2020 has finally come to a close.

This year has been a curveball that has changed the digital marketing space in countless ways, likely for years to come.

I sat down to reflect on everything that my team did this year, whether it was for our clients or for my own business, that helped push the needle forward to drive the most growth, success, and impact.

There were countless strategies that we had to pivot completely, an unprecedented amount of Facebook ad disapprovals around the election, changes to Facebook’s algorithm and policies, and even more roadblocks we had to face.

But none of it slowed us down or kept us from finding a solution. In 2020 alone, we generated over $40M in revenue for our clients, surpassing over $104M to date.

And in today’s episode of The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast, I’m sharing seven 2020 best marketing practices that helped us achieve that.

I want you to have your best year in business ever in 2021 my friend. Listening to today’s episode will give you insight into the hottest marketing strategies you must pay attention to next year if you’re going to truly up-level your business and crush your goals.

Be sure to tune in, and then share any or all of your key takeaways from today’s episode and how you plan to step up your marketing game next year in my DM’s over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!

If you want to start 2021 with a bang, head over to helpmystrategy.com to apply with Team Hirsh to see if you qualify for our free strategy audit! We’ll talk about your business, your 2021 marketing goals, and your next steps to getting to that next level.

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Emily Hirsh: 

Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Today is the last day of the year, so I decided going with our theme of the last several podcasts I’ve done where I’ve talked about the best practices in 2020 for specific funnels. We did a webinar funnel. We did a self-liquidating offer funnel, which self-liquidating offer can also be e-commerce or physical product. The strategies are very, very similar. And then we did a high ticket sales funnel. So I did the best strategies specific to those, and I thought to finish off the year we should talk about just overall 2020 marketing best practices, things to pay attention to going into the next year, kind of what this year looked like in terms of what was working and what wasn’t working, and really, what was the most important things to pay attention to? What are those best practices that everybody, no matter your business or your audience, should be focusing in on?

So when I’m writing these out, I was thinking how some of these will probably carry over into the many years to come. Marketing is not as complicated as so many people make it. It is constantly about foundational things that may be slightly altered or become more true than they were the year before, but are always going to be true. And so some of these things I think are even more true in 2020, but are also going to carry on into the years and should be a foundational thing that you’re constantly focused on in your business and with your marketing. So with that, I have about, let’s see, seven 2020 marketing best practices and let’s dive into those. 

So the first thing is, I think in this year it became even more important that in your niche, in your industry, you have the best product and service, and that you communicate that in your marketing better than anyone else in 2020. And this is going to go into my next point. I think in a lot of cases, not every case, but in a lot of cases, the buying cycle – so the time from when a lead hears about your offer to decides to purchase it got a little bit longer because of the pandemic, because of everything that happened. There has become a little bit more hesitant buyers. Now in a lot of my client’s industries, they weren’t really impacted by the pandemic and actually their business grew because so many people are coming online and are buying in that way, versus they weren’t the year before. So that’s been a positive for a lot of our clients and for my own business,  it grew during the year. 

However, I think because this was such a crazy year, people are taking a little bit longer to buy and also they might be a little bit more hesitant, which doesn’t mean that you say, “oh, like, things are harder. It’s harder to market. My business isn’t going to grow as much.” No, it just means that you say, “okay, I have to step it up with my messaging and tell everyone why my product is the best.” And you know, I’ve talked about this for a long time, but in the digital marketing industry, there tends to be a handful of influencers and business owners who walk or talk a really big talk, but don’t actually walk the walk. And they seem really great on the outside, and then on the inside when you actually see behind the scenes of their business, you realize they don’t have it together. They’re not making as much money as they say, they are terrible at leadership, and their delivery sucks. I did a whole podcast about Are You An Influencer or Influential Entrepreneur? And I think as we go on, not even just because of the pandemic, but as we go on in the digital marketing world because it’s getting so saturated, the trust is diminishing from the audience because you talked to most people and most people have had a bad experience, whether that’s with a coach, a product or service, a course, a mastermind. Most people have had a bad experience, so their trust is diminished a little bit. 

