When & How to Outsource Your Inbound Lead Generation in 2022

If you want to grow your business, you need leads. Period.

But finding qualified prospects and nurturing the relationship isn’t easy.

Inbound lead generation takes serious time and effort. Not every business has the resources to do it right ‒ or at all, in the case of some small businesses.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone else handled it all for you?

Outsourcing your inbound lead generation lets you build your lead pipeline quickly and efficiently.

In our experience, businesses with small in-house marketing departments tend to benefit the most from working with a lead generation agency ‒ but there are times when larger businesses with a full marketing team can benefit greatly from working with an agency as well.

In this blog, we will look at whether outsourcing lead generation is right for your business (including why it’s not always the best choice) and what you need to do in order to get the best results.

1. Outsourcing Your Inbound Lead Generation: What You Need to Know

There are two types of lead generation: inbound and outbound. Inbound lead generation is about getting prospective customers to contact you, while outbound is reaching out to potential leads yourself.

Here, we’re talking about inbound lead generation.

The goal of inbound lead generation is to find and nurture qualified leads so you can convert them into sales once they’re ready to buy.

We already mentioned how outsourcing your lead generation saves you time. Instead of burning all your time hunting for new prospects to pitch, you can hire a lead generation agency to bring qualified leads right to you ‒ so all you need to do is close the sale and start the work.

You instantly free up hours of time to devote to other tasks that will help your business grow.

But time savings aren’t the only reason to partner with a lead generation agency.

a) Get an Entire Expert Team for the Cost of 1-2 Employees

A basic lead generation campaign typically includes:

  • Digital Advertising
    • Technical set-up
    • Copywriting
    • Targeting and research
  • Landing Page
    • Webmaster
    • Web developer
    • Copywriting
  • Email
    • Email marketing expert
    • Copywriting
    • Marketing asset
    • Technical integrations, as needed
    • Web team

Other things to consider are:

  • Organic social media posts
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Public relations, like press releases
  • Influencer marketing

It’s rare to find someone who is proficient in all those things in-house; which is one of the biggest reasons hiring a lead generation agency can be useful.

For the price of one or two employees, you get the skills and knowledge of a complete team of lead generation professionals.

And that’s not all…

b) Gain Valuable New Perspectives on Your Business and Market

Here’s what we’ve noticed working on hundreds of campaigns for companies across North America:

Many in-house marketers know their business a little too well.

The longer you spend working in-house, the harder it gets to think like a customer. And it’s really tough to write compelling copy and campaigns when you’re stuck inside of that box.

Outsourcing your lead generation to an agency lets you avoid this pitfall entirely.

Best of all…

c) Reduce Costs and Increase Profits

Hiring an agency to do lead generation for you can actually save you money in the long run.

When you outsource, you don’t have to spend time training and managing anyone or buying all the essential tools they’ll need to do the job right.

Outsourcing the work can help your budget go farther and be more cost effective, driving a higher return on investment without all the legwork.

Your internal sales team can even work alongside an agency for faster ramp-up and increased lead efficiency, putting your business growth goals in reach!

2. When Outsourcing Inbound Lead Generation is Worth the Investment

From our experience as a digital marketing agency focused on acquisition marketing, there are three factors that contribute to a successful lead generation outsourcing relationship:

  1. You’ve developed your brand with an in-house marketing person/team.
  2. You’ve set clear lead generation goals for the near future.
  3. You know what a quality lead is to you, and you have a process for defining them.

Generally, outsourcing your lead generation to a digital marketing agency works well when your business has a small in-house marketing team, or even a single marketing person.

This team should have already established brand guidelines that can be used alongside more targeted lead generation campaigns. Generating leads while you’re still nailing down your brand is more challenging and less efficient.

A small, busy marketing team cannot handle lead generation on top of all their other duties (see the list above), and hiring and training someone in-house specifically for lead generation work is an expensive and time-consuming investment.

A lead generation agency fills that gap more cost-effectively.

Hiring an agency that specializes in lead generation is also the best option if your business is looking for a quick turnaround. What might take an in-house team months to implement can be handled by outsourced digital marketing professionals in just a few weeks.

That said, it’s important that you have SMART goals in mind for your lead generation before you hit the launch button. You shouldn’t be making it up as you go along, or drastically changing course in the thick of it. Effective lead generation starts with clearly defined objectives.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your process for qualifying leads is set in stone before hiring a lead generation agency. This process is crucial to setting up lead generation campaigns that will bring in qualified leads rather than low-quality ones.

3. When NOT to Outsource Your Inbound Lead Generation

In our experience, businesses with small in-house marketing departments tend to benefit the most from working with a lead generation agency.

Full-time marketing teams may not need support all the time or as consistently as smaller teams, but can often benefit greatly from partnering with an agency on an as-needed basis. If you need extra help with a lead generation campaign in-house, or need training, consultation, or feedback, a lead generation agency can be your best friend.

There are also cases when fully outsourcing lead generation might be a good idea for larger companies. If you’re launching a new product or expanding to a new market, for example, you benefit greatly from hiring a lead generation agency who has experience in that market.

