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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
Stacy Jones (00:13):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, and I’m so happy to be here with you all today. And I want to give a very warm welcome to my Meg Sakakibara. Meg is the vice president of marketing at Unbounce, the platform that helps brands increase their conversion campaigns through landing pages and leveraging the power of AI. With their conversion intelligence software, Unbounce has helped over 70,000 brands, empowered over one and a half billion conversions.
Stacy Jones (00:38):
Meg’s a B2B marketing professional in the tech knowledge community for 14 years, spanning both enterprise software and S&D [inaudible 00:00:45]. She is passionate about all things marketing, both traditional and digital. Today, Meg and I are going to be chatting about AI systems and tools you can use to better leverage conversion to intelligent software, and how to leverage it in the digital marketing world. We’ll learn what works for Meg’s perspective, what should be avoided, and how some businesses just missed the mark. Meg, welcome. So happy to have you here today.
Meg Sakakibara (01:05):
Yeah, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Stacy Jones (01:07):
Well, I love all things digital marketing. And more so, I love actually doing digital marketing that gets results and that’s what you help people do, right?
Meg Sakakibara (01:17):
Yeah, that’s right. I think we all love getting results, and that’s kind of what Unbounce is founded on.
Stacy Jones (01:23):
Perfect. How did you get started in this industry, and just in general of all things digital tech?
Meg Sakakibara (01:29):
Yeah. Actually, I started off early in my career in tech by coincidence. When I was a student, I always imagined myself going into tourism with these [inaudible 00:01:39] idea of travel and going to all these different countries and writing about other countries. But I kind of stumbled into tech early, and thank goodness I did because what a cool industry it is. I realized very early on that tech is just the bleeding edge of marketing. And it’s just this place that you get to experience like all the latest and greatest of marketing innovation and tools and technology and trends and kind of like leading everybody else in what to expect for marketing. So, it’s just been such a fun place to be.
Meg Sakakibara (02:12):
I started off in enterprise, like you said, in my intro. And then, about halfway through my career, I’ve now moved over to the SMB space. So, I’ve kind of had both sides of the coin and really like feeding the pipeline for sales. And then, like a multi-year sales cycle to SMB and having like a very low barrier to entry and marketing really is the sales engine and it’s all self-serve and more about brand. So, it’s been a really fun journey and lots of learnings along that road.
Stacy Jones (02:39):
Well, along the way, obviously, Unbounce came about. And softwares born that would help people on their digital journey with getting better engagement conversions and just like basically feeding leads in, so that there could be results. What are some of the best ways that people can make sure when they’re creating digital marketing campaigns that they actually are finding success?
Meg Sakakibara (03:07):
Yeah. Great question. There’s so many things people should be doing. I think as an SMB, sometimes it’s difficult to do all of the things because we’re competing against these massive companies that have hundreds, sometimes thousands of marketers at their disposal to be able to do this. But really it all comes down to really thinking about your data and looking at your funnel. And I think it’s just like this core fundamental of understanding where your traffic is coming from, your conversion rates from one place to the next, whether that’s impressions at the very, very top or right from traffic, whatever conversion means for you. And looking for those big opportunities to really fine tune where the biggest gaps are.
Meg Sakakibara (03:47):
Once you can actually see some of that really basic data, it becomes very clear where you should focus your time. And that really allows you to be more data-driven, more efficient. And that’s what Unbounce is all about. I’m just really trying to help you understand like, who’s your best customer? Where you should focus your energy? What is going to convert the best? How can we surface some of those insights or make recommendations that you can send out the best planning page or the best pre click experience, help write the best copy for that particular audience, help create new variants that are going to attract different types of audiences for you about how can we leverage and lean on the data and the insights to really make sure that we’re being most effective with that precious, precious time that we have as marketers in the day to day.
Stacy Jones (04:29):
So there is a lot of data that’s out there? And it’s really easy as a digital marketer to start going down a deep windy path of trying to go into the warm hole to figure it all out. What are the basics that really matter? What should people be paying attention to?
