The Worst Facebook Advertising Mistake You Can Make

If you had to choose, would you rather have:

  • Website traffic that leaves your site without doing anything?
    …OR…
  • Leads and sales?

I’ll bet you said the second one. :-)

But did you know: if you use the wrong type of ad, Facebook will send you those annoying people who click on ads but don’t buy or opt-in?

You must use the right Facebook ad type if you want Facebook to show your ads to more highly-qualified people. And the right kind of ad is a “website conversion ad.”

Watch this video to find out:

  • The right kind of Facebook ad and how to create it.
  • The conversion tracking set-up you must do.
  • A few more tips for creating ads that convert like crazy and not wasting money.

And to improve from there, you need to write better copy. Check out this post for my whole Compelling Ad Copy system for creating headlines and copy that converts.

Why Was This FB Post Shared 14,539 Times?

Facebook old-timers [I’m looking at you Dennis, Barry and Jeremy!] remember when we got Facebook page likes for less than one cent apiece. Of course, that was before we all got cynical about the value of Facebook fans. Are they worthless? That’s another debate for another day- and my short opinion on that is that they are still valuable, but shouldn’t be your #1 priority.

Don’t worry- the post we’re going to talk about is below, but first…

See that chart of ads below? Cost per post engagement ZERO. That’s not an error. It says zero because it’s less than $0.01.

fbadpostengagement2

Now, I’m pretty excited about the Facebook posts I have that are getting three or four interactions per penny. And no, you don’t have to target a third world country to make that to happen. Not even the whole U.S. I’ve seen similar results targeting one U.S. city, and even one interest within one U.S. city.

The real upshot is that you absolutely must care what people like… you have to be ruthless in testing your Facebook posts. If you don’t know what that means, you probably aren’t even using the right paradigm for your digital marketing. Some people are just throwing darts randomly and not even looking where they hit.

When you find a highly engaging post- that means somewhere between 6-12% of people like it… now hold on a second… you are keeping track of what percentage of post viewers are liking your posts, aren’t you? Those who aren’t are still in Facebook posting kindergarten. Here’s another shocker- Facebook isn’t calculating that “engagement rate” percentage for you. You have to do it. It’s interactions divided by reach. The simple shorthand is likes divided by reach. Do it!

Anyway, when you find a highly engaging post, and it stays highly engaging when tens of thousand of people see it, then what? You’ve hacked your audience’s brain. You’ve plugged into pure affinity. You’ve found their limbic system buttons and you’re pressing them. 

Sounds pretty cool, right?

Here’s an example of such a post…

weirddogpost

First, everybody I show that post to laughs. Then I worry they’ve missed the point. It’s like when I’m trying to learn screenwriting by watching a great movie, and I forget and just experience the movie. That definitely was a good movie, because it made me forget to learn anything! The post above might make you forget to learn about Facebook marketing. So, keep your brain engaged.

In 65 days, I reached over 424,832 people and got 50,807 interactions for about $225, an average of $0.004 per interaction.

Do you think shares are awesome? Me too. And they only cost an average of 3 cents per share with this promoted post.

Now, my ads and posts aren’t all huge successes. That’s why I say you have to be ruthless about testing. You’re testing in search of the outlier, and that outlier is one post in 50… one ad in 10. Are you creating a lot of them? Are you testing enough different approaches? Are those tests informed by your understanding of your audience? If you’re not sure, check out Facebookize.

Another tip- I am opposed to creating editorial Facebook post calendars a month or two ahead of time. I think you should create one post per day. Why? Because in my experience, I only have a finite amount of creativity and insight at one time. If I create 30 posts right now, they won’t be as good as the 30 I create if I create one per day. If you’re watching your engagement rate every day from yesterday’s post, you’re smarter halfway through the month than you were at the beginning of them month, because you’re learning every day. Not to mention, you see a lot of things… you watch TV, see tons of social media, have conversations, dream at night, and your subconscious has more stuff to work with. Your day 15 post is smarter (and has a better chance of engaging more people) than the day 15 post by someone who created them all two weeks ago. Especially if they only spent a few hours making them, total. Stop doing Facebook editorial calendars.

