Business Owners: How To Get More Sales While You're On Vacation
Disclaimer: a lot of business owners don’t vacation a lot- they’d rather be working, but successful ones are more able to go on vacation. We’ll come back to the vacation thing- the whole point is:
- How can you set up processes and systems and tools that help you continue to make money so that you can focus on whatever you want. Things like running the other 80% of your business.
- How can you make sure that Internet marketing and sales is a tool that works for you regularly, not a problem to constantly fix?
Internet marketing is complicated: geeks do it.
Internet marketing is broad: there are at least ten subtopics.
Internet marketing is deep: you can spend weeks learning just one of those subtopics.
There’s way too much to learn, from way too many blogs. It’s a win-win clients when they pay us to manage their Facebook ads and Google ads. Our services aren’t free, but they save our clients a ton of time, worry, and click costs. We drive the costs down and the profits up. Interested? Bring it on.
Tip #1: Advertise
There are businesses who can’t afford advertising. In my MOZ Facebook Ads article I said, “If you can’t afford $30 a month (for Facebook ads), you shouldn’t be in business.”
I personally have spent more than $29,000 on Facebook ads and more than $34,000 on Google ads for my own business.
We’ve managed client advertising spends that range from $100 a day to $28,000 a day.
Tip #2: Focus on Advertising PROFITS
You need to know you’re getting real customers out of this.
Put that coffee down. Coffee is for profitable advertisers.
To not lose money in online advertising, you either have to
- Climb a steep (and geeky) learning curve to do-it-yourself, or
- Have enough money to hire someone.
The battlefields of 21st century business are littered with the corpses of companies who used Facebook and Google ads ineffectively.
Even offerings like Google’s Small Business Express AdWords program, since they’re automated, can be ineffective. Google and Facebook are definitely making money off this, but can you? Yes, if the people running those ads are experts.
Tip #3: Combine Facebook & Google
Facebook + Google = A Winning Marketing/Sales Team
Facebook is like a marketer and Google is like a salesperson. Traditionally, the marketer grabs awareness and gets people in, and salespeople close the sale.
Facebook ads can perform just about any marketing function– from market research to raising awareness to lead gen to sales.
Google ads get you the quick profits. They help you reach prospects who are ready to buy. That’s a smarter spend, but the cost can be high. Facebook advertising’s strengths are its low cost. In some niches it’s almost too expensive to even try Google ads.
- For example, our clients in the hosting niche often can’t spend Google’s $28 – $65 per click for leads. Those Google click costs mean the customer sale can cost $2,000 – $6,500.
- With Facebook ads we get these hosting companies leads for $22 – $130 each, and the cost per sale is closer to $200 – $1,300.
Combine both Facebook and Google. Add in their retargeting capabilities (to keep ads in front of people who’ve been to your website). Then you’ve positioned yourself:
- To be known,
- To persuade,
- To stay top of mind, and
- To sell.
Tip #4: Focus on Facebook Ad Sales
We’ve used Facebook ads to generate sales for clients in businesses as diverse as:
- A Pizza Delivery Chain in Scotland
- A Company That Produces Rock Concerts on Cruises
- Online consultancies
A lot of companies haven’t gotten sales with Facebook because:
- They haven’t tried,
- They didn’t advertise, or
- They didn’t have a Facebook ads expert.
If you can afford to advertise, test driving sales with Facebook ads by working with a Facebook ads expert.
Tip #5: Track The Source of Your Sales
The fact is, to prove you can get sales, you have to be able to track the sale’s online source. B2B salespeople must use a sophisticated CRM like salesforce to track the sale back to the original online marketing channel. Otherwise, you’re throwing money away.
At least some of it. John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” With great online tracking, you can find out which half, and stop wasting it! Instead of wasting that money, use it elsewhere or reinvest it in the profitable advertising.
But many businesses can’t track their sales accurately back to the original online channel- no matter how willing they are. Just like this skateboard kid, we lose track of them.
Consumer packaged goods clients like Pediacare, Chloraseptic and Dramamine sell their products in many retail outlets- those retail stores, such as Walmart and CVS, compete with each other, and don’t make it possible for brand to track their retail sales back to the online marketing source. So, for these clients often all we can measure online is awareness, web traffic, social engagement, and coupons. Even online coupon-creation services don’t make it easy to track online advertising success. Tracking problems are epidemic. But these clients do know that:
- We’re generating super affordable awareness,
- We’re making their website traffic much more affordable, and
- We’re build relationships and loyalty that give them a competitive advantage.
