Have you dismissed Facebook for advertising? Think again!

What once seemed like a slam-dunk for advertisers quickly morphed into a love-hate situation. During the Facebook boom, everyone who was anyone ran Facebook ads. Then, the privacy issues. The hacks. Fake news. A country divided over gorillas, politics, and dress colors. Questions about the character of Facebook’s upper management. Congressional hearings. Things turned sour. The New York Times accurately describes the current relationship status between Facebook and advertisers in Facebook’s own words: “It’s Complicated.”

As digital marketing specialists, we’ve talked to countless business owners, many of whom have given up on Facebook advertising. Some don’t want to be associated with accusations of improper handling of consumer data. Others simply don’t think Facebook is relevant any more or that their ad dollars are better spent elsewhere.

On the other hand, we work on a daily basis with many businesses who see the value in Facebook advertising. We have the metrics to show the potential, and we have proven ways to advertise on Facebook (as well as other valuable platforms), while maintaining the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, as well as results.

Why should you consider including Facebook ads in your overall marketing strategy?

Facebook Ads are Surprisingly Affordable

Sure, we have clients who spend tens of thousands of dollars monthly on Facebook ads. We also have clients who generate a good number of high-quality leads for a few hundred bucks. When you compare the cost, not just to run the ads, but to generate high-quality ads, Facebook emerges as an excellent value. For example, if you advertise on YouTube or Instagram, you have to invest heavily in video production or high-end photography. You’ve got costs for voice overs, music to buy, and a considerable amount of time to edit videos and images, not to mention the time spent uploading. Google ads require multiple sizes and versions of the same image, driving up production costs. Facebook ads can be as simple as a photo and caption, or as complex as a well-produced video. But it is possible to keep costs low enough that even the mom-and-pop corner shop can afford it.

Sometimes, You Can Get ‘More Than You Pay For’

If it’s less expensive, it must be less effective, right? No, not really. Consider this: people are used to tuning out advertisements in most content. This is true online, as well as IRL (in real life). You barely pay attention to the billboards on the way to work, and you likely manage to ignore most of the ads lining the sidebars of your favorite news site, sports pages, and industry mags. But users do pay attention to what scrolls across their Facebook feed. They’re looking for it. They’re engaging with it. They want to express their opinions with Likes, Shares, Comments, and Emojis. They don’t look at Facebook ads with the same apathy or cynicism. After all, this is where they connect with friends and share their innermost thoughts and feelings. They’re more relaxed and less guarded. Simply put, Facebook ads are effective because they aren’t ignored or discarded with the same ease as most other advertising platforms. Plus, you can easily target those most interested in products or services like yours. You aren’t just “spraying and hoping”. You’re reaching only people with a reasonably good likelihood of being interested in and able to afford what you’ve got to offer. More on this in a moment …

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Facebook Supports All Your Other Marketing Efforts

Facebook literally fits within any marketing strategy you’re aiming for. Whether you’ve got written content to promote, a killer new website, slick videos, or just some snapshots of your warehouse or showroom, Facebook has options for getting it in front of the widest possible audience and the audience most likely to want what you’ve got. Almost three billion active users, folks. Three. Billion. Active. Users.

Facebook Offers Powerful Targeting Options

Due to the aforementioned privacy concerns, Facebook has (and continues to) change their targeting options. For instance, we used to be able to target directly to certain income levels. Now we cannot. We used to be able to target only homeowners, now that isn’t an option. However, there are some amazing work-arounds that perform as well, sometimes better. You just have to understand those work-arounds. Want to advertise only to working-class moms in suburban Topeka? Want to target only middle-aged men who own motorcycles? People who birdwatch in the Appalachians? Those who participate in rattlesnake festivals in Lower Alabama? Yeah, we can do that. In fact, we can even help you target the hidden markets for your audiences that you never even thought of. Did you know that racquetball enthusiasts are most likely to DIY home building projects? Did you know that people who follow Zillow are most likely to buy a hot tub? We do. And that’s just the beginning of what we do all day every day for our clients.

 

Come on. Get Smart! Don’t dismiss Facebook advertising, and turn to us for this and many other marketing strategies to take your business to new heights this year. Get your free, no obligation consultation now.


The Power of Images in Digital Marketing

The Power of Images in Digital Marketing

When a consumer lands on your site or social media page, countless research studies tell us they’re deciding in mere seconds, sometimes even a fraction of a second, if your content is for them. If, in just a heartbeat, you can’t grab their attention, they’ll click away, back to their search. It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect product, solution, or content if no one sees it because you weren’t able to capture their attention instantly.