Which means it’s your job to communicate one, that you have the best product or service in all of your marketing and why are you better than your competitors? And constantly focusing on that and making sure your messaging relays that. Continue asking yourself that question, whether it’s in emails or sales pages, or your ads, am I clearly communicating why my brand and my offer is better than everyone else’s or not? And the answer should be yes. So it’s in your communication, but also it’s actually in your delivery. And I’m not going to get into this because obviously this is about marketing best practices, but honestly you can have the best marketing campaigns in the world, sell your product, and at the end of the day, if you don’t deliver on what you promised, it’s a short timeframe that you’re going to be successful until that catches up with you. 

I’ve watched this happen to so many influencers in this space where they put 90% of their effort into their marketing and 10% into their delivery, and it catches up with them and their business starts going backwards. You have to put equal, if not more attention into the delivery and nurturing and taking care of your customers, than you do your marketing. It needs to be equal, and it’s going to impact your marketing big time. If you do that and you can make a lot of money and grow your business a lot from combining a powerful marketing strategy with referrals and organic traffic, because your delivery is awesome. You have to have the best product and service out there. If you don’t right now, ask yourself, what do you need to do to get there? That’s critical for going into this next year. 

Now I’m going to lead into the next thing, but I already kind of touched on it a little bit, but in 2020, it got even more important to warm people up and the buying cycle just got a little bit longer. So that means prioritizing content, whether it’s podcasts or videos or blogs or powerful social media posts, prioritizing those things is very important. Staying consistent with those things is very important so that you can warm people up and then they see your brand and your content a couple of times and are much more likely to become a buyer. But also, this is important in taking into consideration when you do your planning and you plan your ad budget and you understand it’s really hard to get an exact number, but you understand, “okay, f I get a hundred webinar registrants, one or two might buy right away and then another two to three might buy over the next six months. So if I stick with my marketing and my lead generation and my brand awareness, I’m going to create a snowball effect of marketing success.” And that became even more important this year because people got a little bit more hesitant and a little bit more careful with their buying decisions in a lot of industries. Not everyone, some got faster depending on their situation and the problem being solved, but in a lot, they got slower. 

The next best practice I’ve also kind of touched on this in a separate podcast, but mixing automated and live webinars worked very well this year. So I’m no longer a fan of just saying go all in with automated, or go all in with live, cause they both have a lot of pros and cons. And I talked about this in my webinar, best practice if you want to go into detail on that, but what we saw this year was a great diminish in show up rate on webinars. And so that made live webinars, only doing live webinars, really hard because you’d run ads for like seven days, you get all the registrants, and then you’d have this low show up rate, and you’d have to do it again, you know, if you’re doing like a weekly live webinar. So by automating it, you might have a little bit lower sales conversion, but you’re able to get that immediate content to people usually, or they sign up for the next day, or in a few hours, and so they don’t forget that they signed up. 

Now, I still like live webinars, just the show up rate diminished. So we have to do something to balance that. Obviously we can implement strategies to try and increase that show up rate, but even when doing every single strategy I know of, text messaging, ManyChat, giving away something on the webinar, I still saw the show up rate diminished down to 12, 13, 14, 15% when it used to be like 20 to 30% if you would have asked me a couple of years ago. So that went down, and so combining an automated webinars so you have that kind of fast response to your content with a live webinar is very powerful and it’s the best combo right now. Okay. 

The next marketing best practice, and I talked about this in my 2021 marketing predictions. Actually did a whole follow up on it because this is so important. Audio is winning right now. So between the new Clubhouse app and podcasts blowing up, we’ve done private podcasts feeds, we’ve done that externally with a live launch, we’ve done that internally with my course and my onboarding. Audio is exploding. If you are not utilizing it in some way in your business, I highly suggest you consider it both in your delivery to your customers and clients, and potentially with that if you have a product that obviously wouldn’t work, but if you have a service or a course that would work. And then also externally, do you have a podcast? Are you connecting on that new app Clubhouse? Is that a good use of your time for organic? I’m watching the paid ad game over there, but so far it’s just organic. And I really actually, haven’t done a lot myself on it yet, mostly because I have such strict social media boundaries, but I’ve really seen it take off. And I think it’s interesting. It’s taking off and doing so well and it’s a fully audio based app, which just shows what people want, how they want to consume content. I no longer think doing a video on Facebook live is, I mean two years ago I would have told you to do a weekly Facebook live, now I really encourage you to do a podcast or some form of audio because that’s how people are consuming content. So audio is winning. 