The other thing is- those results are engagement only. You might also get a few page likes or website clicks. You can alter this some to get website clicks out of it. I find that they still only go as low as $0.30 or so. But at the same time, you’re getting those same supercheap likes, comments and shares. You have to play with the text and call to action in the post to find the ones that will get website clicks, because often, even when you’re trying, you get a BIG FAT ZERO website clicks.

cowbelldogclicks

You have to find a needle in the haystack, and you have to create the haystack. Maybe the needle too. I’m not sure I understand my own metaphor. My point is you have to come up with these amazing post ideas. And write the copy. And do the ad tests of format and targeting.

So the sponsored post above did get clicks too, at $0.29 cost per website click- but also at only $0.007 per engagement. So in one day of just a $2 spend, it got 7 website clicks, 141 likes, and 45 shares… this part, getting the website clicks at the same time, is new for me, so stay tuned for more test results later.

How To Write Copy & Content That Sells

Successful digital marketers test a lot of ideas. Which means they come up with a lot of ideas. Then have the discipline to go through multiple tests. It requires both creativity and organization.

Conversely, we’re pretty much screwed when we get writers block, only have bad ideas, or get seduced into writing for engagement rather than sales.

What Are Your Marketing Molecules?

These days in digital marketing, we have several very similar things:

  • Facebook or AdWords ads (10-12 words, <=90 characters)
  • Blog post headlines (8-10 words)
  • Corporate elevator pitches (up to 75 words)
  • Unique selling propositions (18-22 words)
  • Email subject lines (3-12 words), and
  • Tweets (about 15 words, 120’ish characters, if you leave room for a link)

These are all basically the same thing- short copy that convinces people to look or buy… I call them marketing molecules. the DNA of your elevator pitch. Your unique selling proposition (USP- if you don’t know what it is, keep reading- and btw you can have a USP for every blog post, every service or product you offer…)

The 3 Most Persistent Marketing Copy Pitfalls

  1. One of the biggest problems we have in modern marketing, content creation and advertising is: how do you come up with enough ideas to test?
  2. Another big problem is: How do you come up with good ideas?
  3. Yet another: How do you come up with copy that sells?

It’s awesome if you can write clickbait, even muted (less annoyingly obvious) clickbait that still arouses curiosity. It’s exciting if you can get 1,000 shares, but… is that piece of content contributing to your business’s bottom line? Sure, a lot content has an indirect benefit and may somehow partially convince someone to buy if you’re lucky and the weather is just right… but that’s sort of like trying to survive on hors d’oeuvres.

Do you have meat and potatoes content that SELLS?

Or are you stuck at the level of just trying to get people to pay attention for five minutes before they flip back over to a viral video on Facebook?

4dAmazing Content Is Four Dimensional

The best copy and content can do all four of the following at once:

  1. Inform
  2. Entertain or Inspire
  3. Compel People To Share It and
  4. Sell Your Stuff.

A lot of content only gets to level one- it informs- boring! Next level writers can entertain, inspire and motivate- that’s 2D Content. If you write the kinds of things people share, you may get to the third level- that’s 3D Content. But to go into the fourth dimension- which is either spacetime, a freaky Devo song, or amazing content that sells, we have to go further- to infinity and beyond.

That may be only the top 5% of content you luck out into writing- and really one out of twenty blog posts or email subject lines that can do this is not a bad ratio compared to how poorly most companies do. But is there a way we can increase your luck and help you create four dimensional copy more often?

Sometimes the things you need to write to get sales are harder to write. They require more thinking, maybe research, maybe even – oh no, the dreaded talking to customers.

Questions and formulas are very helpful… and that is where we’re headed!

I thought I’d show you my process of marketing my new online course… this began with a process of surveying my lists for topics, then testing ideas with Facebook ads, and finally creating two pathways for sales- one is a Ryan Deiss “Funnel Blueprint” series of lead magnet, tripwire and core offer; and the core offer, which I’m also testing as a direct first exposure, is a Jon Benson-style Video Sales Letter.

And by the way, there is a real feedback loop between marketing and product/service improvement. If what works and doesn’t work in marketing doesn’t inform improvements in your product and service- well, you’d better create things that are as awesome as iPhones. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and make it win prom queen.

