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SEO Vs. PPC: Finding the Right Balance for Business Growth

In Conversation with Elisa Rose Lupton

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Elisa Rose Lupton who is the Co-Founder and Digital Marketing Director of Full Sail Media, located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Elisa discusses their personalized approach to digital marketing, utilizing tools like HubSpot and Salesforce to measure success. Lead generation strategies such as Google ads and SEO are emphasized, along with the importance of understanding a brand’s archetype for effective messaging.
Watch the episode now for some profound insights!

Consistent SEO and content marketing efforts can pay dividends in building an online presence.

Elisa Rose Lupton
Co-Founder and Digital Marketing Director of Full Sail Media

Hey. Hi everyone. This is Ranmay here, your host for tonight on your show E-Coffee with Experts. Today we have Elisa Rose Lupton from Full Sail Media. Welcome Elisa to the show.

Thanks for having me.

Great. Elisa is the co-founder and marketing director of Full Sail Media. And Elisa, before we move forward, I would like to request you to introduce yourself to Audiences tonight more in detail and also tell us more about Full Sail Media before we take ahead with the questions.

Absolutely. I do the marketing strategy over at Full Sail Media. We founded the digital side of our business back in 2018. But we’ve been doing print and direct mail marketing for our clients since 2005. We have a full-service production house out here in Baltimore, Maryland where we’re able to service the needs of our clients from both a tangible marketing standpoint, promo apparel, direct mail, and any sort of printed materials they may need, and then also can combine that with the strength of digital marketing to create robust marketing plans for our customers so that we’re able to have a single source of management for them and be a full-service marketing team for our customers.

Great. Wonderful. Elisa, you have created digital marketing campaigns for such a wide range of industries, running from home services to doctors, to retailers, and we do businesses as well, with such a diverse range of clients.

How do you approach creativity? Creating, effective digital marketing strategies that are tailored to each business’s unique needs. They’re from all different segments, so they would all have their own unique business needs. And, how do you curate those marketing strategies across such, diversified business segments?

It’s a great question and it’s something that we take a lot of pride in. Our approach. Our Chief Creative Officer Kevin Kugar has brought a lot to the table in terms of strategy from the creative standpoint. So many times we start with a type of brand positioning exercise with our customers or just a full discovery if we’re not going to do a brand positioning exercise where we can then really understand their business from the advantage point of the business owner or the marketing director. We like to partner with our customers and become a resource that they feel in many ways, is another arm of their business. And because we take this approach, it’s not a one size fits all. It many times is cumbersome in the beginning because we wanna work within their platforms. We wanna make sure we’re working within their framework and their staff even bring real results to them that are transparent and we can create actionable solutions around business problems that they’re having and help them grow in a real way. And that requires a lot of personalization and partnership. And that’s how we’re able to work with such a diverse range of clients because we take this personalized approach.

Absolutely. You must be diving deep into their businesses, to get to the know and then probably design the marketing strategies for them.

Absolutely. So we’re HubSpot partners, so there’s ever a customer that doesn’t have a CRM or doesn’t have one, which they do. We have clients all the time that are like, still not quite sure what CRM to use or, they’re doing email marketing through MailChimp and they’re doing, their day-to-day operations through another system. So we’ll recommend HubSpot to those clients. But then there are a lot of clients that already have sales for Source ServiceTitan or some other CRM that they’re using for their email marketing and their general day-to-day operations. So we’ll do the extra work of figuring out how we can work within that platform to then be able to help them see the end-to-end marketing ROI and have everything work so that their marketing and their sales are in alignment.

Yeah. I also speak with a lot of clients day in and day out, and it gets difficult to help them understand, make them understand the importance of a CRM and how multiple MarTech tools should not operate in silos and should we rather speak to each other to, gauge the success of campaigns.

As per you, what role do tools like HubSpot and let’s say SFDC Salesforce, playing your marketing strategies, and how do you use these tools, to measure the success of campaigns and optimize marketing effort efforts even further?

So when we have a client participating in their CRM.

