As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more accessible for small businesses,…
Marketing Automation Strategies from SharpSpring Agency Partners
Before taking the new year by storm, there are some important questions about marketing automation to consider. What worked? What didn’t? What’s on tap for 2017? Watch this panel discussion featuring 3 SharpSpring agency partners as they shared their marketing automation successes and challenges. The webinar covered:
- Pitching marketing automation to your clients
- Developing winning social media strategies
- Producing quality content
- Getting the most out of your campaigns
- And much more!
Led by SharpSpring CMO Andrew Dod, a former agency principal, this discussion included real-world examples and actionable tactics for your 2017 planning.
President - MoreSALES
Launched in 2005, MoreSALES provides sales and marketing consulting and services to emerging B2B firms who recognize the need for effective sales growth strategies but cannot afford a full time Sales and/or Marketing manager.
Mike advises owners, presidents and C-level executives across North America to help them drive their company’s growth. Throughout his career he has worked on such brands as Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Volvo Trucks, Orkin, Hilti, Home Depot, TGI Fridays, HP and Pfizer.read more...
Vice President - Sales & Marketing, Core Integrated Marketing
With an extensive background in direct mail advertising, Greg discovered the value of marketing automation for creating highly targeted mailing campaigns and proving their ROI. By using marketing automation to integrate data from multiple channels, he created an easy-to-use marketing package that has helped his business grow exponentially and adapt to clients’ expanding needs.
Jen DeVore Richter
Co-Founder - Rock My Image
Jen DeVore Richter is an Author and Co-Founder of Rock My Image. She was recently named as a Contributing Writer to the Huffington Post with featured articles on small business marketing. Her podcast Purpose Filled Business was just launched on iTunes. Jen is on a personal mission to encourage business owners to reinvent their lives, reenergize their businesses & reconnect to their purpose.
Chief Marketing Officer - SharpSpring
Andrew’s twenty-eight year career spans marketing, strategy and communications with broad experience in consumer and B2B technology industries. Prior to SharpSpring, he was CMO at a 2,500 person international management consultancy, Managing Partner of the Marketing Practice at an Inc. 5000 consulting firm, CMO of the world’s first SaaS mobile app publishing company, Innovation consultant to Fortune 1000 and technology companies, CEO of two highly profitable marketing and PR agencies, Director of Corporate Communications at a $300 million data communications pioneer, and head of Public Affairs at a 20,000 member global trade association.read more...
No time to watch? Read the full transcript after the webinar.
Andrew: Welcome everybody to our webinar. We wanna get started right on time and we’ll keep things flowing pretty quickly. This is our last webinar of the year I believe, and we have three agency principals who are all partners of SharpSpring on. Greg Budrow who runs an agency out of Chicago, Jen DeVore Richter who runs an agency, a boutique agency out of Jacksonville, Florida, and Mike Jennings who runs an agency out of Toronto, Canada. So thank you all for participating. We really appreciate you taking the time and sharing information and we look forward to a vibrant discussion.
We will keep it brief here and I’ll allow them to add color commentary on their agencies and their perspectives as we go forward, rather than going through a detailed file on each individual. But again, thank you for participating in this session. In terms of who’s here just so you know, there are a number of current agency partners who are with SharpSpring, and some others agencies who are considering SharpSpring, and we’ve got a number of end user in-house marketing professionals who are perhaps even prospective clients of yours, so welcome all. There are about five billion companies who are on this call so we’ll hope to get to all of your answers or questions later on.
The objective obviously is to learn from peers, share marketing best practices, and really see what’s working in the real world. So our focus today is on digital marketing learnings. Looking back to the 2016 year and what we’ve, what we’ve learned both good and bad, and then how it’s going to shape our thinking going forward into 2017. Questions, all phone lines are muted right now, so any questions you can submit via the chat box which is normally on the upper right hand corner of your screen. You can pull down that menu and submit it there, or you can submit via Twitter at that #SharpTweet or @SharpSpring, and then we will do our very best to get to get through all of them.
We’re recording the webinar and we’ll email it to you after so, you can take notes if you’d like but certainly this will be recorded and sent on. And we’ll also go on to at the end ask for your feedback, because we want to constantly be learning what you guys want to hear about and we’ll go from there. We have an upcoming webinar on January 25th called Let’s Get Personal, and we’ll have some more information going out about that. Zach will be leading that webinar. And if you would like to participate in any webinars and have some great information to share with other agency partners, that would be great. Please email Nicole, her email address is at the bottom there.
Okay, enough of our housekeeping, let’s see if we can get right into it. And again, I’m having in trouble. Okay, so here are the topics that we’re gonna be covering, talking about marketing automation and how we communicate that effectively to clients. Some social media stuff is using quality content in a noisy, noisy market where there’s a lots of stuff going from all different angles, and how do you do it? How do you produced it? How do you syndicate it? And things of that nature. And then really getting into campaign, reporting, ROI, analytics, all of that and then we’ll end with some discussion about e-commerce.
So those are all the topics we’ll be covering. And again we’re going to try to keep the cadence up and all of the email addresses of all of the participants excuse me, all of the presenters will be available if you wanna dig into anything in more detail you can certainly do that offline and we would encourage you to do so. So let’s get into pitching marketing automation to clients, and we’ve got a series of questions that I just want to seed and in the background on the slides. You’ll see some stats that we’ve pulled that are important. But let me start with Greg. Let’s talk about the success or the learnings on the on the negative side, the success that you felt in terms of how you’re communicating and introducing marketing automation to clients that may or may not have heard of it. So how has 2016 been for you?
