Why Pokémon GO Doesn’t Matter and Your Company Still Has to Advertise

Posted on Posted in Advertising, Internet Marketing Strategy, Viral Marketing

(Putting aside using Pokémon GO to market a local retail business, if that attracts your target market…)

Some people say that if your product is good enough, you don’t need to advertise.

You’ve never seen a Pokemon Go advertisement, right?

Pokémon GO is a huge phenomenon and making them a ton of money, right? So, you probably don’t need ads?

pokemon-go-screenshots

You’re right that Pokémon GO is winning- BUT the problem is that 99% of companies don’t have something awesome enough to drive that kind of word of mouth.

Pokémon GO piggybacked on a media franchise that had already sold 200 million video games, and had already grossed $46 billion.

What kind of cloud computing service would drive Pokemon Go level word-of-mouth? I mean sure, if you can come up with an augmented reality game for your cloud computing service that piggybacks on an already successful multi-billion dollar global media game franchise, go for it!

When companies market, they fall into four basic groups:

1. VIRAL PRODUCT: Have a genius product that doesn’t need marketing (like Pokemon Go)
2. VIRAL MARKETING: Have a good product and genius marketing content that goes viral every time and doesn’t require advertising
3. ADVERTISING: Have a good product and good marketing but have to advertise.
4. LIPSTICK ON A PIG: Have a bad product and try advertising…

Most companies fall into #3… they have to advertise.

A lot of companies want to be in category #2… they want to go viral. They want their agency to have brilliant ideas that go viral. The reality is, most companies don’t have anyone who can do that.

How many of you have someone who creates organic content that goes viral 100% of the time?

I’m guessing nobody, based on what I’ve seen.

For the best creatives online… the best YouTubers, for example… maybe 20% of their creations go viral. And these are freaks of nature… there aren’t many of them.

There are geniuses out there like Aaron Sorkin or JJ Abrams or Spielberg- these are the rare few who almost always win. But there are only a handful of these humans per generation. You can’t hire them.

So you have to advertise.

A few companies are #4 and all their ads and marketing are just lipstick on a pig… nobody wants their offering, no matter what you do.

In summary, it doesn’t help a company with a good product (someone who’s not at level #1) to tell them they should have thought of an awesome outlier product.

Only outliers have outlier-level-awesome products, and by definition that means only 1% of companies.

Most companies have to advertise.

How Facebook Cut This Company’s Cost Per Lead by 84%

Posted on Posted in Advertising, Analytics, Facebook Advertising, Internet Marketing Strategy, Social Media Lead Generation, Social Media Strategy

This is the first case study interview in the relaunch of my podcast. And yes, a lot of my podcasts start as videos. 🙂

Real companies, real campaigns, real results.

One of the biggest problems we struggle with these days is an overwhelm – too much information, too many ideas, too many platforms, too many strategies.

What actually works?

That’s what we’re going to talk about in these case studies.

I think it’s time for social marketing to mature. We’re going to talk to companies that are doing big things in social media, and getting quantifiable, measured results.

INTERVIEW:

Jonathan Leake (Director of Digital Marketing for DirectBuy): In the first six months of doing Facebook, we drove our cost per lead down by 84%, which is massive. I mean, we’re talking in dollars and cents, we’re talking – prior to initiating the Facebook campaign, we were well over $1,000 at a cost-per-member perspective, and now we’re sub $400 on average.

Brian Carter: That’s crazy.

Jonathan Leake: Yeah, cost-per-member is crazy. Our cost-per-member across all our media spends, and all our channels – and this is a very generalized number, so we can get very finite based off of channels. Prior to really initiating social, we were over $1,000. Today, if you look at all of our channels combined, we are generally lower than $200.

Brian Carter: We got to work with DirectBuy on this stuff, and what we’re going to talk about today is some great attribution stuff, right? Jonathan has done a great job with all of your data partners, your analytics partners of identifying what’s really going on. So many people use social, and no matter what they’re doing, they don’t really know what effect it’s having.

Jonathan Leake: That’s totally true. I mean, a lot of people just – they have a lot of money and I think it varies by the size business that you are. Generally, the larger business that you are, the harder it is to attribute things so you use tools like Adometry, which is a wonderful tool to use, but in my experience with different brands, you’re making huge financial decisions with 10-15% of data. That’s a lot of data that you’re missing. The opportunity with that other 85% of the data that you’re missing on is huge.

Where we were struggling as a business, is that we didn’t really have a really good attribution path or report to really tell us what channels were pushing and pulling. If you think about media, you want to push and pull different levers based off what’s working. Sometimes you actually want to push a lever further out, that’s actually not working for brand reasons. A billboard is a perfect example in every day.

We’re like, “Why do we want to put a billboard up on the street?”

“Because Coca Cola is on the other side of the road, and I’m Pepsi.”

You just need to be there.

When you want to get down to conversion and lead gen, it’s another ball of wax. Where do I want to put my efforts in? In this case, for us, it was social. It was an area that we knew, based off our experience working together. We knew that we could drive a lot of brand-awareness. We knew that we could drive leads at a really efficient cost. It just was a question of, “How was it going to impact our business?” And the results are huge.

Brian Carter: Let’s go back. What was Direct Buy doing before with social, if anything?

Jonathan Leake: Previously, we were really community. It was about engaging members, getting them to work with our page. We’ve had a brand reputation issue in the past, so we try to make sure that we put customer service first. We want customers to come to our page. We want them to ask questions, and have our customer service team answer those questions. It really was not about a membership conversion vehicle. We didn’t use Facebook as that. We were using it as an engagement tool with our existing membership. Some of the type of content that we put out there is inspirational for folks that like to do things by themselves, like DIYers and things of that nature.

I would say the opportunity – and as you and I know – that Facebook and social in general has become a pay to play kind of space. If you want to actually drive your member engagement up, if you just want to drive your page engagement up, you have to pay just to get your post shown. If you want to use social as a lead acquisition vehicle, then you can also do that too, but you also have to pay. Your organic stuff, that you can do, can certainly help that but it’s an assisted conversion. It’s a question of, “How does pay change the algorithm for you, within social?” It can certainly do a lot of good things, and that’s where your team helps us out a lot.