Another situation where outsourcing your lead generation may not be the best option is if you just don’t have the budget for it yet. A good lead generation campaign can be expensive, and an ineffective campaign can cost you more than none at all.

If your business is still in its infancy, consider starting small with an email campaign, building your community through social media or ads linking to your website as a first step.

 

Should You Leave Your Inbound Lead Generation to the Experts?

Outsourcing lead generation can be a great investment for your business. It saves you time from training or hiring your own team, produces better results, and gives you more flexibility as your business scales and adapts to a changing marketplace.

You should hold off on hiring a lead generation agency if you’re still working on branding, goals, and a process for qualifying leads. And if you have the resources and time to invest a portion of your in-house digital marketing team to lead generation, you should!

To learn more about lead generation and talk to a digital marketing professional, contact our team here at TrafficSoda. We’ll help you find the perfect balance between outsourcing lead generation and in-house lead generation for your business.

Why Landing Pages Outperform Your Website for Ads

You’ve worked hard to get visitors to your website. Now, you need to convert them into leads. 

One of the best ways to do this is with a landing page: a dedicated web page customized for a specific marketing or advertising campaign. 

Sounds simple enough, right? But even today, many businesses are still sending traffic to their home page instead of landing pages. Either they’re too worried about the investment to design an effective landing page or are (more likely) just too busy to do it right. 

But with a little help you can learn what to look for in an effective landing page and know why your company cannot afford to ignore them when it comes to lead generation. 

What’s the Difference Between a Landing Page and the Rest of My Website? 

A landing page is a standalone web page specifically created for a marketing or advertising campaign. 

It’s where a visitor ‘lands’ after they click on a link, like in an email, a search ad from Google and Bing, or a social post from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms.  

Now, you might be wondering “why do I need a landing page when I have a perfectly functioning website already?” 

Why not just send people to your Home page, your Contact Us page, or one of your product/service pages?  

Here’s why: 

  • Most of the pages on your website offer general information about your business. You’re the focus, not your customers. And these pages are all linked together, with a menu that lets people jump around unfocused and unmotivated. 
  • On the other hand, landing pages are solely dedicated to getting people to take action on one specific offer. It’s all about generating leads or sales. No links, no distractions. Just a single, simple offer. 

That singular focus makes landing pages extremely effective when converting leads ‒ and research backs this up. Studies prove that landing pages with just one call to action will get you more conversions than pages with two or more. 

And not only does a landing page get you more leads than a home page, but it also: 

  • delivers a higher ROI and gives you valuable information about your prospects. 
  • generates leads that you can segment, nurture, or distribute to your sales team with ease.  
  • lets you track the marketing performance of your offers and how visitors become leads over time.  

To put it simply, sending people to a landing page instead of your home page is one of the most effective ways to increase sales, leads, and revenue from all your digital advertising and email campaigns. A successful landing page asks prospects to take a single action, whether it’s making a purchase or signing up for a quote, consultation, or lead magnet.

 

10 Critical Elements of an Effective Landing Page  

So now that you know why your business should use landing pages, what should you do to create a high converting and effective one? 

Below are some of the most critical elements of a landing page that every business should be incorporating. 

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Great Headline

    Your headline is the first thing people will read when they land on your landing page. It should sum up exactly what you’re offering and how people will benefit in a few words.  

  2. Write Concise and Compelling Copy

    Tell a concise yet compelling story that makes an irresistible offer and nudges people to convert. Focus on the reader, not on yourself. Use short sentences and paragraphs. 

  3. Use Strategic and Natural Keywords

    Using commonly searched keywords throughout your landing page (in the headers, body text, and page title) will help to optimize the page for Google search and ads relevancy. Avoid the temptation to keyword stuff. 

  4. Embrace a Mobile First Mindset

    Over half of all website traffic is now from mobile devices. Make sure your landing page loads quickly, is responsive and looks good on mobile, tablet and desktop devices. 

  5. Seal the Exits and Hide Navigation

    By hiding the top and side navigation, you reduce distractions, minimize friction, and lower bounce rates on your landing page. This means more visitors stay, stay longer and convert more often. 

  6. Use a Lead Capture Mechanism

    A landing page isn’t complete without a lead capture mechanism, such as a form. In general, a shorter form will generate more conversions, but from leads of lower quality. Inversely, a longer form will generate fewer conversions, but from leads of higher quality. 

  7. Add Some Social Proof

    Fear of missing out is a powerful tool to use when building social proof behind your landing pages. Testimonials and reviews add credibility to your product or service. This demonstrates that customers trust you and that business is in demand. 

  8. Help Explain It with Images

    Using images that relate to the copy on the landing page allows people to visualize what it is that you are trying to say about your business, products, and services. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an image is surely worth a few hundred characters of copy.

  9. Don’t Forget the Thank-you Page

    After the visitor has put their information into the lead capture mechanism a thank-you page should pop up to confirm with the visitor that their information was received properly. If the page includes a specific deal, the visitor should receive a message that guides them to their next steps and prepares them to be contacted by the business.

