When I was at Universal Studios Television, I worked closely with our internal “creative” department producers, website developers and marketing agencies to develop breakout websites, flash sites, internet games, promotions sites and all the “fin-de-siècle” (turn of the century) circa ’99 / ’00 online gadgets.
I remember learning then the critical role of translating our marketing department’s campaign needs and communicating with creative types. My goal: Throw down your charm and create positive vibes with friendly communication to get people to want to work with you and encourage collaboration.
– Being Friendly ALWAYS to establish a really nice rapport
Not because you’re going to ask them a favor down the line, but because it’s what your mother taught you, part of being a good person.
– Being Open to all players on the team.
I treated everyone as if they were someone. Yesterday’s assistant is tomorrow’s manager. This mailroom / office runner can later be a future team member to develop the next Facebook. For me, making friends IS always fun. Getting into the six degrees of people you get exposed to interesting fact (i.e. the CFO is a total rockstar with gigs at Genghis Cohen, or the quiet subdued accountant is actually a successful published author, Or that assistant is the babysitter to Bruce Springsteen’s kids (all true stories), etc.).
– Being Nice in the sandbox
We’re all part of the same team with common goals; make each other look good is primary; much like in professional sports, there is no I in Team (although yes you can cross the I to get the T, but it’s a perpendicular type relationship, a crossroads for you decide – to the left of the T is you solo and the right is the “eam”!
– Being Human
Being compassionate towards other people; by being kind & compassionate you know that everyone has a bad day or has hidden personal issues they’re going thru.
– Being Kind (even when you are right);
Asking open ended questions like “what do you think our next steps should be?” vs “what are you going to do to fix it?”
– Being Assertive
Does not mean you aren’t firm, it means less aggressive with requests,
less emotionally charged, more cool, calm & collected.
Now after running my own marketing & PR agency for the past 15 years, I can see both sides of the relationship well (the client and the vendor). While I remember feeling constantly frustrated with agencies responsible for creative development and not understanding why my changes couldn’t be done within a few hours or that day. Why 30-60 day windows for website development? This stuff seems pretty simple and easy to implement right?
And of course there is the infamous “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT” attitude that I once had (my mantra for four years in sales at Xerox in Century City). Well folks, when you are on the other side in the creative seat, turns out, it’s not always easy and fast.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CLIENT
1. Set the agenda.
To collaborate with creative types best you have to set the agenda and request structure that works for BOTH of you. Meeting live vs Skype vs conference call vs email only vs combo deal. Take a hit for the team if you know meeting face to face will reduce miscommunication and misunderstandings. Skype is great face to face interaction for introduction meetings, but not always for production obstacles. Do what you need to do. Push on thru. Set your sights on positive vibrations, building consensus, getting agreement on good mutually-beneficial solutions, and overcoming obstacles.
2. Agree on communication styles and preferences.
Do you prefer “development” emails or just the final ONE email summarizing all issues in page form? Phone only for brief discussions and email for lengthy content approvals? Everyone has a different communication style, but there is always a BRIDGE for common ground – Find the path!
3. Define the bottom line.
In my experience, some clients say “less is more” yet they want the transparency of knowing everything. ASK for what YOU WANT! (designers, respect that!!!)
4. Everything boils down to expectations.
Make sure that things are really clear… from the deliverables in your agreement however informal they may be, to the expectations behind progress payments…. actually expectations about what constitutes FINISHED PRODUCT is important, and what is “normally” included is understood differently. WRITE IT ALL DOWN. Reiterate live meetings/conversations in the form of MINUTES from your NOTE TAKING and write it all in an email with “let me make sure we got it right” tone.
5. Mutual respect for production time.
It is mutual for both client & designer to teach the other about how to be respectful of production time and creative investment.
For Clients, not being familiar with technology, website development, creative lingo or not getting your heads around the content development is a challenge for designers. Clarify for understanding. Get second opinions on agreements. Ask questions. Don’t sit back and say you’re the expert. The process is an exploration. Getting it right, means having an open mind and that things can change along the way!
For designers, help your clients find clarity by walking them through a creative process. From Situation Assessment (collecting information about that, clarifying problems, identifying obstacles, clarifying strengths and weaknesses, defining opportunities, repositioning challenges, etc.) to Creative Brief. As the “professional” the client is looking for they rely on your expert opinion, your experienced eye, your vision. Respecting the creative process means that you are honoring the process – asserting and adhering to deadlines & timelines as GUIDE, not dictatorship. 🙂
6. Present VISUAL SOLUTIONS:
– Design production timetable graphic. When in doubt, always produce a graphic with phases, days, months, benchmarks and deadlines
– Or Design an information flow chart graphic – https://broekmancomm.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bc.WCI_.web-sitemap.d1-010712.jpg
– At times, I opt to include a small budget for build a quick dummy staging website area so they choose pull down menus to understand visually what you are talking about (basic wordpress installation, basic wordpress theme, just create empty pages and launch a menu to help with the client’s need to see something live. Sometimes changes everything!)
