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Business Insights from Andrea Hill

The Digital Marketing Challenge for Luxury Business

02 April 2018
Shopping and buying have changed dramatically, creating new challenges - and opportunities! - for digital marketing.


Today, shopping is Searching. Learn how to capitalize on that with a powerful inbound marketing strategy.

Hi, I'm Andrea Hill, the owner of Hill Management Group, and we have three brands that serve the luxury goods and jewelry and apparel industries called StrategyWerx, WerxMarketing, and MentorWerx. One of the things I encounter on a frightfully regular basis is clients or potential clients who have been throwing money at digital marketing, maybe AdWords or banner ads, or spending a ton of money on social media or social media advertising. And they're not getting results for that money.

And while there are a lot of reasons for not getting great results on your digital marketing, there's a fundamental reason that underlies all digital marketing success. And most people don't know what that fundamental basis for digital marketing success is. And so they're spending a lot of money on the tail end of the process without laying in the front end of the process. And as a result, they're wasting a lot of money and this is happening all over the place. So I gave this talk the first time in January of 2018.

And by the response to this information, I realized people are craving information about how to get their digital marketing in order. Everybody knows we need to do it, but people seem to think that there's that it's magic or luck that causes you to turn your digital marketing efforts into something beneficial for your business. And it's not magic and it's not luck. It's actually strategy and structure. And I'm going to share that information with you now because more people need this information so that they can make better decisions with their digital marketing dollars.

The first thing to keep in mind is that shopping has changed forever and it's changed forever, not in ephemeral or guessy ways, but in some very clear, measured ways. And once you understand what those changes are, you start understanding how to address it. So the first really big change is that less consumers are walking into retail stores, 80 percent less consumers are walking into retail stores. Now, you may think that that's also translating into retail dollars being down, but in fact, retail dollars are not down significantly.

At the time that I'm filming this, retail dollars are up about 12 percent. So how can it be that retail traffic is down 80 percent, but retail sales are up 12 percent? Well, it can be because people are still buying at retail, but they're not shopping at retail. The way we shop has changed. Even the way we buy has changed, too, but not nearly as much as the way we shop. So in the past, the customer we were looking for, those footfalls at retail, they were browsing, they were walking around in malls.

They were walking around in little downtown shopping areas. They were poking in and out of stores looking for things that interested them, that fit their needs. That doesn't happen anymore. Or more accurately, it happens, but eighty percent less than it used to. So where are people shopping? Well, they're shopping on their mobile devices and not just on their computers, but very specifically on their mobile devices? Over 70 percent of online shopping traffic is happening on a smartphone or tablet.

So how does that translate into 80 percent less footfalls and 12 percent higher retail dollars? Well, it translates because instead of going into a store asking questions, pulling things off the rack, looking at them, trying them on, going to another store, comparing those products and possibly picking up other things along the way, today's consumer picks up the smartphone and starts to do research and they're getting very, very savvy about their online research.

Now, it tends to be, I guess, a perception among business owners that all people are doing on their smartphones is comparing prices and looking for the cheapest price. But that's not actually what's happening. There's always been a segment of the population that wants to shop for lowest price. Let's call them our Walmart shopper. But if you think about it, you know someone or maybe you are someone who never goes into a Wal-Mart, even though the lowest price is available to you, you don't necessarily tap into it, right?

That's true on the smartphone as well. So sure, there are some people who are going to the smartphone simply comparing prices across the board and then going for the cheapest. Price your Wal-Mart shopper, but there are always people who want a better shopping experience, they want more information or they want a connection with the seller. If we're going to stick with this sort of big box discount analogy, let's call that a target shopper. The prices are a little higher than Wal-Mart, but they don't care.

They like the idea that there are more checkout lines open and more people to ask questions of in the aisles and the store is brighter. It feels more upscale. That's true on the smartphone as well. They're looking for a bit more service, a bit more experience. The queues are different. It's not a wider aisle. It's not better lighting. It's not the checkout line being shorter. It could be better information about the business, deeper information about the product, a way to talk with the company using Web chat.

There's always going to be that segment of shoppers as well. And then finally, there's always going to be your very high end shopper, somebody who wants the product when it's brand new. They don't want to wait for it to go on sale, maybe because they want to make sure they get it or maybe their identities wrapped up in getting the thing as soon as it's out. Or maybe they just don't worry about money and low price isn't as interesting to them as a very high end experience.

So I don't know that could be your, you know, all the way into your department store shopper a Neiman Marcus type shopper. And then there's always going to be these super high end shopper that only wants the best of the best. Let's call it that Barny's shopper. See, we have all those shoppers in the physical world of retail shopping. We also have all of those shoppers in the virtual world of online shopping. So if you've been maintaining this belief that people only use their smartphones to shop for price, I would encourage you to drop that.

What people are going online and shopping for is everything from price to information to connection to identity. But they don't walk into retail stores anymore to figure that out. You know, that 80 percent less footfalls we see going into retail stores. It's happening on smartphone devices and to a lesser extent, a much lesser extent on desktop computers. Then when the person knows what they want to buy, when they have a really clear idea, confidence level, an expectation that now is the time to buy it, they're going into a retail store and they're buying it.

And the reason that 12 percent up is the current retail store number is because when they do go into a store finally or two stores, but not 10, when they do go into that one or two stores finally to buy, they tend to buy more than they actually intended to spend before they went into the store. So 80 percent less footfalls because people are doing all their shopping online, predominantly on their phone, 12 percent higher retail, because when they do finally walk into that store, they spend more when they get there.

So here is your challenge in this brand new market, you need to be one of those one or two stores that the consumer actually walks into. And using your digital marketing strategy correctly will help you make that happen. So that is the first incredibly significant change that has happened in the world of retail shopping. So that's the first big change that we're talking about. The second big change relates to the way consumers consume media versus the way the jewelry industry in particular.

But this applies across all luxury goods industries compared to the way that the jewelry industry spends money on media and they're very different. So Google shared this information at a recent jewelry industry event. And they showed that in in terms of how the jewelry industry spends money on marketing, the vast majority of marketing dollars are still spent on print, followed by online and then billboard and then, you know, radio and TV that these are all part of the predominant jewelry industry mix.

However, the way consumers consume media, it looks very different from that. So consumers are spending their time online. Younger consumers frequently don't even have a television. They do streaming. They use projectors, they'll watch their phone or their tablet. But the level of television ownership is going down with younger generations. So when we talk about consumers spending time on TV, they're not necessarily spending it on traditional or cable TV. They are spending time on streaming TV like Netflix or.

Hulu or Amazon Prime, and they're not necessarily spending time on traditional televisions, their device usage has changed. So they're spending time on their smartphones and on their tablets and on plugging streaming media into computer monitors and watching it in a room. So that is the other really big change is that consumers don't consume media the way they used to. I don't think that's shocking to you. I suspect you already knew that. And that's why people are looking at how to spend their marketing dollars online.

But in the absence of a really good understanding of how to do that, we're seeing that the luxury goods industry and the jewelry industry in particular continue to invest in their advertising mix in ways that really don't match yet the way that consumers are consuming media. So now let's talk about the online offline marketing landscape.

There are just a couple of different parameters to think about when you think about your marketing. So on the one hand, there's brand advertising and on the other hand, there's selling advertising. So they're not necessarily always different. They overlap a lot, as you can see in this diagram. But we've got brand on the left and we've got selling on the right.

And then we now overlay another set of parameters onto your marketing mix, which is online, which I'm showing actually at the bottom of this diagram and offline at the top.

So are you brand advertising and or are you sales advertising or is it some blend of the two? And are you talking about your online offer or your offline offer? And we know which media fit into those various definitions and where do they overlap? Because planning your advertising today means understanding your options for marketing mix so much better than you ever had to understand it before. And now you don't just need to understand your marketing mix. You also have to understand devices.