  10. Follow-Up with an Email Autoresponder

    Many thank-you pages are accompanied by email autoresponders. These emails offer more information on what’s next for the visitor after converting on the landing page. Email autoresponders serve as a type of ‘receipt’ for the lead capture mechanism to confirm opt-in consent with the visitor. It also acts as a prompt for your sales team to check-in with your new lead.


Get More Leads at a Lower Cost with Landing Pages
  

Setting up landing pages is time well spent, and the results from conversion to leads will be all the proof that you need.  

Guiding your website visitors to focus on your current business offer will steer them towards action and turn them into customers. 

If you’d like to learn more about landing pages and how they can benefit your business, or if you’d like advice from an industry professional about the next steps reach out to us to chat.

From Awareness to Action: How to Capture and Create Demand

There’s a universal truth that persists no matter how good your product or service is, or how much you spend on marketing: 

Sometimes, your perfect customer isn’t ready to buy right now.

  • Some of your prospects just don’t know you yet.  
  • Others know you, but aren’t sure they’re ready to trust you. 
  • Still others are trying to choose between you and your competitor. 
  • And some people aren’t even aware that they need what you offer at all. 

When someone doesn’t know you and doesn’t trust you, the likelihood of them clicking on your ad that says “Buy Now!” is very low (but not impossible).

On the other hand, someone who is ready to buy will respond better to an ad that says “Buy Now!” than a weaker offer like “Click Here to Learn More.”

Both of these kinds of potential customers can be a goldmine of traffic, leads, and sales if you have a strong understanding of customer problem awareness. 

Think of customer problem awareness as a “journey” customers take, starting from the point where they aren’t aware they have a problem to the point where they decide your product fits their needs. 

If you know where someone is on their problem awareness journey, you can deliver the right message at the right time to create and then capture their demand.  

Let’s talk about how and when to capture or create demand based on your customer’s level of problem awareness.

 

Understanding Demand Creation vs. Demand Capture

Without demand, there can be no sale. Yet demand alone doesn’t translate into sales.  

Customers have to know what you can do for them and trust that you’ll deliver.

You need both demand creation and demand capture as part of your marketing mix.

What is Demand Creation?

Demand creation, also called demand generation, is marketing that aims to stimulate demand for a certain product or service in the market.

Creating demand is the first step in the marketing funnel. It involves building awareness, positioning relevance, supporting validation, and more.

The most effective form of demand creation taps into your target audience’s existing interests to build trust with them, while positioning yourself (your product or service) as the answer to their wants and needs.

Once you’ve generated demand for your offer, you can move on to step two: converting that demand into a sale.

What is Demand Capture?

Demand capture is marketing that aims to take the demand for your product or service and convert it into real sales or leads.

Demand capture happens further down your marketing funnel than demand creation, focusing on the part of your audience that already knows they want what you offer. The only thing left to do is give them that final push to convert!

 

Leveraging 5 Levels of Customer Awareness to Create & Capture Demand

In general, the less knowledgeable a customer is, the lower their demand for your product or service. After all, how can they want something they don’t know exists; how can they yearn to fill a need they haven’t realized yet?

For any business, it is important to balance both demand creation and capture in order to grow. To figure out that balance, you need to know where your customers are right now and ask, “What does my prospect already know?” about their problem and your solution?

To answer those questions you need to understand where your target audience is on the customer problem awareness scale.

In his groundbreaking book Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz emphasized the importance of customer problem awareness and identified five different levels. They are:

  1. Unaware
    These people don’t even know they have a problem, let alone one you can solve for them! Of course, this doesn’t mean their lives are perfect ‒ they just don’t realize it can be better. You have to open their eyes. 
  2. Problem Aware
    There’s a problem, and they know it, but they may not fully grasp it yet and definitely don’t know the solution(s). You can help them make that connection. 
  3. Solution Aware
    Now, you’re getting somewhere. These people already know products or services like yours, so they’re open to learning about what makes yours better.  
  4. Product Aware
    Finally, at this stage, people are familiar with your product or service. But they probably know your competitors’, too. Now, you need to persuade them to make the right choice. 
  5. Most Aware
    This is where you want people to be: a loyal customer who’s fully aware of what you have to offer, and can be guided towards repeat or new purchases.

Where your target audience falls in this scale will dictate:

  • What kind of information you need to give them; 
  • How you should speak with them; and 
  • What offer will produce the best results. 

Knowing your customer’s problem awareness level is crucial in determining which type of promotion will be most effective for different segments of your target audience.

 

When to Use Demand Capture vs. Demand Creation

For customers with less problem awareness, you want to entertain, educate, and inspire trust in your business through content like:

  • Blog posts
  • Social media updates 
  • Graphics 
  • Podcasts 
  • Webinars 

You have to build trust with your prospects before they’ll be receptive to your offer, especially if your solution or business is brand new, unique, or has never been advertised to them before. Launching right into your products or services without making a connection makes people feel like you don’t care about them (so why should they care about you?). 

Demonstrate that you understand their problem and experience their pain through relevant, relatable copy and content.

Near the bottom of your funnel, where customers have greater problem awareness, you want to seal the deal and capture demand with higher-commitment content like:

  • Product demos 
  • Free trials 
  • Free consultations 
  • Product details and spec sheets

At this stage, you can ask customers for some contact information in return, which gives you a chance to start that sales conversation.