Or if they don’t have a CRM, at least in their leads dashboard for paid media strategy we can then make actionable real intelligible decisions around our marketing efforts based on their feedback. For instance, if a client is wanting to advertise for 10 different services with us and they’re able to mark their leads accordingly, we can see what our profit margin is for those services. Perhaps we spend more money on some services than others because we’re able to see that. We’re able to get a really, reasonable cost per lead and they’re closing five out of 10 and we should do that as you know the day is long. Whereas some of their other services, no matter how many leads we get, they’re only gonna ever close 2 out of 10, and the profit margins and great.

So we’re gonna end up spending less on those leads. Same can be true for measuring end-to-end. R.O.I for SEO for form fills even for phone calls, if we’re tracking those calls a lot of our customers end up having their search engine optimization and they’re organic coming in through their regular phone number.

So then it would be on, the onus would be on the call operator, whoever’s picking up the phone to ask them the details needed to put into the CRM to then qualify the opportunity to figure out where it came from, and then if they work the deal in their CRM from the source of the lead. Then we’re able to see the attribution model take shape and we’re able to establish some end-to-end roi, which business owners love. They just, that’s like the golden egg for them of marketing cuz they’re able to see what’s working best and also what multiple touch points are playing a role in getting a new customer.

And, talking about effective strategies, you mentioned leads coming in from multiple sources, right?

What are the most effective strategies that you or your team adopt for generating leads and attracting new customers, or in fact, gaining more traction for your clients?

Sure. So some of the channels that we find are very effective for getting new leads still are doing ads with Google, doing ads with Facebook, and Instagram, and doing ads even with Microsoft.

All of those are bottom-of-the-funnel, mid-funnel types of leads. Facebook and Instagram end up being more mid-funnel but still doing it the right way with the right creative. They’ll end up being some really solid leads in there. Some other options that are very good to do and will pay dividends are doing a search engine optimization strategy with content marketing and maybe podcasting and doing other organic efforts to build your footprint.

I say it builds dividends cuz it doesn’t, you can’t do it a few times. You’ve gotta have a consistent effort. And I’ve watched it play out time after time, doing the right thing for six months at a minimum, and then continuing to do that, right? You will get really solid. Placements online and the search results you’ll be found on social media.

People will be talking about you and, getting good reviews. I always am encouraging my customers to ask their clients to leave them reviews. Incentivize them if you can incentivize your staff, if you can ask for reviews on Google, Facebook, or any other platform that you’re on, it makes a huge difference. And then the last thing I would recommend, but it’s not, the last thing I would try is direct mail. The response rates for direct mail are still at historic highs. The mailbox is not as nearly as full as it’s been traditionally and as well done, crafted message in the mailbox produces leads.

Once again, you can’t try it once. It doesn’t work if you just try it once. You have to have a frequency. And with at least three mailings with the right message and the right audience, you’re gonna get solid leads and the leads from direct mail have a higher rate of becoming a customer than online leads.

So even though you’ll get fewer leads, there will be warmer leads and you’ll have a higher ratio to close for those leads. So it’s really interesting to see some of the traditional marketing still working in some cases better than it ever has.

Absolutely. Absolutely. How do you feel what is your take on, using podcasts for lead generation?

I’ve never looked at podcasting as lead gen. I’d be interested to hear about that strategy. I look at podcasts as being part of a bigger picture, search engine optimization, and overall marketing campaign, just being another venue for messaging. We recently launched an archetype discovery seminar. Our first one’s gonna be in person. Our next one’s gonna be online. Our first one is sold out. And part of that strategy for getting people to sign up for the seminar was a podcast. So we use that as part of a holistic strategy along with direct mail, email, along with social media. And, happy to say that for ourselves, full Sail Media, it’s gone well. As far as a direct response to podcast lead gen. As I said, I haven’t had a lot of experience there. I’d be curious to hear if you have, and how that’s gone because we use it more as an organic outlet.

Okay. Okay great. Certainly, we can discuss that piece offline. Superb. What is your take on SEO versus PPC? While one is an organic process, you have to persist with it for a certain period, and then the results start showing while one is immediately shot in the arm. So what is your take on both sides of the coin and, what will you suggest to which sort of business since you have experience in dealing with, all sizes, and different industries? So what would you suggest for which all businesses?