And as you'll see in the middle of this diagram, we have mobile. Mobile is the center point for all advertising at this point, whether you're talking branding or sales, whether you're talking online or offline, mobile sits in the middle of it, learning to market this way with this really complex mix of options, it's not too hard to do. And anyone who could run a business can learn to market this way. But it does take time and attention that most small business owners aren't used to giving it.

Everyone today needs to have a level of marketing expertise that we didn't require even 15 years ago to run our small businesses.

So what we're going to talk about in the rest of this presentation is really how to think about the digital parts of your marketing plan and how to lay them down in an order that allows you to succeed with marketing dollars on digital. That mitigates the kind of wasteful dollars that people are throwing it at right now. And that gives you confidence that you're actually doing the right things in the right order so that you're not just throwing money at marketing and having no idea whether or not it's working for you, because I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who say, look, it looks like no matter what I do with digital advertising, it doesn't do anything.

I can't I can't determine that it did anything for my business. So I'm sticking with billboards or I'm sticking with print or I'm just going to keep doing my radio spots because at least I know what those do do. So when you look at this marketing landscape today, one thing that's clear is that every business owner must have a much better understanding of marketing then they needed to have in the past, before digital and online were a part of the mix.

And we don't always come to small business ownership with that kind of sophisticated marketing experience. In the past, it was sufficient to work with your radio rep, work with your newspaper rep, do some billboards and you could market a retail business. Today, it's nowhere near as simple. So while you don't have to become a marketing professional, you don't have to be able to do every single detail of a marketing mix strategy while you're running the business. It is critical that you understand what marketing looks like today and why it's changed and the order in which things need to be done.

If you can master that part of your marketing knowledge, then you can hire the right partners or employees to execute the marketing for you.

Now, let's just talk for a moment about two terms that you've probably heard something about in the last several years. And one is multichannel marketing and one is omni channel marketing. So multi-channel marketing is conveying your marketing messages through many different channels, it could be your if you're a retailer, your store is one of your marketing channels. It could be through your website, through online advertising, through social media, text, advertising, billboards, radio.

Those are all different channels that can communicate your marketing message to your target audience and your existing customers.

In multi-channel marketing, You will hit some of your customers through some of the channels, but you will rarely hit all of your customers through all of the channels. And that's one of the reasons that multichannel marketing is important, because your audience could be using many different types of marketing within your audience definition. So you defined this ideal customer and the peripherally ideal customers, and you can't assume that they use media the same way, even though they may all be interested in your product or your price points.

So that's what multichannel is about where we're heading in industry in retail is to omni channel marketing and omni channel marketing is different. It includes all of the channels of multichannel marketing, but they're all integrated in such a way that you understand where your customer came in from, which channels they've used, which channels they spend the most time on. And it's like a massage therapist never taking your hand off the customer, no matter where the customer came in from or navigated to whether some of it was in store, some of it was through a text message, some of it was through email, and some of it was through social. You actually have a sense of where that customer is in your marketing environment. And when you communicate with them, you can communicate with them in a relevant way, knowing already the ways they're already communicating with you or at least taking in your messaging. So Omni channel requires a lot more integration and a lot more thought process and planning than multi-channel does.

True Omni Channel is not really here yet and not to a great extent.

There are some companies that are doing a great job of it. Verizon is one, and I'll give you an example of how that worked in a minute. But to get to true omni channel, we need complete data integration across all our systems from our business operations systems to our front end point of purchase systems to the website and our social media and any other peripheral buying experiences we may provide for a customer. But true omni channel marketing means that somebody can order online, pick it up in the store, and that order online may be through their smartphone, may be on the computer, maybe through social media and maybe through your actual website.

Or they can just simply say, I'm coming to the store, I want to book an appointment. And could you have this product ready to show me? Can I, you know, come in, see it and get out of there? Because consumers today are definitely looking for some efficiency.

And you would be able to communicate back with that customer rapidly, whether they spoke to you through Facebook chat or on Twitter or via an email or a text message to someone in your store, you wouldn't have to go logging in to all these different systems to see who might be trying to communicate with you on them. That's what real omnichannel looks like. And as you might imagine, if you just picture the systems in your own business that you would need to integrate so that you could see your customer all the way across all your systems and your product all the way across all your systems.

It's not just difficult for small business owners. This is also a challenge right now for very big business owners, because most businesses are built on a series of different systems with varying levels of integration between them. So why am I talking about omni channel if we're not already there yet? Because there is a huge amount of effort going into making sure we get to omni channel. There's a huge amount of effort from data integrators and systems providers to make sure that their systems can talk to other systems that will provide nominee channel experience.

And the reason this effort is taking place is because it's very clear from consumer interactions and from consumer research that this is what consumers want to happen.

As with everything else that's been developed for, say, big business in technology in the last twenty years, these products, these integration products, whatever they're going to be, they're going to come down very quickly in price, just like websites did, just like text marketing did. So once they're available in a mainstream sort of way, they're going to be affordable for small business owners. And you can't miss that bus. So if you missed the online selling website bus first by a few years, you were probably able to catch up.

It might have put a dent in your business, but it didn't put you out of business. If you missed the social media wave by a couple of years, you might have lost some ground in terms of building engagement or building really big audiences before social media's parameters changed. But it didn't necessarily put a big dent in your business or put you out of business if you miss the Omni channel bus, you're going to miss a really, really big business opportunity.

And I do believe that will put people out of business because consumers aren't going to go back to old ways of behaving.

I don't say that to scare you, though, because like I just said, Omni Channel's not quite ready yet. So how is that good news? Well, it's good news because you need certain basic pieces in place in order to get ready for omni channel.

So while the programmers and tech people of the world and the big software companies are out on their end figuring out how to make that omnichannel experience seamless for consumers, you can be at your business laying the groundwork step by step to make sure that when that omnichannel opportunity is there or as each piece of omnichannel opportunity becomes affordable, you can take advantage of it immediately.

And it's those steps toward Omni Channel that I want to talk about with you in this presentation, the pieces of foundation that you need to lay. Because if you wait until Omni Channel is here and then try to lay all these pieces of foundation, you're going to be late to the party. The cool thing is that you can lay these pieces of foundation one step at a time. It's like that old question, how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time?

So I'm going to show you how you can lay in each piece of your marketing strategy, your digital marketing strategy, affordably, thoughtfully, in a series of steps that allows each step to bring your business value before you put in the next step. And it's very important that you do it this way, because if you try to do step four before steps one and two are in place, you'll actually be wasting money on four because four won't be able to give you the kind of value it needs to, because four depends on two and one in order to deliver value.

So that's what we're to talk about today. We're going to talk about lay in those steps toward Omni channel so that by the time the technology is ready for you, you are ready for the technology. Oh, but I promised I would tell you the story about how Verizon is doing as well. I think it's really helpful to be able to picture how these processes or marketing steps will look, because the more you can picture it, the more you can identify why you need to put them in place.

So the example I have is a Verizon and they've got a lot of home automation products available through them. So I was looking online, I was on my smartphone and I was researching doorbell's that had little cameras in them and they had this little doorbell called Ring. And so I was flipping through the phone and reading all about ring, and of course, my app is always logged into my Verizon app because we use Verizon for our phone services. So they knew I was there.

How did I know that? They knew I was there? Because when I stopped looking at the ring technology on the Verizon website and I went back to my social media feed advertisements for this ring doorbell, I just kept popping up. No matter what I did. They popped up when I was on Twitter. They popped up when I was on Facebook. They popped up in a couple of other news feeds as well.

So Verizon knew that I was looking at the ring doorbell and then they chased me around the Internet with what we call remarketing or retargeting ads.

