By: Erin O’Shea, CFO of SEED SPOT
You may have heard that there is cash available under the CARES Act for small businesses including independent contractors. One of the things that has confused people is the fact that the loan amount is based on average payroll. If you’re working solo, you may not even be drawing a salary, in which case there is no payroll! Don’t worry though—the CARES Act specifically says that “sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals” are included. So let’s look at what “eligible” means and how to improve your chances of getting approved.
As an independent contractor, you already meet the size requirement of fewer than 500 employees. The only other carve-out in the CARES Act is that the U.S. must be your principal place of residence. However, the SBA has other limitations including the following:
- No illegal activities as defined federally (i.e., dispensaries)
- No one delinquent on child support
- No agriculture apart from coops, nurseries, and aquaculture
- No sex industry
- No gambling (33% of revenue or more)
- No lobbyists, government entities, nor members of Congress
It’s not a rule, but anecdotally we’ve also heard foreigners residing in the US are also having issues.
Calculating the Payroll and the Related Loan Amount
As a solopreneur, your Payroll is defined as your gross revenue. To be specific:
[Payroll Costs means] the sum of payments of any compensation to… a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self- employment, or similar compensation.
The grant/loan amount under the PPP is your average one-month average Payroll multiplied by 2.5.
To calculate your Payroll, you can use your revenues for the prior twelve months or for calendar 2019 (other options are available for seasonal businesses). Given that this program is first-come-first-served, your highest priority should be to make the calculation as easy to support as possible so that your banker can quickly review and submit it. This means you are much better off if you can use 2019 as your baseline because you’ll have a tax return that ties to it.
Besides your tax return, you can use federal payroll tax filings and 1099-MISC for revenue verification. If you want to try to use 2020 data, it’s going to be more complicated, but you could use quarterly filings, customer contracts, and bank statements/cancelled checks to prove the revenues.
Regardless of which period you’re using for your average, it is in your best interest to show the calculation in a way that ties it out to the support. For example, if you have four 1099-MISC from last year plus some other amounts on your tax return, you could provide a spreadsheet like this:
Along with the items mentioned in the Support column, the above gives the bank exactly what they need to make sense of the bundle of support you’re attaching. Notice that the Loan Amount is easy to find and that the total of our individual support ties to the total on the tax return. Don’t make your bankers hunt for things and don’t make them do math. The banks are dealing with high volumes, so the quicker they can validate your numbers, the more likely you are to get sent on for approval.
Loan or Grant?
The PPP can be free, but to make it so will require a separate application later. For forgiveness, you’ll need to show that you have used the funds to pay rent, mortgage interest (note: not principal nor escrow), and/or payroll during the eight weeks following the loan. The payroll part is a little odd for independent contractors, in that payroll is paying yourself. Since this program is new and there have been no applications yet for forgiveness, there is no way to say how the banks will interpret this. We would expect some guidance on the subject to come out in the next couple of months.
In the event that not all of the use of funds is eligible to be forgiven, you will find yourself with a two-year loan that has interest of 1% and no payments due for 6 months. Not as good as free money, but nothing to sneeze at either.
Other Useful Information
The PPP caps all individual payroll amounts at $100,000, so if your total above is greater than $100,000, you’ll need another row stating that the $100,000 maximum applies. You’ll use the $100,000 divided by 12 to get your monthly average of $8,333.33 and your loan amount of $20,883.33 (monthly x 2.5).
If you go to a bank with which you have an account, the process will be faster because that bank has already identified your identity. If you go to a new bank, they’ll be required to run Know Your Customer (KYC) checks on you as required by federal law.
Funding for this program is expected to run out quickly. If you want the loan, you need to file as quickly as possible. You can most likely do so on your bank’s website. Good luck!
This article was written by Erin O’Shea, CFO of SEED SPOT with 20 years of corporate and small business treasury/banking experience. These days, she is very popular with her dogs who think this working-from-home thing is awesome.
1: HR748 (The CARES Act) Sec. 1102 (a)(2)(36)(D)(ii) https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text#toc-HCCF2DA7CBD6341059EAB97C24489743B
2: HR748 (The CARES Act) Sec. 1102 (a)(2)(36)(A)(viii)(I)(bb) https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text#toc-HCCF2DA7CBD6341059EAB97C24489743B
3: Average of the 12 weeks starting 2/15/19 or the period from 3/1/19 – 6/30/19 as elected by the applicant. HR748 (The CARES Act) Sec. 1102 (a)(2)(36)(E) https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text#toc-HCCF2DA7CBD6341059EAB97C24489743B
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Regardless of where you are in your Physician Assistant (PA) journey, knowing where to turn for news about the field, advice from other professionals or… (Read More)
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Welcome back. Hi, I’m Tony Lael. I’m a partner at Fannit. We engineer marketing campaigns online for small and medium-sized businesses. Today I’m gonna talk to you a little bit about understanding marketing performance and comprehensive reporting. I use the word comprehensive, but one of the things you’ll see, I’m gonna keep it to five simple things that you can do, or areas you can report on with your marketing.
- Understanding how you fit into the sales ecosystem
- The importance of communicating through multiple channels
- The top 5 metrics you need to understand and track
Understand how you fit into the sales ecosystem
One of the first things to understand about marketing performance is how you fit into the larger ecosystem of sales in your business. There are a lot of companies out there that have a marketing and sales teams.
It just depends on how big your business is, but when you’re thinking about marketing, and what you’re trying to report on, you have to understand that you have all these marketing channels that you can use today. We’ll get into a little bit of that, but that’s how you communicate with the world. That’s where you send out information. That’s where you talk about what’s going on in your business, the value that you bring. You try to connect through those marketing channels with your ideal buyers, and you’re generating contacts. You’re part of this larger system, and you have to remember that as a marketing team.
In all of those systems and processes, you have systems that collect data, and that data is something you want to report on, and you can go deep. These days, you can report on anything. You want to go deep, but what I’m going to talk to you at the end is when do you report this, so stick around a little bit, and we’ll talk about that, but it’s all about predictable sales. One of the first things you want to look at or think about is building contacts in your database across all of these channels. Do people type your domain name directly? Are they connecting with you on the social channel? Are they doing a search online on Google and finding you there?
Communicate through multiple channels
Chances are if you’re doing a great job marketing, they’ll connect with you on multiple channels before they ever buy it. And if you think about it, people are searching the internet for a product. Yes, they are, but they’re searching for information, and they’re looking at multiple channels, especially if they’re making a big buying decision for their business. They’re looking at multiple channels for information, and so you want to make sure that you have information out there across all of those channels. Before we start talking about measuring and understanding reporting, think about where your information, your digital marketing copy lives.
- Who is consuming it?
- What is their experience when they’re reading your social posts, or when they find a webpage that they’ve searched for that you’ve managed to rank out there on Google?
- What is their experience?
- What are you telling them?
- Why do you think they like it?
That has a lot to do with how well your marketing is going to perform. And when you’re trying to think about reporting, think about the things that you’re putting out there, a blog, for instance. If you’re writing blogs, which is a recommended practice, you know, Google and all the search engines blog relevant, fresh content out there that ranks well.
Think about someone who’s looking at a blog and think about maybe your sales team that’s sending information out, like, “Hey, you should check out this blog. You and I were talking about marketing, and we wrote this blog on The Ultimate Guide to Organic SEO, and I knew you were interested in SEO, so take a look at this blog.” So when they read this, you have to have a way to measure all of this content that you’re putting out and measure if people are liking it. We use a product called HubSpot. There are multiple products out there like that. We like HubSpot, and it lets you know, “Hey, we put out this blog. We shared it with the sales team for them to share. We think it’s valuable. We shared it on social media, and we think that people will read it.”
Well, if you think about the experience of the reader and how well you’re marketing, one of the things you’re going to be able to see is, are people going to that blog? Are they reading it? Are there calls to action on that blog that people follow, maybe a downloadable? So you’re putting out blogs. Depending on the business that you have, you might put out a product catalog or an e-book, something to download. Well, guess what? Do people download it? That’s what you’re trying to think about. When you think about measuring and reporting on marketing, you could get deep into the tools that you use, and analytics and you can measure everything, but let’s talk about what’s the common sense thing that you’re trying to measure. You’re trying to measure do people consume the information you put out there into the world across all these channels? Does that lead to sales? That’s kind of what you’re after.
Social & events
Social media and events, we’re doing an event here. We’re recording it live. I’m sure after this, we’ll look at some metrics and see how many people attended, where they started watching, where they stopped watching. You know, it’s not just about likes and shares, although that helps. I’m sure you found that out in some of today’s sessions, but these events that you’re doing with your brand, you want to be able to see if people are consuming this information. We are definitely in the information age, and you’ve gotta put a lot of it out, so think about events and channels.
Paid search ads
If you’re running paid advertising, now, there’s lots of different things depending on your business that you could be running paid advertising on. You could be running paid advertising, with a B2B company on a downloadable catalog or a playbook or a guide or a checklist. If you’re a product company, you’re going to be running paid ads on products or, you know, we do a lot of automotive marketing and those vehicle description pages when you’re out there. We’re running ads for those for people looking for certain kinds of vehicles.
If you’re in the market for a Lamborghini, which we help with, you can go check that out. But the most important thing, or one of the most important things, there’s a lot of data and metrics, and you can get consumed with this idea of multiple clicks. And clicks are great. They do cost money, but you really want to focus on conversions. How well does your content convert into a sales or a download or a thank you page on a contact FS? Whatever it is, that is your goal conversion or your goal to convert, you want to measure and see if people are looking at that.
Awards or PR
Any type of awards or what I like to call newsworthy events, you want to be putting out press releases. All this information that’s going out, you want to look at everything. And you could get drowned in data. You could get drowned in metrics, and if you hang on a little bit, the next thing we’re going to go into is a little bit about these five simple things you should be measuring and reporting on. But there’s more.
You send out emails. You might send out marketing emails with automation sequences. HubSpot does a great job of that. Your sales team is certainly sending out emails. And you might include links, you know, in these emails. And you want to find out if people are opening or clicking on things. It’s amazing to me how surprised you think, “Ah, no one’s going to click on that,” and you get the largest click through percentage on those things. So you’re constantly learning. And that’s part of what reporting is about, especially in the inbound world, and even outbound world of marketing, you have all this information going out, you have the information coming in, and you want to take that information, you want to learn from it. “Hey, we thought this event will do great. It blew everybody out of the water.” Try to understand why. Or we sent out a bunch of these emails, and a ton of people opened them, but not everybody, you know, clicked on it.
Videos, we do entrepreneurs event where I interview entrepreneurs, and we use a product called Wistia. It helps us understand not just how many people watched, how many viewers, but it also helps us understand how many people are…when they stop watching, when they continue to watch, and it helps us understand. Is the content of that video really valuable? Do people think it’s really valuable? So videos are another piece of information to watch. Okay, I’m the last presenter of the day. I hope this is helpful, but I want to go through five pieces of information that your marketing and sales team should be measuring and reporting on a regular basis, and I’ll talk to you a little bit about why those five things are important.
But just stop for a minute and ask yourself, what do you think marketing is supposed to be measuring? When do we show these results? We’ll go into that. And this is a really important piece. When do you report what information? So that’s what I’m going to talk about, these five metrics you should track and a little bit about when you report those. Okay, number one, not everybody is ready to buy, even though they’re looking at your information. They might be reading your blogs, watching videos, connecting with them through social. They’re out there searching for information.
Top 5 metrics you need to understand and track
1. Marketing Qualified Leads
They’re out there looking at your business, looking at the information you’re providing. So what your marketing team should be doing is adding what we would call these marketing qualified leads. They’re not ready to buy yet, but they want information. They want information to such a degree that they’ll give you some contact information. And you should be communicating with them. So maybe before they found you online or they clicked on an ad, or they’re on social, now you’ve got their email, and now you’re communicating with them through that channel. Are you adding enough marketing qualified leads to fill your database?
If you understand a little bit about email marketing, an email database segregates about 2% to 3% a year, which means you lose about 2% to 3% a year for various reasons. So you’ll constantly… We want… You won’t… Excuse me, you know, constantly you want to add to your database. And of course, those people come in through calls like on CallRail. And not every call’s a marketing qualified lead. CallRail makes it really easy now to tell people, “Yep, this is a qualified lead.” And you also might have forms. You might have cart submissions if you’re an e-commerce company, but maybe those people start the process of a cart and don’t finish it.
So you have some abandonment there, but you still have their email address. So it’s all about grabbing that contact information so you can start communicating with those people across multiple channels. Okay, so we’re in the B2B space. We also have B2C clients, but one thing you have to understand is not everybody’s ready to buy, but when they are, you want them talking to your best salespeople, and that means you have to have sales qualified leads, coming in every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year and you have to have enough of them so that you can close enough business so that you can hit your revenue goals.
That sales conversion is really important and watching the trend of when you add more sales qualified leads as to maybe when the sales pipeline is getting a little thin. You’ll constantly have to be adding enough of those. And this depends on what type of business you have. This is a report from HubSpot deals. Well, if you’re an e-commerce company selling product online, you might look at people who started the shopping cart experience and how many people abandoned and how many people ended up closing. You can get that information from Google Analytics.
2. Know when leads are sales qualified
Okay, so we’re in the B2B space. We also have B2C clients, but one thing you have to understand is not everybody’s ready to buy, but when they are, you want them talking to your best salespeople, and that means you have to have sales qualified leads, coming in every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year and you have to have enough of them so that you can close enough business so that you can hit your revenue goals.
That sales conversion is really important and watching the trend of when you add more sales qualified leads as to maybe when the sales pipeline is getting a little thin. You’ll constantly have to be adding enough of those. And this depends on what type of business you have. This is a report from HubSpot deals. Well, if you’re an e-commerce company selling product online, you might look at people who started the shopping cart experience and how many people abandoned and how many people ended up closing. You can get that information from Google Analytics.
But this is a great example of a B2B sales. We have to have so many sales qualified leads in every week in order for us to close the businesses we need to close. And great teams work together and communicate together.
3. Know where your SQLs came from
That’s one of the things I’m hoping you’re noticing because on number three here, where did the sales qualified leads come from? Which channel? Did they come from LinkedIn, which is a great source for business to business leads? Did they come through organic search, social? Where are these sales qualified leads coming from? What are the sales qualified leads consuming? What type of content do they consume?
Do they always download an e-book that you have? Do they always fill out a form that you drive people to? Whatever it is, you want to learn as much as you can as a marketing team about how sales is working because it’s not just hand off a lead, set it and forget it. If you’re not learning about how that’s working, how well your sales team is doing with those leads, you can’t improve. You can’t change communication. You can’t change campaigns, and that’s what you want to do. So communication is probably the most important thing behind the reporting, the regular reporting of your marketing efforts. So that’s number three, where are the sales qualified leads coming from?
Modern day gold miners
You know, I was thinking about this, and we are, the marketers of today, are the modern-day equivalent of these gold miners. What do gold miners do? They go think they know where the gold is. They dig up a bunch of dirt. They run it through a sluice box and wash the dirt and rock, and the heavier gold falls out. Those old gold miners have…used to use these wooden sluice boxes, and now they have sophisticated sluice boxes that capture more gold because there’s finer gold now. And that’s what we are.
And your shopping carts, your marketing channels, your events that you’re running, your PR, all of those things that you’re putting out there, it’s like getting dirt in the sluice box and washing dirt. The washing the dirt and the rock is all about using the data that you see. So when you think about, do we have enough marketing qualified leads? Are we getting enough sales qualified leads in the door? Where are those sales qualified leads coming from? Well, you’re like a gold miner. Those are the first three things that you need to be thinking about, but this attitude of gold mining, gold mining is hard work. I’ve never done it, but I can only imagine, you know, jumping on a pick and a shovel and digging up dirt by hand like these guys here.
Marketing is hard work so you want to make sure you mined as much gold out of this process as possible and the only way that you can do that is to really understand these key…these five key reporting pieces. So your sluice box is kind of, like, your sales pipeline. And most of you out there probably heard of a sales pipeline and what it is. And it’s basically the steps or stages of your sales process that people have to go through to end up to close business or not to close business. You either win a new business, or you don’t. And whether you’re running an e-commerce store and you have a cart, or you’re running B2B or B2C sales, you always need to have your pipeline as full as you can, or what I like to say, as full as your production capabilities can handle.
4. The value of your sales pipeline
There’s a whole another topic on scalability of these teams, but we’ll do that some other time. But your pipeline is at each stage, how many customers are at that stage? How much is that business worth? What percentage at each stage do you think you might close?
For example, if you get all the way to the end, where you’re reviewing the quote, maybe your close percentage is 50%. So let’s do a little easy map. If you have to close 25 new deals a month, and your close percentage on sales qualified leads is 25%, you have to bring in 100 deals per month in order to hit 25%. Now the way that you can, you know, get it to a point where you bring in less than 100, let’s say you’re picking hundreds a lot, is close at a higher percentage. Well, how do you do that? Well, you have to dig in and see where people drop off from your sales pipeline. HubSpot is great at letting us do that. We also see win and lose reasons for winning and losing business and evaluating that on a regular basis. Do you have enough MQLs? Do you have enough SQLs? Do you know where they’re coming from? Do you have them at the volume for your sales pipeline?
One of the most important things to remember, reporting on your marketing and sales activities really depends on how fast your business is moving.
If you’ve got an e-commerce business that sells product every single day and you sell thousands of products, you’re going to look at things on a daily basis. You know, seven days a week, you have three to four weeks a month. You have three months in a quarter, and you have four quarters in a year.
Conversely, if you sell large equipment, large manufacturing equipment, let’s say, and those are worth millions of dollars, and you sell 2 of them a year, or 10 of them a year, not very many, not very…much volume, your reporting is going to be skewed towards that. Now, that doesn’t mean you ignore reporting or looking at data, you know, every quarter. You’re going to be looking at data probably every week, and you want to see that you’re talking to the right people, high-quality people. So it’s not about volume there, it’s about high quality. I guess it’s always about high quality, but you understand in certain cases, it’s more about volume, so reporting might be done daily. Interaction and communication might be done much faster, versus maybe every month. So think about how fast your business moves or your client’s business moves, and think about when you need to be communicating on all of this.
5. Hitting revenue targets
We all work for revenue and healthy businesses grow and keep revenue. It’s not a bad thing. This isn’t about money-hungry greed, but one of the things to remember is, how well are we doing at achieving the goal we’ve set? I can’t tell you how many business owners I’ve talked to at smaller levels, you know. We work with businesses that are $500,000 to $30 million in annual revenues, and so many smaller businesses in that vein, think that more is the goal. More is not a goal.
You have to understand how on pace you are. So you might close a lot, in the first quarter a lot of business, and you might have seasonal trends in your business, and this is what we all work for. The fifth thing is really understanding your sales targets and how you’re doing against those. What is the likelihood that you’re going to achieve your deals? By the way, if you continue, and your sales team continues to blow away your goals, you need to up your goals. You need to push up and incent accordingly.
So this is all the reward we work for, enough marketing qualified leads, enough sales qualified leads. Where are those sales qualified leads coming from, and why? Do you have your pipeline full enough based on your sales close percentage to generate the revenue that you’re trying to hit? That’s simple. Well, hey, I want to thank you very much for attending and good luck out there.
The post Understanding Marketing Performance with Comprehensive Reporting appeared first on CallRail.
Hi. Welcome to the 3:15 session. My name is Jenny Bristow, and I am the CEO at Anvil Analytics + Insights. Today, we’re going to be talking about the foundation of data analytics. So, this is one of my favorite quotes, “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” As small businesses, it’s very difficult to shift from the owner of the business making all of the important calls and decisions to actually allowing data and insights to drive your optimization efforts on the marketing side. But that pivot is many times what can allow you to grow and scale much faster than making gut-based decisions. So, today, we’re gonna talk about three core things.
- Creating measurement strategies & understanding associated risks
- Understanding analytics VS business intelligence
- Six key steps for tracking marketing campaign success
First, I’m going to do a super high-level capabilities check. So why am I up here and how do I have the background and expertise to tell you about this? Anvil is an agency based out of St. Louis. We were rated the number one fastest-growing company in St. Louis last year by “The Business Journal.” We focus on three core areas, digital marketing and strategy, analytics and decision science, and web design and development. Our analytics and decision science process usually follows three key steps, and we’re going to be talking about some of these today.
We’re going to talk about measurement plan and auditing. So do you have a strategy in place to measure your campaign performance? We’re going to talk about growth strategy and implementation. So, once you have a program going, how do you optimize that campaign? And then, ongoing optimization and growth management also. So over the, you know, first year, second year, third year of a campaign, how do you keep making sure it works really well?
Measurement Plan & Auditing
Whenever people talk about the utilization of Google Analytics and they bring myself or a member of my agency in to start looking at the reports and dashboards that are looking at, the vast majority of times, there are simple vanity metrics.
So, a good quote to know the difference is, “Vanity metrics make you feel good, but they don’t offer clear guidance on what to actually do to optimize your campaigns.”
Some of the vanity metrics that you might be thinking about include things like the total spend for your marketing campaigns or impressions, so how many people actually saw your ad and how many people clicked on your ad? That’s good to know from a volume perspective, but that’s not how you make money at the end of the day.
Shifting over to more meaningful engagement metrics will allow you to look at things like:
- Customer lifetime value
- Return on investment per campaign
Knowing each new customer you bring in, what’s the total revenue they generally spend with you over the life of the relationship? And really meaningful metrics like return on investment per campaign, which is where you can begin understanding, “Okay, what is LinkedIn driving for me versus Google, and how do I want to optimize that based off the total profitability?” And so, by creating a measurement strategy, you can make sure that all the things you’re measuring and tracking roll up to a program that gives you metrics that help you make those key decisions.
So what can you measure?
Well, campaigns need to be designed around measurements, of course. This is opposite of how a lot of campaigns are designed, though. So, we actually work with a lot of creative agencies around the country and they come to us and say, “Hey, we have this huge campaign launching next week, and we’re super excited about it. Here’s all the creative. Can you make it trackable?” We look and there’s no landing page set up for the campaign. There’s no way to be able to track phone calls or form submissions because they created the concept and then trying to figure out how to measure it. So, I suggest instead, when you’re beginning to come up with a marketing strategy for your business online, is first think about, “What do I want people to do on my website? How do I want people to engage with me?” And then figure out the creative or the way that you’re going to execute that on top of it.