Brian Carter: We did several things. Number one, we identified who is the best buyer. We took all Direct Buy’s e-mails, we uploaded them. We looked at members who stuck versus members who didn’t stick versus people who didn’t become members. Then we looked at the difference between who those people were. That helped us target the ads better. I always tell people now, I’ve summarized it. Advertising is instant- targeted- visibility, whereas organic is like, “Uhh, we might reach some people. We don’t know who, and we don’t know when.” That’s the problem with organic.

The other thing, too, is that there’s this black box. You identified through the attribution study that social is often the first touch. Google is often the last touch, but in between what was it that increased all the Direct Buy searches? Was it the brand reputation stuff we did? We did a number of different awareness and engagement campaigns. We know they all helped, we just don’t know which one helped the most.

Jonathan Leake: Right, and that’s actually what we’re working on right now. We’re working with our analytics partner to get better attribution. Out of every dollar, if you’re thinking about a linear attribution model, that’s generally a 40/40/20 split. First click gets 40% of your dollar. Last click gets 40% of your dollar, and the remaining channels get 20, so you spread 20% across all the other channels.

What we know from our experience, is that sometimes it’s non-branded that actually influences people to come into Facebook. Doing a search for a product on non-branded might just be for furniture in a particular location – let’s say furniture in Charlotte, NC – and then they go into Facebook and they see our ad, because that influenced what happened in Facebook. All of a sudden, we show up because we targeted furniture. Then, they engage with our ad. Then the go back out online, and they’re like, “Oh, who is this Direct Buy?” Then they do a search for Direct Buy Furniture, and then they learn about our business and they come to our website. That’s a general path for our business, and how someone learns about us.

We’ve done a good job with content online. Pinterest helps us out a lot with getting other content out there. Inspiration Moments, our blog, does a lot of good work there too. The search team that we work with has really put together a lot of good content on our blog about things like a man-cave – how to make the perfect man-cave. I know it’s a cliché type thing, but let’s be honest here. We all want a man-cave in some way, shape, or form – or I want a really awesome garage. Take your pick, which it is.

Content is what’s driving people into the other channels, in addition to paid. Paid just influences where people go organically. It’s being able to have the right content in place across the other channels that drives them back in. Maybe it’s through another paid channel, but often it’s direct. When I say direct, I mean people literally just type in your domain name in their address bar. That’s the ultimate goal, at least for us because that allows us to tell our best story.

Brian Carter: Why do you think Facebook had such a big effect on the cost-per-lead, cost-per-member?

Jonathan Leake: I think the targeting is the best element. You can do targeting in other markets. You can do targeting in Google, but you have to pay a lot in Google’s world to actually utilize all the functionality that’s available. It takes a really heave media spend to be able to target what you want. Say, for example, that you want to target people with a FICO score, which is something that you do. It’s a cohort, of sorts, that you definitely want to hit if you’re in our market. If we can target people by FICO score, that would be fabulous. It helps us make sure that the people that want to sign up for membership can continue to be a member of us and also have disposable income to be able to take advantage of the savings that we offer every day.

Facebook was huge for us because we were able to look at demographic information that’s not normally available in other sources. Household income is one. That’s generally something that you would get through a business that does FICO scoring – like an Experian. We could take household income, geographic locations – if they happen to be within a territory that we have a club located, which helps amplify the social footprint, and the digital footprint of the business. These are all things that are relevant to what we have going on.

What’s also great for the member profile is that we can actually pull sales data, as in if a lamp happened to be the most popular selling item, then we can change our creative up in Facebook very quickly to identify people that like lamps. You have people that are just very passionate, and I always call them passion-points, and Facebook allows you to really tap into those passion-points really easily. That just amplifies your ad work – what you’re doing within advertising – really well. It’s creative and target all in one.

Brian Carter: I was thinking about brick with “I love Lamp” when you said that.

That’s true and I don’t know if everybody knows that. You can find out people’s income-level from Facebook, on insights. Or that you can target people with Facebook ads by income, by net-worth, or by the value of their home – which have been huge. Like you said, we discover things about – It’s interesting because maybe it’s not the type of furniture that they end up buying, but we discover the type of furniture that leads them to enter their lead information, which may be different from the coolest-looking furniture. It may not be what you expect, and we get to find that out.

Jonathan Leake: Yeah, I’m always amazed that we’d like to think – I personally like modern furniture, but I’m always amazed at how much Americana is out there. When I say Americana, there’s a lot of tattered American flags that are ordered all the time.

Brian Carter: Yeah, and there’s a lot of brown furniture, and comfortable stuff that looks like I could lay down on that and it would be comfortable, as opposed to – We’ve even had people on the Facebook posts go – I don’t know if they’ve said this but they’re like, “It looks I could actually injure myself on that furniture. It’s too sharp.” Or “It’s too white. I’m going to spill juice on it immediately.” We learn a lot of stuff from the posts, and we’re showing them to the best target customers so we’re actually learning what the ideal customer thinks – which is great.

Jonathan Leake: I think what was really interesting, when we first started as a business you do your research and you identify who your customers are. We have four different sets of people that we like to look for. I think what was interesting, though – there’s this argument in the marketplace that you should always be going after millennials. I think millennials are phenomenal people – lots of wonderful ideas, but I have to tell you; millennials right now, today, they’re not our core customer. That’s one of the things we were able to identify. There is a millennial customer that is right for us, but most millennials haven’t experienced the life-moments to really take them to a place where they could really take advantage of our membership in the best way that they could.

Brian Carter: Yeah, and they haven’t had the opportunities. They had the millennial story. We came out of college, there was no jobs. They economy was horrible. That’s what I tell people. “Hey, yeah I’ll give you some millennial data here. The data shows that they don’t have a lot of money.” Maybe they will be the next big customer. There are a ton of them, and they’re going to inherit their parent’s money. So in ten years, fifteen years, maybe they’ll have some money for a while. But right now they’re not a good customer for a lot of different things.

Did you want to share any of those slides, any other thing we haven’t covered yet on those?

Jonathan Leake: Yeah, let me pop up the slides real quick.

Brian Carter: We had Jonathon present at Social Media Marketing World. I had two panels. I had a Facebook panel, a Twitter panel – all corporate stuff. It was a lot of fun. I’m going to have some more of those people in interviews like this.

