EP 318 Transcript | Social Media Strategy for Your Ideal Customer with Traci Reuter

By Site Strategics
July 2, 2019

Speaker 1: (00:01) On this episode of Edge Of The Web…

Traci Reuter: (00:04) And I believe the most overlooked piece is the engagement, and then the one that everybody goes after that is kind of, is part of why the sentiment, the consumer sentiment is a little bit down on digital is conversions, because most people get on social ads and all they want to do is run conversion ads. Engagement ads, engagement ads in my opinion, in my experience, is the single most important component of your advertising because this is where you build the “Know, Like, and Trust” factor.

Speaker 1: (00:34) Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trendsetting guests. You’re listening and watching Edge of The Web. Winners of best podcast from the content marketing institute for 2017. Hear and see more at edgeofthewebradio.com. Now, here’s your host, Erin Sparks.

Erin Sparks: (00:55) All right, Traci Reuter, she’s the founder and CEO of Divine Social, believes that the entrepreneurs and businesses can change the world, and her mission is to support them along the way. She’s passionate about helping these business owners build and grow their brands, and can actually better focus on providing value to their customers and positively impacting the world. Traci’s certified in all things related to Instagram and Facebook, and she’s also currently manages about four million dollars in ads spent a year, and she also has contributed, was a contributing author to the bestseller “The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising.” Let’s see that book really quick.

Traci Reuter: (01:29) Oh here we go, got it right here.

Erin Sparks: (01:29) There’s the ultimate guide right there.

Traci Reuter: (01:30) Look, yep.

Erin Sparks: (01:31) Contributing author there, third edition. And she’s also cohost on the Social Media Marketing Happy Hour podcast. So again welcome to the show Traci.

Traci Reuter: (01:40) Thanks for having me, Erin. It’s going to be fun.

Erin Sparks: (01:42) Absolutely. All right, so there was the official bio, right? So let’s get in to why the heck are you in Facebook advertising.

Traci Reuter: (01:51) That’s a really great question. And it wasn’t something that I knew from a young age that this is what I was going to do. I actually started out in corporate America. I used to be, I used to run a sales division of a little tiny company called AT&T. And did that for many years, and we had clients that ranged from United Airlines and Motorola, all the way down to Joe’s Plumbing and everything in between.

Traci Reuter: (02:16) Now some backstory, I was raised in a blue collar family that mostly worked in factories. But I had this uncle who was an entrepreneur, and I watched him build something out of nothing and I watched him for decades. I didn’t realized how much he inspired me until I was faced, probably well gosh almost two decades ago, I was faced with a personal crisis that I wasn’t able to work the eighty hours a week I was working at AT&T. I needed to make a change, my husband had gotten very ill.

Traci Reuter: (02:45) That’s when I dove into the digital side of things. I went back to my marketing degree, I took my sales degree and I started trying to find my way around. Spent a little time feeling like I was groping in the dark, because going from offline to online, it’s so different, you know?

Erin Sparks: (02:58) Oh yeah.

Traci Reuter: (03:01) I was marketing online before Facebook, so I feel like I’m the, sometime I feel like the older aunt. Not the grandma, but the older aunt online that so many people that, you know, they were in diapers when I was starting this and-

Erin Sparks: (03:16) Oh yeah, it’s all right Traci you’re among friends. I was literally developing websites before the internet. I was developing website for bulletin board systems. So, I’ve got a rocking chair as well. So we can just kind of commiserate that. Keep on going.

Traci Reuter: (03:28) There you go. As I started diving into digital, I think because of my business background, I realized that as much as I loved social, so fun and so exciting, it was really hard to show a return in investments. I’m just a numbers person, you know, being with my degree and my corporate experience, I just felt I needed to be able to show clients that their money was going somewhere and they could get a return on it predictably.

Traci Reuter: (03:54) And it turned out, as I was learning everything about digital, I was really good at the complicated stuff. I was really good at SEO, and I was really good at advertising. But advertising, I remember the early days of Facebook Pay-Per-Click, and when you could take a dollar, and make a dollar. And take a dollar and make ten dollars. And it just became, I’m going to be honest, very addicting. And so that is sort of the direction I was starting to go, and then I had this realization one day that I realized how much, what my uncle did. My uncle started out with a pizza shop and then bought the mall that the pizza shop was in, and then bought a piece of property, and went on to become a multi-million dollar commercial real estate investor.

Erin Sparks: (04:34) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (04:34) But the big lesson in that for me, was what an entrepreneur, what a decision to take a risk, to start a business, and build a business, how that can change their life, their family’s life, their community.

Erin Sparks: (04:46) Absolutely.

Traci Reuter: (04:46) And that’s when I was just, it was like all the bells went off in my head. That I could serve that community, that I could actually take my super power and serve that community. And that’s sort of, not sort of, but that’s how Divine Social was born. It was born out of that desire to be able to take my super power and partner up with these amazing entrepreneurs who risk it all, in some cases, to try to take something amazing and put it out into the world, and that’s why we do what we do. So I’m very passionate about doing things right, not black hat, or this gray area we’re seeing that’s causing some issues on digital today. But it’s just been an incredible journey, and it’s been so much fun to be able to get behind these great entrepreneurs.

Erin Sparks: (05:27) Man, at the same time would you recommend entrepreneurism to anybody that you come across.

Traci Reuter: (05:33) No. It is not for the faint of heart.

Erin Sparks: (05:36) You better believe it.

Traci Reuter: (05:37) It is not for the faint of heart. So that’s why I think I am even more passionate about it, because I understand that it takes a special person to do it. And it is a significant risk, it’s hard on everybody: their family, their kids, their friends. It’s tough, and so whenever we can find that right partnership, it’s such a cool thing to be able to help them to magnify their reach and amplify their impact.

Erin Sparks: (06:01) There you go. It takes a bit of grit, doesn’t it?

Traci Reuter: (06:04) Yeah it does.

Erin Sparks: (06:07) What we’re going to do here is unpack for our listeners here, a key concept that you brought forth and that you’ve been championing, understanding how to develop the social media strategy for that ideal customer. We really wanted to dive in, because you are, your organization is strictly a paid social media advertising agency, right?