Our next best practice is over delivering in your value, especially with your freebie. So whether that’s an opt-in, or a PDF, whether that’s a webinar, a workshop, a video series, a challenge, you have to be 10 times better than anybody else offering that. Your content should be worth paying for. If you have a funnel where you’ve got that lead generation, that freebie phase, this is crucial because again, talking about the buying cycle being longer and how saturated the online space is getting, it’s getting saturated with free offers. How many webinar ads are you seeing? How many opt-in ads are you seeing? So many, you have to stand out. How do you challenge the status quo? How do you do something different than your competitors are doing? How do you stand out with your content? Why should I sign up for your thing compared to the 10 others I’m going to see within an hour time spent on social media? 

You have to over deliver. Over deliver in the value you’re communicating to the audience, but then actually in the experience. if you’re getting somebody to come to your webinar, it better be worth their hour of time. It better over deliver and not overwhelm, but over deliver in value in exactly what they need. And sometimes that takes a whole entire quarter, three or four months, to perfect a webinar, or a training, or something that can do that because you don’t want to overwhelm. Don’t confuse over delivering with overwhelming people. It’s not about the quantity of information that you put out. It’s the quality of that information and how people can actually take that and execute and get a result, a micro result from that. You must over-deliver in your value because you are in a competitive marketplace. Now everyone almost is at this point marketing online because this year more and more companies came online to start marketing. So it got even more competitive, but the advantage is if you can stand out and have better ad copy, better value communicated, you will have such an easier time because there’s so much junk online right now. Okay. 

The next kind of marketing best practice, this one’s a little bit more specific to Facebook. So in Facebook ads, which is in the ad platform itself, Facebook is definitely valuing when you give them more control. So between campaign budget optimization, which means you tell Facebook how much your total budget is in a campaign and they separate it out in the different ad sets and audiences you have. Whereas a year ago, you used to do that, you used to say like $5 a day to this ad set and $10 a day to this one. Now you just say a hundred dollars a day to my campaign and Facebook will separate it out. Also with creative, so they now really are as of now, this could change in a couple of months, but as of now dynamic creative, which is where you load all your versions of ad copy and images and headlines and videos all in one and then Facebook again chooses the budget and where it wants to put it based on optimization. Facebook’s algorithms, and bots, and the way it’s set up is a hundred times more powerful than you could be in the backend of Facebook ads manager. So there’s so many strategies in terms of what audiences to put in and the size of the audiences and how many campaigns and how many ad sets. And those are all things that we do for clients, or teach in my course, but in terms of giving Facebook the control they want the control and your ads will, for the most part, do better when Facebook is optimizing them in terms of the audiences inside of a campaign, how much is going into those audiences, and then your ad creative and how they’re spreading the budget there. So that was a big change we saw this year because it used to not be that way. And more and more this year, Facebook wants you to give over that control to them. 

The other thing is Facebook specific and that is paying really close attention to Facebook’s policies. We definitely saw a massive crackdown on ad account shutdowns, ad disapprovals, cracked down on policies, especially in the last quarter with the election of this year. So one benefit for us is we have a rep who we work with in our agency, but we do get some inside information from them just in terms of what they look at. And we will often run like an ad account, or an ad version by him to check if it’s good, because unfortunately with policies, they’re very loose sometimes. They are there and they’re actually very strict policies, but then some people get away with something and then others get their whole business managers shut down trying to do the same thing. 