Jonathan Leake: This is a quick thing. We we are able to identify in a super quick way is, here is our 84% reduction we attributed directly to Facebook because we were only doing advertising in Facebook. We’re not spending money on Twitter, or LinkedIn, or any other place that we could acquire people socially. On the flip-side, what we were able to do is really target the fact that our most inefficient channel, as a result of this, was non-branded pay-per-click. What we did, is we actually cut out our non-branded pay-per-click and it reduced our overall cost-per-lead by 60-70% in just four months. What we talked about originally was 84% reduction in our cost-per-lead. Our member acquisition costs dropped by 80% as well.

Brian Carter: That’s huge.

Jonathan Leake: This is how we did it. In month one, we set benchmarks – super duper important. If you don’t have benchmarks, you should set them now. Even if you don’t have any research, just set them. I’m sure you have some data to establish them. When we went out of the gate, we were looking at trying to get a $40 lead. This gives you an idea, in our lead generation, how it works. We started out, in month one, at $164 a conversion. Month two, we ended up figuring things out a little bit more in our targeting. Our spend ratios and everything we were doing. We ended up with $25. And by month three and month four, we literally were able to achieve a $4 conversion. It’s completely outstanding to see what you can do just by focusing in on the data, which is really important.

This gives you an example of what we actually set. When we put the program together, we worked with you. We ran a full digital audit across all our channels. We looked at what we are trying to actually achieve. These are the four things. We’ve got engagement – 20-50% pulls-per-lead in month one. We were already able to achieve that goal. We were able to achieve the engagement rate that we wanted. As you can see, in month four, that went up in terms of our engagement rate. That’s great.

Then you get down to leads. You have, $40 was our benchmark. Month one wasn’t so good. $106, but by month four, we’re down to $7.45. That’s fantastic. One of the biggest challenges that we had was trying to figure out how to get quality leads in the door. We were able to get a lot of leads, but the question that we had was – of the people that give us phone numbers, how many of those people actually show up at the door?

That’s kind of a big deal. At the end of the day, we really need to make sure that when people become a lead, they actually want to follow through on the appointment that they made with us. It’s a pretty common experience these days to not have that happen. People literally just don’t show up for their appointment. It was top of mind when they actually became a lead, but you didn’t give them a conversion event to do anything other than become an appointment. That’s not what they wanted to do. Maybe they just wanted to sign up right now. That happens all the time, and now we’re trying to refine that process to make sure that the lead that’s coming in the door is the best quality lead to enable our phone sales team to actually work with a lead and convert the lead.

On the flip-side, if you don’t happen to want to engage with actual people, which is more and more common. You just want to text, and you just want to chat. You really just want to be digital. You don’t want to have human interaction, but you want digital human interaction. If that’s how you want to convert into a customer for someone, then we need to give them that opportunity. That’s what we’re working on actively as a business – to make it easier to become a customer.

Brian Carter: That’s the next frontier. Cool. Awesome. I think that pretty much covers it. Thanks for sharing all that info. Test everything. Track it. Analyze it. Do better. Any final words?

Jonathan Leake: One of my mantras is – Launch, measure, rinse and repeat. You’ve got to fail fast, and you have to learn quickly. The only way you’re going to do that is you’re going to dive into the data, and make sure you’re measuring things. Make sure you’re setting benchmarks. If you’re not doing that stuff, find a way to do it. It’s really, really hard but it’s also super easy. It’s the same way that you’re going to grow in life. If you don’t ever say that you’re going to graduate high school, you’re never going to graduate high school because you’re not challenging yourself. You want to graduate college, well set the goal and you’ll make it happen. It’s not easy. No one said anything is easy, but you’ll make it right and you’ll figure out what works to get to where you want to be.

Brian Carter: Awesome! Jonathon Leake, Direct Buy. Thank you very much.

Jonathan Leake: You bet.

TAKEAWAYS

Some of our main take-aways from this are

Number one, Facebook audit can be huge to help you identify who your best customers actually are.

That can be super valuable for a couple reasons. Number one, once you know who your best customer is, in terms of the data, then you can ensure that you’re not targeting the wrong people, and that everybody in your organization is focused on the ideal customer. Then you can use that information to target your ads to the right people. You can make sure your content gets in front of the right people. Then, you can also make sure that when you get feedback about your content, that feedback is coming from your ideal customer, not just from anybody. You don’t want to go crazy with, “People don’t like this or that info-graphic, or that blog post,” and they’re not even your ideal customer. That’s a huge thing to start with.

This Direct Buy case study, for us, is one of our first huge end-to-end things where multiple strategies, multiple tactics, all in place and we saw that having everything going together created a gigantic lift in a lot of ways, for the entire business.

The second thing we saw was that posting in a lot of different ways – for brand reputation, for engagement, and getting across the brand’s value proposition and unique selling proposition really helped soften up the target.

That led to more searches for the brand name. It led to a lower cost per customer acquisition overall, and also allowed us to even stop running certain other types of advertising – certain types of Google ads that were very expensive. We decreased our awareness costs. We decreased other costs. We created more customer awareness. We got them ready to buy sooner. We really made Facebook the most efficient and effective first-touch channel online.

The third things we did was, we found out that Facebook, again – as it has been for many, many of our customers, both B2C, B2B – is a very, very effective, low-cost way to get leads.

Not only can you get customer sales, eCommerce, members, but you can also get a ton of leads for your sales people to contact.

What was really most interesting to me, though, was that by doing everything – from the audit at the beginning, to the posting engagement, the customer targeting, the lead gen – doing everything together had a gigantic effect for their business. We have other clients who sometimes engage us for just one thing. Maybe it’s just the ads. Maybe it’s just the audit. Maybe it’s just posting. They don’t do the entire system of things that is Facebook marketing. We got to see the gigantic effect for using all of the different strategies that Facebook has available. It had a gigantic effect, so we’d love to do that for more businesses – to put everything into play.

What can you do with this information?

  • I definitely encourage you to check out Facebook audience insights. Upload your e-mails, if you have them – your buyer e-mails, your lead e-mails. Analyze the difference between your buyers and your leads, and your fans, and people who just like your competitors, or people who like things in your niche. Find out who your ideal customer is.
  • Do a lot of posting to your ideal customer. Learn what they like and don’t like.
  • Make sure you use ads, because Facebook is pay-to-play. You have to use ads, and like Jonathon said…
  • you’ve got to test. That’s fundamental to everything we do. While we’re getting results, while we’re getting engagement, leads, and sales, we’re also always learning because we’re trying different images, different messages, different ways to target that ideal customer. You always want to be learning.