Traci Reuter: (06:32) That’s correct. That’s all we do. We are, first and foremost, we’re social media advertising strategists. We’re very focused on the customer journey, and how do you architect a process to take people from complete stranger to have them fall in love with you. And it’s very different, it’s very different-

Erin Sparks: (06:50) And not get creepy, and not get stalky, right?

Traci Reuter: (06:53) Right and not be the person who says, “Hey we just met, let’s get married.”

Erin Sparks: (07:00) Yep.

Traci Reuter: (07:00) That doesn’t work, right? We are very focused on that and our platform of delivery is primarily Instagram and Facebook. And so that’s all we do, that’s all we focus on, and we feel very strongly about some of the things we’ve been working on.

Erin Sparks: (07:15) You know, we’ve been interviewing a number of agency owners for a long period of time, and we’re starting to see this more and more repeated, that the specialists are deepening in a key platform, and very narrowing their focus on key deliverables. As opposed to agencies that are do everything for everybody and tepidly getting into different tactics. I mean, what you’re seeing now is separating of the wheat from the chaff, that you can’t do everything well. You literally got to focus, especially as the more nuanced and more complicated these advertising platforms are getting. You’ve got to be able to focus your full intent and skill into a particular area. Wouldn’t you agree?

Traci Reuter: (07:57) I couldn’t agree more. In the beginning, if I look back on my journey, there was a time a client would ask, “Can you do this?” And I would be like, “Yes, I can do that. Sure I can take care of that for you, I’ll do your email.” And to be quite frank, we as a team know a lot, I wouldn’t say a lot, we as a team know quite a bit about a lot. But in order to really do what we do well, at a level of excellence, and one of our core values is excellence. The only way to really do that is to shut everything else out. And so it took some maturing on my part, as an agency owner, to able to staring saying no. But I’ll tell you when I started to draw the line in the sand, not only did our value go up, our clients’ results improved because it’s very difficult in today’s digital environment to stay on top of that silo that we’re in, let alone trying to stay on top of everything.

Erin Sparks: (08:45) Yeah, yeah.

Traci Reuter: (08:45) So, it’s definitely been something that I’ve been very thoughtful about making the decisions to do what we do. And there’s a couple of things that I do consider bringing in because it does make sense, and we consult on it a lot. Like customer conversion rate optimization, like we consult on that. We consult on funnels a lot, but we consult on it. We don’t do those things, we just know enough to impact the sphere that we’re in, that our zone of genius.

Erin Sparks: (09:13) And you have to, because you’re bringing that audience, with that atmosphere, with the imagery, with the connection that you’re at. You have to be able to carry that water further into the landing page. But, giving it to somebody else is a sign of maturity, and I mean, in the digital agency space, there was a land grab for the longest time. I mean web developers, all of a sudden said they were doing SEO.That was the bane of my existence. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I could not stand that all of a sudden a web design company now has an SEO service, where they didn’t know what the heck they were doing.

Traci Reuter: (09:48) Right.

Erin Sparks: (09:48) And we’ve inherited such crappy campaigns here at Site Strategics from people, from sites that were launched even with robots without techs blocking searches. Along with it just terrible SEO, terrible content riding on these sites, and you just want to go back to these companies and say, “What were you thinking? Did you realize you were harming your customer just because you were trying to grab some additional dollars and an additional service?”

Traci Reuter: (10:18) It’s exactly right, it’s harming. And we’ve got a client that we’re in the process of bringing on, and when they came to me they said, “You know, we really feel like there’s a huge opportunity for us on social ads-“

Erin Sparks: (10:30) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (10:30) “But we’ve run some campaigns and they didn’t do well.” My first thing is let me see, let me look at them. And when I looked at them, it’s like who ran this for you?

Erin Sparks: (10:40) There you are. Yep.

Traci Reuter: (10:42) It was their web design firm that did it. And I said, “This is absolutely, the fact that you sold anything from this ad, is a miracle.” That tells me if we did it right, we could actually grow and scale your business. But this is, it was dangerous. One of the things I think every day, is how can I make today, how I can make decisions I make for my agency, how can I make decisions about, whether it’s our pricing structure, or the offerings that we have. How can I make sure that it’s a win-win. Because I see too much in the marketplace that we’re just trying to get a land grab, and we’re not doing it well. I promise you, you can slap up ads for a client if you’re a web developer or an SEO agency, but you will never do it as well as an agency that all they do is social advertising, because it’s totally different. And vice verse.

Erin Sparks: (11:29) Absolutely.

Traci Reuter: (11:29) I could do an email sequence, but I guarantee you it won’t be as good as an email marketing agency.

Erin Sparks: (11:35) You’re absolutely right. If you’ve, well we can put a post-it on this one. This is not something that we could [crosstalk 00:11:44] commiserate on.

Traci Reuter: (11:45) I feel like we both feel very strongly about this.

Erin Sparks: (11:47) Well I mean, let’s get back to the task at hand, is focusing on the social media marketing strategy, and developing, in your words, a foul proof methodology here. But first and foremost, you have to be able to identify and define the ideal customer as it applies to your campaign. So let’s talk about that ideal customer. Can you explain the steps to identify a business’s idea customer?

Traci Reuter: (12:15) Oh the steps. Well, I mean, this is definitely something that surprises me on a regular basis, Erin. We get these clients that are very well established companies, and they say they know their ideal client but when you start to dig in, and they don’t necessarily. And I think some of it starts on just a real basic level, right, with the demographics. Is it men, is it women, is it children, is it elderly, is it, you know, just the real basic stuff. But then it starts to get deep into the psychographics. This is something that, I think, from a social advertising stand point, going back to the whole topic of data-

Erin Sparks: (12:48) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (12:49) Truly understanding your ideal client from a psychographic standpoint. What are their likes, what do they dislike, what podcasts are they listening to, what TV shows are they watching. When you start really getting in to that, and you really understand that, then you can build a foundation from there. And some businesses are going to have multiple, but the problem is when you try to take the multiple ideal client and lump it into one. That’s when your advertising is missing the mark, it’s mediocre at best, your copy is lukewarm, it’s just never hitting the mark.