So, a couple of key questions you need to answer are, what are the business goals you’re trying to achieve with your marketing campaigns? Is it driving in more prospects for your salespeople to talk to? Is it getting people to actually make a transaction if you have an e-commerce website? Figure that out first. Back up and say, what actions on your website reflect what users can do to take steps towards your goals? So, let’s say, for example, you want to generate warm leads for your sales team. A couple of different things you can do is you can have a form where people can submit their contact information, you get a phone number that’s trackable by a tool like CallRail. That can help make sure that all the phone numbers are giving credit to the marketing source. And you perhaps can also have live chat, as just three simple examples on your website. And then that goes into the what tools do we have? We’re going to talk a lot about tools in this presentation to make sure that you have access to everything that you need to track it.
Case Study Example
But first, I thought it’d be helpful to take a step back quickly and talk about an actual case study because it always makes it easier to understand when you’re talking about a real situation. So, let’s talk about a small Midwest law firm. They’re spending, let’s say, about $5,000 a month on paid media online. Let’s say, exclusively through Google Ads because that makes it easier.
So considerations, first of all, what actions on the website can be measured that show success, that they’re having success and getting new customers or clients into their law firm? Well, if they’re trying to get people to actually raise their hand and say, “I’m interested in talking to you,” it could be something like phone calls, lead submissions, or online chats. Those are three very trackable, easy things to add online.
What actions on the website can be measured that reflect success?
- Phone calls
- Lead submissions
- Online chat
What tools can we use?
Google Analytics + CallRail + Google Ads
- Set up Google Analytics on the website
- Integrate Google Analytics and Google Ads (paid media platform)
- Integrate CallRail tracking into Google Analytics
- Assign monetary value to goals (more on this later…)
- Develop automated reports that show business value driven by campaigns
The three of those tools sync really beautifully, and here’s how. So, first, we’ll set up Google Analytics on your website and make sure that all the pages are tagged correctly. We’ll talk more about that later. You will integrate Google Analytics and Google Ads together to make sure they’re sharing data back and forth. Then, you’ll do the same thing with CallRail. So, again, make sure any phone calls people make are integrated into your campaign information. Then you can do something like assigning a monetary goal per value. So, let’s say, for example, walk them through a full example of that and then it’s all about that. And then you can actually develop automated reports to send yourself emails, let’s say, once a week to look at how much potential business and revenue your campaigns are driving in on a weekly basis. And this is a really streamlined, straightforward way to make your campaigns much more measurable throughout the process versus simply focusing on driving a ton of traffic and then focusing on the number of clicks that you got.
Collecting data isn’t as easy as it sounds
One big caveat that I would have, however, is that Facebook really ruined it for everyone. Up until this point, whenever this happened whenever Facebook was interrogated for the data that they collect on users, most users did not really understand data privacy online. So, they didn’t understand that people were tracking them and their movements throughout the web. They didn’t understand that Google and Facebook were building up big profiles of individuals to be able to better sell to them. But this case, in particular, is really what raised overall awareness in the space of privacy concerns.
Before we get into specifics talking about how to track your campaigns, I need to throw a little caveat in because collecting data really isn’t as easy and straightforward as it sounds. I want to give you a couple of warnings to make sure that you don’t collect something that could end up getting you in trouble. So, there’s domestic legislation as well as global. We’re going to talk mostly about domestic. So, GDPR is actually a global legislation that came into place last year in Europe and it’s about privacy and making sure that users understand how much data you’re collecting. The California Online Privacy Protection is actually a lot of the same similarities of GDPR as far as notification and data collection rules, so you only if you see something overseas and come over to California and then spread throughout the rest of the U.S.
There are some really specific rules there as far as how you track customers and how you alert them that you’re tracking them. And if you’re in healthcare, you also need to think about HIPAA compliance around personally identifiable information or electronic health information and high tech. Those two both go hand in hand. And if you’re involved in healthcare, there should be a whole separate session for you, especially around CallRail because they actually have a HIPAA compliant version that’s absolutely amazing. So make sure you call them for that.
But beyond legislation, there’s also a lot of other trends and changes in the industry that’s going to change how things are tracked, like ITP 2.1, the new Google Analytics web and app tracking beta are both going to change the way analytics works. So, one thing to always know and keep in mind is that with analytics, what you set up today, you’ll have to keep tweaking in six months, and six months after that, and a year down the road. It’s never a set and forget it situation. So staying on top of these potential legislation issues is definitely a concern for businesses if you’re collecting information.
Understanding the difference between analytics and business intelligence
So analytics versus business intelligence. I see business owners and marketers throwing these terms around all the time, and they never really fully understand what they mean. So, I’m going to give you just a quick little 101 primer.
- Analytics is tracking usually a specific data source. Like think about Google Analytics that’s tracking the traffic on your website itself. It may pull in and have some additional information from Google Ads or Facebook Ads, but it really is platform-specific.
- Business intelligence is when you have multiple data sources, again, like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, your CallRail tracking, you put them all into one database, you can get much deeper and more comprehensive information.
The problem is there’s three steps to this, so most business owners aren’t ready for this yet, but it’s very important to know the difference. You’ll have it in your growth strategy now that maybe three years from now, you’ll start looking into BI.
Pulling data from different places
First, step one is you have to actually pull the data from the different places, put it in a warehouse or a lake and then you start analyzing it. One thing I hear all the time is, “But I have Tableau. I purchased Tableau. I’m totally doing business intelligence.” Unless you do this stuff with your data, you’re not doing business intelligence. All you’re doing is dashboarding it somewhere else and there are much cheaper options than that. So don’t fall into a trap where you buy a big business intelligence tool like Domo or Tableau until you’re really ready for it. We’ll talk a little bit more about Google Data Studio down the road in this presentation, but it’s a much better solution truly, than spending a lot of money as a small business.
What business intelligence can do, however, is give you information like this where you’re actually looking at customer value, based on marketing tactics, and it allows you to get a much better understanding across the board of what’s working and not working from an overall profitability perspective. So, definitely something to aim for down the road.
So, one thing to think about from a range of tools perspective, we talked about Google Analytics, which is something all small business owners should be using. I’m going to give you six tips to get smarter with your Google Analytics shortly. Google Data Studio is one step up as far as level of intelligence and the kinds of things you can report on. And then, the most sophisticated when you jump into business intelligence tools is when you get into Power BI, Tableau, and Domo. And, again, for most small businesses, you don’t need to worry about that right now. It probably will be more of a waste of energy and effort than a value for the amount of data that you actually receive back to optimize your campaigns, so we’re really going to just focus on Google Analytics right now.
Perfect your marketing strategy steps > Playing around with Google Analytics dashboard
So, if you had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would suggest you spend six of those hours sharpening your ax, meaning get your Google Analytics and tracking in place. You need to spend much more time on the measurement strategy and making sure that everything is in the right place and set up and tagged correctly than you do on actually being in and playing around with the Google Analytics dashboard. So many people call us and they go in and they implement Google Analytics right away, and they set everything up and they tag everything, and then they jump back to their campaigns and they say, “Well, this doesn’t make sense. This isn’t tracking the way that I thought it would.” And, “Oh, I forgot to put this pixel on this landing page. And this conversion isn’t tracking over here. And I forgot to use a call tracking number over on that side.”
When you’re getting ready to launch a campaign, I highly suggest you go through and first talk about, again, the slide at the beginning, what business goals are you trying to accomplish with your campaign? What steps on your website can the users do in order to take a step towards accomplishing that goal for you? And then third, what tools do you have available to execute that tracking, and how will you do it across the site? Then once you have that in place, you can begin implementing Google Analytics. It’ll be much less overwhelming that way, I promise.
Six key steps for tracking marketing campaign success
We’re going to talk about six key things that you need to think about whenever you’re setting up Google Analytics and digging in. The first is you want to understand who the reports are for and their needs. Big caveat, don’t include everything. I find so many people, especially if you’re a marketer in a small business, the gut instinct is to include everything possible within the report. Of course, they’re going to want to know what headlines drove the most click and which keyword drove the most conversions, and all of these things.
But there’s a big difference between providing that level of insight to somebody who’s optimizing the campaign or they need that information to optimize it versus a manager or an owner of the company that needs more of an executive summary.
1. Create reporting strategies for the right people
What we always suggest is go through and after you implement all of the tracking, start creating reporting strategies and saying, “Okay, here’s the three key constituents that I need to report out to, what information do they each need in order to clearly understand how well the campaign is doing, how much revenue we’re driving for the company, and what optimizations we’re going to make in order to move it forward?” And so normally, you’ll see that in three separate areas. In most organizations, you’ll have executive level, C-suite, you’ll have marketing leadership, and then you’ll have junior-level employees, whose hands are actually in the campaign optimizing it.
What we suggest doing normally is focusing on five to six key data points, visualizations per report for the executive level and the marketing management level. And then you can always provide additional information in the appendix if they insist upon it.
One of the things that we see often is death of the campaign because of too much information.
If you share too much information, then they get really granular into the weeds, and they begin often trying to optimize it with you versus letting the people who are the experts of the campaigns optimize it. Like, I know some of the team members or individuals who are in here talking about PPC management before, they should be the ones developing the optimization strategies, not the marketing leaders within the organizations. It will make it really just so much more effective. And really finding the urge to include everything in your Google Analytics account will be super helpful and make it much easier to pull every month as well.
2. Become Google Analytics certified
A huge recommendation is to get Google Analytics certified. And I’d also include Google Tag Manager certification. So, with Google Analytics, they have an awesome academy where you can go through and actually have courses that teach you how to use Google Analytics. Same thing with Google Tag Manager, same thing with Google Ads. All of these courses are free online, and I believe it’s actually free to take the certification test now also.
It is so worth your time to spend a couple of hours every Friday for a few weeks doing all of the training lessons and getting certified. Even if you are not the person on the team that’s going to be the one implementing Google Analytics, creating the dashboards, or pulling them every month, being able to understand the structure of how the technology works and how all the data pieces pull together will help you be a much better manager of your team members, and help make sure you’re getting the depth and granularity of the content and measurement that is available in the platform.
One thing that I’ll say is that at Anvil, every single team member of ours, even if they’re a designer or a sales team member, business development, go through Google Analytics training and certification. We think it is extremely important for everybody to understand how the tool works. Again, even if you’re not the one using it every day. I’ll say, I am even Google Analytics certified as the owner of the business. And it’s wonderful to make sure that you stay up with the tool and how it’s progressing.
3. Audit your Google Analytics setup before campaigns launch
One of the recommendations that we have is before a campaign launches, especially if you think you already implemented Google Analytics before, you need to step back and audit all of your measurement tools and their setup before you turn the campaign on. We’ve had quite a few brands and agencies call us and they would say, “Well, we’re freaking out over here. We launched a campaign two weeks ago, and we just logged in, and nothing’s tracking correctly.” That’s because the Facebook pixel they thought was set up might have been from another account, or maybe they had the wrong one synced and nobody did an audit before they turned the account on and the campaign on to make sure that everything would track correctly. And so it is very laborious, and I know it’s not the most fun task in the world. But before every single campaign launches, you should have an internal checklist that has you go through and say, “What platform is this campaign touching? What tags are available from third-party tools like Facebook or Google to implement to our website to make sure we’re measuring it correctly? How are we tracking conversions on our site? And then going in and make sure everything is set up correctly.
Setting basic filters
Another thing that we would suggest, too, is a couple of basic filters within your Google Analytics account. So, first, you always want to have one filter that just says, “All,” where you aren’t changing anything, and then create a copy of that, or a second one in order to make any of your tweaks. And I’ll give you a couple of tweaks in a moment.
But we found that what’s clearly important to remember that Google Analytics only processes your data one time. So, if you make filters on your Google Analytics view or profile, you can never go back and see what would have happened with the data and traffic otherwise.
We always recommend having one that’s free and clear of any filters and then, for the next one, start adding some filters. And one filter you always want to add is make sure that you exclude your own IP addresses, and IP addresses of any agencies or people that are working and contributing on the campaign because that can skew your numbers, especially for small businesses. If you have 10 or 15 employees at your own office and it’s a small campaign, that really could skew your numbers quite a bit. So you want to make sure they’re not included in Google Analytics, they don’t mess your numbers up at all, and then you’ll have clean data to look at.
Ensuring goals & events correctly
Another thing in making sure your setup is correct is going through and ensuring that your goals and events are tracked correctly. Let me walk through the difference of goals versus events. Goals are firm things on your website that people do such as submitting a form submission. That could be considered a goal. And with those goals, you can actually assign monetary value. So, again, going back to that example of the law firm, and each case being worth $150, if they convert 1 out of 10, you could assign each goal submission $150 and be able to see how much potential revenue you’re driving with your campaign. An event is more of a click on a website, so it’s more an action or engagement point that somebody is taking that shows they’re engaging with your content, they’re moving forward, but they aren’t actually submitting contact information. It can be really helpful to measure that beforehand to make sure that you can have a view of your visitors going through your website to the ultimate conversion point. That way, you know what you need to tweak or modify on your website can be really helpful and important.
4. Track traditional campaigns
This is one that everybody loves thinking isn’t possible, but it is fun to find ways to track your traditional marketing campaign. So, most small businesses are not only doing digital marketing, they’re also doing some sort of traditional marketing, whether it’s flyers or mailers or billboards or TV commercials. So, what we always suggest is stepping back a little bit, outside of only thinking about your digital campaigns and think, “How can I implement tracking methodology with my more traditional campaigns?” And so a couple of easy things. Of course, you want to have tracking phone numbers. So, within CallRail, you can create new phone numbers for each of your campaigns that you send out and it will redirect to your main number. Tracking URLs that are shorter URLs, people can type it in and you can track the traffic source. Those are two easy ones.
But what about things like billboards or TV commercials? Cohort analysis is one good example if you’re at, let’s say, a trade show. So, if you’re at a trade show, like, for example, I spoke at a big healthcare marketing conference last year in November, and we went and had a booth and a really nice display, we could create a cohort analysis for anybody who came to our website during the days of the conference from that city where the conference was held is a cohort, and Google Analytics will create it as a cohort. And then you can track the performance of that cohort through your website over time to see if they act and perform differently than normal people that visited your website. So, even if they did not submit a form on your website, or call you as a result of seeing you at the tradeshow or the booth, you still can track the behavior to get a general understanding if it was worthwhile to go to the trade show or not because maybe those visitors 30 days later came back to submit a form. And the only way you could tie them back together is if they were part of that original cohort.
Another example is dayparting match-up. So, this is a good one for TV commercials. So, with TV commercials, one of the things that we like to do is actually get the schedule of airtime. So, if you know what DNAs and what the airtime for all of your commercials are, you can actually create a dayparting schedule where you can actually track bumps in your analytics during those windows. And then pro tip, you can also create bumps within your Google Ads campaign to be able to match that, because a lot of studies show if they google your name right when they see a commercial, they’re much more likely to convert then versus later. So I would do it on two sides, I would track it on the analytic side, and I would also track it and bump it a little bit on the Google AdWords side.
It’s very difficult though to do attribution overall for traditional campaigns. It’s much easier to do attribution for digital campaigns. And what do I mean by attribution? Attribution just means knowing where a sale came from. It’s really easy to know if somebody clicked on a Google ad, filled the form out, you called them and they bought. That came from Google, but attributions can be more difficult. So, when you get more sophisticated, you can look into things like mixed-media modeling, where you start going through and modeling some of the different behaviors that people do on your site based off of the things that they engage with and start assigning monetary values to your different tactics. But that’s down the road for most small businesses, and focusing on the foundations is good for now. But knowing it’s possible down the road is definitely something that’s valuable.
5. Make sure everyone is using the same data
This is a big one, work with your agency partners and your internal team to make sure you’re using the same data. We’ve seen time and time again that agency partners love to use their own dashboards that show how amazing they are doing. The problem is you maybe can’t duplicate that data using your Google Analytics account, so where are they getting this information? Now, it’s very true that Google and Facebook and even Google Ads will never match, ever. And they’ll never match because their tracking methodology is different.
For example, Facebook is a hog. They will take credit for every single lead that’s submitted if they’ve ever clicked through with a Google Pixel, whereas Google Analytics does last-click attribution, so they will say, if they go through and they maybe find you on Facebook first, then they sign up for your email newsletter, and then they finally google you, click on a Google ad and call, the Google ad is what will get credit. Facebook will also take that credit, too, so it will be double counting if you don’t set an attribution strategy with your agency partners.
Have a meeting of the minds
What I like to do whenever we’re brought into a situation where there are multiple agencies…and this happens all the time, maybe you have an agency that you love for branding and design work, but you want a different agency for creative…or, sorry for digital, and maybe even a different agency for your analytics work. Totally normal to not have one shop that can service all of your needs. But have a meeting of the minds. Host a working session one morning or afternoon and sit them down and say, “Here’s how my analytics accounts are structured. Here’s my measurement plan for my campaigns. And here’s the way we’re going to report on our campaigns. And agencies, I love that you’re trying to use your own data sources, but we need to stick to mine to make sure that we’re all looking at the same data.” It really will make sure that everybody collaborates much more heavily than fighting over who gets credit over different ad sources.
Assign a monetary value to your goals in Google Analytics
I talked about this one briefly, but assign a monetary value to your goals in Google Analytics. This is a really easy one that provides a lot of gut reaction help as far as if campaigns are working or not working. So, once you create a goal, which again, could be a form submission, going back to that law firm example. Let’s say that the lifetime value of a customer for this small law firm is $10,000, only 1 out of 10 leads convert. So then I would actually assign each form submission goal a value of $1,000 because once you get 10, you’ll have $10,000, and if 1 out of 10 commits, that’s how the math works. And so, it’s a really wonderful way to be able to see, is this working the way that I think it will work from a campaign optimization perspective? And then the big thing here is you have to go back and actually check the math. So, after the campaign has been running for a couple of months, go back and look at the actuals. So, how much money did you actually drive with the campaign? And then go back and fix your monetary value goals and make sure that it’s as close to reality as possible. You have to do some guessing at the beginning. That’s the only way you can get started.
6. Develop automated reports to save time
You can spend your time on insights versus report pulling. For small businesses, this is one of the number one tips I can give you. After, of course, auditing your campaign setup is automating your reports. So, going through and making sure that your reports are pulled automatically by the system and emailed to yourself and other key constituents within your business can save you hours. We actually are working with a couple of clients right now because they have team members spending eight hours a week pulling reports to email out to people. And they are using a business intelligence tool like Power BI, so it’s not as easy as Google Analytics, but we’re working with them right now to automate all of those reports. That way, they can actually free up a massive amount of hours from an employee’s plate on a weekly and monthly basis to focus on more important tasks, such as actually looking at that report and then figuring out how to optimize the campaign off of it. That is where your time really should be spent.
And again, if you go through and create your measurement strategy at the beginning, you audit and make sure that you’re actually tracking those actions on the website that show the prospect, or potential client, is moving in the direction that we want. And then you spend time going through and making sure you’re optimizing your campaign to improve the performance, you will be leap years ahead of other small businesses as far as really understanding what’s working with your marketing and having a data-driven approach.
And so, with that, I will leave you with my contact information. If you have any questions, reach out to me at email@example.com. I love talking to small business owners. I actually met CallRail because we were doing a joint webinar with them on a different topic around call tracking. And we love doing education and making sure that not only are people getting tracking that works for them for their business, but they understand it. So, I would love to talk to you if you have any questions about my presentation today. Feel free to reach out. And with that, thank you so much for coming today. I appreciate it.
Good afternoon, everybody. Thanks for joining this presentation of mine. Hope you have a lot of energy left. I know it’s 2:30, so hang in there. Today we’re going to be talking about how to optimize your inbound lead strategy. And more specifically, I want to dive deep into how to track and also attribute all steps of the customer journey, which can have a dramatic impact on your performance. And you’d be surprised how all companies, big and small, forget to set this up correctly.
So, I’m Jonathan. I’m from Webistry. We’ve been around for about eight years now. We are a digital advertising agency. And our sole purpose is to optimize the entire customer journey online, starting with the paid click. So, we deal only with paid campaigns on platforms like Google ads, Facebook ads, Amazon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, you name it. But we don’t stop there. Above and beyond optimizing on the ad level, we optimize post-click on the landing page level, but also after you get your leads in.
- What’s your ultimate goal?
- How to make it happen
- Tracking vs Attribution
- Ad-Level Quantitative Optimization
- Ad-Level Qualitative Optimization
- Landing page optimization
- Real world optimization
So, today we want to talk about several things. We want to discuss your ultimate goal. What is your advertising goal? And how to make it happen, how to make your goals come true. We also want to talk about tracking versus attribution. What’s the difference between those two terms? We want to talk about ad-level optimization, both on a quantitative level, but also on a qualitative level. And I’ll explain the difference very shortly. We want to talk about landing page optimization, which is actually more important than you think. And finally, we’re going to talk about real world optimization, probably the most important and most forgotten part of the customer journey.
What is your ultimate goal?
Is it to be first on Google all the time?
And if that’s your goal, I’m here to tell you to squash that goal. That should not be your ultimate advertising goal. Being first on Google is great. Actually, Google has abolished that metric. You cannot know what is your average position within your Google Ads dashboard anymore. Being first on Google often means that you are overpaying for your click. You need to be bidding higher than everybody else to be first constantly.
So, what I have to say to that goal is this, if you’re spending your full budget and you’re getting great quality traffic, high intent traffic for your budget, your position on Google does not matter. You’re accomplishing your ultimate goal is to get the most high intent, high quality traffic for your budget at the least cost possible. And sometimes that means that you’re third or even fifth, but that’s okay.
Is your goal to appear on Google for all searches?
Well, in most cases that’s quite impossible. But that would mean that your impression share, that’s a metric that Google gives you, would be 100%. To have 100% impression share means that you are either overpaying for your click or you’re spending the full budget potential in your market, which sometimes could be tens of thousands of dollars. So, to appear on Google all the time is almost impossible for most people.
Is it for people to like your Facebook page and engage with your posts?
Although that would be a great thing and could have some advantages, that should not be your ultimate goal. In fact, if you were to go on any Facebook page as a user, you’ll have trouble finding the page like count. Facebook has kind of hid that away because it’s not the most important factor.
Is your goal to get more clicks?
Although that’s a great goal, it should only be a secondary goal. You can be getting hundreds of thousands of clicks. If they don’t convert, they’re worth absolutely nothing. So, what should be your ultimate goal or goals in this case?
