Using Digital Marketing to Drive Your Business with Ryan Cote


Table Of Contents


Breaking Down The Essentials of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can seem daunting when you consider all the components that go into making a successful campaign. From web design to content marketing, social media, targeted ads and SEO - there is a lot to unpack to successfully navigate this essential medium. 

Recently, our CEO, Stacy Jones sat down with a digital marketing expert to discuss the best practices in web design and content marketing. In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores how brands can better use digital marketing to drive your business from the advice and expertise of Ryan Cote.

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A Little More About Ryan

Ryan Cote is the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine Digital, Ryan Cote. Ballantine Digital is a third-generation family-owned direct mail and digital marketing company based out of Fairfield, New Jersey. It has been serving small business clients since 1966 when it was founded by Ryan's great uncle.

Ryan has been with his family's agency since 2003 and today, he manages the growing digital marketing division. From lead generation to marketing strategy for small businesses, the company provides services that rise above the get-featured-quick schemes so often attributed to digital marketing. Today, Ryan's going to share five ways to drive leads with digital marketing, and he will show why small business marketing does not mean small ideas.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: What I love starting off our show with is having you tell the listeners a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today.

Answer: Sure, so on a personal note, I'm married with three daughters and they all dance. I'm a dance dad. I've actually had a dance competition this weekend. So, from New Jersey, and like you mentioned, I'm in my family's marketing agency. When I graduated college with a marketing degree, I did not know I wanted to go into the family business. I had two other jobs outside of college, and then at some point, I think when my middle brother joined the business, I think it planted a seed, and I started out as the marketing director of the company for 10 years, and then we added a digital division to the company.

We do direct mail and digital, so I added the digital division to the company, and that's been a pretty crazy ride because for 10 years, I was just doing marketing - just a department of one, and now we've got a whole team here. I'm just trying to figure out how to grow the digital, how to hire people for the team and manage clients. It's been it's been interesting last five years of my career trying to get that going.

Question: How have you seen digital changed in recent years? Because it has changed, and it's also gotten very much more social.

Answer: Yeah, I think the biggest thing that with things are changing is that the fact that the platforms are changing so much. I remember SEO used to be really honestly very easy, and now, it's very difficult, and we still do a lot of it. It just takes a lot more strategy and resources to get it done properly, and I think that's the biggest thing. These platforms are changing so much that you have to stay on top of it. SEO, even paid search, obviously, social media. That's changing every day practically. So, I think that's the biggest thing is how do we keep driving leads for clients and results.

For our clients, it's mostly leads, but it's not always just about leads. It's a lot of someone wants sales, someone wants brand awareness, but most of it's leads. How do we keep on getting the clients' results with everything that's always in change? That's probably our biggest challenge.

Question: So, when we were chatting earlier, you mentioned you have five ways that you like to create, drive leads with digital marketing. What is that secret sauce? How do you approach when you're working with a new client? What's that ramp-up? How do you go about it?

Answer: I think we have to start from the beginning or the foundations. Most of the stuff that we do, and I think most people listening, it's driving traffic to their website. We need to make sure that all the foundations are solid. So, obviously, a mobile-friendly website. It sounds like these are really obvious things, but it's not always obvious. At least in the spaces that we work with, that we work in, it's not always obvious. So, I'm going to mention anyway, but having a mobile-friendly website. It passes Google's responsive check, and your phone is very usable and whatnot. It loads fast. So, load speed across desktop and mobile, super, super, super important.

Having a site that's free of any broken links, anything broken, broken images, having a really clean website. It's like if you were a fighter, like a boxer, an MMA fighter, you wouldn't go into the ring with a sprained ankle. You're going to be in tip-top condition. So, I look at that as a website. If you're going to try to generate leads with it, try to make it in tip-top condition. So, mobile friendly, load speed, nothing broken.

Then the last part is call to actions. We'll often get clients that have websites where there's not a real clear path to conversion. "The contact page is buried. The phone number, where is it? I don't know. Oh, it's all the way in the footer where no one goes," like things like that, like trying to make it really obvious as to how you want them to contact you and then make it very easy for them to contact you. So, we'll often play around with the placement of buttons, the phone number and the header, a sticky bar that scrolls with you, making the contact page very visible, opt-in forms. It would just vary. It depends on the client. 

Question: I mean, we're all about B2B leads and marketing, so I'm looking forward to this. Can you tell us more?

Answer: So, the first thing is content marketing. We look at content as a SEO play because every piece of content you add to your site, or branding content, you are keyword optimizing it, or you should be at least. So, when we're creating content, we want to make sure that obviously the content is keyword optimized. It's well-written. It's thought leadership content, and then each piece of content has call to actions throughout the blog posts even at the end.

When someone's reading the blog because the problem with blog is typically, it's attracting information seekers. So, they're not necessarily looking to convert, but they're looking for information. But when we have them on the site, it's an opportunity to convert them, so they're reading it, and then they're opting. Maybe they can opt into the newsletter or whatever or a strategy session or inquire about whatever your product or services are.

One thing we like to do with blogs is we'll create fresh content with transcription strategies where we interview our clients, and then we extract their knowledge out of their brain. Then we turn it into a really expert-level piece of content. So, we're always creating new content, but one thing that I think your audience could do that would be really valuable because we see on our end organic traffic always spikes when we do this is take old blog posts and refresh them. So, upgrade them. Add more content to them. So, maybe we have a 600-word blog post that was doing well or that is doing well, and then we add more content to it.

So, when you give Google more of what it already likes, we usually see an increase in organic, so then what that means is it's more eyeballs for your call to actions, which could lead into more leads.

Also if you're doing paid search, you're probably doing remarketing, which means they leave your site. They see your banners. It's an opportunity then to bring them back, so they get to your content. They find that Google ranks it. They come to your site. They're reading it. Maybe they don't click on a call to action and then convert into a lead, but then down the road, they've seen your banners, and it's a better time for them, and then they convert. So, that's why all these things feed off each other. Just going to Amazon, put something in your cart, and you'll be haunted for life.

Question: Do you have any last parting words of advice for our audience?

Answer: Can I give parting advice that's not anything related to marketing if that's okay? I'm a big fan of morning routines, so I'm into personal development like Jim Rohn. It doesn't tie into marketing, but it ties into just general business because the more you take care of yourself, the better you're going to be during the day. The better you are during the day, the better you're going to be at your job and so forth and so forth. It's like a ripple effect. It also changes how you show up for your team. It just has this ripple effect. It just influences everything.

A morning routine can be different for everyone. It just depends on what you're looking to do, but I do meditation, gratitude practice, and then a light exercise like kettlebell swings, like a light exercise plan. I always change it. I find that if you listen to past podcast episodes, I've done where I talked about this. It's a little bit different I'm always tinkering with it, but my current thing is just that set of tasks, and the bottom line is do a morning routine. So, get up a little bit earlier. Start your day off on the right foot. Check off the boxes on things that you should be doing, like taking care of your mind and your body, and it just influences the whole day. I don't know. I'm a big fan of it. I always tell people about it.


Check Out The Podcast!

This summary is just the tip of the ice berg in an in depth discussion of digital marketing and best practices from Ryan's experience. Listen to the rest of the interview on our podcast!

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

Every week we release a new podcast featuring guest's with so much knowledge about marketing, you don't want to miss one!  How can you make sure you don't miss an episode? Click below to subscribe!

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