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!
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.
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 one, you 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 funnel. Here 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 to your customer’s 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 other—a 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 acquisition, situated 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 customer’s journey can be complex, so it is advisable to have a multi-channel strategy. For example, a customer may discover a new product on Instagram, view that product again via display ad retargeting, and 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:
- Completely new visitors to your site.
- Those that have visited your site in the past 3 months but have not purchased.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
There are so many ways to define your audience that finding the “perfect” one for your company can be overwhelming. How do you know if you’re reaching the right group?
LinkedIn’s newly released audience targeting system could provide you with the right connections.
In early 2019, LinkedIn released an exciting new advertising model that uses three main methods to help expand your business reach and propelling your business further:
- Lookalike audiences, which finds people who look like the audience you already have.
- Audience templates based on commonly related characteristics such as job titles and skills.
- Interest targeting for the most relevant topics or themes to your ideal audience.
Here’s a quick introduction to how you can use LinkedIn’s targeted advertising to reach your perfect audience.
1. Lookalike Audiences
A lookalike audience is similar to your core audience with one important difference: these individuals are not completely dedicated to your brand yet. But the potential is there because they have visited your website or engaged with your mobile app.
By enticing this audience through ads that reflect their interests or professional careers, you can expand your audience and grow. Those who are already engaging in mild ways with your site are the most likely to convert and grow your business.
Getting Started with Lookalike Audiences
The best step to begin this process is to find a specific starting point within your audience and develop the group from there. It’s important to not make overly broad audiences such as “all purchasers”. How would you know if they were one-time purchasers or consistent buyers? Identify your important customers.
After you’ve identified segmentation of your core audience, determine if you want to optimize based on similarity or reach. Typically, between 1%-5% of the target demographic will find you a group closely resembling your core audience.
For reach optimization, aim for anything near 10% of the target demographic. While you are targeting a greater number of users, they will be less similar to your core audience.
Why LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences?
What sets LinkedIn apart from other companies that help develop lookalike audiences?
- Ability to reach farther with active users and convert them.
- Scale results not just with a wide reach but with quality conversions.
- Find audiences you may not have considered before.
With 500 million people actively using the site and 9 million companies, you have access to a huge pool of people to expand your audience from. This software was built on their information, where people are motivated to keep their information up to date so they can network for future job opportunities.
Only active members within your target audience receive the advertisement campaigns. Meaning you are more likely to get traction on your ad from active users that are going to engage. During their pilot testing, companies were able to tailor their ads to their desired demographic and received 5-10 times more reach while still having quality customers.
Prior to any campaign launch for your business, LinkedIn has developed a system that predicts the general outcome of the ad. You can then make improvements before it goes live, which results in even more success with your campaign.
2. Audience Templates
LinkedIn provides a variety of different pre-set packages regarding their targeted advertisements. They are based on commonly related audience characteristics such as:
- Company size, name or industry
- Job title or function
- Seniority level
- Fields of study
- LinkedIn member groups
Businesses can easily begin their reach campaigns but don’t have to spend hours setting up the specifics.
3. Interest Targeting
Interest targeting is the idea that you are serving your ad campaign to people who are interested in that topic or a general theme.
The initial pique of interest, followed by content that they engage with, helps create a receptive and responsive audience. In the future, they will seek your content, products and services.
LinkedIn ads offer interest targeting based on content that users are responsive to. Relevant ads and content match a user’s interests using at least one of the 200 professional interest categories, including:
- Arts and entertainment (music, visual arts, literature, television, and film)
- Business and management, (company acquisitions, business funding, and human resources)
- Finance and economy (the stock market, corporate finance and financial matters on a personal, state, or federal level)
- Marketing and advertising (market research, advertising strategies, and brand management)
- Politics and law (law practice, social issues, and activism)
- Sales and retail (sales channels, lead generation, and retail merchandising)
- Science and environment (human health, social interactions and infrastructure, engineering, and consumer electronics)
- Society and culture (religion, family and personal relationships, and social issues)
- Technology (biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and internet technology)
There are also sub-categories within these broad categories. ‘Top’ categories will widen your reach, while sub-categories will find you more similarity.
Finding Your Audience on LinkedIn
Ultimately, customers care about their interests. They won’t purchase something they don’t like.
Businesses can shape their brand perception and appeal to the target audiences by associating ads with the interests of the people they wish to reach. You can reach many communities through targeted interest advertisements.
