You’ve Got To Think Through Your Online Marketing Strategy. (It’s costing you money!)

I’m frustrated.

It’s hard to sit around and watch current and former clients create huge holes in their online marketing strategy in the name of saving a few dollars.  (Hint:  It’s actually costing them tens of  thousands of dollars in the long run.)  Let’s discuss.

Look long term!

A comprehensive online marketing strategy is a lot of work.  Between clever ad design, compelling offers, managing budgets, getting everything loaded, following up with leads, and more, it can quite literally become a full time job.  But where I see the biggest shortcuts being taken revolve around the 3 lists.  We’ve talked about this a bit before, but I really want to talk about some numbers here.

When I refer to the “3 lists”, I’m talking about your email list, your Facebook remarketing list and your Google (Adwords) remarketing lists.  All 3 are critical to a successful digital marketing campaign and if you’re not building all 3, you’re seriously overspending on your marketing efforts.  Here’s why…

When you’re running ads to what is called “Cold Traffic” (people who are completely unfamiliar with your company or brand but are targeted, potential leads), you pay more per click.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with paying for cold traffic.  Every business needs to do it.  But you need to be thinking about your total cost of customer acquisition, not just what it’s costing you to get a single new lead.   Not every lead is going to provide contact information or get in touch on their first experience with your brand (we love it when they do!), it’s going to require repeat messaging and advertising to convert the lead into a customer.  So, how do you cost effectively reach those leads over and over until they become a customer?  With the 3 lists . You need to be capturing emails and make sure your tracking pixels (Facebook and Google) are on every single page a lead might hit, especially if you paid money to get them on that page.

For all intents and purposes, it’s free to send an email.  Sure, you might be paying a few bucks for an email sending service, but you can literally send tens of thousands of emails for that same monthly fee, so the cost is negligible.  So, if you’ve managed to capture an email from a lead, now you can continue to market to them until they either buy from you or tell you to go pound sand. (The 2nd best thing to a “Yes” in sales is a “No” – you stop wasting your time and move onto your other leads)  This doesn’t cost you a thing.  But it costs you thousands of dollars if you didn’t capture the lead in the first place.  Maybe 10s of thousands.  Why?

Let’s look at an example with a 10 Day Tent Sale event that we typically run.  A typical client would spend $5000 on their ad budget for 10 days over Google, Facebook and Youtube.  For that ad spend, they would generate somewhere between 40-60 leads (Name/Email/Phone) and 80-100 people coming to their event.  In most cases, they’ll see an immediate return of 12-15x on your investment.  (Spend $5k on ads, generate $60-75k in top-line revenue during the sale)  Great! but only if you’re doing it right.

The Email List

First off, let’s talk email addresses.   If you’re running a 10 day sale, let’s say you end up with 50 email addresses.  And of those, 5 buy a hot tub.  You’ve still got 45 people who are interested in your product.  They may not be ready to buy today, but they certainly have some money in their pocket for whatever you’re selling – in this example a hot tub.   A lead would never part with their contact info if they weren’t at least somewhat interested in your product.  Now, let’s assume that you’ve got a proper follow-up system in place which converts 5-7% of your leads within 180 days.   That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of another $20-25k in top-line revenue on the same original ad spend.  If another 5-7% convert within the 1st year, you’re now over 20x ROI on your ad spend.   But it doesn’t end there.

The Facebook List

Cold traffic clicks off of Adwords can be expensive.  Sometimes pushing $6-7 for Hot Tubs or Swimming Pools.  But remarketing clicks on Facebook can be had for around $0.15.  Those clicks are 97.5% cheaper than your original cold traffic clicks.   So, if it takes someone 5 visits to your website to even become a lead and they keep searching for the same thing, you could spend $30-40 just to get their contact information if you keep starting from square one on the Adwords traffic.  Or, your cost could be $6.60 for the same lead.  If your goal is 100 leads per month, you’re talking about the difference between spending $3000-4000 or $660… A savings of ~$3000 per month, every month.