Marketing in a Google World

With Google analytics measuring everything from general clicks, to bounce and conversion rates, to the tiniest detail like if a consumer uses the back button while on your site, it probably seems like metrics are a constantly shifting target.  

But really, it all boils down to a couple basic things. First, is your content and website attracting consumers to click into your site, post, or article from a search engine? Then, is your content fulfilling the promise you made in those search results—that is, are consumers finding the info they were looking for and staying engaged?

How does a company stop the click-aways?

Stage right: enter images and other dynamic content! When you’ve only got seconds to make an impression and convince a consumer you’ve got what he’s looking for, images are a great way to do it. We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and in digital marketing, there’s a whole lot of truth to it. A picture or an infographic tells the consumer what your content is about before he’s even read a word.

A high-quality image that is immediately noticeable not only conveys what the rest of the content in the post is about, but it also gives a strong impression about your business in general. Grainy, low-res image? Savvy consumers will make negative assumptions about your business. Worst case? They’ll think your business is unprofessional or that your product is lower quality than a similar product on another site that features glossy, appealing images.

Get their attention and keep it

When a consumer chooses to click on your site from the search results, there were probably a few other results that also caught his eye. The moment your content stops holding his attention is the second he’ll click back to the search engine results to see if one of the other options might be more relevant. A great picture might get his attention, but follow that with a 1,000 word wall of text and see how fast he retreats.

Instead, break up articles into short paragraphs with subheadings, quote boxes, charts and graphs, and you guessed it, images! For a short blog or social media post, one image is good, but for very informative, longer articles, the more images, the better.

Not to worry, that doesn’t have to translate into hiring a professional photographer! Besides pictures of the exact product you’re talking about, other images can do the trick as well. Think funny memes, word clouds, colorful charts, and generic images that connect to your brand or message.

What not to do

Believe it or not, it is possible to go overboard with images. While some blogs and sites are built around images more than words, by and large, you want pictures to complement and emphasize your written content, not the other way around. If you have an 800-word blog post, but it scrolls on forever because you’ve added so many images, readers might not make it all the way through.

Another way to go wrong incorporating images is to use the same one all the time. Your goal with a blog or social media account is to build brand loyalty and bring your customers back over and over. But If you use the same image, the returning consumer is likely to assume they’ve read it and skip it entirely.

Probably the biggest way images hurt our content rather than help is when they’re poor quality. Low-res, blurry, grainy images will make a statement about your brand that you just don’t want said, even subconsciously. You wouldn’t take out a blurry, sad-looking billboard on the side of the interstate in your city, so don’t put one up online, either!

Need a little help?

Now that you know the power of images in digital marketing, are you a little at sea when it comes to putting them, and other online marketing power tools into action for yourself? That’s where we come in! From helping you keep a vibrant presence on social media to incorporating expert content (with impactful images, of course!) into your site, The Get Smart Group can help you achieve marketing success.


What Digital Metrics Should You Actually Track?

Take a stroll through the latest marketing blogs, and you’ll quickly get dizzy. All those metrics. All those acronyms! BR, CPA, CPC, PV, SEO … Metrics reports sometimes look more like a launch sequence at NASA than something for those of us who got Bachelor’s of the Arts degrees for the sole purpose of avoiding math and science classes.

All you really want to know:

Are my efforts working?
What could I do better?
Am I getting my money’s worth?

As it happens, digital marketing metrics are a lot like your high school reunion. You can breeze in, say, “howdy” to your oldest BFFs and breeze right back out. Or, you can come early, eat all the munchies, get the lowdown on Sandy’s 5 divorces and Steve’s bypass surgeries, and be the last to leave. Marketing metrics are as deep as you want to go.

It pays to start with the most critical performance indicators. Then, add to your regular metrics reporting as you get a handle on which are most critical to your operations. Here are the basic essentials you always need to stay on top of.

Website Traffic

Whether you’re a global e-commerce site or just a local mom & pop shop, you have to know how many people are visiting your website. Also, know how many visitors are new and how many are returns. Depending on what you sell and the average length of time your customers tend to take to make purchase decisions, visitor return rates often translate directly into conversions (sales). But knowing your new visitor numbers as well tells you how well your marketing efforts are working. Actual numbers are less important than growing numbers. One hundred visitors in March is good if you only had 78 in February. Three thousand visitors is terrible if you had 8,800 the month before. To account for seasonal fluctuations, year-over-year metrics is more of a growth indicator than month-over-month. But track both.

