Month: October 2016

Pitfalls of Online Marketing and Over Coming Failures

As a small business owner you have to put out fires all the time.  Sadly marketing tends to take a back seat for many companies.  This is 1 reason why there are so many marketing consultants out there.

A good consultant is able to help you prioritize your marketing efforts by taking the time to understand your needs and your customer needs.

This week we still have a written guide but most of the meet is going to be inside the video hangout.

Major Pitfalls

Biting off More than you can Chew

I’m guilty of this myself.  We all like to draw up grand plans but then we stall when implementing those plans because there is just too much work that needs to be done and too many projects.

There is nothing wrong with sitting down and writing out a holistic marketing plan that takes advantage of PPC networks like AdWords or Bing ads and leverages those efforts on Facebook and other social media platforms.

However you should break this plan down into manageable goals and focus on getting just 1 of these platforms going and working smoothly before you move onto something else.

By focusing your limited time and efforts on 1 advertising platform you will be able to learn more about how that platform works and will be able to optimize better..

Keep Testing and Learning

It’s common for many small businesses when they first start marketing online to think that advertising should just work and that they will be profitable off the bat.  It’s very very rare that I have ever launched a campaign and just started making a profit and this is with 12+ years in the industry and millions of dollars spent advertising on several platforms.

In order to become profitable you need to keep testing and optimizing your campaigns.  This is why focusing on 1 ad platform is important because you can dedicate all your time on this 1 platform and really learn what you need to do to be succesfull

You Have To Spend Money to Make Money

It’s not unusual in the service based industry to have $10 cost per clicks on AdWords.  There are some industries were CPC prices are very seasonal. Carpet cleaning for instance is one where you will notice CPC prices go really high about 2-3 weeks before major holidays because of the increased interest in people wanting their homes cleaned.

Only by spending that higher dollar amount per click can you really get a feel for how well your ad copy will perform and see how much volume is out there for the keywords or target groups you are targeting.

Luckily you can day part for just your business hours and you can set a daily max budget so you are comfortable with the total ad spend for the day.

Take Ownership of Your Sales Process

Nobody is going to care more about your business and success then you.  Pawning your marketing efforts off on an employee rarely works unless that is their full time job.  You need to first dive in yourself and learn how to become profitable.  Once you start marking money and have a solid sales funnel in place then it’s fine to put things on autopilot and let an employee take over the marketing.  Till then it’s your responsibility to ensure things are working.

Over Coming Failures

Here is my favorite quoted slightly modified to fit me.  “Success is 70% Failure. For me it’s more like 90%. The secret is to fail quickly and learn from your mistakes.”

When I tell people who have not done much marketing that 9 out of 10 campaigns I run fail they tend to be shocked.  It’s not that I can’t get a campaign profitable but that it normally takes at least 10 major changes in order to tweak a campaign into profitability.

Things get a lot easier as you discover what kinds of sales funnels work.  If you get a campaign profitable on AdWords search for instance then chances are that same campaign will be profitable on Bing ads as well.

Nothing is Working

Often times when nothing seems to be working, you are actually making progress but might not recognize the progress you are making.  Failure is important to see what does not work.

What I tend to recommend goes back to my first statement and that is not biting off more then you can chew.  You may need to take a step back and stop most of your current efforts and focus on just doing and testing 1 thing to the best of your ability and with 100% attention.

Get Help

You should also seek out help from experts to talk about your current challenges.  There are many local marketing meetups on places like meetup.com that are free to attend. You have a plethora of options to get help and insights online as well for whatever you are doing.  the MPB private Facebook page for instance is a great way to ask specific questions and get answers from experts in the field.

Measuring Progress

One thing rarely talked about online is how to measure your progress.  Generally I tend to take my overall ROI week over week and as long as I’m moving towards a positive ROI I chalk it up as a success.

So your first week you might be at -90% ROI but by week 2 you may be at -70% ROI.  That is great progress for just 1 weeks time.

Keep making tweaks and working the sales funnel till you have a profitable campaign.

