In the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, data-driven decision making has become crucial. In our latest podcast episode, we delve into this significant aspect with Ally Anderson, the mastermind behind Akari Digital. With a decade-long career in marketing, Ally harnesses her expertise to aid entrepreneurs and business owners in maximizing their resources.
Ally emphasizes the essential role of data in making intelligent marketing choices. The discussion covers a range of data collection tools, including Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Microsoft Clarity, that can streamline business operations and amplify return on investment (ROI). Ally’s expertise is geared towards guiding businesses in efficiently collecting, auditing, analyzing, and effectively utilizing their data.
One of the most captivating aspects of the discussion revolves around the idea of a website that does more than just exist. Ally talks about the importance of a robust online presence and how it lays the groundwork for a fruitful customer journey. She also explores different methods to attract potential customers and discusses her fondness for email marketing. We also unravel the significance of data in understanding the customer journey. Identifying the appropriate metrics is vital in this regard. Moreover, leveraging the free reach calculator on Akari Digital’s website can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
A key part of the conversation is the future of digital marketing. Ally shares her vision and expresses her concern about the potential challenges that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could pose in making businesses stand out. While AI can make things more efficient and faster, it might also make it harder to stand out due to increased noise. Therefore, it’s essential to find ways to use AI that align with your business values.
With data, you can make smarter investments with your time, energy, money, and other resources. Ally Anderson’s insights into the role of data in digital marketing and her perspective on future trends make this episode a must-listen for entrepreneurs and business owners seeking to leverage data for business growth.
Ally Anderson has almost a decade of experience in marketing, and has been obsessed with data from day one—digging into metrics for every piece of content to figure out how she could make it perform better and get better results.
“You’d think this would be standard practice, right? I mean, data basically puts all the content marketing “answers” at the end of the book. So I was genuinely shocked to learn that most business owners don’t use data at all. Or, they do their best with third-party reporting, not realizing that it doesn’t give the full picture,” Ally explains.
Ally is a fixer, so when she realized this, she got to work. Akari Digital was born and now, with the help of her team, Ally gets to help entrepreneurs make better marketing decisions so they know exactly where to invest their time, energy, and money to achieve measurable, predictable growth.
Watch the episode!
Read The Full Transcript From This Episode (click to expand and read the full interview)
- Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:11
Hi everyone, welcome to today’s episode of 10 Minute Marketing. I’m your Sonja Crystal Williams, so joining us today is Ally Anderson. She is the founder of Akari Digital. A little backstory on Ally. She got started kind of in the marketing world about 10 years ago and through there since day one has had a passion for looking deeper into data. So today, with Akari Digital, Ally helps entrepreneurs and business owners really take a closer look at that data so that they can understand some of the implications behind it when it comes to every piece of content that they’re pushing out through different marketing channels. And really by using that data, she helps them understand how they can make better and smarter investment decisions with their time, energy, money and other resources. Thank you for being here, Ally.
Ally Anderson: 1:04
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 1:07
Yes. So this is exciting for me because we share some common traits kind of being in the digital marketing world but I want to hear a little bit more about that backstory, about how you got started and how and why data was a passion and really led you to founding your company.
Ally Anderson: 1:25
Yeah, so I’m one of these weird people that went to university for the thing that she’s actually doing now, which seems to not always be the case. But yeah, I was in university, in did a Bachelor of Commerce and was specializing in marketing, and so right after university, hey, I’ll get a marketing job and we’ll see what happens. And starting from the ground up was in a lot of social media and content creation, because, as a young person, that usually is worthy funnel people towards to begin with.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 1:55
Absolutely, put the young people into the social media job.