The YouTube List

Did you know that you can use your Google remarketing list to target YouTube ads?   Did you know that YouTube has more reach than the top 10 shows on TV, combined?  And you can get a full view of your YouTube ads for around $0.20?  That doesn’t just mean that someone waited to click the “Skip” button.  It means they watched your whole commercial.  That means that if you’re driving 1000 visitors to your website each month using a cold traffic method, you can then show ALL of those people your YouTube commercial for $200/mo.   There is no other place you can get such affordable video advertising.

So back up.   If you were not capturing emails, or building your Facebook and Adwords remarketing lists, you’re talking about losing out on $50,000 in revenue over 12 months and overspending on your advertising by $36,000 every year.  And this is just the potential from one 10-day tent sale.   If you’re doing more than one, the missed opportunities add up real fast.

Ok, so what’s the point.

I care about our clients.  I know that sometimes it can feel like there might be a cheaper option out there, but in the long run, there isn’t.  We don’t take a shotgun approach to your digital marketing.  There are a lot of moving parts to be aware of, and when they’re all working together, holy cow!  We put a lot of hours and brainpower into making sure you’re getting the most out of your online advertising strategies.  Your advertising costs go down, your lead quality goes up and your ROI goes through the roof.

If you’re spending thousands of dollars in a blitz to get people to show up at an event but you’re not planning for the long term sales, please stop now and call us.  We can walk you through the comprehensive strategy, show you what it costs and how much money it’ll help you make.  Our team does this every day and we want everyone on board an not wasting money.


Kickstart Your Social Media Presence: Where to Start

We’ve posted several blogs this month about establishing your business profile on social media sites like Facebook and how it can benefit your business. Not only do you build interest around your business, but you can actually generate new leads. You know it’s time to kickstart your social media presence, but where do you start?

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Get Your Website Running

When people see you on social media, they’ll start to look for more information. If your website isn’t up to par, it could send the wrong message. Focus attention on the different pages on your website, making sure that product information is easily available. Customers will also need a way to contact you or stop by your business, so make sure that’s on the website as well. You’ll also need to put some work into establishing your blog. Before you set up a social media profile, try to have at least a dozen blog posts on your website. This will give you some interesting content to promote through your future social media posts. Create a schedule so you regularly update your blog once or twice a week to keep things fresh.

Build Your Social Media Presence

Once your website is ready, you can devote your attention to establishing your social media presence.

  • Step 1: Build your page. Use interesting photos and well-written descriptions that really highlight who you are and how you stand out from your competition.
  • Step 2: Start connecting. The first people you’ll connect with are existing clients and your surrounding community. Point them to your website and the new content on your blog. This allows them to enjoy your online presence like they already enjoy you in person.
  • Step 3: Engage with your audience. Social media isn’t necessarily about how great your products are. Think about how you can solve someone’s problem and your audience will be engaged. Make your social media content more about your audience and less about you.
  • Step 4: Use your influence. Social media profiles that are professional, reputable, and personable will win every time over those profiles that are stale, boring, or inconsistent. Add customer reviews and testimonials to your site so potential customers know that they can trust you.

When you’re ready to get started, take your time and make sure it’s done right. Many small business owners have big ideas, but not a lot of time to implement them. That’s why we’re here. Take advantage of our 30 minute free consultation to see if we can help.


Twitter: Not for Every Small Business

Twitter is a fun place to be when there’s breaking news. Everything moves so fast, trending topics can change by the minute, and it’s easy to stay up to date with the very latest information. This social media platform has a purpose and it’s here to stay. Is it the right place for your business to be? Probably not.

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The Purpose of Twitter

Twitter was created to fill the desire for efficient connections with other people. Your customers likely look for news, gossip, sports, fashion, and celebrity happenings; they like the brevity of Twitter because posts are limited to 140 characters. Users jump from one tweet to the other in short bursts, not staying in any one place too long.

Twitter & Small Business

The biggest hangup when it comes to the small business market is the very thing that makes Twitter so unique: the fast pace. Tweeters want frequent updates, and they expect quick replies. One study shows that a business should produce 4 to 5 quality tweets per day to see the best results; you’ll also need to answer questions, add comments, and connect with followers for Twitter to be effective. For most small businesses, there’s not a staff member who can afford to be on call several times a day to babysit the account. That’s why we don’t recommend Twitter as an effective social media platform for 95% of our clients.

