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    Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategies

    Posted by Heather Armel on September 12, 2019 at 8:37 AM

    Fulfill And Generate Demand

    Digital marketing casts a wide net that includes paid social, advanced analytics, Facebook ads, video marketing, video production, and all sorts of analytics - just to name a few. Almost every brand or business could benefit from digital marketing, but like most things, it's easier said than done. It's no wonder this landscape can be intimidating for business owners and often results in wasted time and money. Thankfully, there are professionals who can help. 

    Recently, our CEO sat down with an experienced and successful digital marketing strategist who focuses on customer acquisition and sales, all while living at the intersection of data and creativity.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded delves into strategies that will improve your brand's digital marketing with advice from Chris Madden, Co-founder of Matchnode.


    Chris Madden Podcast Image

    A Little More About Chris

    Matchnode, located in Chicago, is a digital ad agency that specializes in paid social and has grown over time to work with brands like LendingTree, the Chicago Bulls, New Balance, and Indiana University. Chris has been integral in building a culture at Matchnode that is focused entirely on growth, in both the personal development of their team and clients, to business growth, and mentality around growing the pie.

    Chris holds a bachelors degree from Georgetown University and received his MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from The University Of Illinois at Chicago. He takes pride in being the best teammate, husband, friend, and brother that he can be and has a “can do” attitude in life.

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    Interview Transcript Highlights

    Question: I'd love for you to talk about a little bit about how you got to where you are today, and what got you into this business of digital marketing.

    Answer: Of course. So, I'm a lifelong entrepreneur. I've always had interest and businesses involved with sales and marketing in one way or the other, and then technology.

    I had a video game start-up years ago that took me on the road, and I raised money from outside investors and did deals with large video game companies. After that, the idea of coming home to Chicago - where I was born and raised - was very appealing. I was interested in starting a business where we helped other companies grow, with an old school business model of monthly fees, costs, hiring people, and having profit at the end of every month was extremely interesting to me.

    It started in really just those modest, practical approaches of trying to give people more value than we were charging them and building up a little bit of a business that way. Fast forward six years and we are really growing and really excited about the expertise that we've gained, the companies we've helped and the things that we get to learn every day, the ways in which our team and our clients and our client's team get to grow every day through the work that we do. That's how we look at it and that's how we got here.

    Profit was important because it unlocks a lot of things. Whatever it is that we want to do to help our teammates and to help our clients and to just be good actors in the business worlds, to develop ourselves in the way we want to, all that is very much unlocked by doing our core business and having profit to allow ourselves to move in the next direction with that profit, so it definitely enables a lot of things.

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    Question: So, let's talk Facebook advertising because I know you have valuable insight to share with our audience.  What is it about Facebook that makes it such a powerful platform for brands to advertise on?

    Answer: Well, going back to one of our core values, growth, Facebook allows advertisers to generate demand and not just fulfill demand. We make that distinction at our agency because in the digital advertising world, for better or worse, there are two behemoths, Facebook and Google. So much of the ad spend that we come across goes straight into those two companies.

    Those two companies represent, of course, search and social. Google search is extremely powerful and there's a lot of great work for agencies and brands to do on Google. But, it is often times capped, where in theory it's capped by the amount of people searching for that given thing on that given day. So you can't increase demand with Google search ads in our construct here.

    You can put a message in front of people on Facebook, for better or worse, maybe we'll talk about this, we of course only try to run ads for things that improve a person's life through a product or service that they can find through an ad that we're running for a client. But you can put something in someone's newsfeed via paying for an ad on Facebook and introduce them to a product or service that they didn't know about. Maybe they have a problem in their life but they didn't know that your product exists to help solve it. So it's really powerful in that it can generate demand in a moment like that.

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    It's not just fulfilling demand for people who are already looking for the things they know they needed and again these things work together. Google's amazing. But we focus on Facebook for that reason, because it can really help drive growth. From a dollars and cents and lead generation perspective, and also by testing things, testing maybe an early business idea you might have, if you learn to read the signals and what feedback means from the ad platform and people clicking on your ad, going through to your website, it can really help a business grow.