In order to measure your ROI you will need to understand what a lead or new customer is worth to you and you will need to be able to fully or at least mostly track the entire sales funnel.

 

 

 

 

 

The post Pitfalls of Online Marketing and Over Coming Failures appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co

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Want to Promote Your Site? Discover 100 Top-Ranked Sites for Guest Posts

Freelance writing for online magazines and posting guest articles on another blogger’s site are two of the best strategies for promoting your own site. You get to reach large established audiences and become an influencer in their eyes by association. You also get to introduce them to your site. Online magazines and other bloggers usually include a “Bio” or “Author” section at the bottom where you can give a brief description about yourself along with a back link to your own site.

The publisher also gains from this strategy. He can offer a new perspective to his regular audience. Bloggers can decide to “swap posts.” In the end it is a great networking tool.

The question then becomes: how do you find these highly-ranked sites that accept guest writers? Because not all of them do.

top-100-guest-blogs

Recently I came across a well-researched document that will help you with this task titled “100 Top Sites that Accept Articles and Guest Blogs.” Written by Deborah Regen, the 47-page file is the result of her own research while pursuing ways to promote her travel blog. The PDF file costs only $5, and you can find it on Fiverr.com here. If you prefer you can also pay directly via PayPal and get the PDF via email. Email here at admin@ecotourlinq.com to use this option.

The 100 listings in the file have been divided in the following sections:

General
For Women
Travel
Food / Wine / Beverages
Parenting / Family
Personal Development
Technology
Money / Investments / Real Estate
Health / Weight Loss / Fitness
Business / Startups / Entrepreneurs

And here’s how a listing looks like, so you know what you’ll be getting:

Small Biz Trends

http://smallbiztrends.com

Stats: 2 million unique monthly visitors.

What Is It: This is a high-quality and very popular online magazine. Read by business owners, vendors, and many others.

Requires application to be a guest writer first: YES

What to Submit: You have to become an approved guest contributor before you can submit any articles. Tell them about yourself first, what industry or topic you are most expert in, provide 2 – 3 sample topics you would like to write about, provide a link to your website or blog, and provide a link to one or more articles you have published online (other than your own site). Read about their submission
guidelines before applying to them – http://smallbiztrends.com/about/article-submission-guidelines

How to Submit: Send your email requesting approval to – experts@smallbiztrends.net

Here’s the link on Fiverr again if you want to buy.

Original post: Want to Promote Your Site? Discover 100 Top-Ranked Sites for Guest Posts

Here’s Why I Recommend Hostagor and Think You Should Use It

Pretty much every week I receive an email from people who want recommendations about web hosting. They want to know what hosting company I use, what plan I have, what plan they should get for a new blog or website and so on. That is why I decided to write this article, so that I can refer every one who asks here. I will structure the post as a Q&A, as I believe it will make it easier to follow along.

What Hosting Companies Have You Tried Over the Years?

I have been building blogs and websites for 10+ years (started in 2005). Over that period, I tried the hosting servicers of dozens of companies. Here are the ones I remember from thet top of my head:

  • Yahoo!
  • A Small Orange
  • MochaHost
  • DreamHost
  • BlueHost
  • Doreo
  • GoDaddy
  • HostGator
  • JustHost
  • iPage
  • 1&1
  • MediaTemple

Some were good, some were average, some were terrible. The good thing about web hosting is that it’s pretty easy to migrate to another company, so I didn’t stick with the bad ones for too long.

What Hosting Company Do You Use Now?

Out of all the companies listed above, the one where I found the best technical and customer service was HostGator, and that is why I host all my sites with them now. I started with their basic plan for a single site, and over time I upgraded to a VPS and now to a dedicated server.

The technical part involves the speed and reliability of the servers, and I always found both to be pretty good with HostGator (not perfect, but much better than the other providers I tried). Same goes for customer support. While it’s not perfect, they usually reply to my tickets and fix problems that emerge much faster that what I was used to with other companies.

hostgator_logo

Can You Give Me an Example of When You Experienced Good Customer Support?

