Stories of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast Ep. 9 – Digital Marketing & Small Business

Stories of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast Ep. 9 – Digital Marketing & Small Business


Market research can sometimes be thought
of as out of the reach to small and medium businesses. Too expensive, too
time-consuming and too difficult to understand are some of the explanations
for this idea, but these apprehensions couldn’t be further from the truth.
With today’s marketing reality that one needs to be somewhat active in the
sphere of digital marketing, some business owners and marketers for small
businesses can find themselves overwhelmed by the processes, the players
and the tools they need to be familiar with if they hope to attempt to develop
marketing plans that are sophisticated enough to stand out from those developed
by larger businesses. Hello, my name is Duncan McGregor, the Marketing and
Communications Coordinator at Insightrix Research in Saskatoon, Canada – and your
podcast host. In this, our first episode of the second season of Stories of
Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast, we’re lucky to be joined by
Social Impact Entrepreneur and Communications Consultant, Katrina German.
With over 15 years’ experience in communications, Katrina’s worn a lot of
hats over the years: tech startup CEO, fundraiser, digital strategist, community
manager, writer, television producer and host, public speaker, trainer and author.
Recently, Katrina was a recipient of the 2018 Women in Communications Award from
Women in Tech. She’s in the CBC’s Future 40 Under 40, and was a delegate to the G20
YEA Summit in Berlin in 2017. In her work as a consultant, Katrina
collaborates with small- and medium-sized businesses to help them develop their
digital marketing strategies, and she’s the author of a valuable resource for
small and medium businesses who are looking to develop a solid digital
marketing footprint or to augment the one they currently employ. Her book, Action
Tracking: Master Your Digital Marketing Strategy in Under 30 Days. I sat down
with Katrina German for a short while to talk about some of the skills, practices
and tricks she lays out in Action Tracking to help small and medium
businesses develop digital marketing strategies, and to get some answers to
questions about how SMBs can both do their own market research and how
they can access research from market research agencies both affordably and
effectively. Metrics development, data gathering and getting your messages to
break through the digital clutter – all that and more on this episode of Stories
of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast. We’re here with our guest today, Katrina
German. Thanks for appearing on our podcast today – really appreciate it. No problem,
I’m excited. Let’s get right into it. OK. In your book, Action Tracking: Master
Your Digital Marketing Strategy in Under 30 Days, you speak about the
importance and the value of digital marketing for small and medium
businesses. Perhaps you can go into that a little bit for us? Yeah, I well I think,
you know, everybody knows that the buyers’ journey has changed significantly. You
know, in the past, you’d kind of ask, you’d maybe shop around, you’d get a lot of
your information from the salesperson, but now we’re in the position where
people are maybe they’ll ask their friends, but most often they’re gonna Google. Yeah.
Yeah. And from there you know they’re gonna look at reviews, you know they may
see your social media and you know be inspired to go look at your website
because like actually I do need that but really the beautiful part about being a
small business right now is that all of that data and all that information
that’s coming from social media and from search is available to you. So, you can
actually make good decisions and meet people where they are right and catch
people when they’re in the mood for your service because you know I have this
belief that entrepreneurs and small business people they start their
businesses because you know they want to make the world a better place
in some way, right? They want either to create a service or a product that’s
better and contributes to people’s lives and so, this is just something that
gives you the data to which you can make informed decisions and actually reach
people when they need you. Yeah, there’s a lot of tools out there that small
businesses can actually access to do a lot of their market research while their
marketing. Absolutely! Stuff like CRMs, or customer resource managers… management…
CRMs is what we always call them anyway. client I call them client relationship manager, but I don’t
know if that right… That’s it – we all throw around the term CRM and we know what it means, but hmmm… Stuff like that – you’ve got social media websites and, believe it or not, you’ve got AdWords is a really good one
that gives a crazy amount of metrics, right? So, that can be kind of, what’s the
best way to say it, overwhelming, for a lot of people, especially if you’re a small
business and you’re really good at doing the business but maybe not so great at
managing it, or you may not have a great idea of what marketing is, right? Where’s
a good place to start? What’s a great place to jump off? Well
yeah, maybe I’ll just, you know, I’ll talk a lot of the things I have in my book.