Greg: Great. 2016 has been, has been really good for us in terms of our marketing automation strategy. We heavily rely on marketing automation is, as a backbone of our marketing campaigns. And we’ve really created a really good way of converting clients into marketing automation just due to the successes we see around using various components of the platform. In terms of how we do it, we make a full, a full campaign from lead inception of capturing that lead through lead capture to two post sales.
So my agency focuses a lot on the business to consumer marketing. And with that we focus on you know nurturing leads all the way through conception. You know, through time they showed interest at the time that they become a customer. So what we’ve done is we’ve created a nice packaging and a good industry and niche to promote, and we’ve used that success to expand our marketing automations. So we’ve come up with a really good solution that works extremely well, and our growth using marketing automation is really taking off because of it.
We find that our customers maybe haven’t heard of marketing automation or what it does, but they know the concepts behind it, talking to your leads, you know communicating in real time and multiple touches. So we package in a way that is easier for them to understand, and we packaged in a way that you know shows them really nice conversion and because of it you know our growth has been has been huge, and we probably are pulling in you know 20 to 20 or so clients a month new because of it. So it’s been a, it’s been a really good, a good solution for us. And what we do is we, we create the whole environments, we create the niche. So when we pitch it we pitched on a very simplified service of converting more leads to sales.
Andrew: So you’re going in straight with an ROI pitch saying, if you allow me to do X, I’m pretty much able to, if not guaranteed but this is the zone of impact that we think we can have on your bottom line in your business.
Greg: Absolutely, absolutely with the way our package has worked in and now since we have you know, we have a large number of clients already on the system. I think we have about 85, we go in and we say, listen using our solution we can Wando will get you a new conversion rate of between 50 and 300% of your leads. We were not gonna promise, you we’re in triple your sales but if you get every time lead you get, you know will if you’ve got one before, could we get to two, three, or four. Yes, very easily, and I know that the system works to do that, so just showing them that ROI way right away and makes a lot easier for them to make a decision.
Andrew: Okay. So let’s get to the flipside, Jen let’s talk about the challenges that you’re having in terms of the pain points that end user clients, small to medium sized businesses might be having grappling with marketing automation. So take that way please.
Jen: So I’d like to share a client’s story about this issue, related to what Greg was talking about converting leads to sales. So, we have a client, he is actually a plastic surgeon, and he’s been a Rock My Image client for four years I think. And when we first started with him, he had a robust business. He had, he have leads coming in and, but the problem that he had was convergence. And then the other pain point that he had was being able to track and measure the success of all of his marketing to tell you the truth, not just online marketing.
And so we basically, when we had the account, when we got the account in the first place we weren’t a SharpSpring agency partner. And we were basically just doing content marketing for him, and trying to prove the return on his investment of content marketing. And the automated, once we got him around the concept of converting more leads, and increasing your conversion rate by you know integrating automated marketing, then he got it. And then he understood the value of it. Just two weeks ago, I had a meeting with him and we were just doing like our quarterly planning meeting. And we’ve taken that account to the point now where we don’t just use, we’re not just doing content marketing, and automated marketing, and managing everything but they actually have assigned the person inside the practice that is responsible for follow up and for using SharpSpring as a CRM, and you know really taking it to a whole another level.
And the benefit that he said to me was that, now we have data, now we can see this historical information and see exactly you know what the conversion rates are. They had no idea of tracking that before. So it’s been, that, that big pain point of not being able to increase conversions but then just the other pain point about just not having data and not being able to tell what’s working. It’s been solved basically.
Andrew: Yeah, I’m a former agency guy myself, I’ve been agency side for many, many years back to the early 90s and those conversations with clients back then were a lot more uncomfortable than they are now because we didn’t have data. We had a number of other metrics, but they were so soft, it was really hard to prove the ROI. These days, I mean for me looking back it’s like, wow this is around that they have, the analytics, the information, you can prove they ROI, you can see the lead flow, the conversions all of that in one system. Here you go Mister and Miss client, this is where we are.
Jen: Yeah. We were basically using the key performance indicators before, so if this happen then we can deduce that, this is happening. But now we don’t really have to do that.
Andrew: Exactly. So I’m gonna go to Mike here, a little of next. But let’s talk about some of the big names after who actually SharpSpring competes with HubSpot, Marketo, there are many others. And I’m wondering how you have communicated to your prospects and your current agency clients, the differences between SharpSpring and some of those big enterprise plays.
Mike: Yeah. We have kind of, we’ve encountered our agency focuses primarily on B2B customers, so we’ve found this typically kind of two customers. Ones that have been some, some degree have some exposure to marketing automation through awareness of HubSpot or Marketo, or Pardot, and those that maybe then using some form of marketing automation but don’t even know that it’s call marketing automation, it might be easy Constant Contact at some point, or using MailChimp, or do some off to do some basic emailing and email campaigns. But not really aware of the whole integration of all those tools together. And so what we’ve been able to find is that, the ones that have heard of Marketo and HubSpot, they may have a sense that the dollars that are surrounded that and the level of work they have to do on their end to build around that platform, and we operate it more with different approach.