 

Bridging the Gap Between Demand Creation and Capture

Rather than dividing customer problem awareness into five neatly-separated shelves, think of it as a spectrum. Many people exist somewhere between two levels. You can’t focus all your attention on one level.  

If you concentrate solely on capturing demand, you leave out scores of potential customers who just haven’t been acquainted with you yet.  

On the other hand, if you raise awareness without taking steps to capture demand, you’re leaving money on the table.   

Plus, as more governments crack down on online data collection and privacy, it’s becoming harder to pinpoint the people in your audience that are actually ready to buy. This makes it more important than ever to layer in both demand creation and capture. 

Focusing too much on buyers who are at one point of your sales funnel will mean you miss out on buyers who are coming in at other points.   

The ideal marketing funnel is built around generating demand and then capturing it. These two elements are essential for generating more traffic, sales, and leads, especially as new privacy regulations make traditional lead generation more challenging.   

TrafficSoda can help you audit your existing marketing materials and develop a strategy to close those content gaps. If you’d like help getting started, reach out for your free strategy proposal now.

What Is Data-Driven Lead Generation?

A recent survey shows that up to 30% of a typical company’s revenue is generated through marketing.

Yet turning leads into sales remains one of the single most difficult parts of getting your business to grow.

Fact is, most leads who enter your marketing funnel – even many so-called qualified leads – do not end up buying your product or service.

This, right here, is a massive bottleneck for many companies trying to climb the leader.

And all too often, these struggling companies think this can all be fixed with a bigger marketing budget – without setting a useful strategy in place.

The #1 Mistake You’re Making In Marketing Right Now

Leads don’t pay the bills…conversions do.

But whether it’s hitting the “Buy” button, making the phone call, or lining up to check-out, most of your prospective customers just aren’t taking that final step.

You might feel so close to making the sale. Like something somewhere is missing, and all your customers need is one final “push” towards conversion.

This is where many, many companies make a big mistake.

Instead of taking a forensic look at their broken marketing funnel and analyzing where, exactly, their leads are dropping off…

These companies pull out their credit card and expand the campaign, as-is, to an even wider audience.

They fall prey to the all-too-common misconception that you should be marketing your service or product to as many people as you can.

However, this “scattershot” marketing approach won’t bear any fruit if 99% of the people coming across your product or service aren’t buying!

Sure – you’ll be reaching more potential customers overall. It stands to reason that your conversions should increase accordingly.

But that doesn’t actually solve the problem you had in the first place: that too small a portion of your leads were actually buying.

Your conversion rate is still low. You’re still spending too much money per lead.

Put simply, you’re not getting your money’s worth.

What You Should Do Instead: Quality Over Quantity

This is exactly where data driven lead generation is so important.

Rather than focusing on reaching more people, this methodology helps focusing on the right kind of people. Your target market.

Data-driven lead generation focuses on leveraging sales and marketing data to focus on the quality of leads over quantity. This is an extremely important concept.

Data-driven lead generation doesn’t necessarily focus on getting as many leads as possible. Rather, it integrates sales into the mix and focuses on pushing the leads to actually buy a product.

This approach can further amplify the success of any marketing strategy, and constant iterations can serve to work out that strategy’s pains and shortcomings.

Lead Generation & Data Analytics

In order to build the right models for your business that can provide you with the most usable data, it is crucial to gather accurate, relevant marketing and sales data.

This data can then help generate insights and prove or disprove your hypothesis of whether a specific strategy could work.

With data analytics, you can focus on understanding the different attributes of your target market and develop detailed insights – the kind that you can use to produce powerful marketing messages.

Furthermore, this can allow you to find connections between different attributes and data sets that aren’t possible through traditional biased thinking.

For this to happen, you need reliable data which can help drive your analysis.

Good Data Is Unbiased Data

Here’s the real beauty of data driven lead generation:

Data is always unbiased.

The pre-set notions and theories that are followed in “traditional” marketing (some of which are literally over a hundred years old!) are not always relevant in this ever-changing technological environment of ours.

It is important to get unbiased data to help drive analysis and to get results.

Having unbiased data will help you generate those high-quality leads that have a significant chance of turning into a sale.

In order to find reliable, unbiased data, you have to develop an understanding of who you’re targeting and identify the best acquisition channels to collect the most valid data. These can include techniques such as tracking anonymous users visiting your website, gathering feedback from your customers, monitoring trends of loyal customers or using social logins to access a prospect’s profile.

Often, your company’s history is its biggest asset. Using historic behaviour and historic data from older clients can help narrow down your target market and really allow you to focus on generating quality leads. In order to narrow your target market, you need DATA!

Here are some of the key metrics to focus on in your quest to building a data driven strategy:

  • How much of your revenue comes from marketing channels such as email, social, PPC, and others?
  • How many leads are you generating in a specific time period?
  • How many customers actually buy a product or book a service from your website?
  • To date, how much actual revenue has your marketing strategy generated (and how does this compare to what you forecasted?)
  • How much money have you generated from each lead source?
  • How many leads have become opportunities for each of your marketing channels?