Oh beautiful! Yeah, let’s just dive right in there. Yeah, that’s great! You know, because it is a lot of research base, so for me the very first place I think you should
start is in Google Keyword Planner, and this is part of Adwords you know it’s
part of the the Google Ads suite you just go into tools and it’s there. And
basically, it’s just the list of everything that people are searching for.
So, you know, Google has it as a tool for you because they want you to create ads
based on that information, and you can be using that tool as a way to be like why are
people actually searching for? And, if you find those exact terms, and write them
down, you know, because one of the issues with a lot of small businesses is that, you know,
we have our own ways of describing what we do, right? We talk to our own people
and you know we have your internal terms… Like CRM? CRM, exactly right? But when people are
looking for you, what is it they say in their mind and type into Google? And you can actually find that data, so the very first place is to start there.
You know, when it’s something it can take little as 20 minutes you know for you to
get in and take a look around and just get a good sense, here’s a good
term for me to be using, to hours – because it becomes a bit of a rabbit
hole. You’re kind of get in there and it gets exciting because you’re kind of
like you’ve learned ton of what your business you know not just your
marketing you know just a ton about your business and what people want you know
for your services and it can really inform the future of your business too
not just your marketing. Yeah. So, I always say start there because
you’re gonna get those terms and you’re gonna understand. From there, I recommend people take it to Facebook. Take their messages. So say for example, you know,
you’re selling coffee, right? And the words keep coming up and there are
certain beans or something you know you know you can then look and say it oh you
know you pick all the top terms so let’s say there’s something about beans and
there’s something about you know about the habit of coffee in the morning. You know,
people are like, what’s the best coffee for the morning? You know, things like
that. There’s gonna be a bunch of terms are going to come on they’re gonna
probably surprise you. Take those, put them into marketing messages over on
Facebook and what I always recommend is that you do like it’s almost like a
head-to-head competition where you have 10 different messages and you leave the
pictures the same – you leave everything the same except for the messaging. And
you test them all at the same time and that way, you know these are the messages
that are going to cause people to actually take an action and click
through to my website because that data is all on Facebook. And you know, you can
be using all sorts, there’s all sorts of places you can use LinkedIn, you can
you Google ads. You can use those, but Facebook’s, you know… Their back-end is
amazing… and people really think Facebook is their personal newspaper. Yup, they really do. It is
a massive marketing platform – that’s the entire structure of it… That’s the point of it, right? Exactly. They are trying
to make it as easy as possible for you to set up ads and to measure them. So
basically, if you do your 10 messages, and measure them, and again too –
and I’m talking about the thing you want to measure for is your click-through
rate, especially when you’re a small business because really having your
brand out there and having people like and engage and stuff, that’s all really nice and good, you know that should be contributing to what
you’re doing, too – and that sort of a long-term plan… Lift is great, right? Yeah exactly, but really, when you’re a small business, like that’s not gonna feed your family. You need
people who are going to be clicking through and buying. And so, you really want to be
focusing on those messages. What are actually causing people to click through
to your website and actually take a look at your services? Because you know those
aren’t just the tire kickers. Those are the people who are actually interested
in what you’re offering… So, then you’ll want to track behaviours? Exactly! Yeah,
that’s Action Tracking! So then, after you test that, you’re gonna find, and this
often happens, you’ll have 2 or 3 of those messages that really rise above.
You know, you’ll get, and I actually recommend, that you only do, you know – you only do like 3 bucks a message for a week. That’s enough time
to really figure out kind of what’s gonna get people to take action. And it’s a cheap experiment… Super cheap. Yeah, and basically they’re you’re gonna have 2 or 3 messages
that are gonna rise above. You’ll get 30 clicks on one of them and 4 on
another – so the ones that are low, just get rid of them. Yeah, right?! If it’s not working, just get rid of it. Exactly.
