Meeting Your Customers Where They Are: Leveraging Digital Marketing Channels for Fun and Profit Webinar

Date: June 18, 2020? ? ?Time: 2 PM ET | 11 AM PT? ? ?Duration: 50 mins

Webinar Description:?For every business, some digital marketing channels will work better than others at winning over customers and driving ROI.

With SEO, paid search, paid social, email marketing, and more platforms and channels every single day, there are more places than ever where people can spend time online—yet, reaching your customers where they are online can seem as if it has never been harder. Let’s make it easier.

Hive Digital’s Matthew Kay thinks that everyone should take a research based and measured approach when it comes to digital marketing, and together with webinar host Sheffield Pulley, designed this webinar to help you accomplish this.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Where your customers and potential customers are spending their time online
  • the places people will go online to answer questions (and where you should be present)
  • How to figure out what channels are working best for your competitors (and use that data for you!)
  • A hands-on approach to selecting digital marketing channels to build a strategy that delivers ROI to your business

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Sheffield Pulley:
I want to thank you all for joining us today. This is the second of what will be a series of webinars that we’ll be putting on by our different consultants. The first was done by Jay Patel, jumping into YouTube ads, a member of our paid ads department, which you can find on our YouTube channel, or we’ll be sending a link out in a follow up email as well. Super excited about today’s. Matthew’s going to be talking about where to meet your clients where they are. And Matthew’s come on board how many months ago, buddy?

Matthew Kay:
Oh, man, probably, what? Nine months, something like that, eight months.

Sheffield Pulley:
Nine months, yeah.

Matthew Kay:
Coming on that.

Sheffield Pulley:
He is our newest team member, and has brought with himself an incredible energy, a freshness and excitement that you’ll see that he is infectious with his energy. He’s incredibly intelligent, as you’ll also see. But I can say from personal experience, having become friends with him, that his heart is his number one asset. This guy cares about people, he cares about his clients, which fits perfectly into who we are as a company. People first. And so it’s been wonderful to get to know him, and I’m looking forward to learning from him today. Let’s have a little fun, buddy.

Matthew Kay:
Awesome. Love it. Thank you, Sheff. Much appreciated. Pleasure to be with everyone today. This is a nice little webinar series that we are putting on here at Hive Digital, just going through some of the stuff that we are thinking about and talking about with clients, and some of that might be interesting to all of you. So without further ado.

Sheffield Pulley:
One other piece, Matthew. Sorry to interrupt, buddy. I just wanted to mention, we’re going to hold questions until the end, but if you would interject them in Q&A, that would be wonderful. Matthew can see them. If he wants to address them as he goes, he can. But we’ll be more than likely addressing all the questions at the end. You’re welcome to drop them in the Q&A. If you want to drop in chat, that’s just fine as well. But I find that it’s easier as you go along to share them, and then we’ll be addressing them at the end.

Matthew Kay:
Yeah, absolutely. And I was talking to Sheff earlier before we got on here, and I was saying how much I enjoy the conversational nature of something like this if we were all in one big room, but it doesn’t translate so well with the online nature of this presentation. In any case, yeah, Q&A at the end. Looking forward to it. So today’s topic is going to be meeting your customers where they are, so we’re going to be talking about digital marketing channels and how to pick out your best ones, use different tools to get an idea of what the landscape looks like that you’re operating inside of, and make smart decisions, and make educated decisions.

Matthew Kay:
So I am looking forward to running through some of this stuff with you all. A few takeaways for today. I hope that you’ll be able to walk away from this with a better idea of where your customers, or potential customers at least, are spending time online, looking for answers to questions online, using the internet to help make purchase decisions. I hope that you will also be able to have a better idea of what channels are working best for your competitors, so you know what digital marketing channels are they using to drive ROI and to drive revenue. And then finally, I also am very hopeful that you will be able to use some of the things that we’re talking about today in a hands on way, to go off and choose what sorts of channels, digital marketing initiatives that you, a business owner or someone in this field, would like to experiment with.

Matthew Kay:
So with all of that, I think it is time to go through some basics. So put your phones away. Mine is on airplane mode. I might talk fast, I might talk very slow. I might not talk at all. Well, hopefully I will talk, but this will be recorded, so you’ll be able to go back and listen to every little uh and um in the next 40 minutes or so. And also important to note that this is a roadmap, this is an overview. I’m trying to just give you a high level overview, a mindset, an approach. This is not super nose to the grindstone, bulleted list of action, action, action. I want to get your wheels turning. Yeah, I want you to leave with a framework.

Matthew Kay:
Also worth noting, I had mentioned tools once or twice here in the intro. We are using premium software tools to go through a few of these concepts. A lot of them have free trials. If they don’t, I’ve shared some alternatives, alternatives with free trials. It does involve signing up and creating an account, in some cases a nominal amount of money, but it’s all hopefully worth it in the end with all of the insight and knowledge that you will gain. And then, yeah, once again, question and answer will be at the end.

