GUEST: Garrett Mehrguth, President and CEO of Directive
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We’ve all probably seen something like this at one point or another in our careers.
And if you didn’t smell the B.S. from a mile away, you may have even fallen for it. If there weren’t good people being tricked into scams like that, those fraudsters wouldn’t have jobs.
Plus, he shares:
- What brand discoverability means and why it matters
- How he achieved 15 million impressions for $1,000
- Why generalist agencies will eventually fade out
Not everything needs attribution
Against most C-level executives’ premonitions, Garrett emphasizes that there doesn’t need to be attribution for every conversion your company sees. Some things can still be left up to the nature of human psychology.
After all, aren’t all decisions made based on emotions? It’s only when we’re justifying our decisions that we use logic.
“We don't give fair credence to human psychology and the fact that people have been doing advertising for a long time without being able to measure it perfectly.”
Plus, Garrett explains that placing too much attribution on paid strategies such as lead gen campaigns can hike up the customer acquisition cost way past the value that advertisers are getting in return.
Sometimes, strong branding trumps paid advertising in regards to ROI. At least, that’s what Directive and its clients have seen.
What is brand discoverability?
Garrett defines brand discoverability as essentially leveraging third-party directories and review sites in order to show up in bottom-of-the-funnel search results. It’s what his agency, Directive, specializes in.
How it works
Imagine you’re on the hunt for the very best ERP software in the industry. You’ve addressed the problem you have with your current ERP software or lack thereof.
Through preliminary research, you’ve been introduced to a few different brands and they’ve started to retarget you with display ads and the like. You finally carve out the budget you’ll need for $250,000 ERP software.
You type “best ERP software” into your search bar.
The top organic results show third-party “best of” and “top #” lists and review sites. Perfect! This has made it very easy for you to compare the prices and functions of multiple SaaS products.
Besides, you wouldn’t click on a first-party result. You want to see what unbiased sites have to say about each product. Because that’s just how we are as humans — we want to see third-party reviews and opinions before making a big (or even small) decision.
Why it matters
This is the process that Garrett and his team leverage for their clients. Instead of putting clients’ money towards targeting bottom-of-the-funnel search queries (best ERP software, top ERP software), they allocate budget towards showing up on third-party directories and review sites.
Agencies promising to help your company rank for those types of queries through SEO strategies should be avoided. Even if your web page somehow magically shows up for a bottom-of-the-funnel search query, buyers will probably opt for the page that offers objective information. That will, in turn, drive up your customer acquisition costs.
Focusing less on SEO for bottom-of-the-funnel queries and more on brand discoverability, Garrett’s team was able to lower their clients’ cost-per-proposal by 230% in 2018.
Furthermore, as long as you’re putting in the effort to boost awareness for top-of-the-funnel queries, buyers will feel comfortable with your brand since they’ve likely seen it before.
Garrett also has a proven strategy for cost-effective top-of-the-funnel brand awareness.
15 million impressions for $1,000
Just as the subtitle suggests, Garrett’s team was able to achieve 15 million impressions for just $1,000. What’s more, he believes this kind of ROI should be the norm.
How did Directive hit such an unfathomable ROI you ask?
Top-of-the-funnel awareness and bottom-of-the-funnel brand discoverability.The team’s top-of-the-funnel awareness strategy is simple:
- Determine the keywords you’re already ranking for.
- Double down on your strategy for the most profitable (least competition, most searched) terms within that list of keywords.
- Conquer the market share for SERPs featuring those keywords.
Of course, this only applies to your SEO strategy. However, it’s important to note that Garrett’s team follows the philosophy of doubling down on their expertise in all the facets of the agency.
Generalist agencies will fade out
Directive has seen success in growing areas that it is already winning. This approach has allowed Directive and its clients to show up more often, supercharging their brands’ discoverability.
“I don't think the future of agencies is being a generalist. The future of agencies is being the best in the world at a set channel.”
There are literally thousands of SaaS companies and agencies that are assisting those companies with digital marketing. Soon, agencies will not be able to take on varied areas of SaaS on their own and also scale successfully.
Garrett points out that agencies who dive deeper into silos they’ve already mastered will not run out of SaaS clients.
Those agencies will continue to refine their expertise and, at the same time, increase their brand discoverability within specific industries. There are currently enough SaaS companies to go around and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
Agencies who embrace their proprietary qualities and ditch the generalist approach will likely succeed in the coming years.
Make your brand discoverable
Garrett offers several takeaways to keep in mind when you’re considering brand discoverability:
- Don’t fall into the scammy SEO trap.
- Try targeting third-party directories and review sites for bottom-of-the-funnel terms.
- Save your traditional SEO approach for top-of-the-funnel terms.
- Already ranking for a few keywords? Double down.
- Start thinking about how your agency can get more specific.
Small and large organizations alike can benefit from a strong brand discoverability plan.
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