So then the next thing I did is, you know, the ads kept reminding me that I was interested in this doorbell. So the next time I was sitting at my computer, I pulled that. I actually responded to one of those retargeting ads, pulled up the ring doorbell, thought about it some more. And I actually put it in my online shopping cart. I was thinking maybe I'll just order it. But when I thought about it some more, I didn't want to order it right away.

I actually wanted to take a look at it. I couldn't quite picture how big it was. So I put it in the shopping cart, but I didn't check out. Well, a couple of days later, I get an email from Verizon saying, hey, we noticed you left something in your shopping cart. Are you interested in this ring? Doorbell And then they offered me some sort of an incentive to come into the store. We have a lot of phones with them.

The store is very convenient to, you know, where I drive into town every day. So I popped into the store. So we started on the smartphone with a shopping adventure research. And then they followed me around the internet with their retargeting and then I responded to one of those retargeting ads on my computer, put it into my shopping cart, they responded to me with email reminding me that I still had something in the cart and they incentivized me to come into the store, which I then did.

And when I got there, I spent money. That's what Omni Channel looks like. That's the way you need to be prepared to communicate with your customers. So that's what we're going to do.

This next thing is really important to understand, and I honestly don't think most people engaged in digital marketing actually understand it. And it's this. There is an order to digital strategy. It's just like building a house. If you dig the basement first, then you can, you know, put the walls in, get all your studs in. From there, you can start building out your floors and from there you can start finishing off walls and putting on the roof.

There's an order to building a house and there is an order to digital strategy. And if all you're doing right now is social media, that it's kind of like trying to decorate the third floor bathroom when you haven't actually put any stairs in yet. If all you're doing is some AdWords and maybe a little bit of social media, then that's a lot like trying to put the the drywall up before you even have studs for the walls. It's not only a waste of energy and time, it's a huge waste of money to not do your digital media strategy in order.

So the first step of a powerful digital media strategy is your website and your search optimization. So website and SEO, until those are nailed down and in a proper setup to be continuously developed because you're never done developing any of these. But until your website and search are optimized and developable over time, it doesn't even make sense to do much in the way of social or and it certainly doesn't make sense to be paying for advertising that you can't capitalize on.

Now, if I were giving this talk to industries that produce products for, you know, anywhere under twenty dollars, that wouldn't be as true. It would still be true, but it wouldn't be as critical. You can actually sell some stuff on social media if it's 11 dollars, you can actually drive digital advertising campaigns around one page website and a lot of social media and social media advertising for something that costs fifteen dollars. But you can't do that in high end goods.

High end goods take a lot longer to close. So at the very beginning of everything has to be a strong website and search strategy. From there you actually need to build your email and inbound strategy.

From there you can start spending money on advertising and after that your social media can actually start yielding some good prospects for you. But doing social media without the rest of this stuff, it's just the tail wagging the dog. So let's break this down and talk about each of these steps and see what I mean specifically in each instance.

So remember a few minutes ago when I was talking about the smartphone being the new shopping experience that people are looking for information about products that goes way beyond pricing.

That's what your website needs to provide as part of your digital marketing strategy. It is an extension of your store. It's not just a branding tool, it's actually a shopping tool. And when people shop, they don't just scan the racks and then carry it up to the cash register. They take something out, they try it on. They, you know, look at it on a hand or they put it on a shoulder. They look inside of it.

They look at the label, they look at the seams and how something's sewn or they look at the the solder joints or, you know, see how sparkly the gemstone is. When people shop, they really explore.

They look around the store, they see what else is for sale.

They get a sense of the vibe of this store. A lot of people will walk out of a store if it doesn't smell right, feel right, sound right to them. Your website has to do those things for people. It's got to be a place of rich content. It has to allow them to try before they buy, which is why video is so important. Everybody knows that video is a big deal. You have to market with video. But I don't think everybody realizes that at the heart of that video is a way to try before you buy.

So video allows people to try a product without setting foot in a physical store. This is what your website needs to do for you.

Beyond that, your Website has to be perfectly optimized for a search experience so that when people go into a Google search engine and it's going to be the Google search engine, 86 percent of the time, still, when they go to Google and they search for something, they don't go in and search Goldring. They don't go in and search blue top. They go in and they search things like heart shaped pink sapphire in white gold.

So if you don't have those words together in a pretty close approximation of that string next to a product in your website, that is a heart shaped pink sapphire in white gold, they're not going to find you. They're going to find someone else. So search is all about having all of the language, the phrases, the words that somebody would use when looking for a product that you happen to sell.

And that all happens in your website. Your website also has to be modern because the search engines decide which websites to present when the consumer is searching.

So if you actually happen to have a heart shaped pink sapphire, white gold ring and a consumer is shopping, searching, which is kind of the same, if you think about it now, shopping is searching.

If they're searching for that exact phrase and you have that exact phrase. But Google has already recognized that your website doesn't automatically reformat itself for a smartphone size and a tablet size and a desktop computer. They're not going to present your search results or they'll be presented so far down in the results that the consumer will never find it. Also, if you got it in your head that consumers always looked for designer ring and designer ring was the search term you were leaning on and you put designer ring on every single page of your site.

So consumer searches for designer ring one time Google gives them your search result. Consumer clicks on that result, goes to your website and sees your homepage. And it doesn't say anything about a designer ring. They quickly leave your home page, go back to the search results and Google's intelligent engine goes, "ahhhh, that search result wasn't accurate. The customer went to the page and immediately went back to search some more. I sent them to a bad place." Google doesn't want to send anyone to the wrong place.

Google wants to be everybody's favorite search engine, and that means giving people the right results the first time.

Once Google recognizes that, people come to your site and then they leave and go right back to the search results and look for a different option, you lose any ranking opportunities you have with Google or let's say Google has the choice between two jewelry stores who both have the phrase heart-shaped pink sapphire and white gold ring and say the last time you added anything new to your website was a month and a half ago.

And the last time that this other site, let's say everything else is equal, OK, you both give good search results. You both reformat for smartphones. The only difference is that the last time you updated your site was a month and a half ago and the last time the your competitor for this term updated their site was two or three days ago. And let's say that your competitor for this term consistently updates their site more frequently than you do. The competitor gets it because Google wants to send their customers to sites that have the right information.

The first link they click, no matter what device somebody is using, it looks right at reformats automatically, no pinch and pull, no moving things around on the screen. And they want to send them to sites that are regularly updated because they know that's going to be a business. That's, first of all, in business and second of all, very timely with their business information. So SEO isn't just about having all the right search terms. It's also the right technology to make sure that the website formats properly.

That's what it means to have a digital marketing strategy. Ready website and search environment.

So let's review some of these elements just to make sure you know exactly what we're talking about for your website platform. You have to have rich content. This is content that talks about products, teaches about products or your services, whatever it is you're selling, that you have video and photography and great written content. And one thing people ask a lot about is I hear this all the time, and I think it's wishful thinking. Well, is blogging dead?

And most people who own retail stores or who are selling a product to consumers don't really have a vested interest in blogging. So they're actually hoping blogging is dead because nobody likes to block. They don't want to write. Blogging is not dead.

In fact, blogging is more important than ever to your website, whether you call it blog or whether you call it what's new or what's happening or, you know, check out our latest information.

Doesn't matter what you call it, the the reason blogging matters is that while people may not read it, they search. So not everybody reads, but everybody searches. And putting regular new content on your site like a blog allows you to do it puts more words in the site that people can search to come back and find relevant content. So that's why you need new content. Now, sometimes people will say, well, can I put video on my site or can I do an audio, you know, podcast, a vlog, whatever.

Does it have to be a blog? You can do all those things. But remember, a search engine can't search a video or photographs or an audio show for words. Search engines can't go digging through that digital content for the words. So if you're going to use video or audio for adding new content, you have to include the written script of those video and audio posts so that the search engines can search and then bring somebody to a video that talks about the things that person is searching for.

