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[MUSIC] [MUSIC] DEBRA ALFARONE: Hello everyone.
My name is Debra Alfarone, and I'm a TV anchor, on-camera
coach, and keynote speaker. Thank you so much
for joining us. I'm also your moderator for
today's Global Innovation through Science and Technology
– or GIST – TechConnect conversation on how to
grow your start-up through digital marketing. So, creating an effective
digital marketing strategy, it's so important – in fact, one
of the most important parts of building a successful start-up. And, you know, there are
so many tools available. How do you know which
ones are best for you? Understanding options and
choosing the right marketing tools can help position your
start-up in front of potential customers and partners.
So it's really important.

Before we begin, though, a quick
announcement on how you can play a role in discovering new
solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face today. I want you to do this: Visit
GISTNetwork.org to cast your vote in the GIST Tech-I
Pitch Competition. Your vote helps decide
which science, technology, or start-up idea deserves
a chance to go global. Again, just visit
GISTNetwork.org to learn more and cast your vote today.
Also, we want to hear from you. We want your questions
and your comments. So remember, you can join the
conversation by sending us your questions and your comments
through the chat space that is right next to the video
player, or through Twitter at #GISTTechConnect.

So, do you want to get
started? I think we should. First of all, I want to
welcome our panel of experts. Joining us today
is Scott Sorensen, president of Compete Agency. Great to have you here. SCOTT SORENSEN:
Thank you so much. MS. ALFARONE: You're so welcome. And also, Andrew
Nelson, president of Silverback Strategies. Welcome. ANDREW NELSON: Thank
you for having me. MS. ALFARONE: You're so welcome. This is going to
be an awesome day. Joining us in the chat space
to help answer questions and share links to resources
is David D'Angelo, a program officer
at VentureWell. This is going to
be a great hour. Are you guys excited? PARTICIPANTS: Absolutely. MS. ALFARONE: Whoo. Okay. So, thank you for
joining me today, and as we wait for viewers
to send us their questions, I want to kick off
the discussion.

I just want to ask you guys
to explain the value and the purpose of digital
marketing for a start-up. Very important, right? So, Andrew, let's
start with you. Why so important? MR. NELSON: Sure. So, I'm sure as many of our
viewers already know, digital marketing brings some
unique challenges to a start-up, specifically with a
lack of resources, especially with time
and money or budget. So with that in mind, I think that it is so important – and the purpose of digital marketing
for start-ups is to really lay the foundation upon which you're
going to grow your marketing strategy and marketing plan. Specifically, I think it's
important to take the time to understand how to really convey
the value of your product or service to your target audience. And the reason this is so
important is because when you get to the point where you need
to start promoting yourself and investing in promotion, if
you haven't spent the time on building this foundation, you're
potentially going to do it inefficiently and ineffectively,
essentially losing your most valuable
resource: time and money. MS. ALFARONE: Yeah, and if
you're doing it ineffectively, I mean, nobody in a
start-up has time to waste.

MR. NELSON: Exactly. MS. ALFARONE: Or money to waste. And your thoughts
on this, Scott? MR. SORENSEN: I think the
biggest benefit to digital marketing is just the –
for the first time ever, anyone can reach anyone. I mean, back in the day, if you wanted to do marketing or advertising, you had to
buy a billboard or buy an ad in something, right? Like TV and magazines was it. Now, anyone with $10 can go
get 10 clicks, 20 clicks, 100 clicks, people that really
are going to your website. You can reach – we can be here
in DC and reach anyone anywhere in the world, just
because they're all on the digital space. And so, like Andrew said, it's
a fantastic way to get these efficiencies, but for me,
it's just this groundbreaking, voice-giving platform, where
anyone can talk to anyone. And so, if you have something
you want to say or if you have something you want to share
or you're testing something, like what an incredible
tool to share with people.

"Hey, I've got this new idea;
what do you guys think?" And then you get feedback. That's what I love about digital
marketing is that – how many people read your magazine ad? You have no idea. MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. SORENSEN: But how many
people clicked on your ad and what did they do with it? It's all spelled out for you. So that's why I love digital
marketing and why I use it almost exclusively is because
of real-time feedback – and there are, what, a couple
billion people on Facebook? MR.

NELSON: Oh yeah. MS. ALFARONE: A lot. MR. SORENSEN: A billion, right? MS. ALFARONE: Probably a lot
of our audience is on Facebook. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, exactly. And how they're even
watching us right now, right? You can have ads and do all
sorts of marketing and you don't have to be a big company. MS. ALFARONE: And you're
going to help decode some of that for us. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, we'll
try and break it down. Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: Yeah, and so
it gives everyone a voice. Everyone gets that.
That's awesome. Okay, we're gonna dig into
that and you're gonna make me real smart.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. [CROSSTALK] MS. ALFARONE: Okay. I also
want to quickly go over some of the different digital
marketing tools that are available to start-ups. So we're gonna talk about this: organic and paid social media, paid advertising, content
creation and curation, search engine optimization –
I really need to understand this better –
and data analytics. So, what are your experiences
in using these diverse tools for promoting a company's product or
services to different audiences? Make me smart, Scott. MR. SORENSEN: Well, that
wasn't quite the list. MS. ALFARONE: It was,
it was. Yeah. MR. SORENSEN: And it was
kind of all over the place. Like, I like – if you can think
of it like a funnel, okay, and at the top of the funnel is
just where the most general – I mean, think about everyone
that's on Facebook. Let's call that the
three billion people or whatever it is on Facebook. That's the very
top of the funnel. And as you use your marketing,
you're targeting – so if you use pay-per-click was one of them
– PPC is the acronym for that – but if you put an ad up, you
pick a segment of that group and you say, "I want to
advertise to people." Let's say I want to sell –
what's something fun to sell? Let's sell shoes.

I can see my shoes. Oh, did you? Okay, great.
Let's sell some shoes. MS. ALFARONE: I'm in. MR. SORENSEN: You like shoes. MS. ALFARONE: Sure.
Wear them every day. MR. SORENSEN: So, of all these
people, everyone wants shoes, but specifically
we can drill into: Are they male or female shoes?
Are they high-end shoes? Are they disposable? Like what types of things
do these people like? And so you can drill
in a certain segment, and then as you put the
ad out – so the PPC side – MS.

ALFARONE: Pay-per-click. MR. SORENSEN: Pay-per-click – so
that means somebody has – when you put an ad on Facebook,
somebody clicks on it, then Facebook charges you. So, let's say it's 10 cents. So there goes 10 cents for
someone to click on my ad that says, "Hey, these
shoes are for sale." And then they go to my website. And so, the other side of the
tools you were talking about was like Google Analytics.

MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. SORENSEN: So
this is a free tool, and you just have to put
a little snippet of code. There's some great YouTube
videos and things like that that can walk you through it.
It's pretty simple. But if you have that
code on your site, then as people
start visiting your site, Google Analytics watches them.
Scary, right? MS. ALFARONE: We're
being watched right now. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
yeah, exactly. [LAUGHTER] But it looks at how long
they spend on your website, what do they click on,
where they're going. An important metric on there
is where do they leave. So it's like, oh, man,
every time someone gets to this page, they leave. This page needs to
be more engaging. Maybe I need a call
to action button here or a different picture.

And so, for me, the advertising
side, the advertising tools, like PPC and SEO –
we'll get into that – search engine optimization. Maybe you can touch on that. It's a little bit of an
art, more than it is – like, don't buy an SEO book because
the moment it's in print, it's out of – yeah, it
needs to be updated. It changes so often. But anyway, so as you do the
advertising to get people to your site, or wherever
you're trying to take them, and then you have
analytics tools. So those are different. So you have marketing,
which basically, the point is to get
people to your site. And then once you're at their
site, what are they doing. And then that's when you'd use
a tool like Google Analytics to analyze what they're doing. MS. ALFARONE: And figure out
where they're dropping off. MR. SORENSEN: What's working. MS. ALFARONE: So what's wrong
with that page or why did they not purchase or go
to the next page? MR.