Start Putting Data To Work For You Now

To be honest, this only really begins to scratch the surface of what data-driven lead generation strategy can do for your business…but it’s a solid place to start.

And the very best time to start is now.

With all the uncertainty in the world right now, no business can afford to take a “scattershot” approach to its marketing budget.

This is the time to stand out or stand back and get left behind.

Reach out to us when you’re ready to start turning more leads into paying customers.

Understanding Your Target Audience: Challenges and Pain Points

Connecting to your target audience is a daunting task. But what if I told you it didn’t have to be?

Like any relationship, forging a genuine, meaningful connection with your buyers takes time and effort. But once you do, you will begin to reap the rewards: you’ll be able to promote yourself to an appreciative audience that is clamoring to do business.

So, how do you get there?

First, you must understand the type of pain points your audience aligns themselves with.

Pain points are the specific issues your audience faces that your products or services can solve. Identifying these pain points – and speaking to them in your marketing – is key to bringing new customers into the fold.

Traditionally, there are four different types of pain points:

  1. Financial Pain Points: Your audience is trying to find a way to save money, as they are currently unsatisfied by how much money is entering or leaving their pockets.
  2. Productivity Pain Points: Your audience is looking to save time, or rather, to use their time more effectively.
  3. Process Pain Points: Your audience is in search of a more effective way to solve their problems.
  4. Support Pain Points: Your audience currently lacks support they need during their customer journey.

Once you identify which pain points resonate with your audience, you can better position your business to appeal to their wants and needs.

Finding Your Audience’s Pain Points

Now that you know what you’re looking for, you can start doing a little investigating.

Depending on the time and resources at hand, there are several ways to go about understanding your audience’s pain points.

Customer interviews are invaluable. Nothing beats talking to your audience one-on-one. But if you’re short on time, or don’t have access to real customers, a good place to start is with customer testimonials and reviews (on Google, Facebook, HomeStars, etc.)

As much as it’s nice to relish in complimentary customer reviews, it’s important to view the negative comments as well. This way, you can identify areas of improvement. If your customers have provided reasoning behind why they are dissatisfied, you’ve found a pain point!

After you’ve reflected on reviews of your product or service, it’s time to turn to your competitors. What are they offering their customers that you are not? What pain points are they addressing?

Look at their reviews, along with their website copy. Doing a Google search will also prompt their ads to pop up, which is a good opportunity to look at how they are appealing to their customers.

Addressing Pain Points

So, you’ve found your pain points. Now you must tailor your copy to suit the needs of your audience. Target your audience based on their pain points, and you will start to build a connection between them and your product or service.

  • Financial: Highlight the money your customers will save by switching to your product/service.
  • Productivity: Emphasize that by switching to your product/service, customers will also be saving time and their frustrations through user-friendly technology.
  • Processes: Discuss how your product/service is the most effective, reliable, and convenient way to solve their issue.
  • Support: Be present in every stage of the customer journey by helping your customers, both new and secured. Use inclusive language and emphasize that they are more than just a customer to you.

Add to Your Copy

Now that you know how to address pain points, we have a few extra tips for you to incorporate into your marketing copy to help prospects realize how great your business is.

In this case, qualitative data is much more valuable compared to quantitative. Each customer has an individualized experience, meaning they all have their own different pain points. One customer is not going to share the exact same problem as another, though it can be categorized into larger ideas like the ones discussed above.

At the end of the day, your audience is not going to remember the number of customers served or percentage of satisfaction – they are going to remember the stories behind customer success.

This can easily be found through use of customer testimonials, as it gives prospects confidence to continue their customer journey with you. By seeing displays of trust between your business and customers, prospects will expect to have a similar experience, one where they are supported.

Make a Lasting Connection To Your Audience

Building a connection with your audience is vital to the growth and survival of your business. By no means is it an easy task, but the effort you put into this relationship will pay off in time. Now that you understand how to find your audience pain points and address them, you can get started on nurturing a relationship with your customers.

When in doubt, just ask yourself: what do my customers need and how will I provide it for them? Reach out to us to start connecting to your audience and attracting qualified leads now.

Which Type of LinkedIn Ad Campaign is Best for Your Target Audience?

LinkedIn is a powerful and under-utilized social media.

It is a gateway to company executives, business-driven people and many other influential users.

80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. Why?

Because LinkedIn’s Ad targeting strategy is so comprehensive and has so much data from users to take from.

LinkedIn is set apart from other social medias because it is made up of:

  • 500 million active users
  • 45 million decision-makers
  • 73 million senior level executives

Now that you know the impact LinkedIn Ad campaigns, it’s time to find the best targeting options for your needs!

1. Sponsored Content

Sponsored content on LinkedIn is native ads that you come across when scrolling through your feed.

The goal of sponsored content is to engage viewers quickly while simultaneously delivering the objectives of the ad.

Sponsored content builds relationships through the use of relevant content based on the LinkedIn algorithm. This has been proven to be an effective method of creating leads and engagement. In fact, 25% more consumers look at sponsored content than display ad units.

LinkedIn is great for sponsored content because of their audience targeting software. You can build you perfect audience using your own profile’s audience. You can even move beyond that target audience using LinkedIn’s Audience Network.

