Strategist Q&A: Driving Revenue and Demand for Growth Stage Organizations

Mike Moss, a Make Good Social Collective member and Chief Revenue Officer and Partner at Blue Deer LLC interviewed Senior Strategist and Growth Hacker, Chris Bechtel on his approach to driving revenue and demand for growth stage organizations. The following is an excerpt of that conversation: 

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Mike Moss: What is your approach to demand generation, marketing automation, content marketing?

Chris Bechtel: My approach to Demand Gen. is to first understand the goals of the client. What product, service, etc. do they want to drive demand for? Who are the target buyers? Who are the competitors? What is working and what is not working now? What resources, assets and tools are currently available (people, content, software)? What differentiates the product/service and what are the needs/pains that it is fulfilling? What is the brand story? Is it clear? Do we still need to define and refine the product/service and brand positioning or are we ready to rock and roll with what we have?

Marketing automation is applied if the need is there (i.e. sales cycles that include a period where leads need to be “nurtured” so the product/service will stay top of mind when they are ready to buy.) The approach is to map out the funnel, then identify Lead/Prospect behaviors that will trigger a communication or series of communications based on where the lead is in the funnel (e.g. top of the funnel/just browsing/nurture with educational/entertaining content vs. bottom of the funnel/numerous visits to a buy or pricing page/or tech. specs. page - target upsell or close or notify sales).

Content Marketing is mapped against the funnel that is defined for each client/product/service. A Content Marketing Strategy then determines the goals/outcomes desired (to move leads forward in the funnel) and specific assets and types of assets are specified in an Content Plan that will consistently produce content that is designed to accomplish the goals specified in the strategy. 


MM: Do you have a framework or methodology you use? 

CB: Yes, you can check it out on our website. I call it “G.O.O.D” Revenue: which stands for “Goal Oriented, Opportunity Driven” revenue growth.


MM: How would you get started?

CB: Identify the goals and objectives of the client/company/product/service. Ask the questions listed above under Demand Gen., create a scope of work that specifies these goals along with an initial program. Often this is the result of a demand gen. “Opportunity Audit” which is part of a “Scoping” phase - this phase can be built into the whole program or contracted as a separate and initial phase.


MM: How would you price?

CB: We price based on the estimated number of hours to accomplish the scope of work, then provide a flat monthly fee/retainer or a straight project fee based on those hours. 


MM: What kind of metrics would you measure?

CB: Start with the key numbers the client is looking for: New Sales, new leads, lead acquisition costs/customer acquisition costs, channel effectiveness/lead acquisition costs by channel, Customer LTV, length of sales cycle/funnel velocity (rate by which leads move through the funnel), lead quality (sales acceptance rate), and of course conversion rates across channels and media (email, landing pages, ppc, etc.)


MM: What technologies need to be in place already?

CB: None actually. It is typically part of the scope of work to build out an infrastructure of tools; from web content management software for managing web content and blog content (Wordpress for example), to analytics (Google, KISS Metrics, or other) to marketing automation (Eloqua, HubSpot, or Marketo for example) to CRM (Salesforce, Sugar, Zoho) integration and email campaign management (Constant Contact, Mail Chimp AWeber, etc.). We will work with what the client has already, tune them up, add or replace, based on project goals, budget constraints. We will perform the work to set them up, integrate them and train team members.


MM: What are your favorite tools and technologies to use? Why?

CB: Google Analytics - measurement and free, Unbounce for Landing Pages - A/B testing and easy CMS, Google AdWords and Bing for PPC, Authority Labs for SEO and rankings, Salesforce for CRM, Marketo for Marketing Automation, and Hootsuite for Social Media.

There are many others and we can work with them if clients have them. We believe these tools to be the industry leaders however.


MM: What are you most excited about when engaging with a new firm?

CB: Helping them define their goals. Looking for untapped opportunities. Supporting sales in closing more deals. Creating compelling content and a consistent content production flow. Monitoring and measuring success and continuous improvement.