Traci Reuter: (13:21) I think it’s, again, going back to starting with some of the basics. The demographics and then diving into what are the psychographics. Just really taking the time to getting to know that person. We actually, my goodness, when we take on a new client, I have a dedicated person on staff that spends close to fifteen hours just researching the psychographics of our client’s ideal prospects. And we end up coming back to them with information they never even thought of.

Erin Sparks: (13:49) There you go.

Traci Reuter: (13:51) Yeah, so it’s pretty powerful stuff.

Erin Sparks: (13:53) You have to. And you can’t skip past that particular step, that is crucial, that is foundational. And again, it’s a shocking scenario whenever we hear stories of agencies that don’t take the time to isolate that information. You’re talking user personas, obviously. You’re talking understanding sales cycle, as well?

Traci Reuter: (14:14) Well, sales cycle as well. I mean, there are a couple of different things that are involved with this. One of the things that jumps to mind is another client that we recently took over, and one of the things that we found when were doing this research, is her response was, “My idea client is between the age of twenty-five and sixty-five.” Okay, that’s kind of a big jump. And as we started digging in, and really looking at the data, and really understand all of this, she does have, that is, her ideal client does fall into that but there’s two different clients. There is the twenty-five to forty year old, and then there’s the forty to sixty-five year old. And they have totally different needs, desires, wants.

Traci Reuter: (14:51) And what’s interesting, is that prior to working with us, the client was sending the same messaging to a twenty-five year old woman to a sixty-five year old woman. And as a woman somewhere in between there, I guarantee you that the messaging that goes to a twenty-five year old, doesn’t apply to me and vice versa. So it’s okay to have multiple segments. In fact, sometimes that’s the key to scaling, that’s truly the key to scaling and social, but you’ve got to start with really getting specific.

Traci Reuter: (15:19) And sometimes we’re afraid to, right, for that whole FOMO, the fear of missing out. If we get too specific, we’re afraid we’re going to miss stuff, but the opposite is actually true. The more specific you get, the more likely you are to get, to not only capture that business, but capture the business around it.

Erin Sparks: (15:34) Do you find that marketers are afraid of experimenting? Actually putting themselves in a space of deciding these particular key foundational elements?

Traci Reuter: (15:45) Yeah, I think it depends. I think that people that, like I mentioned earlier, Facebook becoming, you know Facebook advertising becoming the new biz-op. A lot of times they don’t have the business acumen to understand how to do this, and take the risk. So I mean I definitely see it there, but I’ve got some peers that are very talented, and they get it. They have enough confidence in themselves, they’ve done this enough that they, they’re actually in a position where they’re leading the client. And that’s something that we feel very strongly about. That when we work with clients, we’re partnering with them so that we’re, not that we’re taking the leadership role because ultimately it’s their business, right?

Erin Sparks: (16:21) Right.

Traci Reuter: (16:21) But we have to be confident that we know what we’re doing so that we can take those risks because marketing is testing. No matter how confident I am, right now, talking about these strategies, and no matter how many times I’ve done them and tested them, and they’ve proven to be true-

Erin Sparks: (16:36) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (16:37) It’s still a test because tomorrow something could change. And we have to be flexible enough to pivot. So-

Erin Sparks: (16:42) Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:16:43] And on top of that, as you’re dealing with different business owners and COs, you’re also dealing with type A’s that are trying to define themselves and make sure that they present to not only their own business owner but to you, that they know their audience. And what you come to them with is data oriented, provable analysis, and a lot of times they’re wrong in their own assignments of their consumers, right?

Traci Reuter: (17:10) So often. You know, I’ve got a client that taught me a lesson. He’s a performance coach and when we took him on as a client, we thought he had his marketing dialed in. We were very surprised to find out that he didn’t. And that happens a lot. You know the client on the outside looks one way. It’s kind of like the Wizard of Oz, you get to see the man behind the curtain, or the woman behind the curtain.

Traci Reuter: (17:32) But in this case, because this client is a very high-end performance coach, he sat me down and he said, “Look, there are three types of entrepreneurs. There’s the product entrepreneur. That’s gonna be Steve Jobs. Focused on the product, making sure it’s perfect, making sure everything about is the best. And then you’ve got the customer experience, which would be the Tony Hsiehs of the world. Right, making sure that, Jeff Bezos could be argued as a customer experience as well. Making sure that the customer experience is top-notch. And then the third type, is the marketing entrepreneur. And that’s going to be P.T. Barnum, that’s going to be Gary Vee. Those are entrepreneurs that think marketing all day long.”

Erin Sparks: (18:09) Yep.

Traci Reuter: (18:09) And he said to me, “Look, I’m not a marketing entrepreneur, I’m a product guy.” And that was so helpful to me, because from that point on, I started asking my clients, “If you had to put yourself in one of these three, where would you go.” Because that’s helped me take on a stronger leadership role as a partner with my clients, because if they tell me that they’re customer experience or they’re product, and they’re not telling me they’re marketing, then I know that their brain doesn’t work like my brain does.

Erin Sparks: (18:33) Right.

Traci Reuter: (18:33) Because all my brain thinks is marketing. I think marketing at the grocery store, I think marketing everywhere, so I think that helps too. I just felt like that that day that he explained that to me, was such a pivotal moment for me as a agency owner-

Erin Sparks: (18:47) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (18:48) Both doing business development and really serving our clients because I could step up and be a stronger strategist for our clients who don’t necessarily…now they know enough about marketing to be dangerous, but I know, that I know that I’m not going to lead them wrong.

Erin Sparks: (19:02) Yeah, and you’ve got to match toe to toe with them.

Traci Reuter: (19:03) Yeah.

Erin Sparks: (19:03) And that’s why they’re hiring you.

Traci Reuter: (19:06) Yes.

Erin Sparks: (19:06) So, again, getting back to the foundational approach here of defining your ideal customer, taking in and getting input from the sea levels, and getting input from those key decision makers is critical. But also getting in to that psychographic segmentation, that’s where your marketing artistic stand point comes in. Is that you have to be able to break out personality, opinions, attitudes, interests, and hobbies. These are things that are not demographic in nature, these are assumptions. These are potential risks, and if you go at it with a marketing experimentation standpoint, you’re not betting all the chips on one particular psychographic. You’re going to test these things out, right?