Like, these are not messages that appeal to your ideal audience. So then, you pick
your top ones and you can play with them. I usually do a round of testing just to
refine those messages – see if I can save them in a slightly different way that
can get it to cost about $1.00 to have a click-through… That’s not bad. That’s the
idea – yeah, that’s a really cheap user acquisition. Now, it doesn’t always work
to a dollar. Like, some of my clients will – you know – $7 that’s as cheap as we
can get to get to someone to their website… Depending on your keywords, right? What are you gonna do? Exactly, your
keywords and they’re also your clients and who they are where they are that
kind of stuff. They might not really be that online, but most people are.
And… but a lot of my clients are like you know 30 – 40 cents to get it to get a
potential user to their website. That’s huge, you know. Yeah, exactly. So your third
step, after you refine those messages, you’re gonna have some 2 or 3 that
come out that you’re like, yes this is the… these are the beauties. Then, you want to test your photos and that’s, you know, that’s always a fun one because you
never know what people are going to… People react differently to images. They really do…
Exactly! Yeah, there’s gonna be some… You know, and the funny thing I’ve been
finding is, we all have this inclination as businesses to have these
really high-end corporate looking, you know… But, people seem to respond to just
the iPhone photo of something a little bit unusual or something funny
you know, where you’d… Social media effect, right?! Exactly, yeah, people are used to seeing
those types of photos, and so they’re attracted to them. So, they tend to click
through those more. And if you want to, you know you can also take it one step
further and test the the call-to-action. Are you asking people to learn
more or a shop now, you know, that kind of stuff. You can test that too if you
feel like taking it that far. What you’ll find is by the end of this, you end up
with this beautiful message that is gonna cause people, you know
exactly the photo, you know exactly the you know the message that is gonna cause
people to get to your website. So, that’s basically where I would start around
social media. And now, don’t get me started on the websites and email… Well, email is
actually another really great way for businesses, especially small ones, to
connect to their client base correct? Absolutely. A really high return. Like, it’s,
it’s… social media, you’re kind of fishing a little bit, you know. Whereas email – those
are people who are already engaged, interested in your topic, you know that…
That’s fishing with an F and not a PH though, right? Yeah, absolutely! And email has a really high rate of
return. So, if you’re kind of a referral business where you get a lot of your
businesses through referral, email is a really strong way to do that. And
basically you know, email is just – it’s kind of that superpower that a lot
of businesses forgot. You know? A lot of businesses never get to the point where
they have email plans in place, and the cool thing about today is that there is
so many email automation softwares out there. MailChimp is a
good example. Infusionsoft is very expensive and a really big program, but
you know if you’re having a huge email program, you know a huge email plan, you
know there good option. There’s just a ton of them
out there and various price ranges from… Well, they go tens of thousands to free… Yeah, exactly. Yeah and basically, you can set up an email
process and you set it up once and let it run and again the beauty of it is you
can see how effective it is. Yeah it’s all giving you good metrics that you can track… You can look at those numbers and say how many people are opening this and how many people are clicking through. And basically, it almost
becomes a new sales person for you because you are connecting with people
and giving them you know ideally giving them information they really want so
they like your business more and more, and want to open your emails…
Awesome. Awesome. So you, in effect you’re doing your own market research and
you’re doing it on the cheap, and that’s great! Every time you’re in a small
business or medium-sized business, if you can do something on the cheap – oh, so much better, right? Exactly. Well, it increases your margins. Yeah, exactly it increases your margins and plus you learn a lot about your business what
people want from you. So, what are these metrics tell you? Like, how can you use
them to to benefit? I know that’s a bit of a broad question, but if you’re just
starting with your small business, and starting your digital marketing
plan, you end up with all these numbers now… How can they inform your
marketing plan? Well, you know, and that’s also the other thing too, is that numbers –
there’s so many numbers that you can be looking at… You start drowning in them, right? Yeah, exactly. So my goal with Action Tracking particularly, it’s really like,
here’s just some, you know, here are 5 numbers you should be focusing on when
looking at your funnel. That’s excellent. And, you know, and just keeping it clean.