15 Marketing Copy Elements

Alright- ready for some work? Because yes, you’re going to have to work. You have to answer these questions first… and as I alluded to before, you can answer these for your entire business, or for one product or service. You may find when you try to do the former, that there are really different answers for each product or service, and you’ll have to do this process for each. Yes, it’s a ton of work. Grow up and put your big boy pants on. Do the work, if you want great results. Otherwise, you might as well go waste time on Facebook and get mediocre business results. There are plenty of people creating distracting content that will help you procrastinate.

If you want to do the work- you can list 3 or 5 or whatever I ask, or you can write 10-20. If you write more of them, you’ll end up with better copy. Brainstorming never goes out of style for those whose fashion is marketing results.

  1. BENEFITS: List 5 benefits (problems you solve, and the positive version of that)- ALSO, decide on the CHIEF BENEFIT- this is the most valuable one, the one people are most likely to buy, the easiest one to sell.
  2. TARGET MARKET: List 3 specific types of people who it’s for- could be personality types, job titles, or family roles, for example.
  3. COMPETITORS: List 5 competitors- and I don’t necessarily mean specific companies. For example,
  4. WITHOUTS: List 5 things customers have to do now or think they’ll have to do, but don’t have to, with your solution. List 3 things your competitors require them to do that you don’t.
  5. PROBLEMS: List 3 problems they have without your help, and each of their 3 solutions.
  6. MISTAKES: List 5 mistakes your customers make without you, and the consequences of each.
  7. LIES: List 3 lies they’ve been told about the issue and the truth about each
  8. TIPS: List 5 tips you have for them to solve their problems
  9. SUPERLATIVES: List 5 things your company is first at, best at, most whatever, cheapest, oldest, latest, newest, funnest (I love that word), largest etc. – check out wikipedia superlatives lists
  10. CONFESSIONS: list 3 confessions where you screwed up
  11. PROCESSES: list 3-5 specific processes you use, anything you’ve trademarked or patented… e.g. Google’s PageRank, Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm… I made up one called “The Rock Star Effect”
  12. SPECIFIC RESULTS: List 5 very specific results- quantify some aspect of your solution.
  13. CASE STUDIES: Quantify the results for 3 standout customers- if you absolutely can’t quantify it, find the most impactful way to convey
  14. SOCIAL PROOF: Quantify how many customers you have, or if you can’t or won’t, get 5 testimonial quotes from customers. When you ask for these quotes, try to get them to say what concrete benefit or result you had for them. That makes for better copy!
  15. EXPERT PROOF: Get 3 quotes from experts about your solution/product

Now if you actually do that work above, you have a TON of ammo to create a shotgun blast of sniper bullets. And THAT was the worst chimera of a meta-analogy-phor I’ve ever created! Forgive me.

Also, if you want to do humor, come up with hyperboles (exaggerations) of the above… you’ll see what I mean in the last few molecule examples below.

10 Example Marketing Molecules

Molecules are composed of elements. Now that you have all those marketing elements (because you answered all those questions above, right?), we can form marketing molecules out of them. Combine all of your marketing elements into marketing molecules and test them!

After you combine them, you can add other aspects of copywriting wisdom to complete the molecule. The first two of these should look familiar- they probably account for 68.2% of the Internet’s non-horrible blog posts.