Well, you’ll want to have:
- A low cost per lead
- High conversion rates
- High closing rates on the sales level
- Measurability for all of your campaigns
- High return on investment
How can we make that happen? I’m going to walk you through those steps.
How to make it happen
Numbers speak louder than words. That’s actually our slogan at Webistry. We have big posters that quote this sentence right here. And if numbers speak louder than words, that means that you need numbers to make decisions. And for you to have access to numbers, you need data.
Making decisions with data
How do you get your data when optimizing? The first thing you need to make sure you’re doing before even launching any campaigns, whatsoever, is to have tracking and attribution setup for every data point in your customer’s journey.
Your customer is complex. And if you think you know them best or you’re a designer or you’re an advertiser, you’re wrong.
We do not know customers best. The only way to get to know our customer is through data. Their behavior changes every day, every week. The platforms we’re using change every day, every week. And so, we need to adapt. And we can only do that through tracking. So, you need to keep in mind that real optimization is only possible when you have actionable data. You need to be collecting data at every point. Your data must have statistical significance. What does that mean? That means you need volume. You need enough conversions, enough leads or calls in order to make decisions on what’s working, and what’s not working, and what to do to optimize. Your data tells a story. You cannot change that story. That story is your user’s behavior. But you can change the narrative with your data. So, understand how your user behaves with your campaigns and within the market, and optimize for that behavior instead of trying to change it.
Tracking VS Attribution
Before I get into the difference, very important disclaimer. Always own your data no matter what. If you’re using Google Analytics, if you’re using the Facebook Pixel or a business manager account on Facebook, if you’re using a Pinterest tag or a LinkedIn tag, make sure you own those tracking tags. And more importantly, do not let your freelancers or your agency place their own tracking tags. Data is the most valuable thing your business will build above and beyond your customer base. Your data allows you to run campaigns that are profitable. People sell data in the open market. They sell Facebook Pixel data, analytics data. It’s a common practice so make sure you own it all.
The true difference between tracking and attribution
Now, what is the difference between tracking and attribution? You’d be surprised, big companies don’t even know the difference. So, don’t make the difference between small to medium business or bigger companies or experience, everybody, all businesses of all shapes and forms mistake these two and fail to set them up correctly.
- Tracking is like saying, “I got 87 phone calls this month from Google Ads. It’s great to know, it’s important.”
- Attribution means, “I know exactly what search terms the user entered in order to find the ad, click through, and call me.”
And that’s when optimization is made possible. Without attribution, you cannot optimize. If we [inaudible 00:07:39] didn’t Google Ads dashboard, you cannot know where your phone calls came from on a keyword level. How can you be optimizing for keywords that convert? We’re going to walk you through that very shortly.
Set up keyword-level call tracking
So, what’s essential to make attribution happen and the most commonly missed step is setting up keyword level call tracking. Keyword level call tracking allows you to know which specific inbound phone call came from which user and which search term was typed in for that call to take place. So once again, we’re connecting your phone calls. And we’re not just talking about tap to call on your phone, it could be someone reading on their desktop, and picking up their landline and calling you. We want to know which keyword or search term this call came from. And that’s what this keyword level call tracking allows us to do.
Ad-Level Quantitative Optimization
- Optimize for leads, not just traffic
- Keep an eye on your conversion rate, lead volume, cost per lead
- Make bid optimizations, add negative keywords, add high converting keywords, & eliminate low converting keywords
Let’s talk about optimizing on the ad level, the first stage of your customer journey, that click, paid click. And let’s start with quantitative optimization. With quantitative optimization, you want to be optimizing for leads, not just traffic. And even if people think they’re optimizing for leads, in fact, more often than not, they’re optimizing for traffic, for clicks and nothing else. Because they’ve missed the keyword level call tracking. And in lead gen, you get a lot of phone calls in most cases. So, keep an eye on these key metrics, your conversion rate, your lead volume, and your cost per lead. Those are your three KPIs when you’re optimizing for leads and not clicks. When you’re able to look at these three KPIs, you’re able to make a series of decisions with that data. As long as you have enough data, you can make bid optimizations, meaning you can decide which keywords you want to pay more for or less for. That’s your cost per click. You could add negative keywords. Typical negative keywords, those are words that you do not want it to appear for, for example, jobs or cheapest or discount. Sorry. Back to that slide. Those are your typical negative keywords. But you will find new negative keywords, and it’s essential to be adding them to your campaigns. You can add high converting keywords, new keywords, and you can eliminate low converting or expensive keywords.
This is an example of keyword level call attribution on the campaign level. We have four campaigns here. And as you can tell, they have different conversion rates. We’re tracking in one column, not the phone calls. And in the two other columns, the amount of form submissions, and we’ve even been able to separate out a qualified lead from a semi-qualified lead. And this is in a multi-step form but we’re able to do that. I won’t get into the details of those last two columns. In this case, we can tell that there’s one campaign you’re struggling at a conversion rate of 1.61% compared to almost 15% for the highest compared campaign. I would not be able to know that with just phone calls. In fact, if I looked at only the form submissions, I would see 88 qualified leads and I would not see those 126 phone calls and my decisions would be completely different. So, that’s on a campaign level. But we can go even deeper on the keyword level. I’m going to zoom in here. So, this is on the keyword level. If the campaign is not doing well, you should not exit right away. Go into that campaign and look at your ad groups, and look at your keywords, and see if there’s any keywords that are dragging you down if you can turn things around. In this case, we see a keyword that’s converting at 3.16% at the bottom and midway in this report, another keyword converting at 3.42%. Whereas, all the others are 10% plus. So, this is an opportunity to either bid higher on the high conversion rate keywords or eliminate the low converting keywords.
So, how can you make all this happen? Right? You need to connect things in order to track and attribute. CallRail has some future key solutions that you can look into. They’re very well documented. We won’t walk you through how to do it.
- Dynamic Number Insertion for your landing pages
- Google Ads integration for keyword level attribution
- Facebook Ads integration for ad level attribution
You need to set up Dynamic Number Insertion for all your landing pages. What does that mean? That means that when any user lands on a page, your phone number up top or at the bottom or anywhere in the page will be dynamically swapped to a tracking number. And every new user is supposed to see a unique number. Basically, you have a number pool, maybe five numbers, maybe seven tracking numbers, and these are rotating between your users. And this is what allows a system to attribute the source of your calls. Number two, once you’ve established that on your pages, you need to integrate your Callrail account with your Google ads or Facebook ads account. And that’s also fairly simple. So, if you’ve done those two things, you’re able to do everything I’ve discussed in the last few slides.
Let’s look at an example of tracking versus attribution. And it’s not just about phone calls, it’s about form submissions too. And in a lot of cases for our customers, you have multi-step forms. These multi-step forms allow us to achieve higher conversion rates, but also to filter out for lead quality so that we know that the last lead that we get is with high quality lead. So, this is an example of a landing page that we can look at in detail at the end of the presentation.
This is a company that sells car insurance, but they’re a neutral party. They’re basically showing you options of car insurance companies and their pricing and allowing you to purchase your car insurance on the spot. You’re instantly comparing the best prices. In their market, they’re one of the only ones to do that instantly. So, they have four steps in their multi-step form.
- The first step is to give them information about your vehicle.
- The second step is to give your information, your personal information, like your full name and your email and your phone number.
- The third step is when they present you with all the policy options and the pricing.
- The fourth step, which we will go through right now, is the checkout. That’s when the purchase takes place.
Tracking these steps is important, but more importantly, is attribution. So, this is in Facebook ads right now. We’re looking at several columns on the campaign level. And every column here is tracking and attributing a step in the form. Now, if I was just creating a custom event with a Pixel, I would not be able to do this. To be able to attribute your conversions in Facebook ads, we need to do two things. We need to create a custom event for every step of the form. We’ve labeled them here S1, your vehicle, S2, your info, and S3, your policy. Once you’ve set up your custom events, you need to set up your custom conversions and that’s when you’re able to attribute specific events.
Let’s look at this example here. If we look at the campaign level with four rows, we can look at the last column to make it a little bit simpler. Your cost per, S3, step three. That’s a cost of getting someone to fill out the third step of your form. And we’re seeing that the first two campaigns are clear winners at $2 and $4 per lead, and the 2 last campaigns are significantly more expensive at 10 to $11 per lead. We’re seeing a gross difference between all four campaigns.
Now, we can go into the two last campaigns and look at the ad level or the ad group level and we can optimize there, perhaps there’s one creative that is dragging this performance down, or we might decide to completely eliminate those two last campaigns. Now, one important thing for Facebook ads for the algorithm to work for you, to help you reach the right people within your audience, you need to be generating 50 to 75 events every 7 days at least. So, at least 50 events so the algorithm starts working for you. The more, the better. In this case, we can be optimizing for step three, step two, and step one. I rather optimize for step three, which is further along the form process. Now, let’s look at a very simple report with only one metric, cost per click. And this is a report that does not have attribution set up. Those are theoretical numbers. They’re not real numbers. So, in this scenario, considering everything else being equal like your click-through rates and your impressions, we’re looking only at cost per click. I would decide to eliminate keyword E, which is the most expensive by far. It is five times the price of keyword A, so I would eliminate that keyword. From keyword A, in the scenario where I’m looking for more volume, I will need to increase my bid. And in the middle, at keyword C, I would maintain that cost per click. So, setting up decisions is fairly simple. Now, let’s add attribution to the mix.
Same cost per clicks, same keywords, but we’ve added cost per lead to the mix. And now, your most expensive keyword at $5 is also giving you your cheapest leads at $10 per lead. And your cheapest cost per click up top at $1 is giving you your most expensive cost per lead. So, as you can tell, our decisions are being completely flipped. The keyword I once wanted to eliminate I’m now willing to spend more on. And the keyword I was willing to pay more for, I need to now eliminate. And this is what attribution can do. It could flip your decisions around very quickly.
Ad-Level Qualitative Optimization
- Optimize for quality, not just leads
- Use CallRail’s integrations with popular CRMs or Google Sheets with UTM parameters
- Keep an eye out on your closing rate, lead scoring, and ROI
Let’s talk about ad-level optimization on the qualitative side. So, what does that mean? That means you want to optimize for lead quality and not just leads. In the scenario before, we’re optimizing just for leads with a cost per lead. But what if my cheapest cost per lead is bringing me the most horrible quality of leads?
What you need to set things up
Well, we need to integrate with CRMs. If you don’t have any or if you don’t want to pay for a CRM, you can integrate with a Google Sheet. And that integration needs to be able to pull over your form submissions and your phone calls, but also it needs to tell you where they came from. And CallRail allows you to do that with their integrations. You need to also make sure you have UTM parameters set up so that when a person clicks on your ad, we know exactly where they came from up until they take the final step, which is converting. Lastly, you need to keep your eye out on those three KPIs, which is closing rate, lead scoring, and return on investment. Lead scoring could be simple. Just give a score to your lead on your Google Sheet or your CRM. It could be on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. Closing rate is very important as well and so is your ROI. That one is a little bit harder to get, you need to be communicating with your entire team, but it’s the most important one. So, this is a previous example. We’re only tracking your cost per lead. And we had said that I would be willing to pay more for your $5 CPC because it’s getting me the cost per lead of $10. But what if that $10 cost per lead is bringing me horrible leads? And I’m able to track that with, for instance, your return on ad spend. That could also be your lead score. It could be your closing rate, that’s up to you. You can look at all three of them, but your analysis becomes a little bit more complex. For the sake of exercise, we’re going to look at return on ad spend only. So, in this case, my $5 CPC is not my highest role. My highest return on ad spend is for keyword C at 5X. Now, if I’m getting 5X return, I’m willing to pay more so I can show up more. So, I’ll bid…I will increase my bid so I can get more volume for that keyword and, ultimately, I will also increase my budget. The keyword that is generating the smallest realization, I would eliminate in this case, and the others, I would just manage it by bid optimization. So, again, just to compare, my decisions have been flipped entirely just by tracking the quality of leads or outcome of leads in this case.
Landing page optimization
Now, we might ask ourselves, what can I do to fuel my split testing for landing pages? Or why did this old design convert better? What can I pull from those results? And there’s no real way of knowing for sure. But you can help yourself by using heatmapping.
- On-page click heatmaps
- On-page movement heatmaps
- On-page scroll heatmaps
So, heatmapping will allow you to know where are people clicking in within your page. Where are they’re moving their cursor? And my favorite, which is scroll heatmap, would be to know at which stage in the page are people leaving. For instance, if 90% of your users leave before even scrolling past the first section, there’s a problem. Your headline might be off, maybe not interesting enough, maybe not specific enough. Maybe you’re not message matching with your ad copy. You can even have session recording for your landing page sessions, which are video recordings of the user interacting with your page. This can provide you with lots of insight.
Real world optimization
Now, on to the last most important stage, real world optimization. And as an agency, for years, we struggled with that. We were delivering amazing results up until the last step. The customer would call us and say, “I didn’t make sales this month.” And we look at our numbers and they look amazing. So, we decided to help our customers post lead, after they receive the lead.
Optimize your phone systems
- Do you have an auto respondent? What do customers want?
- Do you keep callers on hold? How long is too long?
- Do you have way too many missed calls? Why is that?
- Are there patterns emerging (i.e. constant wrong numbers)?
Do you have an auto respondent?
If your customer really wants to deal with a machine, keep in mind, those users that are calling you are from paid campaigns, generally high quality and high intent. They know what they want. They don’t want to talk to your customer service or your billing, they want more information. So, you can skip the machine and the respondent and take them straight to a representative.
Do you keep callers on hold, and how long is too long?
If I know what I’m looking for and I have a list of two other competitors that I’m going to call, I will not wait two minutes on the phone. And that’s me. And a lot of people would agree with that. Do not keep your customers on hold when they’re calling in from your ads. Find a solution for that.
You have way too many missed calls and why is that?
If you have 50% of your calls missed calls and you tell me, “Well, give me more form submissions.” I won’t do that. Your call, your users, your leads prefer calling you. We’re not going to change your behavior. We have to adjust to their behavior.
Are there any patterns that are emerging?
For example, constant wrong numbers. I’ll give you a really good scenario for this. We’re dealing with a lot of dental clinics at the beginning of the business and we realized there was a pattern emerging. They’re getting a lot of wrong numbers. And by recording our calls, we’re able to listen in and figure out that the wrong numbers where people who search for their own dentist. For example, Smith Dental Clinic. Because we are bidding on the word dental clinic, we might appear for similar related keywords and then we might appear for someone looking for Smith Dental Clinic. Now, how do you avoid that? In this example, you have to add a negative keyword for word the Smith. To avoid this problem altogether, we decided for every market, for a dental practice, we would find all their competitor names and import that as a negative keyword list. And that problem was solved. That’s a really good example of how you can optimize post lead by listening to call recordings and then adjusting on the keyword level.
The solution? Analytics & automation:
- Call recording
- Call Transcription
- Conversation Analytics for calls
- Callback feature for forms submissions
How can you optimize your human capital? Are you able to get back to people right away when they fill out a form? Or you get back to them five hours or a day later? Is your staff handling calls correctly? Are they nice, polite, and generous in their information giving? Or are they impatient and impolite? There’s only one way to know, you have to listen to the calls. Is your staff knowledgeable about your services or product? If you have a new promotion, are they aware of it? Are they knowledgeable about the product itself? Now, how do you get answers to these questions? It’s very simple. You need to enable call recording. The examples I mentioned utilize call recording. Call scripting can be very powerful. That’s the activity whereas your system is taking your recordings and transcribing them in written form. And when you have transcriptions, you can utilize conversation analytics for your phone calls. For example, if most of your calls finished with the words appointment confirmed, the system will pick up on that and report back to you that 80% of your calls are generating appointments. That’s a really good way to go through high volume of leads without going through them individually.
A callback feature can also be priceless here. So, what is a callback feature? When someone fills out a form instead of having to go through emails, and as you all know, we get a lot of emails. We need to prioritize and sift through them before you know you’re getting back to a customer hours later. The callback feature is where the system connects you via phone. The system will dial your number or your sales rep’s number, and as soon as they pick up, it will connect them with the lead’s phone number. So, the lead is simply filling out your form and receiving a call within 30 seconds, and on your end, you’re just picking up the phone.
Now, what are the takeaways? We’re almost out of time here, so I’m going to summarize the takeaways of this presentation. How do you optimize for the customer journey? First, you need to own all your tracking tags. Make sure you do that before you create any campaigns. Make sure you set up keyword level call tracking and attribution. Track and attribute all steps of the multi-step form if you have. And even if you don’t, I recommend you try to enable some multi-step forms. Track and attribute lead quality and lead outcome. So that means lead scoring, closing rates on the sales level, and ROI. And make sure you’re connecting that with the source. Create an optimized landing pages, set up call recording, and conversation analytics. And finally, set up that callback feature for your forms. That’s about it for me today. Thank you for sticking around. And if you have any questions, you can find me. Thank you.
All right. Hey, everybody. My name is Adam Arkfeld, and today, I’m going to be talking about Google Ads. And if you didn’t catch my session earlier, I talked about Facebook ads, so there’ll be a recording of that. So, this is my second session. I’m excited to be back. We’re going to be talking about Google Ads and PPC. Went the wrong way, sorry.
All right. So, my name is Adam. I own a company called ParaCore. We do pay-per-click marketing, Facebook ads, Google Ads, things of that nature. Today, we’re going to be talking about “5 Google Ad concepts You Need to Know for PPC Success.” So, 30 minutes is not an incredible amount of time, and there’s a wide variety of people watching this live stream. So, I’m going to touch on a few components that I think are really important foundationally for Google Ads. And hopefully, there’s something for everyone in this, whether you’re a little bit more advanced, or a little bit more basic.
Learning Muay Thai
Before I get started, I want to tell you a quick story. Earlier this year, I started in Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a type of martial arts. It’s called the art of eight limbs, where you use your hands, your elbows, your knees and your shins. And, on the left here, you can see my trainer is teaching another guy how to use the ladder for proper footwork and striking. And in the middle, you can see shin guards. So, what I learned starting Muay Thai and going down this route of being a pure beginner in a space that I know nothing about, is that there are a few key components in every type of discipline that are incredibly critical. So, on the left side with my trainer stepping into the ladder, he’s teaching us about footwork. And fighting, it’s all about the footwork. It’s all about keeping your balance, making sure you’re not going to get knocked over, making sure when you’re striking, you have the right footwork, and the ladder helps with that. That’s a tool and a foundational technique that’s important in Muay Thai.
In the middle picture with my shin guards, what you’ll notice, again, on the left, the big bag behind my trainer, Shamik, that big black bag, you kick that bag. What I didn’t realize when I first started is that when you kick a bag, you might as well be punched. You’re hitting a bag extremely with a lot of force and it bruises your feet, it bruises your shins, and I will spare you the picture of the bruised feet that I have from kicking those bags. But the shin guards and that also guard your feet help protect you when you’re training on the bags. So, if your feet aren’t used to it, they can get cut and bruised, and you don’t want that to happen.
Learning the right techniques for Google Ads
So, today, I want to talk about the right tools and the right technique and the right foundation for your Google Ads, right? So, if you’re getting into this space or you’re in this space and you’re wanting to kind of just take it to the next level, there are certain foundational techniques that are incredibly critical to know. There are tools that will protect you to make sure that you’re not going to get hurt and you won’t burn thousands of dollars. On the right, I went to watch my trainer just last weekend win a title fight. And so it’s always helpful to have someone in your corner helping you out when you’re going through this process to train you and help, someone that’s already been through it and doing it. So, I’m not Shamik and I’m not winning a title fight, but I can certainly help you in the Google Ads realm and that’s what I hope to be doing in this presentation.
- Are Google Ads still worth it?
- What you need to know about Google Ads
- Big Brother Tactics
- Using Google’s intelligence to help your ads
- PPC Pro tips
We’re going to be talking about five things today. The first thing is, does Google still make financial sense? I hear this a lot, especially with people who haven’t been in the space very much. They say, “Hey. Google is so expensive. Does it make sense? Does it work?” So we’re going to talk about that. I’m going to give you a plan on how to figure that out for yourself. The second thing is I’m going to tell you the one thing that you need to know about Google Ads advertising, plus, like, a little supplement to that, so maybe two things that are very, very foundational, if you’re not that experienced in the platform.
Third, we’re going to talk about some big brother features that not a lot of advertisers use, in my experience. Google’s already big brother, but there are some features that are a little bit more hidden and slightly more advanced that I want to talk about. Number four, Google is smarter than you, get over it. We’re going to talk about how Google’s intelligence can actually help you in your ad campaigns and not be afraid of their intelligence. And then five, in my earlier session, I talked about tips to look fly in front of your hipster marketing friends. And yes, we are talking about that again. So, these are some things that are just kind of unique, sort of, like, tangential tools and tactics and things that we use within my agency to help the campaigns and move our campaigns forward.
Is Google Ads worth the money?
All right, let’s get into it. Does Google still make sense? As I was mentioning, a lot of people will often ask me if the platform makes sense because the cost per click is so high, and there are a few things to consider here. With Facebook, the cost per click is a lot lower, particularly you’re looking at $1 to $2 per click. And in Google, it can get very expensive. A lot of industries are $5, $6, $7, $8, and can get all the way up to $50, $60, $70 in the legal industry and things like that. But it’s all a math game. It has nothing to do with what you perceive as an expensive click or what might seem expensive. We all boil it down to math. And I’m going to go over some of the math that we use here to back into determining if Google makes sense for you. So we are going to go over math for a little bit, but I think it’ll be very helpful. And using these formulas will not only help you determine if it makes sense for you, but also help you diagnose a campaign that might be underperforming.
So, I’m going to throw a lot of numbers up here, so stick with me. This is really important if you’re getting into the space of pay-per-click advertising, and this will be the only math slide I have, but it’s extremely important. I do have them popping up. Great. And I think I have them popping up. All right. So, a lot of times when you see a funnel and people start talking about campaigns, it’s impressions and clicks at the top and then it drills down into a customer at the bottom. And with our math, we’re actually going to flip that funnel upside down, and we’re going to talk about an acquisition first. Because you, as a business owner or marketer, have a decent idea of what an acquisition should be. For us, for ParaCore, let’s say, that I am comfortable with an acquisition price of $3,000. If someone said, “I will sell you a customer, what would you pay?” I would probably pay $3,000 for that customer. For you, it might be $500. If you’re e-commerce, it might be 20%, so a $100 product, it might be $40. It could be $20,000 if you’re B2B. It could be a lot of different things.