Matthew Kay:
So who am I? Why am I talking about this today? My background basically boils down to YouTube. I started a YouTube channel after working on co-hosting a podcast, and we grew that YouTube channel. By the time I left, we were doing a fair amount of revenue, and we had over 150,000 subscribers. After that, I departed to work as an independent growth marketing consultant, and here at Hive Digital, I sit on the SEO team, but I do find myself doing a lot of other stuff besides SEO here at Hive Digital. So SEO, I like to say sometimes, to some people at least, SEO is my one true love when it comes to digital marketing, but I am far too curious to just do SEO all day long. And I think SEO, once again, bleeds into so many other things. It is just wonderful to sort of dabble in a lot of different areas, and I’m very curious about everything.

Matthew Kay:
So this is the audio-only podcast that I was co-hosting, and I think we made it to 55 episodes here in an audio-only format. And this sort of is where my background comes from. This is where a lot of my thoughts as it relates to putting something out into the world, finding what channel to distribute it on, finding an audience, figuring out where revenue streams are going to come from, and sort of just stacking the bricks. In the case of a LEGO podcast, pun very much intended. Stacking the bricks and trying to figure out where things are going to be coming together, and how things fit together, and all of that stuff.

Matthew Kay:
For context here, this was an audio-only podcast. When I joined, it was not in interview format. I sort of led it towards becoming an interview format podcast. And then you realize, and this is something that happens in business, and this is something that happens in life, that you realize this distribution channel that I’m using is not ideal. I have a better way to get what I want to get into the world out. And so we decided audio, LEGO being so visual, of course, did not work out too well, and so we picked up a video camera, and the rest is sort of history there.

Matthew Kay:
And so, yeah, as it turns out, doing a video podcast, much easier for people to show what they’re working on, show the things that they’re putting together with LEGO bricks. In the case of this somewhat hilarious screen grab, this is me in the heat of the moment, doing an interview at a convention, talking about LEGO in front of a camera. Totally normal, totally normal. But I had a lot of fun with that. However, I realized that the same itch I was scratching sort of building things, and figuring out how to get things out into the world, and working with digital channels, I began to realize that other people had those needs as well. And I was approached to design a website, and I did that, and as you can see, a very, very beautiful website, all three colors, super complex, too. I’m being modest over here.

Matthew Kay:
But yeah, so you learn how to put together things and how to share things with the world, and yeah, having a lot of fun with it. And to this day, still look back at this website and think, oh dear, that’s fun times. So that’s my background. That’s sort of where I come at this from. I want to give a little bit of background on where we sit today in terms of the digital marketing landscape and what these channels look like here in 2020. So how I think about digital marketing, and how I think about an approach, the approach, at least, that I recommend people take. Let’s just say, for example, that we all have a thing. Whether that thing be a product or a service or something in between, we have a thing, and we would like to share it with the world.

Matthew Kay:
We want to share it with the world so that we can get customers, but we want to use our website to share it with the world, we want to use our search presence to share it with the world, our social presence, our business listings, email marketing to talk to our customers about our thing, and every variation here within. But that’s a simplified one, two, three of sort of the way that I like to at least mentally think about having a website, having that website’s presence on search, my business’s presence on social, various listings for my business, whether that be a Google My Business listing, a Yelp listing if you’re a restaurant perhaps, or maybe a G2 Crowd site if you’re a software provider.

Matthew Kay:
And to go back to the thought of different channels and different ways that you could be getting your thing in front of someone, it is important to note, and something that we see a lot here at Hive Digital, is that people that are too reliant, in this case on paid advertisement on social, Facebook ads, they can experience a little bit of pain when things like this happen. And this sort of happens all across the board with paid channels as they get older and more mature. Costs go up, simple as that. There is only a certain amount of inventory available for ad space. There’s a lot of people bidding on it, and costs go up, and it sort of inflates acquisition cost. And if you don’t have a sustainable strategy when it comes to serving that customer, retaining a customer, and those numbers don’t make a ton of sense if you’re just burning cash on Facebook ads, it can become pretty bleak pretty quickly.

Matthew Kay:
And if you read startups that fail, and you go to Bloomberg, or you go wherever you get your news of that type, a lot of times, the things that these founders are calling out is that they just never figured out a sustainable acquisition model. They never figured out a sustainable … Numbers were never sustainable, at least when it comes to customer lifetime value and metrics like that. So yeah, this is totally applicable to the WeWorks and the venture-backed startups of the world, but also applicable to privately held bootstrap companies, and every variation there, and everyone that is engaged in business has to worry about, where does my customer come from? How much does it cost for me to serve them? Do I keep them? How much are they worth to me? All of those things.

Matthew Kay:
That brings me to the concept of the growth funnel, and talking about all of this, talking about ad costs, and trying to share your thing with the world, and doing this in a sustainable way. It’s mostly something I see people in the software marketing space, digital marketing when it comes to SaaS companies, just because these metrics, of course, are easier to track. If you are serving someone completely in a digital format, you’re completely serving them inside of a tool, so you can figure out literally, how did they get to the tool’s website? What was their source? And then you can say, “Attribution there, and I’m activating them, I’m serving them online, and yeah, keeping them in my app, doing things that I’m retaining them.”