Navigating the world of social media is enough for most small business owners without adding in unnecessary work. If you have a designated social media staffer who can daily monitor your account – go for it! We can help you brainstorm ideas and create a plan that works. For the small business owners who can’t afford a designated social media staffer (which is most of you) – don’t sweat it! We’ve created highly effective social media plans for several small businesses like yours, and we can help you too. Give us a call or fill out the form for a free 30 minute consultation for more information.


Social Media & Your Small Business: What’s the Best Fit?

We’ve witnessed small businesses, like yours, implementing an effective social media strategy. We’ve also seen small businesses try to fit into a box where they really don’t belong. It’s exhausting, and it’s not effective. Avoid the pitfalls that other small business owners have fallen into and choose the right social media platforms for your business. How do you know which ones are a right fit? It depends on your target audience and how many staff members you have to help out.

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Narrow Down the Networks

There are literally dozens of social media networks where a business might consider launching a page. We’ll focus on the most common: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. When you consider each of these networks, ask yourself these questions.

  • Does this site relate to my business?
  • What is the target audience?
  • How much time is necessary to run an effective profile on this site?

Breaking Down the Details About Social Media Platforms

Facebook

Facebook is great for small business because it helps you build brand loyalty and establish a good reputation among your community. When you post interesting content and valuable informational posts, you’ll be seen as an authority in your field. Facebook reaches a wide variety of people because there are users of all ages on the social media site. It’s a great opportunity to create ads that will drive traffic to your website. Some of the best posts on Facebook are personal stories and testimonies. Facebook users range from 25-45 years old. Of that, 60% are female and 40% are male.

Twitter

Twitter is the social media network for quick updates, breaking news, new product information, interesting content, contests, and instant feedback from your followers. What makes Twitter unique is a sense of both urgency and brevity that the audience desires. They get all of the information fast, and everything is succinct. Twitter is ideal to start conversations with customers, and it’s easy to group similar conversations by using a hashtag (#). Twitter users range from 18-29 years old and are about half male and half female.

Pinterest

Think of Pinterest like an online scrapbook or bulletin board. It’s a great place to showcase products and inspire your customers using brands that you carry in your store. Pinterest is effective at driving traffic back to your website and you can micro-target your audience using their clearly defined categories. High-quality and eye-catching images are essential to Pinterest. Users on this social media site are usually 18-35 years old and predominantly female; 80% of users are women.

Consider the Time Commitment

These platforms are called social media because it’s a place to be “social.” Building a relationship with your audience is essential on all social media platforms. Set aside time to post videos, share articles, and generate interesting content. You’ll also need to set aside time to interact with your customers. It takes an experienced social media marketer about 6 hours per month to create posts, gather images, and schedule them to appear on one social media platform. Multiply that by the number of platforms you want your business on to get a good number of hours to dedicate. Be sure to add time for interaction.

Follow your instinct; you can run a successful business without being on every social media network. Start with the one that best matches your audience and create a system that allows you to easily manage your profile. Once you feel comfortable with that, feel free to add more (or not). If you need any help with your small business social media page, give us a call or drop us an email.


The Ins and Outs of Inbound Marketing

I was sitting with my 92-year-old grandfather and thinking about the changes he’s witnessed over the decades. Technology means the world looks completely different now compared to his childhood. When you narrow down each industry, marketing has been similarly impacted. Marketing a small business has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50 years combined. Why? The biggest change is inbound marketing.

Hand drawing Website Marketing concept with white chalk on blackboard.

A Brief Explanation of Inbound Marketing

The sole purpose of traditional marketing is to push marketing messages onto customers. Consider traditional forms of advertising like TV and radio ads, print advertising, telemarketing and direct mail. Customers didn’t ask for it, but they’re seeing it anyway. If that’s the only marketing you’ve been doing, it’s time to make a change. Customers are responding positively to inbound marketing, which doesn’t interrupt people from what they are already doing. Instead, the goal of inbound marketing is to make your business what the customer is interested in so they seek you out for more information.

