We sat down with Rich Brooks to talk about the BARE essentials you need for your brand to become a lead machine.
Rich has an extensive bio! Find out more about Rich’s background at the bottom of this blog.
You’ve coined the term the BARE Essentials. Can you explain what that means to our audience?
I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, we’ve built over 500 websites, I’ve probably worked with 1,000 different companies and people over the years. They’re all different and they’re all unique, but the longer I did the more I realized there were some core things that businesses and entrepreneurs need to think about as we now refer to as a digital marketing plan. BARE stands for Build, Attract, Retain, and Evaluate. And whenever I sit down with a business, entrepreneur or startup, I tell them to think about that framework, because digital marketing can feel very overwhelming. There’s just always something new to learn. Let’s just start with some basics.
Can you talk about how the BARE Essentials and SEO work for smaller, more local businesses?
Whenever someone wants to get more traffic from the search engines I usually tell them the big thing to focus on would be organic search, paid search, and local search. If you find yourself geographically challenged, as I sometimes like to say, some of the things you want to do to get seen in that local search–make sure that NAP information is consistent. NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number. You just want to make sure that is identical everywhere. If you’ve abbreviated street as St. on your website, that’s how it has to be everywhere. Sometimes we find small businesses have multiple addresses, maybe because they’ve moved or they never put their own name in, so a bunch of people just entered their data. Suddenly there are all these different versions of the business. That dilutes your visibility. You want to go in and do a claim and cleanse. Claim means you prove you own the business and once you’ve proven that, then you can clean up your listing, make sure it’s consistent. You want to get some customer reviews in there, too, whether through Yelp or Google Maps. These are all things that are going to impact your visibility in the local search engines.
How much should a business rely on their ad money spent on social media compared to Google Ads?
Sadly, it is not one size fits all. It would be great if I could say 35 percent of this, 65 percent of this, but it just doesn’t work that way. One of the things I’ve been saying so much these days is, best practices don’t equal best result. You have to look at your own analytics and own numbers to be sure. There are going to be certain businesses that do well social and get organic traffic. But they also spend money to be sure that we get in front of those social media managers and digital marketers. Then once we get in front of them, if we can lure them back to our website then hopefully we can get them on our email list and it becomes much more cost effective to stay in front of them.
Can you talk about some of the social media tools people can or should use? You’ve mentioned Houzz in the past.
Houzz is definitely a very industry specific social platform. We do work with a number of people within home restoration, general contractors and people like that, for them Houzz is a huge source of quality traffic. We always think about Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as these major social media hubs, and they are, but if you’ve got a Houzz for your industry you absolutely need to be paying attention to it and hanging out there. If your audience is there, it’s a very important social platform. The same could be true of any forums as well.
Could LinkedIn Groups be included in that mix?
We definitely could, but I feel like the LinkedIn groups have seen better days. And I think that’s because of mediocre moderation and jerks like me who spend too much time promoting our own stuff. There were groups I used to love to go to, great conversations, and it just feels like it more or less become a place to post your own bills and stuff, and I know I became less interested in it. There are some groups that are really well maintained, usually very industry specific. I’m certainly not saying all groups are bad.
Can you walk me through some best practices for the retain and evaluate elements?
For retain, we all know this, if we’re looking for a house, we look at multiple sites, if we’re looking for web design, we look at multiple sites. We absolutely want to stay in front of people. Bryan Eisenberg said, and I’ll have to paraphrase, never forget social is for reach and email is for revenue. I think that’s the perfect way to think about it, too, because when we do sales for Agents of Change or anything, I know that email is going to generate more sales than any other channel. Getting people onto your email list is incredibly important and what you want to do in that regard is give people a million reasons why they want to opt into our email loop. Not just, “join my mailing list,” which is code for I’ll spam you, but it could be an offer, it could be, free updates delivered straight to your inbox, it could be about downloading this white paper, a cheat sheet that goes along with this blog post, there are a lot of different ways to incentivise people. They’ll give you the email, and then you’ll have access to the most valuable piece of real estate on the internet, which is your customer’s inbox. That’s the number one thing. If you can’t get them to opt in the next best thing is to retarget them.
As far as evaluating goes, if you’re not paying attention to your numbers, looking at Google Analytics, then you don’t know what’s working and what’s not working. I’ve had so many discussions with businesses, where they’re like, “our SEO is no good.” Then, I look at their analytics, which they’ve never checked, and it turns out, actually they rank really well for a number of search terms. Their search traffic is pretty decent, it’s their conversion rate is abysmal.
About Rich Brooks
Rich Brooks started b1 communications–now flyte new media–in his living room in 1997. His design skills, project management, and ability to understand even the most basic accounting concepts have required him to hire much smarter and more talented people than himself.Regardless, Rich seems to think a lot of himself and calls himself an “Internet Marketing Expert.” Apparently, he likes to talk to himself in the third person as well.
Rich loves to hear the sound of his own voice, so you can often hear him speaking in front of both local and national audiences on web design and Internet marketing. He founded The Agents of Change Podcast, a weekly Internet radio show where he interviews marketing experts from around the world. He also started The Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference, an annual conference that takes place in Portland, Maine, and is streamed worldwide.
Rich is also the “tech expert” on 207, an evening news program on the NBC affiliates here in Maine.
He creates most of the content here at flyte, contributing to our web marketing blog, our YouTube channel, and our Facebook business page.
He’s an Expert Blogger at FastCompany.com and contributes regularly to Social Media Examiner, the world’s second most popular blogs on social media marketing.
Rich is also active in social media, and you can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, get LinkedIn with him, or find him on a dozen other sites as well. He welcomes your questions and looks forward to discussing your website.