So, for us, we’re going to use $3000 as an example. Now, you just have to start backing into some metrics to drill down to actually the variables that are important. So, if I close 10% of deals that come my way from pay-per-click, I need 10 leads to get a new client. Ten leads, I close 10% of those, I have one new client. That makes sense. So, if my cost per acquisition is $3,000 that means that I need 10 leads at $300 per lead in order to generate a new customer. So, at the bottom, we have a $300 cost per lead, I’ll close 1 in 10 of those, that means I have a $3000 cost per acquisition, all right? So, those are sort of the business variables.
Now, we’re going to move into conversion variables that have more to do with Google AdWords. The first one is conversion rate, so the conversion rate on your landing page. If I am driving traffic to a landing page, my landing page is going to convert at a certain rate. So, for example, if I have 20 clicks that come to my landing page and I converted 5%, then I’m going to get one lead. So, 20 clicks, converting at 5% gives me one lead, and then I need 10 leads to get a sale. So, 10 leads is 20 clicks times 10 leads is 200 clicks. Now, the next thing I’m going to do is I’m going to back into what my cost per click can be in order to get a cost per acquisition of $3,000. So, my maximum cost per click based on these variables is $15. If I can get 200 clicks at $15 a click, on average, I will acquire a customer for $3,000.
Now, I went through the math this way, because if you’re not sure if Google Ads is right for you, and you’re trying to assess that with a PPC provider or an internal marketer, you can back into a cost per click, and then any PPC professional can get a good estimate of what your cost per click is going to be, so that’s a number they can back into. They can’t back into your close rate. They can give you a conversion rate, 5% is a decent estimate. They can give you a lot of other things. They can’t give you things on your business side, but they can give you things on the advertising side. So, the data they give you, if you say, “Hey, I’m a personal injury attorney and these are my metrics, and the cost per click is coming out at $50 per click,” let’s say, $30 for easy math, there’s no possible way you’re going to acquire a customer for $3,000. Your customer acquisition is going to be $6,000, because it’s double. So, if a personal injury attorney had this math and the cost per click down to $15, that wouldn’t work for him. He needs to be able to have a cost per acquisition of $6,000, which will often work out for injury attorneys because their case value is much higher than that.
So, to summarize, just all the math on the page, if you have $15 clicks times 20 clicks, your cost per lead, which is an important metric, it’s going to be $300. And then, if you have 10 leads at $300, your cost per acquisition is going to be $3,000. So, look at the maximum cost per click, back into that number, and then talk to a provider, “Does this work for me?” And if the PPC person says, “You cannot get a cost per click for that amount of money,” then it’s not going to work for you and you have to change some of the other variables, you know, your conversion rate, your close rate, or your cost per acquisition. Many of you probably have close rates above 10%, and those change the numbers dramatically. All right, that’s the only math slide. I just hear a lot of conversation around, “Does PPC work?” And we always go into math and I always back into numbers to try and figure out if it might work for a client and help them figure it out for themselves, too.
So, action items for this section are determining an acceptable cost per acquisition and lead. I will often have conversations in a sales meeting about, “What’s your cost per acquisition target and your cost per lead target?” And sometimes, like, my prospects don’t know. It’s very important to know what numbers make sense for you and your business so that we, as marketers, can back into those numbers and make sure you’re teed up for success. Second, from math that I just went over in the previous slide. And then number three is finding the cost per click for your service and then talking to a pay-per-click provider about getting that number and seeing if that’s a viable number. Now, this is highly simplified. There are a lot of other variables involved. But when it comes to determining if it works, I think it’s a great method.
Assessment action items:
- Determine an acceptable cost per acquisition and lead
- Run the math
- Find the cost per click for your service
Getting to know Google Ads
All right, the second thing we’re going to talk about is, if you know just one thing in Google Ads, I want you to know this. And I’m going to throw a second bullet under it because I think it’s really important. So, there are very, very, very important fundamentals in the Google Ads world. And the one that is most important, in my opinion, is keyword matching.
So, if you are a beginner with Google AdWords or your Google Ads campaign isn’t working, this might be one place to start. Now, in this example, which is straight out of Google, the advertiser is advertising women’s hats. So, if I own a company that sells women’s hats and people are looking for women’s hats, I’m going to buy the keyword “women’s hats,” I’m going to put that in the platform, I’m going to bid on it. And then when people search for that, it’s going to match with my bid amongst a bunch of other variables, and then they’re going to see my ad, theoretically.
Now when I add that keyword into Google, I have four different options on how I add it into the platform. I can add it as a broad match keyword, a modified broad phrase match or an exact match, like you see on the screen.
If I add the keyword as a broad match, Google will take incredible liberties with matching people’s searches in your product, and this results in very poor quality traffic in many instances.
So, for example, if you look at the example searches just to the right of the red box, if I put in women’s hats as a broad match keyword and someone types in “winter headwear for women,” that’s fairly broad, but the one that scares me the most is “women’s clothing.” Because if I’m selling hats and someone is looking for women’s clothing broadly, it’s just too broad of a search. They don’t really align. Women’s scarves isn’t even the same product. The only thing it shares is that they’re clothing and it’s for women. So, Google takes a lot of liberty on the broad match.
And as a default, when I’m talking to new advertisers, I say, “Don’t ever use broad match. Just don’t use it until you’re more experienced with the ad platforms. Use modified broad, phrase match or exact match. And if you log into your Ads account and maybe it’s not working or you’re talking to your provider and you ask about how they’re matching, if they are using broad match, there’s a very good chance that it’s not performing well. Now, there are times when it does perform well, if someone knows what they’re doing, so it’s not as if you are using it, you’re just in very terrible shape. But just know that, if you’re new, I probably wouldn’t recommend it.
As you go down the list, I’m not going to go into a lot of detail just based on time, broad match starts to trim down how much liberty Google takes with matching the keywords. So, you have to have close variations of each term in user search. Excuse me. You have to have close variations of each term in the user search. When you go to phrase, then you have to have the phrase that’s basically the same all the way to close variants. And then when you get to exact match, it’s basically like they’re doing the exact same, that they’re really looking for the exact same thing.
Now, when you look at exact match, it’s not if you put in women’s hats, if you type in exactly women’s hat, that’s not the exact same intent. So, the exact same intent is ladies hats, hats for women, hats women. Those four search terms mean the exact same thing, and Google knows that. Google is smart. So, it’s not exact match. It’s not the exact keyword. It should be called like exact intent, because the intent is exactly the same for those four search terms. And then it gets a little bit fuzzier as you move through the different levels. So, keyword matching is very important. If you find an ad campaign not performing well and you don’t have a lot of experience in the ads platform and you’ve just gone through some tutorials, then I would recommend looking at this and maybe just getting rid of broad match completely, because it can be very, very dangerous. So that’s a fundamental aspect. This is the footwork of Muay Thai in the Google Ads world.
The second thing that we look at with every single new campaign is we look at negatives. Now, negatives are keywords that exclude search terms from your campaign so you only focus on keywords that matter the most. And in these examples, you can see, if you had a negative broad match for running shoes, if someone types in “blue tennis shoes,” your ad will show, because running shoes is not…because it’s not both words. So, when you add a negative you’re basically saying, “If anyone types in these words in their search, don’t show my ad. It’s just not exactly a good fit for us. So, negate their search terms from showing my ad.” So if I add a negative for running shoes, and someone types in “blue running shoes,” I added that as a negative, so my ad won’t show. Even though they added blue at the beginning. I added the negative to make sure that running shoes would not show, because maybe I only sell ballet shoes. I have a 4-year-old that’s in ballet, so I think of ballet. Maybe I only sell ballet shoes, so I don’t want running shoes to be showing. When someone searches for that, I don’t want my ad to be showing.
This also has the same type of progression with broad phrase and exact match, where the levels of exclusion change. This is something you can google. You can just type Google negatives, and go to Google, and it’ll show you these exact same screenshots and you can read more about it. But I wanted to bring this up because, when we take over a new account, we do negatives every other day. Very early on an account, we look through these search terms and we add negatives to clean it up and bring down the cost per lead. We will do that for as long as it takes to make sure the account is generating clean traffic. Then we might shift to weekly or monthly because the traffic is pretty clean. But adding negatives to your account can have a drastic improvement on your cost per lead, bringing it down by a factor of 10% to 50% to maybe even more just by excluding searches that aren’t relevant to you.
Keyword action items:
- Ensure campaigns aren’t using broad match
- Check search terms and negative daily, weekly, monthly
- Create low-budget broad match campaign for funzies
So, action items on the keyword front, especially if you’re a new advertiser trying to diagnose a campaign, ensure the campaign is not using broad match, just take them out. Add search terms and negatives daily, weekly, and monthly. If you want to understand these concepts more, you can obviously reach out to me. But googling…you know, just google keyword matching or Google Ads keyword matching, Google Ads negatives, it will give you all the information you need. And then, for the advanced folks, if you want to create a low-budget broad-match campaign just for fun, you can do that. It’s a really interesting way to see different types of searches that are matching to your keywords, and it gives you new keyword ideas, and it helps you understand what people are searching for, because the matches are so broad.
So, when you do a really broad match like that, you get really what we call dirty traffic where the traffic is coming that’s not really relevant to you. But what you also see are things that people are searching for that you never would have expected. You get things that sometimes you don’t want to see in here, but you also get new ideas maybe for a blog post or just something that you hadn’t considered or someone talking about attorneys using the term attorney versus lawyer, right? So, maybe you didn’t think to use the word lawyer in your keyword matching and then you realize that attorney. So, those are interesting ways to find different keywords.
Make “Big Brother” moves
We all know that Google is like big brother and they have all of these different ways to monitor what we’re doing. And they track all of your activity online, as we all know. So, the big brother features we’re going to talk about are our intent, and basically behavioral actions instead of keyword typing in the Google search platform in order to get people to your website.
So in the Google Ads platform, there are different ways to create audiences for display ads or YouTube ads or even search ads, but that’s a little more advanced. But think about display advertising, like, when you’re seeing a banner, or think about YouTube advertising, when you’re on YouTube and you start to see ads, Google places those ads based on custom intent and affinity, and then sometimes, keyword matching on the page and things like that.
When a person is browsing around the web, they are looking for certain types of services or checking out certain types of websites and that means that they are in the market for certain types of services. For the screenshot here, I typed in SEO and in the market category for SEO, is SEO and SEM services. So if you were visiting paracore.com, our website and then visiting maybe some of our other competitor websites, you would be flagged as in the market for SEO services. And then, I could use that category to show you our PPC services. I could use that category to show you banner ads or YouTube videos, and you haven’t even…let’s say, you haven’t even searched necessarily. Let’s just say you know where my website is. I can show you YouTube ads because you’re in the market for those services that are based on categories. So, that’s incredibly powerful. And there’s tons of different in-market audiences where you can show and display YouTube ads. And this allows you to pick a product in front of someone without bidding on the search terms.
Create custom audiences based on behavior
There’s a second layer to this where you can actually create audiences based on what people are searching for or what very specific websites they’re developing, and then show them ads as well. So it’s not just, “Oh, are they in this kind of blackbox category here on the left?” No, you can actually say, “I want people that are visiting the top 10 competitors in my market and have typed in personal injury.” So, here I did Atlanta personal injury lawyers. I put in three URLs that I found in the Atlanta area. I then put in personal injury, car accident, and attorney. And so if people are searching for those keywords, or they visited those websites, I can show ads to them without even competing on the $50 or $75 personal injury keywords in Google search. So these are behavior, demographic-based audiences that you can show ads to without ever buying the very expensive keywords. Great for brand recognition, great for being in front of people when they’re in their buying behavior based on their activity, and not having to compete for the expensive keywords.
Audience action items:
- Search through the intent and affinity options
- Find competitor websites
- Build a customer audience
So, a couple action items if you’re interested in this is going through a Google Ads account or having whoever works with you go to an Ads account and just look to see if there are intent or affinity categories that make sense for you. They don’t have every single category. You saw mine is SEO and SEM, and we only offer SEM. So, they’re not perfect, but there are a ton of them. You can also find competitor websites and put in interest keywords and build audiences that way. So, even if they don’t have the in-market audiences, you can say, “Hey, anyone that’s visiting my competitors, I want to put a display out or a YouTube ad in front of them.” And you can get your brand out there for very low cost, and then build a custom audience. That’s a great way to use Google’s big brother features.
Using Google’s intelligence to up your ad game
All right, Google is smarter than you. This is the one I was talking about earlier. I was just having a conversation…I have the conversation quite often that people don’t like using Google automation and bidding methods. And the reality is Google is smarter than you. Some people say that they feel like Google is just trying to take all their money. Yes, Google is probably trying to take a lot of your money, but they also want you to be successful. To take your money and have your campaigns fail, it doesn’t make any sense. It just logically doesn’t make sense.
Their automation algorithms, in my opinion, are oftentimes far better than our manual adjustments that we used to have to make years before.
As an example, automated bidding, what we used to do back in the day, is every keyword has a bid amount, and we would go through them and we would adjust each keyword based on a suggested bid or based on what we found in the keyword planner. And we would change the bid amount every single time and keep adjusting that and fluctuating. And we spend a lot of time on keyword adjustments and bidding adjustments. It took forever. I mean, if you had hundreds of keywords, then that takes quite a long time. A lot of people still do this, and we still do it in many cases, but now, there are automated bid strategies, which are really interesting.
The one that we like to use most often is maximize clicks. The way Maximize Clicks works is if you have a budget of, let’s say, $100 per day, and there’s $500 a day worth of searches going on in your market, then Google will say, “Okay, we’re going to adjust your bid to get the highest volume of clicks for that $100 that we can get.” Your ad might be shown on page four, it might be shown on page three, it might be shown in the first position, second position, bottom of the page. It doesn’t really matter. They’re just trying to get the most clicks. And getting the most clicks is incredibly valuable if your conversion funnel is…now, it’s all about clicks, obviously, it’s not conversions. But if your funnel is built out and you’re converting well, then you want more clicks for the same cost.
We’ve run this experiment with legal clients in the past where we were doing manual bidding and then we tried to maximize clicks and it dropped our cost per click by more than 50% and doubled our leads, literally, with just one change that took less than five minutes as an experiment.
As a word of warning and a word of caution, if the industry you’re in does not have high search volume, and you have a very high budget, Google will spike your cost per click quite high and make you pay an exorbitant amount per click.
We’ve worked in an industry where the cost per click is roughly $20 to $25, and then we tried this and our budget was set a little bit too high and the cost per click spiked up to $40. Now, it wasn’t a high volume of clicks because it wasn’t a high volume industry, but it really increased our cost per click, which was unnecessary. So, as a word of caution, set a maximum cost per click bid limit, if you’re going to try this, and that’ll mitigate your exposure. Don’t set it too low, but set it so that Google is not going well above that number when they’re doing the maximize clicks optimization.
This is, in my opinion, one of the more overlooked features in Google Ads because people are afraid of it and don’t understand it. And if your budget is set too high, and maybe your campaign isn’t set up correctly, you could spend more than you want to and not get the results that you want. But when set up correctly with a budget that’s under the overall market share and a bid limit set, you can really do quite well with this, and you don’t have to be changing it every single day. Now, there are times when you’re going to want to, but from a fundamental level, this is a really good start. We also use target ROAS on the shopping campaigns, maximize conversions, target CPA we also use, those are the four that we tend to use most often, and they do very well for us. You know, we just pay for the advertising. So try them out, they’ll make your life a lot easier, too.
As more people enter the market, they will continually adjust your bid to keep you getting the highest volume of clicks, so you don’t have to spend as much time on it. Especially if you need a low-touch solution for your account, I would give this a shot. The next item is, give it a shot in the campaign that you’re running. Instead of doing something manual or cost per click or manual bidding, try the automated options, and experiment on the other bidding methods. Do it just for a short period of time, make sure you set a max bid so you’re limiting your exposure, you don’t want to get into trouble, but give it a shot, because we’ve seen really good results from it.
Bidding action items:
- Experiment with Maximize Clicks (set max bid)
- Experiment with other bidding methods
Looking Fly with your Hipster Marketing Friends
All right, the next section is the Looking Fly with your Hipster Marketing Friends. Just a couple things that I’ve learned over the years that when I talk about people, didn’t know that they existed or they’re kind of like, “Ooh, that’s interesting.” And these are just some really interesting tactics that I wanted to throw out there.
Fly tip 1: Create Smart Search or Smart Shopping Campaign
The first one goes back to Google is smarter than you. If you’re running any sort of a shopping campaign, this screenshot is an example of a campaign that we ran over the course of…I don’t remember what the time period was. This must actually just be a snapshot of a month because of the ad spend. But you can see the bottom ones are our product listing ads. And we broke them up into categories and our ROAS was kind of all over the board. I think the average there, when you exclude the top one, was around 600%. However, when we pulled in Smart Shopping, the return on ad spend jumped up to 1,000% with a lot less work on our site.
So, the Smart Shopping campaigns and the optimization can often do quite well. It doesn’t work every single time, but you should try it. Literally, this makes the management of this account significantly easier with the same number of products, which is over 20,000 products, and we don’t have to spend too much time optimizing everything. We’ve also worked on large enterprise websites that are very deep, that have hundreds or thousands of pages, and we will do a Smart Search campaign where it indexes the entire website, pulls up keywords, and then optimizes based on the conversion as well. So, Smart Search campaign works very, very well if you have a deeply indexed site with a lot of pages, and you’re trying to get a certain type of traffic to it, maybe you’re optimizing on lead form downloads, you’re optimizing on a certain conversion, you can do a Smart Search campaign so that it allows Google to optimize the keywords, the bids and the traffic to hit your objective. And oftentimes, they do hit the objective. They do it quite well.
Fly tip 2: Spy on your competitors
Tip number two is spying on your competitors. If you weren’t aware, you can see a lot of keyword data from your competitors through tools like SpyFu and SEMrush. SpyFu, even on the free plan, this is actually a screenshot from the free plan, you can type in a law firm, any website, and see how many paid keywords they’re buying and their estimated number of monthly clicks, and also their estimated monthly average budget. Now what I will say about the AdWords budget is typically, we see this off… You know, it’s inaccurate by a factor of anywhere 2 to 10. This guy can be spending $50,000 a month on Google Ads. That would not surprise me. It’s a large law firm in the Phoenix area. There’s a good chance he’s not spending $4,000 a month. He is potentially spending far more than that.
So, take this for what it’s worth. It does give you good information. It shows you some keywords they’re buying. It shows you ads that they’re advertising. It shows that they’re just advertising in general. At the bottom there, you can see that it shows advertising history. They’ve been growing it, they dropped it, and then they started growing it over time when you look at the blue line. So, it gives you some high-level information about what your competitors are doing, it shows the keywords they’re buying, and it shows that they’re advertising. This is extremely valuable if you’re trying to break into a market or understand where people are competing with, who are finding traffic. It gives you tons of new keyword ideas. I highly recommend using SpyFu or SEMrush or a third-party tool like that. Those are the two I recommend.
Fly tip 3: Use Google Ads scripts to automate
All right, finally, our last slide. This is a little bit more advanced, but has provided massive value for my agency. And that’s using Google Ads scripts to help automate. I wrote monitor and automate, monimate. To help monimate, that’s quite a trademark, to help monimate your tasks. So, when we take on a new account, if there are a lot of ads, sometimes ads are pointing to landing pages that died, or sometimes the change takes place on a website. So a script like the LinkChecker runs through your entire ad account every single night. And it looks to make sure that all of your landing pages are up and live and running, and it sends an email notification if they’re not, because that’s a lot to manage and a lot to monitor.
So, as an example, the LinkChecker is one that we use on every single account that we manage. And in the middle of the night, we might get an email. Then, in the morning, we can reach out to the client, check to make sure the website just wasn’t down, just check to make sure everything’s good. But, otherwise, it would be impossible to monitor that with the thousands and thousands and thousands of ads that are in ad accounts.
Another one that we use quite often is the negative keyword conflict checker. We use keyword lists, which is, in my opinion, the best practice, so when you’re adding those negatives I talked about earlier. However, you can add a negative on accident. If someone’s having a bad day or typed something wrong, that can go against your main keyword. I mean, it’s possible that someone if it’s a junior employer, a mistake’s being made that, you know, injury or personal injury is added to a personal injury campaign, or car accident is added to a personal injury campaign, just because they weren’t thinking or there was an error, or something happened. And then it crushes the performance of the campaign for a couple days. Maybe it’s a couple days a week until you figure it out, and that’s a really bad thing.
So, as an example, this Google Ads script negative keyword conflicts finds that and notifies you those types of conflicts where it might really crush your performance. And this last one we haven’t even honestly used. I just found it and I thought it was amazing. You can change campaigns based on the weather. If their API goes out, pulls in the weather for a certain location, it can turn on campaigns, turn them off, increase bids, decrease bids. The example they give is you’re more likely to go to an amusement park on a hot, sunny day, rather than if it’s cold and raining. So, these scripts can just automate so many different things. And I highly recommend looking into them if you have repetitive tasks or you’ve run into issues on your ads account, these scripts can save you a significant amount of time and also anxiety if you’re worried about something not working or breaking in the middle of the night.
All right, so we’re at 30 minutes. It’s 2:15. Thank you for watching. My name is Adam. I’m the owner of ParaCore. That’s my email address if you want to reach out and connect. And we do pay-per-click advertising with Facebook ads and Google Ads and all the PPC advertising platforms in between. So reach out if you need anything, and thanks for watching.
The post 5 Google Ads Concepts You Need to Know for PPC Success appeared first on CallRail.
Well, hello. I’m Megan McMullin from MeetEdgar, and I am here to talk to you guys today about the five steps for social media success. This is a really important topic to me because of this little statement here, “The average person sees about 400 marketing messages a day. So, how are you going to stand out in this world?” We are going to be going over these steps so that you can make sure that your message and the attention that’s being pulled from all directions is truly able to get through on all of the different ways that people are going throughout these messages during the day.
- Getting your mindset right
- Content creation
- Scaling the system
Step 1: Getting your mindset right
When we talk about social media success, we are going to go through this first step of getting your mindset right. Now, don’t get all eye-rolly on me because the mindset is such an important part of social media. You need to make sure that you are investing in your followers so that they invest in you. This concept is so important because when it comes down to it, you are someone who needs to be driven by the process of connecting with people over the product of having a million followers.
