Build a website. You can use your website to showcase your skills and portfolio, start a newsletter or blog, and collect leads. You can get people to sign up for your newsletter on your website.
Marketing a product or service today is easier than ever before in history. Using platforms like Facebook ads or Google ads, a company can market their product directly to people who perfectly fit the ideal client demographic, at a very low cost. Digital Marketing tools, Pay per Click ads, and email marketing can help a company dramatically increase sales. At the same time, many companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools often see disappointing results.
In this interview series called “How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales”, we are talking to marketers, advertisers, brand consultants, & digital marketing gurus who can share practical ideas from their experience about how to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing, PPC, & email.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tanuja Mahdavi.
Tanuja Mahdavi, MBA is a digital marketing consultant and owner of Gold Mango Design LLC, a digital marketing agency in Plano TX near Dallas. Her company specializes in Google Ads PPC marketing, SEO, local SEO and website development. Tanuja has over 18 years of combined experience in digital marketing, information technology and telecommunications engineering. She helps businesses build a strong online brand and increase leads and conversions with digital marketing strategies.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I started my career in engineering with a large telecommunications corporation, MCI Communications. After more than 12 years in engineering and management, I wanted to start my own business. I started an e-commerce business selling home textiles. Since my e-commerce website was critical to my business, I realized how important having a professional website and digital marketing were to the success of a business.
I decided to start a digital marketing business to help small and medium business owners navigate the constant changes in website and marketing technology. I have an MBA and engineering degree, and I also got additional certifications in digital marketing and web development. I started my digital marketing agency, Gold Mango Design, in Plano TX in 2015.
My agency helps small and medium businesses build a strong online presence and increase leads and conversions with digital marketing services and professional website development. I believe that my technical background and my digital marketing experience work well together to help my clients with their marketing strategies.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
When I started my ecommerce business, I needed to design some print ads to run in magazines. Since I was on a budget and on a short timeframe, I took my own product photos and built the ads myself in Adobe Photoshop. I believe now that the product photos would have looked much nicer if I had used a professional photographer. Using a photographer would not have been expensive compared to the price of the magazine ads and the products would have looked much better in the ads.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My family has been a great support to me in my entrepreneurship journey. I am especially grateful to my son for helping me with the development of my e-commerce business website. There were no e-commerce packages like Shopify or WooCommerce available to small businesses when we built the e-commerce website back in 2000. The website had to be developed with software and shopping cart packages from different brands and made to work together. It was quite a learning experience and sparked my interest in web development.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company stands out because we work closely with our clients as their marketing consultants. We ensure that the digital marketing strategies and websites we develop are closely aligned with the client’s marketing goals. We provide detailed project reports and are available to our clients throughout the project for any questions that they may have.
We are proud to be a women-led business. All of our website development and digital marketing services are developed in the USA. We do not outsource our projects to other countries. We believe in building lasting client relationships, high quality and excellent customer support.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
From my experience, a successful business leader has to believe in constant learning, persistence and change.
Change is an integral part of running a business, and the recent Covid-19 pandemic was a great example of that. Brick and mortar businesses had to quickly pivot to digital and offer online shopping and curbside pickup to continue to serve customers during the pandemic. Digital marketing was essential during the pandemic to reach customers who were working at home. Without constant learning, persistence and quickly embracing change, a lot of businesses would not have made it through the business challenges of the pandemic.
Now that the Covid pandemic restrictions are easing, and more people are shopping in stores, businesses need to continue to build on their digital marketing strategies to remain competitive. Marketing in 2021 is digital-first. Digital marketing is essential for a business to reach customers most of whom are searching online for products and services.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
A local SEO strategy is important for local businesses to reach local customers. We are helping our clients with local SEO strategies and SEO optimization of their websites to improve their local search rankings and reach more customers on the search engines.
4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to look for local information. From 2015 to 2017, Google data indicates that there was a 500% increase in “Near Me” mobile searches that contained the terms “can I buy”. In 2020, during the Covid pandemic, people searched near them for terms like “Covid testing near me”, “Voting near me” and “toilet paper near me”.
This explosive increase in the number of “Near Me” searches proves that people are searching nearby for local business information. Businesses should fully optimize their business listings on Google My Business and Microsoft Bing, as well as optimize their websites for SEO to reach more local customers.
Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. As we mentioned in the beginning, sometimes companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools like PPC campaigns often see disappointing results. In your opinion, what are a few of the biggest mistakes companies make when they first start out with digital marketing? If you can, please share an example for each.
I think one of the biggest mistakes companies make when they start out with PPC campaigns like Google Ads is setting too low a budget. A good budget is needed to make a Google Ads pay per click campaign successful. Keywords are very competitive and the cost of bidding on keywords in certain industries is very expensive. An ad campaign needs to have sufficient budget for the Ads to run during the time that your customers are searching online.
Another mistake companies make is not selecting the right keywords for their ads. Accurate keyword selection, the Ad creative and accurate targeting is very important for the success of PPC marketing campaigns.
In addition, there are many factors that influence ad rank and whether the ads are shown at all on Google. Google Ads is very competitive and everything from the bid amount and search relevance to landing page quality is considered in deciding the ad positions. Only ads that meet the criteria are shown on Google. Developing a PPC campaign requires considerable expertise to show good results and should be developed by an experienced Google Ads agency.