MM: When is the best time for you to engage, and typically how long do you like to stay engaged?

CB: Best time is typically after product, branding and services positioning has been fairly well defined. So, we can take it to the next level and not have to spend months while the company spins on positioning and getting buy-in. Typically 120 days at a minimum. 6 months is preferred.


To learn more about how the teams and Make Good Social and Blue Deer LLC can help you, contact us for a consultation.

17 July 2013 ·

Content Marketing and Social Media: How Do You Know If It’s Really Working?

You’ve read all those blog posts. Social media has hit the mainstream and content marketing is buzzing. You have a presence. You produce content. Maybe you even have a social media manager and a content director. But how do you know it’s really working?

Reporting on a recent study, Sam Laird at Mashable blogged:

How do marketers and entrepreneurs measure whether social media marketing pays off? Most do so by measuring the accumulation of friends, likes, followers and other online connections. Thirty-nine percent look at shares of brand content, while 35% measure actual leads from social media. Just 18% measure success by overall brand awareness and favorability as gauged by consumer surveys.

Looking at the data reported, it’s apparent that we measure what is easy to measure: likes, fans, followers, views, visitors, while measuring leads, sales and customer perceptions take more effort.

Still it is very doable and not so overwhelming when measurement is part of a program and a strategy. Simple measurement techniques are usually the result of a lack of a strategy and a lack of a clear set of objectives for what one is trying to accomplish with social media marketing or content marketing. 

As an example, perhaps you are looking to improve conversion rates in the acquisition funnel (e.g. get more people to sign-up). You can measure your current conversion rates at each stage in the funnel (e.g., register, attend, etc.). Then, as part of a program surrounding one segment of customers you measure the changes in conversion rates after audiences interact with content assets (videos, blog and website content, eBooks, guest posts/articles, infographics, etc.)

Reported data shows that website visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy.

Through a program designed to measure the impact of activities defined by a content marketing and social media marketing strategy and plan it’s possible to get much deeper insight into customer opinions as well as ROI. The optimal measurement, to truly see if it’s all “working”, requires looking at metrics from total reach to support resolution, from the value of a Facebook fan to share of conversation. That may not be possible right away, but there are ways to get beyond measuring likes and mentions.

What are you doing?

16 August 2012 ·

4 Essential SEO Infographics

A lot has changed in the last 3 years in Google’s search algorithms, from Caffeine, to Freshness, to Penguin to Panda. Moving the emphasis to social signals and content. So, you might think the work of an SEO consultant has changed dramatically. When, in fact, it hasn’t. Even in 2009, as evidenced in this post from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, the majority of time is spent:

"Convincing the inexperienced that SEO is a worthwhile, high ROI channel, worthy of investment + Acquiring budget and resources to successfully accomplish critical tasks."

Even 3 years later, much of this applies to the role of SEO, and social and content marketing. 

Would you agree? Isn’t this how you STILL spend your time? 

10 July 2012 ·

3 Ways to Avoid an #EpicFail in Your Mobile Content Marketing

Mobile is booming. The latest mobile marketshare data from comScore surveying over 30,000 U.S. mobile phone subscribers, revealed that 50% of mobile phone users consume content on their mobile devices with 36% of mobile users accessing social sites. And this number will continue to grow. So, what are you doing to take advantage of this trend?

  1. Ensure your owned media channels are mobile friendly. The first thing to check is to ensure your content is in fact mobile friendly. Are your top marketing communications channels delivering content that is easy for mobile devices to access? Ensure your website (and at the very least your blog) are mobile friendly. Most 3rd party CMS platforms and social networks already have mobile friendly versions automatically displaying your content (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Tumblr and Wordpress blogs), but some other older platforms and especially websites may not be optimized for mobile. Make your sure your “owned media” channels can deliver not only text, but photos and video in a format accessible by the top mobile browsers and platforms (i.e. iOS and Android).