Whenever I had technical issues with the sites, their customer support resolved them pretty fast, even if it was something in the middle of the night.

On different occasions I also asked them for favors, given that I am a very loyal customer, and they always agreed to help me out. Once they doubled the RAM on my server without any extra cost, and on another occasion I run out of dedicated IP addresses on my server, and they hooked me up with one free of charge.

What Hosting Plan Do You Use?

As I mentioned above, today I rent a dedicated server with HostGator. But that is because I host many sites, and some receive a good amount of traffic, so I can justify the monthly cost.

That being said, in the past I used pretty much all their plans, from the basic one (used to be called ‘Hatchling’, now it’s called ‘Starter’) to the Business plans and VPSs. All offered good value for money, and that is why I stuck around and upgraded over time.

What Hosting Plan Do You Recommend for a New or Small Site?

When people are starting out they tend to freak out about the hosting plan, imagining that they need a powerful plan to make sure their websites will be able to receive all visitors and be fast.

That is not the case. Even a basic plan will be able to handle a new or small site with efficiency. The limitation is usually the bandwidth (i.e., how much data your site can transfer), and it’s very hard to go over bandwidth limits. The speed of your site shouldn’t vary much from a basic to a more advanced plan.

In the case of HostGator, a Starter or Standard plan are certainly enough to get you started, and the cost starts at $6 monthly or so, which is pretty affordable.

What Do You Think About Cheap or Free Hosting Plans?

If you research around you’ll find that some companies offer free hosting, as in zero dollars per month. Some do that in exchange for placing links or advertising on your site. I used those in the past on experimental websites, mostly to know how it worked. The hosting does work, but the quality is not that great as you can imagine, so I wouldn’t recommend it for any serious project.

The same is true for cheap hosting services (i.e., those that cost $2/month or so). Sure, you get a better service when compared to free hosting options, but going from $2 to $6 is not a big jump in price, but it will be a big jump in service quality.

When Do You Think I Should Move to a VPS or Dedicated Server?

A basic VPS will cost around $40 per month. A basic dedicated server will cost about $100 per month.

My rule of thumb: as soon as your site is generating 3x the hosting cost, you should upgrade.

So when you reach $120 in monthly earnings, move to a VPS. When you reach $300 in monthly earnings, move to a dedicated box.

Why upgrade? Because the reliability you’ll get will be much higher. On a shared server what other users do on the server affect your site. If a user runs a bad PHP script and crashes the server, for instance, your site goes down together. On VPS and dedicated servers, your site is isolated from the others, and this is worth the extra cost in my opinion over time.

If you want to get all the details of pricing and specs, go to HostGator.com and click on “VPS” or “Dedicated” on the top menu bar.

What Is Your Relationship with Hostgator?

HostGator is not a sponsor of this blog, and I am not earning money to recommend them. I am an affiliate, though, which means that if you signup with them through my referral I get a small commission.

That being said, I am only recommending them because I have been a customer for 8+ years and I am extremely satisfied with their services. In other words, I am walking the talk here. I often get approached by other hosting companies to promote them, but I decline because I don’t trust their services. HostGator also offers a money-back guarantee, so you can test the service and see if you like it with no risk of losing any money.

How to Get 30% Off Your Hosting Plan

HostGator offers some very competitive prices to begin with. The Starter plan, for instance, costs $5.99 monthly (if you prepay). If you use the discount code dailyblogtips you’ll get an additional 30% off your order. Click here to view all plains and details.

Original post: Here’s Why I Recommend Hostagor and Think You Should Use It

Facebook Targeting and Audience Selection

facebook custom audience selection and targeting

In today’s hangout we are going to focus on creating a targeted group for your Facebook Ad.

In most cases I first create my targeting groups before I even create my image ad or ad copy so I can better match the interest and demographic group I want to target.

Here is this week’s hangout video to go along with the written guide.  We hold live hangouts every Wednesday at 2PM CST

Be sure to sign up to the newsletter to get invites to the live hangouts and feel free to head over to the community page to connect with us on Facebook or join the private Facebook group.

