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Private Equity Digital Marketing

Private Equity Firms are marketing online more and more, but few are doing a decent job of it and even fewer are seeing success from it.

Our experience has shown there are several key reasons for this.

  1. They Don’t Have the Skills In-House
  2. They Don’t Have a Strategy
  3. They Don’t Take it Seriously

These reasons should make sense to everyone, but as it relates to digitally marketing private equity firms the typical strategies that most marketers speak on are more aligned to consumer marketing, or where the company needs to have a high public visibility.
For Private Equity Firms it is more important to gain the intelligence of how your targets behave online to create a personalized approach and identify how and where they seek advice.

This is a story of how one Private Equity Firm Won Big Online
A Private Equity firm who focused primarily on B2B manufacturing companies wanted to increase dealflow but felt they had exhausted the personal and professional network of the team.

So the question was, “How do we get ourselves in front of new deals?”.

They Took to the Streets

The Managing Directors of the firm started calling on anyone they had met in the past who could potentially refer them to deals. Attorneys, CPA’s, Money Managers, etc.

While some seemed promising and the likelihood of deals in the future would likely come, they would also come slowly and with no predictability.

They Attended Conferences and Trade Shows

Another easy idea was to get in front of company owners and board members at trade shows and conferences. This too is great and can build trust quickly with potential targets.

The problem with this is that it is not scalable and again can result in slow acquisition.

What About Marketing?

For some reason many Private Equity Firms don’t participate in marketing.
Maybe it’s the rules that you must deal with from FINRA and the SEC.
Maybe it’s a belief that it doesn’t work.

But this firm decided that it was worth a try.

After looking at options and talking to many different agencies, they decided that digital marketing would be their best choice.

They came to this decision based on the fact that they could start finding businesses who were actually looking for growth opportunities which are closer to converting as deals and they could target and track the people and companies they would like to do business with.

What were the results?

The firm decided to optimize their website for search and for conversion.
They started doing content marketing focused on drawing in new business opportunities directly from owners, boards and deal makers.
They used paid ads and retargeting to stay in front of their prospects.
They tracked and measured the activity to identify high value contacts.

All of these actions resulted in 20% higher deal flow volume than their record year and a 25% reduction in time to close on those new inbound deals.

This resulted in Millions of dollars in new revenue and a greater profile / status as a solid firm in that particular sector.

You can read more on Private Equity Marketing here: http://acumenstudio.com/private-equity-marketing/

I recently read an article by John Rampton titled “Prepare for the Future being shaped by these 5 Critical Trends.”
He goes on to share these trends and his explanation of why they will have a significant impact on the future.

Some of it I agreed with while other parts I did not.

Here I am sharing both my opinions and ideas in comparison to Rampton’s.

5 Trends Shaping the Future of Business (and Marketing)

1. Winning at mobile will mean having an app.

Rampton
Mobile usage is at an all-time high and shows no signs of slowing down. Consumers are using mobile for everything from buying products, to communicating with friends, to playing games, to finding local businesses.

Over the past couple of years, business owners have taken this trend to heart, optimizing their sites for mobile through the use of a responsive site design. And while this is a great first step, it may no longer be enough to future-proof your business.

Research shows that 89 percent of all mobile media time is now spent in apps, while only the remaining 11 percent is spent on the mobile web. This means that not having an app for your business is almost certainly costing you. If you don’t already have an app, now is the time to start planning for one.

Bracamontes
While I agree with what most of Rampton is saying here, I cannot make the same absolute statement that All businesses will need a mobile app. I am a big supporting of the mobile web and responsive design.

The research that showcases 89% of mobile media time is spent in apps is skewed heavily toward consumers playing games, watching YouTube videos and messaging other consumers. So unless you are one of those types of companies, then there are larger questions to ask in determining your need for an app.

We have had many companies come to us with ideas for customer portals or app ideas that didn’t need to be an app.