So your website has to have rich content, other things your website has to do. I already mentioned responsive, which means that it automatically reconfigures for every device size.

It has to be secure. If you don't have an SSL certificate on your website anymore, it's no longer an option. So in the past, it was possible for you to have a website that didn't have an SSL certificate. The customer may not notice it. Google didn't really care.

Or if you were selling products online, then you would make sure you got an SSL certificate to secure the financial transaction today. No longer an option. Even if you're not selling online, you need an SSL certificate and consumers have learned to pay attention to those warnings that this website is not secure. Your website also has to be fast. The guideline is that every page that somebody visits on your website should open in three seconds or less. The average website page load for most companies in the jewelry apparel luxury goods sector is 17 seconds.

And that may not sound that long, but when you're waiting for a page to load, it's a long time.

I'll give you a sense of it. Let's go for 17 seconds here. (17 second pause in video) That was plenty of time to decide. I didn't even make it all the way to 17, by the way, that's plenty of time to decide. Oh, heck no, I'm going to back you know, back space or slide back, go find somebody else that's going to load faster. People don't wait for 17 seconds on their smart devices. So you need to load in three pages or three seconds each page or less.

Your website has to be informative. When we talk about a website experience, we're not talking about giving them, you know, many movies and cartoons. It's not entertainment for the sake of entertainment, unless you're a media company. And then it's important. But what we are talking about is whatever it is you sell or provide, you need to give a tremendous amount of information about that product or service. If you don't, then the potential customer is going to leave and find somebody else who gives more information.

You have to be shoppable. This is a sticking point for a lot of high end sellers that they say, well, nobody wants to buy, you know, a 10,000 dollar ring online or nobody wants to buy a, you know, 15,000 dollar pendant online or even a 6,000 dollar handbag. First of all, that's not quite true. People will buy very expensive things online. Now, what's also true is, most of them won't. The vast majority of high end goods are still sold in the store, but they still have to be shoppable on site.

You still have to have at least a representation of your product offering that somebody could put in a cart and have delivered to them at home or in your store. Some of it is psychological. Consumers just judge that a business is up to date by how up to date their website is, and that includes shop ability. Some of it is because some people will literally only shop online now.

And so you're going to miss out on that potential customer if they can't actually order the thing they want.

So whether all of your products are available for instant delivery or not and a lot of people in the luxury goods sector do bespoke products.

So some things you just cannot deliver instantly. But you must have some segment of your product offering available for instant delivery online. Otherwise you'll lose a certain amount of business, not only from the people who want to buy right now, but also from the people who want to walk into your store, but still want to know you can deliver that service for some reason.

That has to do with rapid gratification, I think, more than anything. So people want this instant or rapid gratification and just knowing they could have it, even if they don't act on it, seems to be a compelling motivator for people who are buying today. Your website also has to be trust building. So that goes back to being certified as secure with an SSL certificate. People look for those trust certificates on the bottom of the site. It also means, though, that you need to include things like social proof and social proof is Google ratings or Facebook ratings or some kind of section on your site where you're giving testimonials that today we tend to really depend on what other people say about a business before we decide if we're going to buy from that business or not.

And shoppers today are savvy.

So if they see, you know, if you only got two ratings, they're both five stars, but there's only two people aren't going to trust that nearly as much as if you have a four point two star rating, but you have 2000 ratings. So consumers want to know who's buying from this business, what is their experience been like? They also want to know how you handled it. If somebody had a complaint. And that all needs to be very public, you need to address all these things publicly in order to build trust on your website.

So that is what your website must deliver in order to be ready for prime time and ultimately ready for omni channel.

So now let's look at the next step in this house. We're building the websites, the foundation we're going to put in the studs, and that's your email and inbound marketing strategy.

To do the right email and inbound marketing strategy. You need to have some tools that allow you to do something called marketing, automation and marketing. Automation is where you build these lists of email addresses of customers and potential customers. You segment those lists according to, first of all, customer non customer. But it could also be customers who are interested in one product, category versus another, customers who buy frequently compared to customers who buy infrequently. It could be segmented by customers who are female versus male, who are self purchasers versus gift purchasers.

You could segment further by age or demographics. So part of your marketing automation strategy is actually building these lists of customers and prospects with whom you're going to communicate to ultimately bring them into your store or bring them back to your website.

You're managing the customer lifecycle in this stage, this putting up the stud stage. So I mentioned earlier that it takes a longer time to close a higher end buyer. You can't just run an ad, bring them to the website, get it in the shopping cart and sell it as you can. But it's not going to happen often enough to pay the bills. So with your email and inbound strategy, what you're doing is you're saying, OK, this is a long lead product because I'm in luxury goods, so I need to communicate with customers regularly.

And when I communicate with them, I need to communicate meaningfully.

So I'm going to send some email campaigns to some types of lists and other email campaigns to different lists. I may have a bridal list and a fashion list. I know my bridal list probably has a shorter life span than my fashion list does.

I'm going to communicate with my bridal customer probably more frequently than I'm going to communicate with my fashion customer because they're in the heat of all that planning and preparation. And there's a deadline ahead in the bridal list. You are establishing yourself as an expert with these customer groups by using email to communicate with them. One of the things I don't think most people realize is that of all the people who visit your website for the first time, just find the website, click a link or go searching or even just try it out, because they drove by the street and saw your store.

Of all the people who visit their website one time, only five percent will ever come back for a second visit. Now, it may be because they came to the website and didn't find what they wanted, but it's more likely that they came to the website. Oh, that's interesting, but not right now. And then forgot about it because we're all so overwhelmed with information. The way that you get people to come back to your website is through email.

Yes, through digital marketing as well. But digital marketing costs a lot more money and has a much lower ROI, digital advertising I should say, than email. So your marketing strategy really depends on bringing people to the site, capturing an email address, putting it in the right list or lists, and using email to communicate with customers and not just email blasts.

That's sort of like email 2.0 maybe, but email that's more personalized and more relevant to each person whose email address you capture.

So maybe the first time they respond to uh, they're on a page talking about, you know, making bespoke clothing or custom jewelry and a little popup box kind of slides in from the side, doesn't obscure the whole screen because nobody likes that.

But it slides in and it says, hey, you know, give us your email address and we'll keep you informed about other bespoke opportunities or, you know, set up a free appointment, whatever you want. They give you an email address. So we know two things. We know their email address and we know that they're interested at least in having something custom made for that. Well, within minutes of receiving that email address, they should receive a very personalized thank you note.

So, dear Janet, thank you so much for signing up for our list here. A few resources that you might find interesting about the way we put together custom products, but you're not done yet. So maybe four days later, could be three, could be five, Janet should automatically get another email from you talking about the customer experience, maybe offering her some sort of incentive to make an appointment.

And it doesn't always have to be a price cut. It could be a different kind of incentive. It could be a small gift. It it doesn't even have to be expensive. It's just something that motivates somebody to take the next step.

And then maybe six days after that, Janet gets yet another email. Maybe this email talks about, you know, testimonials from other customers who've gotten custom good from you. That's called a drip campaign where entering a customer into a particular list triggers a series of emails that are specific to that customer's interests. That's a very important part of email strategy today. So email and inbound is the studs in this house that we're building. And once your website is in place, that's the next thing you need.

You need to start capturing these email addresses so you can market to these customers and potential customers and keep them coming back to your website. Now, I used the term inbound marketing and let's dig in a little bit deeper to what inbound is all about. Inbound is is.

Recognizing the fact that you're going to find many of your customers away from your website and away from your store, you're going to find them through an organic search on Google or Bing or any of the other search engines, or you'll find them through an ad that they were targeted in and they clicked and came back to your website, or you'll find them through something you've done on social media. You might find them through, you know, having them walk by the store and just search your store name and put it into a search engine.