So we, we’re quick to say them, you know he heard of Marketo or you’ve heard of these products and you them as a SaaS solutions offer as a service solution. We, we’ put the capital on the first A and call software and a service. And we provide the ability to not only install the platform but run it for them. And they really love that. Because I’ve said, oh you mean they would use it before, or we don’t use it as much, we don’t get the full value out of what we’re spending on it because we’re you know we’re, we’re stretched in different directions and so us being on the run it for them has been a huge game changer for them and for us and they really value that. And so that’s one of the key points. To ones that aren’t familiar with it so they, you know they may have heard of the name but they don’t know what it is. We’re able to show them, so again the integration of the three, three primary things that I identify whether of the CRM, the email marketing, and all those web visitor ID. And show how they all tie in together. And the real big moment for a lot of them, especially they have a decent size sales team even if it’s three or four guys they’re trying to manage. As I, I point out to them how these, on this platform works together, works into their CRM, and then it leaves scoring really helps and prioritize where they’ve got to go, where they’ve got to focus their efforts. And even if you open up your platform on a daily basis to use be in recently active. That really resonates with them. They know, I know I get it. So it’s a new may have 100 leads in your pipeline may not, right now you have a thousand names. Do your sales guys know who to go after first, then may know where are some of their hot proposals are there going off that they’re talking about. They don’t know what’s going on online. So this really helps bring you to know, bring to clear to the top and they can skip off right off to the top and be working on that, and be focusing on those, those high lead customers.
Andrew: Great. So Greg we hear a lot from partners, our current agency clients in particular that you know, us help SharpSpring helping them more in terms of rebrandable resources joint sales calls, and so forth. It would be really important and just and FYI a little earlier work, we are gonna get really serious about that in 2017. We’re adding headcount in partner and enablement so that we can help agencies sharing best practices, pricing packages, how it all works with the content, the ancillary services, the benefits to the end users all of that. We’re gonna get really aggressive on working that angle in 2017 as we’re seeking to hire somebody to run that entire program here. But can you can you give me some of the, what you think is working great in terms of the relationship now, or ways that we could, we could improve as we as we go forward 2017?
Greg: Sure. Thanks. Yeah, you know, selling marketing automation and pitching automation is difficult because there’s so many components of every system. So until you’re up and you know the system, you know a 100% or 90%, it helps a lot to use supporting information. It helps a lot to have people on the call that know every component of the system. So you know having remarketable material showing the differences between what a traditional email provider does, the difference between that and the marketing automation platform. Or to have a real world case study showing where a success you know yielded, you know 700 new leads where they had 300 on past campaigns. You know things like that really help, and you know SharpSpring has ability to have that in the platform that’s easy accessible, it is a super helpful when you’re, when you’re trying to sell the product.
When you’re originally starting out, SharpSpring does a really great job of jumping on calls as well. You know I think one of the big reasons we have success is because we’ve been able to pinpoint who you’re talking to, and what’s important to the person you’re talking to. Your team does that every day, day in and day out. So you know for somebody who may not know, it’s hard to go on there and say, look at SharpSpring it’s amazing, it does everything. You know your client doesn’t understand that, but if you get SharpSpring representative on the call or someone that knows you know a really a lot about the system, they can pinpoint and say, you know the contact manager and the sales pipeline can do this for your team, the marketing automation. So your expertise in these individual fields will help closing convert more things. Because someone doesn’t want to go to somebody if they’re not confident, and you know SharpSpring’s team and knowing the information definitely bring that confidence and then people are more in tune to want to use you, and know that what you’re saying is actually going to happen.
Andrew: Good. Well, we’re going to try to remove, oh go ahead please.
Mike: Yeah, I agree on that, but the other point that I found that was really helpful in the early stages is not only doing demos but I found, some of the early demos we didn’t do our part to give the SharpSpring a wrap, what was gonna be doing the demo enough background and we are gonna to talking sometimes would get granular and the client was needed a higher level. It was to do to understand marketing automation, so we got very early on that, first couple calls we made a habit of being in touch with your person first for 10 minutes on the phone or by email and just saying, here’s who you’re gonna be talking to or here’s where they’re gonna, here’s are pain points where gonna focus and that made a huge difference. Because they just went right to what they thought and what being told the client is talking about in the back in previous calls, and that really, it really made them a big change.
Andrew: Okay, that’s great. What we’re gonna try to improve a lot in 2017 in helping remove all the friction from that communication and selling process to your clients. So look forward to standing that initiative up beginning in January. Okay let’s move on to our next group of topics, which are it’s around social media. Some more stats up there on the screen, but I’m gonna pose this to all three of you if we can go around the horn real quickly would be great. You know share what’s most successful and less successful in terms of social media strategies, or campaigns, or efforts that you’ve seen and in 2016 and then we’ll look forward to 2017 and take those learnings forward. So let’s start with Jen.
Jen: The big thing that we learned this year related to social media marketing was that live video is going to be huge. It’s already starting to outperform even some of our paid ad campaigns in terms of return on investment and you know the cost that you’re paying for a lead. So as the social channels like Facebook make it to where advertisers are the only ones that are getting their content seen, except if you do live video then it makes more sense to be doing the live video because if you’re not having to spend as much money on it. So that’s going to be a huge thing that we’re going to be moving into 2017 with.
