Knowledge: If you are charging people for services you have to know what you are doing. Take classes, test things out, but don’t promise something and not deliver.
Marketing a product or service today is easier than ever before in history. Using platforms like Facebook ads or Google ads, a company can market their product directly to people who perfectly fit the ideal client demographic, at a very low cost. Digital Marketing tools, Pay per Click ads, and email marketing can help a company dramatically increase sales. At the same time, many companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools often see disappointing results.
In this interview series called “How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales”, we are talking to marketers, advertisers, brand consultants, & digital marketing gurus who can share practical ideas from their experience about how to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing, PPC, & email.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Audrey Kerchner.
Audrey Kerchner is the Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist at Inkyma with more than 20 years of experience in the marketing world. She has been at the helm of corporate branding, communications, digital marketing, print marketing and multichannel campaigns, across several industries. With Audrey’s experience as both an internal strategist and at agencies, her knowledge is backed by results. Audrey hosts a weekly podcast series called Marketing Strategies.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I’ve been in marketing for over 20 years now. I started out working internally at a Fortune 500 company, Schering Plough, then moved on to working at an agency in New York City before leaving the corporate world and starting my own agency about 11 years ago now.
I spent most of my career working on websites, and it’s still one of my favorite things to do for a business. Even after 20 years, I’m still fascinated by websites and marketing because it’s constantly changing and evolving with technology and how people use it.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
When digital advertising became a big thing, I was creating a digital ad campaign in the early days of location targeting and I forgot to set the location to the 1.5 square miles of the target zone. Instead, I sent invitations to a local event out nationwide in the US. I figured it out when I got a comment back on the ad from someone in Georgia who would love to come, but New Jersey was a bit far to go for a beer.
Good thing I did monitor the campaign closely. We caught it in the first 24hrs and fixed it. I learned to double check all the settings in a campaign. I still make sure my team does that today. It’s part of our ad testing process now.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
When I worked in the corporate world there were several people I felt were mentors to me. Not so much in marketing, but in being a good business person and helping me develop my leadership skills.
One of my mentors at Schering gave me great advice on how to manage a team. He was sending me to a conference in New Orleans and he said bring back gifts for the team so they know you were thinking about them. So I bought a package of Mardi Gras beads and gave everybody one. I got some strange looks and had to share the story of how I bought them and they weren’t ‘thrown at me.’ We got a lot of laughs out of the conversation and the team hung them up in their offices. It was a great easy going bonding type of situation.
I figured out that laughter is a great way to break down walls and build relationships with people. Not just teammates but clients as well.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I learned a lot about process and working with customers while working at an international marketing agency. I brought that big agency treatment to my small business clients. We make sure that whatever they hire us to do, we do the whole project including making sure they know what we need from them, then they just review and approve.
I often have new clients double and triple check that they don’t have to write anything when they hire us. I once had a 20 minute conversation during a kickoff meeting with a client because they just couldn’t believe that he didn’t have to write anything. It was worth the time because once we got into the process he kept saying ‘yup, didn’t have to write anything and it came out great!’
Usually website design companies don’t have copywriters so they ask the client to write the copy and give it to them. We don’t do that, we write all the copy as part of the project.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Do what you say you are going to do.
Own your mistakes
Treat everyone the same, with kindness and gratitude.
I met with a potential client and we were talking about his business and what we could do for him. During our second meeting he mentioned that his wife knew me, he found this out after he hired me. I had known his wife for a few years, she didn’t refer to him when we met. I brightened when I heard her name and asked him to say hello for me. She and I had a great relationship and she said wonderful things about me.
She was never going to be a client of mine but I treated her like I treat everyone, with kindness and gratitude for their time. Because you never know who anyone knows and how they connect and intersect and what they are going to say about you when you are not there.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My business caters to a specific type of business. Established business between 3 and 100 employees. Startups, and solo practitioners aren’t ready to work with an agency like mine yet. They either can’t afford it yet or haven’t gone through the growing pains of a first time, unfunded startup.
But I always felt like we should be doing something for this community of businesses. I was that startup once: self funded, just me, no staff or money yet. So this year I started a podcast called Marketing Strategies. It’s a weekly 30 minute podcast about marketing education and implementation. It’s for established businesses as well as these startups so they can get good advice on where and how to spend their marketing dollars. It’s my way of giving to this community. I also bring on guest business owners so they can promote their business and help inspire other business owners on how to market their business.
Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. As we mentioned in the beginning, sometimes companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools like PPC campaigns often see disappointing results. In your opinion, what are a few of the biggest mistakes companies make when they first start out with digital marketing? If you can, please share an example for each.
- Not having a specific goal in mind for the ad. Be specific in what you want from a specific audience.
