As digital trends come and go, marketers need to make smart decisions about what strategies generate successful outcomes and deliver on revenue. Paid media consultant Susan Wenograd shares her insights on leveraging Facebook Messenger and chatbots to help convert customers and circumvent the email “blackhole”, as well as her productivity tips and more in this month’s spotlight interview.
How would you describe your company in less than 150 words?
I am laser-focused on holistic paid media strategy to help clients get more leads and more sales. I work with clients on the user journey, the assets they have, and how to make those two things work together best so their media money produces results. I’m an even mix of right-brain and left-brain, helping clients tweak all the levers they have to smoothly produce the best outcomes possible with their media budgets.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When I first started in digital marketing, I had no agenda. I didn’t have a company, and it wasn’t a thought in my mind yet. I really just wanted to learn, soak up everything I could, and share whatever I learned. I think it accomplished two things: 1. I wasn’t distracted to trying to grow a business while learning the “how” of paid media. 2. I wasn’t buddying up to people to get business. I genuinely wanted to learn from their experience and wisdom. I have always done my best to give that back to others seeking to learn by openly sharing my strategies and outcomes. I don’t believe that we all need to fight over the clients out there – there are more than enough who need help. It’s more important to me to empower folks to give great service and results than it is to hoard all that information and try and service the world on my own.
That ecosystem of getting knowledge and sharing it back has built me to where I am.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Oh man. I always have more things I want to do than I can get to! It’s usually an even balance of client work and then either planning out content, or executing on a current plan. I try and fit my client and prospect phone calls into a few specific days every week so I can have longer, uninterrupted blocks of time. I long-ago learned that I am a morning person, and am SO happy when I can get deeply “in the zone” for a few hours to do work with no interruptions. So, I try and plan out my weeks to follow that natural tendency.
Besides acquiring new customers, what is the biggest challenge in growing your business?
Transferring my knowledge into a repeatable process. I definitely want to grow and scale larger at some point, and that can’t happen if everything is just in my head. It’s a hard habit to break, though! When you’ve done certain things for so long, it’s funny how hard it is to describe or write down. It’s like writing down instructions for how to breathe.
What do you think is the most interesting trend in digital advertising now?
I’d say the most interesting trend piece would be the rise in personalized communication via FB Messenger for ads.
Facebook had released the option to have ads drive to Messenger as the user destination, which I thought was an interesting move, though not a surprising one. So far, I’ve found it works really well for products where there’s a learning curve that can prevent a sign up or purchase.
I worked with a subscription-focused company in the women’s health space, and they found that a lot of sign ups didn’t complete because potential customers just had too many questions. They had great educational materials, but found there were always a lot of one-off questions that were easy to address that still got in the way. We tested having remarketing ads pushing to Messenger, with the ad copy centering on the user being able to ask any remaining questions. It worked really well, and they already had a strong social team in place, so there wasn’t an added burden.
Similarly, I’m seeing success in using chatbots for things such as list growth. So many of us have Gmail accounts that are bloated with tons of emails a day, and most of them are in the Promotions tab – these are easy to scan and overlook. The option to receive updates, newsletters, or whatever it might be, via Messenger is a new way around the email black hole.
I’ve started running experiments on this within a Facebook Ad that remarkets to my site visitors and it’s been growing very steadily! It’s getting easy to set up some basic chat flows and lead customers down a content path or sales funnel, all in an automated yet personalized way. I can create entire paths for them to follow based on their answers to questions I ask. The possibilities for it are fascinating, and I’ve already started building out content plans for my chatbot subscribers in a 6-week chunk that should be launching in the next few weeks!
Do you see any trends specific to PPC reporting?
It’s definitely less of a silo than it used to be. It used to be a report for paid search, a report for Facebook Ads, etc. They were somewhat independent of each other, but clients are very aware that advertising is a multiple-touchpoint world. While there’s no silver bullet for attribution, clients are a lot more open to having discussions around how certain channels likely influence others, and are moving away from being so fixated on last-click attribution models.
How will these trends impact advertisers in the future?
It really lets the strategic advertisers shine. The ones who are only good at one thing and can’t see the larger view will struggle. It’s not that all agencies have to be good at every kind of paid media, but an awareness of how their specialty fits into the larger ad ecosystem is crucial.
What are the biggest challenges you face in PPC campaign management?
There are still clients that are very hung up on last-click attribution. They know in their gut that awareness marketing is important, but for so many years the idea that we could track every dollar into an outcome was the norm. It became the standard and the obsession, so as platforms that are excellent for brand awareness continue to evolve, some clients really miss out because they are clinging to what feels familiar in the metrics.
What are the top 5 tools or apps you use almost every day?
- Facebook Power Editor – it’s what I spend the majority of my day in. It’s far from perfect, but it’s the closest thing to a bulk editing tool with all the features I need. I always hope everyday it’ll be a little less buggy!
- Swydo – This is really more weekly, but it makes reporting SO much easier and a heck of a lot prettier than what I could create on my own.
- AdWords Editor – I rarely use the usual interface for AdWords. Editor makes account builds so quick.
- Tweetdeck – This is my go-to for industry connections. If I get stuck, want an opinion, or want to find some good material to read, Twitter is my place. Tweetdeck keeps everything organized and easy to follow for me.
- Asana – As I’ve grown I’ve needed to have a central repository for client notes, what’s due when etc, so I can keep my head screwed on straight. Asana is my sanity-keeper!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Waiting tables in college was pretty bad, but I became a better salesperson for it. I still don’t really consider myself one, but I became really comfortable striking up conversation, making people laugh and making myself feel approachable. I do not miss going home and smelling like food, however. Yuck.
What people have influenced your thinking (and why) and might be of interest to others?
It’s a lot of industry people that have influenced me in different ways, I think. I have learned a lot from Mike King at iPullRank.com, both as a friend and as a presenter, and how to approach challenges differently than I normally would. I have learned a lot of strategy-expanding thoughts from Marty Weintraub at AimClear (aimclear.com) that have influenced how I look at paid social.
What is your favorite quote?
“A year from now you’ll be wishing you’d started today.”
It’s so true. It’s easy to think “Oh, I’ll get to that,” you blink, and it’s a year later. I start with outcomes I want, and work my way backwards to what that means for today.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
I’d like to have a small-ish and driven team that constantly evolves, with a reputation for great results and cutting-edge strategy. I’m not big on clinging to the familiar when it’s obvious the landscape is changing, and it can be challenging to build a company knowing that things will change constantly, but I’m up for the challenge!
Susan is a paid media consultant, specializing in paid social and paid search. She has worked in the digital marketing arena since 2005, with additional experience in writing, email marketing, and content strategy. Her experience spans both in-house and agency-side, where she has worked with and for large household brand names and small businesses just getting their start. She is a frequent speaker internationally at conferences, and is a contributing writer to SearchEngineJournal and MarketingLand properties. You can reach her on Twitter @SusanEDub or via LinkedIn.