LinkedIn is a platform all businesses should consider utilizing when they wish to expand their core audience and get more traction and engagement. They have made ads user-friendly for both the business and the customer.
So, you’ve been looking at different types of Google advertising and you are deciding between Google Ads and Google Ads Express. Let us help you with this: Google Ads vs Google Ads Express? Google Ads wins 10 times out of 10.
Let’s look at what these two are and why the decision to pick Google Ads over Google Ads Express is an easy one.
What is Google Ads? (Formerly Google AdWords)
When you search on Google, you receive a list of search results. Have you ever noticed that the top search results may have a green ad square in the top left corner? These are ads from Google, known as Google Ads.
If your website doesn’t rank as well as others, Google Ads allows your website to be shown higher in search results based on the keywords you are targeting. The intent is that when users search for a keyword, results show your ad result near the top, and users will click your result first.
Yes, this costs money, but it can be effective if you are starting out, haven’t broken through the top contenders in your industry, or would like more leads/customers.
What is Google Ads Express?
Similar to Google Ads, this advertising platform that is often attractive to small businesses. It’s often used because of the ease of set up and hand-off ongoing management it offers. Set up your account in 15 minutes and Google does the rest of the work? Say no more! No website? Don’t worry – users can call you directly with one click on your ad.
Essentially, Google Ads Express is marketed as an “easier” version of Google Ads that can be set up quickly. Although you don’t have to do the groundwork after the set-up, the quality of groundwork is where the issues lie. If it seems too good to be true – it probably is.
What’s the Difference?
Sure, Google Ads and Google Ads Express seem similar, but the difference is the control over your monthly monitoring and optimization.
If you aren’t familiar with Google’s advertising or don’t have the resources to manage Google Ads, Google Ads Express seems like a less overwhelming option. Who wouldn’t trust Google to manage their own branded ads? While it’s not like they’re scamming you, they aren’t offering the manual optimizations that truly get the best bang for your budget.
Let’s look more closely in terms of the lack of control and management where Google Ads Express falls short.
Why You Should Avoid Google Ads Express
There is no “conversion tracking” in Google Ads Express. Yes, your ads are still showing for brand awareness, which is important, but having tracking to show how many people have contacted you or completed an action on your website is huge. This proves what your return on investment is and can justify the cost of advertising on Google.
Trust us, your financial controller will agree.
Broad match keywords
This means your ads will show up on more keywords than needed. In turn, there are more opportunities for users to click on your ads and for Google to charge you.
Kickpoint provides an excellent example for this: If Ads Express bids for edmonton catering companies, broad match keywords can end up showing to edmonton pig roast companies. Reason being, is they can generally be related in catering terms, but chances are this catering company would definitely not offer pig roasting. This leaves you with users searching for pig roast companies clicking on your ads and Google charging you, all for the user to realize you don’t offer that type of catering and leaving your website.
No keyword choice
Similar to broad match keywords, you cannot choose your keywords – Google does this for you. You can’t add any new keywords, you can only turn on/off any keywords that Google has chosen for you. This goes back to the note above about more opportunities for users to click on your ads which means more of your money in Google’s pocket.
No negative keywords
This is a huge bonus when advertising on Google. This means you can remove any unwanted keywords associated with terms users may search for in relation to your industry.
Not sure what keywords you would want to avoid for advertising? Here’s an easy one to avoid: FREE.
Add-on extensions can be many things: call-outs, site links, structured snippets, locations, or options to directly text/call the company. These appear at the bottom of your add to all work together to make the search results appear more dynamic.
This extension builds up your ads and add extra information that users may be looking for – which is a bonus you would be missing with Google Ads Express.
Do you have one keyword producing the best results, while your other keywords are simply helping to hit your daily budget with no conversions? Bidding adjustments allow you to allocate a larger percentage of budget to your keywords producing better results and less on the others.
This means your ads with the better performing keywords will show more often and optimize your ad spend to utilize these to produce more conversions – and better results for you.
Unfortunately, Google Ads Express is unable to change the bidding on different keywords, leaving all your keywords being shown an equal amount – for good or bad.
How Do I Manage Google Ads?
Are you unsure of how to manage Google Ads?
Don’t have time to constantly manage Google Ads?
LinkedIn has become an incredible marketing tool, especially for businesses who know how to optimize their LinkedIn company page.