So Inbound says people are coming to you through their search activities and that you need to be prepared to capture their information and remarket to them.

So the first step is attract them. We do that through search optimization. We do that through advertising. You do that through your blog by adding regular new words and new products. Any new content to your site that gives people more opportunities to put in a search term and have you be the answer to that search term. So that's the attract part of the inbound marketing strategy. Then we want to convert them. You will not get an email address from every person who comes to your site, but you'll get a lot more email addresses if you ask for them.

And if you don't, so if all you're doing is putting a little, you know, on the footer of your website, if you're just running a little thing that says sign up for our newsletter, and that's where it is always at the bottom of the site, or if it's always off in like the right column of your site, you're not going to get many email addresses from those because people have learned to ignore footers and sidebars. But if you have little forms that, like I said before, slide in from the top or scroll like a banner across the bottom or the top of your website, or you do little quizzes and you send people results, any kinds of forums or calls to action, or if you do a social media post and you bring people back to a very special page that talks in much more depth than you can do on a social media post about whatever the topic is, those are the things that we use to convert people from visitors to people who have given us an email address.

So first we attract, then when we get them to the website, we try to convert them from there. That's when we start that long process toward closing a sale. So we keep track of that customer's information in our CRM system. And the CRM is what's going to do this. Marketing automation and your email strategy and your lead captures and list segmentations for you. A really good CRM does a lot more than that, and we'll talk about that more toward the end of this talk.

But when I say CRM, I'm talking about a very robust system that manages all your customer information and automates a lot of your marketing activity to them. So using your CRM, you're going to put email campaigns out to people that are relevant to their interests. You're going to do workflows.

So, for instance, it may be that somebody responds to a particular email and if they click on this, then you trigger a notice to you or to one of your employees to give that person a phone call.

So if you're in the luxury goods segment, you already know how important client telling is. Well, this allows you to combine your digital marketing and your phone based clienteling into one seamless set of activities.

So I notice that somebody hit love and then made a comment on a product that we were talking about on social media today. A good CRM will tell you that. And then that triggers a workflow to me because I'm not watching what every single person is doing on every channel. I can't. You can't. Nobody can. So but I get a triggered "to do" that says, hey, call Erica so-and-so, she's interested in this product. So your client telling just goes through the roof when you use your inbound marketing strategy the right way.

And that's how we convert. That's how we get people to actually make that commitment to buy a high end product, which they are most likely going to do in a store if there's a store available. And of course, if there's not, that's how you're going to build up enough trust for them to do that transaction with you online or over the phone. And then finally, we use this email and inbound strategy to continue to delight the customer, to continue to communicate with them using social media or surveys or questionnaires or, you know, give us your input.

Your CRM is going to allow you to do all that. So inbound marketing is saying people come find us and it's our job to capture that information so that we can continue to communicate with them until we get a sale and then until we get another sale and then another sale. So that's what I'm talking about when I talk about inbound marketing.

And now we're at the point of actually putting in maybe the floors are. You've got a foundation in your website, The Stud's are your email and inbound strategy managed through your CRM system.

Now we're going to put in the floors. That is your digital marketing advertising strategy. This is advertising that you pay for. So what are you trying to accomplish with this? Well, for the most part, you're trying to generate leads. Again, if you're not selling a product that's under 20 dollars, most of the time you're going to have to do some additional work to turn that lead into a sale.

So when you're advertising, when you're paying for advertising, you are paying for people to come to your website and see what you've got to sell. And when they get there, you really need to capture that email address. Otherwise you're going to lose 95 percent of them right off the bat. That's the 95 percent who will never come back to your website again, even though you paid to get them with one ad. And then of the five percent of the people who come to your website, what percent of them are actually going to buy?

So you can see this is a numbers game. When you're putting advertising dollars out there, you need to make sure that that ad lasts long beyond the initial click. So the most important thing you're advertising for are leads, email addresses. Every email address is worth money to you. So what else are you doing with your advertising strategy? Well, you're paying for advertising to show products, but you may want to be paying for advertising to show. Remember, I talked about try before you buy like a video allows people to try before they buy.

That's why all these bed sellers on social media show people jumping on beds and standing on beds and rolling around on beds and opening beds and packaging. That's actually a try before you buy advertising strategy. So when you pay for advertising, make sure you're paying to capture a lead.

And sometimes it's just capture a lead. By the way, you can run sweepstakes or giveaways or give free information in exchange for an email address. That's a great way to spend advertising dollars because then you take that email address and you continue to market to them. So get leads, try before you buy, build, trust - running ads that talk about how much customers trust you or running a testimonial ad or running an ad that talks about, you know, 2,000 5-star Google reviews.

Those are all very powerful things to do with advertising. So you're using your advertising to drive people to your website where you need to capture, lead, build some trust and allow them to try before they buy. And if you think about that, you can't make those advertising dollars work for you if you don't have a robust website to bring them to and you're not capturing those leads and moving them through an inbound marketing strategy that cultivates that lead until they buy something.

So if you bring someone to your website with advertising dollars, say you get a great cost per click through your advertising partner for online advertising, but you bring them back to a website, so you bring it back to the home page. It's so generic they don't understand why the ad brought them there. You don't capture an email address. You can't cultivate that customer. It doesn't matter how low your cost per click was because you can't do anything with the lead once you got it.

That's why paying for digital advertising is the third step in this process and not the first or the second. That's why doing this in order matters so much. One important thing about online advertising, and this really relates mostly to Facebook and this idea of boosting ads, a lot of people are on Facebook and they pay. It's so cheap. Right. I can boost this ad for five dollars. I can boost this ad for ten dollars if you spend five dollars boosting it ad but you don't get any business as a result of it.

That's not cheap. That's just throwing money out the window. I mean, you would not open your office window and flutter a five dollar bill or a ten dollar bill out of it every day and just throw that money away. But people are doing that with Facebook boosts right now. Every day you might be, too. So why would you boost a Facebook post for five dollars or ten dollars? Well, you would do it on any post that was designed to capture a lead, bring people back to your website to deliver some result that allows you to communicate with that customer more in the future or to sell something right now.

But if you can't bring them back to a page that they can act on instantly, or if you don't use that boost to capture an email address so you can continue marketing to them in the future, you're wasting money on boosting. Just because people like you on Facebook doesn't mean that they're paying the rent. So advertising strategy for luxury goods business should be predominantly about capturing leads, but it should also be used to convey trustworthiness, to allow people to try before they buy, to get people to start thinking about why they're going to buy from your business.

Now, your advertising strategy actually has several six actually unique pieces to it that you need to consider. The first is that every ad you produce needs to work on mobile. And not all ads look great on mobile, but all ads can be tested to see if they look great on mobile. So make sure that your advertising works on mobile. One of the things that Google has been publishing in the first quarter of twenty eighteen is that the most popular search phrase right now includes the words near me, near me is showing up in searches.

So coffee shop near me, tennis shoes near me, jewelry store near me, tailor near me, whatever it is, it's near me. Obviously people that are searching for something near me are most of the time on a mobile device. Well, that's kind of silly because most of the time everything's on a mobile device today. But your ads have to work on mobile if you want them to bring in customers. The next thing that I want you to think about is CRM or search engine marketing.

Search engine marketing is about bringing people to your business. And it's not just search. I mean, search and search engine marketing are not the same thing. Search engine marketing is really where you use the tools available in the search engines to convey more important and relevant information about your business. And by maximizing the use of that search engine information, you bring more people into your store or to your website or both. So what are those tools? Well, let's talk about it specifically in terms of Google, because, again, Google is 86 percent of search.

You have an opportunity for a business listing on Google, and that business listing can include everything from where your store is located, to how many Google reviews you have, to pictures of your business, to where you are on a map and the best directions to get there. I was driving home from Chicago the other day and I was hungry for Indian food and I was taking a different route because a couple of lanes on the tollway were closed. So it was a little different route that I'm used to.

