Everybody Needs a Podcast: Atlanta HubSpot User Group 3/14/18 Recap

Matthew Bivens, long-time 98toGo partner and consultant, recently presented at the Atlanta HubSpot User Group on his core competency: podcasting. And while not everyone has the interest or resources for creating a podcast, Matthew busted a lot of myths around podcasting and revealed some creative but easy applications of podcasting.

One idea in particular stood out as relevant to marketing agency clients, especially content marketing clients sold on HubSpot and its core philosophies.

Podcasts as marketing

As marketers, we often see podcasting as a product that can be marketed or monetized with someone else’s advertising. But as Matthew made clear, podcasting can be an excellent channel for marketing itself. For example, inviting certain guests onto your podcast becomes a way to build relationships and trust, which can essentially “market” who you are and start a great business relationship.

You can also talk about your own products and services in your podcast. We’ve worked with clients whose podcasts provided enormous value the audience, and all they did to monetize their podcast was attach their brand to the show. Other marketing clients who podcasted went a step further, injecting a short testimonial advertisement about their product, just like they would do for a sponsor.

Do I market the marketing podcast?

The whole idea of using a podcast as marketing can be difficult to wrap your head around when podcasts typically have to be promoted in the first place.

It seems like there can be an extra barrier between you and your audience when you have to sell listeners on the idea of your podcast and then on the idea of your brand and products. You might ask: Why not just cut out the podcast and promote the brand and products right away?

There are several ways to slice this. One, using a podcast to market your brand can be much easier if you have a built-in audience already. For example, if you have ongoing clients for a subscription-based product, or an enormous and engaged newsletter list, those can become a built-in audience at launch. It will take minimal promotion to engage those listeners, but they’ll help boost your podcast’s popularity as early adopters.

They may also respond with higher retention, upsells, and referrals depending on the value of your podcast.

Plus, there’s nothing wrong with marketing your marketing. Consistent with the HubSpot inbound marketing methodology, you could think of your podcast as a premium piece of content. You could market your podcast with blogs, paid advertising, emails, social media, or anything else. The podcast then becomes a re-engagement piece, conversion prompt, or brand filter (or whatever marketing funnel step you need.)

In a world where only a small percentage of your audience will convert to customers right away, podcasts make an amazing piece of your marketing funnel that can actually fill multiple marketing gaps at once.

If you’re interested in learning more about podcasting and creating your own show, reach out directly to Matthew Bivens at his website. If you’re interested in other strategic marketing built around podcasting, feel free to reach out and ask us anything.

Why Facebook Ads Will Be a Big Win For Your Business in 2018

On January 11, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the platform will refine its focus, with preference given to relevant content that helps people have more meaningful social interactions. He explains that, “recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

With a new vision and algorithm announced for brands, businesses, and media posts on Facebook, people who rely on the platform for marketing and advertising are rethinking their digital communication strategy for the remainder of the year. What does this mean for your brand? In short, if you want your content to be seen by your desired audience, it’s no longer enough to post to your page. Does this mean that people who use Facebook posts to market their business should start to panic? Definitely not. In fact with better targeted ads, brand managers who take advantage of the new Facebook Ads features will not only see their reach grow in 2018, but they can expect their investment in the platform to convert to profit.

Better Than Organic: 9 Ways Facebook Ads Deliver

Ideally, the content of your ads will align with Facebook’s new aim for the user experience. When ad campaigns are designed to bring interesting and meaningful information to your target audience, everyone wins. Make the most of your content with these features.

1. Hyper-targeting

Not only does Facebook give you the ability to target specific segments of your existing audiences, it refines ads to bring in brand new audiences. Knowing who you want to reach is fundamental to everything we do at 98toGo, for both ourselves and our clients. Where keyword-based marketing is about knowing your brand, targeting through Facebook is about knowing your community. This is how you can truly connect and make an impact.