There’s a million things you can learn, but you know, like how do you just kind of
minimize that so it’s not overwhelming. There’s a lot of things you can learn,
like, from the keyword research… Like you were saying… What are the people are
searching for… Click-through rate… Click-through rate… There’s also, you
know, and I often will do a quick equation – cost per click, you know, I put 21 dollars in this, I got this many clicks back and
that’s how you figure out, you know, that it cost a dollar to get someone to your
website. That’s awesome. Yeah so, you can dive so deep into this, it’s you can pretty
much learn anything about your market from social media analytics.
Yeah and that’ll really start to inform your ROI, right? A lot, you know. Absolutely. It starts to let you know that you’re putting this much work into your marketing, how much am I getting
out of it? Especially when it comes to digital marketing – you can do it cheap, but
it doesn’t mean you can do it cheaply effectively, if that makes sense.
Absolutely and that’s the idea, you know, you don’t want to
just be throwing stuff up… That’s it… This deserves some like deliberative thinking
and some deliberate planning around too. And you put a couple of months of
work into it, and then you know. Yeah. And things will change slightly, you know. You may have to tweak here and there but ultimately you can just be watching your
numbers and like be all of a sudden like, “Oh wait a minute! Our website is not
performing as well, you know. Let’s make a little tweak on our website and see how
if it can do better.” And so, it becomes less of a daunting thing. You
know if you set it up right, it could take a couple of months, you know or like,
or well, under 30 days you can do this system in, and then just tweak you know.
and kind of watch how it all shakes out. And again, to your point about return on
investment, is that you can also do some prediction, right? You can know that, hey
if I’m gonna put 500 dollars into my social media, I can expect to
have this much out at the end of it because I know that I’m sending this
many people to my website, that my conversion rates – they’re approximately
this, and here’s the amount of revenue like you know can expect out of
each client. You know? So, it’s a bit of a, it’s a bit of a process, but it’s – it’s so
worth it because you can start to predict your revenue and whether it’s
worth putting money into certain parts of the, you know, your social media plan.
Yeah totally, if you’re working in small- business marketing or sales, that kind of
thing can really help you a lot when it comes to starting new marketing efforts,
beginning new campaigns and justifying them to your management. Absolutely! Yeah, no, I want everybody who’s working within a small business to be able
to grow their boss and say, “Hey, I personally like our social media plan
increased sales by 30%. I can show you those numbers.” And marketing is notorious for proving ROI, so it’s really nice to have solid metrics that
you can get yourself to prove it. Absolutely. That’s the beauty of social
media – it’s all there. It’s not a guess. It’s not like you know a billboard
or something, where you’re like, “Hey. I think this is the return…” Yeah. Now
there’s other forms of market research that are available to small/medium
businesses that are available through agencies like Insightrix that
actually small/medium businesses can access to at an affordable cost –
stuff like syndicated research and omnibus research, actually, is a really
good way to start. Have you ever looked into syndicated research a great deal? Well, I have, one of my clients actually. I have a really, really cool kind of story about
that sort of thing, yeah. He was able to invest a little bit into
some research before he even started his business and there was a little, you know,
some focus groups and they put together into a really beautiful
marketing package… Oh wow!… And, you know, an idea of here’s what people… A full custom research… Exactly yeah, and here’s what people are can expect, you know, and here’s what you think that the
the pain points of creating this business are going to be based on
people’s response to the idea. It was fascinating because we started off with
that paper and then you know we went still what to the Action Tracking
process, and we know we were doing all of the actual activities around the
marketing and there was an absolute correlation. You could see almost word for word in some cases, the statements that were coming
out and social media were very similar to the market research data ahead. Oh wow… Yeah, so it was really, it was really quite a fascinating thing, just seeing
that value, right? I could see that as super beneficial. Yeah, and stuff like syndicated research, like I said, it’s a really great way – like,
maybe you don’t have the money for that custom research project like maybe your client had, but if you know the field that you’re in, there are tons of companies