And I said to my phone, because I'm driving, OK, Google show me Indian restaurants near me. Now, I was using Android Auto. So what popped up on the dashboard of my Subaru was a screen, and a voice said to me, there are four Indian restaurants near you. And I asked it to show me only the ones with four stars are higher and two of those had four stars or higher.

And then just by glancing at my dashboard, you know, the big navigation screen, I said, take me to Biriyani Point.

And all of a sudden my map was turned on and my car was telling me how to get to Biriyani Point, which was only two miles away.

If Biriyani Point had not completed the business information on Google, they would have missed out on me as a customer and the place was fantastic. I will definitely be going back.

So you need to make sure that your business information on Google is as complete as possible. Being also has business information. You should make sure that's as complete as possible to including links to your website.

You can load all kinds of pictures up so people can see pictures of your product, pictures of your establishment, pictures of what the street looks like, if you're hard to find whatever you want to do to highlight your business, that is a core part of search engine marketing is that you're using the search engine tools. So then when somebody searches for a business and you're the business that could help them, you want to make sure that the search engine puts the best business information possible right there on the search screen about you.

So that's a big part of what search engine marketing is all about. Now, of course, that's all about maximizing your visibility on the search engine itself. But what happens next when you bring people back to your website or to your business site or to your store, you have options within those search engines to provide specific links, not generic links. If you're just bringing every possible search back to your home page, you're not going to be converting a sufficient number of customers because your home page should tell a fairly broad story of your business.

And people don't go to search looking for broad stories. They go to search looking for specific stories. So this is where your website starts playing. A very important role again, is that if you're going to have capture somebody that's searching for something like.

Ruby engagement rings Then you want to make sure that you land them on the page with the Ruby engagement ring and that all the information they need about buying that Ruby engagement ring is on that page. That's not the same as bringing them to the product listing. So you may have a Ruby engagement ring for sale on your website. And it probably has a couple of different views of the product and the price and a basic description. And nobody spends ten thousand dollars for that.

So the product listing is going to be insufficient for that advertising that you're paying for. It's fine for just an organic search, but if you're paying for an advertisement that you carry alternative or, you know, non-traditional engagement rings, you can't bring that person for the ad that you just paid for. Back to the product listing. They need to come to a whole page and that page needs to show the product and the price. And it needs to talk about how many times, you know, rubies have been used as the primary engagement jewel in the past and which cultures valued rubies and why you might want to ruby instead of a diamond.

And you're going to be telling the whole story that you're going to have your Google five star ratings showing up somewhere on that page. And a couple of testimonials from people who bought engagement rings from you. That's how you maximize your digital advertising budget. So when you decide to run an ad for search terms or a little banner or whatever, you decide to pay for a retargeting or a marketing effort, don't just bring them back to the barebones information about the product you're selling.

Bring them back to a page that can really tell the story, draw someone in and make them want to buy. And don't make them go all the way to the bottom of the page for the buy now button. They may not want to read that far. Some people will be sold within the top quarter of the page. Have a buy now button some people need to read research and look at a little more. Put another buy now, button a little bit below that.

So let them encounter the buy now button several times as they go through that page.

But if you're going oh, and by the way, ask for an email address, if they're not going to buy now, at least get the email address. So here's the rule when it comes to search engine marketing. And by that I mean paying for search. If you're going to pay for a search, maximize the value of that payment by landing them on a page that can do something for you, that can actually give them enough information to motivate a sale or that at the very least captures an email address.

So that's a big part of your marketing effort, your digital marketing strategy for paid ads. I've mentioned reviews several times out. Reviews are so important for building social trust. So make sure that you're maximizing all the review opportunities you've got. Some people pay for an outside review agency and that can be very helpful, or a software that can be helpful for sending out emails, asking for reviews or automating texts, asking for reviews.

So you may lean on Yelp, you may lean on trust monitor. There's lots of different software or programs you can use, but no matter what you do, make sure you're also collecting Google reviews. And the reason for that is 86 percent of search happens on Google. And when they search for your business, if you've claimed your business on Google or if they search for something your business could sell and you've claimed your business and maximized your business profile on the search engine, those reviews are going to show up right there, right on the search page before they ever click the link.

So reviews are extremely important for building trust with potential customers and reinforcing trust with existing customers. So then the next piece of your marketing strategy or paid marketing strategy is going to be retargeting. And I've used two terms for that so far, retargeting and remarketing, but they're the same thing. And that's basically recognizing that somebody has come to your website and looked at a specific product or products and then making sure that your ad follows them around the Web when they go into various news feeds to keep reminding them that they were interested in that product. *Important note as of 2020-10-31: Google has announced that they will discontinue the use of 3rd party cookies for marketing purposes in 2021. This will change the way remarketing and retargeting are done, though at this time the way things will change are not entirely clear yet.

That should be part of your advertising spend for digital social advertising is also very beneficial and a separate paid social from social media activity to paid social, as when you're paying for ads to run on whatever social media channel you choose again, make sure that you can collect an email address or that you're bringing them back to something that can tell enough of a story to convert them to a customer, and preferably both. And finally, analytics don't spend a dime on your advertising are digital advertising unless you know how to use your analytics and you are actively setting up and using your analytics.

And by that I mean Google analytics, because that's the only platform that can tell you everything about what's happening on your site, where people went, how much time they spent there, where they came from, where they went next. Who they are, what they're interested in, what other kinds of sites they go to, your Google Analytics gave you all that. Now when you're buying advertising online, anyone you buy your advertising through will be happy to show you their dashboard.

That shows how much you paid per click, how many clicks you got, how many exposures you got.

All of that data is interesting, but it's not necessarily useful unless you've tied it back into your Google analytics, because just because you only paid 15 cents for, you know, 1500 clicks or 15 cents each for 1500 clicks doesn't mean anyone bought anything from you. You need the rest of your analytics to show what you closed of all of that, how many email addresses you've collected of all of that.

So don't spend a dime on digital advertising unless you have processes in place that will help you analyze your Google analytics and see how that advertising is paying for you and how you can improve it. Because advertising is always about doing a spend, analyzing the results, adjusting the spend, analyzing the results, adjusting the spend. If your analytics aren't turned on, you can't do anything but buy and pray. And now, finally, finally, we're at the point where social media can deliver some value for your business.

For the most part, for the most companies, social media does not deliver sales. 100000 followers on Instagram doesn't necessarily convert to a dollar of spending. You know, 50000 fans on Facebook or 649 likes on a particular picture or post doesn't necessarily mean you made any money. In fact, social media is not great for luxury goods in terms of turning people into customers. It's great for giving people ideas. So how do you maximize the benefits of your social media?

Well, first you have to have your website, your foundation in place. Then you have to have your email and inbound strategy and your CRM system in place. Then you need to be doing some digital advertising to drive people to relevant pages and relevant content where you capture email addresses and work on converting them. And then social media is like the icing on the cake. Social media is where you engage with people. It's where you build trust by them getting to know people in your company.

It's where you share fun content that's stimulating and can possibly link somebody back to a page on your website where you can capture their email address and then work on converting them to a customer. Social media isn't fluff, but it is frosting. So if you don't have the cake, I mean, some people like only frosting, but for the most part, you expect some cake to be underneath it. And that's how you have to structure your digital marketing strategy in order to actually make it make money for you because you're not doing social media for your business for fun or you shouldn't be.

You need to be doing social media for your business to convert customers to your business. So that's why it's the last piece and not the first, because on its own, it can't convert people. But it does have a very important role in terms of engagement and trust, building and keeping customers coming back and paying attention after a purchase which can help you along with your email and your advertising and your great website, get them to come back and purchase something again.

Social media at its best is a prospecting tool and an engagement tool, and that's what you need to be using it for.