The premiere professional networking platform is a great place to scout talent, network, and nurture sales prospects. But that’s not the only way to leverage it.
LinkedIn also has powerful search engine optimization benefits. Creating a LinkedIn company page is of the fastest ways to rank for branded keywords, and it sends strong signals to Google’s ranking algorithm.
Want to quickly and effectively optimize your LinkedIn company page? Focus on these key areas.
Why LinkedIn is Worth Your Time
LinkedIn is home to over 500 million users from 200 different countries. And those users are impressively active, with over half of them visiting the site at least once a month.
Having a dedicated company page gives you direct access to customers, clients, and talent in your industry. It’s a free platform for showcasing products and services and promoting important news.
Company pages also unlock valuable engagement assets, like how many people see your posts and what they’re saying about your company.
LinkedIn’s not only popular with professionals – Google’s ranking algorithm loves it, too. LinkedIn company pages quickly climb the rankings for branded key phrases, giving companies a free and easy opportunity to get their content in front of more searchers.
Optimizing a LinkedIn Company Page
When we talk about optimizing a LinkedIn company page, we usually have three broad goals in mind:
- Increasing LinkedIn user engagement with the company page;
- Helping the company page rank for relevant queries in search engine results; and
- Helping the company page rank in LinkedIn’s native search engine results.
Each of these goals can be refined and targeted to a company’s specific key performance indicators; if the company is looking for sales leads, for example, the focus will be on user engagement at specific points in the marketing funnel.
Whether you’re focusing on organic engagement or plan to boost your LinkedIn strategy with sponsored content, optimizing a LinkedIn company page should begin with these basic steps:
- Fill out the company profile completely.
- Write a keyword-rich company description.
- Upload high-quality photos.
- Link back to the company website and other social profiles.
- Post-industry-relevant content.
- Have employees connect to the page.
1. Complete Your Company Profile
Start by filling in the blanks.
When a user first enters a company on their profile, LinkedIn generates a bare-bones page for that company to serve as a hub for employees; however, the information that automatically populates the page is far from complete and not necessarily accurate.
Enter all the information someone would need to find and identify your company: its address, phone number, website URL, etc. Make sure it matches what appears on the company’s website and Google My Business page
This step increases the page’s legitimacy in the eyes of users and search engines.
2. Write a Compelling Company Description
What does your company do? What makes it unique? Boil it down into 156 characters.
The first 156 characters of a company’s description appears as the page’s meta description, or the summary that appears below the link on both Google and LinkedIn’s the search engine results page.
It helps to think of the description as an elevator pitch: a concise summary that tells people what your company is all about and entices them to learn more.
The company description can be longer than 156 characters, of course, but it’s important to make those initial words count. Be sure to include keywords and key phrases that people use to find companies in your industry.
3. Upload High-Quality Photos
The profile picture is the first impression people have of your company on LinkedIn. It appears in the LinkedIn search results, on employees’ profile pages, and above everything your company posts.
Company pages with profile pictures also get six times as many visits as those without one.
The best profile picture for a company on LinkedIn is a clear, high-quality image of its logo. LinkedIn recommends a minimum profile image size of 400px by 400px and a max of 7680px by 4320px.
You should also personalize the page with an eye-catching header image (recommended 1584px by 396 px). It can be a simple banner, a photo collage, or an image with call-to-action text. Since it always appears alongside the profile image, the header doesn’t need to include a logo; however, it should reinforce brand recognition using relevant imagery and colours.
If your ideal logo or header image doesn’t quite fit LinkedIn’s dimensions, Sprout Social’s Landscape Resizer tool is a quickly modify it.
4. Link to Other Sites and Profiles
Social media pages are most effective when they’re interconnected.
Add links to the company’s other social profiles so LinkedIn users can easily find and follow your company across the web.
In turn, add a LinkedIn button to your company website.
5. Post-Industry-Relevant Content
LinkedIn isn’t just another company listing; it’s a platform from which companies can broadcast their best content to clients, customers and industry colleagues.
Posts are one of the most direct ways to engage with viewers and followers since posts appear both on its page and the home page of each of the company’s followers.
What to post depends on the company’s goals for the social network. LinkedIn posts can be used to:
- Showcase an awesome company culture
- Share company news and updates
- Publish original blog, video and image content
- Spread the word about timely industry issues
Always include some form of visual content – those posts get 98% more engagement than text-only posts.
