make an intelligent decision that says this isn't working. Then you can take the time to adjust the plan that we mapped out.
How do you help clients define success?
We usually put a timeframe on it. We also talk about budget both from a time investment and a dollar investment. We do that because if we're building a plan that you're going to implement, I want to be realistic about how much time is going to take to do this. If we're using dollars by buying ads or investing in other equipment, we want to be realistic about the dollars.
Is there a common answer to what they want to see in a year or six months or whatever the timeframe?
Every business is different. It could be more leads. They want more people filling out their contact forms. They want more people to attend their events. Or, it could be, they want more people to know who they are. We've had some clients that say, "we went to this event, and nobody knew who we were, but we've been in business for 30 years". That's a problem. So again, it depends on what your goals are. We had a client who wanted to be known as an approachable expert in the traditional world. They had that perspective, but online, there were very little ways to connect and get ahold of them. So, their goal was to be approachable online. DO like I said, it really depends on your goal.
How do you build trust when you're starting with somebody?
My number one approach to sales in general and building relationships is to educate. And that's why I give as much information as possible. Anything that I know I'm sharing, I don't hold any secrets. That's the way that I can prove that I know what I'm talking about.
Then, we start with research, and that's really understanding who your target customer is. We try to figure out where they are engaging online. We don't need to be everything everywhere. Let's be in let's fish in the ponds that our clients are hanging out in or watering holes. Then, we want to figure out that message that's going to connect and resonate with them. What is the pain that they have that is going to pull them in so that you can start building that relationship and showing that you're the expert? Once we've done all this research, then we'll look at building the plan that is focused on achieving your very specific goals that we've defined. Once that's done, then we talk about the implementation.
Now we're not going to come to you and say, here's 85 things you need to start doing today. We need to be realistic. Again, we're looking at the time investment and in the budget from a dollar standpoint, but usually, we have a 90-day rollout plan. We lay out the things we're going to progress to at least start working on. We act, "do you want to do these things? "Do you want us to help you and coach you on how to do them? Do you want us to do them?" What's important is that you have a roadmap; you have a path to take to help you achieve your goals.
Where does creativity come from?
You get inspiration from other sources, other people, reading books, following other influencers and brands. A lot of it comes down to the brand tone and voice at this company is trying to portray. And what level of flexibility do we have to push creativity? Are we working with a very defined box, or can we get really extreme and have some fun out there? So those are typically guided by the company and the client, as far as how far can we flex on creativity
How do you get to find those boundaries?
Usually, in that kickoff meeting, we ask for your branding guidelines. We had a fortune 500 manufacturing client for many years, and they were very, very strict on what we can do, what images we could use, how images should be used, what message and language should be used. And then we have some other companies and clients that we work with where they they're looking to us to bring, the crazy ideas to them because they want to stand out in their market space.
Do you like that type of person where there is nothing to unlearn, and you're starting from square one or find yourself jumping in and potentially undoing some things that have been going on over the years?
So there's a couple of different answers I'll have to that. There's pros and cons to both. It's nice when someone is very clearly defined and says: "these are the rules on how to engage with our brand" because then we can try to push the creativity within the rules. If we're investing time to start with a blank slate, then more time and energy will be figuring out what the voice is and what those branding guidelines are. And less energy is going into creativity.
What are some tips that you could share with the listeners from a marketing perspective, things that are working, or maybe something that they haven't thought of before?
I would say any way that you can get your content out there, whether that's blogging or webinars or podcasts or social media or all of the above. The more that you are present online building that brand awareness, the more that people are getting familiar with who you are. Your offering is, the more value you're adding with that content, the closer they are too trusting you and potentially buying from you.
What is content? What does it do for me as a business owner?
It's all about the right type of content. You can put anything you want out there. I could put recipes all day long on my website if I wanted to. But, that's why the research is important—understanding where I can identify information that's going to be a value to my target customer. You want to diversify the value, add content because everyone's got different ways of taking information. Some people read some people want to watch, and some want to listen, so you want to diversify your content. But more importantly, make sure it's quality value and add content. That purpose serves a couple of reasons. One it's proving your expertise, which we've talked about a little bit. It's helping people get familiar with you and, they know you, they like you and trust you. It's starting to build a following if you do it consistently. So that's extremely important as well so that you're consistent with it. But it's, it's all about proving your value. And that's really what it comes down to.
Do followers buy?
It goes back to your goal. What is your goal? And you want to look at quality versus quantity. So if you're putting the right type of information out there and your message is crafted in a way that makes them take action, then they can buy. But if you have a group of people following you, because you're just putting amazing information out there, but you're not giving them some specific instruction and how to take the next step to do some more stuff with you or learn more from you, then they're not going to buy.
Do you see anything else that really kind of working for some of your clients are working for you?
Creating content is definitely important, and there's a number of different ways to do that. You definitely want an element of stuff that you own and information that's on your website. I don't think a lot of people are doing a good job of consistently blogging. That's probably one of the easiest ways to add value, not only to that potential site but also in Google's eyes. It's very important to be adding new content of value to your site. But the other side of that is being involved in other people's content. So, for example, I'm a guest on your podcast, so now I have external sources validating my expertise instead of just saying, look at all this information I know. Or guest blogging on someone else's site. There's a lot of websites out there looking for thought leaders to share their expertise, to build their content, but then you can push it back. So it's someone else talking about you basically.
What about repurposing?
Repurposing your content is probably the best thing that you can do. There's no rule or anything that says, "you've talked about this once, and you're never allowed to talk about it again." Or "you posted this one's on social media, you're never allowed to share it again." So when repurposing content to try to write content, create, produce timeless content. You want to identify that value and add content that's going to have a very long shelf life. So, let's use this podcasts that we're on right now. It's a 30-minute media discussion, and there's a ton of different segments in here that you can pull. You can transcribe it, turn it into a blog post. You can take the video; you can pull little snippets and maybe make a quick little 30 or 6o second video that you share. There are so many different ways that you can take one piece of information and reuse it over and over and over again on all different channels. And it's important because, as I mentioned earlier, people like to take in content in all different ways. They want to watch it. They want to listen to it. They want to read it. So that same message that you have, you have to diversify the, how it's being distributed and, where it's being distributed.
What's your podcast about?
I interview professionals and executives globally on the topic of networking and how networking got them to where they are today to date, I've interviewed 237.
It's been quite an adventure, and we've got listeners all over the world. I met fascinating people from literally all over the world yesterday. I interviewed someone from South Africa, which was a super cool conversation.
What are some tips on networking that the listeners would be able to take away?
I'd say there's three things that are important and probably very much a trend with the majority of the individuals that I interview. Number one is: Listen first. I think that'sit's extremely important to allow the other individual to share their story so that you can get to know them. The second is: Be real, be authentic and genuine. Don't try to be someone you're not. The third is the follow-through. If you make a promise to do something, and to be a resource to someone, make sure that you are following through and giving.
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