In our opinion, a larger concern will be on integrating with other apps. Aggregators, Indexing and organizational apps will lead heavily in how we interact with our mobile devices, so getting cozy with these companies will be hugely beneficial.


2. Increase your use of freelancers now so you’re not playing catch-up.

Rampton
We now know that 34 percent of the US workforce are freelancers. This works out to over 54 million freelancers in America who contribute $700 billion annually to the national economy.

It has also been predicted that by 2020 (that’s just four years away!), freelancers will make up 50 percent of the workforce. That will seriously impact how you do business!

There are many benefits to using freelancers to build and grow your business. However, one of the most important “future-proof” benefits is this: in the event of an economic downturn, using freelancers will make you and your business far more nimble. Not only will it allow you to find and hire the best global workers, you won’t need to pay costs like office space or employee benefits.

Bracamontes
Definitely agree with Rampton here.
While again these numbers are skewed since many of these freelancers are also fully employed, it doesn’t negate the fact that they are still doing some work on a freelance basis.

Every study is showing that more and more people are moving to work in a freelance capacity, due to the freedom it can provide for their lifestyle.

Is this good for business, maybe, maybe not, but it is a fact that you will have to be a part of this trend.


3. Prepare for the aging workforce.

Rampton
The US workforce is undergoing some serious shifts in terms of demographics. In fact, according to the CDC, by 2020 one in every four workers will be over the age of 55.

As older workers begin retiring, companies will be left with openings in key leadership positions. To fill these gaps, businesses will need to consider whether to hire internally or externally. While smaller organizations may need to look almost exclusively to outside hires, the “world’s most admired companies” (WMAC’s) know that hiring internally is the wave of the future. According to Fortune, only 11 percent of WMAC’s anticipate hiring externally, while 81 percent say they’re preparing current employees to take over key positions.

Now is the time to begin identifying high-potential individuals within your organization. This will give you time to invest in training and development, ensuring they’re ready for their new roles when the time comes.

Bracamontes
This is an interesting contradiction to the freelancer prediction in my opinion.
With an increase in people moving to freelance, you may find that key leadership roles will actually move outside of the company and be held by those who left.
I can definitely see a retirement package, being a consulting gig for the executive leaving their full time benefit laden gig with a more lean outlay for the company, but still very lucrative and more flexible for the now contracted retiree.

Another trend are SuperTemps, which are basically well educated consultants who work independent of any organization, but are just as good, if not better than those you would find at Deloitte, Bain, Booz, etc.

I can say that personally, we will look both internally and externally for our agency.
It’s ultimately about fit.


4. Adapt policies attractive to millenial employees.

Rampton
According to the Workforce 2020 Global Research report, one of the top concerns organizations have in terms of labor-market shifts is the rise in millennials entering the workforce. And while executives believe there key differences between how Millennials and other generational groups operate in the organization, most don’t fully understand exactly what these differences are.

Millennials are less bound by loyalty, and expect to have up to 9 employers over the course of their lifetime. In their report, Millennials At Work: Reshaping the Workplace, PricewaterhouseCoopers offers some important insights into the differences employers should consider, including:

  • Due to recent economic downturn in many parts of the world, Millennials now expect to work for up to six or more employers over their lifetime. This means decreased loyalty toward employers, and therefore greater turnover.
  • Millennials value flexibility and diversity in terms of their working hours, location, training and work/life balance.
  • Millennials prefer to communicate electronically rather than in-person or on the phone. Employers will need to adapt their current model to accommodate this.
  • Millennials prefer a digital wallet over being paid by check. They are demanding a new wave of ease in payments.

Bracamontes
I’ll be honest in saying that this is ridiculous to me in that we have to work hard to make these shifts.
These types of business building activities have progressed since the beginning of time.
Cultures change, behaviors change, rules change, technology changes, etc. and we have to CHANGE TOO!

We see this as being a communication issue with organizations.
Make the shifts like you’re going to have to anyway and convey the message that working with you is good for those reasons.