SORENSEN: Exactly, yeah. MS. ALFARONE: Okay.
So that's one of them. And so, SEO: I hear
about it all the time. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: Search
engine optimization. Maybe you can make
me smart about that, make our global
audience smart about how to use that effectively. MR. NELSON: Sure. So, SEO is, at its core, the notion
of optimizing your website, whether it's in the
technical coding or in the content on the website, to put
you in the best position for a search engine like Google or Bing to rank you at the top of the search results
for a particular query. So, it requires a
number of skill sets. First and foremost
it's very technical. The coding on the website needs
to be done in such a way that it's friendly for Google
to be able to read through your website, in order
to find your website. Google actually has a great
resource on their own website and there are webmaster tools
that talks about the basics of SEO and the right way to
do SEO on your own website.

So I recommend checking
that resource out. You get all the technical
aspects of your website correct so that Google
can see your website, but then equally as important
as the content on your website, if you want to rank for a
particular keyword – let's say it's running shoes, we'll keep
going with that example – you'd better be talking about running
shoes on your website, right, because if Google's going
to read your website, you want them to have
a clear understanding of what you're talking about. So you need to make sure that
you optimize the content, whether it's putting the keyword
in the content itself in what's called the title tag, which
is the text that you see in your browser when you're on – MS. ALFARONE: Yes. MR. NELSON: Yeah, so
it's all in the coding. It's all on the backend. MR. SORENSEN: You know what?
There are awesome tools, though.

So like you can make
– like Square Space, they do a lot of that for you. And so, they have templates. You're going to be
restricted a little bit. You can't have a custom site. But if you can use – yeah,
Square Space is great. MR. NELSON: One
that we use a lot – we build a lot of
WordPress websites. MR. SORENSEN: I think WordPress
is the biggest, right? It's the most universal. MR. NELSON: That's right.
And they have a tool. I'm sure many of the viewers
watching us are using WordPress or thinking about it.

MS. ALFARONE: Hello. MR. NELSON: There we go. MS. ALFARONE: I'm
using WordPress. [CROSSTALK] MR. NELSON: There's a tool
called Yoast – Y-O-A-S-T. MS. ALFARONE: Y-O-A-S-T. I need a piece of paper,
but I'll re-watch this. MR. NELSON: Right. And it's a free tool that
enables you to modify maybe the title tag that I talked about or
make sure that the coding is in proper order for Google
or search engines to better read your website. So, there's a lot
of science to it. There's a lot of
technical aspects to it. But you also need to have that
creative content aspect as well, make sure you're
optimizing that. MS. ALFARONE: I have
so many questions, and so do our viewers. So let's take a couple
of them right now. A viewer in Kampala – am I
saying that correctly – asks, "How can someone use digital
marketing in a place where there is no internet access?" That's a valuable question.

I don't know that I have
the – how do you do that? I think you need
the internet for – MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, let
me think through this. MS. ALFARONE: We
have experts here, but sometimes we have
to think about this. MR. SORENSEN: If you
don't have internet, can you do digital marketing? MR. NELSON: So, some
tools can be used offline, but every now and then you're
going to have to be able to access the internet in order
to be able to update it. I think about – even just Google
Drive is a tool that we use at our agency often, to be able to
put together marketing plans or to do keyword
research, for example. So you can work on those
documents offline and then when you're connected to the
internet eventually, it can get all synced up. You are severely
limited, though, in terms of your ability to
communicate with people on social media, for example. You'd have to be
connected to the internet to actually be able
to do that. So – MR. SORENSEN: One thing you
might want to do is that you can create a marketing
plan offline, right? MR.

NELSON: Sure. MR. SORENSEN: You could
say, what are the keywords I want to use? What are the
images I want to use? You can do a lot of prep-work. And so that you can have it
all set up so that when you do, I mean, eventually, I
mean digital marketing is internet marketing. You need to be – you need
to find a way to connect to the internet. But you can do a lot of work
just on a Word document or something like that
where you're saying, "Okay, these are the phrases,
these are the paragraphs," so that then when you're
connected to the internet, you go to an internet
café or something, you can just copy and paste
in all the work you've already done, and so you don't have
to waste the time that you are connected to the internet.

You are paying for the internet. You've already done all
the time-consuming work. MR. NELSON: I'll give you one
other interesting tidbit here. There's another free tool called
Hootsuite that can help with your social management. You can monitor all the chatter
out there on a particular topic or on a particular feed. And one of the things you can
do is schedule out social posts. So, ahead of time – you
need to be posting fairly regularly on social media. But ahead of time, if you can map out the things you want to say and when you want to say it,
you can set that all up ahead of time if you know you're not
going to have internet access for an extended period, and it
would be essentially posted for you while you're not
there automatically. So you could do some of
these things ahead of time to help you. MR. SORENSEN: I think natively
within Facebook you can schedule as well, but Hootsuite
is a lot easier, I think, once you're connected. MR. NELSON: I think they
do a great job. Yeah.

MR. SORENSEN: But yeah, so, in
an hour you can put together the next 60 days of posts. And then you just push go
and every day at 10:00, you're not connected
to the internet, but Hootsuite or Facebook,
whatever is scheduled. That's a great suggestion. MS. ALFARONE: Excellent. I knew you guys would come
up with an answer for this. And that's brilliant.

And even if you have access to
the internet, Hootsuite is – MR. NELSON: Absolutely. MS. ALFARONE: And
that's what I'm doing when I leave here today. So let's talk about
things that are free too. There are effective digital
marketing tools that are free. And what would those look
like? Which ones are they? Which ones are the ones
that are really worth it? Because I know as I'm building
my business, I'm like, "This is really cool.
Okay, that's $4 a month. And then this one over here is
$7 a month," and it does add up. And I'm finding that as a
small business owner too, so what are the ones that are
free that you would recommend? MR.

SORENSEN: So, there is
an entire category that is just paid marketing.
And that's its own thing. And then you have
the organic side, which I would say
is probably more, let's call it "sweat
equity," right? It's like the grind.
And that's free. That's your time,
but it's still free. It doesn't cost you anything. Ultimately, the idea with search
engine optimization – SEO – Google at the end of the
day is a robot, right? And it's crawling your site,
it's looking at your content: What are you writing?
What are you saying? And it's trying to decide, is
this – when somebody searches for good running shoes, right –
"good running shoes" – does the Google machine think, "This
is a good site for that." And that's the idea behind it.

And so that's why
writing a blog as often as you
can is important. It's because your site then is
consistently being updated with look at this article after
article after article of free running shoes. And so, eventually,
hopefully, Google sees that. And if people start
referencing it or visiting it, all the sudden, you can start
organically climbing the ranks, and hopefully, right, the
golden grail – I don't know what to call it – is
the front page, right, the top 10 results of Google. You want to be in the top 10.
That's the goal. I mean, think about it. When have you ever clicked "next
page" after a Google search? MS. ALFARONE: Only when
you Google yourself. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, yeah, right. [LAUGHTER] MS. ALFARONE: That's about it.

MR. SORENSEN: And we do need to
be careful what content we're putting out on ourselves
too, for that reason. But yeah, so that's free. That – you can always be working
on your SEO, talking more, sending out tweets. I mean, every time you're
pushing that content, talking about the subjects
that are important to you, and the internet SEO machine
will eventually recognize that. And so when people do search
for your specialty or something you're doing, they'll be like,
well – the AI, Google is like, "I don't know what you just
asked me but this person over here keeps talking about that,
so how about I show them on the search results?" MS. ALFARONE: Gotcha. And I don't think that we
realize that sometimes, that all of the content
that we put out really can be free marketing. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: We sometimes
look at it as work, just work. And it can really do that. MR. SORENSEN: Some
entire agencies, all they do is content
marketing, because it is.

