Marketing Advice

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How/When to hire your first marketing employee

I've heard it a million times. The growing small-company who decided it’s time to look like “a real company” therefore is thinking of hiring their first marketing employee. It usually goes two ways, either they hire a very seasoned Marketing VP type or a very Junior kid-right-out-of-school, yet the expectations are the same. Because the general expectation is that this person will have to wear every possible hat in the Marketing world, including but not limited, to Online, Print, Strategy, PR, Packaging, Branding and PR; and all of this with no real metrics to measure it by, the poor bastard is pre-destined to fail. If you go the youngling route, you are being very unfair to the kid; yet if you go the senior route, you should be weary that he/she doesn't realize you are setting them up for failure, which means they are senior in age but not necessarily in marketing/business experience. By the time you decide to pull the plug (usually 6 months or so) on this new hire, you would have spent an average of $100,000 that you could have put back into the business, improve your product, or spread the wealth with those who are currently making the company grow. This is usually the best case scenario, since most will think it was the new hire's fault, therefore will try their luck again and start a vicious cycle that will eat away your hard earned cash and sometimes grows to a full USELESS marketing department. Here some advice on how to avoid this increasingly common Money Pit: When to Hire? Like with everything else in business, the time to make a change is when the need will be met, under the return of [...]

How much does a Website Cost?

If I had a dollar for every time I get this question, I wouldn't have to make website because I would be rich! Its a very common question that comes from the lack of understanding on what it takes to create a website and even more because people haven't always thought through which aspects of Website Development will be needed on their new site. This is a pretty nifty tool (created by the competition) that helps you not only calculate the average cost of the website of your dreams, but also think through some of the basic functionality that you may or may not be taking for granted, like: Social Media Integration, Login, Search, Responsive Design, etc. Take a look, dream big and give us a call when ready. DOWNLOAD HERE

Free Marketing Advice for Small Business

As a Marketing firm, we make the vast majority of our business from Medium Sized companies with a decent amount of funding/revenue and years in business; yet, most of the questions I (Francisco) get on a daily basis are from small companies just starting up.  Local businesses with great dreams and ideas that have no idea how to find clients. I LOVE answering those questions.  I believe knowledge is power and I want to empower people to leave their boring 9 to 5 job and achieve those dreams they have been putting away. I want to invite all small business owners (specially in the New England area) to email me directly with your marketing questions (or Jazz music if you are into that).  Feel free to send me a direct email to advice@staccatointeractive.com and either I or one of the Staccato Interactive "experts" will get back to you with and answer (or opinion) as soon as we can.  Yes, this is all free, though I do accept a cup of coffee if you happen to be in the area. ** In case you don't know who "this clown is", here my LinkedIn.    

Stop SPAM referrals from ruining your analytics

Every once in awhile you will notice a spike on your google Analytics and with it comes the great satisfaction of a job well done; don’t pop the cork yet! Review where those referrals are coming from.  More often than not you will find some names you don’t recognize; some common examples are see-your-website-here.com and Semalt.com. At first you will be inclined to ignore them.  “Who cares about a few unknown visits…”; wrong, these are SPAM referrals, and they do matter.  These visits can accumulate to a few hundred a month which could reach a few thousand a year.  If your website is receiving half a million visits then stop reading this, but if you are like any of my clients, a few hundred “fake visitors” can steer you in the wrong direction in terms of strategy.  If that is not reason enough for you, think of the security issues; yes, some are just fake visits paid for some very ill-informed individuals, but some may be ill-intended as well, leaving phishing code in your website or posting SPAM on your comments section. So, what should you do? Elementary my young Watson; block them.  How to block them is a whole different lesson to be taught, but here the basics.  A simple online search should give you the specifics. Some options: The best way to block referrers from accessing your site at all is to block them in your .htaccess file in the root directory of your domain. This method prevents spambots from hitting your server altogether. Keep in mind, that the .htaccess file controls how your server behaves, and an error here can escalate very quickly into the rest of your site. Another good option, [...]