The best part is that you can follow the campaign performance within the LinkedIn Insight Tag.

2. Sponsored InMail

Sponsored InMail is used for your core audience.

Using LinkedIn’s messaging system, you can send custom messages to the active members. Think of this type of advertising to be similar to a newsletter.

55% of organizations give their personalization efforts a grade of C or lower, this is the perfect method to change that.

One of the best features within sponsored InMail is the call to actions. These CTAs are optimized for conversions and leads. On both mobile and desktop, the CTA is always visible while the user scrolls, giving them every opportunity to go further down the funnel.

Not only is it viewer friendly, but it’s user friendly too! Anyone can have a perfectly formatted layout without worrying about its responsiveness. InMail automatically formats the content you provide it to look good on any screen.

3. LinkedIn Text Ads

This is a perfect choice for those looking to expand their reach within LinkedIn without breaking the bank.

Text Ads are simple ads on the right side or top of your LinkedIn desktop feed. It is what it says it is: text and a small icon to accompany it.

Create a text ad using bids based on pay per click or cost per impression. You control how much you want to spend.

How can you make the most of text ads?

You will always get the best results if you have accurate audience targeting. When creating your ads, in order to tailor the ads to the desired audience consider:

  • Using creative visuals
  • Using CTAs that link to a landing page that also matches the ad
  • Continuously test and make adjustments, 3-4 ads in each campaign is best practice

When it comes to running a LinkedIn ads campaigns, there’s no set way. It’s all dependent on who you’re targeting and what you want out of the ads. LinkedIn allows you to take control of everything, even your own profile, and get the traffic you want.

Facebook’s New Advertisement Engagement Tools are Great for Small Businesses

As a small business, it can be challenging to get noticed in the sea of other businesses. How can you make yourself heard and seen by your target audience?

Facebook announced during Small Business Week 2019 three new key features for small businesses to gain traction.

Facebook has always been a great platform to advertise businesses because of the 2.4 billion active monthly users. And now it’s even easier to use.

Here are the brand-new features for small business to take off with!

Automated Advertisements

Instead of just making a regular ad, now you can automatically create multiple versions of an ad. Up to six different ads can run across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

How does it work?

Well, this new tool provides users with some questions regarding their business and the overall objective and goal of the ad. It uses this information and creates useful suggests for Call to Action (CTA) buttons, keyword text suggestions and other creative details specific to your company’s Facebook Page.

Automated ads will save people time and effort to change the advertisements for each platform.

Embedded Appointment Bookings

Across all Facebook owned platforms, you can now embed appointment booking software.

This feature allows for customers to automatically book your services without you personally having to talk to them!

It is completely customizable for your business’ services. You can display your availability and manage any and all appointments directly. This could even go hand-in-hand with the Facebook Messenger Bots. The bots can handle the bookings too!

It’s a free service already built into Facebook. This could be an excellent option for those who haven’t already invested in a third-party appointment booking service.

Video Editing Tool

Video is the biggest drivers of engagement by far for Facebook advertisements. These posts actually get about 59% more engagement than other types of posts.

Is it time to roll of the DSLR cameras and sound board? What if you don’t have these things?

Small businesses might not have the budget for a whole production team to shoot and edit advertisements. And that’s okay, Facebook now has you covered!

The new video editing tools released by Facebook now gives the opportunity to crop, trim and add overlays to videos. For each ad, it automatically crops and trims to the correct lengths for different platforms.

While the features don’t replace the flexibility of editing software, such as Adobe Premiere, it allows for small edits to be made quickly. Some text or logo overlay may just be all you need.

The Future of Facebook for Small Businesses

So why should we care about this new update from Facebook?

Facebook is really pushing for accessibility to the resources they offer. In 2019 alone, Facebook plans to run over 200 training events.

Their goal is to train as many small entrepreneurs’ digital skills needed for the business world today. There will be online and offline events hosted to educate the masses.

Combined with Facebook’s other tools, such as the Pixel, businesses with smaller audiences can get a farther reach. An example would be using the Custom Audience tool for retargeting viewers who have watched your videos. You can provide different ads to those who watched more than 50% of the video. It allows for a better conversion rate at a lower cost.

Facebook hopes that this update, as well as the additional Blueprint courses, will help those who lack the technological resources and the budgets to get off their feet.

New Customer Acquisition vs Retention: Best Practices

Customers are the most important part of your business. It’s a fact. The ultimate goal of any growing business is to attract and nurture a loyal relationship with its customers. 

But customer acquisition and customer retention often compete for attention from your marketing budget.  

When faced with the reality that acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing oneyou may be tempted to throw all of your resources to attracting new business.  

The reality is that it’s important to dedicate as many resources to retain existing customers as it is selling to new ones. Both are essential and require separate strategies. 

Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits from 25% to 95%. In addition, the success rate of selling to a customer that you already have is 60-70%, versus 5-20% for new customers. There is great value in keeping the right customers.  

Businesses need to craft a game plan that effectively attracts and retains customers with tactics that can be measured and altered as needed to achieve success in both areas. Here, we look at best practices for marketing strategies that identify and manage new customers differently than returning customers. 