6. Get Employees on Board
If your business is new to LinkedIn, but your employees aren’t, chances are they’ll have already named the company in the Experience section of their profiles.
But that doesn’t always mean they are connected to the same page.
For example, the user who entered “Company Inc.” may be linked to a different page than the one who simply put “Company.”
Ironing out these inconsistencies is an important step in increasing the company page’s reach, especially for smaller businesses. The more employees who connect, the greater your reach.
About LinkedIn Sponsored Content
Once you’ve done all the above, it’s time to consider furthering your reach with sponsored content.
Sponsoring content puts your company’s posts in people’s LinkedIn feeds, appearing almost exactly like an organic (non-sponsored) post. It’s a great way to reach clients and customers, especially for B2B businesses.
LinkedIn’s advertising tools enable highly specific targeting, allowing you to aim content at specific people, companies, or positions within a company. Insight tags help to define further your audience based on who visits your site and their actions on the page, detailed conversion tracking gives a clear understanding of the value of leads through LinkedIn.
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Often defined as a complex state of feeling, emotions result in both physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behaviour. They’re associated with temperament, personality, mood, and motivation.
Emotions also constitute the foundation on which decisions are made.
How Emotions Influence What We Buy
Emotions greatly influence and can even determine our buying decisions.
When confronted with a choice, emotions from previous life events create preferences and patterns that lead to our decision. fMRI imaging has shown that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions rather than information like brand attributes, features, and facts to make their final decision.
Emotion is one of the reasons why most people prefer brand-name products. Big brands with large advertising budgets that market on a large scale can create an emotional connection with the consumer. Therefore, rich, emotional content results in a loyal user.
How Emotion is Used in Marketing
Human emotion is based on four overarching emotions: happy, sad, afraid/upset, and angry/disgusted.
Positivity has been shown to increase sharing and engagement. Brands have also recognized that sad or inspiring ads are hugely successful.
Fear, on the other hand, is an instinct that helps us to react to threats. Advertisers have found that ‘scare-vertising’ is one way to leverage this. Surprise is a more positive form of fear and can be seen in ads such as this one.
Finally, there’s anger. We often think it’s best to avoid anger, but in some cases, it can wake people up and spur action and change. While negative images are less common in advertising than positive ones, viral success occurs when negative images have an element of anticipation and surprise.
So, how are feelings actually used in marketing? The most shared ads of 2018 relied heavily on emotional content such as friendship, inspiration, warmth and happiness. Although this style of advertising wasn’t always the case: in the 1990s and 2000s, advertisers focused on humour and sarcasm.
The Future of Emotional Marketing
Today, many brands are going beyond simply telling emotionally-driven stories, targeting different ads to specific moods for maximum impact.
In 2016, the USA Today Network began categorizing its content by topic and tone and scored it based on the emotions it was thought to evoke. They then started selling advertising based on that knowledge. This concept represents targeting an audience based on psychographic characteristics rather than demographics.
Recently, the New York Times also rolled out a project called Project Feels that lets advertisers target ads to content based on predicted emotional responses. ESPN has also pitched a tool that would target sports fans on its digital platforms based on their changing emotional state during a game.
Tapping into feelings and emotion is a powerful way for marketers to formulate potent advertising. When used properly, feelings help facilitate consumers’ understanding of an advertising message and motivate them to buy.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in damage control-mode. Your business has been hit with a fake negative review on Google, Yelp, or another online platform, and you want to deal with it ASAP. Preferably by wiping it off the face of the Internet.
Fake negative reviews are all too common. It’s trivially easy to create an account on these sites and write feedback for all the world to see. For business owners who’ve worked hard to build their reputation, these types of reviews are exasperating.
It is possible to get fake reviews removed in some cases. But that’s not always the case. Dealing with fake negative reviews is a delicate process, and it’s one you should prepare for before it becomes necessary.
We’ve laid out a step-by-step process for how to deal with fake negative reviews of a business, including how to report fake reviews and what to do when removal isn’t possible.
How to Deal with Fake Negative Reviews, Step-By-Step
Dealing with fake negative reviews is easier when you have a plan of action. The process will differ between businesses, but the basic steps are as follows:
- Verify that the review is fake.
- Determine if the review violates the rules.
- Report the fake review through the official channels.
- If the review stays up, decide on the best course of action.