That’s what you should do with this information from this case study.

I hope it was useful to you and I look forward to bringing you the next one.

See you then!

 

The More Ideas You Test the More Likely You Win

Posted on Posted in Content Marketing, Creativity, Facebook Advertising, Facebook Marketing, Facebook Posting, Internet Marketing Strategy, Social Media Strategy, Strategy

You’ve got to test more ideas in digital marketing and social media.

Because if you only text one post or one post a day or one ad a week, you’re only going to discover so much stuff and you’re only create so much stuff and you’re only going to get a certain level of results.

The more stuff you create, the more ideas you force yourself to have, the more likely you are to find that idea that your customer goes crazy for.

I’m talking about…

  • Gigantic engagement rates,
  • Gigantic click through rates,
  • Gigantic sales,
  • Gigantic leads,
  • Incredible conversion rates.

Here’s my analogy. Let’s say, in any sport, like my sport is the NBA. I love basketball. When I watch these guys, I’m like “Wow, there’s some amazing players.” Historically we got Michael Jordan, we’ve got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we’ve got Magic Johnson, we’ve got Shaq, we’ve got LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Steph Curry, Steve Nash, all these guys are one in a million, one-in-a-billion, right, because they’re freaks of nature in one way or another.

There have been thousands of guys in the league over the years but if we had only had 10 guys in the league, if the NBA hadn’t been so big and hadn’t been so popular and hadn’t been so much money going into it, probably wouldn’t have that many guys and those guys would have done different things with their lives. They wouldn’t have been basketball players. We never would have found those genius basketball players.

If you don’t put enough money or time into your content, you’re never going to find that exceptional outlier of content that performs super well.

I’ve got this post that has a crazy dog in it that gets me 6 likes per penny I spend on it, because I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of posts.

crazydog

The more stuff you create and the more you test, the more likely you are to find that exceptional, you know, the Michael Jordan of Facebook post, the Michael Jordan of Facebook ads.

It’s probably not the one expect it is. That’s the other thing that’s weird about it.

There’s research that shows that marketing experts, even after 10 or 15 years of experience, do not get better at guessing which content is going to win with the customer.

You could say, “Brian Carter’s a great marketing mind. He’s amazing.”

He still can’t guess which one is going to work with your customer.

All he can do is say, “I think I analyzed your audience and I understand ’em pretty well and based on what you’ve said, you and I are going to figure out some ideas. We’re going to put them in front the customer and we’re going to see which one it works.”

If we only put 5 ideas out there, our chances of success are much lower than if we put out 100 ideas.

Then we’re going to find one or two that really perform amazingly and your customers are going to go nuts for them. That’s not only going to drive down your costs…

  • Cost per engagement
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per sale…

It’s also going to:

  • Create much more enthusiastic customers
  • Who will love you and your brand more.
  • More excitement and loyalty

But you don’t get that if you don’t test enough ideas.

So many companies out there are just doing the bare minimum. They’re doing checkbox marketing. They’re like, “Yep, we put out our content calendar. Yep, we ran an ad.”

It’s really easy to do. I know. I’ve done it myself. You get tired, you get busy and you’re like, “I created an ad. I’m done. I’m going to go watch Netflix,” you know? “I’ve got so many meetings today, I don’t have time.”

Okay, but you got to figure out how in your process to make this possible.

And if you’re a manager, you got to figure out how to make this possible for your marketing team, give them more time to brainstorm. Figure out how to help them create more ideas and get more stuff out there. You’ve got to do it.

This is a competitive advantage, to be able to create:

  • More ideas,
  • More creativity,
  • More unique, different ideas.

It’s very important today because the better your ideas are and the more you test, the more likely you are to win.

Do You Know What Your Customers Like?

Posted on Posted in Facebook Marketing, Internet Marketing Strategy, Social Media Marketing

There’s really no point to posting something on Facebook if people aren’t going to be engaged in it.

If they don’t watch it or click on it or something, people aren’t going to see it very much and they’re going to stop seeing your stuff. That’s how the Facebook algorithm works. Whether you are a person or a company page, you have to be engaging or you will become invisible.

That’s how the newsfeed works, so you have to get engagement.

If you have a Facebook page and you’re not checking your engagement rate, or you don’t even know what an engagement rate is, you’re not even in the game.

This is the biggest metric that matters and you need to know which of your content is getting engagement and which isn’t.

If you don’t know that, you’re not even in the game.

You got to get on the Facebook page, click on insights, click on your posts, and then click on that metric that says engagement rate…

… and find out which of your posts are getting engagement and which ones aren’t. You got to figure this out.

You got to start separating in your brain, “Which of my posts do people interact with and which ones do they not?”

You got to start caring which of your content people like and which they don’t.

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You’ve got to stop putting out content that people don’t care about.

Please.

Look, it’s just like being in a conversation with someone….

  1. If you’re talking to people and you’re not listening to them and
  2. you’re talking about stuff they don’t care about and
  3. they start ignoring you and you keep saying the same things,
  4. you’re not going to have any friends.

You’re not going to have any great conversations anymore.

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You have to listen and THE WAY YOU LISTEN on Facebook is by looking at the DATA.

The data is the engagement rate.

You have to listen to your audience by looking at the data and engagement rate is the way you do that.

You need to pay attention to this and learn what kind of content your customers love.

You’ve got to do it.

3

 

funnnynotlistening

Are You a “Checkbox” Marketer?

Posted on Posted in Culture, Internet Marketing Strategy, Makes Ya Think, Strategy, Thought Leadership

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CHECKBOXMARKETER-no

  • Are you thinking about your marketing primarily in terms of getting it done?
  • …creating social posts, ads, images, podcasts, blog posts…?
  • …then putting it out there?
  • …then you feel like you’re done?

If so, you might be a checkbox marketer.

Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting things done.

Obviously you’re not going to be very successful if you can’t get things done. So, congratulations for getting things done.

Truly. It’s not easy these days. There are a lot of distractions.

But the marketers who are getting the best results are not thinking in terms of just getting stuff done.

Optimizers, the opposite of checkbox marketers are focused on a process that creates maximum results:

  • They’re measuring the results of every piece of marketing they put out there.
  • They know what metric to look at for every piece of marketing they create.
  • They think ahead about how they’re going to track the results.