Andrew: Great. And I was talking to an SEO expert a couple of weeks ago, and I was asking him about strategies in 2017 and his answer was three things to do. Video, video, video, and more video. So Greg what about you?
Greg: You know our social media and what we see is, you know when we think of the, a pretty important part of any marketing is to have equal distribution between different media types. We also think that it’s important to make things easily understandable like Jen said with video, we like using infographics just things that you know make a very easy to understand, and make you know on social media you have a lot less time before some makes that decision as they are scrolling. So you want to make sure that your ads stands out that was easy to understand. And we also want to make sure you’re not just doing it to do it you know just not throwing up something and say, hey I’m on Facebook or hey I’m on Twitter. You know if you’re gonna make that your strategy, you want to invest the same time and effort into something so you can track results, know what’s happening and make sure that you’re changing your campaigns as things progress you and you know what works and what doesn’t work.
Mike: Yeah, I’m gonna echo the video I was at a marketing B2B conference back in October in Boston and they, that, I would say at least 50 to 60% of the content was about video marketing, video platforms as well. And then also as Greg said, making sure it’s going on the right channels, were using again where to be, we’re focusing more LinkedIn. And we’ve seen, particularly couple of our clients who are subject matter experts putting even trainings simple presentations into a video, or doing video next with presentations and posting it on LinkedIn as really seeing their web traffic right up and it’s been very powerful.
Andrew: Okay. I’m gonna combine two questions now. The first is, are there any particular social media channels that you’re seeing a higher engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, anything of that nature? I’ll throw it out to the entire group.
Jen: I think you will find engagement where you’re starting conversation. So you can get engagement on any social channel. But it’s what you’re putting into it, and how you’re, how you’re communicating and engaging the audience is what ultimately is gonna going to get that. So you know, so for me I put most of my attention on Facebook so that’s where I get a better result.
Mike: For me it’s been LinkedIn and again just posting as much video as we can, we, you know that website, we have video tested in all new smart clients and we try to chop them up into 30 to 90 second components about rates specific topics rather than just some ramblings a four minute video, we break it up into very tight of the videos so people can go directly to what they want to see and making ensure the content to the subject they wanna see.
Andrew: Yeah. We are definitely visual human beings, aren’t we? We like to see that moving picture a lot.
Mike: It makes it real, right?
Jen: I will add one thing. I did start a podcast a few weeks ago on iTunes, and I mean literally once I launched the first three episodes, I had people emailing me and texting me talking about how great they thought the podcast was. I have never ever had someone email me or text me and tell me how great they thought my video was, or my blog posts. But for some reason the podcasts are really getting a lot of great response and feedback from my audience so just something to throw out there.
Andrew: Great. Greg anything to add?
Greg: No, not, not really. I mean we use, we use primarily Facebook just because we’re a lot more familiar with you know the ins and outs of the system. You know in terms of using it for paid ads and organic we you know, we find our most success coming from Facebook as well as we do a little bit with YouTube and you know tracking results that way. So I don’t have a lot to throw in with you know those have the social media.
Andrew: It’s great. All right, let’s go on to the next topic which is content and quality content as that. I mean, we are all consumers just as we are our marketers as well. And I don’t know about all of you but I’m bombarded daily with what feels like an endless supply of content. Not all of it is useful to perhaps when I’m in the moment looking at and researching and studying. So let’s talk a little bit about this massive juggernaut of content that’s being created and the content fatigue that perhaps many of us feel. And what’s the way that we can focus more on the quality rather than the quantity of the content. Do you have any suggestions and warnings to share with others? Yeah, Jen.
Jen: It would be storytelling. Even from a corporate or business level you need to be compiling all of the stories that are going to sell your business. It just makes it more interesting work. We’re kind of us humans, I think hardwired to think that stories are interesting especially if you can tug at a person’s emotion or take them on a journey. And so corporations, and businesses, and entrepreneurs pretty much anyone that has anything to sell, needs to be compiling a library of these stories. Not just client testimonials or things like that. But just stories on maybe how you started your company? What got you into this business in the first place? And you know, client testimonials are great but maybe even stories about your employees, that kind of information is really interesting, it’s almost what makes social media social, is the personal side of it. So that would be my suggestion to make your content stand out in a sea of content is to make it personal with storytelling.
Andrew: Great: Greg, Mike anything to add on that level?
Mike: Yeah I was gonna say that we have a client that uses them, again this is a different client, he’s a bit of an opinionated guy but he’s quite well known, and kind of an industry leader, and his content gets picked up. It’s amazing, you’ll see something and say, oh I don’t know if that’s gonna be good. But he has an opinion and people respond to it and it gets a lot of traffic and usually his opinion you see is just slightly one side or other side of center but it’s pretty interesting, we kind to response. You get in, you know the traffic you ease every time he sends on a monthly newsletter, and they’re opening newsletter. A little bit of, like you said Jen, and said a little bit about of her personal thing to update him, or his family, or his business, or something related. And it really, really comes back and gets a lot of good content and a lot of good feedback, you know.
Andrew: That is like a good emotional connection, right? Jen?
Jen: I have something else to add on that. So I was at a training a couple of weeks ago down in St. Pete and they were, the person that was doing the training had this great example of how to improve your sales and marketing through storytelling. So if you think of a spectrum and on one end of the spectrum you have teachers. And then on the other end of the spectrum you have celebrities and entertainers. So how much money do teachers make?