Audience Insights

A great place to start is to use the Audience Insights tool On Facebook.  This allows you to build your own custom audience to target.

You can find this at https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience-insights/

When first starting out I recommend you select Everyone on Facebook

facebook audience

From this selection you can start to build a New audience and play around with different features to see who might be right for your target Audience.

You have the ability to select

  • Location
  • Ages and gender
  • Interests
  • connections
  • Pages
  • Advanced – This gives you very specific information such as language, relationship Status, Education, etc…

For a Full listing of your targeting Options I recommend you checkout the info graph that Wordstream produced at http://www.wordstream.com/images/facebook-ad-targeting-options-infographic-wordstream-large.jpg

As we have a strong focus on service based companies so we will start by putting in a specific city that we want to target and look over the data presented.

In this case let’s look over some of the differences between Saint Paul MN and White Bear Lake MN which is a suburb of Saint Paul.

We can see the differences summed up below (Watch Video for more details)

Saint Paul:

  • 52% Women / 48% Male.  Biggest demographic is age 25-34 at 28%. Next highest is 18-24 at 23%
  • Relationship: 37% Single.  This is 18% above the Facebook Norm. 40% are married
  • Education: 64% have college degrees or went to college
  • Home ownership is at 74%
  • Income has 37% of people making between 50k-75k
  • 52% spend regularly with a credit card
  • 29% are single house holds with 22% having 2 people in the house hold.

White Bear Lake:

  • 56% Women / 44% Male. Biggest demographic is 25-34 at 20% but others are really close.  The lowest is 18-24 which is at 12%
  • Relationship: 25% Single and 45% married
  • 64% college educated
  • Home Ownership is at 87%
  • 28% make more then 50K a year.  What is really interesting is only 14% make less then that.
  • 90% spend regularly with a credit card
  • 20% are single household sizes while 25% have 2 people in the home.

It’s interesting to run these numbers in college towns and in retirement communities to really see how accurate this kind of information is.

What do you do with this Data?

You can get really creative and use this data in many different ways.  For starters if you service both St Paul and White Bear Lake you may be able to first start marketing in the smaller test city to see what works before expanding out into other cities.

You can go through and create the perfect customer avatar and see which city demographics best match who your potential customer is.  If you sell baby items for instance then you would most likely want to target parents with young kids.  You may also want to ad in some layering such as those who have more discretionary spending as well as an interest in the products and services you are promoting.

You can see what the largest audience is that fits in with your marketing and really go to town writing ad copy and selecting images that closely match these exact individuals.  Knowing that you are targeting lets say females who are married who have an income of 50K+ with a college degree and 2+ kids can really make you focus in on what this specific audience wants to know about your product or service and how best it can help them.

You can use this information to perform off line marketing as well.  Knowing what areas have the right demographics that match your potential customer can be a big win.

Creating Your Audience based on Interests

You can see from all this that we can start to get a good understanding of people in our targeted area.  Based upon this information we can use it creatively in many different ways

Now let’s look at creating an audience based upon the data that we gathered.

We will go with the Kitchen Remodeling company like we did the previous week.

Nailing Down the Customer Avatar

For this we will start with an interest in our specific service and see who kind of demographics are interested in our remodeling service.

Under the interest Tab we have placed in several related interests

  • bathroom remodeling
  • Remodelaholic
  • Remodeling My Home

From this interest we already start to see a clear picture of who we should probably be targeting.

In the demographics section we see that 92% of those who are interested are Women.  Of that 30% of those are between the ages of 35-44. 74% of them are married and 64% have a college education.  Nurses, Legal, Healthcare and medical seem to have a higher interest in remodeling.

You could potentially write ad copy targeting female nurses with bathroom remodeling.  Because of the high interest by females you will for certain be targeting females over males in your ad copy.  At least to start.  Because 74% of those are married you are most likely going to target married women.

Going through the page likes we can see a variety of interests based pages that we could potentially target.  “Sawdust Girl” looks to be a DIY page so if you sold tools for remodels or supplies then this page would be great to target.