    That's why Facebook ads are for us. Then there's also the practical side too. My co-founder Brian and I we're both interested in and good at Facebook ads when we started 6 years ago. People were paying us to run ads for them in a very small kind of freelance ad hoc basis.  And of course, if it was 15 years ago instead of six years ago, maybe we would have been more of a Google shop but because Ad Words is a relatively mature platform, and we see a lot of competitors that do Facebook ads and certainly there's a lot of other agencies that do Facebook ads and can do them well, but they sometimes start as a Google shop, and they like full time Facebook ads. So they started doing web development or FCO and then as time passes they're like "Oh, we have to do Facebook ads."

    One thing that's different about us is we are a paid social first. So it's not just that it generates demand in addition to fulfilling demand, but it's also something about personally where we were when we started the agency and where we found a foothold and where we just kept going and now we have very deep expertise in it.

    Learn solutions to 5 common advertising challenges


    Question: Is there a difference between boosting a post that you do and actually doing a Facebook ad?

    Answer: The big difference is the interface in which you're doing that. So boosting a post just means that you write a post, an organic post and whether you're just in the admin section of your page or you're just on your own page yourself, you see the post and it says boost and when you click that it opens up some options to target in how much do you want to spend.

    Those options have gotten better and better. What it really is just is, is a very stripped down and right version of Facebook Ads Manager. Facebook Ads Manager is the other place that you can go to create that exact same boosted post or any other sort of ad format, ad type, audience type, all the options in the broad world of Facebook ads are available right there.

    We always recommend to go to Facebook Ads Manager. You can create the exact same kind of post. You can take the post that you wrote on the organic side an hour ago and boost that from within Ads Manager. You just get more options and it's pretty rare that we see a boosted post that works. It's usually just a sign of somebody who wants to do it very quickly or doesn't have a lot of depth in it, which is fine and that makes sense. It's kind of like the on-boarding to Facebook Ads. You try it a couple of times, you're like what? Okay, I got some clicks and I reached all these people, but why am I not getting sales?

    Then you go over to Ads Manager or you start to look under the hood, you go deeper and you realize oh, there's all these other things I can do like optimize for a sale instead of optimizing for a click.

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    I do want to briefly go back to something you mentioned though about how it can be demoralizing to see or to feeding to see content that you worked hard to create and then nobody sees it. It can make you feel like you're going backwards. So, this is something that it complete sense and we've all experienced it, we've all seen brands do it.

    One of the places that we've seen the rubber meet the road there for us is with video. We see so many people that make video. Video is so fundamental now on social of course and on mobile and in Facebook Ads in particular. And now Instagram of course allows it. But, we see so many people that make a nice video and even if it's not super expensive, it might be $500 or it might be $1,000, it might be $5,000 to make this video, there's certainly big brands that treat them like TV commercials that spend $50,000 or $100,000 to make some videos. And then they don't promote it.

    So, they spend, let's call it $1,000 to make a video and it gets 30 views and you look back on it in three months, it has 30 views you're like oh we worked so hard on that. We hired this person. We did all these edits, all these last minute details we didn't like, we kept having them changed. It was perfect to us and then nobody saw it. That's a big mistake that we see a lot and it's like don't spend $1,000 on a video if all you have is $1,000, spend $500 to make it and then let's spend $500 to promote it. It will just feel a lot better that you know that you have some money set aside to make sure people see what you're doing because what's the point of crafting this beautiful perfect message if there's going to be no audience for it.

    It's hard to imagine people who like spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a TV commercial today or back in the day and then not have any money set aside to make sure it gets on TV. So, that's just something that we see very frequently and when a prospect comes in and wants to start talking to us we look at that right away.


    Question: What is the first step that you do when you're working with a client, how do you approach figuring out what you need to do in regards to your Facebook advertising plan?