The Recipe for Inbound Marketing Success

It’s not an accident when an inbound marketing campaign successfully attracts new customers and generates buzz on the Internet. In fact, there’s a specific recipe for success.

Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website for popular search engine terms associated with your business. Focus specifically on the URL, the page title, the header tags, the alt tags in your images, and the text on your site. Strategically placing keywords in these locations will ensure customers see your website first when they’re searching online.

Blogging: One of the very best ways to increase your online footprint is by regularly updating the blog on your website. A well-done blog actually increases your website’s performance in search engines. You can even pair blog posts with premium content – like a landing page where you can build an email list – to generate leads through your blog.

Social Media: Gain visibility through social media platforms like Facebook. Through social media, you’ll find fans of your products and those fans will “like” or “follow” your business for more information. Social media is also a great way for customers to share information with each other. Create a calendar that you can follow so you post consistently.

Current successful marketing campaigns includes inbound marketing. If you have questions or need guidance, let us know. Inbound marketing is our specialty, and we’d be happy to be on your team.


4 Strategies to Build an Email List through Facebook

Your email list is an important aspect of building a loyal customer base. When you collect someone’s email address, you can market to them over and over again. It’s a cost effective way to reach customers who have already expressed an interest in your business. How can you use Facebook to build an email list? Consider these 4 strategies.

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Monthly Newsletter

Sending a monthly newsletter to a potential customer’s inbox is a great way to keep communicating without throwing out a hard sales pitch. Newsletters can include upcoming events or products, a behind-the-scenes look at the business, and even fun prizes and contests. Encourage customers to sign up by offering exclusive discounts in the newsletter. Customers can sign up when they’re in your store, on your website, or you can create social media posts that link to the site where they can subscribe.

Social Media Connections

Promote offers on Facebook where customers have to provide an email address. A link on the Facebook post would direct the customer to a landing page where they can enter their name and email address. After the landing page form is completed, the offer is sent to the customer’s email inbox. Promote these offers on your Timeline, and encourage your followers to share those offers on their social media pages.

Giveaways & Free Seminars

Customers are almost always enticed by something that’s free. What can you offer your clients to help them solve a problem? Put something together, like a seminar, a report, or a giveaway and offer it for free. There’s no catch, except customers have to enter their email address to take advantage of the offer. These types of events are popular on Facebook, and your customers will be excited to share with their friends how they, too, can get something for free.

Cross-Market with Non-Competitors

Attract a fresh, but appropriate, audience by running a social media promotion with another business in your area. Collaborate on what the offer will be – a webinar, eBook, or giveaway (for example) – and market the offer to both of your audiences. When the promotion is completed, swap leads with the other business. You both get fresh, new email leads from your social media promotion.

When it come to using social media, be creative. It’s a cost effective way to advertise, so feel free to experiment with different ways to build an email list through your Facebook page. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help out! Give us a call and we can put our heads together to come up with a plan that works for you and your business.


Facebook Ads: A Cost Effective Way to Build your Platform

Social media is an extremely cost effective way to build your lead list because there aren’t many people advertising on it yet. Eventually, everyone and their dog will have an ad on Facebook. However, that hasn’t happened yet. When you compare the cost of Facebook ads vs Google Adwords, leads through Facebook are 1/3 to 1/5 the price of Google. You can relax knowing that the money you spend on Facebook advertising is effective (and affordable).

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Reach Your Clients Early

One reason social media is so cost effective is because you can reach prospective clients very early in their buying journey. When customers are simply gathering information, they’re on on Facebook. When customers are looking for local businesses, they’re on Facebook. When customers are looking for reviews and testimonials, they’re on Facebook. When those same customers are interested in finalizing their selection, they’re on Facebook. The information they see via Facebook ads and social media posts will help them make their decision. Throughout the entire buying process, customers are active on social media. You can find them if you’re active on social media too.