Now it makes sense if you’re not an optimizer…

  • If you’ve never created multiple ads like an AdWords or Facebook ads…
  • If you’ve never split-tested landing pages…
  • If you’ve never experimented with blog post titles or email subject lines to see which ones people respond to the most…

…then it’s possible you’ve never experienced one of the most important marketing experiences people can have today.

Once you’ve tested a lot of ads or Facebook posts or email subject lines or blog post titles and look at the results you’ve probably had this experience…

“Oh my gosh- that is not the one I thought would work. I can’t believe that’s the one they like!”

If you haven’t had that experience you probably think you have a lot of awesome ideas. You may think all your ideas are awesome. Or you may think all ideas are equally good.

But the fact is the data shows us that the best marketing creative can perform 5 – 10 times better then the worst marketing creative.

And when I say “creative” here I mean the image is the words the ideas. It’s a noun. This is agency speak.

Once you understand that some marketing is dramatically more effective than others, you realize:

  • You need more ideas because they’re not all equally good. And
  • You need to test those ideas to see which one performs the best with your ideal customer.

air process

So it’s no longer good enough to check off a box that you created a Facebook post.

You need to create a lot of Facebook posts or ads or blog post title for email subject lines…

And you probably already do create a lot of them as a matter of course over a period of days or weeks or months…

But you may not have been going back and looking at the metrics which ones are really awesome and which ones are not.

You may not have been learning from your data.

Or you may not have set things up to get you actionable data.

If you’ve been marketing for months or years and not getting that kind of data you’ve missed out on an incredibly valuable resource that will provide you guidance about how to perform 5  to 10 times better in the future.

A checkbox marketer will create a landing page to collect emails and say, “Thank goodness we’re done with that… check!”

An optimizer will think ahead using a platform that allows them to split test multiple landing pages and create three versions. Within a few days or weeks they’ll see that one is outperforming the others and they’ll stop running the others and their overall campaign results will increase 3 times 5 times… perhaps 10x.

checkbox marketer can get things done but they can’t increase their value to your company every day the way an optimizer can.

A checkbox marketer can’t get smarter about your customers the way an optimizer can.

Some people will move from checkbox marketing to optimizing as soon as they see the benefits of optimizing. Other people will not.

If you are a checkbox marketer and don’t want to move into optimizing:

  • You will never be a strategist.
  • You will always be a low-level marketer and low paid
  • Someone else will manage you and ask you to do things while they optimize it.

If you have employees who are checkbox marketers who are presented with the benefits of optimizing and do not change their behavior, then you may have an employee who is not capable of modern marketing.

Digital marketing is not simply the completion of tasks. It is a scientific process that includes measurement and data analysis. And its goal is to always improve results and always understand the customer better.

Without this approach your company cannot be competitive.

One more advanced fact for you: no matter how long an optimizer is in the business, they don’t get better at guessing which marketing idea will do the best.

Customers still surprise us. We’re still learning about them. So you have to keep testing.

There are no marketing geniuses out there who always guess right.

It’s the optimizing process that is genius.

Russell Brunson: Attractive Character & Seinfeld Emails [Video Interview, StoryDNA]

Posted on Posted in Internet Marketing Strategy, Social Media ROI, Storytelling

Attractive Character

Kathy Klotz-Guest and I interviewed Russell not only because he’s probably the best online direct marketer I know, not only because ClickFunnels is a killer platform for getting online results, but because in his new book DotComSecrets, he talks about a couple great storytelling concepts, the Attractive Character, and the Seinfeld Daily Emails.

Without This, Your Content Marketing Is Worthless

Posted on Posted in Advertising, B2B, Content Marketing, Facebook Advertising, Internet Marketing Strategy

Well, to be more accurate, it should be “Without this, your content is wasted.”

But I’ll tell you why I titled the blog post that way: sometimes, when people are thinking about creating content, they forget a really important part of marketing.

They may not forget about persuading people. Or knowing their audience part. Or utility. Or entertainment.

But they forget about that pesky distribution and visibility thing!

I ask them:

HOW are enough people going to SEE your new content?

Here are some weak responses to that question and why they’re weak responses. Afterwards we’ll talk about how you can do better.

“We email our content out.”

  • So your current email list reaches every prospect you want to see it? You don’t need to reach more prospects?
  • Are you taking into account that only 15-30% of people open emails? And only 2-3% of them click the links? In other words, do you have 40 times as many email subscribers as the number of people you want to go to the website?
  • (Don’t forget that not every website visitor becomes a customer… you’ll need 50-100 people to go to your website to get a new customer. So, you need 2,000 to 4,000 people on your email list for every new customer you want. Depressing!)

If you answered yes to all of those, congrats! Chances are, you didn’t, though. 🙂

[SOURCES: A great source for email marketing benchmark metrics, and another.]

“We post it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”

  • So given that all the data shows that most Facebook pages’ posts are seen by only about 10% of fans, and only about 1% of those who see a post click on its link, meaning that only about one out of a thousand fans will click on your link, do you have 1,000 times as many Facebook fans as you want to visit your website?
  • And given that at most at any one time, only about 7% of your Twitter fans will be active when you tweet, and that roughly 1% will click on your link, do you have 1,400 times as many Twitter followers as you want to visit your website? Or even if you tweet that link 14 times a day (which would be excessive for just one link), do you have 100 times as many Twitter fans as you want to go to your website?
  • On LinkedIn, only 13% of LinkedIn users interact with the site daily. People don’t spend a ton of time on LinkedIn, and when they do, it’s usually not looking at their news feed. My estimate is that maybe 1% of your connections might see any of your posts in their news feed, so do you have 10,000 times as many LinkedIn connections as you want to visit to your website?

All you really need to do to be convinced is look at your website analytics and see how little monthly traffic you’re getting from these three sites… and divide that by 100- that’s how many customers you can expect from them per month. Got 1,000? Great, you might get 10 customers from that, if they’re quality prospects.

(There are certainly exceptions to some of my numbers if your website is exceptionally effective and your post are dramatically more effective than average- but to get to those places, you’d need to be an accomplished Internet marketer or already have worked extensively with on.)