It's so important. MR. NELSON: We have a
content marketing department, and there's two core principles
that I think entrepreneurs or start-ups or small businesses
really need to keep in mind, as they're trying to get
into digital marketing and before they even get
to the promotion piece. MR. SORENSEN: Right. MR. NELSON: I talked about
that foundation earlier. MS. ALFARONE: Yes. MR. NELSON: And some of those
things are getting a good website, which does cost a
little money unfortunately; it doesn't have to be much – making sure it's good on mobile, making sure that it has
a good user experience. But the other two that
are critical, I think, are good content, not just
optimized content for SEO, although that's very important,
but quality, unique content. You want to give people
an engaging experience when they get to your website. And I think that sometimes
we undervalue that we are the expert in our product
and service and we are our own best source of content.

MR. SORENSEN: You might be tired
of talking about your expertise, but they are dying
to hear about it. MR. NELSON: That's right. So there's a free resource is
yourself and your own expertise. And then the second one – Scott,
you mentioned it earlier – is data and analytics. I think that that has
to be set up on day one. Data from day one through
the rest of your marketing experience is going
to be your anchor, your Sherpa through everything
you're testing and trying, because that's what's going
to let you know if what you're doing is working or not and
if you should invest more. So, before you even
ever get to promotion, I think there are some low-cost
resources to really help get that foundation set. MS. ALFARONE: Excellent.
We have some more questions. And here's one: Are influencers
on social media effective in getting good publicity
for your start-up? What do you guys think of that? MR. SORENSEN: Oh – oh yeah. [CROSSTALK]
Influencers – I mean, and this is actually – sometimes
when you're in a certain – I don't know what to call it.

Like circles are small, right? Like, if you're into shoes,
you're hanging out with people that are also into shoes.
If you are into coaching – MS. ALFARONE: Sneaker heads. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
yeah, yeah, sure. And so, hopefully the circles
you're in – one of your friends or someone knows someone who is
connected or is an influencer and has an Instagram
following, you know.

And so, yeah, that could
potentially – ask a favor, say, "Hey, could you have
so-and-so take a picture and show my shoes?" So influencer marketing
eventually gets very expensive to have – I don't know, I
feel like I shouldn't list a celebrity, but pick your
favorite celebrity, right? That's millions of dollars. So it goes all the
way from free to your friends posting about you. Yeah, have everyone
post about you. Have everyone start talking about
you. Those are great influencers. And then eventually
you get to the point where this is their job. These people
have millions of followers and they want to talk
about their new shoes. And sometimes you send
them a pair and say, "Hey, try these on and let
me know what you think." And they might post about you. MR. NELSON: So you just
hit the nail on the head.

And the challenge is that
people aren't going to give you a plug for free necessarily. And so that's a big challenge
with influencer marketing. You need to give them
something of value, which can range from money
to maybe trading a link. But what we have found at
Silverback Strategies works really effectively is
getting them involved in the content creation itself. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
part of the team. MR. NELSON: Exactly. So if they're creating
a piece of content – keep going with shoes. Let's say there's some fancy new
shoe technology and you bring them in as an expert
on your blog post.

MS. ALFARONE: Oh, yeah. MR. NELSON: Now
they're incentivized to share that content already. You almost don't have
to ask them to share the content at this point. MR. SORENSEN: Because
they want to say, "Hey, look, I was involved. I was part of this
from the beginning." MS. ALFARONE: You're
giving them cred. MR. SORENSEN: They feel
ownership about it too. Yeah, they actually have cred. They're like, "Look, I'm so into
shoes that this shoe company asked me to develop these
shoes for them.," right? MR.

NELSON: So don't cold call. Get them involved and try
to find creative ways. MR. SORENSEN: Make them a
part of your marketing team. MR. NELSON: That's right
– to try to establish those relationships. MS. ALFARONE: People are loving
this conversation, by the way. We have so many questions. Michael from our online
audience is asking, "Based on your experience, what
are the most common mistakes made by start-ups in their
marketing campaigns?" MR.

NELSON: I've
got a good one here. MS. ALFARONE: Okay.
You take it. [LAUGHING] MR. NELSON: I've got
this theme going here of getting the foundation right.
And it's when you don't. And I've seen this a few times. A small business will start
spending some money on something like Google AdWords,
pay-per-click marketing, and they'll see that it's
driving traffic and driving conversions or sales, so
they'll want to do more of it, and they'll do more and more,
and eventually their entire marketing budget is going
into this one paid channel, but they never took the time
to get a good website or good content to begin with. So now they're in this position
where they can't afford to spend any less on their paid channel
because it'll impact their bottom line to go fix what
they should have done in the first place. It's a really hard position
for a small business to be in. So the mistake, in this case,
is not spending the time at the beginning to get a
good website, good content, and get your analytics
and tracking set up.

MS. ALFARONE: That's huge,
and I'm learning so much. We have so many questions. A viewer at the Salvadoran
American Cultural Center is asking, "How can the best
elements of a business be identified for inclusion in
a social media strategy?" You want to take
this one, Scott? MR. SORENSEN: Sure.
That's a great question. Again, social media is a
little bit of an art, right? I think people forget that
social media is "social" media. MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. SORENSEN: Think
of it like a party. So if we all went to a party, would you want me to walk up and say, "Hi, I sell insurance.
Nice to meet you." Right? It's like chill out a little bit
on the sales side and let's – think of it like a party. Make your social media –
think about it literally: What would make you
go to this page? Why would you want
to go to this party? What's there? What
are they talking about? What are they showing? And so, when you're looking
online of what to include in your social media mix, look at
what other people are talking, and like you said earlier,
you are the expert.

You should be able to
feel out, "You know what, I do like that subject." Or, "My audience would love
that because I love that. So I'm going to share that. I'm going to put that
into my social media mix." So I think it's important to
not just look at it as a sales channel, but it really
is a conversation. It's this, it's engagement. And so, as you're looking to
figure out what you want to post, you know, what
would you want to read? Flip it on its head.

Why
would I go to my page? MS. ALFARONE: And people also
want to get to know you as the expert sneaker developer or
whatever the thing might be. They want to know
what drives you. Why did you do this? MR. SORENSEN: Yeah.
Yeah, it's true. MS. ALFARONE: Anyway,
going to a next question, we have a viewer
in Monrovia asking, "How can you secure your
intellectual property while doing digital marketing?" What do you think, Andrew? MR. NELSON: Hire a good lawyer. [LAUGHTER] MR. SORENSEN: I was
going to say: You can't. MS. ALFARONE: Foundation,
right? Foundation. MR. NELSON: Right. It's not easy, and I don't
have much experience with international intellectual
property law myself, but I think that it is important to have
some legal counsel early on. I don't think you
need a lot of it. And I'm not talking necessarily
about the intellectual property of your product
or service itself.

More so on your marketing
and on your content you're putting out there. It's important to make sure
that it's not being stolen. And one easy way to do that
actually is – there's a number of tools out there, but
you could also just google your own content and see: Are
people copying my content? Is my content being
used elsewhere? It might not necessarily
be illegal. Maybe it is. But Google will punish your
website actually if your content's being copied,
if they're seeing duplicate content. MR. SORENSEN: They'll
think it's you maybe, trying to cheat the
system or something. MR. NELSON: Exactly. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, so you
want to look out for it. MR. NELSON: It's important
to be vigilant about people copying your marketing
content out there. And hire a lawyer.