Attract Customers and Maintain Contact

Attracting a new customer takes time and patience.  

Consumers have more options than ever – not only in terms of where and when they shop, but also how. It only makes sense that retailers have to work harder and smarter to gain customer loyalty. 

To realize the benefits downstream, retailers will need to move the battle to the top of the sales funnelHere lies the “awareness” and “interest” phase of the purchase experience.  

Strengthening the top of the funnel also means giving attention to the middle and bottom of the funnel so those initial prospects move forward to conversion.  

This is why it is so important to optimize all your digital assets – your website, landing pages, content, SEO, and social media campaigns – to work together as an effective marketing funnel. Talk to us about your business marketing strategies.  

When someone moves into the middle of your sales funnel, that means you’ve captured their interest. This is where you want to show why your product is the perfect fit or solution tyour customers needs.  

How well you satisfy your customer’s needs will affect the likelihood that they will return. Returning customers will spend more often and will refer their friends and family. 

Know Your Customer

Is a customer someone who has purchased an item from your company within the last six months, or at any point in time? What about a repeat purchaser from several years ago? 

Say two customers bought from you yesterday. Today one searches for items from your company using a generic search (i.e. sports cars)the othera branded search (i.e. Ferrari sports cars). Are they both considered your customers? Or should the one using a generic search have to be “re-acquired”? 

You would also want to consider transaction data  at what point in time is it unlikely that your customer will return? Will they still return after a year has passed? 

Understand Your Customer’s Purchase Path

Searches typically fall into the realm of new customer acquisitionsituated towards the top of the funnel and comes at higher cost.  

However, this cost is justified when you understand that you can further nurture your customers to purchase using other channels such as email and direct marketing. 

A customers journey can be complex, so it is advisable to have a multi-channel strategyFor example, a customer may discover a new product on Instagram, view that product again via display ad retargetingand later research that product on Amazon – only to finally purchase it after receiving a promotional email. 

Create Ad Campaigns for Acquisition and Retention

After defining who your customer is, divide your ad campaigns based on new or returning customers. For example, your ad campaign could target these 3 sets of audiences: 

  1. Completely new visitors to your site. 
  2. Those that have visited your site in the past 3 months but have not purchased. 
  3. Lastly, this group has purchased from you within the last 3 months and would be returning customers. 

Set Unique Return Goals for Each Group

With your audiences set, it’s time to determine a unique, specific return goal for each.  

Generally, you should be willing to invest more (to a less efficient return) to attract new customers. However, since you have already invested in the returning customer, you should set a more efficient return goal in that case. 

Segment Further to Align with Your Customer’s Journey

Once you’ve obtained enough data to analyze, you may be able to segment each ad campaign further. You may be able to target each audience by device, or branded vs. non-branded search terms 

Watch for KPIs of Success

Watch your key performance indicators to see if you are hitting your return goals. Are new customers in line with your new customer profile? Are you gaining new customers while maintaining the same level of profit? 

Your growth in search will naturally level off if you aren’t consistently refreshing your ad campaigns. It’s smart to develop a habit of making tweaks every 3 months or so, depending on your data results. 

If you would like to learn more about how to improve your customer acquisition and retention, contact us today.  

Why You Can’t Just Set and Forget Your Ad Campaigns

The most important thing for any business is relevancy.

Countless businesses question why they don’t see their products on Google.

How do you go about doing that? By creating ads that you check and test regularly and making adjustments to improve performance.

Think Like a Customer

One thing to change about your ads is to tailor them to what people would search for.

Structure your ads how a user would search for the product. Titles, descriptions, images, and other attributes play an important role because it is what Google sees to recommend.

For example, say you’re selling Beatles t-shirts from a tour. You title the product “Band T-shirt.” Instead of this, you should include all relevant information for the user. This could be:

  • Brand
  • Colour
  • Size
  • Descriptive nouns or adjectives

A new title could be: “Beatles 1965 US Tour T-shirt Black.” This system not only will increase sales, but customers are less likely to bounce, and they feel like they are not misled.

Don’t Forget About Your Ads

With any industry, especially online, your competitors are innovating and creating new products to compete with the rest of the market.

Leaving your ad campaign without constantly optimizing it, hinders your relevancy. Letting the ad just run its course may lead to negative feedback or even errors that you could have prevented by monitoring the ad.

Split Testing

If your ads aren’t doing as well as you wanted, why not change them? Once you set an ad live, you have countless opportunities to see what might generate more leads for you.

One of those tests that may be beneficial is split testing.

Split testing is the idea that you take the same ad and make minor changes to the title, description, layout or the creative and monitor which generates more traction and sales. It’s then important to understand why those changes benefited your campaign.

One way to analyze this is through A/B testing. In order for this to be effective, it need to randomly subdivide your products into test and control groups. This then is presented to the customers and feedback is recorded.

A/B testing specifically for titles can end up with products performing 60% in cost per click and ad spend metrics.

The Benefits of Product Groups

When it comes to identifying which products to invest advertising budget, grouping products can be extremely helpful.