Meg Sakakibara (04:47):
Yeah. Great question. I think the first thing is you just need to even understand what a conversion is for your business, because it’s going to be different for everyone’s business. For some people that’s an actual sale. For other people that could be a [inaudible 00:05:01] to then give to a salesperson and then they’re going to close on revenue. Others might even just be like a click through depending on what you’re trying to achieve with a particular campaign. So, just getting really clear of what your goal is to begin with. And then, working it back from there, I think is really important when you’re thinking about ultimately like your revenue conversion and how much effort or money you should be investing to collect that conversion. It’s also really important to understand what your lifetime value is or like how much is your customer actually going to end up paying you on average.
Meg Sakakibara (05:32):
And that can be a tricky number to get depending on your business. Sometimes it’s super easy. You have one price point and they generally stay for X amount of months, or they pay you once and that’s it. But sometimes it can be really complicated if you have like a repetitive payment, like a SaaS or something like that in multiple payment plans and different bundles and all these things. But if you can get a clear LTV, then you’ll be able to work back to a cost of acquisition. And then, that will give you a better sense of like how much should I be bidding on paid or how many hours should I spend on that blog post or whatever it is. Because then you’ll know like, “Okay, I’m comfortable spending $100 or $5,000 or $10,000 or $100,000 to collect that one lead or that one sale. We can get down to that, that’s like the fundamentals of marketing to get you started. And just like, how much are you willing to push towards effort and dollars towards getting that one conversion, which [inaudible 00:06:28] conversion is for your business.
Stacy Jones (06:30):
And do you think that there’s a budget that you have to start out with for plan paid digital media or boosting or anything along those lines? Or is there a test budget that people should generally be working with?
Meg Sakakibara (06:42):
Yeah, there’s definitely test budgets. I’m no PPC expert, but I know that there’s lots of programs when you’re first getting started that like Google will even give you free dollars just to try and get going. It really depends on your niche too and like what your business is about. So, some companies are going to have like really specific keywords. And they’re going to be really cheap because there’s very little competition within that and maybe it’s really long tail keywords or very region specific. So, you’ll be able to play really easily with paid ads and things like that.
Meg Sakakibara (07:16):
Others are going to be really competitive if you’re going for like marketing software or copywriting or something really broad and generic, then there’s going to be a lot of competition for those words. And it’s going to get start getting very spendy very quickly. So it kind of depends on like what your company is and how can you carve out that differentiated statement? What are the keywords in there? Making sure that there’s some search around that and then going and bidding. But there’s always ways to play in the different platforms and the different channels to get started. Whether you go straight for like Google Ads or you start from Facebook advertising or Instagram advertising, et cetera. There’s lots of fun and creative ways that you can get started with paid ads.
Stacy Jones (07:58):
And going back to just in general with digital marketing. I mean, obviously, there’s landing pages. There’s the website that you have yourself that’s going to be housing your landing pages ultimately. There is all of the social media content. There’s all of these different things that are out there and different ways to engage.
Stacy Jones (08:18):
From your experience, is there’s some place that brands should be starting out? So, if someone is going to be coming in and saying, “Hey, I can do this shiny thing and this shiny thing and all of these other shiny things,” where should they start? What’s the basics? What’s like step one?
Meg Sakakibara (08:35):
Yeah. I think step one, what I would consider the foundation is just, you need to have your core messaging. Really understand like, what makes you different, how can you make sure that that messaging is coming through, and then starting this [inaudible 00:08:48] your basic campaigns, which I would call like your evergreen campaigns. And these are always on. Those are campaigns where you would set up messaging specific to a particular target audience. It might be a little bit different than your website. Your website needs to speak to everybody.
