Brand Managers and CMO’s: Does Your Ad Agency Measure Up?

digital-marketing-benchmarks-1The idea is to get the best possible results on your ad spend.

The enemy right now is media buyers. They want to control all the ad spend even though they don’t know how to optimize digital ads. They are still stuck in a 1990’s paradigm. If they won’t share details about your results, you shouldn’t trust them. Ask them how they’re optimizing your ads to get the most out of your spend, and see if they measure up to the benchmarks on the right.

On a daily basis, we at The Carter Group are pretty nerdy about doing everything we can to get better results for our clients.

Month to month we always want to show you improvements in your cost per engagement, cost per fan, cost per lead, ROI, revenue, percentage of fans who engage with your posts and so on.

Sometimes we show a client amazing results and they ask, “Is that good?” Fair question. Here are some performance benchmarks. How can you use them?

  • Look at your results and compare. Are your current results good enough?
  • Considering hiring us. What kind of results can you expect from the Carter Group?
  • Have us train your internal staff. What kind of results could they be getting you?

Companies often start with consultants and then hire their own internal staff. We serve both as consultants who do the work and later as trainers to internal staff. If you’ve hired internal staff and they’re not hitting these benchmarks, they may need training. Digital marketing is the Wild West- you don’t get this kind of training in college. Most conferences won’t give you the step-by-step how-to and be available to your rock stars for day-to-day questions and answers. You have to get it from industry leaders like us.

Want to know more? Take this quiz. And yes, you should know the answers to these questions, or someone should be reporting the numbers to you 🙂

5 Best Practices That Drive Profits For Hosting Companies

ms-digital-marketing-whitepaperIt’s been an interesting and successful 12 months working with Microsoft and its hosting partners!

  • Thanks to the amazing Derrick Wheeler, I was honored to be the social media keynote speaker at Microsoft’s Internal SEO conference last year.
  • Since then I’ve create an ebook (see image on the right- available only within the Microsoft Partner Network) and a video with assessment for the Microsoft Partner Network.
  • And then we embarked on a six company pilot program for our Digital Marketing in a Box launch program. The most successful have been those for whom we created an explainer video or whitepaper. We’ve been able to drive affordable targeted lead with a combination of advertising and content marketing, as well as dramatically increase these companies’ visibility.

intellisuite-whitepaperHosting is one of those categories where leaders like RackSpace do all the best practices like:

  • Creating content (whitepapers, ebooks, videos, blog posts) that solves problems for your customer
  • Advertising through search engines (targeting people looking to buy now) and social advertising opportunities (targeting people by their job title)
  • Growing owned media lists (email, fans, followers et al) and leveraging them to communicate new services and offers
  • Landing page optimization, especially split-tests to decrease their cost per lead and cost per sale
  • Integrating CRM into their marketing and sales process, especially to granularly track the success of marketing campaigns

When you have most or all of those in place, it’s feasible for us to create 50% – 400% improvements in your cost per lead or sale. Contact us about doing that for your company.

But many hosting companies are missing one or more of the above best practices. The task there is to audit what they have and find the gaps, custom-prioritize strategies and then execute a launch of best practice strategies. Then we can go back and increase efficiency and profitability.

If you’re interested in taking your marketing and sales results to the next level, contact us!

Business Building Live Interview with Jay Baer

In this second episode of my series interviewing entrepreneurs, I am very excited to present Jay Baer. You probably have heard of him. He’s super smart and does everything with the highest quality and taste. Jay started five multi-million dollar businesses from scratch. He’s an acclaimed keynote speaker, entrepreneur, technology investor, social media and digital marketing consultant and author. He’s consulted for 29 of the Fortune 500. Author of two best-selling business books. Named one of America’s top 3 social media consultants. Runs the world’s #1 content marketing blog. Has given speeches to hundreds of organizations, including the US State Department and the US Olympic Committee.

Learn how Jay grew his business and what principles guide him today.

Why Books Can Be One of the Worst Products to Sell Online

I had an interchange recently with a fan, and first, it’s really awesome to have fans 🙂 I’ve said this same kind of thing about books to a bunch of people over the last few years, but I’ve never blogged or ebooked about it. And the math part of it is something everybody looking to do ecommerce online should look at, so here it is.

And by the way, I know there are exceptions- Jay Baer has a great slideshare about how he drove Youtility to bestseller status. But that’s an outlier- an exception (and required a big investment that he hopes will pay off in the next three years, you’ll find if you read the slideshare). If you want a product to sell that typically is successful, books aren’t it.