Sure. So for most business-to-consumer types of clients any sort of consumer-based marketing, you’re going to wanna have some probable, some paid media strategy more than likely out of the gate to get you leads. Now, especially if you’re in season, I say in the season-like. For instance, I have some tree customers that do tree work around the home and they either cut back their paid media strategy through the winter months or cut it off for a few months just because it’s not a lot of work out there. So you’re gonna be paying a lot more money per lead. And the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. So we’ll rely more on their organic presence and their current customer list for that time of year. But if we’re in season, you’re gonna wanna have some sort of paid marketing strategy.

I have seen situations where we’re able to build out their search engine optimization so much so for certain services that we can rely solely on their SEO to get them the leads they need. But if they’re wanting to grow and continue to flourish, generally we’re always going to have some sort of bottom-of-the-funnel lead gen campaign. And it all just depends on the customer’s growth goals and how aggressive they want to be. What budget we would recommend, whether we want to just be on Google or if want to be doing ads on Facebook and Instagram? But very rarely do we not recommend at least some sort of bottle bottom of the funnel paid traffic, just because we know we’re gonna be there for home services.

We also find a lot of success, helping our customers interact with Google-guaranteed leads. That’s the top position where you have the star rating next to your ad and Google guarantees your product or service up to a $2,000, I think some sort of insurance policy. It’s not insurance, but it’s a guarantee from them because they’ve vetted your company and you have really good reviews and they feel good about backing your company in that space. And that for the categories that Google’s outlined, which it’s a lot of home services. So I’ve seen law services in there.

Several different services qualify its work to get through the program and be approved. But once we get our clients there, they get a lot of really good leads from that source as well.

You did mention the brand archetype earlier. For a business or, even if you are working for a new client that has gotten onboarded, how does understanding their brand archetype, help you develop messaging and branding that connects with their audience on a deeper level, and, what specific tactics can businesses use to achieve this connection?

Sure. So it’s all about trying to discover what’s unique about your brand and who you are to your customers, and what type of role will you serve, your customers. Oh, Kevin, our chief creative officer’s gonna kill me, but I can’t remember if it’s 12 or 16 different archetypes that we walk customers through.

But there are several different types of ways that you might be that. Archetype to your customer and then what you do for them, and then who you are to them. And it’s like a wheel of different archetypes that we walk everyone through and we figure out, what makes the most sense. You can have a primary archetype or a secondary archetype.

We tend to be at wholesale media. Explorers for our customers where we help them find who they are and help navigate who they are. But then other clients of ours we walked someone recently through where we saw that they were in the caregiver art type where they help service a need that the customer has and help walk them through their options to solve a problem that they have. And so what this does when we’re able to help our customers identify what their archetype is, it then will paint the picture of what their creative and their messaging should look like so that they’re attracting their potential customers using messaging that resonates with actually what their brand is and what their brand does for their customers.

Absolutely. While getting a new client on board or while in that pitching stage, we all ask a lot of questions to these founder CEOs, about their vision, their mission, and all of that, and then how they want their organization to be presented, right? During that time correct me if I’m wrong over here. Okay. I see that, a lot of questions that we marketers ask, they might not have even thought of it, while, founding that organization or creating that product or service. And when we ask these questions, these pinpoint questions, they go back to their, table and, think through that.

Okay, we haven’t thought about it. In terms of vision, in terms of mission. They go back, think through at times, also involve us and, get into that mode in terms of understanding what they want to achieve over time, throughout, 3, 5, or 10 years. Does that happen to you? When do you ask these questions? They might not have even thought of it. And while they must be doing great in the business, in the, probably selling, The products many folds, but they might not have even thought of those questions that we ask them.

Sometimes it does happen.

Absolutely. There are plenty of times when either they haven’t thought about it or they haven’t thought about it recently. They don’t know they did it once, like forever ago, and they’re looking through their old files, and then by the time they find it, like half of it feels right now and the other half doesn’t play into their business as it doesn’t resonate for them anymore. So revamping the mission, and vision values is certainly something we look to do. But that’s something that we ask for all the time. Hey, do you have a style guide? We have a logo. Okay, we can work with your logo, but you might wanna think about getting a style guide. So you’re consistently marketing yourself across all of your marketing opportunities and all platforms, so to speak.