Matthew Kay:
So very applicable there. I would wager, and I would, I guess arm wrestle you under the table if I was in the right context, maybe a coffee shop or something on a sunny day like today, I would say that this is applicable to any business. I would say that if you’re a flower shop, where are your customers coming to your flower shop from? Are they seeing your sign because you have a really beautiful sign outside your window, and it just catches people’s eyes? Are they seeing you because you have great business listings that you spent some time putting together, making sure you’re showing up in different directories where people look for things like flower shops? All of those considerations.

Matthew Kay:
And then go into activation. When I come into the flower shop, are you making it easy to transact? Do you have a website that allows me to get a flower bouquet delivered somewhere? Did you at least make it easy for me to call you and engage you that way? Do you pick up the phone when I call? I read an interesting, I think it was … I can’t actually attribute the source, but basically the premise was, you can sort of determine how healthy an economy is by the rate at which contractors will reply to your inquiry. So let’s just say you want to put on a porch on the back of your house. I call up a few contractors in my local area. If the economy’s doing great, then they’re all very busy. And I have personal experience with this, and I’m sure many of you also have a similar personal experience, but they just won’t call you back because they’re too busy. They have plenty of business.

Matthew Kay:
They don’t care about your porch project even if it’s a $15,000 or $20,000 US home project. They could care less, so they don’t even want to have anything to do with you. And then as you go into retention, go back to the flower shop. Are they sending you an email asking for a review and how was your experience afterwards? Are they asking you for that referral? And all of these things lead into revenue and lead into how sustainable is this model, or how sustainable does it look for you to scale your business, to acquire customers, and so on and so forth. So I just think this is a great concept and something that should perhaps be in the back of your mind as you’re thinking through all of the things that we will talk about here going forward.

Matthew Kay:
Just to cement and drive home the fact that the world is very digital these days, 87% of the people in the United States, they’re on the internet, so people, and especially in recent months, I think we’ve seen a lot of things that were, at least Sheffield and I here at Hive Digital, we’ve spent many hours of our week in video conferencing, just the nature of how we work. But this is now 100% how the United States works, and you could almost argue how the world works. Digital is now. People are online. The whole notion of ignoring the digital realm and your presence there, I think is pretty well and fully put to bed. It is just something that is here to stay.

Matthew Kay:
What are people doing on the internet? I mean, obviously going on TikTok and scrolling through funny videos, and spending time on social media is one thing. A lot of people use the internet. I know I personally fall into this demographic. They’re using the internet to answer questions about things they want to purchase, especially in store purchases. We have links to back up these statistics. This is just based off of some reading I was doing on these different questions. And as it turns out, yeah, 58% of people turn to the internet when they have questions. So I mean, it’s a question and answer engine, right? It’s something that we use to enrich our life, to better our life in whatever way that we want to, because it’s like water. You do what you want.

Matthew Kay:
So in terms of a digital strategy and all of the things available to you, you might remember it from earlier, talking about different things. You have your website. You have your social media presence. You have your customer list, your CRM system. You have an email list that may be tied into your CRM. You’re doing things with your website, and as far as conversion goes and serving your customers online, you’re worried about your website’s SEO presence, perhaps. Furthermore, you probably have ads running. Maybe they’re promoting your website, maybe they’re promoting different web pages, but at the end of the day, they’re promoting your business. All of these things are something to consider, something to have thought about.

Matthew Kay:
I am always impressed when I come into a situation where I learn that someone, they say, “Yes, of course I have a CRM with all of my customers in them. Yes, of course I have an email for my customers.” And you might ask, “Hey, so what are you doing with that?” And they might say, “Nothing,” and then, boom, that is opportunity. You go to someone, maybe you’re this person, and you [inaudible 00:17:57] never thought to collect an email from my customers at any point. Well, why don’t we start? And as a customer, perhaps that could be overwhelming to be bombarded, and I think we all experience this as consumers, too, just being bombarded with review requests and all sorts of things. But it doesn’t have to be overt. It doesn’t have to be overbearing. It can just be very subtle.

Matthew Kay:
I think I’m always happy, actually, to hear from … And I’m trying to think of … I think the best example I have is, my mechanic sends me an email every, maybe, what, six months, basically. And, hey, maybe an oil change would be a good idea. I don’t hear from him every week, but if he comes and says he knows that I probably need an oil change, and he’s right because he has it timed out just so, and yeah, it works out. So yeah, all of these things work together. All of these things can work in beautiful harmony. It’s just sort of about piecing together everything.