Andrew: Not a lot.
Jen: How much money do entertainers and celebrities make? A lot, so that’s because people want to be entertained. We don’t want to be taught. We want to be entertained. So what can you do to make your content more on the entertaining not that you have to go full you know Kim Kardashian on things? But what can you do to make it less educational and more entertaining that will increase your sales and marketing?
Mike: On that, I don’t know, my wife is teacher but she focus on drama. Drama and music in her school, for the whole school, everybody speak her teacher because when she comes in they know it to be fun and entertaining and they were like, and they really is got too funny that where I am.
Jen: Yeah, she gets it.
Andrew: Not a lot in math that way right.
Mike: Not as easy in math, English major, no problem.
Andrew: All right. So let’s take a step back and look at, look at marketing from a 50,000 foot level. You know go back in your mind to the mad men error of mass market media, big broadcast, ads and so forth, and full page ads, and newspapers.
Mike: That’s when I got started.
Andrew: And then we see the migration, we see you know go to market, go to mass market, go to a targeted segmented market, and then we come in to go to, go to customer. So more precise and then we’re seeing go to persona and we’ve got tools embedded in SharpSpring that allow you to get very dynamic in the presentation of the content. So it goes to actual individual person. And then we’re not gonna talk about this but a lot of thought leaders are thinking we’re gonna, we’re getting to the area work of the era where we’re going to be go to algorithm. And which kind of scares me to no end. But let’s talk about dynamic content for a minute. Greg you’ve got some stuff to share about the dynamic stuff that we have embedded inside of our platform right now, and how you’re using it. Could you share some learnings along that line at that continuum?
Greg: I mean, just like everyone said before content is really what sells but it’s not just content, it’s a relevant contents. The way we look at it is, the more personal we can make your interaction with the customer, the more fined tune we can make it, the better your results to be. You know your best, your best you know communications are when they are from one person: the sales person to the person who inevitably is buying or you want to engage in the process. So what we wanna do is automate a path that gets you there then makes it look like you’re taking the time to talk to somebody. You know for an example, if I am a travel agent selling vacations to Florida and I know that my prospect is looking to go to Florida, sending them nice Florida destinations will spark their interest. On that same we find that s content isn’t just about flashing an image out in front of somebody or you know telling everybody that you’re having a 50% off sale to Florida. You know we find the more personal we can get that connection, so if I write a letter and it looks like, “Hey Andrew I’m you know we don’t offer a lot of these but you know I have a couple of seats left going to Florida is now a good time for you to do that?”, we’re using the data involved in our system with dynamic content so we can send on the blast to a thousand people sending them the personal information they’re looking for. And the more personal the more relevant it is, you’re seeing huge engagement changes. So you’re seeing you know open rates and click rates that they go much higher than that. You know the average of 15 to 20% if it’s relevant. You know you’re going to 30, you know 25, 30, and 35% even higher. Our goal is to engage people it’s such a high level giving them the data they want that they don’t have to go searching. They don’t have to go looking, you made it easy, you made it accessible, and then they can click through a website using SharpSpring as dynamic content and email as well as the landing page. That message is carried over so it doesn’t just look like, it was ad hoc and then you still land them on a page that says, hey look at all of our deals it’s, hey I got deal going to Florida. And when you get there I mean like, this is the deal we’re selling you to you know just sign up right now. So you’re incorporating all of the data, the big data in there in the right way and getting the results you wanted at a much higher click.
Andrew: Right. Terrific, let me, we’ve got about 15 minutes left before we get into question. So I’m going to break up the next two sections into about seven minutes each so we can keep the cadence going. But that last question with quality content is, we’ve talked about video a lot already. So Mike I know you have some things to add in terms of the success of that content medium itself, anything to add?
Mike: Nothing groundbreaking just the point that a little bit further that what Jen was talking about earlier was that, we are trying to get our clients to make it as real as you talking about story and figure it real for our customer as possible. So we have a client that generates construction and so they have videos both on safety, they have videos on testimonials, and they videos on methodology. They have a real, a rich resource of different kinds of videos not just self-promoting videos. And they get a lot of traffic to the other videos as well. And they’re connected with various associations, and they republished some of their videos and tied in there. So we felt that’s really again starting to find their hit rate, balance up and they’re getting, they get a lot of, it’s funny you know they get a lot of interesting comments. They had a dog day, bring your dog to work day. That got the most reaction, a lot of videos they had for about the last quarter, because you go, hey Colly I didn’t you had a dog. And start sending back, that he wasn’t of their dogs, or pictures of their dogs. And they say, okay bring them acting that’s great. So it’s kind of, you kind of make it over personal that way. And people say that you a real person you’re notice on marketing, she note there at really this program.
Andrew: Oh good. Terrific. More dog days ahead then perhaps. So let’s go on to the campaigns and reporting success for a moment. Whether your client side in charge of a marketing department or a part of a marketing department or whether your agency side, you know knowing what’s working and being able to establish some type be attributing campaigns to lead sources and so forth. It’s really important to justify the budgets, and justify the retainer relationships or whatever it is that the financial elements there. So what have you learned in 2016? And I’m going to pose this to all three of you. In terms of applying our ROI, in measuring the right stuff of bringing forward the right metrics. And what learnings can you bring into 2017 and share with the others who are on the, on the webinar? So let me start with Jen.