2. Engagement and Community Building

It’s crucial to build not only engagement with your audience, but a feeling of community as well. Implementing a strategy that incorporates Facebook Ads and private Facebook groups is an effective way to increase retention and engage audiences while building a strong community around your brand values.

3. Effective Retargeting

The buyer’s journey for your audience can be long and will most likely take them to several places: from your website, to social media channels, to other websites, and back. Facebook Ads lets you retarget those potential customers who explored your website early in the buying stage. If you nurture them as they go through the journey on their own time, they won’t feel you’re trying to speed things along with premature sales messages.

4. Tracking Offline Conversions

Proving ROI is key for marketers. Facebook’s ability to attribute offline sales to online ads is a huge benefit for brands in 2018. You can know where every dollar is going and how each dollar is performing.

5. Messenger Revolution

As Messenger evolves, Facebook continues to explore its boundaries. Now is a great time for brands to take advantage of the ad capabilities within Messenger, which are are expanding to make it easier to accept payments.

6. New Budget Optimization

To make sure your ads succeed, Facebook rolled out a new campaign budget optimization feature for 2018. With this tool, when you create an an AdSet and an overall budget to go with it, Facebook automatically allocates more of the funds to the ad that’s performing best. Basically, it becomes an A/B(/C/D) test that you don’t have to analyze and adjust on your own. Even though running an A/B test through Facebook ads has never been difficult, from a technical standpoint, it’s been one more task for your marketing team to put on their to-do list. We’ve all been guilty of bypassing the A/B test feature, at one time or other, in favor of “just being done with it.” Now you can test a full AdSet and just be done with it.

7. Amplify Your Current Content

Get the most out of what you’re already doing. Use Facebook Ads to expand the reach of content that resonate with your audience. There’s no reason to publish and simply move onto the next piece of content on the calendar. When you amplify that content using Facebook Ads, you see the return on that content increase.

8. Embrace Cost-Efficient Advertising

Compared to other digital realms (AdWords, influencer marketing, content marketing), social media platforms (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram), or traditional media (billboards, print, TV, radio), Facebook’s hyper-targeting advances, ease of use, and low cost of entry makes it the efficiency leader. (Read more about Facebook’s ad cost from AdEspresso.)

9. Facebook is (Nearly) Universal

With more than 2 billion monthly users, Facebook hosts over a quarter of the world’s population. For many of those users, Facebook is, in practice, represents the entirety of their online experience. Though they may go looking for other specific things, they default to Facebook. The platform provides advertisers with an unparalleled opportunity to reach an otherwise unreachable audience. And frankly, with the current adoption rate, most businesses can’t afford not to advertise on Facebook.

The key to success for your brand on Facebook in 2018 is to cut through the noise with content that’s meaningful to your target audience. How will they connect personally with what your company offers? Why is it something they want? Keep the same principles of authentic engagement that you would use for organic posts, or even your personal channels, and let the functionality of Facebook Ads do the rest. Happy marketing!

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Want to take your Facebook ads to the next level?

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Creating SET Limitations Is Just As Important As SMART Goals

As a marketing agency, we start our strategic engagements with SMART business goals. Many companies are coming to the table with fantastic goals, and the rest are excited to work on creating those goals together.

Just to reiterate, SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-focused
  • Timebound

But when we start a business engagement, learning or helping to determine your goals is just the first step. A great marketing partner also needs to know your limitations.

But why? It can be frustrating for successful business owners to hear questions about their limitations. After all, if you’re great at what you do, why bring up something that’s holding you back?

Discussing limitations gets the truth out in a more comfortable way

Avoiding talks about limitations when starting a marketing engagement is just putting a bandaid over a tough question. Since discussing limitations can be awkward, we’re often tempted to ignore it to save the relationship. It seems like the issue will figure itself out anyway, but it often doesn’t.

What makes it appear like the issue will resolve on its own? To answer that, let’s talk about the first two limitations that will help an agency partner serve you best:

  • Your timeline
  • Your budget

If you’re a business owner, you might think that we already know the answer to both: We want this done as soon as we’re ready for as little as possible.