Ally Anderson: 1:58
Yes, right and you know it was just a natural kind of I was. I gravitated towards trying to understand why some things were getting more impressions, more engagement, like that’s. I guess that’s just kind of how my brain always works is trying to understand the why and being so fortunate, in digital marketing there is so much data that you have access to, and so I always wanted to just learn how to use these tools to better inform my, the way that I’m creating content, and it just gradually grew into me trying to take some online courses, learn more about Google Analytics, and I worked for a lot of smaller companies, so I was wearing lots of different hats and all of a sudden that I’m doing blog posts and SEO, and it just kind of grew and evolved and I really loved. Yeah, just always questioning why is this working and why is it not. And yeah, as I grew in roles and I started managing people, then I was teaching them how to do this themselves because that would make everything perform better, and eventually went out on my own business and was freelancing and I just saw this huge gap where lots of businesses create content, create different things for their marketing, but nobody well, I shouldn’t say nobody very few of them actually look to understand why certain things are working. And after working with a few clients that were like, yeah, we’re spending all this time, energy, money on this one thing, and when we look at the metrics, that’s not the thing that’s actually working for them, bringing in their leads, their revenue, their traffic at all, and helping them kind of re prioritize where they’re spending all their resources, it’s like, oh, this is a fun puzzle and I would love to do this for more and more businesses. And so that’s kind of where Akari was born is. I stopped being just the freelance marketer and was like I wanna help people understand their data because it’s not talked about as much out there.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 4:03
Yes, and I think you bring up something good and you use the buzzword that some people hear, but they don’t really know what it is, which is Google Analytics. But Google Analytics is one of many when you say data and that people have access to data but don’t exactly know how to use it or aren’t using it. What are some simple examples of tools that people have access to, free or paid, that they may not realize it, that they could integrate with their business?
Ally Anderson: 4:35
Yeah. So when we think of data, I like to separate it into a few different categories. There are tools that we can use to collect data. There are tools that we can use to visualize, audit, understand it and then I guess then we get into how do we actually use it to make smarter decisions. The tools usually fit in the first two categories. So when it comes to collecting so, Google Analytics or any other website analytics platform, if you’re on Squarespace or they all have kind of some built-in ones that give you more or less data. But there’s data within social platforms and add platforms. There’s always insights and tools and stuff that you can use. Yes, In your email marketing platforms there are looking at how you use your tags effectively. There are so many different tools, even down to things like Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity, which can give you heat maps and recordings of how people engage with your website. All of that is going to collect data for you and then you can audit and visualize it in something as simple as a spreadsheet or something as complex as putting together a dashboard, and there are hundreds of dashboard tools out there. I use Looker Studio because it’s a Google product. It plugs in really well to Google Analytics and it’s free, but there are tons that are paid out there, that I know how to use Looker. It can be a little bit of a learning curve to figure it out.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 6:11
So there are some more entry-level ones if people aren’t as familiar, but yeah, Right, and part of the work you do, though, is if someone says look, I don’t know how to use these tools, I don’t wanna learn. Can someone do it for me? Is that where you come in, Ally?
Ally Anderson: 6:28
Yes, that is, tap me in, I’ll take it off your hands. We kind of take that collection, audit, analysis and decisions, like we take businesses through that whole stage. So we will work with whatever data they already have, and if it’s enough for us to start running experiments and making decisions, we’ll work with that. And we’ll always, though, do a more comprehensive setup, because I have yet to work with a client that I’m like. Your data is good enough. Usually, there are some huge gaps that we can understand. Yeah, we wanna prioritize our resources here, but what, like? I don’t want to just blindly Test a sales page or test a sequence. We want to understand our people. Is it something really early that at the top of the sales page that needs to be fixed, or is it the offer? Let’s not just buy blindly test. Is it the button gonna work if it’s green or red?
Sonja Crystal Williams: 7:24
Yeah, so when? And then and that’s important, because when you say, people have this content that’s floating around out there Some of the examples I’m hearing landing pages would be a great example. A lot of businesses have landing pages but they’re just up and they might know did I get a sale off of it or not? But they might not understand why. Yeah, which is huge. Yeah so landing pages, part of it. What other? You and you mentioned a few, but what would you say are like, across the board, because I know you’re working with a lot of different types of businesses, but across the board, what are data points that people should be paying attention to, generally speaking?