And like I said before, don't ever boost a social media post that can't actually do something for you. Boost it if it's ready to capture an email address as part of the post or if it's going to bring somebody back to a page where they can buy something and also leave you an email address. Now, the thing with social media is that if you're just posting picture after picture after picture of things that you're selling, nobody's going to notice it anymore.

In marketing, we've always talked about Lean In versus lean back.

So this is before the book Lean In. It's a totally different kind of lean in.

When you're really interested in something, don't you end up on the edge of your seat looking at the television or really reading that newspaper or magazine or a book. It's really good.

You find yourself sitting up and leaning into the page and Lean Back is sort of watching a sitcom.

You're not you're kind of engaged. Maybe you're knitting or playing a video game at the same time. Lean Back is something's happening out there, but it's it's not commanding all your attention and it doesn't mean to be so. Social media tends to be a lean back activity for people. They're thumbing through a feed and just kind of seeing what pops up. And then something interesting grabs their attention and they leave in. You have to create lean in content on social media or you're just spinning your wheels.

So make it engaging, make it fun. Game of it. Do contests do things that get people talking and that engage. It will help them remember you so that all your other marketing activities can seal the deal, bring them to the website, bring them into the store, get them to make a purchase.

So those are your four steps for a digital marketing strategy. The website is the foundation. The studs are the email and inbound strategy with your CRM system, and then the walls are your paid digital advertising and SEM, and then the fixtures and the finish is the social media. And when you do them in that order, you will get value every step of the way.

And that's why I said start doing it now. Get your ROIC for each piece of it as you build. And then eventually true integration will be there. And there are bits of good integration available right now between your website and social media, between your digital advertising and your CRM. But we need to make sure that that for particularly for retailers, that technology is available to then integrate everything back to the store and your POS and business operations systems.

But each step of the way, you can get value if you do this thing right. So what do you need to be able to do it? Do you have to immediately go hire a marketing department that's digitally savvy and, you know, put six people in place doing all this stuff? No, you don't. And for larger companies, sure, you're going to want to do most of this in-house, but you do need some things. And here's what they are.

The first thing you need is just knowledge. So like this video today, you're building knowledge about what makes a digital strategy. As a business owner, you need to know enough to hire the right people or the right partners. You don't necessarily have to know enough to do all this. But if somebody sits down to interview with you and they're talking about omni channel, you need to know the difference between omni channel and multi-channel. You need to know what a CRM can do today.

You need to have enough knowledge like what we're talking about right now to know if somebody knows seems to know what they're talking about or don't. So you need knowledge and you're going to need to stay on top of doing some marketing, reading and reading some magazines like website, magazine, or find some online bloggers that you think do a good job explaining digital and just keep building that information that there's not going to be a time anymore where we don't need to pay attention to how technology and marketing are changing business.

So you don't need to be a deep dive expert, but you do need to be a broad expert.

So knowledge is important and then you need knowledge in your organization in the form of talent. So somebody is going to have to be knowledgeable enough to manage the effort itself or manage your outsource partners who are doing the effort. If you are a one person operation that you're going to be stretching because you have to also bring some talent, not just general knowledge, and then you also have to have very specific talent.

So you're going to be copywriters. Writing is very important to marketing. It's not a lost art by any means. And like I said, even if people don't read, they always search. And writers are the ones who lay the groundwork for that. So you'll need writers might be somebody on staff, might be an outsource partner. You need to have the skills to constantly updated. Refresh your website, might be on staff, might be a partner.

You need people who are developing this engaging social media content. You need people who are helping you plan and place your online advertising strategy.

So for most small businesses, that's going to be an outsourced partner and that's OK. But you do have to know how to manage it. And you do need to identify if there are any parts of this digital marketing collection of skills that would make most sense for you to have in-house and then managing all the other pieces of it.

Very few people are good at all of it. Just because somebody can use Photoshop doesn't mean they're a designer. And just because somebody can write a paragraph without spelling errors doesn't mean they're copywriter. So you need talent to pull this off and you're competing against other companies who are thinking about the same things. So the people who figure out the talent equation best are going to be the ones that have the most sales. You need a website that is robust enough to deliver all the things we've talked about today and which can continue to evolve.

You should never in these days you should be able to put a website in place that never has to be replaced again. Back when we started creating Web sites in the late 90s, everything had to be custom code. They were very static. They were very rigid.

Today's website technology allows us to be incredibly flexible and to evolve the website over time. So it always looks fresh, it always looks modern, but you don't have to invest, you know, in a brand new website every three or four years to accomplish that. So you need a website built on modern technology that does everything that you need from an SEO standpoint that can also can continue to evolve with your business and with the world of technology.

You need some creativity and analytics tools so you don't have to job out every single post you put on social media.

But you might need to use some fun tools like Visme or Animoto, to do fun video collages or photo elements or text overlays on photos. Simple tools like those in-house will allow you to put together great social media posts in seconds, really, and then get them out on your social media environment so you need some creativity tools. Doesn't always have to be Photoshop or illustrator.

And you also need some analytics tools. Google Analytics is an amazing tool, but it's not necessarily easy to use.

In fact, it's definitely not easy to use.

But there are other tools out there that you can use that will grab your Google analytics data and put it into reports for lay people who don't know how to read Google Analytics.

But so you can understand what all that data means from a business management perspective. You're going to need some creativity and analytics tools. Oh, back to step four. You need a CRM and you need a CRM that can actually do the heavy lifting that today's CRMs do. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and old CRMs, when CRM first came out in the mid to late 90s. It was really just about static customer data. Having all your customers information in one place.

You could see what they purchased when their birthday was important dates to them when their contract renewals were. But that was all it really did. Today's CRM, as I described to you back in the email and inbound marketing portion of this talk, can do so much for you in terms of knowing what your customers are doing on social media, on your website, which ads they're responding to which emails they're opening. How long do they spend reading things? That's what CRM is today.

You need a CRM system. They are really affordable that you can get a good CRM system for anywhere from one hundred and forty nine dollars a month to three hundred dollars a month (*2020 many CRMs are charging as much as $700/month for marketing automation). And that might sound expensive to you until you think about all the work that CRM system is going to do. You could not pay a person to sit there and stay on top of all those leads for 149 to three hundred dollars a month.

And then finally, you need strategic partners, because like I said, you're not going to be able to do all of this in-house. I own a marketing agency and I still won't buy my own advertising. When we do work for our customers, we partner with advertising agency, the ad placement companies like Ad Taxi. They have these amazing databases and specialized skills for doing the best job with your digital advertising every time. That's a specialty skill. We haven't built it in-house and we're not going to because there are so many good partners out there.

So even people who are deep into this space don't try to do everything themselves. And you shouldn't either. You're going to need strategic partners, as I mentioned earlier in this talk, open systems or systems, talking to each other seamlessly and sharing data across all the systems are essential for omnichannel. So part of what you need to be doing right now as you build these pieces of your digital marketing strategy house is making sure that you're working with systems that are open, that can communicate with other systems.

Now is not the time to hire a website developer who does everything for you custom. Because you're not you're going to end up with a very, very high cost of ownership website. Now is not the time to invest in a very niche product that nobody else is going to be using because other systems won't be open to it. So open systems are about systems that are able to talk to other systems and that are widely used enough that other systems want to build integrations to them.

That is a very important part of what happens next is that you have to be using these systems. So what are we talking about from an open system standpoint? Well, for your website, you need a content management system or a systems. Now, if you're an Internet pure play, you know, if all you do is sell thousands of products on the Internet, you probably could settle for a product that was mostly e-commerce. Shopify falls into that category.

You can do other things with Shopify than just sell products. But that's really what Shopify is optimized for. It's not optimized to be a great blog. It doesn't give you opportunities to build all these different kinds of landing pages that I've been talking about that tell a story and sell product. You can pay for other extensions to a Shopify type site that will allow you to do some of those things. But the costs just rack up when you use Shopify.