Stacy Jones (09:01):
Meg Sakakibara (09:02):
Your landing pages can speak to a particular audience within that everybody. And you can have five, 10, 20 of them if you want, to speak to a particular use cases or particular language of a particular market, and you can get really specific in that way. So I think that’s kind of like step one is just like really understanding what that core message is. And then, starting to verticalize or split that off into more niche.
Meg Sakakibara (09:25):
And then, the next easiest thing to get going versus thinking about all the different channels and campaigns and everything that you can do, if you’re showing up well enough just with your organic traffic, with the messaging that you’ve created, like really start and just understanding the pathways to conversion within what you have. There’s going to be channels that you’re already acquiring some traffic in. How can you make sure that it’s so easy for them to move through, that you’re really hitting the mark with the messaging that you’re serving up for them, and that they’re able to make it to a point of purchase really, really smoothly.
Meg Sakakibara (09:58):
And things like conversion intelligence can actually help you do that in like Smart Traffic, as an example, helps serve up different variants of your landing pages so that for you, Stacy, you’re going to see variant A because the algorithm knows, based on your criteria, that that’s probably going to be more relevant for you and for me. Then, I might see a different version. So, as the marketer, I would just load it a whole bunch and not knowing which one is going to be best for us. But the AI can do all the heavy lifting and figure out who should get what things, so that we get the most relevant experience for ourselves.
Stacy Jones (10:30):
And now, how is the AI figuring that out? Because is it that the little sneaky cookie trackers that are all over the place that are getting revamped all the time right now between Apple and Google updates, are those what is being engaged with? Or is it that based on the actions of that potential customer on how they’re responding within, how they’re signing up, how they’re logging in, and giving information on the landing page to get access to, that’s really the trigger?
Meg Sakakibara (10:58):
Meg Sakakibara (11:29):
And then, as different people convert, we’re able to start seeing trends that the human eye could never see. And the AI is actually able to start sorting out like patterns in the data of like, “Oh, this certain pattern means that when this person does these types of things, they’re more likely to convert or they’re more likely to engage, or they’re more likely to scroll down the page and start seeing these things.” And then, we can start surfacing up these insights from like the mass collective of what we’re seeing of that 1.5 billion conversions, like trends that we’re starting to see in particular industries or keywords or paragraph lengths and all these really interesting pieces.
Meg Sakakibara (12:05):
It’s not about your personal data that’s being surfaced up. It’s about the collective information that’s surfacing out that we can start noticing patterns. And then, giving recommendations to our marketers to be able to come to the table with more relevancy. And I think there’s a big differentiation between what we have considered as personalization before and where we’re moving with relevancy now. I think the goal of personalization always used to be relevancy. But I don’t know that we ever achieved that with automation before in the way that AI is now starting to allow you to see that, which is really exciting.
Stacy Jones (12:36):
Well, with personalization, it is just like a trap door of issues, because you have so much user error that can happen along the way with how you’re trying to like dive into that. And what you’re talking about is more abstract, more in the grays of just how people are conducting themselves, what information is a generality for them, how they fit in a mesh of humanity, and they’re a fish that… All the fish swim together in the ocean in the same way, in the same group. And when they do, they all dive the same way. They all come to the surface the same way. So that you’re actually able to see through that data what is actually going on behind the insights that you’re gathering?
Meg Sakakibara (13:20):
Yeah, that’s right. I mean, personalization before was really all about automation of repetitive tasks. And you’re right, it’s really hard to anticipate all of the different things that could possibly happen and create versions or workflows to support that. That’s where you get the emails. Sometimes it’s like, “Hello, test account.” It’s not smart enough to know the difference, right? Whereas, AI is like on the fly. It’s thinking about like what’s best for you. Yeah, using those trends to surface up what’s most relevant in that moment for that particular person and like really routing you to the best information.