MS. ALFARONE: That was
the first thing I learned in starting a business. And one of the things – not
necessarily digital marketing, but it's, get a copyright
or a trademark on your name, because you don't even
realize that someone else could be using the same name. MR. NELSON: It's a long process. MR. SORENSEN:
That's a good point. MS. ALFARONE:
Yeah, it really is. MR. SORENSEN: The other thing,
just small maybe little too deep in the weeds is just put
little marks on your images, and so put your – I'm
losing what they call it. MR. NELSON: The water mark. MR. SORENSEN: The water
mark of your logo or something like that. So, someone can Photoshop
it out or something, but it makes it just
one step harder to use your image somewhere else. MS. ALFARONE: Don't
make it easy for them. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
don't make it easy. And then if they do, there's
your name on the image. So, it actually might help out. MS. ALFARONE: That's good.

Okay, we have a viewing
group in Namibia asking, "What's the one key tool to
ensure that your website appears first on any search engine?" Obviously there are ads
that will be up there. MR. NELSON: That's right.
Good way to get – [CROSSTALK] MS. ALFARONE: There is that. And I always see the
little ad and go, "No, I'm not going
to click there. I'm going to look down
a little bit more." MR. NELSON: You know,
everyone says that. MR. SORENSEN: But
someone clicks. MS. ALFARONE: Someone clicks. MR. NELSON: Ninety-five
percent of Google's revenue is people clicking those ads. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MR. NELSON: So, I know everyone
– it blew my mind the first time I kind of realized that. MS. ALFARONE:
Ninety-five percent? MR. NELSON: Well, they're
an advertising company. MS. ALFARONE: It makes sense. MR. NELSON: So, it's surprising. MS. ALFARONE: Wow. MR. NELSON: I'm sorry,
we just went off on a – MS. ALFARONE: Yeah, that's okay. So how do you get to be one of
those first non-paid people? How do you do that? MR.

SORENSEN: That organic win. MR. NELSON: So, for tracking
it, other than just googling the keyword that you want to be
ranking for and checking who is on top, there are tools out
there that range in cost. I know Moz.com has a tool. MR. SORENSEN: Moz is Homebase. MR. NELSON: Ahrefs.com –
A-H-R-E-F-S-dot com is another one that can help you, or
SEMrush is another website that can help you monitor who's
ranking for certain keywords. And it's changing all the time. So you can't worry too
much about one ranking on one particular day.

You
have to watch it over time. So there's a number of
ways that you can monitor, and then there are larger
tools like AccuRanker, where you can monitor thousands
of keywords in real-time and see how things are trending. So there's a range of tools
to help you monitor that, outside of just
googling yourself. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: Gotcha. One more question from our
viewing group in Liberia asking, "What is the benefit of
creating a business website, and what's the risk in
managing a business website?" Do you want to take
that one, Scott? MR. SORENSEN: Sure. So, I guess you could
look at it two ways. One is if you're an
ecommerce business, if you're selling
your products online, then it's absolutely essential. MS. ALFARONE: 100%. MR. SORENSEN: Right. Then you need to have that
website to process the order and take their money and get the shipping details and things like that, right? So you do need a
website for that. For maybe consulting businesses,
service-oriented things, where you're not necessarily
– the actual transaction isn't happening on your website.

I still think it's
incredibly important to have what I would call a digital
business card, right? I mean, if people search for
– they know your name and they search for your website
and you don't have one, then the first question is:
Are they still in business? MS. ALFARONE: Is this
a legitimate business? MR. SORENSEN: Is this legit? And that's actually
a good piece on the social media side as well. Some people will just set
up their social media page and then leave it. They're in business and
they're doing things, but if anyone goes to
their page and it's dead, it's like, are they still – MS. ALFARONE: Are
they still around? MR.

SORENSEN: Yeah, are
you guys – can I call you? Will you answer the phone? Like they don't even know. So it's almost like – the
other way I compare it to is an Amazon review. So, Amazon, you can go on
and buy all these things, but Amazon's real
power are the reviews. What is better than what?
It's based on the reviews.

So how much money is one
more five-star review worth? It almost would be impossible
to calculate that, right? But we do know that
it's essential. You need good reviews
to sell on Amazon. And that's how your
digital footprint is, is if you're not present,
if you don't exist, then people offline are going to
question doing services with you because it's like, "Well, if
I look for you and you don't exist, then I'm all the
sudden less sure about doing business with you." MS. ALFARONE: It's like
going to your house, ringing the doorbell and like,
"Are they going to come out? I don't know if they're here." [CROSSTALK] MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
this house looks empty. There's no furniture. There's no – do you live here? MS. ALFARONE: What's going on? And then you leave, "Hm." MR. SORENSEN: "I don't
know if I want to hang out with you anymore."
Yeah. [LAUGHING] MS. ALFARONE: Right. We have
a question from Twitter. "How effective is it
to do advertising on your own website?"
What do you think, Andrew? MR.

NELSON: It depends
on your business model. Many businesses make their money
through ad revenues on their own website, especially if
you're a publisher or you're posting content regularly. I mean, that's how every news
organization is making their money, right, is on the
advertisements that they sell. If you aren't, though, planning
on having ad revenue be your key monetization strategy, I would
typically recommend against it. If you're trying to sell shoes
or you're trying to do – you really want people
focused, I think, on your services and what
you're trying to convey to them. And those ads may be disruptive
in that user experience on your website. So, it's tempting because
you can make money from it, but you have to be very careful
not to disrupt the user's experience on your
website with those ads. And if it's not going to be a
primary source of revenue for you, then I would typically
recommend against it.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, it's
about opportunity cost, right? It's like, "Okay. We can put these ads
on the side of my page, but I'll get 30 cents if
someone clicks on that ad, but if they buy my
product, I'll get $10." And so it's like – MR. NELSON: You
need to focus them. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, it's
like less is more when it comes to websites, you know? I have lots of
clients that say, "Oh, I want a website like
Apple's," and it's like, "Okay, do you have a
billion dollars first off?" But the other thing
is to take cues from the big dogs, you know? Google's Nexus products
and things like that, the sites are so simple. Like, your website does
not have to be complicated. In fact, the biggest and
best websites out there are very simple.

I mean, Google, it's
a search bar, right? There's nothing else
going on, right? MS. ALFARONE: You
know what they do. MR. SORENSEN: They could add
all sorts of stuff there, right? They could add all sorts of
banners and things like that. But that's a distraction. All they want you to do is
search, and that's it, right? I mean, they want you
to do other things, use their maps and
many other things.

But Google.com,
just a search bar. MR. NELSON: You need to provide
value to the user, and to them, the value is that search box. On your website it's going
to be something different, and ads don't always add
value to your website, but they can if – MR. SORENSEN: And again, if
that's your business model, if you're providing content
to sell ads on the site, then yeah, go for it. MS. ALFARONE: That's an
entirely different thing. Exactly. So what's your
strategy? What's your goal? MR. NELSON: You need to pick. MS. ALFARONE: Okay.
This or that. A question from Mike
in Colombia on Twitter. "Are there specific social
media strategies certain businesses should follow? And how can I best decide
where to invest my resources?" MR.

NELSON: Every
business should follow certain strategies. The hardest part is figuring
out which ones, right? Scott mentioned earlier,
though, with a few bucks, you can get up and running. The bar to entry
is so low to these. So, assuming you have your
foundation set and you're ready to start investing in promotion, you just need to start testing. There are some clear
winners and losers. If you are a B-to-B
product or service, LinkedIn is a great
place to start. That's a network for
business professionals. So, you can do a little bit of
audience research ahead of time to understand where is
your audience engaging. Where are they going? Where are your competitors
finding success or where are they promoting
– to help guide you. But it's pretty
easy to run a test. Keep your budget low.