Facebook Ads Specifically Target Your Audience

Finding customers on Facebook is easy because the social media network allows you to target people with a ridiculously high level of specificity. For example, let’s look at how The Get Smart Group might target potential customers. We want to reach people who are making the decision to spend money on marketing and advertising, so we target the person who is writing the checks for that business. Our team can put together Facebook advertising that targets people according to their job title. We identify CEO, COO, president, vice president, owner and founder as job titles. If those words show up in the potential customer’s job title, then we’ve built a very targeted list. That kind of targeting is not possible anywhere else.

When you combine a specific target audience with cost effective advertising, you get a lot of bang for your buck. If you’d like to know more about building your platform on social media, give us a call or check out our free 30-minute consultation.


Facebook Advertising: The Time is Right

Some ideas from 10 years ago are better left behind, like keyboards on a cell phone. Other ideas from 10 years ago are worth keeping around, like online advertising. Consider this: ten years ago in the mid-2000s, it was a big question mark to advertise on Google. Advertisers wondered if it was cost effective, if there were buyers there, and if people used Google to make buying decisions. Now, there’s no longer a question: advertising on Google is highly effective.

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All About Buyer’s Intent

Since then, Google has become a multi-hundred-billion dollar company because they put themselves in the middle of buyer’s’ intent. Here’s how they’ve made it work. If you go to Google and you look up the definition of a word, ads don’t show up because you’re not trying to buy something. However, if you search something like “best ceiling fan,” ads will show up because you’re likely trying to buy something. Google provides a way for the seller to entice buyers to click on their website and hopefully sell the product the customer was originally searching for. It’s an effective strategy because of buyer’s intent – the customer wanted to buy something!

What About Facebook Advertising?

The way Facebook operates is fundamentally different than Google. People aren’t typically looking to buy when they’re on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that people there don’t have money and aren’t potential buyers. The key to successful advertising on Facebook is crafting the image and the headline so it looks like a regular social media post. Combine that with a call to action and follow through with a landing page that’s consistent with the advertising offer, and you have a winning combination. An effective Facebook advertising strategy means you’ll generate leads of people who are interested in purchasing your product.

Success on Facebook

As a business owner, you have to believe and understand that there are buyers on Facebook. If you reject that notion, you’re doing your business a huge disservice. Currently, Facebook is in the same place Google was 10 years ago. Advertisers have the same types of questions: is it cost effective, are there buyers there, and do people make buying decisions on Facebook? The answer is YES, YES and YES.


There Are Now 3 Lead Lists

People say, “The money is in the list,” and they’re right. However, most business owners only consider their email list. As the popularity of Google and Facebook has increased, there are now two more lead lists you need to be aware of: Facebook remarketing and Google remarketing.

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The Science Behind Marketing Lead Lists

When someone comes into your store, you somehow paid for that person to come into your business. Whether it was a paid ad, years of reputable business, or a word of mouth referral… it cost you money to get that person through your doors. Now that they’re here, you need to collect an email address. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter or to fill out a form on your website, but you want that email address. Why? It’s a zero cost (or at least a very low cost) way to communicate with them in the future! Once you have an email address, you can market to that person over and over again for pennies. It’s a potential gold mine for business owners.

How do Google and Facebook Fit?

Email lead lists allow you to promote yourself to someone who’s walked through your door, but Google and Facebook remarketing lists allow you to market your business to people who’ve been to your website. That makes your website the equivalent of your storefront, if you want to look at it that way. Here’s how it works. If you have the right codes in place, someone who visits your website will be tagged. That tag allows you to show your ads to those website visitors even when they’re on other websites. Facebook and Google ads will be targeted to those people as well. Those ads are significantly less expensive than cold traffic ads (like billboards, TV commercials and online ads that don’t target people who are already interested in your business). You’ll see a much greater ROI when you advertise to your Google and Facebook lists as well.

Get Started Today

Building your Google and Facebook remarketing lead lists is important even if you don’t already have an online advertising strategy in place. Facebook and Google both have codes you can put on your website so you can start building these lists. The codes are free, so get started today.

The Get Smart Group has an entire team dedicated to online marketing. Do you have questions or would you like more info? We’d love to hear from you!