- Not knowing how the PPC tools work. Like the mistake I mentioned, an ad can fail if you miss a setting.
- Picking the right PPC platforms for your business. Everyone provides ads now, but not every platform is effective for every business. You’re not going to use LinkedIn if you are selling mainly to general consumers. When in doubt, use Google.
- Google has MORE than just search ads. They have a whole suite of ads that include images and videos that are way more effective than search ads.
If you could break down a very successful digital marketing campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
The blueprint looks like a calendar with ads turning on and off and specific times of the year based on what the company is promoting. We do digital advertising for a Tutoring and Test Prep Center for Students aged four to 12. We have this type of calendar setup for an academic school year with all of the big dates for testing. We run ads for test prep a few months before big tests like SAT/ACT for tutoring and in the summer we run ads to join programs to reduce summer learning loss. We know exactly what is running before we create anything to maximize the budget and take advantage of the seasonality of this type of business.
Let’s talk about Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) for a bit. In your opinion which PPC platform produces the best results to increase sales?
Google. Most people don’t realize that Google is not just search ads. It’s Gmail, Youtube, Search and Display campaigns. Display campaign ads are promoted through the Google AdSense system where your ads can run on major sites.
To give an example, if you ran the same ad on Facebook and Google, if your impressions on Facebook are in the thousands, then they would be in the hundreds of thousands on Google. Ad conversions is a numbers game, the higher your numbers the more conversions that come out the back end.
Can you please share 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful PPC campaign?
- Take a course and learn how the PPC system works. You have to set up the right campaign for the right goal.
- Use video as much as possible when you can’t, use images. We like and consume more video.
- Be specific in your call to action. You will get better results if you are specific about what you want the person to do.
Let’s now talk about email marketing for a bit. In your opinion, what are the 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful email marketing campaign that increases sales?
- Think about quality over quantity when maintaining and growing your list. Make sure you are adding and keeping the right people on your list.
- Sales don’t come from new clients only. Email campaigns to existing clients are a great way to increase sales.
- Use lead magnets that are designed to attract the type of buyer you want to sign up for your list. A checklist for potential customers is better than a gift card. Anyone will give you their information for a free gift card. People who want that checklist because they are in the research phase of the buying process will give you their email address because they need it.
What are the other digital marketing tools that you are passionate about? If you can, can you share with our readers what they are and how to best leverage them?
QR codes: To bridge the print/in person to digital gap. We use them to get someone to a specific landing page for just about anything; events, contact info, lead magnets etc.
Webinars: A great way to help build your email list is by giving away free content and letting people hear and see you.
Here is the main question of our series. Can you please tell us the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a digital marketer? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Knowledge: If you are charging people for services you have to know what you are doing. Take classes, test things out, but don’t promise something and not deliver.
- Great Customer Service Skills: Build great relationships with your customers and referral partners, so that you have a constant flow of business.
- Highly Organized: You are going to have many customers who are busy and disorganized. You need to make sure you are organized enough for both of you. Use CRM tools, calendars and create systems and processes so that things don’t fall through the cracks.
- Humility: You are going to be ignored, unappreciated and forgotten about by your prospects and clients. It’s part of the job. Be gracious and kind. I can’t tell you how many times I have been blown off for a scheduled meeting, but still won the business in the end. Don’t take it personal. People are busy and have their own stuff going on too.
- Patience: Sometimes a business can take a long time to sign and get started. I have had clients who have signed immediately and we kicked-off within days of the proposal. I have also had some take 6 months. Be patient and the work will come.
What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
An author I really love is Robert Cialdini. His books are about why people make decisions and are influenced by their surroundings. Marketing is just influence and awareness.
Donald Miller with Story Brand: books, podcasts, training programs. He talks about writing and marketing focused on the customer, not on the business services.
Steve Jobs and Jon Ivy. I love the way Apple has marketed the company and the story behind what they have done over the years.
Elon Musk now as well. Can’t wait to buy my first Tesla.
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m gonna call it the smile and feel good challenge. I’d create awareness and challenge people to create a video of themselves breaking out into a big smile and then sending that to everyone they know. Then asking them to record their reaction while they watch the smile video for the 1st time and then share that with everyone they know and asking them to do the same.
I’ve seen this on Tik Tok and it’s amazing to watch the results.
We are all so busy and life is crazy and hectic that we often forget to take a deep breath and smile. Those two things change so much. Thoughts, heart rate, perception etc. Who knows what could happen if we all just practiced that one thing everyday.
I believe significant change comes from small everyday things that everyone can do no matter your background.
So as a person of great influence this would be my message and movement and I would actually spend a great deal of money promoting it and taking it outside of Tiktok to a grand global scale.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Follow the podcast and our blog. We are always sharing and educating about marketing in these two places
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!