Have your data and analytics
set up so you can see if it's working or not. And then let the data really
guide the decision on if it's the right strategy or not. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. That
really is the right answer. Like, everyone – and I think as
entrepreneurs we get stuck in pretending – it's almost
like we can lie to ourselves that our assumptions
are reality. We're like, "Oh, so-and-so,
this type of person, is going to buy my thing." Or, "This type of person,
my target audience, is going to love this picture."
But that's an assumption. MS. ALFARONE: Based on
everything we brought to the table and where I was yesterday. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. It's a
best guess. It's probably – MR. NELSON: It's a
good place to start. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, it's
a great place to start, but if you're not testing two
images at the same time to figure out which one's better –
because ultimately – I have to tell this to clients
sometimes, I'm like, "Your opinion doesn't
matter," right? You're not your audience.

MS. ALFARONE: That's why
the test is so important. MR. SORENSEN: That's why
the test is so important, because we want them to
decide for us what phrase or what image to use. So testing – that's absolutely – MR. NELSON: And test
all the platforms. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, exactly. MR. NELSON: It's not going to
hurt you to spend a few dollars. It's not going to take
your business down. MR. SORENSEN: And that's what's
great about digital marketing, too, is that you'll
know pretty quick. MR. NELSON: Exactly. MR. SORENSEN: You'll
know, like, "Hey, when I'm on Twitter
and I do these things, is it working for me?" I mean, you do need to
give it a fair shot, but at the end of the day, you
can see pretty quickly, "Wow, when I talk on Twitter versus
when I talk on Facebook, a lot more people are
talking to me on Facebook." And if you have to
pick between the two, then now your decision
is made for you, right? MS.

ALFARONE: Absolutely. So, for those of you just
joining us, guess what? You're watching the GIST
TechConnect conversation on growing your start-up
through digital marketing. And I am joined by panelists
Andrew Nelson and Scott Sorensen, and we really
appreciate your being here. And, of course, David D'Angelo,
who is our chat expert. We're currently taking live
questions from viewers and you can submit your questions through the chat space. It's next to this video. Or you can do it on Twitter
using #GISTTechConnect. So, here's a question
I have for you. Some start-ups don't have
large marketing budgets, right? MR. SORENSEN: Of course not. MS. ALFARONE: So, let's
talk about some affordable, yet effective, strategies
to leverage tools that are available. What
do you think, Scott? MR. SORENSEN: There
are a number of things. One is content, so you
gotta start that right away. The thing we didn't talk about
about SEO is it's a long game, six months minimum, minimum. I mean, probably a year
before you're ranking, really, in the top 10. MS. ALFARONE: That's
great information because you might get disappointed
and say, "Eh, done." MR.

SORENSEN: Yeah, don't expect
it to be any organic traffic from your blog post in the
first couple of months. You really – and those – I don't
want to call them throwaway blog posts, but like you really just
need to start producing content. That's a free thing, right? You just post it on your
blog or be updating, depending on how your
home page is set up, but be adding things to your
page, talking on social media. All of that can be incredibly
powerful in the long-term. And you do need to
have that foundation. I mean, for the first time in
history, brands can be people.

I call it "brands are bros." You have – I'm trying to think
of some of the fights you have, but you have these fights
between like Taco Bell and Oreo. MS. ALFARONE: It's
really funny too, the Twitter fights that go on. MR. SORENSEN: Right? And all the sudden, these
brands are being personified. So it's important for
you to be out there. And before, when
you had a company, you had this long time
between: Do people like my product or not? Now, after the first review
comes in, you're like, "Oh, shoot.

That's broken. We need to fix that
on our product." Your feedback loop
is so powerful. So I would start there
with the content. Start with the content. Start producing as
often as possible. I'm gonna say once
a day, probably be publishing something. MR. NELSON: Yeah, I mean,
that would be impressive. MR. SORENSEN: If you
can keep that up. [CROSSTALK] MR. NELSON: Quality.

MR. SORENSEN: Do
it with quality. Start with maybe once a month
if you need to do something, but work on your cadence.
Make sure it's consistent. People need to be
able to count on you. MS. ALFARONE: Right, because
they know to go there. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, every
Tuesday, it's Tuesday Tech Talk, and there we are
every Tuesday, right? MS.

ALFARONE: And you might
think that no one – well, the first Tuesday Tech
Talk, no one's there. And that's okay. MR. SORENSEN: Pretend
they're there, yeah. MS. ALFARONE: You're
building an audience, and I say this to some of the
people who I work with because I help people with their
strategies as well on Facebook Live, because as a news
anchor I did a lot of that. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: And
sometimes they'll say, "I only had four people there." And I'll say, "If you could
change four people's lives, wouldn't that be worth it?" MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: You've got to
not get caught in those little numbers at first and do it. What do you think
about this, Andrew? MR.

NELSON: Well, you can't
promote until you have content – MR. SORENSEN: Right.
That's a good point. MR. NELSON: Because otherwise,
you're sending people to a poor user experience. What are they going to read when
they get to your website, so – MR. SORENSEN: An empty box. MR. NELSON: If you ever want
them to think of you as the leader of your particular niche
or if you ever want them to come back, you better have that
quality content ready for them, even if it's the very first
viewer of your website. So, look at it as you're
building an archive of quality content to really
fuel that promotion that you'll eventually be doing. MR. SORENSEN: And just a quick
note on the foundation and making sure you have everything
in place: It honestly really is a stumbling forward. Like, don't get caught
in perfectionism. It's much better – not always. Sometimes your
website's terrible. But it's almost always better
to have something out there. MR. NELSON: It's iterative. MR.

SORENSEN: But
it's iterative. But as soon as you
learn that, oh, people aren't liking this
or I need to change – this is a bad user experience. But you can't learn that that's
a bad user experience until someone's had a bad
user experience, right? And so you gotta – just
stumble forward with it. Don't hold back and wait for
everything to be perfect and "I don't have the perfect picture." Start with the okay
picture and let's start getting some feedback. Get
those analytics coming in. Start your year trek
on the SEO climb today. And so really I would
say just get started. I mean, probably the
hardest step is going to be the first one. MS. ALFARONE: And learn.
Be open to learn. MR. SORENSEN: It is a learning
process, it really is.

And don't take it – you
know, somebody makes fun of your first video or whatever. I mean, just laugh
it off and try again. MS. ALFARONE: You
learned something. That was valuable, and
it cost you nothing. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it cost you a
little bit of ego, but – MS. ALFARONE: Oh, we
have enough of that. That's okay. [LAUGHTER] Let's get back online and see
what our viewers have to say. Online viewer Roni Rivera asks,
"Would you recommend using a blog in my social
media strategy? And what would be
the benefit of that?" And we talked about
that a little bit, but do you want to
take this one, Andrew? MR. NELSON: Sure. MS. ALFARONE: What
do you think of this? MR. NELSON: So, every industry
is a little bit different. Every audience wants to read
different types of content. But we at our firm have found
that blogs are a great archive of content to base your
social media off of.