[SOURCES: Twitter CTR stats, Twitter CTR stats for huge accounts, an older Twitter CTR anecdote for reference, 3 years ago when 17% of fans saw Facebook page posts, around the same time, Techcruch said 12%, more coverage of declining visibility in 2014, comparison of FB ads and LI ads for post promotion, Pew Research on frequency of social site usage.]

“We have good SEO.”

That sounds A LOT like the lazy and dangerous Build It And They Will Come myth, but let’s inquire further:

  • How quickly are your new blog posts ranking in the top 10 for their keywords? Although you may have great rankings and traffic from older pages and posts, how quickly does that work with new content? Can you afford to wait 3-6 months for that traffic?
  • How are you getting new links from other websites to your new traffic? Twitter is one strategy for this, but again, how many see your tweet and retweet it? Is this enough links to improve your rankings?
  • How big is the keyword search demand for the keywords you’re using in your new blog posts? Keep in mind that you won’t get all of that traffic. If a keyword gets 1,000 searches a month, the #1 organic listing might get 30-55% of the traffic. The ads are usually getting from 1-3% each. The first page altogether gets about 70%. If you get a first page ranking, you can expect an average of 7% of that keyword demand, which would be 70 visits per month. Not 1,000; but 70.

[SOURCES: A great 2014 study of search result CTR by position, another 2014 study, an older 2011 study.]

So… how are enough people going to find your content?

If your findings above aren’t satisfactory, then…

The upshot is, you have to use ads to get the numbers you want, and Facebook ads are the most profitable way.

However, promoting posts can be a danger zone, getting you more engagement than website clicks. When you calculate the cost per click for this method, it can easily be $1-2 per click. You must use the ad manager and choose the website traffic or website conversion ad type, and then you can easily get clicks for less than $1 each.

Also, the website conversion ads do convert better, so they lower your cost per lead and cost per new customer.

So, combine content creation with Facebook ads!

Why B2B Facebook Ads Beat LinkedIn Ads Every Time

Posted on Posted in Advertising, B2B, Facebook Advertising, Facebook Marketing, Internet Marketing Strategy, Lead Gen, Social Media Lead Generation

Some people have it wrong. You- savvy reader- probably already know this, though, right? 🙂

“Facebook doesn’t work for B2B. It’s for B2C,” people say. “Users aren’t on there for work.”

Correct, they are on there to be distracted. “I’m bored,” they say. “Show me something awesome!”

If that awesome thing you show them happens to help with their work, they’ll click on it. That’s what the data tells us about B2B Facebook advertising.

 Why FB works for B2B: FB users want distraction. Show them something awesome that helps their work and they’ll click on it. <– click to tweet

Besides, we live in an era where the line between home and work has blurred.

Here are some of our B2B Facebook advertising case studies over the last 12 months:

  1. An attorney got a case worth $100,000 from Facebook after spending just a few hundred dollars on Facebook advertising.
  2. A cloud hosting company got new business leads from Facebook advertising and a whitepaper for $59 each. The most affordable ads brought in leads at just $29 apiece. The most expensive ones targeted CIO’s and cost $74.08 each.
  3. A new B2B financial industry business discovered their offering wasn’t needed or wanted by the target audience- they discovered this (via extraordinarily low clickthrough rates) with an investment of just a few hundred dollars in Facebook advertising. They saved tens of thousands of dollars by not going further down that dead-end path.
  4. A financial industry event generated 305 registrations at $71.34 each while ads reached 1.5 million people and generated clicks from 18,125 people.
  5. A marketing agency generated new client leads for $29.26 apiece.
  6. An SaaS company used a whitepaper to generate 504 leads and 92 new demo signups for $26 per demo signup. Notable here was that the target was people who worked at Fortune 1000 companies.

Based on our experience above, people do click and opt in for B2B offers while they’re on Facebook.

The 4 advantages that Facebook ads have over AdWords and LinkedIn ads are:

  • Facebook has the largest audience.
    • Google is almost as big, but you can only target people looking for what you have. Facebook lets you target people based on job title, company, etc.
    • LinkedIn is much smaller than the other two.
  • Facebook ads are prominent enough for a lot of people to click.
    • Google also does a good job with this.
    • LinkedIn’s self-serve ads… what’s the last one you remember seeing? Exactly. Unless you spend $10k per month, you can’t use their more prominent “enhanced” ads. So the biggest problem is that your LinkedIn self serve ads don’t get seen and therefore don’t get many clicks.
  • Facebook has the lowest cost per click.
    Facebook clicks are usually below $0.75 and often as low as $0.10.

    • Google ads average over $2.50 per click and can go up to $25.00.
    • LinkedIn ads average over $3.00 per click and often are as high as $6.00.
    • Twitter ads are usually $1.00 – 1.50 each.
  • Facebook ads reward you for trying more ads and targets.
    You can lower Facebook ad costs by 50% or more when you create ads that get higher click through rates.

    • Google ad cost per click doesn’t vary much no matter how you optimizes- less than 10%.
    • LinkedIn ad cost per click doesn’t vary much either.
    • The same is true for Twitter ads.
  • BONUS: Facebook ads can target people by job title, company, seniority, what they majored in at college, net worth, income and nichey jargon. All of these can be used to hit your exact B2B prospect.

So, Facebook ads reach more people, grabs more attention, cost less, and cost a lot less if you work at it.

Now that you know Facebook ads are so effective for B2B, why aren’t you using them for lead gen?

5 Facebook Funnel Mistakes 99% of Businesses Are Making

Posted on Posted in Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing Strategy, Lead Gen, Social Media Lead Generation, Social Media Strategy, Strategy

If you sell online, or market for leads online, you definitely have a sales funnel. You may not know what your sales funnel is, but you have one.

The question is: how effective is your funnel?

When we map out a business’s funnels and assign numbers to them, they’re usually stunned by how many people drop out at each step.

In this example, we have only 5 steps and we start with 100,000 fans:

This funnel sucks

Only 5 sales? We lost 9,995 people in the process? Crap!

In digital marketing, the number of people lost at each funnel step is gigantic. It’s amazing to me that anyone sells anything online. And, in reality, many people fail.

Many much tears.

Unfortunately, many business people assume that online sales and lead gen is easy. In fact, it’s near-impossible.