We also look at asking for their mission, vision, and values to their point. And if they don’t have a mission, vision, or values, we ask, would you like us to help you walk through creating a mission, vision, and values? And all of these are parts of their overall brand positioning which can be a long document that can cost a lot of money. We’ve broken it out to be palatable for the average business person to be able to say, yes, I can invest this money to get this portion of brand positioning. Yes, I’m gonna invest some money to get my archetype and my style guide and my mission vision values sorted out so that we have all of the right colors in the palette, and the right paint brushes and the right tools so that when we do our marketing, we’re all in alignment and it makes sense.

Absolutely. Talking about brand positioning, content plays a really important role, in terms of how you present a brand online.

So how do you approach, creating, engaging, and informative? Block content that resonates with readers and helps to find helps to build a brand online presence.

Yeah, so a lot of that comes once again from the talk, speaking with the client, getting one of our write writers on board. Certainly our social media team, anybody that’s gonna be creating content for them, one. We need to get them connected to our customers and then get them involved in creating the content and having it approved by the customer as well. All of this takes a collaborative effort over time. There are many different types of content. As there’s a call to action, there’s informative, there’s copy to convert, there’s copy to educate. So having the right copy. Created to hit people and the potential customers at the right stage of the pipeline is certainly crucial and something that we’re always developing with our customers as we launch new ad campaigns and also build their organic presence with blogs and geo pages and optimize for all sorts of content deliverables, podcasts, etc.

Storytelling also plays a very important role and blocks content. And it’s an art if you can, present your clients or the brand’s story effectively. And talking about, software or tools and doing SEO you have to track, and, measure the success of campaigns, right? Any particular tools that you suggest? Use internally to track the success of your SEO campaign, say rankings or for backlinks or, CRM. I know that you prefer HubSpot, but apart from that, if any probably, you can help us understand more about the software and the tools that you prefer.

Sure. We have a variety of tools in our tech stack. One tool that we rely on pretty religiously is what converts, and that’s, just a tracking mechanism for lead delivery. It also shows us the source of the lead and, we use that piece of technology to generate call tracking numbers. So we have tracking numbers specific to each campaign. And then we also use that to deliver the form. It ends up going through what converts to get to our customer for lead delivery, and then also tracks where it came from. And then our customers can, if they don’t have a CRM, use that piece of software to at least mark their paid leads, whether they were good.

Bad notes about them, and then we can optimize the campaign that way. For SEO, once again it’s really on the onus of the client to be asking where they came from. Most organic leads, unless you’re showing up for something rogue and strange, which I don’t see happening frequently at all, are generally really good leads. They’re generally, you’ve worked hard to get into positions for relevant keywords and did the work to get there. So I don’t see normally a lot of pivoting needing to happen in terms of lead quality for SEO, but we might need to change what copy we’re writing based on what keywords we’re ranking for and what kinds of customers they’re getting.

If they’re getting their buckets full for certain services but are empty and others, a lot of times we can go back to SE ranking and Semrush and see. There are other keywords that we should be ranking for that we’re not ranking for. And let’s write content and do the work to get ranking for those.

And with some effort, we’ll watch the keywords rank in the tool, or watch the keywords rise in the tool and start to get first-page ranking for some of those keywords. And then in turn comes the leads for those keywords. So we use another tool called Agency Analytics, which is a super robust tool that you can report on many things, too many things. So really need to drill down what you want to report so that you aren’t. Just flooded with so much information you don’t even know how to digest it. But that’s a tool that we use as a reporting tool for our customers and as a single source of data just to see overall how our campaign’s performing In the dashboard.

We can look at all of their campaigns, including their organic traffic cause it pulls in Google Analytics. G4, eventually as we’re transitioning everyone to g4 and we’re able to see their website traffic growth and organic form fills grow. I’m trying to think of some of the other technology that we use regularly.

I know my SEO team uses other tools for tracking and backlinking, and I can’t think of them right off the top of my head. I know I’m sure that my social media team will be looking at this being like, we use these other tools to like and create our posts. We love, we do love Canva. We have in-house graphic designers, but we also love Canva just cuz it’s quick and you get nice-looking creatives for posts from Canva.