It’s important to not “put all your eggs in one basket.” Let’s say you have an ad group that consists of women’s t-shirts and it received 1000 clicks in the past month. You want to invest in ads to amplify these results, but this group is far too broad.

Some shirts will have done better than others. When you identify that the V-neck style actually had half the clicks, you can invest in that group and find better results.

Most strategies that include product groupings have a catch-all for the remaining loose ends. Check this group regularly for traction. If a particular product is gaining impressions, then it may be beneficial to add the product to another group or create its own.

This way you can advertise only what will result in meaningful impressions and clicks.

Utilizing the Custom Labels for Better Results

Custom labels should not be static because of the flexible nature of them.

They are a powerful tool for managing shopping. For testing purposes, you can use label segments such as:

  • Clearance items
  • Price buckets
  • Margin buckets

These dynamic performance labels are used to pull data from your A/B tests.

Remove the Negative Keywords

Keywords are used to let Google know that you have products that people are searching for. They are useful for enhancing both titles and relevancy.

When we say negative, we don’t mean actually negative sounding keywords. Negative keywords bring unwanted traffic, or traffic that is not desirable for the products you sell.

Google’s goal is to appropriately match information to what people are searching for. Strong keywords help gain that traction but does not prevent all the unwanted traffic.

If a keyword that alludes to something that you think is irrelevant, then remove it.

When you research keywords, keep an eye out for poor conversion words or irrelevant terms and add them as negatives. It’s important to then follow-up on those work blocks to ensure the the traffic is filtered effectively.

There’s Always Room for Improvement

Today, there are countless opportunities to segment performance and bids. Even if your performance is doing great, you can almost always make small modifications and optimizations in order to improve in another area.

Since everyone else is also trying to remain relevant in the industry, you must always be on the ball. Monitoring and testing your ad campaigns is key to this.

Without proper monitoring, you’ll never know how your ads are doing and where you can improve.

How Instagram Removing the ‘Like’ Count Affects Marketing

Social media has been a huge marketing outlet for businesses today. How do we know if people are enjoying certain content? By the number of likes.

One of the major social medias, used by 1 billion people monthly and 500 million daily, is Instagram.

Have you noticed anything different about your current Instagram feed? If so then you are one of about 70% of Canada’s population affected by their test to remove the like count.

The focus is on the quality of the content, not the number of likes. Thus, only the account user will be able to see the count.

This puts businesses that utilize the algorithm of likes on their content for promotions in a different position. So how will it affect your business if it becomes an official change?

How Instagram’s Algorithm Works

In the past, Instagram organized its feed only by the time it was posted. The most recent could be found at the top.

In 2016, Instagram introduced a new algorithm that changed how user’s feed was shown. Simply put, the most relevant content was displayed further up in someone’s feed.

The factors that affect your relevancy to people are:

1. Interest

Instagram takes what users interact with and identify a trend between the posts. If you often comment on photos of puppies, then you are more likely to see puppies at the start of your feed. The goal is to identify what the users prioritize and show content related to that.

2. Relationship

Instagram wants the content it shows users to be something users enjoy seeing or interacting with. The more interactions you have with others, the more the algorithm will recognize you as having a relationship. This would include things like comments, enabled notifications, direct messages, or tags.

3. Timeliness

Now this is not to say that Instagram showcases feed chronologically. Instagram does showcase newer posts first but not the newest. For businesses and brands recency is more related to the idea of posting when people are active. Paying attention to when your audience is online will help indicate when you should post so it will be higher up in their feed.

The goal is to give users the content they want to see most, right away.

Businesses Without Instagram ‘Like’ Counts

A ‘like’ is easily given. It takes no time and no effort.

This shift forces businesses to become more deeply invested in the analytics of their posted content. Companies need to figure out what actually works, instead of guessing.

Identifying what kind of content thrives is going to be key.

Finding what drives conversions and stepping into a more authentic path for your services. Look at other metrics such as the save feature or reach.

For businesses it may be more beneficial to focus more on comment engagement when working with Influencers now. Commenters are more likely to invest in your brand since they took the time comment on a post.

What Removing ‘Like’ Count means for Influencers

Many people have developed a large following and have created businesses surrounding their online personalities.

Companies then partner with them to promote their products. For those that utilize influencers for conversions, this may make it more difficult. A clear indication of the amount of reach an influencer had would have been the number of likes on an average post. We may not have this anymore, though.

For Influencers themselves, it may be more difficult to establish yourself if you haven’t already. Brand are less likely to choose you over someone who they can clearly see getting transactions.  

It may give Influencers more creative freedom in their posts. Most Influencers feel they can’t post content that may fall flat in user engagement. If their posts lack that conversion, the brand may not work with them. Without visible ‘like’ counts, they have more artistic freedom.

Focus When Posting

Instagram is unique in that it allows you to showcase your products. This could be through photos, videos, and Stories.

This new system could actually allow you as brands or businesses to assess the content you are posting. To make changes that reflects what you wish to project to your audience.

By no longer focusing on a like count, it can allow you to narrow-in on content that generates more buzz with comments or saves. This can actually be more beneficial to you as those people are more likely to generate conversions and sales.