We can see from the page likes that “remodelaholic” people are 77.2X more likely to like posts around remodels.

If I was a national provider of remodeling services I can see certain cities have a really high interest vs other Facebook users.  Places like Idaho Falls ID are 500% more likely to belong to the interest groups I’m targeting.

Looking at the activity tab I can see that only 3% of this audience use only Desktops and that 37% use only Mobile.  This means I better ensure I have a mobile friendly website and that I include mobile ads in the Facebook feed.

29% of this interest group make between 50-75K and 82% are home owners.  This clearly tells me I need to target only home owners for my kitchen remodeling services which is very logical.  It just shows how accurate this kind of data can be.

39% have homes valued between 100K – 200K and 35% have homes values at 200K to 500K.  This combined means 74% of your audience has homes between 100K and 500K.  While you might not use this for targeting you can use this information for when you write your content.

66% use credit cards regularly which is 25% higher then the average Facebook user. Because of the large cost of remodels this may not play as big a factor for your specific business but it’s a good indicator of being able to spend money online so for many eCommerce stores it’s a great indicator.

Our customer Avatar so far looks like this

  • Female
  • Home Owner
  • Married
  • Not on Desktop Only

Other attributes to note

  • College Experienced
  • Job titles around: Nurses, Legal, Healthcare and medical
  • We have a number of people who are interested in specific pages around remodeling.

Finalizing Your Audience

Above all else we need a decent size audience list.  If you target with an Interest as well as age, gender, home ownership and everything else we identified you may not have anyone to target in your specific city that you service.  If you are a national company then you most likely will have a big enough audience that is really laser targeted.

If you are national then by all means layer in everything you can and really focus in on your target audience.

If you are local and service a select area then you are often times best just targeting the many people who would be interested in your services.  This could be based upon just an interest with maybe gender layering or just demographic layering with just age, gender, home ownership and relationship status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combine multiple interests together

https://www.audienceintersect.com/

 

Power Editor in Chrome

https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/powereditor/

The post Facebook Targeting and Audience Selection appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

Did you know that “male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting”? Did you know that “the name humpback whale describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive”? What about this one: “ostriches have the largest eyes of any land living animal and they measure 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter”?

Google now shows random facts about animals in the “did you know” section of the Knowledge Graph card. They’re extracted from various sites and Google actually links to the source.

Some example of queries that return random facts: [cat], [lion], [tiger], [alpaca], [giraffe], [ostrich], [duck], [elk], [raccoon], [shark]. It’s worth pointing out that you can get another random fact by reloading the page or searching again for the same animal.

Found in Related Searches

Google Knowledge Graph has more than one billion entities and more than 70 billion facts about these entities (people, places, things). It’s huge and it brings a different dimension to search: understanding concepts and the relation between them.

Mobile Google Search now has a section called “found in related search”, which shows a few entities frequently mentioned in other related searches. For example, I searched for [ethanol molar mass] and Google showed 2 lists of organic and inorganic compounds: one of them was found in the related search [properties of alkanes] and the other was for [polar solvents]. Ethanol is a polar solvent which can be obtained from alkenes, while alkenes can be derived from alkanes, so Google’s suggestions are somewhat useful.

This feature is not limited to chemistry, it also works for other topics. Here’s a different query: [tour eiffel design], which shows other “towers of the world” and “tourist attractions in France”.

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

I noticed an interesting Google Search experiment in the mobile/tablet interface. When searching for [alcohol with the highest boiling], Google converted my query into a question: “Which alcohol has the highest boiling point?”, then it tried to answer the question using a snippet from a web page and then it added a “more results” link. Google’s link sent to me to the search results page for the question inferred by Google.

Google’s Card for Directions

When you search Google for [directions] or [get directions], you get an error message: “No results for that place. Try entering it below to get suggestions.” Google shows a special card for directions with cool features like autocomplete, but the error message is out of place because you haven’t typed a location.