out there like Insightrix that produce syndicated reports all the time
that speak directly to your field. So, you can access those pretty affordably… And one of my things I actually use Insightrix reports quite often because you
guys do the Social Media Usage in Saskatchewan, and so you know things
like that you know just getting a hold of that report is very valuable in terms
of where – when you’re making a prediction about which social media platforms in
which to be posting on because you again small businesses have limited amount of
time and effort. And so, I actually recommend that you – you can get
all your names and all the different platforms that you want to – but I always
say, you don’t just put like if you’re on Twitter and you don’t want to be there
because you don’t have the time or the money to be putting into that and it
doesn’t make sense, just putting a little note saying we’re more active on
Instagram or whatever the case is you know come over and meet us there. You can still post in those places occasionally but you know just keeping it clear that
you know you have one place that you’re really putting your attention. Now, to
figure out that place, a great basis is going to research… Those syndicated reports, exactly… you know, I
use one from the States like Pew Research. You know, they do a lot of that and it’s available online, you know. A lot of this, you know, the surface stuff
is available online and then if you want to dive deeper you can generally
purchase. So, absolutely – absolutely worth it and I use all of that and to
basically predict which platforms are going to be the best for my clients to
be posting on. Another good option for folks who are in small businesses
working on smaller budgets is omnibus research. We do our omnibus survey every month called the OnTopic where we ask people in Saskatchewan custom questions through
our online research panel. Companies can actually access that quite reasonably
and it’s available from a lot of different research agencies. So, if you’re
a small business, that’s something else to look into. Perfect resource. Yeah
exactly. You know, it’s a great resource to
validate your own research. So, if you’ve done a bunch of your own desk research
and you need to figure out, “OK, this stuff seems to be working but what could
I do to make it better?” Omnibus research is great. You ask a
couple of ask a couple of questions, around a couple hundred bucks – you know.
You know? You’re validating now. Now you know. You get the answers. Yeah, exactly. So, is there any new digital marketing trends out there that we should all be looking out
for because I know you’re right on the cutting edge of a lot of this stuff and
I wanted to ask you about this particularly. Well, you know, video’s been
around for a while… Oh, video is king, right? … Yeah, but everybody, you know, that’s not really a
new trend, but it’s still, just you know, it just has great returns, right? And as people are getting more into the live video – Facebook Live,
Instagram Stories, you know, all that stuff – yeah, it all – it
definitely is an impact. An interesting one, this is, this is very cutting edge.
This isn’t necessarily even, you know, to do with analytics or marketing research
but it was an area of marketing/online marketing trends is augmented reality. A
lot of the big people are starting to create very cool projects and products
are basically you look through your phone you know at something… Pokemon Go style… Yeah, exactly. And you can see, you know, someone playing basketball, you know,
instead of it just being a poster, you can actually see actions. And it’s a
really neat way to catch people’s attention and to really you know just
take your online marketing to that next level. But it’s a bit tricky to
create but there are a lot of cool companies out there who are doing things
like that. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about content online, as
well, because it used to be, five years ago, you could just shotgun content out onto there and improve your SEO like that. You know, nowadays it’s sort of changed a
little bit with Google’s way it crawls stuff. It’s looking for higher
quality, like you were saying. Video content, augmented reality content – stuff
like that. Is there anything relatively inexpensive
that a small business could do to get high-quality premium content content?
Well, you know, again, if you you know for me the ideal… Yeah, the ideal blog post
looks like a video and then a long-form blog post after it… Oh, long form? Yeah, because a lot of
people in the past were you know kind of do the short ones here’s some short
clips and people like that. They like jumping in – seeing the stuff. But right
now, Google’s algorithms, and this could change anytime – what they’re doing is
they’re actually watching to see how long people are spending on your website.