You could write one great,
high-quality blog post and have weeks' worth of social media
content to refer back to that blog post, just based
off of that one. So, the challenge with social
media is that when you post something, how quickly is it
at the bottom of the feed and people aren't going to see – I
mean, it's really fast-moving. MR. SORENSEN: Hours,
within minutes sometimes. MR. NELSON: That's right. And you need to fuel that
beast with quality content. So I think a blog can play a
critical role in housing the content on which to source
your social media posts. MR. SORENSEN: It's a
nice long-term anchor. And I liked what you
suggested as well, is your blog post can
be a couple of pages, but then you just
take pieces of it – MR. NELSON: Right. MR. SORENSEN: Smaller snippets
– and that becomes your Facebook posting feed. MS. ALFARONE: I never
thought of that. When I post my blog,
it's one and done.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. No,
come back; revisit it. MS. ALFARONE: You
can come back to it. MR. SORENSEN: Pull
a quote out of it. A week later, pull a
different quote out of it – and always referencing back. I have a client who we've been
posting three or four blogs a month for a couple of
years, okay, so they have 20, 30, 40 blog posts. And just recently, just one of those – so think about that; they've got 40 blog posts –
and just recently one of them was picked up on the
front page of Google. And so their website went from
a few thousand and literally overnight it doubled. And so now it went from like
a few thousand people a day to 2-3-4,000 people a day.
And that's our new standard.

But it's because of a blog
post we wrote in August. MS. ALFARONE: Really? MR. SORENSEN: Right? And so
it's that quality content. The blog is a great place for
fresh – because you don't want to be necessarily changing your
home page every day, right? MR. NELSON: No. MR. SORENSEN: And so,
the blog's a great place. Google, all the crawlers are set
up to know what a blog is and treat it differently and
understand that it's – you know, some blogs are set up,
you just keep scrolling and it never stops.

It just keeps loading the
next blog post, right? So, yeah, definitely
have a blog. I think it's a great place. And like you said, it depends
on the industry, but in general, people want to talk about what
you're doing or what you're saying, and they want to hear
what you have to say about it. MR. NELSON: One final note,
talking back to the question with social media and a blog:
A great benefit of the blog is by using that to
fuel your social media, you now have a way to bring
people back to your website. So, another chunk of social
media – if all you're doing is posting, that's great that
you're engaging with people, but what are you doing to
get them to your website, to get them to learn more
or purchase or convert, whatever that means to
your particular business? So, by posting on social media
and referencing your blog posts, you're now bringing them in to
your blog and you're starting to bring them into that
marketing funnel.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: I'm learning so
much here today, gentlemen. Thank you. [LAUGHTER] I know so many people
at home are too. John Howard on Twitter asks,
"What's a strategy to get more views on your website without
spending a lot of money?" What do you think
of this, Andrew? MR. NELSON: Yeah, so a couple
[INAUDIBLE] a blog and social media is a great way
to get that started.

And then that blog can
serve double duty with organic search or SEO. So, it's really about having
quality content on your website that is optimized for social
channels and optimized for SEO channels. It takes time.
That's the problem. When you spend money on
promotion, you get that instant. You can get that
traffic to your website. MR. SORENSEN: Clicks today. MR. NELSON: If you have the
luxury of those budgets, then great. That should be
a part of your strategy. But if you don't, you need to
settle in and start that long work of posting quality
content, optimizing it for SEO, posting it on social media. And if you do that consistently,
just like your client saw, it will build on itself. MR. SORENSEN: Eventually
one of them hits. MR. NELSON: And eventually,
it even gets exponential. It's amazing how fast it grows. MR. SORENSEN: They start
stacking on each other. Yeah, absolutely. MS. ALFARONE: And further
to the blog posts, you might think it's
a good headline, but you might want to switch it
out and try a different one as well, because it might just –
okay, got a couple of clicks.

Well, let's change that
out because you might be speaking differently to
different audiences. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. That's true. I would make sure that
you don't necessarily change a historical blog post. MS. ALFARONE: Okay. MR. SORENSEN: Because you're
trenching in the historical – if you change it, then
Google has to re-crawl it. MS. ALFARONE: Okay. MR. SORENSEN: And so I would
suggest actually just doing a new article that's similar
with a different title later. MR. NELSON: Or test
two social media posts. MR. SORENSEN: Or test
two at the same time – yeah, exactly – and see
which one does better. MR. NELSON: Right. MR. SORENSEN: The other thing
to add to the conversation here about content that we kinda
use that word generally. But it's important to understand
– don't get stuck in a rut where you're just posting pictures
or just posting text. Video is extremely powerful
and extremely underutilized. And there is a war right
now going on between YouTube and Facebook. And they are discounting
and promoting videos. They're trying to
own videos online. And so, when you post a video,
they are pushing it for free to your audience because they're
trying to beat out the competitor's website.

MS. ALFARONE: Good info. MR. SORENSEN: So don't just get stuck on, "Oh, this
is a pretty picture," but do a Facebook Live.
Do a selfie video. Talk – I had a client who,
she was a limousine company, and I'm just like,
"You should, once a week, get in your limousine and, you know, and sit there and talk about the business." And she's like, "Well, no
one wants to hear from me. No one" – And I'm like,
"You're gonna be surprised." MS. ALFARONE: People
want to hear from you. MR. SORENSEN: They do, no
matter what you're doing. And so, it's important to get
out there, have that voice, and you'll find yourself,
I think, in your brand. And not always does the
president of the company need to be the voice, right? You can have someone who is loud
and fun and whatever and just say, "Will you talk about
my product once a week? Let's just do" –
for whatever reason.

So when we say content,
it's pretty wide. MR. NELSON: Yeah, exactly. One other note on video,
because I think that's a huge topic right now. We were just working with
our Facebook reps yesterday, and they let us know that
they're expecting by 2023, I think was the date, 80% of all
engagements on Facebook will be video views, will be with video. Video is going to become,
if it hasn't already, the number one source
of engaging with people on Facebook as a platform. And it's quickly
becoming the standard. I don't know – text is
still very important, but it's going to become the most effective way here pretty soon of engaging your
content with people online.

MS. ALFARONE: That's really
important information. MR. NELSON: Think about
how video needs to fit into your strategy. MS. ALFARONE: And if you don't
feel comfortable on video and you're thinking to yourself,
"People don't want to hear from me," actually you're wrong.
People want to hear from you. MR. SORENSEN: You're wrong.
You really should try.

MS. ALFARONE: Everyone
– they really do. This is a question from Twitter
and from Elaine in Beirut. "What's the best way to
generate business-to-business meetings from digital
marketing activities?" MR. SORENSEN: It's a great one. MS. ALFARONE: I'll throw
that to both of you, whoever talks first. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, we
referenced it earlier with LinkedIn. MR. NELSON: Yep. MR. SORENSEN: That is an entire
platform dedicated to B-to-B. It's kind of annoying
a little bit actually. Every time I'm on
there, I'm like, "I don't want to buy
your services," you know. But find those platforms. I don't know what else.
I mean, be there. MR. NELSON: Well, one of the
other things with LinkedIn that you can do, other than
the feed, the news feed, which is a good place to be – MR. SORENSEN: Another place
to be posting content. MR. NELSON: Right, exactly – is
LinkedIn "InMail" – is a place where you can send – it's
almost, if you haven't seen it, it's almost like a little
email inbox within LinkedIn.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MR. NELSON: So whether you're
sending someone a direct message or you can sponsor message and
pay to get it out a little bit more, it's an opportunity
to directly engage with a particular industry or someone
of a particular seniority, and you're able to talk to them,
just like you would on Facebook. It's harder on Facebook. You don't know what their title
is necessarily or [CROSSTALK] MR. SORENSEN: Are
they a decision-maker? MR. NELSON: Right. But LinkedIn is
just a great place. People go to LinkedIn because
they're in the mindset of wanting to further their
career or make connections, and they're in that
business mindset already, so it's a great way to engage
in those types of conversations.

MR. SORENSEN: The other way that
just came to me is education. So start a video school
on your subject, right? Share how you do what you do,
and you'll be surprised by people reach out to
you, "Oh my gosh, you're an expert on this
because you have a class on it." MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. SORENSEN: But they don't
necessarily know that unless you're out there teaching. So I would say start
some type of content, whether it's on YouTube
or Facebook or something.