Ally Anderson: 8:02
I love this question and the way that I like to break it down is your marketing strategy, or marketing systems, are typically gonna fall into a few different phases, and we want to measure how far through the phases people are going. So we need to reach people. If we don’t reach new people, things aren’t gonna happen. So how many people are we reaching? That could be on social, it could be with ads, it could be with SEO. Whatever it is, how many eyeballs are we getting? And then how many of those eyeballs take the next step, which is to I’m kind of interested in what you’re doing. I’m gonna check out your website, or maybe it’s. They follow you. However, your strategy works. Are they taking that next step? Eventually, they need to see what you sell. How many eyeballs go from? I’m kind of excited about what you’re doing, or I’m interested to looking at your sales pages, your product pages, whatever and then how many actually start a checkout by, make a booking, whatever it is they’re supposed to do? And then the last step that often gets forgotten about is how long did they stick around and this will look different. If you’re a product-based business, it might be do they repeat purchase and do they Take advantage of upsells, something like that. Do they tell their friends about it? Or, if you have a membership, obviously, how long do they stay in that membership? How long do they work with you if it’s a Monthly retainer or something? But looking at each of those different phases and just have a grasp on when things are working really well and where things aren’t, so that if you want to invest your time, energy, money in your marketing, you’re gonna invest in the right place. If you have a reach problem, but all of your work is going into optimizing your website, that’s not really gonna move the needle. You want to put your effort where it’s most needed.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 9:56
Yeah, I love it, great points. So let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about the growth of your business. So you’ve got the clients you’re serving, but you also have to, in a sense, serve your yourself, you know, or make sure you keep the business growing. And so for you and you can tell me if this has shifted from the time you’ve started your business to what it looks like today what would you say are is the if there’s one or a few of the channels that seem to help you grow your business.
Ally Anderson: 10:29
Generally speaking, I have myself experimented a lot with my own business because and for me it’s not even Step one is finding something that works. But I also want to find something that works for me and I’m not just focusing on a channel that I hate working in. So even if it can bring me clients and it can do the things, if I hate it, what’s the point?
Sonja Crystal Williams: 10:58
Right, if I don’t like making videos, I don’t need to be on YouTube. I’m going to cringe when I need to make videos. I’ve heard that story a million times and I’m like get off that platform.
Ally Anderson: 11:07
Yeah, totally. There’s a thousand and one ways to market your business. Pick ways that work for you. So, for me, having a website that converts and that is clear about what I offer has been the stable, secure thing through the entire process of me having my business, because I can experiment with different ways to reach people, but if I want that when they get to my website, it’s clear this is what she does, this is how it’ll work and this is how I can get started, not only to attract the right people, but also to deter the people that maybe aren’t the best fit to work with me. It’s, of course, not perfect, and that’s what discovery calls are for, and you figure out together if they’re at the right stage, if it’s going to make sense. But making sure that my website is set up to communicate effectively has been 100 percent the best investment in my own time, energy, money. Then I’ve experimented with. I had a lot of success with Instagram for a bit. Then I got really burnt out over it and I took a bit of a pause. Email is something that I’m really loving right now. That’s where, if I could only do one thing, I would just write newsletters, like I really enjoy them, yeah, but I guess, at the end of the day, what I really try to do is going back to those different phases. I just want to make sure that I’ve one or two really good working things in each of those phases so that I can pull people through the customer journey and find the right people to work with.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 12:51
Yes, the website and the message on the website sounds like that’s the foundation for you. I’m a huge believer in that, so that’s so great to hear. Let’s move into Lightning Round and ask you some questions, and you can give me your quick answers and we’ll keep it rolling. You mentioned Instagram. Instagram burnout Today. In this moment, what’s your favorite social media network?
Ally Anderson: 13:17
To engage with personally Instagram, and that’s probably where I get tied to. From a business angle. It’s one that I haven’t experimented with, but I’m really loving linked in right now from a and I haven’t worked enough with it, but from what I’m seeing and hearing in my network, there’s this whole new kind of pocket of people being really like authentic and excited or excited isn’t the right word, but sharing stories. It gets less buttoned up than I think, what I had initially thought, but that’s something on my radar for kind of like Q4, to I need to make this a little bit more of a priority for me.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 13:57
Yeah, I would agree. I think that’s a trend and I actually interviewed another guest just about LinkedIn and her LinkedIn business and that’s exactly what she said. It’s not as cold and stuffy as people think it is. There’s some opportunity to be real authentic and personal, but still be private. You know, which is when you’re working with clients. What do you think they get or what’s something you feel like they get the most out of when they’re working with you?
