Flexibility. Many times, a campaign or a plan won’t go as expected. Even though you may feel proud of everything you’ve designed, sometimes it takes a few trips back to the drawing board to get everything right.
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 Jake Peterson.
Jake Peterson is the SEO specialist for Atiba Software in Nashville, TN. Jake lives in Madrid, Spain with his family and when he’s not working, he’s playing basketball, building a new PC, or taking care of his daughter.
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 always had an interest in writing which led me to study history in college. After that, I bounced around with a few different jobs working in government to teaching English overseas.
I ended up landing a job as an editor for an ESL magazine in Madrid, Spain and wanted to continue a writing career. A lot of my stuff was behind a paywall or helping clients with resumes or cover letters, so I didn’t have much of a portfolio. So I started an internship for a betting website, writing 4–5 articles per week. From there, I kept moving around until I landed at a link-building agency.
There, I began learning more about SEO and online writing. I started picking up a lot of other random skills and have kind of rolled into the position I am today.
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?
It wasn’t funny at the time, but one time I inserted the wrong links into an article for a client. They were not happy and neither was my employer. I got (and deserved) a thorough chewing out.
Since then, I’ve been a lot more diligent about double-checking my work and taking more time to do the little things. You can spend all morning writing the perfect web copy but if you don’t check your grammar, it could look pretty pitiful at the end.
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?
In college, I had a teammate that I ended up reconnecting with a few years ago when I saw he was in the same field. He was much more experienced than me and gave me some great resources to help me get started. I still shoot him the occasional question here and there.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We really are a one-stop shop for all things tech. I don’t know many places where you can go to the same company and have them build you custom software, set up your business on the cloud, redesign your website, and get digital marketing services at the same time.
A large number of clients have stayed in-house with us because we offer so much. One of our clients went from a full network services client who needed help with a lot of IT needs to use us for SEO as well.
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?
Patience-You just really need patience in the digital marketing field. Not just because campaigns and your work take a long time to see results, but also because it takes a long time to get better at what you’re doing. Three years ago I was writing betting articles for free and now I’m working as an SEO specialist.
Never settling-Not really a character trait, but it’s always great to keep on learning. You can never say “Oh, I know everything, I don’t need to keep learning.” This field is rapidly changing and staying on the edge of the news is the best practice. I remember seeing someone in a FB group recommends a certain plugin. I tried it out and now I use it just about every day in my work. I never would have found that recommendation if I didn’t make an effort to go scour the FB group for ideas.
Time management-Since so many people are working remotely these days, it can be tough to perfect time management skills. Having a set schedule (including time for breaks and exercise) is key to staying on task and getting all your work done.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We’ve been working on our new website for the past few months now which has been a challenge but a lot of fun. We believe it will help our visitors learn more about what we do, who we are, and what we have to offer. All while looking better too!
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.
I often see companies that don’t have a real goal in mind when they start digital marketing. Well, they have a goal but it’s just “we want more customers” or “we want our traffic to double”. Well, everyone wants more customers and they want their online traffic to grow.
That’s why it’s so important to sit down with clients and try to get to the heart of their goals. Are they focused on a certain region? Is there a target date or number in mind for their upcoming campaign? What have they tried in the past that hasn’t worked?
Getting more direct answers is a much better way of crafting a campaign and setting measurable goals.
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.
Ideally, the first step would involve an onboarding meeting to see where they are, what their goals are, their timeline, etc.
From there, we craft a plan and present the plan to them based on their needs.
There are usually some tweaks to the plan before we roll it out.
One client of ours came to us from the network services side but wanted digital marketing help. We set up a meeting with them to discuss their timeline and goals for the upcoming months. From there, we crafted an estimate of what we could do in the timeframe allotted.
Even after completing the plan, we realized there was more we could do than what we originally had planned. We reached back out with a second plan and were able to make some significant changes to their website which boosted their visibility.
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?
We have had the best success with Google because of the extensive keyword research you can do, the bid options, and the ease to make a target audience.