Who cares how the work gets done as long as it gets done.
And if you are communicating your values and beliefs correctly then you will attract the type of people you want in your organization and they will likely do the work in a similar style as you anyway.


5. Prepare your business for environmental and social sustainability.

Rampton
While becoming socially and environmentally sustainable is currently not a requirement in most industries, it may become so in the future. Beginning the process of becoming a so-called “future-fit” business can help you start the process now, ensuring you continue to grow and thrive into the future, without doing harm to society or the environment. Millennials really care about both of these issues, so you may want to up your own game in both of these social issue areas.

Using the Future-Fit Business benchmark, businesses can define their own future-fit goals to ensure they’re on the path towards becoming sustainable. Businesses can aspire to a list of 21 goals, each with its own set of key fitness indicators (KFIs).

Be aware that pursuing this course can have significant impact on the way you do business. The report authors write, “We believe that when businesses see the gap between their current performance and the necessary future-fit level of environmental and social performance, they will abandon their incremental efforts and embrace innovative breakthrough efforts…Some companies may find that they need to redesign their business model to reach the benchmark and capture the benefits.”

Bracamontes
Look I get it.
The environment is important to keep healthy, because if we don’t, then we die (or our kids, grand kids, great grand kids, etc.).

But social sustainability sounds a little off.
Our society changes a lot and our views change with it.
You could always argue that actions or inactions could positively or negatively affect society.
My opinion is to do what you think is right and value feedback.

As an example: A recent documentary I watched showed how the overwhelming charity given to areas in Africa has actually killed societies, due to the fact that they cannot sustain without these handouts, due to the fact that they get these handouts!
Food given to these African cities, kills the local food economy and puts farmers out of business, clothing given to the cities, kills the local textile manufacturers and clothiers. See what I’m saying.

So something you think is great for society could be really detrimental.

These statements also make me think that we are in some type of a bubble as well.

Needless to say, I like to give my two cents.
I thought there was great thought put into the article and wanted to share with you all as well.

If you want to talk to me about ideas like this then give me a call or send an email and I would love to talk shop with you. Especially if it’s in relation to content marketing or digital marketing audits!

*original source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281097

The Question: “What should I include in my content marketing?”

Here are the things that YOU SHOULD be including in your content marketing efforts.

You don’t just need content, you need Awesome Content!

Developing relevant content does not have to be a difficult. It doesn’t require any special tools, secret or magic. It all begins with understanding who your prospects & customers are, how they behave and what they crave.

The formula:
Useful x Consumable x Inspired = Innovative Content

This process begins with the creation of a piece of a REAL IDEA, Not some 2,000 word “evergreen” piece or ebook. Something Awesome.
Many marketers will tell you this should be a 50 to 100 page ebook or massive how to guide. The problem is most people can’t handle it. Big = Overwhelming.

Everyone wants to believe there is a magic bullet. So create the Magic Bullet!

Highly valuable & easily consumed content is the gift that keeps on giving. This content will attract links, generate traffic and build brand awareness.

Once your content is created, blast it EVERYWHERE: Company pages, email, blog, sponsored updates, Display ads, SlideShare, PPC, Twitter, etc.

Simple Execution
In many cases it is easy to develop a set of goals, but a plan is specific, executed over time and measurable. After determining what your Big Idea is going to be, write that out into a series or digestable snapshots that can easily be distributed over time. This can include videos, infographics, blog posts, 3rd party posts, podcasts, etc.

Week 1: Publish & Schedule Your Content
Week 2: Conduct a Webinar
Week 3: Run a Contest
Week 4: Lead a Twitter Chat
Week 5: Do an interview: On TV, Online, At a Conference, etc.

While all of this is running your content is being promoted though influencer outreach, promoted posts, email, sponsored updates, paid search, retargeting, organic social, organic search, etc.

Everything gets tagged and tracked for performance evaluation and follow up.

Your Blog
Make your blog content diverse, relevant and structured.