Ally Anderson: 14:26
The thing that I hear most often is that makes so much sense. But I’ve never thought of it that way. And so just the perspective shift of there’s a lot of narrative in the marketing world of you need to do more, or if you’re not on this platform, what are you doing? Or like five you need to post every single day to be successful here. Like there’s lots of that, like you have to do this thing and you never have to do anything. But we need to critically think through what do we want to achieve? And we can say no to things and that’s okay, but we just need to make sure that we’ve walked through the full logic of it. And I think just that perspective shift of I always say, like marketing is an art, but it’s also a science, and that’s usually kind of what I hear from clients that looking at it from that science perspective and not just the let’s be fun and creative, is what I hear all the time.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 15:20
Yeah, that data part makes it a little more scientific, a little more tangible For you. What do you feel like has been the most fulfilling thing about your work?
Ally Anderson: 15:33
I get. So I love working with business owners who are so passionate and like they’re doing good in the world and like seeing how connected and passionate they are with what they’re doing and they’re just frustrated by like I see other businesses doing this and it’s working for them and it’s not working for me, and like being able to kind of puzzle it out and show them yeah, this is why here are the steps that you need to take and seeing their business grow and be successful as much as they want it to be, and how that just it’s why I love working with, I think, like online entrepreneurs, small business owners, people that are still at the helm of it, and it’s not like love big clients, love the big companies, but there’s a lot more soul in with the businesses that I’m working with right now and that’s what I love.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 16:22
Okay, and what’s your outlook? Just like there’s so much happening right now with you know, the other buzz word right now is chat, gpt, ai and all these other little things and there’s ways that people are finding to make it useful for writing content, creating content, creating images using AI, all that. What is your outlook, just in general, on just kind of the future of just digital marketing as a whole and just kind of where the work you do fits into that?
Ally Anderson: 16:56
I think AI is and will continue to make things more efficient and faster, and the people that know how to use it are going to be able to do that. My worry with it is that it’s going to make more noise, to make more noise and make it a lot harder to stand out. And so finding, yeah, where before you know, maybe one person could manage four blog posts or four pieces of content a month, and now it’s like cool, I can make 20. And then just the world need that much if everyone’s doing that. So there’s also I’m really interested to see how legal and copyright and that level goes into it. It’s a bit of a mystery box right now. I’ve been a little bit more cautious on my end because I don’t I want to make sure that it aligns with my values of how I’m going to use it. But if things I love being efficient and effective and that is true to my soul, so if I can streamline things and make them faster, great. But with great power comes great responsibility, I think, and we need to kind of figure that out. Good quote, good quote, all right, so we’ll wrap it up right there.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 18:08
Thank you so much for sharing, Ally, a little bit of a peek behind your business as well as how you’re serving clients in the data-driven strategy space. Thank you all so much for listening. So, Ally, before we jump off, can you share how can people find you get in touch and how do they even get started with a service like yours?
Ally Anderson: 18:29
Totally. Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram and on my website. So my business name is Akari Digital, and so my handle’s Akari Digital. Google us and you’ll get us to our website. You can get started working with us by. If you already have a little bit of data, meaning you have something set up and you have data coming in that’s a great time to work with us. We can also do done for you setups if you’re like I don’t even want to deal with this, but if you can set up your own Google Analytics and get some of that stuff rolling and then come to us in like three to six months, that’s probably best. We won’t be able to advise if we don’t have a ton of data. But yeah, but check, be out on Instagram, check us out on our website, and we have a free reach calculator if you have a little bit of data to go from. So if you want to understand which stages of those journey you’re doing, well in, that will walk you right through it with. Here’s where to find it in Google Analytics if that’s what you’re using. But yeah, that’s kind of where to find me.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 19:35
Perfect and we’ll drop in our show notes for everyone who’s listening. We’ll drop a link to that reach calculator, which would be an excellent place to just kind of get started and start to maybe understand a little bit about how that data is working for you and then reach out Ally to to help her where she can help you really wrap up understanding the rest of that customer journey and where to keep putting your money moving forward. All right, I’d like to thank you all for listening again to another episode of 10 Minute Marketing Until next time. Thanks again, bye, bye.
- Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:11