You do, and then I’m not even touching on the technology that our video team uses. So that would be a whole nother conversation, probably.

Yeah. Now most of the names that you gave out are industry quite industry-relevant tools in terms of what it is being used for, for SEO, backlinks, and all of that, talking about no podcast can go without discussing AI these days. That brings me to my next question. Google has launched Bard, how do you think Bard’s launch will impact the broader landscape of search engines and AI chatbots?

And what opportunity do you think it presents for businesses and marketers like us?

Sure. So I wrote an email that was good the other day without even going to my awesome writer. People are still needed. Let me be clear on that because there’s internal, there’s been a lot of debate on bots in AI replacing humans, and sure it might make people have to pivot what they do, but there are still gonna be human beings needed to orchestrate everything so I didn’t have to bother my writer because I was able to get it. A well-done email in 30 seconds using chat GPT. The other day I sent it over to everybody. I said this is where it came from. Look it over, and see if it should go for another revision by our writer. If not, let’s let it fly. And that saved the time and the internal expense of it having to go through another person.

So I think that’s just a really good example of a way that business owners can use it today. They can use it to generate copy, they can use it to generate ideas for copy. They can use it to generate ideas for writing content and enhancing their website pages for SEO. But you have to know what you’re looking for to get it. And that’s where I feel like the human element is still crucial because you don’t want to just rely solely on AI for your strategy and for, putting together an outline of everything that you’re doing and then making sure it gets done. AI didn’t wake up this morning and come to work at Full Sail Media. We have human beings that come to work and they need to use AI to help do their job more efficiently. And there are so many other ways that you can use this tool to help your job be faster, more efficient, and get better results. As long as we, use the tool in a responsible and resourceful way and do not use it just to say, okay, hit the easy button with chat, GPT. My job’s done today.

Very nicely put that one I must say. Great.

I’ve given it a lot of thought. I’ll tell you, I have given a lot of thought because, and it’s constantly evolving. Elon Musk had written that open source letter that, scaring us, I don’t know more than Elon Musk or any of the other people that are 50,000 times smarter than me and how they’re worried about AI.

Potentially changing civilization as a whole, but I see it as a resourceful tool in my job. So for now, I’m okay with it.

Great. Great. Very nicely said. Superb. Elisa, before we let you go we would like to play a quick, no-rapid-fire with you. I hope you’re game for it.

Yeah. I’m nervous. I have no idea what this is gonna be, but sure. Let’s do it.

And that is the reason we do not mention it to our guests prior. Superb. What did you do with your first paycheck?

Oh my gosh. I saved it. I’m a saver. I think my first real paycheck came from working at a snack shack at my pool growing up and my first paycheck came from there and I can guarantee you I just put it right in my little savings bank because I’ve always been just a saver.

Okay, that’s great. And where do you plan to go on your next vacation?

Our next vacation is planned currently for the outer banks that are in North Carolina. Yeah, it’s a beautiful place. I’ve been there before, but I’ve never been to this spot in the Outer Banks before. Oh gosh. What is it called? It’s just north. So there’s a place called Kill Devil Hills. Kitty Hawk.

And I feel like we’re just north of that. And we have a big house that all of our family are gonna meet at and yeah, it should be fun.

Nice. Nice. Where do we find you on Friday evenings? Post-Work?

Couch, watching tv, trying to keep my children settled so that I can relax. That’s super exciting, isn’t it? That’s the mom’s work life. You’re just happy to be on your couch. If I’m elsewhere, that’s fine, but I’d rather just be relaxing. I’ve been running around all week.

Absolutely. Agency life as we say.

It’s nonstop. Yeah. So like I was working at my son’s baseball practice yesterday, so yeah.

Great.

That was superb. I’m sure our audiences would’ve benefited a lot from, what we could discuss on today’s episode, and we’d love to get hold of you for another more detailed episode sometime down the line, depending on your, I love that. Yeah, so thank you. Thank you so much for taking out time for this podcast and it was lovely speaking with you.

Oh, you as well. It was my pleasure. Thanks so much for the great questions.

Thank you, Elisa. Have a great day. Cheers.

You too. Thank you. Bye.

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