How To Make It At A Startup

Working in a high-growth company is stressful, rewarding, painful, and ... potentially great. When you work in a highly visible team like the digital advertising team in a startup, everything is magnified. Many startups lake the time or infrastructure to invest significantly into content/SEO and rely on paid media to spur movement, the teams can often be small and you're at the forefront of growth. I'm here to tell you today that more than just a knowledge of advertising channels and strategies is required. This is the first in a series of posts about this, but today I'm talking about attitude.

Hey, You Look Like You Don't Care

Surprisingly, when you're 8 hours into a day of staring at ad campaigns, spreadsheets, project management tools, and who knows how many meetings you can occasionally not look thrilled to be there. Startups are often high-pressure environments, there is a need for results today, not tomorrow. Because of this your team leaders are not only looking for performance, but are evaluating your attitude and cultural fit. If you appear low-energy, are not in meetings on time and contributing, rarely smile or attend after-hours shindigs it can be just as bad for your career as a month of tanking ad campaigns. 

The reasoning behind this is we want to work with people who want to be there, and a lack of passion about work may not be impacting results today, but what could growth be like if someone with fire and energy was in your spot? Could things be better? You're not just being measured on what is happening today in your ad campaigns, you're being measured on the opportunity cost of your continued employment. I'm here to tell you today that you can never get comfortable in your work, don't settle into spending all of your time tweaking ads and doing keyword research. Dig into the bigger picture, perform analyses before you're asked to, and if you're a low-energy person you're going to want to try faking it until it becomes real (or try sugar-free redbull).

Should I Work With A Digital Agency?

That is a great question. Unfortunately I can't really answer whether YOU should work with an agency, but I can give you some good general guidelines. The problem with most agencies is that they want to keep you around as long as possible, makes sense doesn't it? Oddly we are considering an exit clause that incentives us to hit your goals sooner so you can move on to bigger and better things, still working that over internally. But, that's not why you're here. The reality of your growth trajectory is that there is a timeline for how this should work. You're about to get some great information we have acquired over the years.

  1. Just starting your marketing - Handle it internally
    1. Read articles and how-to's build your first AdWords campaign and start testing, or have Gary the intern do it.
  2. Spending $1,000-$2,000 per month
    1. If Gary hasn't gotten better by now it may be time to hire a freelancer or very small agency that charges you a percentage of spend, or low minimum rate. Large agencies will not work with a client this small, and hourly rate agencies will end up charging you a somewhat unreasonable % of spend at this point. Although, we would too, it's hard to effectively manage this much spend.
  3. Spending $2,000-$19,000 per month
    1. Ok, now we are talking. You're officially large enough to be a great client for an agency to work with and you're spending enough to really get great results. You're still not quite hiring a full-time person.
  4. Spending $20,000-$30,000 per month
    1. Yes, there is very little difference between $19k & $20k, thanks a lot. But at this point you'd likely be paying an agency 10%-15% of $20,000-$30,000 and investing roughly half of what a full-time junior advertiser would cost you. It's time to at least consider a hire, talk to your agency about consulting relationships and training your hire. We will actually even help you make the hire like we are a recruiting firm, which is pretty cool.

Most business will not reach an advertising investment beyond this, but if you do you will often need to consider a hybrid model of having a Full-Time Senior (3-6 years) Ad Manager AND an agency that assists in strategy development and execution. Once you are investing significantly in digital advertising you will likely find that agencies that can deliver with the speed you are looking for are few and far between. Nobody will know your company better than your own team, working with an agency as a trusted partner can become the best model when you reach the upper echelons of advertising. If you have any questions about hiring agencies or growth and the fun problems that come along with it...get in touch!

How To Use Facebook Advertising To Compliment AdWords

If your business has been slow to adopt spending outside of paid search (probably AdWords, but it's ok if you use Bing Ads too) you likely feel like you're behind; but changing your strategy and investing in something that may not feel directly relevant to your business is hard to do. The context we reach our audience in feels important, but the reality is that social media advertising has now reached what print, TV, and radio were. Advertising in Facebook is simply reaching your audience where they are. Also, if you haven't been doing it you probably aren't aware of the amazing targeting Facebook gives us as advertisers. Let's walk through some examples.

The Financial Planner

Your a wealth management firm that works primarily with those approaching retirement and seeking a better understanding of their investments and a sense of security. When you take out a napkin and pen in a meeting you describe your audience as 50-60 year old professional with $1-$3 Million in assets living within a 50 mile radius of your office. Did you know that Facebook has financial targeting capabilities? 56 year old Mary is ready to evaluate her options, performs a search, and clicks on your competitors search listing because they're at the top. Had  you been serving ads in Facebook, or a similar channel, and sparked her interest before she had the intent to search for a firm you would have won.

The Tech Startup

Looking for funding is exhausting, finding customers and standing out among your competitors? Even more so. With a minimal investment into Facebook & Instagram advertising you can not only create a pretty complex retargeting funnel that uses events such as signing up for your demo, starting a trial, or visiting your contact us page to determine the right ad to show...but you can create an efficient prospecting machine. Your target audience is the millennial marketer looking for increased efficiency from their ad campaigns, your reporting tool is the solution to transparency. Showing them a video ad with a reach and frequency campaign (for increased reach and awareness by selecting the # of impressions per user), and creating an audience for video views then targeting them on desktop we find the exact path you need to start converting traffic.

How Does This Work With AdWords?

If you're worried about pulling back on your AdWords budget, don't do that. You shouldn't sacrifice your core advertising spend to pursue an experiment, plan your foray into Facebook as best as you can and monitor results. Starting advertising in channels like Facebook will often lead to increased search volume (and consequently ad spend), plan for this; watch for spikes in search traffic to your site that indicate your Facebook campaigns are working even more than Facebook says they are. Also, being that you're a direct-response marketer using Google Analytics and a last-click attribution system, drop us a line to talk about the proper way to use UTM's so you know which Facebook ad actually drove a sale or lead.