Traci Reuter: (19:51) Yeah, and so this is where, this is really where the data side of things comes in to play. I think it’s what’s so attractive still about Instagram and Facebook, and I think soon to be LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s not quite there yet. But what’s so attractive about all of that is, you can really test all of these different things. You can test all of this, and that allows you to be able to, can currently be testing maybe ten different psychographics at once, so that you can spread your risk across all of that until you find a winner and then you can start scaling from there.

Erin Sparks: (20:23) There you go. So this is going to give us linkage into our next thought regarding the engagement content, that is tied to those psychographic elements. Again, the demographic is there, you’ve got it pinned down, the psychographic elements. Now, you talk about message to market matching, right? So unpack that for us.

Traci Reuter: (20:44) Yeah, so one of the things over the last several years of doing this, and working, running millions of dollars of ads, with a couple of pretty big brands as well, is I’ve broken out a strategy that I call the “Three Pillars to Successful Social Ads.” The three pillars that I believe every successful brand needs, is they need to be building their audience. We just talked quite a bit about that, right?

Erin Sparks: (21:03) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (21:03) Building out your audience. The second, and I believe the most overlooked piece is the engagement, and then the one that everybody goes after that is kind of, is part of why the sentiment, the consumer sentiment is a little bit down on digital is conversions-

Erin Sparks: (21:18) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (21:18) Because most people get on social ads, and all they want to do is run conversion ads. Now engagement ads, engagement ads in my opinion and my experience, is the single most important component of your advertising, because this is where you build the “Know, Like, and Trust” factor. One of the things, I think that was coined by Bob Burg, who’s an author, he’s written a couple of books, “The Go-Getter;” “The Go-Giver,” a couple of those, right?

Erin Sparks: (21:42) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (21:43) So he says, “All things being equal, people who do business with people they know, like and trust.”

Erin Sparks: (21:47) Right.

Traci Reuter: (21:47) I used to teach my sales team back at AT&T that all the time. You’ve got to do business, people are going to do business with you if they know you, they like you, they trust you. Well, there’s one key component that Bob, he indirectly mentions, and I think it’s called remember. So people, all things being equal, people do business with people that they know, like, trust, and remember. And this is where digital can do, a digital advertising can do a job that no other form can do it as well. And that is staying in front of people, on a regular basis, especially if the sale cycle is long okay? Now, you’ve got to understand first and foremost, as a business, what is the average length of time it takes from somebody’s first touch until they actually purchase. And the stats are something like two percent of all people purchase the first time they see an offer.

Erin Sparks: (22:34) Right.

Traci Reuter: (22:34) So, what do you with the ninety-eight percent? Like, what do you do with them? I see so many people that are only doing direct response, leaving so much money on the table. They’re literally lighting dollars on fire. And that’s when I come back to this engagement campaign. And the engagement campaign is designed and architected to give people value, to help them build up their level of trust.

Erin Sparks: (22:54) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (22:54) Their level of like, right? Their level of knowing and then ultimately, the level of remembering. We like to follow along with Eugene Schwartz’s “Five Levels of Awareness.” I mean, if you’ve never read “Breakthrough Advertising,” even if you’re not in advertising, read it, it’s a great book. But the Five Levels of Awareness essentially are taking people from completely unaware that they have a problem-

Erin Sparks: (23:14) Right.

Traci Reuter: (23:15) To all the way to the top, where they know that they have a problem, they know about your solution, and they’re just waiting for the right timing. And so we craft these engagement campaigns that are value driven only, Erin. They’re not asking for you to buy from them, they’re just delivering value so that you can then re-market to those people, to help push them through to that ultimate goal, which is usually to purchase. And so what we’re finding, and I’ve got some really interesting case studies, I can pull one up, I can’t share it on my screen but I can-

Erin Sparks: (23:43) No, it’s all right.

Traci Reuter: (23:44) I can walk you through it, because we just did a campaign. This is fascinating. We did a campaign knowing that a client was going to have a big launch, and we really pushed hard to put out good, and this is the key, congruent engagement content that would lead naturally into the offer [crosstalk 00:24:03]

Erin Sparks: (24:03) Okay.

Traci Reuter: (24:04) And so we ran these campaigns, and they were just video view campaigns. We weren’t asking the client, the prospects to do anything except consume. The idea was to create fresh audiences that were highly engaged. So when the launch happened, what we did, and I love my team members in the reporting. I’m going to turn my head here so I can read the numbers to you. But we had two campaigns and one was called, was going after all of the client’s warm traffic, all of it, right? Website visitors, email list, fans, all of it. And we excluded that fresh engaged content, we excluded it, okay? And then we ran a second campaign that only target that fresh engaged stuff. So check this out. We spent 3,400 dollars on the warm traffic, okay, not the fresh engaged. We generated 829 leads, at four dollars and ten cents a lead, and we reached 125,000 people. So, okay-

Erin Sparks: (24:58) Wow.

Traci Reuter: (24:59) Great, all right. Now, this blew my mind. So the fresh engaged stuff, we only reached twenty-six thousand people, so less than a quarter right?

Erin Sparks: (25:09) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (25:10) Maybe an eighth of that audience? We spent 2,600 dollars, so we spent not quite a hundred dollars less. But we generated a thousand and three leads, at two dollars and fifty-nine cents a lead, compared to the four dollars and ten cents.

Erin Sparks: (25:22) Huh.

Traci Reuter: (25:23) Now, granted, we did spend money on that engagement campaign. But we spent very little, because we were spending something like a penny of a video view. We were taking advantage of that traffic and we were only re-targeting people who were highly engaged. Now think for a second about the user experience? We didn’t ask anything from them. We put something of value in front of them-

Erin Sparks: (25:42) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (25:42) In their news feed, right? We interrupted them, but we interrupted them with something that was going to make their life better. And then we only came back with an ask of the people who actually showed an interest the first time, and saw a dramatic…if you look at the reach to conversion, it’s dramatic the difference between the two of them. Not to mention the cost. So we just continue to see this, that the companies, the businesses, and the brands that really invest in this engagement pillar that I call it, we’re seeing them win, over and over, and over again. Not just, Erin, here’s the cool part, it’s not just before…I get really excited about this.