    Answer: Good question. Like a lot of these answers, it starts with it depends. But generally people that we start working with already have some history in Facebook Ads. So, one of the first things we do is we get access to their account and we just look in at what they're doing. And think about based on what we know about their business and what we've learned, what are the things that we would right away and how they look different from what they've been doing.

    Right away one of the first things we do is think about audiences and who is their target audience. We're interested in their demographics or where they live or how old they are and maybe some ideas of a persona, what is their job, what is their day-to-day like. That persona based information assists us in the creative aspect of who are we writing to. What kind of image on a landing page and in an Ad is going to appeal to this person? What are they worried about when we write a video copy? When we really get into which audiences are going to work that we're going to test and target in Facebook Ads, it's very data driven.

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    Step one is asking if the pixel is working. Do you have the pixel properly set up? If you're selling something on your website, is it tracking the value of those purchases in eCommerce? Are we firing purchase when someone buys something? Are we firing add to cart when someone adds to cart. You just have to look in the back end to make sure all of that stuff that is pixel related is set up.

    Assuming that it is, then you start to look at what are the audiences that we can create. For example, one audience would be your buyers in the past 30 days. It's a really good look at the sorts of people that you want to buy in the next 30 days. You can create a lookalike audience which is basically telling Facebook these people who bought in the past 30 days, we want to find more people like them. So, Facebook goes out and creates a list of people that are 1% most similar in their behaviors and their demographics to that list that you gave it.

    Now you've got a list of 1% of Facebook users say in the United States if you're targeting US only. So, about two million people. Now you've got this audience of people that look like your buyers, and that would be almost always, not always, but this is sort of basic, but that's where we would start targeting.

    Then we'd also exclude buyers from that list. You're saying we're just looking for new people. That's kind of the typical thought process where we are just diving right in and saying what are you doing now? Who are the audiences? What's the best audience? Common sense is the one we can think of is that created, who are we going to target right away?

    Then the persona stuff helps us figure out looking at the creative that the brand or the client might already have, how should this creative be tweaked based on what we know about who their ideal customer is. There's even more when it comes to working with the marketing and creative teams, creating ads, etc. It's all very process based. So we have processes and a list of things that start, that go out as soon as we sign a new client, we're going to start working with them. 

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    There's a process by which to your point there is tons of communication with the brand or the client's marketing department and marketing team especially at the beginning. We want to get to a place over the first two or three months and hopefully over years where we have this very regular cadence of weekly phone calls with our clients. At the beginning it's more intense than that. There's a lot of back and forth. We have a dedicated Slack channel for each of our clients. We have weekly calls standing but in the first week or two it's often more frequently than weekly because there's just a lot of intel that we have to get.

    Part of our early process is asking for the brand guidelines. Then we have a copy doc where they approve all the copy that we can write. And we'll write and they go and approve a different copy. Yes, we're part of getting the brand guidelines and part of the set up guide is asking for all their raw creative assets. We've already looked at all their Facebook Ads. We look on their YouTube channel. We look on their social profiles. We look on their website. We see what images and pages they're already using. And we come to an understanding with them of what does starting look like for us? How much work do we have to do to start? If they have landing pages in place that are really great and we like their ads and we just need to create a video, that can be pretty fast like a week or two to get started and really take over.

    If they don't have a landing page and we need to rebuild it from start and we need to build a video and it's a heavily regulated industry like finance or something and their pixel is not placed, there could be a lot of work to get going. It's really first just assessing what's needed, laying it out in a systematized way and yes we start creating ads once we have enough assets, we have copy approved and we show them the ad and they approve it, we turn it on, we're off and running and from there, and from there it's just a lot of iteration to keep improving. 


    Check Out The Podcast!

    With year's of experience under his belt and big name clients, there is so much more valuable content in this episode with Chris. Click below to hear the full conversation! 

    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:

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    Topics: Business Advice, Podcast Interviews