MR. NELSON: Udemy, Khan Academy. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, there's
some great platforms that are literally just for trainings
and things like that. But start a course. Start a course on your subject,
even if it is tying shoes. You'd be blown away by
the niches that are inside niches, you know? MR. NELSON: I guarantee you,
thousands of people a month search how to tie shoes. MR. SORENSEN: Or unique
ways to – I bet – you should go look
it up right now. Someone is doing this. MS. ALFARONE:
Someone let us know.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
go find the coolest – how to tie your
shoes the coolest. I bet that's a thing for sure. MS. ALFARONE: Or maybe
make a video on that and see what happens. MR. SORENSEN: If
there's not, yeah, you should make a video and
then you ca own that, yeah. MS. ALFARONE: Free advice.
There you go. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: So we have
a viewer from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia,
Liberia asking, "What's the best way to
use digital marketing to rebrand your business?" MR.

NELSON: Rebranding's hard. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. NELSON: And I think it's
great that we have entrepreneurs and start-ups thinking
about rebranding, because it's a lot easier
to do it at that point – MR. SORENSEN: At the beginning. MR. NELSON: – than it is once
you've invested all this time in building brand equity. MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. NELSON: So, obviously,
you can redesign your website, and I think that you have an
opportunity to get some free PR, a little bit of publicity here. It's an exciting thing,
you're rebranding. MR. SORENSEN: Why are
you rebranding? Yeah. MR. NELSON: It's
this new message, this new look and feel
you're getting across. It's better than it was before. So you have an opportunity,
whether it's on social platforms or – it's a
little more old school, but even press releases
are places where – MR. SORENSEN: People still
pick up press releases. Yeah, absolutely. MR. NELSON: You could
go get that message out. You know, "We're excited;
we're rebranding, and this is the new direction
we're taking things." So, just like you would
any piece of content, you could turn that into
a content opportunity.

MR. SORENSEN: Into a story. MR. NELSON: Exactly. MR. SORENSEN: And you see
this all the time with, again, I like to call them – oh, I just
lost it, but mentors, right? So look at Apple, right, how
many times – their logo's basically stayed the same. MS. ALFARONE: Yes it has. MR. SORENSEN: But it
has progressed, right? It used to have
the rainbow in it, used to have this –
now it's really simple. Microsoft, same thing. The squares used to be
all wavy in flag format, and they've rebranded as well
to stay up with the times. And so, that's a great
question and that's great forward thinking. I don't
know if you need to rebrand because something bad that
happened or it's just feeling tired.
But the digital platform is the best for that
because it can change. You can take off your logo –
although it will be forever on the internet, your old one. MS. ALFARONE: Right.
Everything lives forever. MR.

SORENSEN: [LAUGHING]
But at least on your page, you can have your new brand up. And ultimately, that's what
people are going to reference is I know when I go looking for
what logo does this client want me to look for, I always go
to their home page and say, "Okay, which one
are they using?" MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. SORENSEN: Okay, this is
their most up-to-date brand. MR. NELSON: So it's important
to be consistent here too. There's SEO implications here,
which I'll get to in a second. But if you are going to
rebrand, make sure that you all at once change everything
that you've done online, all your social profiles,
your website obviously.

MR. SORENSEN: You're talking
on just the contents, on like the imagery
and things like that? MR. NELSON: So, exactly. Your profile photo
for your business on social media, for example. I see people rebrand, but
then they have a bunch of old logos out there. It's confusing for a
user, first of all. MR. SORENSEN: And it takes
you out of the experience. MR. NELSON: Exactly.
"Which is the right company? Is this a legitimate company? I'm not sure what's going on?" MR. SORENSEN: "Is this the
right – this pay format has the old logo.
Is this up to date? Are these prices correct?" MR. NELSON: And then thinking
back to SEO – this is actually also incredibly important –
Google's going to trust your website a little bit less if
they're seeing that your address is different in different places
and your logo's not lining up or the name of your
company is not lining up.

MS. ALFARONE: They will
actually notice that? MR. SORENSEN: Oh, yeah. MR. NELSON: Oh, 100%. Just like a user would, and
they're not going to be as certain that you are who you
say you are, or who are you. So, there's even SEO
applications on being consistent and thorough
on that transaction. MR. SORENSEN: Even Google
will see that you're having an identity crisis. MR. NELSON: Right. MS. ALFARONE: Wow.
Everyone sees that. [LAUGHTER] You can't hide it. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. Which
is your real address? MS. ALFARONE: Who are you? MR. SORENSEN: You're
going down in SEO. MS. ALFARONE: And one other
thing to add because you were talking about press releases. I can tell you from being a
reporter that don't give me your press release as an attachment,
because you're asking me to do one more thing. MR. SORENSEN: Oh, that's smart. MS. ALFARONE: Put it in
the body of the email.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
it's already open. MS. ALFARONE: I can
forward it to someone. I could look at it right away. But if you ask me to take
one more step, I mean, we're just so busy. MR. SORENSEN: You're lucky
I even opened it, right? MS. ALFARONE: Right,
right. So many emails. MR. SORENSEN: Smart. MS. ALFARONE: So we have an
online guest who's asking, "What are the business risks
for changing a website from one domain to another
after a year or two? And what are the ways to
avoid having problems?" This is kind of connected in
a way to the last question. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, I was
going to say nuclear bomb.

MR. NELSON: Right. MR. SORENSEN:
Yeah, catastrophic. MS. ALFARONE: Wow. MR. SORENSEN: There are
smart ways to do it. And ultimately,
almost in all cases, you take a hit for a few months. But then once Google or whatever
search engine comes back and says, "Oh, okay, this is who
we used to have as number one. Let's put them back." So, it doesn't have
to be catastrophic. Do plan on taking a hit.

But I would do some
research, a lot of research. MR. NELSON: There is a right
and a wrong way to do it. And it's pretty black and white. And there are steps that need to be followed that are, frankly, over my head and
very, very technical. MR. SORENSEN: Same, yep.
Very technical. MR. NELSON: You need to tell
Google this is going to be happening, and you need to add
certain code to say the old website is the new website. MR. SORENSEN: And then
you need to make sure and kill all the old stuff. Otherwise, you get
the duplicate content, and you start getting
punished for that. MS. ALFARONE: Wow. MR. NELSON: So,
find a checklist. There are checklists out there. They're called website
migration checklists – MS. ALFARONE: Okay.
Good information. MR. NELSON: – that
you need to follow. I couldn't even attempt to try
to list them all out right now. MS. ALFARONE: Wow. MR. NELSON: And if it's done
wrong – if it's done properly, you might see a little bit of
a dip and a recovery within a couple of months, exactly.

If it's done wrong,
though, you're completely removed from Google. MR. SORENSEN: Right.
You have to start over. MR. NELSON: Like you're
completely removed, so you have to be very careful. MS. ALFARONE: That is very
important information. Thank you for that. MR. SORENSEN: Great question. MS. ALFARONE: Yeah, absolutely. And we have time for
just one more question. Wow, this hour flew. MR. SORENSEN: It was fast, yeah. MS. ALFARONE: One more
question from Ammad in Jerusalem on Twitter. "So how should I go about
creating a low budget marketing campaign for a website in
something such as e-commerce? What platforms should I use?" MR.

SORENSEN: So, sounds
like he's asking about paid. MR. NELSON: I think so. MR. SORENSEN: Would
you assume that? So, I would bust out
the Excel spreadsheet. This is what I do, and I say,
"Okay, what are my costs? What are my margins? Okay, so every time I sell
one of these, I make $10." So now you know – and make sure
you include everything you can and say, "Okay, if I sell
one of these, I make $10." So now you know what your
marketing budget is.