Meg Sakakibara (13:53):
And you see that a lot, even in your personal life with like Netflix recommendations or Amazon recommendations. Like, “Oh man, that’s exactly what I needed. How did they know?” It’s surfacing all that data. It’s a very similar thing. Leveraging all the AI and ML insights of like your browsing history and like what you’re looking at and what other people similar to you who share similar characteristics are looking at, and how can we make sure there’s more relevance so that you’re engaged and you’re seeing the stuff that you want to see.
Stacy Jones (14:21):
And at first take, you hear all that. And it’s like, “Holy moly, I’m scared. They’re collecting so much information on me. I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I don’t want this.” But in reality, what we’re gearing up for is a more interesting and engaging opportunity for content becoming and being fed back at you, that is on target to who you are and what you might actually be looking for. So it’s less about being like slammed by ads all over the place. And more so being served up things you might find interesting and the things that make you go hmm in life.
Meg Sakakibara (14:55):
Absolutely. I mean, on the one side, sometimes I’ve let my niece or nephew watch stuff on Netflix on my account foolishly, or my husband.
Stacy Jones (15:03):
Meg Sakakibara (15:04):
And then, I get in there and it’s recommending kid shows and muscle car things. And I’m like, “What is going on?” Like this is not my account anymore. And it takes a little while for it to relearn what I like or don’t like. But that’s such a waste of time for me. As a user, I get in there, I’m like, “I don’t want to see this. I don’t want to see that. I’m not interested in this. Skip, skip, skip, skip, skip.”
Meg Sakakibara (15:24):
And it takes a lot of energy as a consumer to be able to sort through all of that [inaudible 00:15:29] the intent is really like to prevent the bounce of like the consumer coming to your page and being like, “I was looking for this. That’s not what it is,” when maybe your product actually is that, but you just didn’t use the right word or you didn’t use like the right sentiment or color or whatever it was that they resonate with or they associate with that thing. Not to say that you’re going to get all these ads served up to you, or these pages served up to you that are completely bait and switch. That’s not the intent at all. But sometimes…
Stacy Jones (15:59):
But it happens by accident because things aren’t dialed in.
Meg Sakakibara (16:01):
By accident, yeah, it can. But really like the intent is how can you describe your product in ways that… For us, for example, maybe we target real estate and fintech and SaaS. It’s all for conversion intelligence or for landing pages. But it’s going to be about selling homes or downloading software or securing financial services appointments. And so, the language is going to be different for each of them. And that person who’s coming to that page, it’s going to see just conversions. And maybe they won’t even know what that means. So, how can I dial it into like how they associate that keyword or that experience that we’re talking same language and AI helps you do that.
Stacy Jones (16:44):
Now, are landing pages that you’re suggesting typically public pages that Google is able to search? Or are these more hidden pages within your website?
Meg Sakakibara (16:55):
Yeah. You can make them either. It depends what you’re using the landing page for. A lot of people who use them for PPC or social campaigns. So then you might not have them be indexed by Google, but you can. In other cases, landing pages can be used as prototyping too. It’s not our main use case, but sometimes [inaudible 00:17:12] we don’t have enough time to get a dev to build out a page on the website. It’s kind of the birth of landing pages that [inaudible 00:17:18]. And we’ll just pop up a landing page in the meantime so that they show. But they’ll be fully indexed in the website and like have their own URL and be part of the navigation. So from time to time, we’ll use it in that way too. So it kind of depends where you’re pushing your traffic from what you would want to do with them. But they can be fully searchable or completely hidden.
Stacy Jones (17:38):
Now, if you’re using the software, whether it’s yours or another similar, and you’re doing PPC, for example, and you have a landing page. This is not a trick question. This is just a curiosity here. So, you’re directing and telling through your Facebook ads or your digital ads or Google ads or whomever the type of consumer that you’re trying to get to you, and they’re coming to that landing page. And Google ever hungry is the beast is for collecting data and information. And it likes serving up your pages to other relevant people because that’s it job is to continuously serve up relevant information. Can you actually train Google that your information is more relevant to a specific topic because you’re driving the exact type of people to the page through PPC or through very targeted pushes? Can that actually work in your backend to train Google who to serve you up in general on page one?