Bounce Rates

Website traffic metrics tells you if you’re getting people there. Bounce rates tell you if you’re keeping them there. Interested shoppers tend to stay awhile and consume a fair portion of your content, represented by low bounce rates. High bounce rates mean they came, saw, and split. This is usually an indication that you aren’t giving them what they came for. The thing about bounce rates is, high bounce rates don’t just affect your customers; Google sees those bounce rates and lowers your search ranking. That makes it harder to get people back on your site next time. You can usually improve bounce rates by offering high-quality, highly-informative, highly-relevant content on your site. Why are you reading this? You came because you saw the title and needed to know what metrics to track. You stayed because we’re actually answering your question. That should be the goal with your own website, too.

Are these the only metrics you should track? No! This is merely a good starting point for getting on top of your metrics. Once you have a handle on who’s coming to your website, how long they’re staying, and what it takes to get them to sign up or buy your stuff, you can add to your metrics tracking to dig even deeper into your digital marketing health. Unlike Sandy’s divorces and Steve’s bypass surgeries, there’s info there you can really use.

Need some help? The Get Smart Group are pros in digital marketing, and we provide the metrics reporting to back up those claims. If all you hear from your current marketing guys is, “Yeah, it’s working,” then look deeper. With state-of-the–art CRM tools and trendsetting metrics reporting, we give you the numbers to prove our efforts translate into sales. The only thing you have to lose is missed opportunities!


The Perfect Facebook Live Rig

We get asked all the time for help with improving the quality of our clients’ Facebook Live videos and we’ve put together the video below as well as an equipment list to get started.  This will cost you a few hundred dollars at Amazon but will vastly improve the quality of your videos.

Equipment List:

Audio Technica shotgun mic

Microphone mount

Tascam phone audio interface

Phone mount

Light adapter

Light

Small tripod

25′ mic cable

1.5′ mic cable

Mounting bar

Add these items to your car and you’ll be on your way to much better Facebook live videos!


Advertising on YouTube

youtube-advertising

Have you ever thought about advertising on YouTube? No? Well, why not? After Google, it’s the internet’s second biggest search platform, and the demand for video content just keeps growing. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2021 about 80 percent of all traffic on the internet will be related to video.

Yes, seriously. So what are you waiting for? When it comes to online marketing, YouTube is something you just have to consider.

Don’t be intimidated! Yes, YouTube is a video channel. But you don’t necessarily have to produce slick videos to advertise there. You CAN, sure. But it’s just not something that’s required. In fact, YouTube offers six different types of ads:

  • Video ads you can’t skip
  • Video ads you CAN skip
  • Video bumper ads
  • Non-video display ads
  • Non-video sponsored cards
  • Non-video overlay ads

Video ads do get the most engagement, but if you don’t have the budget or desire to create videos, it can still generate traffic to your website.

Take the display ad format, for example. These ads show above the suggested videos and are managed within the Google AdWords format. That’s right – Google owns YouTube. With YouTube, you can leverage the power of Google’s display network and greatly increase your reach.

Plus, recent changes to the AdWords platform mean you can find potential customers who recently looked for your company or related products or services on Google. These “custom intent audiences” leverage YouTube’s video power to close the sale.

Google, with YouTube, is among the leaders in online marketing platforms. At The Get Smart Group, we work with our clients to put together a customized online marketing plan that makes sense for their industry, their business, and their region – so they can effectively and efficiently reach their customers. That means analyzing all the options at our disposal and putting them to work – for you.


Remarketing? Yep, that’s included.

remarketing audience1

The world wide web is a pretty turbulent ocean. And, sometimes, it can be difficult to find your way. There are things that can help, sure, but one of the best tools for cutting through the waves today is remarketing. It makes sure people don’t forget you once they’ve used your website or your mobile app. If they visit and don’t buy anything, remarketing can show potential customers ads related to products they looked at as they travel around more than 2 billion websites on their different devices.

See? Powerful.

Remarketing keeps your brand top-of-mind for customers who aren’t quite ready to make a purchase and increases your brand exposure to your target audience. It has higher conversion and click-through rates than typical display ads.

See? Powerful.

You can even create specific remarketing lists to hyper-target your audiences. Remarket broadly to site visitors, but differently to site visitors who created a shopping cart, but then abandoned it. Create yet another remarketing target for previous customers, to turn them into repeat customers.

See? Powerful.

Here’s the thing, though. A lot of marketing partners will want to upcharge to manage remarketing efforts for you. At The Get Smart Group, we don’t believe in that. We believe remarketing is so important – so powerful – that we don’t want you to be without it. So, we build it in as a crucial piece of your online marketing plan.