Matthew Kay:
So we have all these channels available to us. We have many, many avenues by which we could be promoting our business and serving our customers and converting them, and everything in between. I think it’s important to understand where website traffic is coming from, where people are arrive at your site from. And that information can really help inform a lot of decisions when it comes to what you’re attempting to do. So for our purposes today, this is a company called SpyGuy. It is bootstrap, it’s based in the USA, based in Texas. A guy named Allen founded this company. It’s an eCommerce store, it’s online, online only.

Matthew Kay:
It’s interesting for a lot of reasons. I mean, number one, a lot of this equipment is for sale on Amazon, but this business is still viable, and so that’s very interesting. And he’s also gone off … You might see there on the plastic of this product here on the home page. That’s his product that he had made, designed, researched, put into production, and he’s now selling. So yeah, very interesting business. But let’s use this as an example to piece together what is going on, and what we can learn, and how we can improve things.

Matthew Kay:
A tool to use to understand traffic coming to a website and what sorts of channels are moving the needle, it’s called SimilarWeb. There are some alternatives. SEMrush is one. However, SimilarWeb has a pretty generous free plan, I think. They provide a lot of data for free, of course. However, if you want to get large historical samples and large amounts of data points, without sampling just the aggregate raw data, you will need to sign up for a premium plan, and that is variable pricing, so it depends. In the case of SpyGuy, we put SpyGuy.com into SimilarWeb, and we are then shown a few interesting things here on the header section.

Matthew Kay:
Number one, we’re shown that device distribution, the device that’s going to look at the website, we have a very mobile-heavy audience. So these are perhaps people on their phone actively researching a problem, trying to find a solution to their spying needs, which I can only imagine the things prompting the need to spy. Who knows? I don’t even know if I want to touch on that. But yeah, so you can just think, I probably should have a good mobile experience. Okay. I should probably think about my mobile experience and how easy does it check out. As far as my ad targeting goes, I probably want to make sure things, at least the ads have a nice mobile version, so on and so forth, optimized for that, of course.

Matthew Kay:
We also see visit duration here. It looks like six minutes and 25 seconds, and they’re going through more than one page, so these are people looking around, looking at products, looking through different category pages, so and and so forth. Digging more here into the tool, we get an idea of marketing channels. And this, to me, is a golden egg when it comes to … And I only say that off the experience that this really does vary widely in a super interesting way, website to website. So in the case of SpyGuy paid search, and you can see that it’s looking for the different things that he sells. Google as a search engine is showing product listing ads and showing paid search results on a lot of his different terms. So yeah, he has a presence on paid search.

Matthew Kay:
He is doing paid search, and it’s working very well for him, I can imagine, because he’s increased spending on that from what we see later. But if I was his competitor, or if I was in a similar space and I was just trying to understand what did he do and what could I do, I would then say, “Hey. A good paid search setup for me would probably move the needle, because we have a similar business, or at least I understand our businesses to be similar. So maybe I should focus on paid search. Maybe I should spend time on paid search.” And then let’s go into, channel number two here is direct. And that’s sort of a black box in terms of what that actually means.

Matthew Kay:
This is probably, and this is at least how I understand this in this context, I would say that direct are people that are going to the site because they know the brand. And I think that is a huge one to drive home, is that he is not an Amazon seller, a nameless, faceless Amazon seller, selling these things on Amazon that people, they don’t care, they just want the thing, and they want it at their house later that day [inaudible 00:23:49] Amazon. People are probably going out and searching out SpyGuy, maybe typing in SpyGuy.com directly from some other … Maybe he radio ads, maybe … Who knows? But that brand component is what I see when I see direct looking like that, and I think we back that up here in a little bit.

Matthew Kay:
So yeah, a lot of insights to be gained from even looking at a few little bars on a chart like this. And were I to pull up another example site, you probably could see social sometimes just go crazy depending on the category, depending on the audience. Beyond that, we just saw organic search, search traffic is a big driver. Let’s break that down further. SimilarWeb tells us, number one, paid is 71% of the total, and organic is only thought to be at 28%. And I just said the word thought. That’s because this data and a lot of data like this is predicted. It’s based off sampling, it’s based off of anonymized data collected in different ways.

Matthew Kay:
But we can have at least some degree of confidence that there is legitimacy here to some of these numbers. And looking at real numbers from real sites, and then looking at what SimilarWeb says, those numbers are very close very often, at least in my experience. And to go back to the brand component, what do we see here for top search terms for organic search? SpyGuy, the brand. So building a brand here has worked very well for him, or at least is something that is driving traffic to the site. So the brand awareness, the branded search term.

Matthew Kay:
SimilarWeb gives us a lot of insights about what’s going on from a high level in terms of those channels. However, if we want to dial into search, whether that be paid, whether be organic, Ahrefs is a wonderful tool to help us understand search presence of a website a little bit better. Just like SimilarWeb, they have some higher tier enterprise plans that reveal lots and lots of data. They do have a wonderful seven day, $7 free trial. Not free trial. It’s very unique in the software space, the whole $7, seven day trial. It’s a paid trail, and pretty thoughtful of them to do that, just sort of keep you invested, not to [inaudible 00:26:21] beholden to some free plan. In any case, affordable to at least get your toes wet with what this tool can do.