Monday: Case Studies, Statistics / Infographics, Industry (35% time spent)
Tuesday: Strategic Research & Analysis, Points of View, Thought Leadership (20% time spent)
Wednesday: How-To Posts, Guest Blogging, Peer Content (25% time spent)
Thursday: Bold Points of View / Strong Opinion, Challenger (5% time spent)
Friday: Light-hearted, Cultural, Funny Amusing (15% time spent)

A Quick View
SEO – Lays the groundwork
Social – Fuels the content
Content – Fuels the demand

Winners:

  • Consistently deliver content that their target wants to consume & share
  • PR efforts guide their vision as a leader in the space
  • Deliver amazing experiences on and offline
  • Build a thriving community

Make a plan, make it Asesome, deploy, track & measure, optimize, close new business and WIN!

And this is why we are considered the best content marketing agencies in St. Louis.

The job of marketers is becoming more and more complicated.
We now have access to so much data on customer insights via analytics tools and are expected to know how to measure and what the data means.
Recently a study from Forrester shows how organizations successfully use marketing analytics tools to develop relevant & compelling customer experiences.

Consumers expect to find what they want from their smartphones, tablets and laptops at any time from anywhere. These behaviors and commonly referred to micro-moments give marketers more opportunities to connect and engage. They also allow marketers to identify valuable insights about consumer behavior.
Effective marketing measurement is is the key to success here.

To understand the challenges we marketers face in measuring performance and creating the technology & tactic recommendations, Google commissioned Forrester to perform a survey of 150 marketing, analytics and information technology executives. The research shows how successful marketers are able to leverage analytics tools effectively so they make the most of consumer interactions.

Key findings

  • Marketers must be able to link marketing performance to business results. Of the survey respondents who were identified as “sophisticated marketers”, 53% said they adhere to well-established KPI’s & metrics that tie directly to business objectives. These marketers work with companies that are at least 3X more likely to hit their goals than other organizations.

  • The right tools are critical to success. 26% of marketers surveyed believed that their marketing analytics tools are well-integrated & work seamlessly together. Contrast that with marketers with well-integrated tools who are more likely to outperform revenue goals.

  • Marketers that employ complete itegrated marketing analytics platforms see an increase in performance and results. Smart marketers who deploy a complete integrated marketing analytics stack of five or more tools are 39% more likely to see improvement in the overall performance of their marketing efforts.

To Download and learn more about improving marketing performance with analytics, check out the full study, “How Marketing Analytics Increases Business Performance” by filling out the form below.

Download "How Marketing Analytics Increases Business Performance"

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A 2013 study calculated that over 500 websites are created each minute.

That is a HUGE number.

Let’s be conservative and say that today in 2016, 75 of those new websites are being created and are scheduled to replace an existing website every single day.

That is a very large number of sites putting themselves at risk!

 

How are they putting themselves at risk you say?

 

Well, let us give you an example.

 

Imagine you have a website that looks so 2005.

You want to update the look, the copy and make it responsive.

All with the goal of turning more visitors into customers.

These are Awesome goals!

Let’s say your site has an average conversion rate compared to the industry and 75% of your site traffic comes from Organic Search.

 

HERE IS THE THREAT!

When migrating your website in most cases, your URL structure will change.

This will make all of your old URL’s or links to your site break and generate either a 404 error or some other server error.

If that happens:

  • Visitors are very unhappy and will leave your site

  • Google will penalize you for a bad user experience

  • Your rankings will drop

  • You could be dropped from the search engines completely for a while

 

What can you do to FIX This?

Map your current website URLs to your new website URLs

Create 301 redirects (using .htaccess or a plugin or whatever you use choose to create this)

Test the redirects to make sure they are correct

Submit a new Sitemap to the search engines

This is the Number 1, Most Critical Step in Preserving Your Website’s Current Authority, Visibility and Integrity.

If you don’t, then you will most definitely use the acronym FML in a tweet, text, post, etc. soon after.

 

I recently posted an article on the History of Snapchat, What it means for us Today and direction on How to Use it Well.