It's $9. MR. NELSON: Right. MR. SORENSEN: Right? You want to be able to say,
"Okay" – and when you start it's going to be your worst.
So plan on that. It should always be better. My go-to in terms of platform
– I think they asked about platform – is just Facebook,
just because it's so universal. They have the most users. It does a great
job with just text. It does a great job with images.
It does a great job with video. So, all types of content. MR. NELSON: And they have the
shopping ads nowadays too. MR. SORENSEN: Yep.
Marketplaces, shopping ads. And they have lead
generation as well now. So you can actually – it's
actually great because you already have your information
on Facebook and someone says, "Hey, do you want to add your
email to this email list?" Your email's already populated.
So that's a fun new thing. So, yeah, so I
would start there. But I would start with
the big picture of, okay, what is a successful
cost per conversion.

You need to know
that; otherwise, you're just spending money and
then at the end of the month, you're like, "Do I have
more than I started with or do I have less?" And
then testing, you know? It really isn't – and when you
know that margin you need to hit, you'll know right away
if this is sustainable or not. MR. NELSON: Right. MR. SORENSEN: And if you're
in the ballpark of it's sustainable, then I would
say you'd probably be able to cut that cost in
half over a testing.

MR. NELSON: By optimizing. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah,
by optimizing. MR. NELSON: Another tool that
we've found success with in e-commerce websites, in
addition to Facebook, is, again, Google AdWords. They have an entire
suite of advertisements specifically for e-commerce. I think back to
that shoe example. MR. SORENSEN: Have you found
Google AdWords to be more expensive, in general,
than Facebook ads? MR. NELSON: It really
depends on the industry, but the costs have
definitely gone up. I think you're onto
something there. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MR. NELSON: I do think
that, in general, Facebook can be cheaper. I do find, though, that for now,
Google has so much experience.

MR. SORENSEN: Reach – it
has so much reach too. MR. NELSON: – and so much reach
in developing these ad products that they can really go
toe-to-toe, which is surprising. Two years ago, Facebook could
not go toe-to-toe with Google in terms of their performance. But over the past year or so – MR. SORENSEN: Their
targeting is incredible. MR. NELSON: They're
targeting; the cost is lower; their ad formats are better. So there are definitely times
where you can beat out Google. MR. SORENSEN: The nice thing
about Google ads, as well, is you don't necessarily have
to set up a Facebook page and do all this work. You can just throw up two
banners and see which one gets more clicks, right? MR. NELSON: Exactly. MR. SORENSEN: And so it's
actually a great way – like if you're starting from nothing,
that's a great place to say, "Do they like it blue or
do they like it green? Do they like this
logo or this one?" And look at your
click-through rates. That's what you want to look
at, your click-through rates.

That shows: For every
100 people that see it, five people clicked versus one. You're like, "Okay, that one's
better," and go from there. MS. ALFARONE: This
has been so much fun. It really has.
I've learned a lot. MR. NELSON: That's great. MS. ALFARONE: We're
getting to the end. We're almost out of time, but
before we get to saying good-bye to everyone, I just want to
ask you both: What would you say the most important
takeaway is, Scott? MR.

SORENSEN: Oh, geez.
Threw it right at me. MR. NELSON: Summarize. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah, I would
– I honestly would – as an entrepreneur, I say what I
see hold most people back is the fear of failure. MS. ALFARONE: Right. MR. SORENSEN: So all of this
stuff probably this last hour sounds very overwhelming. We've been doing this each
I think close to a decade. So it takes time to get here.

But I would just say
just get started. Post something today.
Talk about it. Get your brand
foundation figured out. Figure out what you want to do
and then test it and try it. Find a way to go probe
somewhere somehow. Do people like this? Are they going to
engage with this? And so that would
be my best summary. I think probably where the
audience is at is don't be afraid to get started. And start right away, because
it's going to be a long road. Don't expect success right away. I feel like a lot of those big,
giant success out of nowhere stories do a lot of harm to
the entrepreneurship community because it is a roller coaster,
and it goes up and down and up and down.

And so I would say my
number one takeaway, most important thing is it
really isn't – is it going to be Facebook or is it
going to be Twitter? I mean, that's nominal. It really comes down to getting
out there and being present, having content exist. That needs to be
your first step. MS. ALFARONE: Love it. Excellent. Biggest takeaway, Andrew. MR. NELSON: So, I'm
going to give two and I might be cheating, but – MS. ALFARONE: It's okay.
It's okay. MR. NELSON: Number one
is learn to love data. MR. SORENSEN: Yes. MR. NELSON: Even if excel
spreadsheets don't excite you, maybe data does not
sound very exciting.

But making data-driven marketing
decisions is the key to staying cost-effective, efficient,
and to optimize and grow things over time. MR. SORENSEN: It takes the
emotion out of bad decisions. MR. NELSON: That roller
coaster we were talking about. MR. SORENSEN: People say, "But
I really like this image." MS. ALFARONE: That's irrelevant. MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. It is.
It's like, "Look at the data." Yeah, great suggestion. MR. NELSON: And then,
the second, I think, just gets back to
that foundation. Without paralyzing
yourself for perfection – MR. SORENSEN: Right. MR. NELSON: It is so important
to get a website, get content, and get your tracking
and analytics set up. Without those, you are going to
have to be spending even more going back and fixing it later.

MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. MS. ALFARONE: So important. We are so lucky to
have both of you here. Really, you're doing such a
wonderful service to people all across the country
and the world. MR. NELSON: I hope we helped. MS. ALFARONE: Amazing. So, thank you both, and also a
shout-out to David D'Angelo – MR. SORENSEN: Thanks, Dave. MS. ALFARONE: – contributing
in the chat space. Hey there, Dave. Before we go, we want to mention
an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs, the 2019 Global
Entrepreneurship Summit. It's going to be held
on June 4th and 5th in The Hague in The Netherlands. The GES Summit will
bring together more than 2,000 participants. And they're from
all over the world. This is a marketplace for new
deals and partnerships and also a forum to really discuss
the larger context of technological change.

So, if you want to learn
more and you want to apply to participate, we want you
to go and visit the summit website at GES2019.org. And a special thanks to
everyone watching today, especially to the hosts of the
viewing groups around the globe, for bringing entrepreneurs
together to be a part of this vital conversation. I mean, we had audiences at
the Lead Africa I-Hub in Pretoria, South Africa; the U.S. Embassy in Asmara,
Eritrea – I'm sorry. A lot of names here. The American Cultural
Center in Namibia; the American Spaces
in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, Congo; U.S. Embassy in Lomé , Togo;
the American Center in Uganda; the Youth Network for
Reform in Liberia; the El Space I-Hub in Tunisia; the Berytech I-Hub
in Beirut, Lebanon; the America House in
Jerusalem, Israel; U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador; the Costa Rican North
American Cultural Center in San Jose, Costa Rica; the Benjamin Franklin Public
Library and Cultural Center in Honduras; the Public Library of Sula
Valley Autonomous University in San Pedro
Sula, Honduras; the Network of Nicaraguan
Women Entrepreneurs at the U.S.

Embassy Binational
Center in Nicaragua; and the U.S. Embassy in
Teguca – can you help me? MR. SORENSEN: I don't know. MS. ALFARONE: Teguc
– yeah, in Honduras. We love you there.
You're wonderful; the U.S. Consulate General
in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. And please, continue
the conversation, even though I may have messed
up the name of where you are, because it doesn't mean
that I don't love ya. Anyway, please continue the
conversation on Twitter at #GISTTechConnect. And check back here on
GISTNetwork.org for information about other upcoming GIST events, including programs just like this.

I hope you enjoyed
your discussion today. Thank you so much
for joining us. Thank you to all my guests.
I loved being here. Good-bye. MR. SORENSEN: Good-bye. [LAUGHTER].

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