Matthew Kay:
And if you’re like me, you’ll be a kid in college who signs up for this tool and says, “Oh my gosh. I can’t get rid of this. This is like [inaudible 00:26:37] from heaven with all this data. Just wonderful.” Once again, SpyGuy.com. Let’s see what Ahrefs has to say. Once again, they’re giving us the breakdown saying that there is paid search traffic coming in. And there are also organic keywords, 1.3 thousand pay per click keywords versus 6.1 thousand organic. That’s a large cohort of keywords against organic, at least from what I’m looking at when I was piecing through different paid keywords, and different variations, of course.

Matthew Kay:
Spending, or at least he has a traffic value of 2.4 thousand when it comes to paid search. And then, yeah, organic search, he has a $3.5 thousand traffic value. Interesting numbers here. We can see that referring domains shot up, so he’s building [00:27:32]. We can see that there are more organic keywords here in recent months, that plus 26, and a few other things. This is just the high level overview of what’s going on with this website. Digging in a little bit further, one of the most interesting pages, reports, at least, that Ahrefs offers, is the top pages breakdown. And so what this attempts to answer is what are the top pages, the top pages for driving traffic to the site.

Matthew Kay:
And once again, we see home page is doing very well, and the top keyword for that page is SpyGuy. So these are people coming to the website, looking for the brand term. So brand awareness, once again, is just a big driver here. And beyond that, we see a lot of, I guess we could refer to these as almost generic terms for things that he sells, a hidden camera detector, and that maps pretty good to his hidden camera detector, his Scout hidden camera detector. And he’s doing pretty well at position seven. So let’s mentally think for a second, if we were attempting to work on or run or start up a company similar to SpyGuy, we would then understand that our product pages should be optimized for search.

Matthew Kay:
We would understand that people are looking for these things, and Google in turn is returning search results like these product pages to people looking for hidden camera detectors. So that’s an important data point, because that’s not always the case. If you’re a restaurant and you’re trying to rank for best restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina where I am, you’re going to be very disappointed, because oftentimes, Google is going to want to return directories of restaurants, Yelps of the world, articles or blogs listing out different restaurants, as opposed to your Italian restaurant website.

Matthew Kay:
That’s not the case here, and Ahrefs has just told us that. Beyond that, they also let us know that these collections pages, so bug detectors, or in the case of this one, iPhone recovery stick, iPhone spy stick … It actually looks like a little bit of a mismatch on [inaudible 00:29:55] review. But we do have collections pages ranking and bringing traffic to the site. So if I was putting together a website, I would probably then say, “Well, I’m going to optimized my product pages first, and then focus on collections.” And then also, he does have this one blog article doing pretty well for the term lecture recorder. And so, yeah, we get a little bit of insight into what the top pages are for this site.

Matthew Kay:
And if we are him, if I am SpyGuy.com, I’m going to use this kind of report to say, “Why am I position seven for hidden camera detector, and why couldn’t I be number one? What needs to happen to change that?” I’m talking about this from an SEO perspective. Is it a question of links? Is it a question of content? Is it a question of some other variable, the speed of my site, user experience, so and and so forth? So an awful lot of insights here to be gained from a very simple table of URLs.

Matthew Kay:
Going away from that and going into other things, here we have a keyword breakdown. This is giving us a listing of different keywords driving traffic to the site. And then to harp on this yet again, the brand component here, the branded term is doing very, very well, so people are aware of the brand, and they are just coming to the site because they know SpyGuy and they want to learn more about what SpyGuy offers. So this report also, you can sort of see similarities. This time we’re coming at it from keywords first as opposed to pages first, so a little bit of same salad, different bowl or something like that. But we can also see that, once again, different product terms are driving traffic, so very cool.

Matthew Kay:
Beyond that, Ahrefs also gives us insight into backlinks, and it gives us insight into where people are linking to our website from. So in the case of SpyGuy, and this is a tactic applicable to any business almost, we can see the owner, first and last name, is getting the mention, and it’s getting mentions on things like, 70% of consumers have EMV chip cards, CreditCards.com. So this is some sort of a roundup or news piece, and he was given the mention because he gave some comment on that thing. And then the same thing comes back here. USPS [inaudible 00:32:30] who was the shipping carrier. And then here’s what Allen Walton at SpyGuy … So this is where some of those links are coming from.

Matthew Kay:
And they’re coming from him offering commentary, offering insight into different places, different posts, different people putting together sorts of articles that are relevant or at least somewhat related to what he’s doing. So as someone running a similar site, I could then say, “I, as the founder, first and last name, of this company, could be going out and doing similar things with my business, with my website, and getting that mention or getting that link.” So yeah.