Let’s break this down for a second. If you’re someone who is just comparing and looking at all of these social accounts with millions of followers and you’re not excited about actually going through the process of connecting with people in the real-life setting, it gets a little bit hard, and that consistency that’s so important in social media can oftentimes make you stop posting and can oftentimes make you say, “You know what? It’s just not worth it. I’m not seeing the results that I want.” You need to make sure your mindset is in a place that you are enjoying the process over the product of having a million followers. That’s how you reach that consistency, and that’s how you get excited about showing up and serving your community every day. So, that’s step number one of the mindset.
Be intentional & add value
If you are going on to social media, essentially, think about when you consume content on social media. Often, you’re there to really get in with your friends and family, to really get that great vibe of getting that social connection. So when you as a brand show up on social media, you need to be thinking about the time that you’re asking your followers to spend with you on social media, is that worth paying? They are actually going to be paying attention to you over their friends and family, right? The mindset you need to have is that you’re being intentional and value-adding in a way that people want to really consume your content and connect with you in a way they connect with their friends and family. That’s mindset step number two right there.
You really want to be able to create this community over comparison. So, why is this important? It’s because the algorithms and everything that goes into social media is looking for what we call meaningful social interaction. So, if your mindset and the lens you’re looking through when you’re creating this content is to create community and to really get involved with your followers and their lives, it’s going to be a really great way to, again, enjoy the process and be able to show up for real people, because oftentimes, we forget so often that there’s real people on the other side of the screen.
So, don’t be comparing yourself to all of these other social media accounts out there. Remember your community and remember that one person you’re speaking to. This speaks to the importance of having an avatar, right? That person who you are speaking to, that one audience persona who you’re really excited to connect with, that’s going to be your community. And if you’re doing this right and you’re speaking directly into their pain points and your message is resonating with that one person, they’re going to bring others like them along, and that’s how you build this really great community. Rather than comparing yourself to the other brands in your industry out there, focus on how you are different and focus on how your message is going to resonate with people who you can solve their pain points for.
Being a thought leader
As you are going throughout this, I want you to think about standing out in the marketplace. And this is about having an opinion in your industry. So, this goes back to that first slide when we are saying people get about 400 marketing messages a day, right? How is yours going to stand out? It is about you having a specific opinion and being that thought leadership in your industry and in your niche that way.
So, how do you differ? Go ahead and think about the things that you can say that’s different from your competitors. Have an opinion and stand out. This goes into making sure you’re curating content and telling your followers about why you’re giving them that piece of content, what you learned from it, and really, again, sharing this side of yourself that’s a little more personable. It doesn’t always have to be about business because, again, we’re in a human-to-human connection space when we post on social media as brands and we want to buy from people. We want to know, like, and trust other people rather than just a logo. So, have an opinion as a person and share that on social media.
If you are someone who’s going to be a little bit afraid to repel people with your opinion, I want you to get that out of your mindset because when people come to your social media page, they should immediately understand if they are meant to be there and you are the person to deliver the message you’re delivering or if they are not meant to be there and they’ll move on somewhere else. Don’t be afraid of that because it goes back to the community aspect. You need to make sure you’re creating a community of like minded values and like minded people, and that is how they are going to be excited about engaging and getting that meaningful social interaction that plays into the algorithm.
Use social for customer research
Social media, again, is a social space, so let’s keep the social in social media. When you’re going on to post, you don’t want it just to be broadcast, broadcast, right? You don’t want it to be something where you’re just shouting about your sales and you’re just shouting about your product. What you want it to be is a space where you’re learning as well. So, your mindset on social media shouldn’t just be posting all the time, it should be that you want to go in there and actually research your customers.
So, things like Pinterest and YouTube, especially for social media, should truly be used in a way that you are going in there and putting your search words in there, your keywords in there. So, me, someone who works for a social media company, would go on to Pinterest, or go on to YouTube, and perhaps type the word social media. It’s going to give me a dropdown menu of all of the most commonly asked questions. Similar to Google. You know how they give you those suggested questions when you type in the search bar? Pinterest and YouTube also do this. This is what you should be focusing on in order to find the questions that you want to create content on social media for because it’s a signal that your ideal customer and the people who are interested in your space, they’re already asking questions on social media.
So, your mindset needs to be that social media isn’t just about you broadcasting, it needs to be about you researching and you actually using the information there. As a small business owner, it’s really important to do this as well because it’s a way that you can keep up with the bigger research funds that some of these huge brands have in order to do market research. All of your customers are already on social media asking questions. So, go seek out those questions and use it as a way to help develop your audience persona and see what they’re already asking.
Your ideal customers talk to each other in Facebook groups, they talk to each other on Twitter chats. So, use social media to go into those spaces and actually answer questions and be of value for people. If you have a Facebook group that you can go into that you know is similar to your brand, go on there and see the questions people are asking and, as your brand, answer them. Do you have a really great PDF or blog post you could provide them? It’s a great way to not only answer their question but also to get your brand name out there. So, social media has gotta be that double side of actually getting your message out but also consuming what your customers are saying on social media. And if you can get that and you can kind of combine the two, it is going to make a world of difference in the engagement for your accounts.
Step 2: Content Creation
Step two of the five-step process is content creation. I want to make sure that you are simplifying your message as much as possible. This is really important because a confused customer is not going to buy, right? If you’re confused about a message, especially, again, going back to the fact that we are inundated with 400 marketing messages a day, if you are confused about what people are saying, it’s really hard for people to understand and say, “Yep, I will buy from this person,” right?
So, you really want to take the time to simplify it as much as possible, to make sure people understand to say yes when they want to purchase from you, but also to give people a way to talk about your brand because that’s going to be the easiest way for you to build trust with your community, it’s going to be a way that you can get out there and say, “You know what? If someone shares this piece of content to their community and their followers consume it, it’s really great because they’ve already trusted that person,” and they’re seeing your brand name associated with the person who shared your content, and that is going to be a huge value-add for you. Or out-in-the-world word-of-mouth marketing is really important too to make sure that you’re simplifying your message so people know how to talk about you out in the world.
Content creation is also going to be something that a lot of times when you sit down and you start to type it out, it’s doing it in the space that you have time to do it. And you’re just sitting there and staring at your screen because nothing is coming to you. So, you go right to posting without having any idea of why you’re posting or what you’re posting. So, how do you solve this problem? You solve it by having pre-established categories for your social media posts. And this truly helps you kiss that content paralysis goodbye if you’re able to have these categories set up. And you really see the fact that categories work in what I like to call the “too many tacos” feeling.
So, what is the “too many tacos” feeling? It’s when you go on to social media and you see a feed that’s just random, random, random or just broadcast, broadcast, broadcast. It’s kinda like saying if there’s a salesperson outside of your door and they’re just yelling about their discounts and yelling about the features of your product, are you going to go into that person’s store? Most likely not. You don’t want to interact that way. And if you want to be someone who is going to invite people into your community on social media, you need to have these categories set up because it takes it from this “too many tacos” feeling right here into this beautifully curated feed with a variety of different posting types. So, the categories you’ll have are, like, blog posts, your quotes, inspirational tips, promotional content a little bit sprinkled in. But you see how this really is more engaging for your followers.
Delight, educate, & entertain
Now, when you’re creating your categories, it’s going to be different for every business because we all have that one unique customer that we are looking for. So, when you’re creating your categories, they, of course, need to go into the fact that they’re going to help convert them, whether it’s driving more traffic to your site or whether it’s people purchasing from you. But what you want to think about and what wins on social media is if you delight someone, if you educate someone, if you entertain someone, if you inspire someone, if you nurture these real relationships with humans, the conversion happens naturally and it becomes a conversation.
So, when we’re selling on social media, we’re truly just pre-qualifying to see if the person is right for your product or service and you’re having a conversation, and then it’s their choice. And you see, that gets rid of the scariness of selling. When you’re just able to look at the way you’re able to delight, educate, and entertain people mostly, they will then get attached to your brand and make that conversion so much easier and so much more conversational, which is what sells on social media. So, when you are doing your promotional content, because we do have to promote on social media, even though it’s a little scary, I want you to think about the benefits mostly. And this script is awesome for making sure that your promotional content doesn’t stand out as salesy.
So, when you think of your product or service, I want you to go through thinking:
- Because of…
- It will…
- Which means…
Go throughout this exercise of whatever your product or service is. For example, let’s take, like, a horse saddle. I know, super random, but go with me here. If you are going to sell a horse saddle, you could just say, “You know, look at this feature. Look at the nice weather. Buy this.” That’s not as inspiring as if you say, “Look at the leather on this horse saddle that will make it so that you’re more comfortable so that you can then go ride off into the sunset.” That benefit part at the end is what’s going to sell on social media the most.
So, when you’re writing your salesy copy, please make sure you’re focusing on that benefit. And that recency bias, that’s the last thing people are going to read, and they’re going to be emotionally connected to it. And you need to start thinking about doing people a favor when you’re selling on social media. If you have a product or service that’s going to solve someone’s pain point, how exciting is it for you to be able to get out there and say, “You know what? Not having my product or service is truly doing you a harm.” Is it that you could save them time? Is it that you could bring them more joy with their family and friends? Is it that you could save them money? Whatever it is that you could relieve their pain points from is what you need to be marketing. So, remember people’s pain points.
Sometimes, in your promotional posts, it can be really helpful to bring those pain points up, actually, and remind people, because oftentimes, we don’t even think about the fact that we have that pain point in day-to-day life. So, remind people that you exist there for a reason and, again, have that conversation about how you can make their life better.
The three golden rules of content creation here in step two are going to be that you want to make sure you’re doing really visual things. So, stop the scroll by sharing a photo or sharing a video because we are visually attracted to things so much more than words. And then, you want to have that copy, sell it a little bit more. We think that we buy on logic all the time. However, we buy on emotions as humans so much more.
So, if you’re doing a really emotional photo, add a text in that’s logical. If you’re doing a really logical photo, just showing your product, make sure your text is emotional to get that beautiful marriage of motion and logic in your social media updates so that you are able to really confidently say that this is something that’s going to combine those two. And make sure, again, that you are building trust by showing your face. Take a selfie, get brave, get courageous on video because it truly does make a difference.
Step 3: Distribution
Creating all the content does no good if you’re not going to distribute it. I’m going to say something a little controversial to start out step number three, is that I want you to actually start posting less on social media if you’re just getting started and you’re not seeing a lot of engagement. Why? Because the algorithms are truly set up to look for that engagement in order to increase the amount of people who are going to see your posts.
So, on social media, what happens when you share a post, especially on Facebook, is they share it to a small, little section of your followers. If that gets good engagement, they’ll open it up and share it with more. So, if everything that you’re posting doesn’t get any engagement, it’s a signal to the algorithm, “Your community is not targeted, they don’t want to see it.” And the algorithm is there for a good reason, they want to serve up the right information to the right people at the right time. So, you need to play into that by saying, “Okay, I’m going to start slowly building in this engagement, asking questions, getting people interacting,” and then you can start posting more often on social media. Because it is okay if your strategy changes, especially small business owners because that means you are listening to your audience and you’re doing things right.
So, distribution is really important, especially as I’m talking about, like, when to post. I want you to really consider that everyone’s audience is different. For example, we’re a social media automation tool, we have marketers who are online during the workday and on social media during the nine-to-five hours. However, you might be marketing to a mom who has to be online after her kid goes to bed. So, really take the time to dig into your Facebook Insights and your Twitter Analytics to see when your specific audience is online the most, and that way you can really overcome these hard facts right here.
- The lifespan of an Instagram post = 21 hours
- The lifespan of a Facebook post = 5 hours
- The lifespan of Twitter = 18 minutes
So, you really want to make sure that you are digging into when your audience is online so that you’re showing up at the right time. Your Facebook Insights is a great place to do this, they give you a graph of when your followers are online the most. So, dig into that when you’re distributing your content.
And you’re really doing a disservice to your content if you’re spending all the time creating it and none of the time promoting it. We always like to say, “If you spend one hour creating a piece of content, whether it’s a blog post, whether it’s a podcast, whether it’s a video, you need to spend eight hours promoting it.” Now, not all at once. Don’t freak out. It doesn’t have to be your whole day, it just needs to be over time, right?
So, this comes into play when you’re creating your evergreen content and when you’re really distributing your evergreen content to remember to promote it multiple times. Evergreen content is that stuff that’s going to really add value to your followers no matter what time of year it is. So, if you share it out once, it’s going to be what this purple graph here at the top-left corner is. It’s going to get a huge spike of traffic to your site, and then it’s going to peddle off because you’re not resharing it, and it’s going to go into the black hole of the internet. If you’re creating evergreen content and doing the work to actually promote it often and more than once, you’ll get this beautiful graph at the bottom where you’ll continuously get that great traffic to your site, you’ll continuously start to benefit from it while you sleep even because you didn’t have to recreate it.
So, when you’re doing this, I want to make sure that you also remember you’re always getting more followers. You always are getting new followers who need to hear your message and holistically understand who you are. So, resharing content is doing them a favor. Again, flip that mindset, don’t be shy about it, and if you’re afraid of repeating yourself, I want to remind you of two things:
- Not everyone’s going to see it, not everyone’s going to notice, and everyone loves to see really good content. So, if you’re someone who produced something really great and it shows up again, no one’s going to be mad.
- If you’re resharing your evergreen content multiple times, you never know when that message is going to resonate with someone at the right time.
So, oftentimes, we forget that people aren’t ready to buy right away on social media, and you need to continuously repeat your message to drill in that you are the expert in your industry, you are the expert in your product, and make sure that when it hits someone at the right time, perhaps when they’re actually at their computer and can consume the content rather than standing in line at a grocery store with their phone. So, you see how that works. If you’re repeating the content, it might hit someone and resonate at the right time.
As you’re distributing this evergreen content, it’s also important to remember to distribute this outside of social media, reach out to others in your industry and see if you can get it as a backlink on their site to increase your traffic as well. This is especially important to make sure they know it’s evergreen content because they’ll know it will stay relevant and you’re not going to delete that link, you’re not going to break their link-throughs if they actually link it in their blog post. So, that’s another benefit of making sure that you’re always creating evergreen content.
Search engines truly do look at social media data to improve their search results and relevancy. So, what does this mean? This means as you’re continuing to share your evergreen content, again, multiple times, eight hours of promotion there, remember, as you’re continuing to share it and more and more people interact with it and share it themselves, this actually goes into search rankings in Google, and they see this as a much more relevant article than they would see as if you actually only shared it once.
So, what this means is if you have a viral Facebook post that got shared multiple times, oftentimes, that Facebook post will be a signal to Google that they actually should relevantly show this up higher in their search rankings. If you’re only sharing it once and it doesn’t get reshared by people, you’re not getting that added benefit. So, remember that, again, by producing and distributing evergreen content, it goes into this beautiful cycle of your social media and marketing plan altogether.
To break it down simply, I know I just blabbed a lot about that, the better and more optimized social media activity you have, the higher you will be in search rankings, not only on social media but also in Google.
Follow the yellow brick road
- Lead people where they should go
- Give them what they need along the way
- Take people for casual followers to active listeners to engaged community
Last one on the list here in step number three is to follow the yellow brick road strategy. Make sure you’re leading people where you want them to go. This goes back to the categories. It makes sense to have this system, and it’s not inauthentic to have this calculated out because you need to take someone from being a casual observer into trusting you so deeply that they’re really excited to not only buy from you but be a brand advocate. So, when you’re developing your categories and deciding when to distribute which category, remember that you’re leading people on a journey with you to not only get to know you as a brand but to convince them and have the conversation that you are the right choice for them.
Step 4: Engagement
So, again, meaningful social interaction. I said it before, I know, but I’m going to keep harping on it because it truly does make the biggest difference for you. You need to have the mindset that you want to create a conversation-based community to take advantage of the algorithms. And it surely is like dating. Let’s say you’re going on a date. Is the first thing you’re going to say to someone, “Hey, will you marry me?” No, that’s not going to go over well. Same when it comes to selling on social media. You don’t want the first post for someone to see to ask them to buy from you, right? That’s not going to build a trust and that’s not going to get them excited about a continued relationship.
So, you need to start asking questions to get to know people. You need to make sure that you’re not just broadcasting and doing all the talking. That’s not a fun date. You need to make sure you’re asking these questions. And they don’t always have to be related to your product or service to get that engagement, right? So, you can go in there and ask about what the last book they read was, where they travel. People love talking about themselves and connecting, and you never know how that’s going to really help them connect with other people in your community, giving you that great boost of conversation on your post, engagement that’s going to be a signal to the algorithm to show them more of your content.
Engagement algorithm hack
When you’re doing this, I always like to suggest doing an engagement-based question post from your questions category that gets a lot of comments. The very next post you post after that question one, make that one of your promotional posts because, again, the algorithm’s going to see people really liked that and it’s more likely they’ll serve up your promotional posts to people in your community because they’re seeing they like your content. So, that’s a great little hack to use to be able to really take advantage of the algorithm.
And you want to really make sure in the engagement strategy that you’re using hashtags, especially on Instagram and Twitter because they are categorized by hashtags in your status updates. I always like to really point this out because I think it’s a huge missed opportunity for many small businesses. You want to focus on the people that you want, where they would be hanging out, rather than the product that you have. So, what does this mean?
This means if you are someone who is going in and hashtagging… You know, for us, we’re a social media, it’s not going to be #automationtool, it’s going to be #smallbusiness or #marketingtips because the people in my community are hanging out in small business hashtags. They’re not hanging out in the automation tool hashtag, right? So, think about the person when you’re developing your social media strategy for hashtags more than anything.
When you’re actually posting for engagement, I want to make sure that you’re following the Pareto principle, whatever you want to call it, the 80/20 rule, 80% of your content should be really value-added content, and then 20% can be a little more promotional.
Going back to the categories, it makes it so much simpler if you’re just able to pop these categories and know that you’re going to do, say, four posts a day on Facebook, you’re going to do three of them as value-adding, either educational blog posts, how-to tips, productivity tips, clothes, inspiration, 20% a little more promotional. That is a great mix to start out with. And you want to really lead with the content that your followers want to see every day.
So, again, going back to knowing your audience persona so deeply that you know on Monday morning they want an inspirational quote. You know that they eat lunch alone at their desk so you want to serve them a YouTube video or a blog post that they can read during that time. You know after work, they’ll have more time to talk to you so you serve them up a question. Think about how you can support them throughout their entire day, and they’ll be excited to consistently see that content from you.
Get your lead magnet game on:
- Create a PDF download in Canva (or similar program)
- Create a landing page in MailChimp (or similar program)
- Promote it out!
As you’re going throughout the engagement period as well, you want to make sure that you’re really paying attention to your lead magnets. Lead magnets and engagement go hand-in-hand because you’re building this trust with your community by saying, “Hey, I have this really great PDF that’ll teach you how to write a blog post in five minutes,” whatever it is. If you’ve done the work to engage with your community and they trust you enough, they’re going to be more likely to click through on that, give you their email address in order for you to email them that PDF, right?
You need to build that engagement in because you want to make sure you’re not just posting on this rented space of what social media is. You don’t own the networks, they can do whatever they want with your content. When you’re able to take people from your social media posts and engage them enough to trust you to give their email address… People get really kind of cagey about their email addresses, and you need to remember that building the trust in order for them to hand that over is involved in the fact that they are inviting you into a space, again, where they communicate with their work, their family, and their friends, in their email. So, that trust and that engagement is really important. So, use your lead magnets in a way that you’re sprinkling those in between engagement posts, in between a way that you’re building in that face-to-face human connection.
Step 5: Scaling the system
All right. We have gotten to the last step. Thanks for sticking with me here. And that’s scaling the system. So, again, oftentimes, when we hear systems and automation in social media, we get a little bit like, “That sounds a little dirty.” It’s truly not. It’s showing up for your followers in a way that you know is going to add more value and in a way that you’re able to then spend the time on social media, engaging with them and showing them that you are there for them rather than just kind of doing social media when you have time.
So, scaling the system involves two steps, batching and upcycling. I like to describe batching as it’s because you don’t want to cook one cookie at a time. If you’re going to bring out all of the ingredients, like your flour, and your eggs, and your oil, it’s not going to be you baking one cookie, it’s going to be you baking a dozen. Same with social media. Don’t write one status update at a time. It can be so overwhelming when you’re like, “I need 20 pieces of content to create.” But when you break it down, again, into categories, it becomes much more manageable, when you’re like, “I have five pieces of content to create for my quotes category. I have five pieces of content to create for my tips category.”
And you really need to kinda customize this math. I’ll go through this, but please take the time and kinda customize to your posting schedule. So, batching involves doing this. If you want to send six status updates a day, five days a week, to get a month’s worth of fresh content, that’s going to be 30 status updates. You multiply those two. Let’s multiply that out to a month. You have to create 120 status updates for a month’s worth of social media content. Oh, my gosh. Does that seem overwhelming? Well, wait a minute, remember our categories. If you use six different categories, that’s you only having to create 20 updates per category per month. Again, so much more doable.
This is really exciting here too because if you do this on one day, if you block out four hours on your calendar to write all of these out, if you do this once a month, that’s you only having to create social media updates 12 times this year. If you’re batching once a month, that’s 12 times you only have to write social media status updates. And if you’re doing it in this batch, you’re able to create a more consistent story and a more consistent brand voice so that no matter what social network people find you on, they know what you’re all about and they’re really excited to engage with you there because they recognize you, and we love to recognize things and feel like we’re a part of a community no matter where we are.
So, when you’re using categories to batch, it also makes it a million times easier to do something that we call upcycling. So, upcycling is taking one well-researched piece of content, whether it’s a blog post, a podcast, a YouTube video, and making sure you’re getting at least 10 status updates out of it. How do you do this?
You take that blog post and you pull out some pull-quotes to do text-only tips. You take that blog post and you tell a behind-the-scenes story about why you wrote it or how you wrote it. You take that blog post, and you get your camera out, and you talk for a minute to your camera about the most important parts of it. This way you’re giving people the ability to consume your content in the medium that they want and, again, you’re giving that expertise out there. People will see that you’re repeating the same message, you’re going deep, not wide, and get really excited about that. So, think to yourself, “How can one piece of content be turned into 10 status updates?” and you’ll get more mileage from it, and you’ll get more expertise out of it.