Erin Sparks: (26:16) No, go for it.

Traci Reuter: (26:18) It’s not just the engagement content before the asks. The example I just gave to you, that was serving up engagement content before we ever asked them to do anything, right?

Erin Sparks: (26:27) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (26:27) So think about it this way. That we be taking someone on a date a few times before you ask them to marry you. Okay? Right? We call it pre-engagement. Now, the second time we used this engagement content that’s really powerful, is sometimes those people that go through the pre-engagement and get the offer don’t take the offer.

Erin Sparks: (26:44) Right.

Traci Reuter: (26:45) So we architect out a series of post-engagement content, some touches after the fact. We come back with things like testimonials, frequently asked questions. One of the things that helped my sales team back in the day at AT&T excel, is we were amazing at overcoming objections before they ever came up. And so we’ve been incorporating that philosophy into our client campaigns. So that somebody goes to a webinar, somebody gets an offer to purchase something, whether its under an E-commerce store, we have video content, or we have image content, we have advertisements that are overcoming objections before they ever come up. And that post-engagement content is also helping to mop up all of that ninety-eight percent of the people who aren’t buying the first time.

Erin Sparks: (27:28) Right.

Traci Reuter: (27:29) Super powerful.

Erin Sparks: (27:30) So what you’re delivering is buyers’ journey content. You’re providing your brand as a utility to be able to understand more of what the consumer needs to know to be able to make a buy, make a decision. So, no longer are you trying to push for that upfront ask, that strong arming, that we know time and time again now in the savviness of the digital consumer, they’re just not going to bit. Those two percent or less type of engagement in that space. And you’re coming alongside that consumer and advocating on behalf of them to be able to make a decision. And it’s not just the solution of say, hey, this is the brand, this is where you should go, because sometimes it doesn’t fit that particular demographic, or that particular psychographic. What you’re serving is useful information for them to be able to trust the brand to a much greater degree than they’ve ever experienced before, right?

Traci Reuter: (28:26) Correct. And the other thing that we are doing with all this, is we’re taking into consideration the client’s sale cycle. And this is super important because, let’s say you’re a sub twenty dollars E-commerce brand-

Erin Sparks: (28:37) Right.

Traci Reuter: (28:38) Your sale cycle is very short. But if you’re selling a high ticket item, if you’re selling an info product, or a course, or consulting, or you’re an agency, your sale cycle tends to be very long. We had one client that came to us and he though his sale cycle was six weeks. And after we really pushed him to get that data and to work with us on that, we discovered it was eight months.

Erin Sparks: (28:55) Oh wow.

Traci Reuter: (28:56) So eight months and so what, we had to get very creative for how could we stay in front of these people to help, number one, make sure they didn’t forget about them during that eight month period.

Erin Sparks: (29:07) Sure.

Traci Reuter: (29:07) And number two, architect a process to shorten that eight month period. And so that, you know that’s a big deal too, especially gosh, when you start talking about social advertising and becoming cash flow positive, if you’re not going to become cash flow positive for eight months, you better be well-funded.

Erin Sparks: (29:23) Absolutely.

Traci Reuter: (29:24) And that was very eye opening to that client. I think, there is this a big divide, there’s a big gap between people who are solopreneurs, you know they are building a business. They may be making, maybe they’re at that three hundred K or less in revenue, versus brands who are a million, two million, five million. There’s a very big difference between how they understand their numbers, their sale cycle. That’s usually one of my first questions before we even take on a client. Is do you know your sale cycle? And it’s shocking to me how many people don’t know, and they don’t know their client lifetime value. And they don’t know those things, a lot of agencies or freelancers, or Facebook ads’ people don’t even know to ask those questions. Some of them do, there are plenty of good once out there, but there are a lot more that have no idea. They don’t know this stuff at all.

Erin Sparks: (30:11) And that brings me to a really, to the foot of the client themselves, and cautioning against clients really steering their own story and painting their own picture because a lot of the times, they don’t know their own audience. They think they do, they think that they know their customer sale cycle or the psychographics. You really, you want their contribution, but at the same time, I mean, it’s a cautionary tale to just take the information from the horse’s mouth and put an entire campaign around the client’s perspective of themselves, right?

Traci Reuter: (30:50) Yeah, I mean we always value, obviously, the client’s experience. We’ve got one client I can think of, we actually, she’s our only client that writes their own copy.

Erin Sparks: (31:00) Oh wow.

Traci Reuter: (31:01) And we let her write her own copy because social copy is very different. Usually we don’t let our clients to do it, but we let her because she knows her demographics and her psychographics so well. We then polish it and make it work for social ads, but she’s a unicorn. You know most people-

Erin Sparks: (31:17) Yeah.

Traci Reuter: (31:18) They know their clients fairly well, but they don’t know them as well as they think they do. And part of that is, because as a founder, a CEO, as a business owner, you’re trying to do everything. I don’t care what business you’re in. It happened to me recently. I did a video not long ago, and I said, “I think I need to have my marketing card stripped away,” because I looked at my own funnel, and it was horrible. I couldn’t believe how bad I was, I’m like, “I should be, I hope my clients didn’t see this.” But that’s not your zone of genius. We’re always better for other people than we are for ourselves, and I think that’s why, whether you need to bring in an outside-

Erin Sparks: (31:52) Yeah.

Traci Reuter: (31:52) Consultant, or an agency, or a coach, we need, that’s we have mirrors, right? Erin we have mirrors to show us-

Erin Sparks: (31:58) Exactly.

Traci Reuter: (31:59) [crosstalk 00:31:59] our reflection. So I think it is important. I do believe that, especially for, in the case of E-commerce clients, I do think it’s really helpful if the founder has got in the trenches and has run their own traffic for a while, or somebody at their sea-level-

Erin Sparks: (32:15) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (32:16) Within that group. Because I do think that’s really helpful for them to understand the nuances of the platforms. I found that my favorite clients are the ones that have the working knowledge, and have been in there, and when we take over, they really can see, “Whoa, look what I’ve been missing. I didn’t know that I didn’t know that.”