Suggestions aren’t very smart. For example, I typed “Brisbane, Australia” as the starting point and then I started to type “Mel” as the destination. Google suggested 3 places from California, strictly based on my location, while ignoring that Melbourne is a much better suggestion.

Google shows directions inside the card and you can pick between driving, walking, cycling or using public transportation.

To see the directions, just click the text that describes your favorite route. If there is only one route, pick that one. Another option is to click “directions” and go to the Google Maps site.

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

I’m not sure if this is a new feature, but it must be pretty recent. Google Maps for Android lets you add home screen shortcuts to directions directly from the app. Just search for directions, tap the menu icon and pick “add route to Home screen”. This works best when you select the current location, but it’s not a requirement.

You may also see this message: “Go here often? Add this route. Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route.”

Another option is to add the directions widget, which lets you pick the shortcut name, whether to start turn-by-turn navigation and more.

The Perfect Facebook Ad Copy and Image

facebook-ad-examples

In this weeks live hangout we are continuing with our talk on Facebook.  We have already covered Facebook tracking and ideas for generating sales and leads using different funnel examples.

This week are are going to dive a bit more in-depth on the different targeting options you have and talk more in-depth on writing the perfect ad copy for your Facebook ad

Here is the live hangout video in case you just want to sit back and watch.  We hold live Hangouts every Wednesday at 2PM CST so be sure to sign-up to the newsletter or the private Facebook group to get an invite.

Let’s take more of a look at your ad targeting options

  • Custom audiences – allows you to target existing customers or leads and remarketing / retargeting
  • Age – Target the Exact Age Range that meets your customer avatar.
  • Location – allows you to target by location (city, state, country)
  • Gender – allows you to target by gender (male or female)
  • Education Level – Target those with a high school degree or those with more advanced education
  • Languages – Target the Language you want to reach such as just English or Just Spanish Speaking Individuals
  • Interests – allows you to target by interest (such as fitness, entrepreneurship, fashion, literature)
  • Relationship Status – Target Single or married individuals as well as several other options
  • Behaviors – allows you to target by past behavior, such as someone visiting your website
  • Political Views – Personally I’m a little sad this is an option.
  • Connections – allows you to target by people who already like your page, or who have connections that do

 

Here is a link from Wordstream that has all the Facebook targeting options all laid out for you

http://www.wordstream.com/images/facebook-ad-targeting-options-infographic-wordstream-large.jpg

Ad Types

facebook ad types

Facebook has two main ad types you can use.  They are news feed posts that you see in the center of your facebook page along with your other feeds and then the right hand column ads that are on the right hand side

Placements

facebook placements

Facebook now automatically recommends you use Automatic Placements.  This to me is not a win for most small businesses.  When you use this option your ad will not only show up on Facebook but also on Instagram and on the Audience Network which is partner sites and apps.

Generally I recommend you just start out with Facebook only till you have some traction.  This will help cut down on ad spend and really let you focus on succeeding on 1 platform first before having to worry about other platforms and different optimization tactics.

Getting the Perfect Image

Images are at least 80% of what makes a great ad for Facebook.  Facebook allows you to have a nice big image so be sure to put thought into your image.

Ideally you want your image to be extremely specific to the group you are targeting.  It needs to be eye catching, include a value proposition such as a benefit or represent a pain point.  Have a clear call to action (CTA) and represent your target market and their interests.

Here is an image I used to get app installs to an app called local ledge that focused on metal detectors as an interest group.

facebook ad example

You can see I had a clear CTA on the image but that was not really needed as I could of used the Call to Action from Facebook.  Still the main point is I have someone who is metal detecting and they found something.  This speaks specifically to the audience I was targeting and my click through rates on this ad was just fantastic

Here is one of the images I split tested against that did not perform as well.

ll-17

Images with people in them performing a desired action or expressing an emotion work great.  If worse comes to worse you can use the funniest image you have that has nothing related to your offer and get people to take notice.  Remember, people come to Facebook to be entertained not to be sold too.

Uncovering the perfect Image

Create Customer Avatars: Really it’s all a matter of testing and segmenting out your groups by interests, age, and any other factors you can think of.  You need to uncover and create multiple customer Avatars.  From there you will be able to select images that closely align with the target group.