Of course, a PPC campaign is completely useless without a well-designed landing page. We’ve had to overhaul multiple PPC campaigns for clients who were losing out on potential conversions because their campaigns were driving visitors to a useless page like the About Us page.
Can you please share 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful PPC campaign?
1-Negative keywords. Adding negative keywords to a campaign ensures you’re not wasting your appearances and showing up on unrelated queries.
2-Proper keyword research-on the other side it’s important to find keywords that are relevant to your business and service. Not just queries that are directly related, but those which can also pop up in other instances.
3-Competitor research-looking into what your competitors are doing, what queries they’re going after, and more can help you plan a campaign and manage expectations.
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?
1- Don’t send emails just for the sake of sending emails. Every now and then we see clients that send emails without a schedule or purpose, but more just to send emails out. If there’s not a rhyme or reason to your emails, then people likely won’t read them.
2- Stay up to date on current news. We’re a tech company and we often send emails around events in the tech industry, such as major cyberattacks or natural disasters threatening the IT capabilities of a company. We’ve gotten more responses from those emails than our general email blast.
3- Put your biggest called card above the fold. Overwhelmingly, the link with the highest CTR is whatever we have at the top of the email and above the fold. Whether that be an op-ed piece from our CEO or a link to a recent blog, that gets the most clicks. Whatever you want to showcase, put that first.
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?
Since I primarily work with SEO, there are a couple of SEO tools that I really like.
The first is SEMrush. We use it to perform keyword research, check out the competitive landscape, and look up words for our PPC campaigns. I use it every day as well as it helps track our rankings as well.
Next, I’m a big fan of Screaming Frog. It’s kind of a vanilla, technical tool but it really helps us when it comes to viewing a site the way Google sees it. We can check any redirections, broken links, and more with this tool.
Lastly, I use a plugin called SEO minion which gives easy snapshots for checking out certain pages. When speaking with clients, it can often be overwhelming to talk about hundreds of pages as once and SEO Minion helps us take a snapshot of their website and give them an example of what we want to change or what’s wrong.
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?
1-Patience. To be a successful digital marketer, you need a lot of patience when it comes to crafting campaigns or doing digital marketing work. A campaign may take weeks to plan and even longer to see the results you want to see. We had a B2B company that had never done digital marketing work before and it took about 5–6 months before we started to see real, significant results on our work.
2-The ability to measure your work. If you’re not measuring your work, you’re never going to know what’s going to succeed. We had a client who had a PPC campaign set up but he wasn’t tracking any conversions. He had no idea which queries were bringing in the most traffic or conversions. We helped him set up a better campaign and start efficiently tracking his efforts.
3-Someone to bounce ideas of off. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a team member. I will often ask my wife, who works in an entirely different profession, what she thinks of an email or certain webpage. She may come back and tell me “that part is hard to read” or “that doesn’t really make sense”. Sometimes you get so deep into a project that you start to overlook little things here and there. Plus, it’s nice to have someone to keep you grounded.
4-Flexibility. Many times, a campaign or a plan won’t go as expected. Even though you may feel proud of everything you’ve designed, sometimes it takes a few trips back to the drawing board to get everything right. We recently went through that with a web redesign. We had an entire plan sketched out but then realized it wasn’t as thorough as we wanted it to be. We went back and added a lot more content to the website to help visitors find what they’re looking for.
5-A short memory. Not to say you should instantly discard all your good tactics or work, but not every campaign or plan is going to turn out to change the world. Just because one campaign doesn’t work mean your entire career as a digital marketer is a failure. Learn from the mistakes and don’t get caught up in a hiccup with your career.
What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I love listening to the Edge of the Web podcast. They have regular news updates and interviews with marketers from around the world. Not only do you get to listen to unique stories, but the experts always have some solid tips throughout.
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. 🙂
Oh wow, that’s a loaded question.
I’ve always been big on being eco-friendly. I would start a movement to try and get more people to recycle and be more efficient with their everyday lives. Trying to consume less, taking only what you need, etc. I think it’s a way we can take care of each other and take care of our planet.
How can our readers further follow your work?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!