Jen: Yeah, I mean I think from measuring ROI, the thing that I just try to educate my clients on is looking at, looking at it historically. You know it sometimes you can get too hung up in the numbers and think that something just if say for example you have a month that is less than what the previous month was. And you go, oh no the whole campaign is for nothing, it’s not working and they’ll try to give up on something before it’s really come to its full fruition. Especially with the cyber marketing because it tends to get better through time. So I would just say when you’re tracking and measuring looking at things with it from, not just from the minutia but from the big picture too and looking at the trends over time. And just making sure that you’re moving in the right direction, and don’t push the panic button or pull the plug on a campaign too quick and that would be the thing that I would add.
Andrew: So it seems like college football coaches and marketing campaigns have about the same longevity, very impatient they want victory right now. I wanted to sell, right now. Greg what do you got?
Greg: Yeah, I mean knowing the ROI comes from, its super important but it’s two faceted. So you’ve got the marketing spend component so you’ve got, is the money I’m spending on marketing working? And then you got the component, if it is working are my sales people converting on my leads? You know because there’s two ways of losing, you lose them before you get them, and you lose them after you get them. And knowing where you lost them in the process is important. Knowing that any marketing piece is a working progress just like Jen said, you know I always tell people, I was like, to like will could you try this for a month. I’m like not really, we need to try it, we need to be able to change it, and we need to be able to go onto it because, just because you don’t succeed doesn’t mean the marketing is a failure. You know we can, we can see what we did that was wrong, and it’s hard to do that when money’s on the table but people have to know about that, about that coming into the process. But knowing where is failed because sometimes the marketing people do a great job and salespeople do a job, or the marketing people do a poor job and the salespeople do a great job, and the marketing people now think that they’re great, even though the sales people are closing at 70% which isn’t normal. You know so you have to just look at where on the process so knowing that and having that ability in such SharpSpring is you know is really helpful.
Andrew: That’s always, always fun conversations to have between the marketing VP and sales VP. You know it’s like, your leads are terrible. Your conversions are horrible. Those are always fun of conversations. Mike what do you got?
Mike: Yeah. We tend to do directly with the owners as much as possible. So there’s less couching of the information before it gets to them. And then what we, what we find too is that being able to pull from various sources or through the SharpSpring platform, you know we can show them the value of the pay per click campaign, we can show them the value even our print campaign, or direct mail campaign, or an outbound emailing campaign, whatever we’re doing. But what we can do is also help them understand where there’s an accountability issue. I think that’s really big for owners and it’s, we’re not pointing a finger at any particular one department, it’s just, okay where is there disconnect here? As you said, you did this. You know, where is there disconnect between the lead that’s coming in, the quality of leaders coming in, where is going to the pipeline, and where it’s being moved on the sales and how are they doing with it. Particularly the CRM is able to kind to give me some real metrics about time. And one of things that I raise eyebrows of all my clients for diversity the CRM platform is the timeline. And they can see the traffic of a particular lead and how long sometimes it takes to that lead to become you know a bona fide prospect. You know they may able to go website three or four times for better engagement and we that really, really allows them to be like identified that for them get sense of, yeah as you said don’t pull the plug on this because you can see sometimes just needs to percolate for six months not six weeks and that kind of thing.
Andrew: Greg you have something add?
Greg: Yeah, just, on the dashboard you know use it to track the channels. In terms of segmenting in their content we are talking about like digital content, relevant content. Like we have a client that has a couple of forums on their website, one is requesting quote. When the lead fills out the requested quote form they open emails at 60% open rate. When they fill out the form that says, request a brochure that email open rate is at 30%. So the funny thing is, is obviously you have to nurture those people differently so not only getting there results helps to know of the campaign works but it helps to fine tune it because that people who requested the brochure, they might need to have a much longer nurture track than someone who’s requesting a quote you know. You got to talk to people differently so you use the results to change that up based on list segmentation.
Andrew: Right. We’ve been talking to a whole bunch of agency partners over the past four to six weeks and I’ve heard a number of different numbers but have you seen, by using SharpSpring, are you seeing a lift in terms of revenue per client, and changes, and budgets on the end, on user side. Just give me just a ballpark real quick and then we’ll go into the e-commerce section which is our last. Jen, what type of lift if any are you seeing with your clients?
Jen: Big time. I mean just from our standpoint we’ve been able to either double or triple the amount of retained income that we’re getting from our clients using SharpSpring and automated marketing.
Andrew: Great. Greg?
Greg: Yeah, we’re seeing, we’re seeing huge increases in terms of repetitive business. You know we have a lot more in a secure base of clients. We know that they’re gonna be using us month in month out, and we see it as a big growth driver for us actually and we’ve created almost a whole division of our company now focused on using marketing automation as the initial talking point and then using that to increase revenue amongst our other services that we offer. So yeah, every customer’s a lot, becomes a lot, and a lot more pieces we can sell them once they’re on the system.
Andrew: Great. Mike?
Mike: Yeah definitely retention has been, that is pretty good always anyway but, this strengthens it. But the other thing that we found is it’s a great way to start a conversation because before a company already had a good website or something that was kind of hard as you know get in there and offer another way to looking at their website where this is a way that, just enhance stuff they already have and start a new conversation that we might not have been able to start prior to it.