Erin Sparks: (32:35) Right.

Traci Reuter: (32:36) Those are the most fun. The ones that have no clue whatsoever, hand it over and still have no clue, those aren’t as fun to work with, because they don’t really understand the benefit of bringing in an expert.

Erin Sparks: (32:45) Well they also don’t have the buy-in, is that they can easily dismiss Facebook advertising because “I don’t do Facebook. all of a sudden now, you’re up against-

Traci Reuter: (32:54) Right.

Erin Sparks: (32:54) That wall, that nothing sticks. As much as-

Traci Reuter: (32:57) Right.

Erin Sparks: (32:58) Because they don’t understand the data, they don’t understand that marketing tool. And then whenever you bring them the data, then it’s anomalous to begin with, right?

Traci Reuter: (33:05) Right. Yeah we’ve had that conversation many times, where it’s like, “Well so you don’t do Facebook, and you don’t do Instagram, but your customers do.” And not all the time is the founder the ideal client. Sometimes-

Erin Sparks: (33:17) Right.

Traci Reuter: (33:18) Sometimes it is. Yeah, that can definitely be challenging sometimes.

Erin Sparks: (33:21) So, steering away from just taking the founder’s story and actually marrying up the data, what are the next steps in the fool proof social advertising recipe there?

Traci Reuter: (33:34) Well the next step really is the conversions, it’s the ask. Ultimately this is what makes social ads so powerful, to be able to generate a return on ads spend, if you can. We really like clients we can invest a dollar in advertising, we can make a dollar or more out. Those are the best ones, right? And so the thing is, is that it’s getting harder and harder to generate good return on ad spend.nd so if you look at our formula, the “Three Steps to Successful Social Advertising,” it’s the audience, right, it’s always building your audience, it’s having your engagement campaigns-

Erin Sparks: (34:09) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (34:09) And then it’s the conversions. And so, one thing that we always do, we always, while we are perfecting, discovering new audiences and expanding on that, while we are really dialing in the engagement campaigns, we always have the conversion campaigns running out of the gate, because if not, what we’ve seen happen, we’ve learned this the hard way, but what we’ve seen happen is the client’s just not getting a return. And so you always have to make sure that there is something, whatever the KPI is that you’re measuring success with, that, that’s out there and running. Conversions is very important. It’s what, I would say ninety percent of the advertisers on Facebook are doing, and that’s all they’re doing. That doesn’t go away in our formula, it’s definitely always there because that’s what makes this lucrative. It’s what you can marry those conversion campaigns, right? The traditional direct response.

Erin Sparks: (35:06) Right.

Traci Reuter: (35:06) “Hey, sign up for my webinar. Hey, here’s this great op-in. Hey, here’s this great product,” Or “Hey, you left this in your shopping cart, come back and get it.” Those are conversion ads, and if you can take that direct response style conversion ad and you can marry it with what I just talked about, with expanding your audiences and providing incredible value, those two things, those first two pillars, that’s branding.

Erin Sparks: (35:25) Yep.

Traci Reuter: (35:27) [crosstalk 00:35:27] Oh go ahead.

Erin Sparks: (35:29) No, and I mean you’re also building that trust. And I was going to ask you, we have to mature our though beyond the dollar in the bucket mindset, is that the trust that you’re building right there, is again, a bit abstract to so many businesses and so many companies that hire digital marketers. But this is where you’re building momentum. If you can continue to bring good utilitarian content and good valuable content without the ask, right? Those two are-

Traci Reuter: (35:59) Yes.

Erin Sparks: (35:59) Key performance measurements, right?

Traci Reuter: (36:02) They really are. And you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchauk talking about-

Erin Sparks: (36:07) Oh yeah.

Traci Reuter: (36:08) How he believes in the future, in the very short future, we’re going to have these big brands, the Madison Avenue brands. The Nikes, and the Adidas, and the Coca-Colas, and the United Airlines, move their ad dollars from traditional TV networks and move them over to social advertising, and it’s going to be harder for people like us to be over there.

Erin Sparks: (36:26) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (36:27) We’ve been hearing that, and I’ve had the privilege to run traffic, and also set strategy for not a brand that large, but a fairly large brand in the arts and crafts base. They partner with Martha Stewart, and they’re sold in hobby lobby, just in big spaces, and part of the reason I developed this process, was through them, is through their, they had a deep enough budget, and I know most smaller companies won’t have this kind of budget. But I watched what happened when they continually for two years, invested just in the first two pillars. That’s all they did. And I kept saying, “Why are we doing conversions. We’re losing money,” and they didn’t want to do it.

Traci Reuter: (37:10) I’m the first person, as I get more mature, I’m quick to say, “I made a mistake” or “I was wrong.” So I was wrong in pushing this client to do conversions. I think they would have been making money, but what I saw is by continually putting their ad dollars, and I’m talking about, it wasn’t that big. It was maybe five to ten K a month, which for some business that’s huge, right? [crosstalk 00:37:32]

Erin Sparks: (37:31) Sure, yeah.

Traci Reuter: (37:32) Five to ten K a month consistently for two years, they were focused on building their audiences and just providing value, and that was it. Now, today that client has, oh my gosh, we’ve hundred X their as spend, and they get a return on ad spend. Meaning every time they spend a dollar, they get money back, right? So when we send someone to their company blog, not to their store, just their company blog, they make on average eight to ten dollars. [crosstalk 00:37:59]

Erin Sparks: (37:58) Holy crap. [crosstalk 00:38:00]

Traci Reuter: (38:00) Yep. Now Erin, I was just at a conference last week. I was at a natural foods conference, natural food products conference last week and somebody from the front of the room said, “You will never convert traffic on blog traffic. Don’t wast your time.” I sat in the back of the room going, “Shut up, you’re not the speaker.” You know when you speak, you can be the one to talk about it, but I really believe it’s because this particular CEO, he really understood the value of a highly engaged audience and that’s really where we developed this philosophy, and we’ve been testing it over again on big brands, small brands, and it just continues to work; because, here’s the thing, tactics are always going to change, right? That’s why, the beginning of our conversation, talking about we only focus on Instagram and Facebook is because tactics change daily.