Split Test Images:  Generally I split test 3 different images with the same ad copy and if I have an image ad that performs well I will then take that image and create 3 new ad sets to test out the ad copy.  If I’m not happy with the initial results I’ll wither switch up my targets a little or use different images.

 

In last weeks episode we covered the different ad types you have on Facebook in article – http://marketingplaybook.co/hangouts/generating-lead-sales-facebook-small-businesses/ .  I copied them below

Facebook Advertising Objectives

Clicks to Website: Send people to your website.  This is the more common method many small businesses and advertisers use.

Website Conversions: Increase conversions on your website. You’ll need a conversion pixel for your website before you can create this ad.  This is how I generally setup most of my campaigns.  This allows me to optimize better for conversions that are happening.  Even if I am not selling a product or service I can still use this option if we get a little creative.

Page Post Engagement: Boost your posts.  This is one of my least favorite options.  It’s fine but I really don’t care in most instances about others seeing my posts.  I would much rather get them to click on my website.

I’ll still use this method if I’m doing marketing for a special event just to get the word out more or if I have really killer content that I believe can be spread fast.  An example of this might be a pumpkin patch.  It’s October as I write this and chances are I would still drive business and interest to my pumpkin patch or corn maze for this time of year in the U.S.

Page Likes: Promote your Page and get Page likes to connect with more of the people who matter to you.  This again to me is low value for many companies.  It used to be a lot better back when you could then post new content and have it syndicated out to everyone automatically and for free.  Facebook has gone pay to play so even if you post something it won’t go out to all your fans.  Only a small fraction in the 3% to 10% range so you really don’t get a lot of value out of likes.

This can still play a factor in your marketing efforts however so you may find a good use and strategy to use this option.

App Installs: Get installs of your app.  I have an app I promoted rather heavily on Facebook and found the platform to be a really nice way of getting installs to my own personal app.  This is not common for many small businesses so I won’t go into this topic.

App Engagement: Increase engagement in your app.  This is where you re-market to those who have installed your app to get them to come back and use the app again.  It’s a solid way to help with user retention and it allows you to deep link into sections of your app which can provide great value.

Offer Claims: Create offers for people to redeem in your store.  This can be a really great way to market coupons and discounts.  You can set features such as who sees it and how many people can claim the discount which creates scarcity and forces people to take action or they lose the special.

Local Awareness: Reach people near your business. Here you set your business location and choose a radius of those located around you.  It’s a nice way of reaching people in a set distance from your business to advertise daily specials or events.

Event Responses: Raise attendance at your event.  If you are putting on a workshop of some kind this can be a great way to see how many people may attend.  Generally you get at most a 50% show rate so if you want 10 people to show up to your event I would recommend getting at least 20 signups if not 30.

Product Catalog Promotion: Automatically show products from your product catalog based on your target audience.  Think of this as the merchant feed options you have on AdWords and Bing Ads.  When you use your product catalog it will normally be in combination with Dynamic ads.

Brand Awareness: Reach people more likely to pay attention to your brand. I have not yet personally used this option. From what I have read Facebook with show your ad to those who will most likely spend more time looking at your ad. I personally do branding a little differently for local businesses which I will discuss later in this guide.

Lead Generation: Collect leads for your business. Recently this had become one of my favorite ways to produce quality leads at a very reasonable price.  It can be hard for some small business to capitalize on but if you have any kind of valuable information you can bundle into a quick free report as your lead generation offer it can work very well.

In order to take full advantage of this process you need a solid follow up already in place so ensure you have your sales funnel setup and ready to go.

Video Views: Create ads that get more people to view a video. To be 100% honest I have not had the same success with Facebook videos ads as I have with AdWords.  It’s really great that you can target a specific audience but I have not had a client personally that has had great measurable success with video ads on Facebook just yet.

I do not like how many videos are still auto played inside feeds and I don’t like that they charge and count as a view after 3 seconds.