Meg Sakakibara (18:35):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the algorithm from Google Ads is all about relevancy and it scores you based on quality. So as people are clicking through, if you have a really high bounce rate, that page is going to start becoming more expensive for you to serve up because Google is trying to send the most relevant information to the most relevant people. It doesn’t want to see bounces from their ads, right? They want to see people moving through and converting because that gets that person to pay Google more. So, they want to continue the loop.
Meg Sakakibara (19:03):
So if you can serve up more relevant pages and not see that bounce rate and see good conversions, it’s just going to look really good in the algorithm that like, “Hey, that was a good fit. That was a good match.” So, when somebody type this thing in, that page seems to rank well, or it seems to resonate well with the audience. I’m going to serve that up more. And your bids will actually start going down. The more relevant your content can be, the more affordable it becomes as part of the bidding, because they know that it’s a good fit for you and it’s going to be a good experience for the end consumer.
Stacy Jones (19:34):
But does it also apply and kind of have a crossover into your organic campaigns? So if you [inaudible 00:19:39] paid, would that also impact your organic potentially that you’re running? So here’s a landing page it’s totally dialed in for vets. I don’t know. Right? You’re leading, it’s a vet. It’s targeting vets, doctors, this, that, whatever. And if Google’s getting an understanding, an idea of who that core consumer is that you’re trying to get into my random example here, if on organic side, when someone who’s also a vet is just looking in general and doing keywords, is it going to help serve up your information if it is a public, not locked page to them as well, do you think?
Meg Sakakibara (20:16):
Yeah. I think from an SEO perspective, and I am not an SEO expert, but…
Stacy Jones (20:20):
Meg Sakakibara (20:21):
… if you’ve got… Again, it comes back to relevancy. Everything for Google is all about relevancy and making sure that whatever they’re serving up is the best experience for the consumer and that the people who are clicking through are staying on, they’re engaged, there’s good keyword match, they seem to convert, they’re happy about the click. Google’s all about making sure that people who click are happy at the end of that click. And they’ll optimize until the cows come home to make sure that that’s the case. So, the more relevant you can make it, whether it’s for an ad campaign where you’re paying for the clicks or whether it’s an organic hit and the page is showing up in organic search, the more relevancy and the more conversions that you’re able to see, the better you’re going to rank and the better you’re going to show up in all of those algorithms, whether it’s social or on Google search or display. Yeah.
Stacy Jones (21:08):
Cool. What are some of the mistakes people make along the way? Like where do you see people just go wrong?
Meg Sakakibara (21:15):
I think one of the biggest things that I have observed in my career is there are just an infinite amount of channels and tactics and it can feel like you need to do all of it, and it can be really overwhelming. A lot of companies only have one marketer or a very small team of marketers, and you can’t do everything. But it feels like you’re constantly like [inaudible 00:21:38] duck with their little legs paddling under the water. You’re very calm on the surface, but there’s so much going on as a marketer and it can be a lot.
Meg Sakakibara (21:46):
And I think the mistake there is trying to do it all. And it kind of comes back to one of your first questions there, really looking at the data, understanding your funnel, and looking for the biggest opportunities, and doing those things really well. Focus your time and energy on those areas. Look for the opportunities to do some conversionary optimization versus just like, “What’s the next campaign? What’s the next campaign?” And just being on this cycle of like pushing it out, pushing it out, pushing it out whenever…
Meg Sakakibara (22:13):
We obviously launch a lot of campaigns at Unbounce still. But you tend to see a spike where it’s like, “Okay, I’m going to launch new lead gen piece and you see this spike of traffic, and then it dies and it goes back down to nothing. We are very, very small. And so, that so much energy to create that piece and there’s value in doing it. But if you’re a team of one, you really need to ask yourself like, “Where’s the best return on my investment?” And a lot of times it is those evergreen campaigns versus these like spiky promotional campaigns or like this one-off content piece.