6. The “Customer IS Always Right” if you agreed to the terms!
To Designers, think ahead based on your experience and project a budget that you think will be fair knowing the personality and the project demands. Try to find a happy medium between not undercharging and not overcharging. We all find ourselves in underbidding projects, but it’s not fair to blame the client unless they’ve significantly changed the scope of work, list of deliverables or expanded what they wanted. Be clear. Be upfront. Be NICE. Walk them through a “Change Order” discussion. Let them know if things feel like more that what was agreed!
To clients, I understand that not getting a finished product your 100% satisfaction is less than ideal. It will feel that you’ve “wasted all your money” or that you “got nothing” from this. Then the anger trickles in and you get frustrated. Before you go into “I’m not going to pay you” or “I want my money back” mode, take a step back. Review the original agreement. Review the production emails. Make sure that everything is lined up to what you agreed to or NOT, or what the designer promised, but did NOT deliver. Ask the designer to produce a timeline to meet the commitments they agreed to or to confirm their inability to complete so you can make an educated decision. Be fair, but you have to be firm. Good designers aren’t always the best communicators; they’re creative types. But don’t let them wiggle out of being PROFESSIONAL.
Designers, keep your head up. You can’t win them all and please everyone, but you can be a good communicator who acts professionally according to a code of honor & respect. Take on projects you feel are worthy of your time and that fit your abilities. Sure you want to test your limits and expand your toolbox, but do so carefully weighing good intentions and your ability (or best potential) to deliver.
More rants and thoughts coming soon!
Metrics for Return on investment + Return on Engagement.
In the past 3-4 years, marketing has evolved exponentially beyond hits, visitors and referral traffic. (Note, if you don’t know what these terms are, click here to see “guide to website visitor tracking.”). Today, a successful marketer needs to be aware and gather intelligence from multiple business units to truly get the full picture.
Return on Investment (ROI) is permanently engrained in the brains of all marketers and sales mavens. The term Return on Engagement (ROE) surfaced to help measure investment of time and the return from inbound marketing, outbound marketing, lead generation, social media and other online marketing tactics. Both are equally important, and both have a place in a marketing intelligence report to upper management.
KPIs are the Key Performance Indicators that represent your company’s digital footprint & online success.
Below is our TOP TEN list of KPIs we track.
1. Sales Revenue
To determine how effective your inbound marketing campaigns are performing, you must understand how much revenue your inbound marketing campaign has brought in. Gaining access to your sales revenue reports will give you a thorough understanding of what activities are working and see the differences between inbound and outbound marketing & sales.
2. Cost Per Lead
Understanding what your cost is to acquire a customer will give you a true measurement of your online success. Being able to differentiate between your inbound and outbound marketing and being able to determine which ads, emails, marketing automation or PR campaigns led to the lead will give you an informed outlook. When determining the true cost, don’t forget to include relevant costs including technology/software, CRM platforms, advertising, marketing distribution and overhead.
3. Customer Value
Keeping tabs on your customers is a natural part of any good customer retention cycle (and winback program). Managing outreach programs to current customers on a monthly and/or quarterly basis helps measure happiness, solicit satisfaction and find feedback. Plan out your touch points carefully and strategically. In the Buyers-focused sales cycle, building rapport and nurturing relationships is key.
4. Inbound Marketing ROI
Measuring the success of advertising spend against sales will absolutely help you determine if you want to continue said advertising campaign. Return on investment means more than just measuring budgets, it is about determining which marketing functions and activities are working and, with some proper forecasting, should dictate future opportunities.
5. Traffic-to-Lead Ratio
Website traffic is one key factor in measuring differences between organic vs paid traffic, social media driven vs referral traffic, and backlinks vs SEO-based campaigns. By tracking traffic-to-lead ratio, one can see the relationship between a low ratio and missing or bad on-page SEO content or where bad campaigns are leading people to the wrong places. With a good strategist behind you and focus on conversion rate optimization, you can control the situation and CHANGE your website text, layout, UI design, forms, theme, etc.
6. Lead-to-Customer Ratio
Do you know how well your sales team is performing? We as marketers have to find ways to attribute sales success to our campaigns. Measuring qualified vs accepted leads will help track what business a rep would have gotten already (repeat business, walk-in traffic or past referral) versus genuine NEW lead (landing page, social media form conversion, etc.). Real campaigns are measured in real time and have REAL sales measurement tools in process to track and follow. You can go old school with good team communication and an Excel spreadsheet or via daily/weekly production meetings or you can deploy CRM software that all are inputting into the central repository. Interpreting that data – you as a marketing professional have to step up!