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How to Avoid Getting Blacklisted

We have all heard of it. Getting blacklisted is the Boogie Man of Digital Marketing, with the only difference that this is completely real (based on my assumption that the boogie man is not!). But what exactly is this powerful force, how can we prevent it and what to do if you ignore all my advice, is to follow. What is it? Blacklisting is usually the result of bad email marketing, or 'spamming'. SPAM is basically any kind of unsolicited email. By sending email to only to those who have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines. In other words, SPAM is any non-consensual email communication from a company to a prospective customer. Certain online entities like mxtoolbox.com police the quality of email marketing with certain rules, and breaking those rules is penalized with the blacklisting of you server. Most email marketing tools will also notify you somehow if you are in danger of getting blacklisted.   How to prevent it? Just like in most civilized societies, there is a set of rules that as long as you follow, you will stay out of trouble, email  marketing has a very simple and clear set of rules that will keep the Spam Police away. Here are the most important ones: You should always have consent from everyone in your targeted list.  Buying a list from a vendor and emailing them IS considered spam. Make sure you are not sending emails to group aliases in companies like: info@yourcompany.com Be honest with your subject line.  You will find a lot hype on things like "Do not use the word 'free' in your subject line." While that is important advice to heed, the most important thing is to deliver [...]

How to Choose an Email Automation Tool

I have been lucky enough to work with most email automation tools out there, large and small. From the entry level tools such as MailChimp and Campayn, to the more "robust" systems of Eloqua and Marketo, and those in between like Silverpop, HubSpot, Pardot  and Manticore (now Sales Engine), I've used them all. And from all that self-taught knowledge, I gained one basic understanding; they all do the same thing, which is empower your marketing strategy. With that said, the answer to "Which email marketing tool should I choose?" is very simple: the one that fits your strategy (and budget). Simple enough, right? Maybe. Do you know what your marketing strategy is, and what type of strategy you intend to achieve? If so, then close your browser, have a beverage of your choosing and go on with your already booming business. If not, keep reading. If you don't have a fully structured campaign, the best email automation tool will do absolutely nothing for you other than sending email blasts one at a time. The first step is to think of what you want to accomplish with the email campaign. These are the questions you need to ask yourself before you sit and "strategize" about your email nurturing/automation tool decision: Do you need to educate the market before they purchase? How many emails do you estimate would take to engage in a conversation? How long is your sales cycle? How much are you willing to spend on each lead? How many Digital Marketing formats will you use? How long are you willing to wait before your first email goes out? How big is your company and your pockets? You should also think about and prepare the following: A specific segmentation of your database (hopefully you [...]

What is “Modern Marketing”?

Modern Marketing is one of those hype keywords flooding Twitter these days. No one seems to know exactly what it is, yet every company and pseudo-expert out there seems to have a "How To" guide, and the answer is always the same: "Buy my product." Since I have no product to sell you, I will join the ranks and give you a primer of what they are trying to sell you, and its benefits and downfalls.   What is it? Simply put, Modern Marketing is the hype-inducing term we give to what five years ago was called "Data-Driven Marketing," a term that should not be new or modern in any way. With the introduction of big data (another hype-inducing keyword), companies claim to be able to help you achieve a higher level of segmentation in your marketing message.   How can I use it? Behind all the products that cover themselves under the "Modern Marketing" umbrella, you will find the same thing: extremely detailed customer information. This information itself is the power behind Modern Marketing. You no longer need to guess who your prospective customers are. Generalizations are a thing of the past. Thanks to the power behind these products and the internet in general, you can sell your own product to people who have showed a specific interest in products similar to yours. But the key is, you can now go deeper into their specific preferences. For example, today, Modern Marketing can tell me that Becky likes rock music from the 80s, only drinks diet soda, and her favorite color is red. Impressed yet? If not, I also know she went to see Twisted Sister live a few months back, and spends about $1,000 a year in concert tickets. How do I know all of [...]

The Secret to Marketing Technology

I have made quite a lucrative career out of Marketing Technology.  Luck would have it I was coming out of Grad School when Companies like Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop and Manticore (now sales engine) were laying down the road for email automation while Google Adwords was gaining strength, and because of these and my somewhat illogical comfort level with new technology, my career took a turn into Digital Marketing. That said, it took me years to understand what is the secret to an effective Digital Marketing Campaign. The Secret to Marketing Technology is simple; it is to understand that there is nothing new about it.  I have worked with clients who's campaigns 10 fold their marketing efforts with a new piece of technology and I've had the total opposite. Companies that spend hundreds of thousands on the new Online tool in the market and after a year, they find themselves calling "the consultant", to tell them why was that new expensive Marketing tool ineffective.  The answer is very simple, the best online tool is no replacement for good marketing planning. If you have watched more than one episode of AMC's Madmen (or if you come from that generation) you will realize that beyond all that chain smoking and sexist jokes, Drapper wasn't only extremely creative but also very strategic about their decisions, and that is the secret to a good Marketing Campaign.  What worked back in the 1950's will work today.  Marketing Technology opens the door to new channels, new reporting, more speed, etc, but what feeds these tools is nothing but Creativity and Strategy. This is what you need before you spend ANY money on a Digital Marketing Tool: For Email Automation: The best email [...]