Successful sales online (including inbound lead gen and offline sales) requires:

  1. Great planning,
  2. Lots of iteration (that’s the fancy word for trial and error), or
  3. Sheer luck.

The ones who succeed by sheer luck don’t learn anything. Usually they fail with their second business attempt and can’t figure out what happened.

Successful digital marketing requires:

  • An offering people want,
  • Marketing well planned and executed,
  • Testing,
  • Time, and
  • Money.

That’s the truth about selling online, and it’s not sexy. Unless you think executing wisely and achieving business profits is sexy. That would be like calling Gandalf sexy. Well I suppose there is someone out there who has… anyway-

To me digital marketing is not about sexiness or fun (though you can definitely have fun with the testing). It’s about finding and using a system that gets you results.

If you want to confront the cold hard facts and succeed, then you need to overcome the 5 most common mistakes that businesses make with their digital sales funnels.

Funnel Mistake #1: Too Many Steps

Every action people have to take requires a decision. At most decision points, more than 50% of your audience (usually more like 80-99%) opts out. That means they do things like:

  • Don’t click on your ad or link.
  • Don’t opt into your email list or your lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, webinar).
  • Don’t put something in a shopping cart.
  • Don’t check out.
  • Don’t finish paying.

So, let’s imagine you have only those 5 steps above, and 10,000 people see your ad. Here’s what happens if ONLY 50% (we’ll be generous and give you a best-case dream scenario) don’t go through with it:

  • 5,000 don’t click on your ad or link.
  • 2,500 don’t opt into your email list or your lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, webinar).
  • 1,250 Don’t put something in a shopping cart.
  • 625 Don’t check out.
  • 312 Don’t finish paying.
  • 156 buy

Let’s say you spent $5,000 on those clicks ($1 CPC). If you don’t profit at least $32 per sale ($5,000/156 sales), you lose money.

But let’s be more realistic with those numbers. Let’s say 100,000 see your ad…

  • At a 1% CTR, 99,000 don’t click on your ad or link. 1,000 do.
  • At 20% lead conversion rate, 800 don’t opt into your email list or your lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, webinar). 200 do. (We’ll save this number for later)
  • At a 1% sales rate, 792 people don’t buy. 8 people do buy.

So if you spent $1,000 on those clicks ($1 CPC), if you don’t profit at least $125 per sale ($1,000/4 sales), you lose money.

Pretty dire, right?

But we still have those 200 emails. Here’s what happens with them:

  • 20% of them open your email. That’s 40 people.
  • 10% click to the site. That’s 4 people.
  • 1% buy. Shoot, you only have 1/25th of a buyer! That’s smaller than Mini-Me.

One more demonstration:

  • Let’s say you manage to get 100,000 Facebook fans.
  • 10% of them see your Facebook post- that’s 10,000 people.
  • Many Facebook posts get 99.9% interaction, not website clicks. A post that does well with website clicks may get a 4% clickthrough rate. That’s 400 people.
  • 1% of these buy- that’s 4 people. 0.004% of fans convert per post.

So your 100,000 fan page got your 4 sales. Pretty lame, huh? This is why we stopped doing Facebook fan growth: too many extra steps and too many people lost in the process.

Relax. It’s not the end of the world. If 4 people buy per Facebook post per day x 365 days = 1,460 people buy per year.

But how did you get those 100,000? You may have to pay $10-50k to get 100,000 quality fans with Facebook ads. Because the low quality fans will never buy.

So, you’d have to be profiting $7 to $34 per sale to break even on that fan cost after a year. And that means you’d have to be able to wait a year to make that $10-50k back.

This is assuming:

  • You don’t run any ads to promote posts (which many people do), and
  • You reach 10% of your fans (which many pages don’t).

The Facebook post visibility problem is just too expensive. A “Facebook Fan-Reliant Strategy” reduces your sales funnel’s effectiveness by 90%.

That’s why we switched to three funnels with fewer steps:

  1. Facebook ad -> Squeeze page to get email -> email -> click -> sale
  2. The shortest one: Facebook ad -> Sales page -> Sale [only 3 steps!]
  3. Retargeting audiences from #1 and #2 -> email or sale

Now, we’ve seen profits up to 2,200% from Facebook ad campaigns. To get that high, you have to create 100 ads a month. That’s how you find the ads that work incredibly well.

The upshot: Reduce the number of steps in your funnel.

Funnel Mistake #2: Not Getting Enough People Into Your Funnel

Advertising helps, and it’s critical for new sites. But only so many ads will be profitable. It will bring you a limited volume of sales.

You’re going to need more affordable traffic.

That means you need SEO or unpaid social media. And that means you have to create awesome content like this blog post. You have to create something that helps your prospect and you don’t get paid for it. But it brings in tons of people, some of whom opt into your emails and some of which buy.

But the most common mistake with content marketing is to create content that gets lots of buzz. You get tons of shares and comments and you slap each other on the back. But this often doesn’t move your prospects toward the sale. Check out this article to learn how to create content that gets shares and retweets and website clicks and sells.

The upshot: Create content that brings in traffic and sales.

Funnel Mistake #3: Keeping It Too Private

Because of how many people we lose at each funnel step, we need to do whatever we can to get shares at every step. For example:

  • Create ads that are tweets and Facebook posts that deserve shares/retweets and website clicks.
  • Create landing pages that deserve shares and retweets.
    • For example, a free lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, video series, webinar) that’s so cool that people have to share it.
    • You can put Facebook commenting at the bottom of their free content so that excited people can comment. Those comments get shared via their Facebook account as well. Here’s how you add it. And Leadpages (note: affiliate link) has some squeeze page templates that have it built in. I use Leadpages and Clickfunnels (aff link) both for creating opt-in and sales pages. They’re both great.
  • Create thank you pages that empower people to share or tweet about it- especially after email opt-ins- but also for sales.

The upshot: Learn what kind of content the research shows people share and don’t share here (free whitepaper I wrote for Marketo).

Funnel Mistake #4: Only One Idea Per Funnel Segment

In the olden days of marketing, people created one campaign and ran it for months and months. If it tanked- they were screwed. 

Then a few brilliant folks like Claude C. Hopkins started using coupons to track what worked and didn’t. Direct mail was born. This evolved over the decades- and with digital marketing it has become standard to at least split-test your ideas. If you aren’t familiar with split-testing, you’re way behind. Google it.