I’ve been experimenting with posting on different platforms, so you can the full article on…

Medium – https://medium.com/@johnbracamontes/the-history-of-snapchat-how-to-use-it-well-9a28db7eb8e7

or

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/history-snapchat-how-use-well-john-bracamontes

Below are a handful of GIF tutorials on how to use the platform

Snapchatting a Video vs. Photo

How to Add Filters and Double Filters on Snapchat

How to Use Snapchat Video Filters

How to Save a Photo or Video on Snapchat
 

Accounts to Follow on Snapchat

This is just a short list of people who are killing it on the platform. There aren’t that many yet because people still aren’t taking it seriously. So get on it now.

DJ Khaled: @djkhaled305
John Bracamontes: @acumenstudio
Casey Neistat: @caseyneistat
John Bracamontes: @johnbracamontes
Diplo: @diplo
Kate Hudson: @khudsnaps
Gary Vaynerchuk: @garyvee
Eva Longoria: @realevalongoria

Google released a paid search update recently.  It is a second line of structured snippets that can be inserted into PPC ads.

This new update gives ads more space in the search engine results pages and allows companies to callout different things about their business. Below, a shutter company, uses the headers “Styles” and “Services,” to highlight unique product offerings.

 

updated_snippet_imageThis new ad format looks great, but what it will do to help your marketing and ultimately your business?

Below are a few tips, benefits and structured snippets tests across PPC & SEO channels to highlight how this update will help drive more qualified conversions to save your business time & marketing spend.

Utilize categories to show unique product offerings

While PPC experts like us were initially loving the news of new structured snippets, our smiles began to fade as we read the fine print. There are a limited number of headers you can choose from for your snippets and there are only a few industries. The following headers are available:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Courses
  • Degree programs
  • Destinations
  • Featured hotels
  • Insurance coverage
  • Neighborhoods
  • Service catalog
  • Shows
  • Styles
  • Types

Industries that really benefit from this category extension are those that have a high cost per click. Insurance keywords are responsible for 24% of Google advertising revenue, which is most likely why “Insurance Coverage” was added as a distinct header. On the same note, 4 out of the 12 headers are related to travel, which also have historically high CPCs.

 

better_image

In the future Google will expand the number of header options, but until then, advertisers have to get creative on ways we can utilize them. For instance, financial institutions could use the “Types” structured snippet for No-Fee Savings, High Interest Savings or list out the types of certificate of deposits they offer (3 month, 6 month, 12 month, etc).

Raise awareness for additional service lines

Your business may have one very well known product or service, but it’s struggling to get the word out about the additional items it offers. By adding structured snippets into your PPC ad account, you can use the new headers to bring attention to the business’ additional offerings.

An example of this is Drexel Online. Many people know that they offer online bachelor’s programs, but everyone may not know that they also offer master’s programs and certificates. By utilizing structured snippets, Drexel can inform searchers about other aspects of their business.

Create more effective call to actions

PPC continuously has the ability to test call to actions within search ads. With the new snippet feature, PPC ads can test more specific styles and service lines to hone in on the language and format that best connects with consumers. From these tests, your marketing team can vet the call to actions that convert the most, to identify what phrases and styles to use within SEO content, such as meta descriptions, headers, and call-to-action buttons.

Google may still choose to create their own meta description based on the search term, but in many cases your well crafted meta description will now show up with an even better chance to convert due to the PPC tests.

Save money & avoid a negative brand experience

This extra PPC snippet will enable searchers to be better at self-qualifying themselves for your business. Let’s say you own a wedding dress company. If customers are looking for a specific type of wedding dress, for example, A-Line, Mermaid, Ballgown, Trumpet, etc. and it’s not listed in your snippet, they know not to visit your website. Great! One less unqualified person potentially filling out a contact form asking your team about it.

There’s also a big cost-saving here. By having better pre-qualified leads coming to your site, it saves the call center or whomever reads submission forms time. If the call center charges per minute, every call – whether it’s profitable or not, costs your business money. However, if more incoming calls were qualified, the more profit you could get out of those calls.