Matthew Kay:
Beyond that, we have an interesting breakdown here of pay per click ads. This is showing us what ads are running and what terms they are running against, or how many keywords they’re running against there. We have the ability, basically, to see what is the actual ad, what is the text that has been written, and what is the offer, what’s the call to action. So super, super interesting to get the ability to peek behind the curtain and see these all in one place. Of course, you could see these in a search results page, but to just have everything broken down like this for you. If you are running a similar or something tangentially related, you can piece together the language that’s used in these ads, and what percentage …

Matthew Kay:
This one, this one right here, going to audio surveillance, is responsible for 25% of the overall traffic, so this is a very important ad. And its cost per click there is $1.30, so very interesting from the perspective of, that is doing very well for him, but all these other things are perhaps not as relevant. So we have an idea of where people are coming to our site from, what channels they’re using, what sorts of things we could be optimizing, we could be establishing, we could be using to get a better idea of where we should be focusing our efforts when it comes to selecting a digital marketing channel or figuring out which ones to expend our capital on.

Matthew Kay:
Now we want to maybe backtrack a little bit. We want to go at this from a different angle, and we want to say, “What could we understand about where people are online, where people are online looking for the problems that we could help solve, or where are the communities that our customers are spending time in that we could become a member of ourself and use to reach them in a meaningful way?” A great tool for doing that, and this is something that’s recently launched. I’ve only had a few hours, a better part of the day playing with it and trying to figure out what sorts of insights I can get. This is called SparkToro. This is [inaudible 00:35:37].

Matthew Kay:
And the bill here, or at least what it bills itself as, is audience intelligence for everyone. So it’s attempting to give you, the business owner, the person with the question, the understanding of what publications does your audience read, where is your audience going on social, what accounts are they interacting with, and all sorts of other things in between. They do have a free plan, and their paid plans start at $150 monthly. Similar to Ahrefs, they do an interesting thing with pricing. If you need a ton of data for a short period of time, they have a plan targeted for that. So if you want to just go in there and rip down a bunch of data, and then peace out, you can do that.

Matthew Kay:
So in our case again, let’s continue on with the theme here, let’s use SpyGuy, SpyGuy.com, and let’s go and try and figure out what people are doing when it comes to surveillance. We could also maybe be searching here for home surveillance, how to spy on my cheating wife, other variations thereof. But this term, surveillance, when we input it into SparkToro, we are returned a few different things. We are seeing what social accounts people are using to interact with things related to surveillance, podcasts that talk about surveillance, websites talking about surveillance.

Matthew Kay:
So as I, someone with a surveillance related thing that I want to share with the world, SparkToro was telling me things like, “These are the social accounts, these are the Twitter accounts, the Facebook accounts, so on and so forth that are talking about surveillance related terms.” And maybe I should go to them, engage in a partnership with them, go off and interact with them in some way, reply to their postings. But that’s my tribe, so to speak. And same thing for websites and same thing for podcasts and YouTube channel.

Matthew Kay:
And then audience insights just gives you some sort of idea into different demographics related to the people talking about that thing. So very interesting from my perspective of, once again, like the flower shop example, where are people talking about flowers online, and where can I go hang out with them and serve them and give them value? And hopefully in return, they perhaps become a customer.

Matthew Kay:
Beyond that, Reddit is an answer engine, and I sometimes like to say it’s an answer engine like Google but of a more conversational nature. So it’s not somewhere … I mean, you can of course go and browse, and certainly a lot of people do, but you also can very much, and I see this quite a bit, just looking through Reddit from a business perspective, I see a lot of people going there to help answer questions and help figure out solutions to problems. So me as someone, again, owning, let’s just say a SpyGuy.com, I want to understand what people are talking about on Reddit when it comes to the needs that I can help with.

Matthew Kay:
So let’s look here. And this is another Reddit peculiarity. Their search is pretty notoriously not so great, so a much better method of searching Reddit is to just simply go, site:Reddit.com, site, see my colon, colon, Reddit.com, and then whatever term you want. And what this is going to do, is it’s going to look through Google’s index of different Reddit pages, Reddit comments, so on and so forth, for that term, as opposed to using Reddit’s native search. So looking for things on Reddit related to surveillance, I was able to pull up … This is a subreddit community called Home Defense. So these are people talking about home security systems, CCTV cameras, panic rooms, and everything in between.

Matthew Kay:
I think I am very well positioned to, as a business owner, enter this community, perhaps provide them with value. Something you could perhaps do is put together a piece or an article that maybe interviews community members of this Home Defense community, and talks to them about how they’re thinking through these things, and then use that piece, share it within the community, and just start a conversation about the problems that everyone here is trying to solve. In the case of Reddit, I think it’s suitable to everyone almost. SparkToro is probably more useful for someone with at least a larger audience of people online talking about the thing that they do, so to speak.