Erin Sparks: (38:46) Right.

Traci Reuter: (38:46) But strategies, overarching strategies, are things that are evergreen. And this particular strategy, this concept, this customer journey, this really adding value to people, the “Know, Like, Trust, and Remember,” these strategies will go the distance. And then within that, you can change the tactics as the platform changes, it’s really that simple. And that’s why we’ve just seen this over, and over again with every client we’ve worked with. It’s been pretty remarkable.

Erin Sparks: (39:11) Where do you find those clients that have that level of maturity understanding engagement, and not going for the gold all the time as a key factor of success? Because it’s great to be able to preach to the [crosstalk 00:39:28] pews-

Traci Reuter: (39:28) Choir.

Erin Sparks: (39:28) The pews of marketing, right?

Traci Reuter: (39:29) Right.

Erin Sparks: (39:29) But it doesn’t have traction nearly as much as you would like, in the annals of the decision makers.

Traci Reuter: (39:35) Well, I mean honestly, it comes back to, again, what we were talking about earlier with having the maturity to say no to things. It starts in the business development conversation and I think part of that is, I have a unique background and I did run a sales division of a fortune ten company-

Erin Sparks: (39:53) Right.

Traci Reuter: (39:53) So I have a sales background, so I do all of the business development for my company. In those early conversations I paint the picture of this philosophy, and either you’re in or you’re not because that’s how we do it. I don’t think it comes to, if you’re listening and you are an agency owner, or you’re growing an agency or a consultancy, it starts with you really being confident. And I think some of my confidence comes from we just continue, I get someone that’s willing to take a risk with me, we test it, it works, my confidence just keeps getting stronger and stronger to the point now where you couldn’t talk me out of this if you tried. I think it does come down to being really clear-

Erin Sparks: (40:33) Yeah.

Traci Reuter: (40:33) With how you do things. It’s gonna be a win-win. And that’s-

Erin Sparks: (40:36) And you’ve got to push away the distractions, and try to dabble in other areas that are not your core strengths. And I mean, to the same degree as that product entrepreneur, they focused on their product and social agencies by-and-large, and they’ve got to be able to bring different levels of marketing engagement. That’s the only way to be able to deepen the relationship of your brand’s customers.

Traci Reuter: (41:02) Yeah, absolutely.[crosstalk 00:41:04] And-

Erin Sparks: (41:05) Go right ahead.

Traci Reuter: (41:06) It just, you know if you start with the end in mind, right, which is a win-win for you and the client, then you can’t lose. It’s when it’s a win for the client and a lose for you, or vice versa, that you’re not going to be able to show up as the best version of yourself. Whether you’re designing websites, or you’re doing social ads, or you’re doing SEO, you just have to be able to know that you are, you do have the client’s best interest in mind and that should come across. You should be able to convey that and have a strong leadership in what it is that you’re doing.

Erin Sparks: (41:40) Well we could certainly go on into the hours talking about this information and these types of concepts. These are the core concepts of strong digital marketing strategy. They’re certainly the recipe for success here, but would you just let the listeners, the digital marketers out there, know what are the key steps that you would recommend just getting started into unfurling the engagement content sale as opposed to just trying to get that conversion.? What should they be looking at right now?

Traci Reuter: (42:13) Yeah, so I would start, again it goes back to, I love the book. If you haven’t read it, it’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”[crosstalk 00:42:20]

Erin Sparks: (42:20) Very good.

Traci Reuter: (42:20) Great classic book. And he talks in there about beginning with the end in mind. So one of the ways we decide what types of engagement content to use is we also start with what the ultimate goal is.

Erin Sparks: (42:32) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (42:33) It’s when you slap up any content that this does not work. Okay, and I have a very good friend who runs probably ten times more traffic than I do. She and I had this debate and it came down to it didn’t work during the times that they didn’t have congruent content. So start with the end in mind and start working backwards. So if the ultimate goal is a consultation, or if the ultimate goal is a purchase, let what kind of content, what kind of information would somebody need to know in order to get one step closer to buying?

Erin Sparks: (43:04) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (43:05) Is it helping them with a problem solution? What does that look like? And then from there, one of the things we do is we go through the clients existing assets, and we start digging around to see is there anything they’ve already done that talks about these kinds of things that we can repurpose. Quite often we can’t, and so then we really instruct the client to create something, whether it’s an article, we prefer video.

Erin Sparks: (43:26) Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Traci Reuter: (43:26) Video just works so well these days. And creating some, it’s almost like a bridge, right? A bridge from, “I don’t know who you are,” to “Oh my god, that was so amazing, I want to know more.” I think back to when Amy Porterfield first came on the scene, gosh I feel like I’m aging myself again. She was a nobody, and I remember getting on her first webinar, and it was so valuable that I was like, “Take my money. Take my forty-seven dollars for your class.” We know how to do that as marketers, we know how to create a very valuable webinar to then make the ads. Now what If you took a piece of that webinar and pulled it out that was supper valuable, that was teaching something, and you put it before that?

Erin Sparks: (44:09) Right.

Traci Reuter: (44:09) Start thinking it that, moving backwards, begin with the end in mind and start moving backwards, and providing just value that you could literally, that content that you are putting out there is going to make someone’s life better. Whether they ever bought from you are not, putting that good will content that is congruent with where you want to take them, and that’s the key.

Erin Sparks: (44:29) And that certainly aligns with what Google is looking for from websites, if they’re actually providing content that benefits the consumers as opposed to a constant bait and, not bait and switch, but a constant ask in the space if you’re developing content if you’re giving that content away from free, that’s going to be useful, it certainly does help you on the website algorithm changes that we’ve seen recently in Google. All right, so there’s those, there’s the final lessons there that we want to impart to our digital marketing audience.

Erin Sparks: (45:02) We always wrap up with our interview with a couple of quick questions, Traci. First and foremost, what bugs you about your industry right now?