So I don't typically recommend that someone you Shopify for this solution is. The the basement, the foundation of their digital strategy, unless all they're ever going to do is sell stuff online, if you have a retail store, Shopify is not the solution for you, because even though you can quickly list all your products on Shopify, it's not going to do all the things you need to do to bring people into the store, which is a big part of what your online marketing strategy needs to do.

Systems that do do this well include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Type three. These are all broad based content management systems that both sell products and do all of the other type of content marketing that you need. All of those systems have really extensive support networks across the world, not just in the United States. You can find a developer for all of those programs near you. All of those programs are programs that are free in terms of the software, their open source, but they're not free in terms of setting them up or getting them to look right, or you're going to pay for some development time.

But the software itself is part of the open source community and they're all very open to communicating with other systems and extensions. And that's why I strongly recommend products from that grouping. WordPress Joomla Drupal Magento would be my four favorite. They are not one size fits all. So if you talk to somebody who only works in WordPress, they're going to say, Oh, we'll build your website, we're going to build it in WordPress. WordPress may not be the right solution for you.

Now, for probably 80 percent of small businesses, it's a pretty good fit, but it's not necessarily the right fit for everyone. So don't just assume that because somebody does WordPress, WordPress is all you need. For some businesses, Joomla is a much better solution than WordPress. They're both easy to use. They're both low cost of ownership, but they have different they scale differently. On the other hand, if you have some really complex business needs, say you want to develop your POS into your website system or you want to put more of your business operations all in one system, I wouldn't recommend WordPress or Joomla.

I'd go up to Drupal for that. Drupal is going to provide a lot more sophisticated business technology for you. On the other hand, it's very hard to use. You're not going to end up supporting your own Drupal site the way you could with a WordPress or a jobless site. And then finally, Magento, if you have thousands of products to sell and you want the most optimized e-commerce product out there, you can't go wrong with Magento. So these are all fantastic software programs that you can use for your foundation, your website.

But they are not one size fits all and you need to explore which one really is the best fit for your business. So now let's talk about these advanced CRM systems. I was talking about the these systems that will combine your customer data management with your campaign management online, with your social media, you know, that help you put all your customer pieces together and ideally are talking to your point of sale system systems that do that are Greenrope, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, Active Campaign, Ontraport

These are all systems that will do this advanced CRM work for you. These do not come cheap. So the least expensive option that I know of is at 149 a month, most small businesses can access the other ones for, you know, at the high end, 300 dollars a month, maybe three hundred fifty dollars a month. And like I said, that sounds expensive and it is if you're not going to use them comprehensively. But when you turn on these systems and use them the way they're intended to be used, if you do all the right planning and all the right preparation and implement them and then really use them, you are never going to get one employee to that.

You only pay one hundred forty nine to three hundred dollars a month to do all that work. So they are worth every penny.

You just need to use them. Now, I talked about needing some creative and analytics tools as well.

And remember, I'm only talking to you about systems that are open to each other because we're trying to get to omnichannel. And the ones I'm recommending aren't the only ones that do the things I'm talking about. But they give you a good sense of some of the system choices that you have. You can also search with the phrase alternative to go to Google search and do alternative to HubSpot and you'll see all the alternatives to HubSpot and you can read up on them.

Just make sure that whatever you choose is of is an open enough system, that it can communicate well with other systems so that you're laying the groundwork for omnichannel as you build. OK, so creative tools. That you can use to put together great visual graphics, video advertising banners for your digital marketing, your online advertising banner ads, all of that. So some of the tools you can use for those things are Visby, Animoto clip champ cloud app and banner wise.

Now, the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, which my company uses, and I really believe that it is a fantastic suite for doing everything from shooting this video to all the graphics we put together for it. And you can do anything with the Adobe Creative Suite. It also has a very long learning curve and it's not cheap. If you have somebody in house that can use those tools, then great, go with something like an Adobe product or use your alternative to search.

And, you know, there are open source alternatives to Adobe for most small businesses. You're not going to have that skill set in-house and you actually don't need to spend that much time on a lot of your graphics. So in in-house, we have a videographer who is incredibly capable of using all the Adobe film tools. But if we want a really fast video that only takes a couple of minutes put together, it's still faster to go to Animoto. So they're going to give you these tools that I'm talking about, the graphical guidance you need if you're not a graphic designer, because a lot of this is tablet it and they're also going to give you speed and efficiency at very low cost.

So those are some of the creative tools that you need to constantly be adding fresh content on your website, in your ads, on your social media. And finally, you need analytics tools. These tools will help you facilitate setting and managing your key performance measurements. It's not worth doing advertising if you're not going to measure it and see what results you got from it and then refine your efforts and try again and measure that effort. So everything you do in your marketing strategy, online or offline, you have to set goals and objectives for.

And that's what these analytics tools do. They help you set goals and objectives and then manage your goals and objectives and refine and analyze all of your digital marketing. So you do need to learn how to use your Google analytics. That's the most comprehensive tool out there.

You don't need to use it in, you know, the depth that an analyst, a professional analyst would use them for, if that's not how you're wired or that's not where you're going to spend your time. But you do need to know how to use the basics of Google analytics. If you're a business owner or a business executive. And there are a ton of free software training programs online that will teach you how to use Google Analytics at a basic level.

But there are also some other online tools that you can subscribe to that will pull data out of your Google analytics and represent it in more management friendly graphs and charts and reports. And some of those would be WhatAGraph or KissMetrics, Clicky, WebTrends and WhoopLa are the ones that I've used and I like.

And I think they do a good job.

So make sure that you are analyzing your marketing performance. Don't just trust someone that you know because they're good. You assume they're doing good advertising and don't assume for a minute that you can't know what results you're getting from your marketing. One of the glorious things about digital marketing is that you can measure and know what's happening, but you have to have the tools in place to do it. And what all of this is leading up to is the point where all of your data in store or in business and online can be integrated to provide a seamless, rich, fulfilling, relevant experience to your customer.

So you started with your foundation, which is your website. And as soon as that website is up to par, including all the right types of information optimized for SEO, using a platform that's open to communicating with other systems, you'll start getting business benefit from that right away, even before you've layered on the next step. So that's your foundation. Now you go and you put the studs in and that's your e-mail and inbound marketing. So now you're collecting email addresses and you're segmenting your lists and you're marketing more frequently, but more relevantly.

And you could be sending out an email to a group of people every two days, but it wouldn't be the same group of people every two days. So you're not over marketing to them. You're just marketing more relevantly to people. So that's your studs. And then you start really, you know, putting in all of the the walls and the ceilings and, you know, the rest of your structure. And that's your digital advertising. Once your website and your inbound and email strategy on your open source or open system, I should say, not open source, but your open system CRM are in place now.

You can really maximize the value of your digital spend in advertising. And then finally, you're doing your social media, which is sort of making you more relevant, more immediately present, more engaging to the customers you're trying to bring in and also to the customers you're trying to keep. And you've done all of this using systems that are open to each other. They will talk to each other. They let data go out. They bring data back in.

And that was all leading up to the point where you can get to true data integration. So when the rest of the data integration tools that we're waiting for that are in development now, when they're ready, you're going to be ready and you will not miss out on true omnichannel. And you'll have been making money all along the way by bringing more people back into your store or to your website site and turning them into customers. That's what I wanted to share with you.

I think it was important to get this information to as many people as possible. So people will start thinking about the online marketing challenge much more holistically. I encourage you to share this video. It's free to anyone who will watch it, because as small business owners, we need to up our game, our knowledge when it comes to marketing and digital marketing particularly. And this is just a small part of accomplishing that. Thank you for your time. I hope this was really useful to you.