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5 Alternatives to Pay Per Click Advertising Your Brand Should Consider

5 Alternatives to Pay Per Click Advertising Your Brand Should Consider

The foundation of Internet advertising is the banner ad, with the pay-per-click model following closely behind. Google was the first company to make PPC (pay per click) huge, and it works out pretty well for both the advertiser and for the company charging them for the clicks. It’s a win-win for sure, but sometimes you have products or services that don’t seem to work with PPC advertising or you just aren’t getting the response that you used to. What you need is a fresh new approach and that’s why you should consider one or more of these five alternatives to PPC.

We discussed the lay of the land and several alternatives to the PPC with five industry experts to find out what they recommended. Read on to see some of their valuable insights.

1. YouTube Pre-Roll Ads

YouTube has been doing better and better when it comes to their advertising policies and now, with new rules in place for the pre-roll ads, advertisers aren’t going to have to pay for advertising that doesn’t net them any actual results, like the five seconds of an ad that plays before the viewer hits the “Skip” button.

Aaron Hocket, Partner & Sales Team Leader at AltaVista Strategic Partners was the first expert we conversed with. He believes that YouTube’s “True View” will benefit them even more now that advertisers only pay for completed views, and actively encourages their clients in the construction industry to use YouTube instead of PPC.

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He goes on to illustrate how YouTube ads can work as a better alternative to PPC for some a number of specific services, while offering value at the same time:

“One example of how we are using YouTube as an alternative to PPC: Working with a plumber, we will create branded “how to” videos related around multiple residential services such as fixing a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink or unclogging a bathtub drain.” He explains. “Using an exact match keyword strategy within targeted zip codes, we will run the appropriate ads correlating to the search query. A user searches “How to unclog a bathtub drain” and clicks on the first video where we run an ad that starts “The first step to unclogging a bathtub drain.” and are able to capture and 4 minute video completions as we are fulfilling the user’s needs. We end the ad with a powerful call to action.”

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great form of advertising that has quite a few different benefits. Email marketing is definitely more personal than some of these other alternatives and it makes the person think that you are talking directly to them, even if they know deep down that they are one of many. Brad Owen of Never Bounce says that you should be using it as something extra, not as a sole way to advertise.

“If you’re not using a direct form of communication in conjunction with your PPC campaigns, you’re leaving big money on the table.”

“While PPC boosts your traffic needle, unfortunately it does very little for your overall conversions; that’s all up to you and your on-site marketing strategy.”

Brad adds that the average user will require six touches prior to completing an action. Although PPC can bring users to your site, that’s only one “touch.” Email marketing then can account for many more “touches” at once with a great autoresponder sequence.

“Organically growing and nurturing your customer email list is the core to continuous engagement with your customers.”

3. Influencer Marketing

Advertising with an influencer isn’t anything new. In fact, companies have been relying on influencers for hundreds of years, but these days, there are some very specific people who are having an impact on what consumers buy and anyone who wants to get their message heard should be focusing on them.

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“We all know that social trust is key in the future of marketing,” says Noah Everton, a growth strategist at ShoutOurBiz. ”But for a brand to truly succeed and get a head, they should be looking to influencers within their niche. When I consult marketing teams, I always tell them ‘your competition is already reaching out to influencers, how do you plan to stay ahead of their game?’ And usually I’m met with a blank stare.”

Companies like ShoutOurBiz and FameBit help companies stay head of the competition because they are the meeting place between influencers and the brands that want their vote of confidence.

4. Content Marketing

One of the biggest trends when it comes to Internet marketing is the rise of content marketing. At first, only a few were seeing value in this activity, but now even the smallest businesses know that content marketing is necessary and effective.

Christopher Martin, Digital Marketing Manager at Flex MR, believes that PPC advertising is currently suffering through an “image problem.”

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“Ad fraud and blocking have been hot topics amongst online marketing specialists throughout 2015.” He points out. “To make sure you aren’t wasting your 2016 marketing budget, consider investing in an effective content marketing plan instead.”

5. Reputation Marketing

Finally, reputation marketing is absolutely vital and cannot be ignored by any business large or small. In the old days, if you had a few dissatisfied customers odds were they wouldn’t influence any of your other customers. Now, those naysayers might end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars or more because they have a pulpit to preach from. Lauren Edvalson is the CEO of Edvalson Marketing and says that the best online partner for your PPC campaigns is reputation marketing.

There are tons of reputation marketing companies popping up. Organic search results are not showing websites, they are listing companies with five star reviews on review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List. It’s so important to put a strategy and budget to creating customer advocacy programs. Each person who works for your company then becomes aligned with your marketing efforts by asking customers to provide feedback about their experience. Taking it a step further, if you are a sales driven business, incorporating great customer service into the way you measure employee performance will keep your sales people honest and protect your reputation.

Featured photo credit: Josh MacDonald via joshmacdonald.net

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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