So, I’m super excited to have presented the five steps to social success, and I’m really truly excited to see what you go out and do with it. When you’re out there on social media, just remember to keep the social in social media and to have a system so that you’re adding value and showing up for your followers at the right time when they need to see that message so you can truly resonate with them and get the great content that you’re creating out into the world to do it a favor and solve people’s pain points. Thanks for tuning in today, guys.
Hi, I’m Margaret Hamner from Mailchimp and welcome to the Email Marketing Basics session. The goal here is to help you guys get started with email marketing. The assumption here is that you really haven’t done much email marketing yet, or that you’ve done a little bit and you want some advice about how to do it a little better. I’m going to go through some of the basics of why we want to do email marketing and that kind of thing, so let’s start with that.
The importance of email marketing
Why email marketing? There are several reasons you want to do email marketing. One of the first is that U.S. consumers actually respond to it. The study shows that 26% of U.S. consumers actually say that they have purchased from an email. So when you send an email, people are likely to click through and make direct purchases from them, so it can be pretty good from driving that change. The next thing is that it’s a fairly cheap way to do things. You got a good ROI on email marketing. So for every dollar spent, the estimate is that it can be about $40 return on investment, which is pretty high for any marketing channel.
The next thing is that 73% of millennials, which is the big buying power that’s coming up, say that they prefer their communications, their business communications to be by email, which is kind of a surprise as you would expect that the millennial generation would really be more comfortable with things like social media. But in the studies, they’re saying that they prefer email marketing so that’s a good sign for using it for your marketing.
What email marketing is and isn’t
Okay, let’s talk about what email is and what it isn’t. Email is an inexpensive way to communicate with your customers or prospects that have told you, you can communicate with them. You do need permission to use email marketing, so you’re going to need a list where people have opted in from some other way, so on your website or in social media or some other way to drive them in it.
What email isn’t, unfortunately, isn’t a good way to find new prospects. You don’t want to buy lists and put them into your email marketing program because then you start getting spam laws, and you lose the trust of the people that are receiving your email. So make sure you have that permission and that you’re only talking to people that you have permission to talk to.
Creating an awesome email
Okay, so let’s get through some steps for creating an awesome email. There are six steps, and I’ll go into more detail on each one of these, but let’s just look at the overview for right now:
- Find an ESP (email service provider)
- Plan the email
- Design the email
- Build the email
- Send the email
- Measure success
1. Find the right ESP
The first step is to find an email service provider (also referred to as ESP) and there’s a couple of things you want to consider when you’re looking for an email service provider into your emails.
The first is are you small or you don’t have a list yet? If so, you probably don’t want to pay for an email service provider, and there are several free options out there. MailChimp has one option, and I think HubSpot has one, so you can always go out and google for ESP and find the service that you can work with until you get more established and what to pay for, a place to put your lists and to send your emails. The advice here, if you are small, and you’re just starting out is to find an ESP that will grow with you, so make sure they’ve got the things on the paid level that will serve what you want to do in the future, so you don’t have to change over and find a new ESP when you get ready to pay for a service.
Okay, so if you’re starting with a larger list, you’re more established, and you’re going to have to go ahead and pay for an ESP now, make sure you shop carefully. There’s a lot of bells and whistles. A lot of things that different email service providers do that you may or may not need. Think carefully about what you’re actually going to want to do and don’t pay for what you’re not going to use. You know, be realistic about all the cool things that you could do on which you’re actually going to have time and resources to do.
2. Plan the email
The first thing you want to do is you want to carefully think about the goal of your email. What do you want that email to do? There are several options here. You can have it inform people just to tell them that you exist or, you know, that you’ve got a new thing, that kind of thing. You can influence people, you know, get them to do, to take an action. If you’re a charity, get them to donate to your charity or get them to attend an event that you’ve got coming up. You can sell things by email, of course, which is probably the most popular way to use it for email marketing, so you get somebody to go out and buy your product directly. Or you can do something as simple as a welcome email when you have somebody join your list. When somebody signs up for your product, send an automated email that goes out to them that says, “Hey, welcome. Here’s what our company looks like, and here’s what we’re about, and here’s what we like to do to help you out.”
The next thing in planning your email is to think about who your audience is, who you want to reach with this. You want to be as targeted as possible. It’s never a good idea to send big emails to everybody on your list. Think about what the message is and think about who’s gonna be receiving that the best, and pull out pieces of your audience, segment your audience out and do some smaller lists with some really targeted messaging to them.
Ask yourself, does everybody on your list need to hear what you have to say in this particular email? Maybe they don’t. Maybe it’s just a piece of your list. Put yourself in your customer or your prospect’s shoes and ask yourself how would you feel if you receive this email? Is this an email that I would think was a good message if I was receiving it if I was in their shoes? If not, then maybe that particular group of people are the right ones to be receiving this particular email.
3. Design the email
We’ve got everything planned so let’s go out and think about designing the email. The first thing you want to do in designing your email is to choose a template. Luckily, if you look at the image here and there, we have just some pictures of templates, some example templates. Most ESPs or probably all ESPs actually provide you templates that have blocks that you could design your layout for your email, and all you have to do is drop in the content, so that makes it pretty easy. So go and find a template that actually has the amount of information that you want to have in there, or the kind of, you know, the amount of images, the size of images that you have available.
Think about when you’re designing also when you’re looking at those templates and the design, the accessibility of your email. There’s a lot of things from accessibility that you need to think about, things as simple as… I know we have before have used a blue background and the wrong color with white text, and it wasn’t friendly to people with certain types of colorblindness, so think about those kind of things. If you have centered texts, it’s harder for someone with dyslexia to read it. So there’s a lot of different things out there but consider that accessibility as you’re designing your email.
The next thing in your design is gonna be your image. Most emails that you receive have some type of image, and that’s, you know, it’s a visual method, so people are used to seeing an image as the emails come in and so, you know, you were to put that in there to capture people’s attention and to help communicate your message. You’ve got some choices with images. You can do photos or align images, whatever fits your message and your brand the best. You can even put a GIF in there if you want to see some motion. Most ESPs and invite providers will actually support having a GIF if you want to do have some motion to your email.
The next thing to think about is whether you’re gonna use stock footage or own images. If you’ve got images available, if you’ve got line art that somebody in your organization has drawn, or if you’ve got photos that could show what your brand is about, then use those. Otherwise, if you want to go out and buy some stock images, you can do that from online services. There’s some pretty cheap services out there. Some of my favorites are Adobe Stock, which has some reasonably priced beautiful images, and also iStockphoto is geared to small businesses and individuals. You can go out and find some reasonably priced, nice artwork that you can use.
4. Build the email
Let’s go and build the email. The first thing you want to think about when you’re building your email is your from name and address. And this is often overlooked, but what you want to do is if you’re just starting an email program, come up with a form name and a form address that will show in the inbox. I’ve got a picture of an inbox here. You can see in the middle there, there’s a MailChimp email that we have sent out, and our from name is usually or is always MailChimp because that’s the simplest thing and we use hello@mailchimp as our from address.
Try to use this really consistently. Think of what you’re gonna use now and what you’re gonna use in the future and try to get something that you can continue to use because what this does is it builds trust when people see that over and over coming to them in their inbox. They learn to trust it as being from your brand. They don’t assume it’s spam. If you start changing it every time, they start to wonder if it’s spam, and people don’t want to open emails that may be spam and may cause problems once they open them. The next thing you’re gonna choose is your subject line. This is a very important piece.
If you look at the image there, the subject line for the MailChimp email is “Introducing MailChimp’s 2019 Annual Report,” which was the subject line. You want to be short, to have is as short as possible, to say what you want to say. We recommend about 60 characters, no more than 9 words or 60 characters for that subject line because you want it to be scannable and to get the message as quickly as possible. You also want it to be as powerful as possible, to give as much information about what’s actually in the email as possible so that you can drive people to want to open that email to find out more. You try to make it as compelling as possible.
Yeah, you could ask a question so that they can answer it by opening the email. The last thing that I’ve got it there is emojis, and emojis with a question mark, because there’s a lot of talk back and forth about whether those actually work well or not. If you’re not doing a super serious message, they can work in a subject line, so, you know, my advice is to give one a try, you know. If your audience doesn’t like it, you’ll see that pretty fast. Your open rates will go down a little bit, but give it a try if you want to and try out an emoji, and by that, you know, it’s like for Christmas. When you talk about Christmas presents, you put a little emoji of the Christmas present on your line.
Okay, the next thing is preview text. And to explain what preview text, when you look at our inbox image here under the MailChimp email, our preview text on there is, “It was a big year and we have you to thank for it.” Preview text is one of those things that’s often overlooked. So if you wanted to use that, you always want to put something there. A lot of times, people even leave it blank, so you show a blank space that you could have used to help…to get your message across and get your email opened. So always use it and pack it with as much information as you can to drive to open. You can put more information on that preview text, and you can put them in the subject line, and more of it’s gonna show up in a lot of providers.
Writing your copy
This usually is the hardest part for most people, which is writing your copy. You need to think through what your message should be, who you’re talking to as you’re writing this message. Ask yourself some questions. What do you want to tell recipients? Not only is it what you want to tell the recipient, or what do they need to know. Once again, as before, putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and thinking, what would I want to hear? What meaningful thing would make me want to do this thing this person’s asking me to do? Think about the tone you want to use. It all depends on you, of the message you’re trying to get across and what action you’re trying to drive, but you can be friendly.
You can have a friendly ask at what you want to do, or you can be informative, you know, you’re there to give information to the person, or you never send messages, you want to get really serious. You know, if it’s something that’s gonna affect the account the person has or something that, you know, is not a lighthearted matter, then you want to go and have a more serious tone. No matter what, be clear and concise and be to the point. You don’t want to write a book for an email. You want to have it as short as possible to get through the information that you need to get through. The statistics that I’ve seen about what the time people spend on emails, scanning an email is between 10 seconds and 50 seconds.
So that’s the amount of time you have to actually have people scan through and figure out what it is you’re asking for. Also, the last bullet there is, if you’re gonna give somebody…if you have something to offer them, if you’re giving them some kind of knowledge or that kind of thing, but you’re also marketing to them and asking them to do something, give them that value upfront, and then go to your marketing message so that you kind of led them into your marketing, you know, and you have them feeling better about getting the marketing message at that point.
Setting your call to action
Okay, the next thing on building your email is the call to action or, as you see it written a lot of places, the CTA. This is what you’re asking people to do. On the copy that we’re showing here, it’s the big blue box that says, “Read the report.” So you want to be really obvious, be really clear, make it as visual as possible. Primary call to action for an email, it should pretty much always be a button if you can do that because people scan for that button to see what it is you want them to do. If you’re gonna put some secondary call to actions, things like, “Here’s a resource article I want you to read,” or other little things before they get to that primary call to action, then those are better done as links in the copy. So you link a word in the copy out to your resource or whatever you’re trying to do for that secondary call to action. Make sure that you’re not doing multiple buttons, that’s just distracting. An email should really have one main purpose, and that should be your primary call to action.
Filling in your email footer
Okay, so the next thing, the last thing in building your email, is actually the footer, which is showing here. And footers vary. There’s some information that’s actually required in the footer and some that’s just good to have. One thing that you want to put either in your footer or somewhere else is an easy way to find your company. I see a lot of emails that come through that have the call to action that take me out to the thing that a company is trying to sell, but there’s no link to the company’s main website to actually find out more about the company.
I want to do some research at this point, find out who they are, find out if they’re the people I want to buy this thing from, so you want to make that easy to do, you know. If you have a logo at the top of your newsletter, then make sure that’s linked out to your company news or to your company website. The next thing is, this is just about the footer, things that you need to have in the footer, things that you can’t have in the footer. The things that you absolutely have to have in your footer or somewhere in your email and usually best done in the footer are the unsubscribe link. You do, when you’re sending an email with marketing content, you do have to have an unsubscribe link.
It’s required by law that you have to give the people who are receiving a chance to say, “Don’t send this anymore.” Luckily, email service providers all have a way to do this. They have an unsubscribe function so that you can put that link in there, and they will then put… When somebody clicks on it, they will then unsubscribe them from your list automatically. So you don’t have to worry about how that actually works, but you do have to have a link in the email. If you’re sending marketing information out, the legal requirements in the U.S. and in other countries is that you must also have your physical company address somewhere in that email, so that people can find where you are and to prove that you’re a legitimate company that has a physical address.
Linking your email properly
The other things that are recommended for the footer are the company logo, which I would always put there. Once again, I would link that logo in the footer back out your company website so that, once again, they have another way to find you. You can put a link to your website in the footer so that, once again, somebody can find your website and find out who you are. The other thing that’s there that I really like using in a footer are the social media buttons. If you look, there’s a Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Instagram button at the bottom of our footers.
You click on that, it takes people out to your social media properties, and it’s really a great way to drive people out, you know, drive traffic to those properties to let people see all the great work you’ve been doing on your social media properties. Okay, so we’ve got everything built so now it’s time to send the email. But before we send, we want to test and review the email, make sure that you take a good look at it before you send it out to your customers. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t recall an email. First of all, send it to yourself. You can send a quick test to yourself, go through, read through it as if you were your customer, and make sure that it says what you wanted to say.
Check all of your links. Do your links go to where they need to go? Are the sites live where you’re sending it out to? Those kind of things. You also want, too, when you’re checking that, check it both on your mobile phone and your desktop, and a lot of times, things change when you send an email to mobile. Over 50% of people now are actually opening their emails first on their mobile, so you want to make sure that it looks right on the mobile and not just on the desktop. There are tools you can use. Litmus has a great tool. It’ll show you every inbox you could possibly sending an email to, what it would look like when that person opens it in an inbox.
It costs money so it’s something that you want as your business grows, but it’s something to keep in mind. The only thing is if you’re using merge tags, if you’re merging information of a personalization or anything, make sure you’re testing those. We’ve all received that email that says, “Dear blank,” and the blank is actually a whole bunch of characters, that’s not okay. Make sure if you’re using merge tags, if you’re merging information into your email that you’re testing those out really well before you send it out.
5. Send the email
We’re ready to send and schedule the email. Determine the best time to send. There’s a lot of information out there. Everybody’s got their own opinion about it, and you can find an article that tells you every single day of the week is the best time to send an email. So it’s really a matter of just experimenting and testing out what your audience responds to best. You know, send something on a Tuesday and see how it does and send the next one on a Thursday and see if it does any better. The timing does make a difference sometimes, especially if you’re dealing with an international audience. So keep in mind if you’re sending from the Eastern time that you’re sending to a group that’s largely in England, that if you’re sending at 3:00 in the afternoon, it’s hitting them in the middle of the night.
Keep in mind time zones as you’re sending and make sure you’re hitting the biggest part of your audience at the right kind of times. Okay, so everything’s done, you’ve set, everything’s out there, so now it’s time to measure your success to look and see how well you did with it. The first thing you’re gonna want to do is to pull some benchmarks. There are a lot of benchmark studies out there. MailChimp has one for free on our website, so if you want to go out to MailChimp and pull it. There’s a lot of other sources. You could go on and just google email benchmarks and get all kinds of studies. What those do is they average.
They give you an aggregate of your industry, the open rates, the click rates, how emails are supposed to perform, or perform on the average, at least for your certain industry, and it gives you something to mark against, you know, to look and see. Am I doing better or worse than the average? Okay, so the things that you want to measure. The first one is open rate. An open rate is measured as the number of unique opens, so that’s, if someone opens an email 10 times, that’s not 10 opens, it’s 1 open, so measured by a person opening the email, over the number of successful emails delivered, so you don’t want to do it over everything you sent.
You want to do it over what was successfully delivered. So that should be net of all of your balances, previous unsubscribes, and those kind of things. If somebody doesn’t receive an email and you can’t expect them to click it, so your click rate should be driven off of the bottom line of the net delivered instead of what you actually sent. Click to open rate is another thing to measure. You hear people talk about click rates, I prefer click to open, and that’s the number of unique clicks. Once again, one person is only one click, no matter how many times they click, over the number of unique opens. And what this does, it tells you the number of clicks out of the people that opened. So it kind of isolates that click measure and lets you know independent of how many people clicked on your email, of those who clicked, how well you did. So, you know, it kinda helps you that engagement metric gets a little more refined.
6. Measure success
The last thing for measuring success is the feedback loop. You can establish a feedback loop and not just have the email as a push mechanism but also to get some information back, which really helps you refine future relations and sometimes refine other things about your business. The first thing you want to look at is your unsubscribe rates and your spam complaint rates, which you will see on your reporting from your ESP after you send your email.
You want to make sure if those are not…you know, if they are going up, especially over time, that maybe you have a problem. You consider what reasons people have for doing this. In most ESPs, you can review the unsubscribe reasons. So when somebody clicks on unsubscribe, a lot of times…and MailChimp is…I’m sure it does for other ESP, is you get actually get a screen that gives you, like, six reasons that a person would unsubscribe, and they can check and tell you why they’re unsubscribing. There’s also a write and reason where they can actually fill in the information and tell you what that reason was, which is really very valuable.
I always read through all of those because it’s like a free focus pretty much, and people are gonna write back and give you information, and they’re pretty passionate that they’re gonna go out of that trouble, so it’s good information on what you need to fix. The other thing is to allow replies to your emails and read those. When emails come in and you see do not reply in the front line, don’t do that. If you really want to know what your customers are thinking, allow them to do a reply to your email and read through those replies. A lot of times you’ll find out that there’s something wrong with your list or there’s something wrong with how you’re sending, or like I said, sometimes there’s even things people don’t like about your business that you can find out that way.
Okay, so those are the steps to get through, so good luck on building your email. The other thing I want you to know is that I have just barely brushed on each one of these topics, the things that you can find out there. If you want more information on these, for instance, subject line, there are reams of information, so just go google subject line, especially there’s gonna be a lot of information when you google it. Especially look at some of the studies done by the different ESPs because they do pound a lot of just general marketing information has nothing to do with their particular tool, but they will help you learn how to build a subject line or any of the other things that we talked about. Thanks a lot.
Hey everybody. My name is Adam Arkfeld, president and founder of Paracore. I’m really excited to be talking about Facebook advertising today. So today, we’re going to be talking about “The 5 Critical Concepts Every Facebook Marketer Needs To Know.” I only have 30 minutes and a wide range of people participating on this call. So what I wanted to do was add a little bit of value in a lot of different areas. So I wanted to talk about some of the key tactics that we use at ParaCore when it comes to Facebook advertising and I’m going to provide something for everybody.
So I’m not going to spend an incredible amount of time on each topic, each one could be a two-hour conversation. If you want to learn more, grab my email, it will be at the end also, and we can talk more about it. But we’re going to talk about some of the key things that we think about and we look at when we’re running Facebook ads at my agency, ParaCore.
Cold Brew & Facebook Ads: A parallel
All right, so first of all, I want to set the stage here a little bit, tell you a little bit of a story. So I love cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee is my jam. I drink coffee cold brew just all the time whether it’s hot or cold. I make it myself. I do the thing. When we moved into our office about 18 months ago, I thought I’m going to get a cold brew keg and I’m going to serve cold brew in the office. I was super excited about it. So I make my own cold brew, I had a 5-gallon jar there that you can see it’s going into the cold brew keg. I put it in the kegerator, I pull the tap cold brew comes out. It’s like nectar of the gods. I’m drinking it and it’s amazing, right.
Okay, so I have my cold brew in the office, I love cold brew, I’m doing my thing. And the next morning I come in, it’s a couple of days before the open house, and I pull the tap, cold brew comes out, super excited, you know, free-flowing cold brew. I drink it and it tastes terrible, just absolutely terrible. And I didn’t know what happened. And it had literally only been one day, cold brew lasts refrigerated for quite a long period of time, and I did not understand why it tasted terrible. So I got rid of that entire batch. I did another 5-gallon batch, and they take a long time. I did the exact same thing, pulled it, worked, and tasted great. Next day, it tasted terrible.
So what I learned over time was that I was using CO2, like you use when you have soda, for my gas, so compressing, pushing the cold brew down, comes out the tap, I was using CO2. CO2 doesn’t work for cold brew because it takes on the taste with CO2, which is fine with soda, but not with cold brew. I needed to use nitrogen.
So the reason that I tell you this story is because there are many, many parallels with Facebook ads to this destroying my entire batch of cold brew situation. With Facebook ads, you can do something easily like boost a post or run a simple ad and get some moderate results and be okay on a small scale. But when you start to scale and grow your campaign, you run into different challenges.
There are also a variety of nuances within the Facebook advertising platform like the difference between using CO2 or food-grade nitrogen that you should know about so that it doesn’t destroy your entire batch of advertising.
That’s what I’m going to go over today. I’m not going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to do Facebook ads. I’m not going to tell you what Facebook ads are, you already know what they are. We’re going to talk about how you can run a very successful Facebook marketing campaign with a few key concepts that you need to know to make sure that you’re successful. So we’re going to get right into it.
- Facebook Pixel: Don’t advertise blind
- Coca-Cola & Facebook Pixel
- Creating compelling ads
- Fly tips to share with your hipster marketing friends
So we’re going to talk about five strategies for Facebook dominance, okay. The first thing we’re going to talk about is what it’s like to drive in the dark without headlights. Not very fun. The second thing is what Coca-Cola and your Facebook pixel have in common. Third, being ads for the “I’m not creative folks.” We hear a lot about people talking about creating ads and how they don’t feel comfortable creating ads. We’re going to talk about when it’s not the Facebook ads that are the problem. And then the fifth one is looking fly with your hipster marketing friends. So this is like the type of stuff some of the tools and tactics that are sort of small that you can talk about, people are like, “Ooh, you’re cool, man.” And they’ll be really good tips and things that we find really valuable with ParaCore.
Facebook Ads + Facebook Pixel
All right, drive in the dark without headlights, so clearly nobody would do that, this is not an intro that I need to elaborate on. When you’re driving, and you have the headlights on, you can see where you’re going right. And so the parallel that I want to talk about is your Facebook pixel and the value and importance of the Facebook pixel in your Facebook advertising. And if you don’t have a pixel and you’re not using the pixel correctly, it’s as if you are driving without your headlights on and you have no idea where you’re going. You may or may not make it there, you may or may not crash into a building. And neither of those situations are very good you’re going to end up somewhere, you just don’t know where, or you’re going to end up hurt. In the Facebook world, that means you’re going to be spending a lot of money and not really making any money.