There is clear value to be had here but I do not have the solution for what this is just yet.

Dynamic Ads:  Worth mentioning again as you can use your product catalog to setup Dynamic Ads to auto re-target page visitors for specific pages.  There are services out there that can help you set this up like ChannelAdvisor, Mercent and Adroll.  You can manually set this up as well but it’s a little more complicated just like setting up a Merchant feed in Bing Ads and AdWords.

Carousel Ads: With Carousel ads you can setup up to 10 images each having their own link to a specific location on your website.  Great if you are targeting a specific niche and have several similar products or services you want to push.

The setup for images is a bit different then the regular format in Facebook.

  • Recommended image size: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters

 Slideshows: You can use both videos and images to create a slide show with audio and text overlays.  Slideshows can stand out more than a normal ad because you have different images coming into focus that grabs people’s attention.

This is fantastic if you have some kind of process or story you want to tell your target audience.

Slide shows can be up to 35 seconds in length.  All images should have the same dimensions and be in a 16:9 or 4:3 ratio.   If you use different sized images then your images will be cropped and could possibly look off.

Writing the Perfect Ad Copy

Before you write your ad you should first focus on who you are targeting then customize the ad copy to that specific group.

Split test ad copy.  Sounds simple but many do not take the time to test out different ad copies.  I generally recommend you first use the same adcopy for 3 different images.  Then pick the best image based on performance and then re-test that image against 3 different ad copy sets.

This works well if you have been able to get some decent traction on the image.  Remember that the image is the most important thing.  It’s what grabs peoples attention first and stops them from scrolling down.  If you tested 3 images and they all performed really bad then either your targeting might be off or too wide or you need to test another 3 different images.

Have a clear call to Action and only 1 call to action so it’s not confusing. You can use the CTA buttons

  • Apply Now
  • Download
  • Get Quote
  • Learn More
  • Sign up
  • Subscribe

Even with the CTA buttons I generally still like to have in the ad copy 1 clear message of action.

Make More Less.  You do not want to write paragraphs of information.  You want a short and to the point message that outlines what you are offering, hit’s upon a pain point and or mentions a benefit and have your call to action present.

Social Proof: Test out ad copy based on Testimonials from your customers and put that in quotes. You can’t do this in AdWords but Facebook still allows it.  If you have 7,000 happy customers in the past year then say so.

Ask a provocative question.  If you did carpet cleaning maybe you could say something like  How many bugs are living in your carpets?  If you targeted me who has a little baby I’d probably take notice.  You can get aggressive with this kind of marketing or be a little subtle.  In the end I recommend you NEVER really sell but instead focus on helping the person out by offering free tips and tricks.  Believe me this goes a really long ways and is a far better way to build your brand as a local leader in your industry.

Fear of loss or sense of urgency:  This works really well.  Having countdown times and limiting special offers to just the first 20 people or things like Sale ends Today gets peoples attention. People love great deals.  I’m no exception here.  If you have ever looked at how App Summo works you will understand their entire business is predicated on fear of loss and offering a great value.

Some words that help create a sense of urgency are

  • Limited time!
  • Only!
  • Today!
  • Hurry!
  • Act now!
  • Rush!
  • Last chance!

Location Specific Imagery:  If there is a local landmark or building that is recognizable you can always snap a quick picture of it and use it in your ad copy.  If it’s relatable enough to your service or you can overlay an image on top of that then you could have a solid winner.  I have used silhouettes of city Ski lines before to great effect.

Quick Recap

  • It’s visual. The image is larger in this ad than the image in the right-hand column ad, making it more visually appealing and catching my eye even more than the previous example.
  • It’s relevant. Same as with the right-hand column ad, it is relevant to me. (Side note: I actually purchased the wine from Club W, and it’s lovely).
  • It includes an enticing value prop. They’ve already done the thinking for me by having Easter wine recommendations. Although there’s no discount on this ad, I still find value in their content.
  • It has a clear call-to-action. They’re telling me to head over to their blog to read their suggestions. This way, I know exactly what to do — and what to expect when I click.

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