7. Landing Page Conversion Rates
As a WordPress maven, we’ve been preaching about utilizing landing pages and A/B testing to determine what content is leading your Calls to action – Your CTAs). It’s one thing to get a beautiful landing page and it’s another to design it to leapfrog ahead of your competitors or to meet the UI tastes & preferences of your intended audience.
Measuring the conversion rate will help you find out what landing pages are successful and which ones are underperforming. Form there, you can do A/B testing to see how changes affect sales. From redesign to copywriting to applying advertising methodologies (celebrity endorsement, testimonials, reviews, awards, etc.), managing is key to improving foot traffic and manipulating your lead ratio.
8. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is your website’s natural “resting face” in search and how people naturally find you when searching without an actual inbound marketing campaign, pay-per-click ad, referral article, etc. In other words, no SEO-induced or paid online marketing tactical traffic, but just good old fashioned word of mouth or I stumbled on you. Every site wants to achieve this status. How we monitor, manage and maintain this MUST be part of your long-term SEO strategy/PR game.
9. Social Media Traffic (and Conversion Rates)
Having a strategic social media platform is vital in today’s marketing. Every client we consultant, we make sure to educate on the direct relationship with the DNA of our intended customer(s) and matching social media tools that reach those individuals or groups. For the author, Linkedin plus Pulse plus Slideshare have been proven tools. Whereas the average artist or retail outlet, Facebook plus Pinterest plus Instagram plus Twitter have been invaluable tools. The goal is to determine what your Return on Engagement (ROE) is. We do this through tracking referral traffic from social media, tracking social media channel lead conversions and through ASKING customers how they found us! At times there are opportunities to source that referral.
10. Mobile Traffic, Leads, and Conversion Rates
Optimizing your website for mobile is key. In fact, every new website we design, we START with designing in mobile and tablet view and FIGHT focusing just on desktop/laptop perspectives. Nearly 60-70% of foot traffic for most websites are first from a mobile device. Optimizing for this is no longer an option; it’s a priority.
Google Analytics, Statcounter and other website traffic tools all offer mobile vs desktop statistics. Marketing must have the finger on the pulse of tracking bounce rates from mobile devices, conversion rates, traffic per device/browser, errors and dead links, etc. If you know what content isn’t working, you can improve the copy/content and user experience/design, which, with proper SEO and optimization work, will help with future mobile conversions.
FREE SEO AUDIT
What’s My SEO Score?
Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.Read More »
Let’s start from the beginning.
DPRP stands for DirectPayment Recurring Payments. It’s a module that enables you to have multiple payments, subscriptions and recurring payments with your shopping cart forms when using PayPal API integrated. For instance, we use PayPal with our favorite 3rd party form company, JotForm (www.jotform.com). Been using them for YEARS, if not just about a decade soon!
Despite the fact that it’s a feature that should be enabled automatically when you signed up for PayPal’s legacy “Website Payments Pro” (PayPal 3.0) OR when you signed up for a new “Payments Pro” account (PayPal 2.0)
(why is the newer one 2.0 and the older one 3.0 is BEYOND me)….
You MUST enable this feature. Calling into customer support was a crazy amount of loops with some very informed amazingly helpful sales and customer support reps and OTHERS were trying to read the internal information/FAQs board and couldn’t find the answer. Was a frustrating experience to say the least.
RESOLUTION. READ HERE. 🙂
Log into your PayPal account
Follow this link to a legacy page you’ll never find in search or posted online or on PayPal.
It’s an old link from 2012 or so to add the Recurring Payments feature onto your account.
This page will have you go through a checkout form to add Recurring payments to your account.
Screenshot of the SIGN UP page – what you’ll see when you click the above link!!!!!
SCREENSHOT of what you’ll see AFTER you agree. This will effectively remove the DPRP is Disabled
message and enable you to get started in accepting RECURRING PAYMENTS. Worked within minutes.
You’ll have a chance to download the full write-up of PayPal Policies by clicking here.
Read More »
We know working with multiple people can be difficult. With conversations scattered across email threads and chat windows, feedback can get lost and it can take forever to get everyone on the same page.
That process just got much simpler. Now you can post comments to files on the Dropbox website — so conversations stay organized in one place, and you can gather feedback in just one step.
To bring someone into the loop, just type “@” followed by their name or email address. They’ll get an email notification with both your comment and a link to go right to the file.Read More »