Matthew Kay:
They probably don’t have a super, super large cohort of dialed in people, or at least data aggregated for very specific niche topics. In the case of Reddit, though, applicable to everyone again, and also, everyone is on there in every little corner talking about all sorts of different things, for better or for worse, I might say. Beyond that, sometimes, and to go back to what we talked about at the beginning, we want to think, where can we get more of our best customers? And there is really no better way to do that than to figure out who your best customers are, and just ask them for more of them, essentially. We talked about acquisition, we talked about figuring out where people are coming from, what sorts of channels are driving traffic, where people are going and talking about the things that they have questions about.

Matthew Kay:
But at the end of the day, if we want to sustainably find our best customers, serve our best customers, and do more of that, I think that it is very, very underrated to offer a chance for your customers to refer other people to you. So this is a tool called InputKit. This is a feedback system, offers a few different ways to integrate a basic premise, at least that you can think of as someone perhaps considering implementing something like this. And there are all sorts of alternatives to this. Endorsal is one. Reviews.com, or Reviews.io, variations thereof, all sorts of different Net Promoter Score review systems.

Matthew Kay:
In the case of InputKit, let’s just think that we have a business, we’re serving customers, and at some point, we finish. We finish an order, we finish a class, we finish something. And we go off, and we just ride off into the sunset, typically. But instead, we could say, “Hey, Joe Smith, thank you so much for choosing us. Were you happy with our service?” And InputKit will send this person an email, ask them that question. If they say they were very happy, we can ask them, “Is there anyone that you would like to refer to us for a discount?” Something like that. “Would you like to leave a review for us?” Everything else in between.

Matthew Kay:
But that basically allows us to go off and get more of those customers, or at least use the testimonial that Joe Smith will use for marketing purposes. I would never promote something like this without actively being a user. I have been very impressed with what InputKit can do. I’ve set it up in a few different contexts. Here is one that’s been sent. This is a sequence. This has been sent 2,503 times, and it’s exactly what I just described. It just goes and says, “Hey, thank you so much for being our customer. How did you like us?” In this case, 92% of people were pretty happy. And then it says, “Could you leave us a comment, leave us a thought?” And in this case, we’re asking for a review.

Matthew Kay:
We could be asking for a referral, or, “Hey, can you share us with a friend?” And just sort of starting that conversation, and once again, driving home the fact that this is about a relationship, this not about you giving us money and we’re riding off into the sunset. It’s the start of hopefully something long lasting at least. Beyond that, if this is a way, or InputKit or just soliciting a review like that is a way for you to be direct and say, “Hey, could you refer us somewhere?” Another way of doing this is to think about what websites are your actual customers going and visiting? And you can do that through retargeting, so concept being, place a pixel onto a website, have that fire onto your website, have that fire when people come to it, and then show your display ads onto other websites as your customers go throughout the internet, looking at sites.

Matthew Kay:
So let’s just say in the example of SpyGuy.com, if I was to put a pixel onto SpyGuy.com, I have 10 people come to my site, SpyGuy.com, I show them my pixel, it fires, I then am able to understand that that person is on this website, and then using the Google AdWords, Google Ads Display Network, I can show an ad on that site to that person because I know it’s them, and I know they came to my site, and I’d like them to come back. But what I can get a report of is what websites those display ads were shown on, and that can be very interesting from the perspective of essentially revealing where bears go off into the woods to build their dens for winter. You’re just showing the location of all of the different little bird nests or little bear caves that you’re going off to cuddle up during winter.

Matthew Kay:
And all of those websites that your customers are going to are potentially websites maybe you could be putting content on, maybe you could be going to to have your product appear there in some other way. A lot of angles to approach that from. But reviews and getting a better idea of what your audience is doing, what your customers are doing on the internet, are two ways to figure out where you can go and find more of those perfect customers. So I think that on that note, that is everything I’ve got when it comes to having an offering, looking acquisition, trying to understand what sorts of channels are going to move the needle for you, figuring out where to go to promote that offering.

Matthew Kay:
Perhaps also, and I think the last bit is a pretty important one, going to your best customers and saying, “Hey, could you leave us a review? Could you refer us to somebody? I liked you, and I think I would like to meet other people like you.” And so all of those together allow you to go meet your customers online, meet more of your best customers online, and to ultimately sustainably acquire customers, serve them, and get more of them, and run a happy business, and have an effective and hopefully healthy and long lasting digital marketing strategy.

Matthew Kay:
So Hive Digital, we are a small and mighty team of very smart people. I’m consistently and always, always humbled by how intelligent everyone I work with here is. I cannot say enough good things about them. They are very kind, very, very smart, and yeah, it’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be at this company and an honor to work with all of these smart folks. We do web analytics, we do search engine optimization, paid advertising, and social media as well. But we’re also very interested in just solving problems and having a conversation, and going through different ways to approach things like everything we just talked about and everything in between. So yeah, we have a lot of fun. I can’t say enough good things about Hive Digital. And I think on that note, that is about it.

Sheffield Pulley:
Fantastic, buddy. Fantastic. Really, really enjoyed that. I had seen it before, but I learned even more this time. Fantastic, so thank you. We do have some questions, and we’ll jump right to them, because we have a few. You may want to try to keep it as succinct as possible. We’ll go in order here. “The platform tools shared have a lot of information, which can a bit of a …” You can read these, by the way, in the Q&A, Matthew.