In addition, setting the expectation of what your site contains before the person clicks, will help ensure that customers never have a jaded customer experience. As structured snippets give you more room to discuss your business’ offering, it could prevent shoppers from leaving a poor/mediocre review because your site doesn’t have what they’re looking for.

For example, when conducting a quick search on reseller.com ratings for “limited selection,” “small selection,” and “didn’t have,” we found time and time again that customers left mediocre reviews because the store did not carry the products that they had expected.

updated_review_ss


By using structured snippets, www.reseller.com could have set better expectations up front about what they do, and do not, carry, to avoid these negative ratings.

Learn & test for organic SEO

From Google’s past PPC tests, we predict that Google will measure the success of the new category PPC snippets, before rolling out additional rich snippets to organic SEO category pages. Currently, as the example shows below, Google indicates only the following for organic product specific pages:

  • Ratings by star
  • Number of people who rated
  • Price
  • In-Stock
  • Number of stores nearby

rollout_for_organic_

Before I click on the product in the SERPs, I already know if it’s in stock, within my price range, how many people loved or hated it, and if a store is located nearby.

In organic results, Google also has sitelinks, although these don’t show up for everyone and don’t include all styles:

 

updated_moto._

Right now, these sitelinks indicate some categories, but do not touch upon all of business’ product offerings. It would be great to see a Style snippet in the SERPs before I click, indicating that RevZilla offers Motorcycle Touring, Half, Hi-viz neon, or race helmets as well as the categories pulled in through sitelinks.

In the future, as Google aims to improve user experience, it seems very likely that Google will roll out a style snippet for organic results. If it does, you’ll already have PPC data to work with to know which Types or Styles convert the best for users interested in your products.

Increase your paid search real estate

While there are pros for both PPC and SEO with the new structured snippets, there is one aspect that makes organic SEO practitioners not so happy. With this additional line of structured snippets, paid search gains a new way to obtain more real estate in the SERPs, while simultaneously pushing organic results farther down the page.

Contact us Today if you want to get your Paid Search up to date in 2016.  Fill out the form on this page or give us a call!

Make 2016 The Year of Marketing Intelligence.
Understand what your marketing dollars are producing for you, identify waste & optimize your marketing efforts!

Here John Bracamontes discusses what Acumen Studio does and how we can help you generate greater visibility online, generate new customers and more revenue.

Digital Marketing
Digital Strategy
Content Marketing
Content Strategy
SEO / Search Engine Optimization / Organic Search
PPC / Pay Per Click / Paid Search
Social Media
Email Marketing
Analytics, Analysis and Inisghts

The Connected World, Now commonly known as the Internet of Things is a large and growing area of M&A.
M&A activity in the Internet of Things grew 45% from 2012 to 2013 and those numbers will continue to rise.

The Internet of Things is a web of physical objects and appliances that use the Internet to connect with other machines as well as the external environment.
Connected Home, Connected Auto, Connected Everything!

Check out the video below which speaks to Investor Activity in the space:

M&A Finance and the Internet of Things

Not only are VC’s in the IoT space, but Strategic Investors are also present, knowing that they need to be here now to capitalize on these massive opportunities later.

Check out more information on our Private Equity Marketing Services.

digitally connected financially minded baby boomers study

 

The Original Baby Boomers are a major force in Finance today.
They are the Decision Makers and they have the Money.

1. Financially-Minded Boomers are better plugged in to the internet and search than their younger counterparts (Gen X and Y) when it comes to making financial decisions.

2. Search Engines and Social Channels are highly used to compare and narrow financial choices.

3. Sponsored links and videos are effective media vehicles that connect with financially minded boomers.

These individuals are looking for resources online to help them make financial decisions and the presence of financial providers online gives those providers the ability to communicate the value of their services effectively as well as build credibility and trust.

Fill out the form below to download our full study with statistics on how they engage, where and why.

Download the Full Study on the Digitally Connected, Financially Minded Boomers

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