If you could break down a very successful digital marketing campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
Every digital marketing campaign has to begin with a well thought out strategy that is consistent with the long term goals of the business. This will ensure that the results are consistent with expectations.
At our agency, we go through several steps to develop a Google Ads PPC marketing campaign for our clients:
- Campaign creation:
We begin with a full review of the customers business, target market and marketing goals.
We review their website and any existing PPC accounts.
We do extensive keyword research to select relevant keywords.
We develop a PPC marketing campaign to meet their goals.
2. Campaign optimization:
We implement a targeted PPC marketing strategy.
We review and improve the website landing pages for the campaign.
We monitor and continually improve the PPC campaign and Ads to increase CTR and decrease costs.
3. Campaign reporting
We send detailed monthly reports on PPC campaign performance and key performance indicators.
These steps enable us to setup and manage the PPC campaign effectively and make changes as needed.
Let’s talk about Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) for a bit. In your opinion which PPC platform produces the best results to increase sales?
Google Ads is the best PPC platform to reach the most customers and increase sales. As of February 2021, Google had 92% of the overall search market (Statista). Since Google is the search engine with the highest percentage of the search market, advertising with Google Ads will help businesses reach millions of customers at the time that they are searching online for the products and services that they offer.
Google Ads allows precise customer targeting by interest or demographics like age, gender or income. You can also use remarketing ads to retarget customers who have visited your website earlier.
Google Ads does have a higher advertising CPC (cost per click) and is more expensive than other platforms. Also, Google Ads settings and features change frequently and PPC marketing expertise is required to set up a successful PPC campaign.
With Google Ads, you can reach the most customers on Google with a Google search campaign. Google search Ads are shown on Google Search and Google Maps as well as on Google search partner websites. Display ads are shown on a network of Google partner websites, videos and apps including YouTube and Gmail.
Can you please share 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful PPC campaign?
To run a highly successful PPC campaign, you need to know
- Campaign goals and type of campaign
- Target customers and locations
- Budget and bidding strategy
These three things will help you pick the right PPC platform for the campaign. This information will enable you to select the right keywords to build the PPC campaign; create the ads; optimize the website landing pages and track campaign performance metrics.
Let’s now talk about email marketing for a bit. In your opinion, what are the 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful email marketing campaign that increases sales?
Email marketing is a very successful digital marketing strategy to reach your loyal subscribers. Your subscribers can sign up for your mailing list on your website. There are some great email marketing tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact that make sending newsletters easier than before.
To run a highly successful email marketing campaign to increase sales, you need to know
- The target audience for your mailing list
- What their interests are so you can provide regular content that interests them
- Frequency of emails that will keep them interested and lead to conversions and sales
What are the other digital marketing tools that you are passionate about? If you can, can you share with our readers what they are and how to best leverage them?
Google My Business is a powerful free marketing tool for local businesses but only 44% of local businesses have claimed a Google My Business listing. A Google My Business listing helps a local business to be found on Google search and Google Maps. It is essential for a local SEO strategy to improve local search rankings.
A Google My Business listing enables your business to list information about your products and services, provide store directions, provide updates to business hours and collect customer reviews on Google.
In addition to Google My Business, local businesses should list their business information on Microsoft Bing Places for Business and on local directories like Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps, Yellow Pages, Houzz and other directories that are relevant to their industry.
Here is the main question of our series. Can you please tell us the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a digital marketer? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Here are the 5 things you need to do to create a successful career as a digital marketer:
- Build your skills in digital marketing. There are several digital marketing certifications that are available through universities and online programs.
- Pick an area in digital marketing and get specialized. There are so many areas to specialize in whether it is SEO, PPC, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, analytics or web design and development. Lynda.com and Udemy.com have some great online courses in marketing.
- Get certified in your chosen area. Google has annual certifications in Google Ads and Analytics. There are also other certifications available through online programs like HubSpot.
- Build a website. You can use your website to showcase your skills and portfolio, start a newsletter or blog, and collect leads. You can get people to sign up for your newsletter on your website.
- Attend industry meetings and webinars. Digital marketing changes constantly, and it is important to stay up to date. Moz and Search Engine Marketing have some good conferences. Also attend local meetings and network to meet potential clients.
What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
There are some great digital marketing conferences by Moz, Search Engine Land, LocalU and others that have great presentations on the latest trends in digital marketing.
There are also some good digital marketing newsletters that I follow by Search Engine Land, Moz and Content Marketing Institute.
Here are some books on digital marketing that I like:
- SEO for Growth, John Jantsch and Phil Singleton
- Inbound Marketing, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shaw
- Don’t Make me Think, Steve Krug
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, I would encourage more girls and women to consider careers in science and technology. There are too few women in careers like engineering and computer science. As a woman engineer, I was one of the few women in my electrical engineering class and later on in my engineering career. Marketing fields like SEO and Analytics also have very few women. Things have to change so that women can compete equally in technical fields. Schools have to make learning math and science more interesting for girls. More women need to consider science and technology careers in the future.
How can our readers further follow your work?
I write digital marketing articles for our blog at https://goldmangodesign.com. Readers can sign up for our digital marketing newsletter on the website to get the latest digital marketing articles and tips.
You can also follow me on social media at https://twitter.com/goldmangodesign or on https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanujamahdavi/.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!