1. Are You Sure the Review is a Fake One?
When we say ‘fake negative reviews’, we’re talking about reviews that are either:
- Written by someone who was never a customer, client, or associate of the business; or
- Making claims about the business that aren’t true.
It does a business no good to conflate bad reviews with fake ones. Do your research before alleging a review isn’t genuine.
If you have a very small customer or client base, it’s easier to tell if a review is coming from someone the business has never dealt with. Otherwise, some tell-tale signs of a fake review include:
- Review was authored by a brand-new profile with no other reviews and a sparse profile
- Tone is overly aggressive or threatening and clearly meant to provoke
- Language includes industry jargon that actual customers or clients rarely use
2. Does the Review Break the Rules?
Suppose the review comes from someone you know has never dealt with the business. What next?
You can tell that to Google or Yelp. Trouble is, they don’t know who your customers are. Should they take your word for it?
People don’t even need to be customers to leave a valid review; they just need a customer experience. That can mean reaching out to the business by phone or email, or dropping by the premises.
- Demonstrably false information
- Current or former employees reviewing their employer
- Business owners or their employees reviewing a competitor to manipulate rankings
- People posting the same content repeatedly, or reviewing the same business from multiple accounts
- People claiming to represent an individual, company or organization without permission
- Obscene or offensive language that goes beyond ‘colourful’
- Threats, harassment, bullying, or discrimination
If you believe the review in question violates the site’s rules, proceed to step 3; otherwise, skip to step 4.
3. Will Google/Yelp/Facebook Remove the Review?
Don’t call out the reviewer as a phony in public. Go through the website’s official reporting channels. While awaiting a verdict, decide how to proceed if the review stays up.
To report a review on Yelp:
- Locate the review in the Reviews section of your Yelp for Business Owners account.
- Click the button with the three dots, then click Report Review.
- Submit your report.
To report a review on Facebook:
- Locate the review in the Reviews section of your Page.
- Click the button with the three dots, then click Report Post.
- Submit your report.
To report a Google review:
- Locate the review on your Google My Business page.
- Move your cursor over the review and click the flag icon that appears.
- Submit your review.
4. Should You Respond to a Fake Review?
It’s never a good idea to ignore fake negative reviews.
51% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within seven days. Posting a response gives you an opportunity to demonstrate you’re responsive to customers, even if they have nothing nice to say.
How best to respond to negative fake reviews can be tricky. It’s not smart to accuse the person outright, because it makes the business owner look petty and defensive.
A better tactic? Take the high ground. Write a courteous, professional response. The most important thing is for customers to see that the business is willing to acknowledge negativity and do something about it.
If there’s a clear sign the review is fake (talking about products or services you don’t have, or an experience that couldn’t have happened), there are subtle ways to address the discrepancy.
Don’t say, “We don’t sell ice cream, liar.” Say, “We’re sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but you may be confusing us with another restaurant, as we don’t have ice cream on our menu.”
Don’t say, “You never once used our service and we know it.” Say, “We’d like to investigate, but have no record of a client with your name. Please provide more information about your experience.”
Bad reviews hurt; fake reviews can hurt even more. But don’t give into frustration. The worst thing you can do is fight fire with fire, responding inappropriately or threateningly to someone who’s trying to bring you down.
Dealing with Fake Reviews
We’ve helped various clients navigate the process of dealing with fake reviews, and it’s never fun. But with a solid plan and a clear head, you can minimize the damage.
As always, the best way to overcome negative reviews is to surround them with positive ones. Don’t forget to let your happy customers know how much you appreciate their feedback.
Understanding your business’s marketing funnel is key to a successful marketing campaign. Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, it’s easier than ever to see how your customers go from being curious prospects to loyal patrons. Still, there are common beginner mistakes people make when they’re new to the world of marketing funnel strategies.
These mistakes aren’t always fatal. However, fixing them is necessary to unlock your funnel’s full potential.
What Exactly is the Marketing Funnel?
The marketing funnel is a helpful way of visualizing how people make the decision to purchase (or not) a product or service.
The idea is to imagine how customers approach the business at three different stages in the purchase process: the awareness, the consideration, and conversion stages.
- The top of the marketing funnel is the awareness stage. This is the point with the biggest pool of potential customers — that’s why it’s the widest part of the funnel. Here, people are discovering a product or service for the first time. They may not have prior knowledge of the business or its solution. Sometimes, they aren’t even aware they have a problem that needs solving.
