How are YOU going to engage in risky business this year?
2013 was the year of risk aversion. Businesses across the country socked cash under mattresses and into offshore bank accounts bracing for the impact of low employment, higher taxes, healthcare costs, fuel shocks and poor return on their investments. I will admit that even my company (Bash Foo) while growing profits nearly 20% this year, we did so in ways that introduced very little in the way of high-cost, risky ventures.
Behind the Curtain
So, to explore the topic I’ll show off some of the agency’s inner workings. Tools cost money. Our SEO, social media and support tools along with tracking and reporting software costs nearly as much as the labor it takes to use these tools. Why does it cost so much? I made a concerted decision early on with the formation of this company to deliver the highest level of results for the most affordable cost profile for my clients. This recipe delivers, in my opinion, a high level of value along with a very obvious return on investment (ROI) for our clients. Recall back in 2009 when social media became all the rage? Back then everyone “questioned ROI”. As a Fortune 50 project manager for over a decade, I was very familiar with the ways of managing return on investment propositions. With a win-rate of over 90% and a client loss rate of under 3% for 2013, I would say that this recipe truly is winning.
Risky Decisions = Better Outcomes
So, enter 2014.
Will businesses continue to stay hunkered down in their bunkers that overflow with cash? I don’t think so. And I certainly hope not. What I have found is that when you are in an environment where risk looms around every corner, it is the company or brand that takes that time to innovate, re-invest, train, AND spend money that comes out on top. During economic downturns like this one, Bash Foo hasn’t been able to grow crazy big as the economics of our clients are involved, but what we have achieved is a leveling of the playing field.
The VSB (very small business) does not have to settle for the fly-by-night freelancer because for just a few extra dollars they can receive amazing support, talented creative and super-fast delivery from a company who is in it to win it.
Our Risk Proposition
I have always suggested and encouraged my clients to constantly innovate, and come up with at least one new/useful product or service each year. For us, 2014 is going to be the year of Search Engine Marketing, or more plainly, Bash Foo will now staff up to support the needs of VSB’s and small businesses that want to use Google AdWords to grow their internet visibility and business. While our existing SEO business and partnership with Google is certainly not a talent that can be absolutely perfected, our team is damn good at it.
The challenge with Search Engine Marketing is that we will be brought much more close to the client dollar spend. Spending their money, for them. Investing it in the right keywords, constructing the right campaigns, building smart A/B splits that convert, and reporting back exactly how many goals were hit/missed.
Why Choose SEM?
Frankly, because our current clients need us to do it. Also, other small businesses out there have approached us and we have had to get them in touch with other agents who do SEM all day long as a specialty. Most marketing agencies won’t touch a client if their Google AdWords spend is below $4-5k/mos. And their fees are… pretty high. You can find a freelancer, or someone overseas to “manage” a $100-$200/mos. Google spend, and by manage I mean setup the AdWords account, create one or two ads. And then watch the money burn. Our approach for 2014 is to act somewhere in the middle. Establishing true, serious SEM goals with our clients, delivering a multi-faceted strategic plan on their campaigns, launching and then reporting on their campaigns without all the huge overhead and high cost. This SEM offering is going to be expensive (read: risky) for us to launch, and maintain. But as a company that thrives on filling the gap for clients who are not big enough to deal with Madison Ave. pricing, and yet still too important to rely on those freelance folks who have no stake in their marketing efforts, I think this one is going to be a winner.
How will your small business innovate and “get risky” in 2014? I would love to know.