  2. Consistently use mobile content to drive traffic back to your main site or blog. There have been a lot of debates about this, with many suggesting to publish the full text of your RSS feed. I have a different point of view on this and have seen many of the most successful publishers and brands (Mashable, ESPN,  and Reb Bull to name a few) only publish the partial content in their feeds. Check out your Facebook news feed, you will see that most of the successful publishers and brands post the headline, a compelling photo/video and a compelling lead and then link back to the full post on their site. Check your RSS feed syndication and options and make sure your feed is set to “truncate RSS feed” (as Tumblr describes it) so readers will have to visit your site to read the full content. Then, when posting in other platforms such as those mentioned above, create short compelling snippets, one for each type of platform (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIN, etc.). Think about the types of content in each of these channels that people might be willing to view on a mobile device and what they might not (e.g., they probably won’t watch a video longer than 60 seconds, or download a really large pdf). Use the F.A.R.E. Content model and then keep your content easily readable on the small screen and of relatively small file size so load times are fast. Use a URL shortener (such as bit.ly or other) to keep URLs short and track the clicks.

  3. Enable mobile users to share your content easily. As the stats reflect, users are increasingly consuming content and visiting social networks (that often led them to sites) on their mobile devices and that means you need to ensure that your sites enable users to the share the content easily from a mobile device as well as to a mobile device. Mogreet, a mobile marketing platform just launched moShare, a service that enables users to send videos, pictures, music, and stories to other users mobile devices and in integrated with ShareThis

    To further prove the point, AddThis reported a 600% increase at the end of 2011 in mobile sharing over the year before. This number is only expected to increase. 
So, ensure you have a clear strategy for utilizing mobile to reach, engage and influence you target audiences to action.

5 July 2012 ·

SEO for Start-ups in 10 Minutes [VIDEO]

Google just released this video with tips for Start-ups on SEO best practices. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, 5 Reasons to Focus SEO on Content, “classic SEO” techniques such as stuffing keywords into the Meta data just don’t work anymore, since Google ignores all of those factors now and focuses primarily on content and social signals.

To further illustrate the point that content is king. Check out the video and these key takeaways from Google’s Maile Ohye, developer advocate on Google’s Webmaster Central Team:

“It’s great to have a fancy site, but try not to focus so much on site fanciness that you don’t actually have indexable and searchable text.

"You want to use relevant keywords naturally in your text. These keywords are like query terms that normal people would use to find your product or your business.”

"Each page should include a unique topic, title and meta description for the snippet that appears below the link listed on the Google search results page, but meta keywords tags aren’t needed. Keywords should be in the file name and typed with lower case letters."

Relevant and engaging content is the unifying factor here. For social media marketing Ohye recommends:

“Play to your authentic strengths,” she added. “It’s likely that your company has limited resources so if your CEO likes to tweet, go ahead and let them. If you have a salesperson who really enjoys Facebook, that’s terrific… and let them interact with the community there.”

You can see how this all fits into our F.A.R.E. social and content marketing model (Frequent, Authentic, Relevant, and Engaging), where frequency is key to boost the social signals, and authenticity is important as developers communicate with developers and the CEO with members of his/her community, etc. 

To learn more about how we can help your start-up, contact Make Good Social today.

29 June 2012 ·

About Me

Chris Bechtel, Principal and Chief Marketing Officer at Make Good Social, a division of Blue Deer LLC a full-service marketing and business development consulting firm for start-ups and growth-stage organizations focused on strategy + services for demand generation, revenue and growth. Chris is a content marketing, demand generation, social media marketing, online PR professional and growth hacker who has spent more than 15 years working with consumer and B2B startup tech companies as well as leading Fortune 500 companies including ACS (a Xerox Co.), City National Bank, Epson, and Target extend the reach of their content online.

Contact Me: about.me/chrisbechtel

Make Good Social
Blue Deer LLC