Andrew: Great. Okay, let’s go into our last topic and then we’ll roll into question. So again, if you have questions you can go ahead and submit them through the little menu bar. So e-commerce trends we’ll cover this pretty quickly. I think Greg you’re the only B2C guy on here right now but I know we’ve got a lot of B2C agencies who are listening in. So holiday’s big time, big time e-commerce, what are you seeing? What trends are you seeing? What are you feeling? Good, bad or ugly?
Greg: Yeah, I mean that e-commerce is the way that everyone shopping right now. I mean, like how many people are actually go to the stores? On Black Friday I bought all my stuff online. Target is offering the same price online as they were in-store. Fighting the, fighting the story is you know, no one wants to do it anymore so making it as easy as possible. I mean e-commerce is a big chunk of everyone’s business. Big ticket or small ticket. Knowing how to use the data is important as well. Being able to see when you know carts are abandoned, you know getting them the right deal, you know everyone wants a deal. So knowing that if you get a ton of people in your cart, they get in through heck out, knowing every component of it is a big point but e-commerce is only and it keep in bigger and bigger as people want to sit in their couch and do all their shopping from their mobile phone.
Andrew: Okay, great. So we’ll keep moving here onto the next one. Some stuff that’s on tap for 2017, went the wrong, sorry. We have coming up in a week or so, will be announcing and releasing here at SharpSpring, Personas. So for those of you who are not familiar with Personas it allows you to get much more granular and targeted. So you can communicate directly to Sally the CEO, or Tom the IT guy, or Sam the Sales VP. So look for that, some of the benefits of that obviously are you’re generating higher quality leads the conversion as all of you have said the conversion rates are really through the roof when you’re able to use that dynamic element in the personas. And we’re seeing about a third of the companies who are using them now are seeing pretty significantly compressed sales cycles. So not only do you see higher lead flow, better conversions but you’re seeing the time compressed to actual closed/won sales. So that will be coming out. I think we’re do to release sometime perhaps even as early as next week on that. So stay tuned for more details. I look forward to that. So okay, let’s go on to some questions here and we’ve got several who have chimed in. We’ve got one saying, I’ve heard of a lot of sales talk but can we get a bit more concrete on how many licenses does an average agency sell per year? That will be great. So I think we’re all over the board here on that answer because we’ve got some boutiques, and Greg while yours isn’t a huge agency, do you mind share on some information on where you are?
Greg: Sure, so you know we’ve been on SharpSpring for about three years. We started off with zero clients on marketing automation within come from HubSpot or any of these under marketing automation systems. And we built a niche around a certain industry, and over the last year we’ve picked up about 80 new instances of SharpSpring, so we have about 85 clients on marketing automation right now. And by this time next year, we hope to be about double that so about 160 to 200. And we just found that you know once you find your niche and you find how to talk to these people, it’s relatively easy to get them onboard and then you can get them set up. So we were making a big push right now that we’ve had some great success.
Andrew: Okay great. And again that’s obviously on the high end, it’s enormously successful but I think across the board we’re seeing anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen at some point over a period of time. Given the fact that we’ve only been in the market for about two years, so anyway we will, in the follow up, we’ll see whether or not we can get some averages around to provide some more concreteness to that question. But thanks for that Greg. Jen question, How long are your podcast?
Jen: 15 minutes for the busy woman on the go.
Andrew: Very good.
Jen: I keep them short, this is enough for you to get some knowledge and inspiration in a commute.
Andrew: Okay. Very good. So how do you handle objections? Next question. We use cons in contact or part of that, or Marketo. How do you handle objections in terms of overcoming of them to move them and migrate them to SharpSpring?
Mike: I can take that one. On the Pardot, HubSpot and Marketo sides, there is no comparison to the cost. The cost is less than half if not a quarter in some cases depending on the volume of usage. So that’s, that’s one of the first things and then on other, on the other side when you looking reviews some saws are causing contact, and the cost is roughly about the same. Because when you get a lot more, a lot more value and a lot more functionality for SharpSpring, so yeah, one of our users I just showed them a dollar cost averaging on it last week and he was paying about 125 bucks a month on his, on his Constant Contact account plus the time to set it all up. And the lack of reporting and realize basic reporting on it. Whereas we showed him all the additional values that you get for SharpSpring for roughly, roughly same cost and that was a no brainer.
Andrew: Yeah, I have implemented at various other companies prior to coming here SharpSpring, Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, and SalesFusion. So I’ve been all across the board. The only one I hadn’t have experience with was Eloqua and so when I was recruited into the position, I looked at the software, I thought it was going to be email on steroids. And I was really surprised when I got in there and said, wow they’re pound for pound. We’re talking pretty close here to the enterprise place. We’ve got a question from Tim in, I believe it’s the UK and his question is, will the additional resources and partner enablement be exclusively focused on the U.S. or will it include the UK? Tim, I’d love to talk to you about that. And what I want to hear what’s going on in your marketplace to figure out what we can do and what we should be doing to support you and your efforts there. My inclination is to make sure that it’s global where we have the most, where we can have the greatest bang for bucks. So let’s talk about, do you have support in Spanish to explain what SharpSpring can offer to support us as an agency. And the answer is yes, heck yes. So, on how, if you’d like to reach out to me or to Nicole, we can certainly put you in contact with the right folks here at SharpSpring who can help you with that. So next question. Jen, you seemed to work closely with social media and content. What is your take on influencer marketing, are you involved in that?