Meg Sakakibara (22:44):
So, how can you look at how are people moving through? Can you adjust your pricing page or your home page or your landing page? Is it just like a slight tweak that would increase your conversion rates throughout the checkout from like 3% to 4%? Or that tiny little move can make such a huge impact on the bottom line. So really looking and embracing a culture of experimentation versus like net new all the time. It’s very exhausting to do that. There are lots of gains within the system that you’ve already built up in that foundation and in that house that you’re building.
Stacy Jones (23:19):
Okay. Any other mistakes that people make in general?
Meg Sakakibara (23:25):
I would say another thing that’s kind of coming up very quickly is around embracing new technology. I think we’re kind of afraid to do that a lot of times. And some of the feedback that we’ve received as we go, it’s kind of mixed. We have early adopters who are so pump to adopt AI and get going. And others who are very like, “It’s not ready. I’m a skeptic, or I don’t think that it’s good enough. I definitely do a better job than that.” I just caution, like not being too protective and giving these new things a try. Spending a little bit of energy to vet them for your business. And each business is going to be really different. But just the rapid pace of innovation, if you wait too long, you’re going to be really far [inaudible 00:24:09] behind really quickly.
Meg Sakakibara (24:11):
And there’s just like this exponential movement towards new tech and new ways of thinking and new availability of different applications. And very quickly, you’re going to be one of those dinosaurs, especially with the pandemic. It’s like expedited the digital movement. And if you’re not ready to jump on some of these new things, there’s so many companies moving into digital and trying new things and experimenting and adopting new technology [inaudible 00:24:38] very easy to become outdated very quickly.
Stacy Jones (24:39):
Okay. How can people learn more about Unbounce?
Meg Sakakibara (24:45):
Yeah, I think one of the easiest ways is just to check out the website. But we recently acquired a company and we’re offering Smart Copy now, and it’s a free tool. So it’s really fun. I started playing with it last year and I’m just blown away by how far AI copywriting has come. Like when you actually go to look at what it can produce, whether that’s a TikTok video script or a tweet or a blog post or an email or a landing page, all of these things, it writes so well now with GPT-3. It’s incredible. The human language component of AI blows me away and saving so many people so much time. And it’s so easy to get started. You can just go on there, log in for free. There’s no credit card. You can start playing with it right away. So that’s like one of the easiest ways that you can kind of dip your toe in the water with both Unbounce and AI.
Meg Sakakibara (25:41):
And then, really starting to look at like, when you’re thinking about your funnels, and when you’re thinking about the conversion rates through, where do landing pages play a part and like, how do you start playing with variants? How do you start experimenting? And all these tools are just so accessible and so easy now for the SMB marketers to play with. It’s pretty fun. Like you don’t have to be an expert. You feel like, “Oh, it’s really intimidating.” It’s really not. The whole point of the tools is that it’s approachable and accessible for everybody. So I just encourage everyone to play. Go put your experiment hat on and go play with the tech and go play with building and have fun and see what works.
Stacy Jones (26:18):
And get lots of sales, and however they…
Meg Sakakibara (26:20):
Stacy Jones (26:20):
… may come to you. That’s the goal.
Meg Sakakibara (26:23):
Exactly. More conversions, please.
Stacy Jones (26:25):
Who would turn that down? I don’t think anyone. I think we’re all looking for more conversions on everything that we do. Well, Meg, thank you so much for joining us today and shedding some light on how we could be doing this better and mastering the digital landscape to actually get those conversions that we all want so badly.
Meg Sakakibara (26:43):
Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Stacy Jones (26:46):
I want to thank everyone for tuning in today to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. And as always, if you ever want a little bit more insight on influencer marketing and product placement, please reach out to our team at Hollywood Branded and we can dive into all things and ways to leverage your marketing and get it to be seen by more people. Have a great day.
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