Some of our B2B clients use us to generate leads via Google ads, Facebook ads, ebooks and whitepapers- but not all of these companies use a modern CRM, like Salesforce. As a result, we can increase their leads and lower their cost per lead, it’s clear we’ve improved their lead pipelines and they can convert those leads to sales, but the exact ROI number is difficult to find.
A TON of B2B companies are still making, or thinking about making, the transition to 21st century marketing and sales. Many of them have succeeded so far on word of mouth, but to grow further, they need to add online advertising and a modern CRM, like Salesforce.
Any company with the ability to track their sales back to the online source has a real advantage, because that information can be used to eliminate waste and increase profits. That bears repeating: Accurate tracking is a competitive advantage.
Tip #6: Choose Smaller Marketing Agencies
We run a boutique (that means small) internet/social marketing shop for several reasons.
- First, we can handle a lot of business as we are, because one of our biggest values and talents is efficiency.
- Second, we are able to charge what we think the value is- which seems high to some people and low to others.
- Third, we can choose to work only with savvy, open-minded and teachable clients and agencies.
- Fourth, we’ve found that having experts who know how to do more than one thing helps us find the client more opportunities and get better results.
I’ve worked at an agency, and I’ve worked with about a dozen other agencies. There are pros and cons for clients to work with them. (And by the way, I’ve seen much smarter things happen at the smaller agencies. We have several favorite agencies because they get it.)
On the pro side, if they’re a large, big-name agency, if their results for you aren’t good, you can blame them and hire another agency. If CYA and job-preservation is your main goal in your job, sure, go with a big-name agency.
But if you’d rather explain to your boss why your results are so awesome, don’t. The biggest problem with big-name agencies is that they often either:
- Have interns (with just a few years experience) do most of your marketing work (because that boosts their profits), or
- They outsource it to companies like mine (because we get better results).
The most extreme example I’ve seen of Internet marketing outsourcing was:
In the early days of Facebook ads (2010), we were hired as one of two companies generating fans for a well known Fortune 500 brand- we were hired by a company that was hired by a company that was hired by an agency that was hired by the brand.
What happens when you do business in that way? Yes, risk is mitigated, but prices are boosted at every step. Lack of contact with the actual client can also lead to missed opportunities or miscommunications. Goals and execution are fragmented to the point where sometimes the sum of the parts turns out to be less than the whole.
The most maddening problem is when a brand manager really doesn’t understand internet marketing or social media, and the big-agency account executive doesn’t want to make the brand manager feel dumb, so they don’t educate them, so the brand manager chooses bad strategies. Do you really want your company to make the same mistakes other companies have already made? If not, be teachable.
These days, you don’t have to know how to DO everything, but you do have to learn what’s possible and what’s not- what works and what doesn’t.
If you want to get the best results with Internet Marketing, let experts advise and run it the smartest way. If you’re going to micromanage, learn about strategies, results, what’s possible, what’s likely, what the typical obstacles are, what doesn’t work… et cetera.
If you don’t like learning, get good at delegating or get into a simpler business, like pool cleaning maybe :-)
If you micromanage your vendors, but you don’t ask for education from them, you’re asking for trouble.
Tip #7: Learn From The Leaders
The trailblazers in discovering the best ways to grow profits using the Internet, for the last decade or more, have been:
- Internet marketers: the people and companies who do email marketing, SEO, and online advertising are usually the first to employ the latest greatest tools and tactics.
- Internet marketing tool providers: software-as-a-service companies that provide innovations in marketing and sales often eat their own dog food and grow faster than their competitors.
- Infoproduct and affiliate marketers: people who make money by teaching and selling to marketers are often the first to include new tools and tactics in their processes.
By looking at the offerings of companies like Facebook, Google, Marketo, Salesforce and Leadpages and learning how other companies have succeeded with them, you can clearly see the path to 21st century online profits. I wish it was easy to outline all of that in one blog post! Contact us for more info about how your company can get to the next level with online marketing.
Brian Carter is a popular business expert and keynote speaker with Fortune 500 clients like NBC, Microsoft and Humana as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways with the comedic flair of his stand up comedy background. His agency, The Brian Carter Group, creates marketing that excites customers and increases brand visibility, sales and loyalty. Brian is a bestselling author you’ve probably seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.