This puts an imperative on the marketing partner to suggest things like a start date and total budget without your participation. There’s probably an actual date range you would be willing to start within and a budget you can spend. Even if the truth only comes out when the agency pitches you dates and dollars, it’ll happen at some point.

After all, the agency’s priority is to help you meet your objectives, and if that will require a significantly smaller or larger budget than you have in mind, the conversation may become uncomfortable. The same goes for timelines, which may be compressed or expanded, rushed or delayed more than you’d like.

The guessing can all be prevented. How? You already know your limitations.

Ah, but perhaps you’re holding the information back to facilitate negotiations. You definitely don’t want a greedy marketing agency inflating the price or adding in filler work just because you threw a large number out there.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Transparency saves time and money

If you’re using vagueness as a negotiating tactic, be aware that good marketing consultants aren’t selling you a manufactured good, like a car or a phone, for which you can lower or raise the price without changing the deliverable.

When the budget decreases, the total amount of marketing services received decreases, so it’s best to discuss openly whether your limitations (budget) will prevent meeting your goal (revenue.)

On the other end, good marketing agencies will never inflate their prices to meet your budget; experienced marketing agencies expect you to price shop, and they know that they cannot remain competitive when gouging prices.

Goal-oriented marketers will also not encourage you to conduct frivolous marketing just to max out your budget. And for everyone’s sake, they’ll be up front about their team’s bandwidth to fulfill the marketing when your budget is relatively high, too.

Of course, there’s almost always more useful marketing that can be done, but the important conversation should focus on return on investment and pacing. When additional marketing activities won’t get you closer to you goals, good agencies will tell you so.

If the budget isn’t a good fit, save yourself time and money and simply look around for other potential marketing partners who work in your range. Transparency is best for everyone, both mentally and financially!

How can I best share my limitations?

We’re glad you asked! Luckily, almost all businesses share the same boundaries, which we can provide:

  • Timeline: when the work must be done, including start dates, end dates, and speed of execution in between.
  • Budget: how much the work must cost, including minimums, maximums, billing frequency, and whether work can be done as projects or hours.
  • Values: the unquantifiable objectives that your company serves, such as a commitment to the environment or the values of a specific religion.
  • Expectations: the things that must or must not be done in pursuit of your objectives that would likely come up, such as a mandate to use Facebook for marketing or refusal to use paid advertising

So how do we know if we’re communicating our boundaries well?

We have a helpful acronym for that. SET limitations are easier to create than SMART goals (two letters easier, in fact.) We could define SET limitations as being a little different from our goals:

  • Specific: Provide dates, numbers, or detailed descriptions of what must or must not be done in pursuit of your goals when possible.
  • Enduring: Provide limitations that you could imagine sticking to so you don’t create a moving target.
  • Transparent: Tell your real limitations up front rather than hiding or altering information out of emotion or as a negotiating tactic.

That’s it. Share your goals, work through your limitations, and kick off a stellar marketing engagement!

What We Do

What Does 98toGo Do?

We help business owners sleep better at night.

Our clients tell us that when their marketing is working, they can rest easy.  And to us, that means we’re doing our jobs.

Technically speaking, we use inbound marketing techniques to gain businesses quality online leads and help nurture those leads into customers.  We work to turn your website into your highest performing employee!

Every client engagement is unique, however, we follow a similar process to drive results for everyone we work with:

  • Discover most pressing online and business challenges
  • Audit website to find weak points to work on
  • Examine content to see what’s already available and what needs building
  • Determine goals: website goals, business goals and personal goals for the business owner(s)
  • Design customized inbound marketing campaigns to meet needs and hit goals
  • Execute campaigns, tracking everything along the way and making adjustments to maximize outcome
  • Our secret weapon in all of this is HubSpot – a powerful software suite to support inbound marketing.

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