Are you ready to take the plunge into online marketing? Don’t just dip a toe in – you’ll be disappointed with the results. If you really want to market your business online, you need to do it the right way. And that means including your remarketing audience in your online marketing mix. But you’ll need someone to see you through – the waters can get a little choppy. That’s where we come in. The Get Smart Group: Your trusty online lifeguards.


Make your marketing march in time to the cadence you set

What does cadence mean to you? This?

Sure. That’s fair enough. Hey – it’s catchy. But when it comes to marketing, there’s an altogether different type of cadence, and it’s one you need to learn because it’s crucial to the marketing success of your business.

In its simplest form, cadence is consistency. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that means being repetitive. Consider for a moment your personal experiences online, and the brands you follow. Are there any that seem to post the same or very similar messages over and over and over again? It’s annoying, right? If someone walked up to you in real life and repeated the same phrase to you every time you met, never saying anything different, you’d think something was wrong. Right?

Marketing cadence applies to everything you do – email marketing, blogging, social and more. It’s the PACE you define for your communications. The flow of your marketing – how often you do it, the timing between a given type of communication, the content it includes and the audience it’s directed to.

Cadence is strategy. It involves knowing when your customers are online. What they’re engaging with, and more. Simply identifying a plan and automating it isn’t quite enough. Automation is helpful, yes. It can remove an incredible burden from your shoulders. But you have to make sure you’re automating the right messages, at the right times, to the right people. THAT is cadence.

No, it isn’t always easy to figure it out. But that’s OK. You can get seasoned pros like us on your team who fully understand the concept, how to measure it and how to adjust it if necessary to make sure your marketing plan hits your targets.

After all, isn’t that the entire point?


Google My Business – an online ‘helping hand’

As a small business owner today, you know how important it is to manage your online presence. You likely also know just how difficult it can be. With so many different platforms out there and so little time, getting a handle on your locations, hours, reviews and more can become overwhelming.

But there’s a handy little tool that can help you gain a solid grip on most of it: Google My Business.

google my business logoWith a Google My Business account, you can connect your Google Maps, Search, Reviews, Insights, Google + listing, and Analytics, significantly decreasing the amount of time you’d spend trying to manage these platforms independently and increasing the correct, properly managed information about your business available online.

It’s pretty easy to get started, and having a Google My Business account will help make sure your customers are able to find you. That mysterious Google algorithm gives a boost in search rankings to businesses that are optimizing it.

Just go to google.com/business to begin. Click “Start Now.” Sign in with your existing Google account, or create a new one.

Follow the Google My Business platform steps to find your business. You can search by the name or address. My Business will show you a map with a pin based on your address. Drag and zoom the map and position the pin to the exact location of your business. Choose your business category, phone number and website.

Google will then confirm that you’re authorized to manage the business – verification occurs with a snail mail postcard or an automated phone call. When you receive the verification code, you’ll need to enter it into the platform. Once your listing is verified, you can add and publish photos of your business, your business hours, contact information and more.

It may sound like a lot, but Google makes it really easy to use. And if you’d like a little help you can always turn to professionals like The Get Smart Group for a little helping hand.


Use machine learning to grow your business

Think about all the things you do differently today than just a few years ago:

  • When you listen to music in your car, do you listen to traditional radio, or connect your phone with Bluetooth so you can hear your favorite playlist?
  • When you need to search for something online, do you type in your query, or do you simply ask your computer or phone to find what you’re looking for?
  • When it’s time for bed, do you walk around the house making sure the lights are off and everything is locked up tight, or do you tell your voice-activated smart home it’s time for bed so it can take care of everything itself?

The point being, even if you aren’t using all of these things – they’re all possible. Technology is rapidly changing the way we live – and it’s changing the way we run our businesses, too. It’s helping us be more efficient while meeting our customer’s needs – especially machine learning.

metricsMachine learning is really just a new way of tackling old problems, by teaching computers to learn on their own to solve problems. In marketing, we leverage machine learning to automatically update keywords to match new website content, for example. It frees up your time while helping ensure you don’t miss any important opportunities.

Machine learning is also crucial to efficient online ad buying. Manually adjusting bids can really eat up a lot of time – time that’s better spent on activities that are more important to your business. New tools allow us to set bids for each individual auction, bidding millions of times a day so we can get the ad placements that are within budget and make the most sense for your business. No human could ever achieve that.

It’s all really just a high-tech way of helping you make smart business decisions based on data. But if it sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. You have a friend in the business who gets it, and who’d be more than happy to give you a hand. Contact us today!