- The middle of the marketing funnel is the consideration stage. People in this stage know the business and what it offers, but they aren’t ready to buy. There aren’t as many potential customers here as there is in the top of the funnel, but they’re closer to purchasing.
- The bottom of the marketing funnel is the conversion stage. The bottom represents the potential customers who have already decided to buy — now, they just need to decide who to buy from.
Why visualize customers using the marketing funnel? Because each different stage calls for a different marketing strategy. Customers at the top of the funnel are easier to reach, but they need convincing before they’ll buy. There are fewer customers in the conversion stage, but they’re the ones who are most receptive.
Your marketing efforts will generate better returns when you understand where to find people at each stage in the funnel and what resonates with each of them.
Fixing Common Marketing Funnel Mistakes
A marketing funnel strategy involves tactics to target potential customers at different points of the marketing funnel and move them closer to making a purchase. Data on user activity from platforms like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can help you understand what’s working (and what’s not) at each step along the way.
However, even a robust strategy backed by good data is susceptible to a few common mistakes.
Keep these points in mind when you’re working on your winning marketing funnel strategy.
1. The Funnel Doesn’t End with Conversion
What happens at the end of the funnel?
Ideally, the person converts, whether that means buying a product, hiring a service, or taking some other action that benefits the business. The prospect becomes a customer.
What next? That customer doesn’t just vanish — they become one of the business’s biggest assets.
Assuming the product or service met their expectations, those customers more receptive than anyone to the business’s other offerings. They can become loyal fans and advocates for the business. Finally, they’re going to spread the word about their experience, so it’s in the businesses interest to keep them happy.
It’s a mistake to forget about customers after the conversion stage. Instead, use what you know about their needs and preferences for effective customer retention.
2. Market at All Points of the Funnel
When potential customers are close to converting, don’t be afraid to give them an extra ‘nudge’.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing only on acquiring leads at the top of the marketing funnel, since people at the bottom are already close to converting. But conversion is not a guarantee.
It pays to invest in appealing to customers at all points in the funnel, especially the ones who are already eager to buy.
3. Don’t Let Prospects Go
Just because a prospect left without buying doesn’t mean they weren’t interested. There are dozens of reasons why someone might bounce. It could be they forgot what they were doing, wanted to check out competitors, or needed more time to think before making a decision.
With tools like AdWords and Facebook’s Pixel, you can retarget these potential customers and bring them back.
Retargeting is a fundamental marketing funnel strategy. Use what you already know about the customer to deliver a message that reminds them of your business.
4. Integrate the Funnel into Your Content Strategy
Content plays a big role in moving prospects through the marketing funnel. People don’t like ads, but they’re willing to consume content that delivers something of value: humour, entertainment, authenticity, information, empathy.
Blogs are a great example. Blog posts can raise customer awareness at the top of the funnel and provide ongoing value to those who have already converted. For example, an orchard could publish seasonal recipes that get people craving Ambrosia apples; an agency could share insider tips on their areas of expertise.
Don’t think of content strategy and marketing funnel strategy as two worlds. The marketing funnel gives content direction. Content is the current that ferries customers along.
5. Continuously Update Your Marketing Funnel Strategy
Marketing funnel strategy is not a one-time effort.
As technology evolves and customer habits change, your approach should pivot along with them. Ten years ago, mobile e-commerce was an emerging trend. Now, it accounts for $1.4 trillion in annual sales and 58% of e-commerce worldwide. Businesses who caught on to the change and optimized their strategies for mobile devices reeled in the benefits (see: How to Make Sure Your Site is Ready for Mobile).
Keep track of the changing ways customers are discovering and interacting with your business. Otherwise, your funnel won’t be in the right position to catch the stream of potential customers.
Marketing Funnel Strategy
In sum, remember these tips to avoid the common beginner marketing funnel mistakes:
- People who make it through the funnel once already are some of your best prospects. Keep customers coming back after they convert.
- Don’t focus exclusively on the top of the funnel. Prospects in the conversion stage still need that extra push.
- Use retargeting methods to bring prospects back into the funnel if they bounce.
- Treat your content marketing strategy and marketing funnel strategy as one.
- Your marketing funnel strategy is never complete. Keep adapting to consumer habits and buying trends.
Need a hand? Send us a note and we’ll be happy to help you out.