  • Get a platform like LeadPages or Clickfunnels that empowers you to easily test 2 or 3 opt-in pages.
  • Create 2 or 3 sales pages, too.
  • Combine that with your ad testing and you will cut your cost per lead or sale by 50-80%.

You can’t afford not to do this, because many people who don’t just go out of business. It’s hard to make the math of profits work without this kind of testing.

And it’s how some marketers enter old niches and quickly dominate them. Some companies get put out of business. The most vulnerable businesses are the ones that have been around long enough to get cocky and think they don’t need to keep up with the times.

Don’t be lazy here or you’ll regret it.

The upshot: Split-test wherever possible.

Funnel Mistake #5: Being So Inbound That You Don’t Close The Sale

I get it. It’s cool to just market. To just do inbound. You aren’t pushy and you don’t get rejected.

Except you do. Someone else gets the customer.

Stop being afraid of selling. Get more of them to convert to the next step.

Figure out what objections or fears are keeping people from buying. Tell them about the other things that will happen if they don’t work with you that they should be more afraid of.

The upshot: Figure out what it takes to move them to the next step. Close the sale. Coffee is for closers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my English teachers in school told me to write conclusions.

Fix all the mistakes above. You may go out of business if you don’t. You’ll reap massive profits if you do.

How I Beat the Internet Marketing Odds and You Can Too

Posted on Posted in Branding, Inspiration, Internet Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media, Thought Leadership

I want to tell you a short story about how I beat impossible odds and ended up a thought leader with a fair amount of brand fame… and how you and your company can do that too.

If you like, you can watch the video about it instead of reading:

If you watch the video and don’t scroll down… here’s a buy link for The Awareness Blueprint. Or, if you’d rather, you can try three videos for free, first!

Now to the story:

Back in 2004, I was like a lot of people: just an untrained guy who wanted to have his own business doing something he was good at that would help other people. I wanted to get enough consulting clients to get paid and do my part bringing home the bacon.

But I struggled because there were so many blogs and competitors out there. I just couldn’t get enough attention or leads or clients to make it. It was hard. I was frustrated! Have you felt like that?

Now, I’ve always believed in and been grateful for freedom, for the American dream of being in control of my own business, and for the opportunities we have with capitalism and to decide on our own career. I didn’t want to work for somebody else. I wanted to be “the man”, not work for the man!

I just wanted to build something special that helped other people, something they appreciated. Isn’t that what we all want?

And then I saw opportunity: the Internet. This was it. A huge phenomenon that suddenly gave us all the opportunity to easily do business with people all over the country- even the world!

I was excited because it seemed like the Internet would change everything in business- and I wanted to get in on that! Wouldn’t you?

But the odds were stacked against me because I had no schooling in internet marketing, I had no savings to bank on, and there was no reason for people to come to my website or business instead of anyone else’s.

I had done a lot of different types of work in my life, but I wanted to focus and get good at one thing. I was married and my wife had been the bigger breadwinner and I wanted to make more money to help her out and feel better about myself.

The internet was growing and people were making lots of money, but not me. Ever felt left out like that?

I was going up against much bigger companies, like training companies that had dozens of bloggers, and internet marketing teachers with a 3-4 year head start on me. I didn’t know anybody who had succeeded at this. I had no connections at all.

I had to get trained. So I got on the Internet and took some online courses. I went and had coffee with the marketing guy in my local San Diego networking group. I read tons and tons of blogs.

And at first, I made A LOT of mistakes. I was super-excited to make some money with Google AdSense, putting their ads on my alternative medicine site, but then the Google search algorithm changed and I lost most of my traffic. That was depressing. Don’t you wish Google was easier?

I started an AdWords consulting business but I couldn’t get enough clients.

Feeling a bit beaten, I took a job as an eCommerce manager for an outdoor store and spent a year building their online store, only for them to tell me, “Brian, we just don’t want to invest in buying enough inventory for the online store to succeed.”

Back to square one, dang it.

Again I went into solo consulting but I wasn’t getting enough clients, and my wife said, more or less, “Get a job or else maybe we should separate for a while.” Wow, that hurt!

So I took a risk on a job where I would build the internet marketing part of a regional agency in South Carolina. I had to move and be away from my wife for a couple years, which was tough, but I worked super hard.

I was initially not very smooth with clients, but my coworkers taught me a lot about account management and successful business relationships.

I was getting better at the Internet business:

  • I got results for our clients.
  • I started blogging and got attention.
  • I got to speak at a conference, then two more conferences.
  • I got a column writing for a big search engine blog.
  • We built the internet marketing part of the agency from $100k revenue to $650k revenue in less than two years.
  • I brought them in new clients from other parts of the country.

Then, to my surprise, the company laid me off!

It turns out I had TOO good a compensation deal with them. I was making too much money. And they didn’t want to expand beyond their region, so they didn’t much value my national networking and speaking.

But by now, I had become an industry thought-leader. I was known and read as a blogger on search marketing and social media. People enjoyed the talks I gave. By traveling and networking, I had made solid friends in the industry. And I had found a professional speaking mentor.

Wouldn’t you love to have a successful mentor in what you’re pursuing?

Because of all that I was able to write a Facebook marketing book, which quickly turned into two published books, and I started getting paid to keynote speak for companies. I and my small new agency got to work with great companies like Carl’s Jr, Universal Studios and The World Health Organization.

Next thing I knew I was on Bloomberg TV in New York City, and getting to work with companies like Microsoft, NBC, Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Dramamine, PrideStaff and others.

Wouldn’t you love to have more opportunities and clients?

It felt amazing to be an author, to be a respected authority, to be someone companies would pay thousands of dollars to come and speak or give consulting opinions. It’s flattering to repeatedly show up on lists like “The Top 50 Marketing Experts in the World”.

Oh and by the way, now I bring home ALL the bacon and my wife works for me, and she’s a brilliant Facebook advertiser. 🙂

During that journey I learned a ton about what does and doesn’t work for building brand fame and awareness. And I’d love to teach you what I’ve learned.

That’s why I created The Awareness Blueprint. It’s only $97 in 2014, but goes up to $399 in 2015. Students and peers tell me it’s too valuable to charge $97 for it, but I wanted to give people a chance to hear about it and- it’s my holiday gift to you, $302 off!

Hope you buy it. If you’d rather, you can try three videos for free, first!

All the best,
Brian Carter