So I’m sure it’s very hard for Facebook to actually like crack down, and they sometimes have bots who will shut down an account when it’s an accident or disapprove an ad and it’s an accident because it’s like all automated, but they definitely cracked down and you have to be very careful with your ad copy. They do not like you using claims. So using the word “you” all the time, you will get this, and you will be able to make this, and you will be able to do this. And you, you, you ad copy. That’s one of the big flags that they’ve cracked down on. So paying attention to that and getting too many ad disapprovals in your account is really important, but also, I just want to say like a side note, don’t make this be an excuse of either scaling back, being afraid with your Facebook ads, or not running them at all, because you know what? Anything that works, there’s going to be hurdles to get over. I’ve never had a situation where we couldn’t find a solution, whether that was create a new ad account, create a new business manager, fight it for a month and then finally get it back, create an updated landing page that gets approved by Facebook. Whatever the scenario is, it’s just a bump, and I think it’s almost good because the people who aren’t willing to put in the effort to get over those bumps won’t market and won’t go online, which if you can’t do that, you might struggle in your delivery and in your business because there’s so many humps and bumps we have to get over as CEOs. So don’t let it make you afraid, but just pay attention to it and take it a little bit more seriously because especially this year, they cracked down on it. Okay. 

The final best practice I want to talk about is utilizing text message and ManyChat. I put ManyChat, which I feel a little bit torn on because they have a lot new newer policies where you can’t message your people as much as you used to be able to because you can only message people who like engage with your page in the last 24 hours, which is like, kind of ridiculous because who’s going to message my page every 24 hours? But for webinars, it’s great for show up rate and getting the people who signed up for that webinar also on a ManyChat list and then sending them a message when you go live. But also, text messages, the open rate’s a lot higher. You can’t be intrusive and invasive with those text messages, but I’ve seen a significant decrease in email open rates this year and it’s been helpful to every time I launch or we have a funnel, we use SMS and ManyChat in conjunction with email. So we’re using all of those things and trying to be as strategic as possible with that. So I think this is important going into the new year. 

One thing I’m going to be trying is one of those texting pods. You might’ve seen people doing that where you can actually, like they can reply to you and be in like your texting community. So I think that’s really cool because it’s a place where, again, you can’t be invasive. It’s not the same as email, but it’s that deeper, intimate connection that you can have with people because that’s how text messaging is, versus email is just getting less and less that people actually read it now. It’s still effective. I have quite a large email list, and every time we do an organic promotion, email comes through, it brings in a lot of leads for us, and also we can retarget them on Facebook. So I absolutely am still going to be gathering new email addresses, but I think tying in a strategy that uses other forms of connection with people as one gets really crowded, you’ve got to go find a free space somewhere. So text messaging and ManyChat got more important this year, and I think we’ll continue to in the next year. 

So those are my best practices for you guys. I know that was a lot, hopefully that’s a good way to kind of wrap up this new year. I spent all day today really doing my 2021 planning. I love doing my planning. My team was actually cracking up at me because we have this thing called a waterfall document, which is what we put all of our quarterly and monthly goals in for the business, and I told one of my team members who will listen to this episode. I was like I have a personal waterfall and she like died laughing. She’s like, “of course you would,” because I do. I plan my own personal goals, the same as my business. Like I do a personal waterfall and then I’ll every single week I look at my goals, and I make weekly goals around those, and I have like a habit tracker and all those things. So I’d love to reset all those things for the new year. 

I’m really excited. This next year, I think is going to be a really good one. This last year was a really good one, but one of the things I wrote down as an accomplishment that I was trying to acknowledge what I’ve done in 2020, and one of the biggest things I’ve done is I basically rebuilt my team and rebuilt up my leadership team after last year. And my team right now is absolutely incredible. I have that thought at least two or three times a day, like, wow, I work with incredibly smart, capable people. This is my team to take me to $10 million plus, and I know it. I think this next year is going to be really big. So I’m excited. 

And if you, as always, I say this at the end of the episode, if you’re thinking about getting support from Hirsh Marketing, we do have a limit on our client and student capacity. So if either one of those, our done with you or our done for you program, is something you feel like you need to get your business to the next level, or you want to explore that, go to helpmystrategy.com, see if you qualify to work with us and get that free strategy audit so we can talk more about your business, your 20201, your marketing goals, and how are we going to get your business to the next level? Thanks so much for tuning in today guys, I’ll see you next week.