Matthew Kay:
Got you.

Sheffield Pulley:
“What types of data are most actionable, or rather, what is an example tactic that we could implement using an example report from these tools?”

Matthew Kay:
Got you. That is an interesting one. I think that, first of all, that is 100% an accurate statement in terms of, they do really provide an awful lot of data. They provide just an incredible amount of information. What I was doing, and what I was sort of showing, or at least trying to showcase, was just the fact that you can go to these tools at a high level with a certain mindset, a certain approach, and you can get a lot of insights just from taking that sort of curious kid in a playground kind of thought. I personally, what I was doing and what I just said, that can provide a lot of insight, but from a very boots on the ground level.

Matthew Kay:
Example tactics would be using things like, trying to optimize a specific page on a website. If you were to just try and do that, just pick out little things, and then go off and use the knowledge base or the articles of people online talking about … In the case of Ahrefs, let’s just say we have a specific page. Optimize the page’s content using Ahrefs. There are articles online that talk about that.

Matthew Kay:
A quick Google search will have you find a few. And then you can go off and try to piece together what sort of links you could be getting for that page, all sorts of things like that. Those are the tactics. It’s just sort of having that painful problem and then using a tool like Ahrefs, a tool like SimilarWeb, a tool like SparkToro to scratch that itch. That is 100% the most actionable way to approach this.

Sheffield Pulley:
Get. Let’s see, second question. We have two others. “How do you recommend prioritizing tactics that are derived from the data available within the tools?”

Matthew Kay:
I think it is probably most important to build the bricks, right? So there’s a lot of tactics available, there’s a lot of tools available, and data available. You need to think about what makes sense from your perspective of where are you, where is your business, where are they at, and what makes sense for you right now? So I’ll go back to that concept of the growth funnel. If you are at the stage of not really having any sort of, I mean, anything, you’re just trying to get started, you probably want to be worried about acquisition more than anything else, so you want to be worried about getting out there and finding distribution channels, and finding different avenues by which you could be sharing yourself with the world.

Matthew Kay:
Beyond that, if you know that you have a lot of people coming to you and you’re serving them, but they’re just slipping through the cracks, you probably want to worry about referral. And that’s sort of my prioritization matrix, sort of having that conversation. Sometimes it’s a hard conversation with yourself and then using that to guide what you should be doing, what you should be prioritizing. But from prioritizing stuff within the tools specifically, I think that sort of maps directly to what we just went through right there. It is just all about self awareness, or maybe context of where you’re at.

Sheffield Pulley:
Perfect. Perfect. And thee final question is from the chat. “Is a tool like SparkToro better suited for B2C product services, or also B2B? Would they have a large enough sample size or somewhat obscure B2B categories to give meaningful insights?”

Matthew Kay:
Yeah, I think B2B, if you’re trying to … Once again, B2B, these are very high value transactions perhaps that are occurring with very small groups of people. So yeah, if we’re going to map it into the most niche category, I would definitely wager that SparkToro probably is not going to be your best bet. That is not to say at all, though, that is not to say that you could perhaps zoom out a bit and say more broadly, “What are we doing? What are the needs that we’re trying to answer?”

Matthew Kay:
And then as soon as you zoom out a little bit, I’m sure SparkToro would then be able to [inaudible 00:53:09] in some way and give you some insight into where people are talking about that thing that you do more broadly. But yeah, I think that’s pretty much on the money there as far as a little bit more B2C in the aggregate, but if re-contextualized a bit, could be applicable to a different context.

Sheffield Pulley:
Perfect.

Matthew Kay:
And then we had a hand raise.

Sheffield Pulley:
I thought we may have had a hand raised earlier, but they may have put it down. So that’s all the questions that were shared, and we’re right at the three o’clock hour, three o’clock here on the Eastern Standard Time, so we’re good to go. I want to thank you all again for joining us. Feel free to reach out to Matthew or myself, or anyone here at Hive Digital with any questions. As always, we’re here to help in any way to help you drive more traffic to your site. Otherwise, have a wonderful rest of your day, wonderful rest of your week. And our next webinar will be on July 22nd with one of our SEO consultants, John Gibbings. We’ll have more information about that via email sometime soon. Thank you again, and look forward to meeting you all sometime soon. Take care.

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Matthew Kay - Hive Digital
Matthew Kay
Hive Digital SEO Expert

Matthew is a growth-minded marketer with a proven track record and years of experience driving positive outcomes across digital channels, and pursues excellence every day in SEO, email marketing, web design, and beyond.

Sheffield Pulley - Hive Digital
Sheffield Pulley
Hive Digital Client Advocate

Sheffield joined Hive Digital in 2017. Sheffield is a proven professional excelling in the promotion of personal and team accomplishments with extensive, results-oriented sales management, marketing and business development experience.

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