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Kristen DeGroot on Strategies for Online Visibility and Engagement

Today, Kristen DeGroot, CEO of The Campfire Circle, shares her knowledge to help other business leaders get noticed.

Can you share a bit about your business and how it has embraced the digital landscape for growth and visibility?

I run an agency that grows agencies. So, not only do I leverage digital for my own agency, I also leverage it for my clients.

Since the digital landscape is so competitive, it's crucial that businesses stand out with thought leadership and social proof.

Thought leadership such as guest posting on high-profile publications like Entrepreneur establishes instant credibility for a business. So I feature my clients and sometimes their clients in large publications so that they get traffic and can leverage the article when trying to establish authority.

With consumers being so self-sufficient and wanting to research a business on their own before doing an initial meeting, social proof is crucial. It provides the third-party endorsement from consumers just like them who experienced the same pain point and how they overcame it. Social proof is usually in the form of testimonials, case studies, reviews, and social media shout outs. Businesses need to make these forms of social proof easy to find to increase the chances of conversion.

What specific strategies have you employed to enhance your online presence and engage with your target audience?

To enhance my online presence and engage with my target audience, I've had a lot of luck with content-driven strategies.

From blog posts to emails to guest posting to eBooks, content creation has gotten me far.

I find that leveraging thought leadership such as a blog post when reaching out to potential leads performs way better with my target audience than a sales pitch email.

Can you provide an example of a digital campaign or initiative that significantly boosted your business’s visibility or customer engagement?

For my agency, I've enhanced my online presence by gathering and publishing my own data.

One successful example of this is an industry report about how brands find agencies. I surveyed 300 decision makers at brands who hired an agency within the last year and asked them questions about why they chose the agency that they chose, what about the agency resonated with them, whether or not their happy with their agency, and 15 other questions.

I compiled the data that I gathered in a comprehensive report and published it on my website with a lead capture form. I then leveraged the landing page as my "hub" for lead gen for my agency. I landed a lot of clients from it and it's my theory that it was successful because people love new data!

The digital world is constantly evolving. What challenges have you faced in maintaining an active and effective online presence, and how have you overcome them?

When it comes to challenges with my online presence, I would say my biggest challenge that I've had to overcome happened when I first started my agency. My mentor told me that as soon as I landed 1 client and could create a case study, it would be like the snowball effect and once I established credibility, clients would pour in.

She was right. So I offered my first client a really low rate on a lead magnet if they participated in a case study and the lead magnet performed really well and the single case study definitely landed me more clients.

What tools or platforms have you found most effective for building your online presence and engaging with your audience?

I love HubSpot. When utilized the right way, email marketing has an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent. So email marketing and lead nurturing in HubSpot has really been effective for my agency.

Their analytics allows me to identify active leads and nurture them accordingly. I can all segment by things like agency size and specialty so that I can tailor my communication to these leads in a personalized way.

How do you measure the success of your digital strategies, and what key performance indicators do you focus on?

Since I implement digital strategies for me and my clients, I always measure the amount of leads generated. Since the cycle is kind of long from generating a lead to converting it, I do measure leads converted but that metric doesn't usually surface for at least 6 weeks.

The digital landscape is always changing. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, and how do you decide which ones to adopt?

I follow A TON of digital marketing blogs. This allows me to see what other marketers have tried and glean their advice on what works and what doesn't.

I also find Google Analytics helpful as it sends me emails every day on content published pertaining to the keywords that I set up.

It's also helpful to have colleagues. As an agency owner, I am constantly talking to other agency owners about their wins and losses so that I can tailor what I do for my clients based on other agency owners' experiences.

What advice would you give to businesses that are just starting to establish their online presence and engage with customers digitally?

My advice to establishing an online presence and engaging with customers digitally, is to focus on thought leadership. Data shows that consumers are willing to pay more for a business with expertise in their industry. Convey expertise with thought leadership such as writing for high-profile publications, conducting webinars, publishing your own data, being active on social media, finding publications that will write a feature on your business, and being strategic with email marketing.


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