Retargeting your ads
So when it comes to the Facebook pixel, the pixel is a piece of code that you put on your website that tracks all Facebook activity. Pixels are associated with ad accounts, and the pixel contains incredible value. Now the very first thing that you want to do with the pixel is you want to have a developer install on your website. If you need help with that, shoot me an email, but you go to the events manager in your Facebook Ads Manager to make sure the pixel is installed.
Now, when the pixel is installed, all traffic that’s running to your website, the pixel tracks those users and tracks those visitors. And when all that traffic is coming, whether it’s from Facebook, or from any other source…I know that we’ve got an SEO conversation this morning and we’re going to have other methods of traffic coming to your website, the pixel is tracking all of those people. It’s just like the Google pixel. Now when that traffic comes to your website, by having a mature and populated pixel, you can then retarget those visitors on Facebook.
So that’s the follow effect that so many people talk about when they talk about Facebook and pay-per-click advertising marketing. You have to have the Facebook pixel on your website so that anyone that visits your website, you have the opportunity to market to them when they are on Facebook and browsing through their feed. So that’s the very first advantage of having a pixel is that you can do retargeting to your audience and stay in front of them for a long period of time. As we know, you need to be in front of people for many, many impressions. I don’t know what the number is right now, but a lot of impressions.
Set up conversions
The second thing with your pixel is that you want to have a developer, yourself or someone else, set up conversions. Now, if you’re running ads and you don’t have conversion tracking set up, you’re driving in the dark. You have no idea if your ads are working, you have no idea if they’re driving business. You could be spending $1,000, $5,000, $50,000 a month on advertising, but if you don’t have a pixel firing for a conversion, you don’t even know if they’re working. You don’t know which ads are working, which audiences are working, or which ad sets are working. So it’s hyper-important, super-crazy-critical to make sure that your pixel is installed and it’s firing conversions. So step one is getting the pixel on your website so that you can retarget with traffic. Step two is making sure that the pixel is firing for conversions, which is just very critical to know if it’s actually working.
Pulling in offline conversions
Then step three is pulling in offline conversions. And offline conversions are conversions that occur not online. That’s why they’re considered offline. So the reason I bring this up is a lot of people say phone calls are dead, nobody calls anymore. And while that’s true, in some respects, we know as a pay-per-click marketing agency, that that’s not entirely true. For a lot of our clients, home services, legal, you know, a lot of the professional services, we typically see maybe 20% to 30% of leads coming through with phone calls.
So if you think about the fact that you don’t know if your Facebook advertising or your Google advertising or anything else is driving a phone call then you’re really only attributing 70% of your conversions to your advertising. So that means that your cost per lead may look artificially higher than it actually is.
What I love about CallRail and one of the reasons I’m here because we work with them quite extensively is CallRail allows you to attribute phone calls from your advertising back into the ad network so you know exactly how many conversions are occurring in your Facebook ad platform. And that also requires the pixel but it also requires a third-party platform like CallRail.
So with Facebook on its own, you cannot attribute phone calls to your Facebook marketing without the third-party platform, it’s impossible. Google has a couple of options like click-to-call that sort of work, they don’t work great. But something like CallRail really allows you to pull that data back in. So the way that it works is someone clicks an ad, they go to your website, and maybe they leave the website. And then they go back to the website later through maybe another ad, and they make a phone call, and they talk to a representative.
That call is then sent from CallRail to an offline conversion set which is then fed into your conversions in Facebook and allows you to see exactly how many phone calls came from your Facebook advertising. Now that is incredibly important, especially if you’re running a high volume of advertising and your cost per lead is important to you. Because it may be artificially high, you may be thinking, this advertising is not working for me. And the only thing worse than thinking that the advertising isn’t working for you…or excuse me, not knowing if advertising is working for you is the advertising is working for you and you turn it off because you think it isn’t. It’s a terrible place to be where you think the advertising is not working, you then turn it off and it actually was working, and then you have a negative impact that’s bigger than you thought it was. So that’s why conversion tracking is so important.
So CallRail is a third-party platform that does that, you’re all on their digital marketing boot camp. That’s one of the main advantages or one of the key reasons that we use the platform like that because it’s super helpful. So the pixel allows you to see the traffic that’s coming to your website and retarget those people. It allows you to track conversions so you know which campaigns are working. And then the pixel and CallRail in combination allow you to track phone calls, which are offline conversions.
- Install Pixel on every page
- Ensure Pixel fires on every conversion
- Measure CallRail conversions with offline event sets
So action items if you find yourself lacking in any of these areas. If you’re not doing any advertising on Facebook, just build an ad account, install the pixel, have someone do it, super important. Even if you’re not advertising yet, it’ll start building that pixel. So you can retarget them later if you want to. Ensure the pixel is fired on every single conversion, you want to make sure that’s triggering a conversion so that you can see which ads are actually generating leads versus what you’re just spending your budget. You don’t want to spend your budget on ad sets or audiences because then you’re just losing money. And then third, measure CallRail conversions with offline event sets. So measure phone conversions with offline event sets. You can only do that through a third-party platform like CallRail, which is why they’re so awesome.
What Coca-Cola & Facebook Pixel have in common
Coca Cola and your Facebook pixel. All right, so now we’ve talked about the pixel why it’s important because when someone visits your website, the pixel fires, it tracks that visitor, and then it knows who’s been visiting your website. Now, Coca-Cola has a secret recipe that they’ve held secret for like over 100 years. Based on my research, I don’t know if this changes on a regular basis or not, but only two people in the world know the full recipe. They’re not allowed to fly on the same plane because if that plane goes down, then the two people that know the full recipe go down with it. So it’s highly secret, it’s highly specialized, and it’s one of the keys to Coca-Cola’s success. Nobody can duplicate the recipe and nobody’s been able to figure it out, right. So I think a lot of people have heard about the fact that they have this super-secret recipe so it’s not a big surprise, but that’s Coca-Cola’s thing.
Facebook Pixel is your secret recipe
Now, the parallel is your Facebook pixel is your secret recipe to success for your business. Now, the people that are visiting your website are your best customers. And the Facebook pixel takes all of those visitors and it puts them in a bucket and it takes all their attributes and you know exactly who they are. It is your secret recipe for success for your business specifically. Every business has a unique profile of visitors and the Facebook pixel picks up that profile.
So your pixel is your proprietary secret recipe. When people are coming to the website – We already talked about website retargeting, which is number one on this list.
Creating lookalike audiences
Now, the second concept I want to talk about is what’s called lookalike audiences and lookalike traffic. So if you have, let’s say, 10,000 people visiting your website, and those 10,000 people have certain characteristics, they live in a certain area, they like certain things, let’s say you sell yoga mats or something, they have a certain lifestyle of health and activity and fitness. All of these attributes are going to be pulled into this Facebook pixel.
And then you can take that exact list of website traffic or conversions or a database list that you upload to Facebook. There are a lot of different ways to create your base audience but the pixel is one of the best. And then you say, all right, Facebook, you’re smart. I want you to create an audience of people on Facebook that look like or are similar to the people that are already visiting my website or already converting. And you say, create a lookalike audience and Facebook goes out and does its magic. And the audiences are in the range of 0% to 10%. So typically, people do a 0% to 1% audience and about it’s two million people in size. And those two million people have similar characteristics to your customers.
So it’s basically saying take your 100 customers and find an audience that’s very similar to those people because they’re likely to buy your product. When you create a lookalike audience, on this graphic here you can see your customers and kind of brings them all down to the Facebook world, which is, you know, the gray headshots and then the blue headshots. Then Facebook says, well, these are people that are the right match so we’re going to put these people in the audience, and then we’re going to spit out a lookalike audience. And so you can feed your lookalike audience with web traffic, with offline conversions, also through CallRail, you can do it through online conversions, you can do it through website purchases. You can take a database list and upload that list and say create a lookalike audience off of this.
So these lookalike audiences are incredibly powerful. So I would recommend taking your website traffic and telling Facebook to create that lookalike audience for you and running ads to it. Don’t add any layers on top, don’t add additional interest, just let Facebook do its thing, and it’s probably going to work out for you. We tend to see look-alike audiences performing the best out of all of our audiences except for maybe just standard retargeting. Lookalike audiences are incredibly powerful and I have some campaigns that are just lookalikes spending hundreds of thousands a month that just keep feeding into each other and getting better, extremely powerful.
Facebook audience action Items:
- Start retargeting traffic
- Build website traffic lookalike audiences
- Use website traffic, conversions, engagement, calls, etc.
So Facebook action items with look alike audiences. With your pixel, you can start retargeting traffic that’s coming to your website, I would highly recommend doing that. That allows you to stay in front of people for those impressions. I talked about that a little bit in the first session.
Number two is building a website traffic lookalike audience. This one is easy to do. If you have your pixel on your website, and you’re starting Facebook advertising, just create an audience that’s lookalike traffic, and then you can run traffic to that lookalike audience. It tends to do quite well.
Number three, using website traffic, conversions, engagement, calls, these are more advanced integrations into the lookalike audience but also very powerful. So you can feed all of that information into a lookalike audience and get the user exactly like your other customers on your website or your actual customers and show ads to them. So Facebook lookalike audiences are super powerful.
And throughout my presentation, which I’m already into, I’m going to be talking about audiences, I’m going to be talking about ads, I’m going to be talking about conversions. So those are the three main areas that we look at in any Facebook campaign to see how the campaign is converting overall. I wanted to mention that because we just talk about audiences, and audiences are the people you’re showing your ads to.
Creating compelling ads
Next, I want to talk about ads. I talked to a lot of owners, a lot of marketers, a lot of just people in the community and people seem to have anxiety around creating ads. There’s something intimidating about it, it seems like a lot of work. If you’re having a video done, you might spend thousands of dollars on a video, might take a month to three months, then you launch, it doesn’t do well. And you’ve spent three to six months spending some money creating a video, didn’t have momentum, and it was overproduced and it just didn’t work because something was just wrong with the video.
So what I would encourage you to do, watching this video today, is if you take one thing away, and you’re running advertising, the one thing that I really want you to do is I want you to try creating a bunch of different types of ads with different formats. And I’m going to show you a couple here, a couple that we find interesting, are kind of low threshold, and are easy to create, but also unique. Because Facebook loves variety and consumers love variety. They don’t love the standard, you know, husband and wife standing in front of a home with a for sale sign. It’s been done a thousand, a million times, right. So we’re going to talk about some different ad formats for the folks that say, “I’m not creative.”
All right, so these are just a few ideas. So really, this is just me giving you some ideas and a few tools to make great ads to try out to see how they go.
So the first one is Facebook videos. This is a screenshot right from the Facebook Ads Manager. If you have a stockpile of images, if you have, like an ISTOP account or a Getty account, or you’re just using Facebook’s stock photos, you can take those videos and say, “I want to create a Facebook video which is basically a slideshow that Facebook throws some text on.”
Now, it sounds kind of uneventful. If you’re an ads manager, you run a lot of ads, you might say, “that’s kind of lame.” That’s like Facebook’s interface, it’s going to be kind of like not that exciting. We’ve created some of these videos and while I often think they’re not that exciting, they do quite well because they’re engaging, they’re videos, you can retarget how long they’re watching the video, and they just tend to convert better than images. So use Facebook videos native slideshow production features when you’re creating ads because you can just throw in a couple of images, throw in a little bit of text, and it’s going to shoot out something interesting. Try it out. If it doesn’t work, throw it away. Do it again, throw it away.
So here are the different ad formats that Facebook has for you, the different templates, and there’s a bunch of different options, they’re different lengths and with a variety of image needs. We started using promo.com for videos lately, they just have really interesting videos, easy interface for throwing text on top. Do you want to create a video? Sign up for promo.com, I have no affiliation with them. I just think the service is amazing. And you get cool videos like this like a pug with heart sunglasses saying, “Love has no face.” And obviously, you can change that text, but just cool stuff that grabs the consumers’ attention.
And the entire reason that I’m highlighting some of these different options is because you want to grab the consumers’ attention. The husband and wife in front of the house with the for sale sign is boring. Everyone’s seen that, they’re just going to scroll right past it. You see this pug with heart sunglasses, you’re going to stop because it’s just sort of interesting. So I would encourage you that anytime you’re creating that, do something that just makes people…and even if it has nothing to do with your business, do something that’s interesting and write the copy around the image. Don’t create the image and write the copy around it. Find an interesting image, then write copy, or an interesting video, then write copy.
Next, on the right-hand side here we have Facebook polls. Polls are a new feature that can be used on videos. On the bottom of this one, it says “Are you on a PPC island with your job? This is me trying to hire people to work for ParaCore in Phoenix because a lot of people work solo in an agency. And it says, “Yes I am and…” I can’t even read it. It says, “Yes I am and I’m fine,” or, “No, and yes, I want more.” I can’t read it from here. But anyway, the idea is when you click that poll, that then opens the landing page so it acts as a click-through and then they see the poll results. So a poll shows up, you click the poll, then it shows the landing page, and it engages someone right into your landing page that really increases engagement click-through rates.
Here on the left are our sketches. I just put this one in here because this has been hitting my Facebook feed and this guy claims that sketches are like the new rage. So I don’t know, it seemed interesting, it caught my attention. I literally only include this because it caught my attention. And I haven’t even done a sketch yet. So I want to try that but I haven’t done it but sketches look interesting. You don’t see those on Facebook.
Memes are cool. I have a brand, this is my brand Edison 21 for Shopify PPC marketing. So my employees like creating memes and, you know, this full-service marketing agency versus Shopify PPC specialist. It’s just interesting that one was timely based on the Super Bowl commercial.
The next one that we’ve been experimenting with are text exchanges. This is a video and literally, we will record our phones texting each other back and forth through like screen recording. And then it’ll say, “Hey, like, have you connected with Edison 21 yet?” It’s like, “Yeah, I have, they’re doing awesome.” And we’ll just create a little conversation on text, and we’ll save it as a video and then we’ll upload it on an app. And it is kind of like a social credibility thing, even though it’s not really social credibility. So the idea is, get creative, just try different things and just keep trying them. And anything that catches your attention on Facebook, look at that and just emulate it.
Ad action items:
- Use the slide show ad format
- Find a funny picture and create a “meme”
- Create 5 ads in each ad set with different formats
And I would encourage you to find interesting visuals and then write copy just to support the interesting visuals around your product or service because you can do that, you can create a story about anything. I created a story about cold brew and how it relates to Facebook. You can do that about anything. So use the slideshow ad format, find a funny picture, create a meme, go for meme, just anything that’s trending, like anything that’s trending on Facebook, snag it for a couple of weeks, throw it up there. See how it goes, people like it, they engage with it. And then create five ads in each ad set with different formats. So just throw a bunch of ads up there and see what works. And that’ll get you a lot more comfortable building interesting creatives.
All right, so the third piece that I was mentioning earlier is we have the audiences and then we have the ads. Now we’re going to be talking about the conversion point. So I’m not going to be talking about landing pages because you hear about landing pages a lot. Landing pages tend to convert better and you can do optimizations and testing. What I am going to talk about is the conversion point of if your Facebook ads aren’t working, it may not actually be your Facebook ads. So you may have a good click-through rate, a click-through rate of over 1%, we’re typically fairly happy with that. You may have an interesting ad, you may have good engagement, you may be running a lookalike audience that seems, you know, like it should be fairly well seasoned, but people just aren’t converting.
And so what we’re doing is we’re working with different types of conversion points and I just want to give you one example that convert people in a different, more engaging way.
The first one is by using Messenger chatbots. There’s a platform called ManyChat, which integrates right into Facebook and you can create really interesting chatbots that allow someone to engage and answer questions to see if your services are a fit, or they want to reach out to you, they just want to understand more about what you’re selling. Or if you have some pre-qualification, they can actually pre-qualify themselves by going through a number of questions.
So ManyChat is a third-party platform, starts off about 10 bucks a month, you connect it to your Facebook Messenger ads. So when someone sees an ad, they click the ad, they then are sent into Facebook Messenger and the chatbot initiates and starts asking questions. So this just says, “Hey Max, how can we help you get a quote, schedule a meeting, learn more? Happy to help.” And then you can see that there are prompts that they can select, you can embed video, you can embed an image. But it’s just a far more engaging way to engage your consumer and we’ve run traffic to chatbots that generate leads that have a decent cost per lead. For one financial advisor, it was something like $40 a week.
When we ran Facebook traffic to a landing page, we generated basically no leads. I mean, I think we literally generated zero leads, wasn’t a high amount of spend, but just the results just did not show up. But when we pull them into a chatbot, people can start asking questions, start answering questions to see if the service was a good fit for them. So chatbots are amazing.
In the web version of sort of a chatbot are landing page quizzes or quizzes on your website. So with Facebook, where there’s very low intent, these quizzes and chatbots and interactions are really important because people aren’t really looking for you. They’re not trying to find you, you’re putting yourself in front of them. So when you’re putting yourself in front of them, it’s nice to add some value. So when someone’s going through a chatbot, or they’re going through a landing page quiz, you can actually add value.
A tool like LeadsHook, which we started using, actually allows you to give the consumer a mortgage payment amount based on the information they give you. So they’ll amortize the mortgage in the background and then say, “Hey, your payment is going to be this amount,” which is really powerful, you’re actually giving value. So if you said, “Hey, what’s your current mortgage payment?” They said $900. And then you said, “Great, you know, what’s the mortgage amount, you know, blah, blah, blah? You know, 30-year term, we could actually save you $300 a month by, you know, this new mortgage plan, this interest rate.”
And that’s real value, instead of saying, “Hey, fill out this form to learn about refinancing and saving money.” That’s not real value, that’s serving you. And you’re not getting anything, you’re getting nothing in order to get a form submission. So these landing page quizzes or the Messenger chatbots, someone can come to you and say, “Hey, this is my situation, can you help me?” You can provide a little bit of value, and then they’re more likely to engage and convert because you’ve actually connected and shown you can help.
The landing page quiz on the right is for a personal injury campaign that we run where we’re actually asking, “How were you injured?” You know, “Are you represented by an attorney?” There’s just a sequence of questions to see if they qualify for compensation. And it’s a Facebook campaign, which is typically a little bit harder to get personal injury leads. So if your ads aren’t converting, the ads are interesting, the click-through rate is decent, your cost-per-click is between $1 and $2, and you’re just like, why am I not selling? It might be that you’re not converting.
And these are the three areas that we look at any campaign to ensure that a campaign is working correctly. You’re looking at the audiences, you’re looking at the ads, and then you’re looking at the landing page conversion. So consider using a quiz or conversational landing page. There’s platforms like Drift, which are similar but different. And I would use ManyChat to have conversations. I mean, ManyChat is amazing. I love it. I think it’s really cool.
Looking fly with your hipster marketing friends
All right, so the last thing is a couple of pro tips that we have found are really valuable that a lot of people don’t know about. So if you’re at a marketing event or business owner event, you want to drop a piece of knowledge to sound cool, use one of these things. Because the odds are they probably haven’t heard of it, but if they have, you know, don’t oversell it or anything.
Fly tip 1: Duplicate ads for engagement credibility
Okay, so the first thing is social credibility on Facebook is really important. If someone sees an ad, guy, gal standing in front of the house, for sale sign, they’re not that impressed, right? However, if you saw that ad, and you saw it had 809 comments, and 3,100 shares, you’d be like, “What? Why are there 800 comments on this ad?” Like it just triggers, like, “What is going on?” So the way that you can do that in your Facebook advertising is instead of creating new ads in every ad set, so going and clicking click new ad, you actually duplicate existing ads into different audiences, which keeps the same ad but runs it to different people. Same ad running to different people allows you to build up that social credibility and keep all of the engagement on one ad, which is super powerful.
So the way you do that is you look at an ad you hit the duplicate button, and then at the bottom there it says, show existing reactions, comments, and shares on new ads. You hit duplicate and then, it would use the same ad. Now if you change anything on the ad, if you change the image, if you can change the UTM tag, if you can change the headline, you can change the name of the ad, that’s the only thing I know you can change, if you change anything else on the ad, it will reset the ad, and you will lose the engagement. It won’t reset the original ad, it’ll just reset the new ad that you’re creating and it won’t give you the effect that you want.
So, I mean, we’ve ran an ad where we had a spelling error in it and we did not change it because we didn’t want to reset the engagement. That’s how important these seasoned social proof engagements are. You don’t change anything on the ad unless you absolutely need to or unless you’re trying something very different. But if an ad is performing duplicated across different audiences, you’re going to keep the same social engagement and it’s going to only continue to improve the performance. So fly tip number one, duplicate ads for engagement credibility.
Fly Tip 2: Inspect your audiences for saturation and overlap
Now, we hear all the time “Oh, my audience is saturated. We’ve been in front of them too much. Their frequency is too high.” Like, oftentimes, it’s just speculation. Like, a campaign is running and we just see that it stops performing for some reason, then people say it’s saturated. Or just honestly, like people just don’t quite…we’re just trying to figure out why a campaign stops working. Now, Facebook has tools that allow you to see if an audience is actually saturated. And a lot of people don’t know about this, I’m surprised at how many people know about it, but it’s a really powerful tool.
So when you’re looking at an ad set here on the left, when you hover over it, you see Inspect, View charts, Edit, Duplicate, if you hit the Inspect button, this whole panel on the right pops up, and it shows you all these different metrics around first-time impression share, total percent of audience reached, and things of that nature. First-time impression share, for example, this tells you of all the people that saw your ad in a period of time. So let’s say I selected the month of February, how many people saw it for the first time? How many people were just being introduced to your ad in this time period? So that’s the first-time impression share.
If that first-time impression share gets very low, it means that people have seen your ad before and they’re starting to see it again multiple times and you may be getting to a point of a little bit of saturation.
First-time impression shares should start off as very high. And ideally, you would maintain around 50% to 60%. This screenshot here is showing 38%, which starts to get a little bit low. Now, keep in mind that when you change the time period on this, this will change because this is based on time periods. So explore the time period, if someone is seeing your ad…if the first-time impression share is 10% over a long period of time that might be different than 10% over a short period of time.
The second thing that this panel has is…well, it also shows you when you’ve made major changes, and it kicks back into the learning phase, which is where it says ad set budget is updated. That shows that yellow bar, which is when ad campaigns are running again. But the last thing that you can see in here is actually how much of your audience you’ve reached. And that’s another chart that I’m not showing, but it’ll show you how much of the audience you’ve reached in a period of time. So it’ll say, hey, you’ve reached 20% of your audience, clearly not saturated. But, you know, in the Facebook world, maybe that’s starting to get a little bit high.