Like or, so when you search something – what’s the best coffee – and you get
sent to a page. You go and check that out – now Google is watching. You know, not actually watching, but their algorithms are you know seeing how long you’re
spending on that site. Are you – do you leave right away? You know, because you’re
– it doesn’t meet your needs. At which point they won’t send further people there. But
if you go in and you read for quite some time, it means they’re like, “Okay, we did
it. We answered this question.” So, in my book, I actually called the algorithms
librarian spiders… That’s awesome. I’m going to steal that… That’s how I imagine them running around, you know, trying to find the right resources
for you. And basically, if they feel like, “Hey, we did it,” they tell all the other
librarian spiders we did it, send everybody here, you know. This is the – this
is the right place to answer this question. But if you know you’re sending
a bunch of people to your website and it’s not answering their question,
they’re leaving right away, they’re disappointed in the site – whether for
whatever reason – that, you know, that impacts the way, how many, how many
people at Google sends your way. Those short posts then, Google’s reading that as
somebody who didn’t find their answer rather than somebody who actually made
the contents answer quickly. So, keeping them on the site’s a really
good move. Yeah, and just, you know, instead
of doing 4 points for your answer, do 8. Now you’re currently working on a
video training package for Action Tracking. Could you explain that a little
bit? Absolutely, well… We’re really curious about
that… Yeah, well basically you know in the book it’s a lot of you can use
Google keyword research. You know you can set up Facebook ads and –
but a lot of people maybe aren’t comfortable doing that, right? You
know, they don’t know how to maybe get into Google, you know? Things like that. So,
I’m putting together it’s – it’s a really step-by-step, here’s exactly how you
do each of the steps of Action Tracking. So, the idea is that you can basically
follow along and do it right alongside the video and have everything is set up
in under 30 days. That’s awesome! Do you have a timeline on when you think
that’s going to be in the near future so people can get a hold of it? Yeah, the
goal is by early April. Awesome and you can get at that on katrinagerman.com?
Yes, you bet – well, there’ll at least be a link there. Yeah that’s excellent, excellent. In fact, all your
contact information to your website, how to get your book – all that jazz, I’m going
to be putting it on our website so people can be able access that a lot
easier. Wonderful. That’s great. Well, thank you for coming on. I really appreciate it.
We learned a lot. It was a short, quick interview, but I really appreciate you
taking the time out. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for asking me.
Thank you. The 2018 Saskatchewan Social Media
Report is now available. The 2018 report gives you access to both qualitative and
quantitative regionally specific social media data trended from 2016 to give you
an accurate and representative snapshot of social media usage over time, as well
as the usage of social media by demographics. The 2018 Saskatchewan
Social Media Report is an indispensable tool for targeted digital marketing
intelligence in the Saskatchewan marketplace, and it’s now available for
purchase on the Insightrix website. To purchase the report or for more
information, go to insightrix.com And there you have it. I’d like to thank
Katrina German for coming on the podcast and sharing her knowledge and experience.
If you’d like more information about Katrina or to contact her, visit her website, katrinagerman.com. There, you’ll be able to find more information on her
book, Action Tracking: Master Your Digital Marketing Strategy in Under 30 Days. If
you’re the owner of a small- or medium-sized business, or if you’re
employed as a marketer at one, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And, of course,
we’d like to thank you, our loyal and rapidly growing fanbase.
Your patience while we geared up for Season 2 is much appreciated. For
Season 2, we’re geared up to produce even more episodes with even more
international and national guests to give you even more of the information
you need and the stories you crave about the field of market research. And while
you’re online anyway, please take the time to rate and review the podcast in
Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or whichever podcast app you prefer for listening to
the show. It’ll get the podcast in front of more people like you – folks with an
interest in market research. And while you’re at it, why not subscribe? That way,
you’ll be sure never to miss an episode. If you’d like more information about the
Insightrix programs or products you’ve heard mentioned in the episode – like omnibus research or syndicated reporting head over to www.insightrix.com. Thanks again for listening. We’ll be back in a few weeks with another episode of Season 2 of
Stories of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast.

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