THE FAN: I want to promote my books on facebook. If the sales hit a million or a minimum thousand, I will share 40% of revenue with you. Here are my books on Amazon: REDACTED
Mar 14, 01:13PM

ME: Thanks for reaching out! Books are a very tough product to sell because the author usually has a really low margin. I am happy to work with you on a services basis- if you’re interested, I can send our services and fees info.
Thanks! Brian
Mar 14, 07:23PM

THE FAN: Thank you Brian for your input. I would love to coordinate with you on other projects. I’m into self publishing at this time and promoting my business books. Will let you know about other businesses………
Mar 15, 10:01AM

ME: Cool, please do. With self published books it’s a bit easier, because you can choose to have a bigger profit margin- but Amazon doesn’t have granular tracking to allow for optimization- you could optimize it if you’re selling it in a way that does allow for advertising conversion code.
Mar 15, 10:04AM

THE FAN: But I’m a great fan of yours would like to work with you on some joint venture. I’ve written some 4 to 5 books. At this time the book sales is rather slow. And I’m hopeful that it will boost up with time. If you can play some magic with these kindle published books then I can share half of my royalties with you for a considerable time as you like. I’m making my presence on G+, Pinterest, and other channels. However, It will be nice if some sound marketing strategy is in place. I’m also working as a freelance writer and editor on oDesk and Elance and I’ve a proven track record of successful projects. Anyway its nice talking to you.
Mar 15, 10:15AM

ME: It’s a math thing. Figure out your possible cost-per-sale range and see if your profit margin can tolerate that.

  1. What percent buys? Say 5% of the visitors buy, and that would be an amazing conversion rate (CR).
  2. What’s the lowest possible cost per click (CPC) on Facebook (the cheapest targetable mass traffic ad solution)? Maybe if you’re amazing it’s $0.20
  3. Cost per sale is CPC/ CR… $0.20 / 5% = $4.00 as spend per sale; Your books would have to be at least $15-20 to have some wiggle room on those numbers, because it could be as bad as 1% conversion, $0.50 CPC = $50 per sale.

That’s why it’s so hard to sell really low price products at scale.

That’s why you see the infoproducts guys selling things for anywhere from $97 to $2,000 – not that I support that; a lot of these are people using hype and manipulation techniques to take advantage of buyers (who often are trying to buy their way around laziness)- read my blog post about Internet Training Ethics.

It’s just the ROI math of ad spend and profit margin.

You at least need to make enough to break even on your ad spend- and that’s fine to do if you’re investing in your long term career. For me, the reason I write ebooks and give them away and advertise them, is that they’re a loss leader. If I spend say $500 to promote an ebook but it brings in a few clients that yield me thousands in revenue, that’s a good investment.

Business Building Video Interview with Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner

You’ve heard of Social Media Examiner and the Social Media Marketing World conference?

Michael Stelzner launched Social Media Examiner in October of 2009 and it has exploded. Last year more than 7.5 million visited the site, and they email tips daily to more than 230,000 people. Mike is also the author of two books (Launch & Writing White Papers) and is host of the Social Media Marketing Podcast. He also founded the parenting blog My Kids’ Adventures.

I interviewed him on the topic of Business Building: starting from scratch or how to grow an existing business, specifically in the digital age. Great answers. If you run a business or are thinking about starting one, watch this now!

Brian Carter – Essential Reading

Hi! If you’re new to digital marketing or social media or just to Brian Carter, you ought to take a look at this “required reading” list. Things by Brian:
  • Free ebook: Contagious Content: What People Share on Facebook and Why They Share It – If you want to create Facebook posts that get shared like crazy, execute the takeaways from this research study on your own Facebook posts.
  • Free ebook: The SuperPost Swipe File™ – The best posts we’ve ever run for Facebook clients and how you can adapt them to your own business to massively increase engagement on your Facebook page. Most posts get about 1% engagement rate (percentage of those who see the post and like it, increasing the visibility of that post). These posts received 10% to 16% engagement rates.
  • Free benchmarks: How do you know if you’re getting good enough Facebook results? Or how awesome it could get? Read this.
  • Free marketing guide: Without great copywriting, nothing you do will sell. No one will care. To write persuasively and get more sales, you need marketing molecules.
  • Book: The Like Economy (2nd Edition): How Businesses Make Money With Facebook – If you’re new to Facebook marketing, want to make sure your strategy is sound, or want to get better at the tactics that get the best results, read this first. This is the best book if you want to get the most bang for your buck with Facebook. To take it even further, get into my Facebook Leads and Sales Machine training course.
  • Book: The Cowbell Principle: Career Advice on How to Get Your Dream Job and Make More Money – Just like Will Ferrell’s goofy cowbell player in the Saturday Night Live sketch “More Cowbell,” you already possess a unique value that people have a fever for – your cowbell. For individuals, a cowbell is a talent or gift. For businesses, it’s a durable competitive advantage. The key to happiness and success is knowing who you are and how you can make other people happy. A cowbell gives your value to people and they love you for it.
Other books I recommend. Of hundreds of non-fiction books I’ve read, I believe these are the most important. If you already like my writing and speaking, these will take you even further:

Thanks! Free Ebooks

Thanks for signing up for my email list!

Here are two free ebooks , just click to download or right-click on each and Save As…

Contagious Content

The Facebook SuperPost Swipe File: Time-tested Facebook posts and how to and modify them for your business. These have all gotten 10-16% engagement rates (the average for most pages’ posts are just 1-2%). Read more about them here.

Thanks For Contacting Us!

We’ll be in touch within 24 hours, but usually much faster than that!

If you don’t hear from us, we may have missed your submission accidentally. Call to let us know at 619-244-9469.

Brian Carter & The Carter Group