Jen: Oh, that is actually our area of expertise. We are authority marketing experts and, yes. So I work heavily with that, and we break it down. We use content marketing and automated marketing as part of influencer marketing campaign. Either you are the influencer, or you’re looking for influencers to help support your effort. But I don’t know what the specific question is but yes I’m very knowledgeable about that.
Andrew: Okay great. So the individual who asked that question perhaps will reach out directly to Jen. Greg I’ve quickly got a question for you. Is there anybody who you would not sell SharpSpring to? What’s a bad client? Perhaps is a different way, more pejorative way of closing the question?
Greg: You know we find a way, you know I think marketing automation works for most companies. So don’t get me wrong with that. I find the type of client you don’t want is, especially in my market is, we are, we manage everything for our clients. So if we find someone that’s selling very low dollar amount types of things with very small volume, it’s something we won’t, we won’t get into. But I would say 80 to 95% of businesses out there definitely can work whether they’re a big company or small company. We have clients that are small as two people and we have clients that you know have thousands of employees. So I mean, I think marketing automation for the right niche fits it. I think if you push the niche, if you push it on somebody because you’re a good salesperson you’re going to end up hurting yourself because you’re going to be, if someone doesn’t have the right market then they’re not going to succeed at it. So you just kind have to know your market and placed that on it, and the things that will fix people’s pain. But I don’t think 95 % of time it’s open the, to pretty much all facets of all businesses.
Andrew: Great. Mike can we talk a little bit about the anti-spam laws north of the border and what you’re doing to deal with that in terms of remarketing?
Mike: That’s great question. So we just finished the campaign for one of our clients isn’t she, so on Canadian market there is, you’re not allowed to send that email without permission but you can send email if there is implied permission as long as you had some interaction with that customer and you’ve got their email address, and they had interaction back for to you and they can always off at anytime. So what we’ve done is we kind to combine our, we have a service where we combine outbound direct mail, followed up with actual phone calling and then gaining interest from the customer, asking if can we send them something by email and we can we get information from us by email. Yes sure, we make a note of that in our database. And then we can send them info by email back on the marketing automation platform through drip a email campaign. And it works fine. And you know it’s good revenue for us because we’re doing that work for the client as well. But they’re building up a really nice database of potential customers and that’s you know to our point earlier, that’s one of the things that we say, don’t pull the plug just too early. We’re only just in the gathering phase the last three months. Now that I started using it is when you’ll see the compounding effect after about three to six months. So some regular emailing to them and it’s been proven now. And some clients are just kind of, “Well I wanna see immediate response, can I have, can I have two more?” It’s gonna come, just trust me. It’s like a good wine, you let it age.
Andrew: Good. I realize that I jumped over one last question and I wanted to ask all of you. So, I’ll go ahead and pose it here, and then we’ll close out the webinar. Advice for a fellow agency principles and for marketers inside of companies who are on this webinar right now, what would you say focus on this in 2017 to be make a priority one, two and three in your business? Jen? That you talked about stories earlier and I know that’s really fatic.
Jen: Yeah, it’s I think it’s almost like the most important thing is compiling a system, or a library, or a database of all, even if you’re just using Evernote, or Google Documents to compile all these stories because number one they’re gonna be able to help you sell marketing automation or whatever it is that you’re trying to sell. And number two, you’re gonna be able to use the content on your channels and in your campaigns, the story content. So it’s, we’re making it a huge priority coming up in 2017.
Andrew: Mike, I know you talk video, video, video, so you want to hammer that again?
Mike: Yeah, again just talk about videos much as Jen is saying, your make them most personal and you can, give it a variety of ideas, keep them short, keep them tight 30 to 90 seconds, and a variety of different topics. So you’re not just talking about selling features and benefits, you’re talking about you know usages, you’re talking about the testimonials, you’re talking about the work that you’re doing the community. One of our clients has bunch work for Habitat for Humanity, they took a video camera along. So, that kind of stuff is very valuable and it makes it really real for the customers or potential customers because it makes you, makes real. You can’t lie video. Unless you are Lucas Films.
Andrew: Great. Greg? Final thoughts?
Mike: Yeah, my thoughts are you know market automation and you know what it does is amazing. I don’t over promise what it can do. I mean, I think if you set yourself up for failure you’ll fail, so you know if you keep it you know realistic on the expectations, you know you’ll see success and don’t overcomplicate anything. You know just make sure that it’s easy to understand and you know you will see the results in that campaign, you’ll see the results from your clients and you’ll achieve under success you want.
Andrew: Great. Well thank you all. Jen, Greg, and Mike we really appreciate it. Here’s the information on how to, you can reach out to any of the individuals here including me. And I’d love to hear from anybody out there with any questions or any learnings. Always love to listen to, to other marketers to hear stories about how they are not over promising, but over delivering and how they’re using video and all of those things are great. We as marketers are community here, and we’re trying to really build that sense with SharpSpring into 2017. So I look forward to being in contact with all of you. And I think that should, just about do it. So thanks all, everybody have a great rest of the day.
Jen: Bye. Thank you.
Greg: Merry Christmas.
Jen: Merry Christmas.