Traci Reuter: (45:11) I may have alluded to it a few times in the call. I think that right now there’s so many people that, you know, Facebook became the Biz op of the last couple of years, which I think in some ways it’s really exciting that people can start a career in digital marketing. But it really bothers me when, you know, people are just calling themselves an expert when they don’t really understand what’s happening. And I see a lot of businesses that are getting burned, and so-

Erin Sparks: (45:33) Yep.

Traci Reuter: (45:33) It drives me absolutely crazy. But at the same time, I think those people that are out there trying to learn and get better, they should have the opportunity to do that. And so, it’s one of those things that I’ve got a love-hate relationship with that. So, I admire the people for trying, but it’s like just know your limits, know when you’re in over your head and do what’s right by the client.

Erin Sparks: (45:54) Hey, but it tees up new business for you whenever they figure it out, right?

Traci Reuter: (45:58) Yes, it sure does.

Erin Sparks: (46:00) Well, conversely what excites about your industry right now? And it can’t be the same question, or same answer.

Traci Reuter: (46:05) Yeah no, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity. I’m super excited for the businesses that are going to get this concept. That are willing to take a portion of their advertising budget and invest it in branding, because we’ve really never seen these smaller companies take a branding-play on social ads, right?

Erin Sparks: (46:21) Yep.

Traci Reuter: (46:21) And branding is not your logo and it’s not that stuff, it’s actually getting your message out there. And I think there is tremendous opportunity before some of these Madison Avenue brands start to have an influx on the social platform. I think there is a window, I think it’s tremendous, and the people who get it and really take advantage of it are really going to crush it, and I’m excited for some of my clients that are starting to do that. So, that’s fun for us.

Erin Sparks: (46:46) Very cool. Well, we certainly wish you all the best in the world for your career and what you’re doing for your clients. You’re speaking the truth and speaking the gospel, and it’s the no BS pursuit here. You’ve got to be able to provide credible content for your brands, as well as be able to give away some engagement content and build that trust that we so need. There’s a level of maturity that’s happening, the consumers are savvy, they’re on to the immature plays, and you have to build that relationship. However long that sale cycle is, you’ve got to be able to give before you get, right?

Traci Reuter: (47:26) Yep, it’s true. And the people that do that, the businesses that do that, they are going to win. So, you know, I hope we see more and more of those brands that are going to be here for the long haul, be able to make those kinds of investments, to make those kinds of strategic moves and really reap the rewards for it.

Erin Sparks: (47:42) Absolutely.

Traci Reuter: (47:42) It will be fun to watch.

Erin Sparks: (47:43) And if you’re a business out there that is continually focused on just the ROI, let’s talk about ROO, return on objective, right? You’re trying to get trust out there. You can measure trust, you can measure that engagement, you can measure time on page reading, you can measure those factors. Just don’t go for the almighty dollar when you haven’t built the bridge to be able to connect to your client.

Traci Reuter: (48:06) Yep, that’s right.

Erin Sparks: (48:07) All right, well we certainly appreciate you’re time today Traci. We want to make sure all of our listeners know where to find you. On Twitter it’s Traci Reuter, on Facebook, it’s Traci Reuter Social, LinkedIn is Traci Reuter, Instagram is Traci Reuter, and YouTube is Traci Reuter. You almost got the brand complete, what happened to the Facebook, Traci Reuter?

Traci Reuter: (48:29) Well I have, it’s just my personal page.

Erin Sparks: (48:31) Oh okay.

Traci Reuter: (48:31) I have it all.

Erin Sparks: (48:32) Damn, we’re still giving that away.

Traci Reuter: (48:35) Been doing it a long, long time.

Erin Sparks: (48:37) We wish you all the best in the world, thanks so much for talking to us today and contributing to this space, and really kind of giving us the skinny on exactly how to create that good core formula of success.

Traci Reuter: (48:53) My pleasure, thanks for having me Erin.

Erin Sparks: (48:54) You’re more than welcome. All right, thanks for listening to edgeofthewebradio.com, and make sure that you listen on a regular basis. To some of the older shows as well, because we are always looking back and valuing our engagements with our guests. We certainly want to give a shout out to our colleagues at Site Strategics, including Jacob Mann on the wheel here. We also certainly want to appreciate our guest, Traci Reuter, she unpacked a lot of great information here on the social advertising formula for success here.

Erin Sparks: (49:24) Make sure to check out all of the must see videos over at edgeofthewebradio.com, that’s edgeofthewebradio.com. And we certainly want you to know about some changes here coming up in July, we’re going to moving our streaming, our live show to Mondays at three pm, is that correct Jacob? Ah, I got you.

Jacob Mann: (49:41) That’s correct.

Erin Sparks: (49:42) And on top of that, we’re going to be breaking out our new sections outside of the regular interview podcasts. So you can get a quick bite of the Edge News, as well as dive into the interview as well as you deem fit. And we’re going to be talking to a good number of people here in the interviews. We’re talking to Joe Palooza here next week, right?

Jacob Mann: (50:02) Yeah, next week. I can’t remember if next week’s Monday or Thursday yet.

Erin Sparks: (50:06) I think it’s Monday.

Jacob Mann: (50:07) Okay.

Erin Sparks: (50:07) July 1st is our Monday.

Jacob Mann: (50:08) Yeah, that’s our first Monday.

Erin Sparks: (50:10) Our first, yeah I better be prepared.

Jacob Mann: (50:11) Okay.

Erin Sparks: (50:11) I can’t have a long weekend.

Jacob Mann: (50:14) Good thing it’s before the fourth of July.

Erin Sparks: (50:15) I’m saying. All right, so from everybody over here at Site Strategics, thank you very much and be sure to like, rate, and review our podcast, our YouTube videos, and much more over at Facebook. Certainly want to have feedback on how we’re doing for you are audience. And if you want us to talk to somebody that we haven’t yet, give us a shout. We’d be happy to get them in our cross hairs, and get them on the show. So for all of us over at Site Strategics and Edge, thanks so much, we’ll talk to you next week. Do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. Goodbye.

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