Here’s the audience saturation example, it’ll show you, you know, reached lifetime 95,000, audience reached ratio .74%, and it shows you first-time impression and things like that. So the reach lifetime is really valuable and the first-time impression share.
Fly tip 3: Scale your ads like the pros
Okay, last one because I’m running out of time, scale your ads like the pros. So like I was talking about with the cold brew coffee, scaling my coffee production broke down pretty hardcore. I went from filling little jugs to filling a 5-gallon keg, and that didn’t work out so well. So when you’re scaling Facebook ads, similar effects occur. If you’re running an ad campaign for, let’s say, $200 a day and you’re getting great results and your client or you say, “Let’s go to $400 a day,” great. Don’t go to just $400 a day. What that does is it kicks Facebook into the learning phase again, and it kind of resets the algorithm and your performance will likely drop quite dramatically. Some of you watching this might have experienced performance decrease dramatically when you’ve increased your campaigns too fast.
So a rule of thumb that we use, you want to avoid going back into the learning phase every time you increase your budget, if you want to be conservative, and really make sure that like nothing is going to change, increase your campaign by 10% every 48 hours. So if you’re running a campaign for $200 a day, you can change it to $220 a day, run that for 2 days, and then you can change it to $244 a day, whatever it is, run that for two days, and then add 10% on top of that, but you increase it very gradually with small steps. You don’t double the budget in one day.
You can be a little bit more aggressive if you want, which is 15% every 24 hours. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t do that. I might do 15% every 48 hours. If you really want to maintain and you’re not in a hurry to scale, then do the 10% every 48 hours or 15% every 48 hours. Don’t get too aggressive on this because if you make a mistake, it’s done, there’s no latitude on it. So it’s sort of a better safe than sorry scenario, you just don’t want to make that mistake. So that’s the third tip, scaling ads like the pros.
So my time is up, it’s 11:02 here in Atlanta. My name is Adam, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to connect. And I’ll be back later today talking about Google ads and five tips for that campaign as well. Thanks for watching.
The post 5 Critical Concepts Every Facebook Marketer Needs To Know appeared first on CallRail.
Good morning. I’m Jordan Polhemus. I’m gonna be talking today about SEO, local search, and Google My Business. So let’s get started. So, again, my name is Jordan Polhemus. I’ve been a marketer since 2013, and I’ve been focusing on large marquee accounts in the tourism and medical industries, and I have a special affinity for strategy development and highly technical projects in terms of marketing. I also oversee about $1.8 million in annual marketing investments each year.
I work for Search Influence which has headquarters in New Orleans. Happy Mardi Gras for anybody who did not know that Mardi Gras was going on right now. Search Influence is a nationally recognized full-service marketing agency and consulting agency out of New Orleans. We have about 45 full-time employees, and we apply to most of the major industries, with specialty interest in education, medical, and tourism industries. Some of what we do is obvious as marketing goes, but not as obvious is how we use data to help our clients better understand businesses and how to grow their business.
- What SEO is & why it’s important
- Establishing appropriate business goals
- Translating goals into strategy
- Putting it all together
SEO: What it is and why you need it
So, to orient ourselves a little bit to what we’re talking about, the search engine results page, as you can see in our presentation here, is typically organized this way with paid search at the top, what we call local search or the local pack in the middle, and organic search at the bottom, depending on the search that that person’s doing. In 2019, a study came out that said about 94% of all clicks went to the local or organic search results, and then 6% to the paid search results.
Now, that most certainly does not mean that businesses should not invest in paid search. Quite the contrary, depending on business goals and industry, you can get more immediate results through paid search. And it’s vitally important for growing many businesses. And y’all will learn a lot more about that later, but what we’re gonna be talking about today is that local search and organic search pack. And really this slide is just supposed to show the sheer volume that local search and organic search gets.
The importance of SEO
So, why is SEO important? Other than the huge amount of traffic that goes to all local results and the organic results, a website’s position in the search engine results page can be critical because the higher up on the page that a website is, the more clicks that that website will typically get. So, in this table right here, you can see that CTR, what we’re talking about here, CTR, which stands for click-through rate, is the number of clicks that a website receives divided by the number of times a website is shown on the search engine results page.
So this graph shows the click-through rate by position in the search engine results page. And websites with higher ranking get more clicks than lower ones, which really, I think most people nowadays understand that. But this is a good thing to orient ourselves to when we’re talking about SEO, and to remember the impact this can have on your business and how ranking still is as important as ever. And, after position 10, the click-through rate takes a dramatic nosedive because the vast majority of search engine users just don’t go past the first page of Google anymore, which leads us to this old marketing adage that “the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google Search.” And that’s testament to how good Google is with serving up the results that a user was looking for.
The purpose of Google
So, now that we have a better base understanding of Google and the type of results that we’re gonna be talking about, not the paid, but the organic and the local results, in order to answer, what is SEO, we must first understand the purpose of Google, which might not be something that a lot of businesses are used to thinking about. So, like most businesses, Google is a for-profit company. And then, if you think about it in that way, you think, “Okay, well, if Google is a for-profit company, how do they make money?”
Well, the vast majority of Google’s profits come from selling advertising space to other businesses. That profit equates to about $120 billion in 2019, just 70% of their total $171 billion approximate in revenue in 2019. So there’s many types of ads that they sell, but the primary revenue driver are paid search ads. Paid search ads are the ads that you see at the top of the Google search engine results page, which I showed you a few slides ago, and paid search ads are the ads that you might click on above the organic results. And when somebody clicks on those ads, the business running that ad is charged a fee, and that’s why it’s called pay-per-click, or PPC advertising.
The next logical question then, now that you have a good understanding of how the base revenue from Google…where the base revenue comes from, is, how is Google able to make so much money from advertising? And they’re able to make so much money from advertising because so many people would click on their ads. So the next question is, why are so many people clicking on the ads? And that’s because 90% of all internet users are using Google as their preferred mode of search engine over Yahoo, or Bing, or what have you.
And then, why do most people choose Google? Because you typically get a better answer for what you’re looking for and you have to spend less time searching. So, better answer faster. And, how does Google do this? That is the algorithm. So everybody’s heard about Google’s “secret sauce” algorithm. So, remember that is what we’re talking about here when we’re talking about the algorithm. They’re able to serve up those results quickly and more efficiently than other search engines.
Google’s Search Algorithm
So, let’s talk a moment about the Google algorithm. The algorithm is a complex system of formulas used to deliver the best results for each individual user. And if a user does that search on Google, and is provided with the correct answer that they’re looking for very quickly, this creates a positive user experience. So, just like any business that you have out there, if a user has a positive user experience, they will likely choose Google again to do their next search. Then, if more people are choosing Google as their search engine of choice, Google makes the money. And it’s as simple as any business model. If you create an exceptional product or service, then people will continue to use or purchase your product or service.
So, how does the concept of exceptional product or service relate to SEO? The acronym for SEO, as most people might know, is search engine optimization. So, remembering what the purpose of Google is, what the goal of Google is, to create a great search engine experience so that their users continue to use their product, SEO is simply the practice that businesses and other websites use to help Google with their end goal, to create a good user experience.
So, SEO is simply the practice that businesses and other websites use to create that good experience. And then, if your website answers a user’s query in a way that provides a good user experience, and answer quickly or effectively, then you have helped Google with their end goal, to create a good user experience. Therefore, Google will want to reward your website or business by ranking your website higher on the search engine results page, which then sends more traffic to your website and ultimately more customers to your business.
Establishing appropriate business goals
So, now that we’ve established some basic foundations about what SEO is and why it’s important to businesses, we’ll transition into talking about applying that knowledge to your business in the form of strategy creation. So, this is a pretty overwhelming slide here. Most businesses make…I believe most businesses make the huge mistake of thinking about what they need to do or the tactics under the marketing umbrella too early. Instead, you read, you know, businesses might read a blog or hear that you should be writing content, or you should be generating backlinks, or creating YouTube videos, or improving keyword rankings for whatever keyword, or working on a technical aspect of your website like site speed, and then spend energy and money on that tactic, but not understanding why they’re doing it.
But there’s thousands of different tactics businesses could deploy that would fall under the umbrella of SEO, but not all of them would have a positive impact on your business. So, as business owners, you don’t need to do all of the things, because most businesses don’t have unlimited funds or time. So marketers use the same methodology.
We don’t do things just to do them, but we do them with an end goal in mind.
So, in order to determine the tactics that you need to focus on, we must first go through exercise to establish your goals, starting with your goals first, and then backing your way into appropriate tactics so that you aren’t instead doing all of the things for your business, you’re only doing the things for your business that will move the needle for your business.
So, referencing your strategy worksheet, we’ll work backwards through this in order to determine what tactics your business should be focusing on. So we’ll first focus on goal setting and measuring those results, and then we’ll be defining your strategy and determining tactics.
The Big Picture: Putting it all together
So, first let’s talk about goal setting. Something that a lot of businesses struggle with, believe it or not, is setting appropriate goals. I’ve seen it with most of the businesses that I’ve worked for, whether they are very small or very large. Businesses setting goals is very, very difficult for them. So businesses, really, I find, get stuck in the weeds and forget the big picture. So having the right goal should be the basis by which all of your strategies and tactics align. And it’s really your North Star. Whenever you’re deciding, “Should I be doing this thing?” you need to always think back to how it relates to your goal. And if it does not relate to your goal directly, you shouldn’t pay a lot of attention to it, or that’s something that you put lower on your priority list.
So, first think about what the ultimate goal of your business is. It’s probably to make a profit. So, I mean, I think most of the businesses probably on this conference are out to make a profit. So if your goal is to increase your revenue and make a profit, we’re gonna back into all the steps that it takes to generate revenue for your business. So taking a lead-based business model, for example, like a service industry, you know, it could be real estate agents, doctors, attorneys, plumbers, CPAs, you wanna do is focus on revenue.
If you are focusing on revenue, think about, what’s the step before that? It’s typically to make a lead. If you need more leads to your website, then you want to get more traffic to your website. To get more traffic, well, people need to find you on Google. And then, in order to be found on Google, you need to improve your keyword rankings in the rank. If you remember that click-through rate chart, rate higher in order to get more people on your website, and then, which will ultimately lead to more revenue.
So, once you determine your goal, you need to understand how to measure it. So starting at the top, we have found, in order to track your keyword rankings, there are many, many different tools that you can use for this. Ones that we recommend are:
These have paid and unpaid versions. Some of them have unpaid versions.
The next thing is how to track if more people are finding you on Google. If your website is ranking higher in the search engine results, more people will be able to see and find your business. There’s more eyeballs on your business or on your website. And this can be tracked through Google Search Console through impressions, or the number of people that are finding more…website, your impressions. And if more people can find your website, there is a higher likelihood that more people will click on your website. Once people click on your website, website performance can be tracked through Google Analytics, which is a free tool by Google, and it’s kind of the gold standard when it comes to website traffic and what’s happening on your website.
And it’s just something that you install on your website and you can…with this installed, you can see everything that’s happening on your website once somebody lands there. And if more people are visiting your website, then more people will turn into leads typically in the form of calls, form fills, some websites have the ability to do text messaging, and this can be tracked using your CallRail form and call tracking software, which we at Search Influence also use for ourselves. If more people are then turning into leads, then that would result in more revenue and closed business typically if you have a pretty good understanding of what your close rate is from a lead to closed business for you.
This can be tracked however you keep track of revenue or whatever sort of customer management system that you’re using. The most important part here is to cross-reference the leads that come through your website, and whether or not they turn into revenue, and for how much. And by doing so, you can determine how much revenue each marketing strategy or vertical is generating.
Translating goals into actionable strategy
Now that we know what the goal is and how to measure it, we’re gonna turn our attention to developing an actionable strategy. So, remembering that the key to reaching your goal is to keep these goals in mind when creating a strategy at all times. Before we determine what we’re gonna do, though, we must think about who we’re trying to get in front of. The “who” determines the “what.” So, what we’re trying to do here is first define our audience. In order to define our audience and figure out who…or once we define our audience, we can then figure out, okay, what kind of actions are they taking online?
In order to identify your target customer, we want to get in the mindset of that person, which marketers typically are really good at doing. And you can ask yourself:
- What kind of problem is this person trying to solve?
- What questions are they asking during their decision making process?
- What information do they need?
- Does location play a factor in their decision?” So, do they have to drive to your business? Or, if it’s a service business, could they just call you?
So, once you have these answered for yourselves, or once you’ve defined this person, we’re then gonna ask ourselves, “Okay, what would that person be googling in order to make a decision?”
So, just, you know, I don’t have any examples for you right here. This just all depends on the industry that you’re in, but there are a lot of tools out there helping you figure out what people might be googling in order to make this decision once you try to come up with a couple of those queries yourself. I mentioned Ahrefs, Google AdWords. Even if you’re not running a paid campaign, you can use the Google AdWords tool to help you figure that out. Moz, SEMrush, and then there’s also free tools out there if you’re just getting into this. Those tools are Rank Tracker, AnswerThePublic, Keyword Tool Dominator. These will give you ideas about what people are searching for in relation to your industry.
So, before we move into strategy development, I wanted to have a quick vocabulary word. So I keep saying the word “keyword” or “query.” So, keyword really is a query that a user enters into a search engine to gather information. It’s when you say, “Let me google that,” it’s the word or the phrase that you google. And it could be a single word, or a string of words, or a phrase, or a question that you ask. So, the synonyms to “keywords” that we use in marketing are “queries,” “key terms,” “search term,” “key phrases.” Those are all the same thing.
Now that we’ve got that defined…and you need to remember that you can’t focus on ranking for all keywords at all times. We need to be able to narrow down the focus a little bit. So, take your list of keywords and start googling them just to see what comes up. You’ll first notice the results. There’s a significant difference in results with just slight keyword variations, and you need to remember that Google understands search in the text. So, I have an example here, “plastic surgery in New Orleans,” versus “plastic surgery.”
If you’re a local business, then you want to focus on getting this local results with what we call the Maps Pack, which you’re really probably used to seeing now, that a little map comes up with a couple of listings below this. You type in the phrase “plastic surgeons in New Orleans,” you’re gonna get a lot of local results. But if you type in the phrase “plastic surgery,” you’re gonna get a very broad definition of plastic surgery from Wikipedia, and American Society of Plastic Surgeons website, and stuff like that. So, if you’re a local business, you’re gonna be…want to be focusing on the results that generate local results instead of the ones that generate more broad results, because the likelihood of you ranking for plastic surgery is very, very slim to none.
And the next thing you wanna do is look at what types of websites are ranking for that same term. Do you have your competitors that are ranking for this term? Are there listicles and directories? And then, once you’ve determined that, you want to think about relevancy. Even though there is a lot more volume for “plastic surgery” than “plastic surgeons in New Orleans,” the likelihood of somebody of your target audience searching for the phrase “plastic surgery” is really low compared to the likelihood that they would search for “plastic surgeons in New Orleans.” So you want to remove really broad terms that don’t generate local results for you.
Location-based VS Service-based businesses
Remember your target audience again and consider your industry. Now I’m gonna talk about more industry-specific stuff. So you want to think about, what types of websites will your audience be looking at in order to make a decision? So, a local business versus a service business, where location doesn’t matter quite as much. So the example I have here, it’s “auctions in New Orleans” versus “best plumbers in New Orleans.” “Auctions in New Orleans” generates a local results or a Maps Pack here.
So you want to focus on getting in the maps if you were an auction house, because people will physically need to go to an auction, they might want to go to an auction that’s close to them, whereas a plumber, he will probably never visit your plumber’s office. You just want to know, does a plumber service your area? And that might not result in a Maps Pack.
The takeaway here is you should focus on improving keywords that have a local pack where you’re a local business, and listicles, directories, and review websites if you’re more of a service area business.
Nuances in Search
So Google’s algorithm works so well, that it understands synonyms and related or similar terms, meaning that when you’re trying to rank for specific terms, don’t worry about framing that term on your website unrelated at times, but rather make sure to include related terms here. So the example here is where to buy a bat. So you want to think about, okay, are you looking for baseball equipment? Are you a sports store, or a bat that hangs from a ceiling and flaps around at night, and may or may not be a vampire? So that might be more like a pet store.
So you want to think about, okay, there might be more search volume for where to buy a bat, but if you’re a sports store or athletic store and you want to put words about baseball bat or where to buy a bat as a pet, if you’re a pet store. And what I’m trying to say here is there are two…let me start this over. There are nuances with search. So somebody might search for “wedding band.”
So if you are in the entertainment industry, you want to make sure to include synonyms and things that are very similar to what your term is, but different variations of that, like “cover band,” “wedding entertainment,” “first dance,” “DJ,” “jazz,” “playlist,” “brass band,” whatever, so that Google understands that you are not a jeweler, which might include words on your website like “rings,” and “jewelry,” “yellow gold,” “men and women,” “engagement,” stuff like that. It’s really important to expand your content on your website so that it’s very, very clear to Google that you are one business versus another.
Content type strategies
So, your strategy will very likely include, for most all businesses, small and medium businesses, your strategies will likely include three major types of concepts: content type tactics, strategy or listing tactics, and link building tactics. So, depending on your industry, your current state of business, your competitors, you should focus on one or two of these areas. But if you’re a brand-new business, you need to be making sure that all of your tactics focus in all three of these buckets.
So let’s first talk about content here. Once your overall strategy has been defined and you know the major areas of focus that you’ll be pursuing, we’ll get more specific by identifying some tactics. So tactics here, when I say “tactics,” I’m referring to specific actions that you need to take in order to achieve your strategy. And the idea here is that if you achieve your strategy, you’ll ultimately be able to reach your goal or at least get much closer to reaching your goal.
If you’re in a highly competitive market or industry and your audience takes a long time and does a lot of research in order to make a decision, you’ll want to focus a little bit more on creating long-form content, which is blogs, white papers, infographics, videos, because people need to consume more content in order to make a decision. But if you are a local restaurant, for example, people might not consume that much content in your website, so doing home page content and service page content is probably sufficient.
Next we’re gonna talk about listings. So, when I’m talking about listings, listings are off-site websites that maybe include all of the business within a specific industry, Google My Business, Yelp, Healthgrades, TripAdvisor, stuff like that. Depending on your industry, you want to get into some of these directories. So if you’re a realtor, you want to make sure to get on HomeAdvisor, if you’re a physician, you want to make sure that you’re on Healthgrades. And there is authority that goes along with these. So, of course, Google finds these authoritative websites, but also human users are also using these websites to determine or to narrow down their decision making, or the business they’re going to move forward with.
So, in addition to claiming and verifying your listings on each one of these websites, you also wanna focus on name, address, phone number, website consistency, called NAP consistency, and this adds a lot of validity to your business. The idea here is the more instances of consistent name, address, phone number, and website across the web, the more validity that adds to your own website. So, more often, if Google finds that there are more instances of correct information about your website, it just makes your website seem a little bit more legit, and that can help with rankings.
And lastly, link building. When I say about link building, I mean having other websites link back to your website in some way.
And of the three types of work that you can do, content listing and link building, link building needs the most thoughtful consideration and planning, and can be the most daunting and take the longest to do out of all of the three different strategies.
Link building could be links in media mentions, so if you are getting a lot of media mentions, making sure that those mentions are linking back to your website, whether that’s a local media mention or a national media mention, press release distribution, making sure that if you release a press release, you’re linking back to your website, and then vendor partner business websites.
So if you are a plastic surgeon and you’re selling some sort of, you know, Allergan breast implant, you want to make sure that “Allergan” is linking back to your website. So any sort of vendor that you work for, if they are talking about you, they should have that linking back to your website, and that adds some validity to your website as well.
So, when thinking about link building, there are three different things that you need to think about in order to determine, “Should I go after this particular link?”
- Discovery: Does Google have this site in the search index?
- Relevancy: Does Google find this website to be relevant for a given topic?
- Authority: Does Google find this website a trusted source?
Demonstrating your site’s level of authority as a trusted source of information is a huge ranking factor. So the more trusted websites that are making it back to your website, the more validity and authority your own website has. So, which websites you link to is so much more important now than how many websites you link to. So it’s always quality over quantity, regardless of the industry that you’re in.
So, if you remember what we talked about a few moments ago, we went through goal setting all the way to determining your tactics, and now we’re going to put it all together in your worksheet. So I have an example. So we’ve been talking a lot about plastic surgeons. It’s a pretty easy business model. Let’s just keep with that example. So, you will have to have done a little bit of math on yourself to determine this. I’ve just made these numbers up. But let’s say that your goal is to increase your monthly revenue by 5% by completing three additional breast augmentation surgeries.
So if that is your final goal, then you can just write that down on your sheet. In order to measure that, we need to be able to measure revenue, your total revenue, the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed, the number of breast augmentation leads that you are getting through your website, whether that’s calls, forms, text messages, however you track those, website traffic to the breast augmentation page, for example, or wherever you need to be collecting those breast augmentation leads, and breast augmentation keyword rankings, so the things that, if you remember that upside-down pyramid, we’re gonna go backwards through how we’re gonna track those metrics.
The next…this is a pretty small slide here. So this is not the only way I would define a person trying to go for breast augmentation, so just keep that in mind. But example, this is a woman in the Greater New Orleans area between the ages of 30 and 59. They have a household income of $100,000 per year, and they’re interested in breast augmentation. Of course, we would have this much more expanded in order to determine what keywords that person is gonna be searching for, and what their online behavior looks like.
And second to last thing, the strategy. So we want to improve organic keyword rankings for “best plastic surgeon in New Orleans” and “breast augmentation New Orleans.” I chose two here, for example, because in my native business, those, through my keyword research, came to be the most valuable and the most likely that I could rank for in this particular instance. And then once we have that general strategy defined, we’ll then define our tactics. So, how would we improve these keyword rankings?
We will create additional breast augmentation content website, we will claim and verify Google, Yelp, Bing, Apple Maps, listings, Healthgrade listings, Vitals listings, and RealSelf listings. And make sure to include information in those listings about how breast augmentation services are offered by this particular physician’s office, and then generate 10 new patient testimonials specifically for breast augmentation. And that’s all I have. Thank you very much for your time today, and I hope that you guys will have a great rest of your day.