  1. List # BENEFIT: example, “3 Tips For Becoming Your Potential Buyer’s #1 Choice”
  2. How To BENEFIT: “How To Get On The Media’s Radar”
  3. DOUBLE BENEFIT: “How To Get On The Media’s Radar And Be Your Potential Customer’s #1 Choice”
  4. USP = SUPERLATIVE + CHIEF BENEFIT, e.g. “The Awareness Blueprint™ Is The Only Marketing Course That Can Transform Your Company Into The Rock Star #1 Choice In Your Niche…
    Even On A Modest Budget.” But of course for 90 character ads, you have to shorten that, so you can create two versions from it, “The Only Course That Makes Your Brand Your Niche’s #1 Choice, Even On A Modest Budget.” and “The ONLY Course If You Want To Get On The Media’s Radar And Be Your Customer’s #1 Choice.”
  5. Stronger USP = SUPERLATIVE + CHIEF BENEFIT + WITHOUT, if you can fit all that in! “The #1 Course For Brand Awareness Without Wasting Time or Money”
  6. BENEFIT + WITHOUT: I’ve found in my Facebook ad tests that benefits get an even higher CTR when you add a WITHOUT to them, e.g. “Finally Make People Pay Attention To Your Company Without Wasting Your Time Or Money”
  7. BENEFIT + COMPETITION: Emails, tweets and facebook posts are all competitors for your attention. That enables me to write copy like: “How To Get Your Brand Noticed Amongst Millions Of Businesses, Tweets, Posts and Videos”
  8. SPECIFIC RESULT: “Want Your Company Seen By 2.8 Million Members Of The Media In Newspapers, TV And Radio?”
  9. TESTIMONIAL QUOTE BENEFIT: “How On Earth Did Your Company Get This Much Attention And Acclaim?” or “Brian tells business owners where to put their marketing dollars to get maximum reach.”
  10. An End To a PROBLEM: “An End To People Doubting Your Company Because They’ve Never Heard Of It”
  11. List # Mistakes + Avoid: “5 Mistakes Brands Make With Publicity And How To Avoid Them”
  12. Step By Step BENEFIT WITHOUT: “Your Exact, Step-by-Step Blueprint For Mega Brand Awareness Without Wasting Time or Money”
  13. Want to sell with humor? Add HYPERBOLE: “How To Get Potential Customers To Stalk You Because They Can’t Wait Til Morning To Buy From You” or “5 Mistakes Brands Make With Publicity That Lead To Public Flogging” – Ok neither of those is hilarious, but I just made them up. And you’re going to have to write at least 20 jokes to find one funny one… sorry, but that’s a pretty standard comedy industry ratio. And I’m not going to write 18 more right now :-p

Write a bunch of them. Applying these to content creation is how you make sure you’re creating content that sells. A lot of the 15 elements above are the things that convince people to buy. There are a bunch of other elements out there like funny videos and animated gifs will not necessarily sell.

adideasexcelMy first use for mine was Facebook ads. I wrote 60, put them in excel to find out how many characters were in each one (the formula is =LEN(cell)), and then rewrote or split up any that were over 90 characters. Then I created another column called “central”. I can’t test 60 ads at once, or at least I didn’t want to, so I asked myself, which of these communicate the central thing about my course? And how central on a scale of 1-10 were they? Your USP is going to be pretty central. I also numbered the ads for easy reference in my facebook ad names.

It’s not a bad idea to use them as Facebook ads first to see what your target market clicks on the most. It’s the quickest, cheapest, easiest way to test. Read this post about that. Once I find out which ones get the best CTR or conversion rates, I’ll pick from the top 3-5 and reuse them as subject lines and tweets and other content.

That’s all folks! Copy the elements questions above into a document and start answering them! :-)

The 5 Biggest Facebook Ad Mistakes

Love Sports animated GIFWe’ve run more than $1 million in Facebook ad spend for clients of all sizes, with goals ranging from fan growth to selling products and services online. We get sales and leads and engagement for them- whatever their goal is. We test constantly to ensure that the ad costs are as low as possible, and that the ad spend goes to the best performing ads.

Some companies get profits, or super low-cost leads- but other companies fail with Facebook ads. No matter how powerful Facebook ads CAN be, there are some common mistakes that prevent Facebook ads from getting you great results.

fbprocess

You need to get all five of these things right if you want to even have a chance of getting great Facebook ads results.

Mistake #1 Having The Wrong Goals Or No Goals

When you create a Facebook ad, the first thing it asks you is what your objective is:

fbadgoalsEgo Egotistic animated GIFEach ad should have a goal, and you need to know what metric measures your success with that goal.

For example:

  • Website clicks: measure the cost per click (or cost per conversions if you’re tracking that)
  • Website conversions: measure the cost per lead or cost per sale
  • Page Post Engagement: measure the cost per engagement
  • Page Likes: measure the cost per fan

Those are the most common objectives. By focusing on “cost per” metrics, you can improve effectiveness without increasing the ad spend.

SOLUTION: If you can track a lead or sale, definitely test the website conversion ad type. Test that against a website clicks ad, and against promoting a post that has the link to the landing page in it.

Use the Facebook conversion pixel and add parameters to your links with Google URL Builder (or Google Analytics will count many of them as “Direct”).

Mistake #2 Not Creating Enough Ads

A rookie mistake is to go in and create one ad and think you’re done. Nope, far from it. If you only create one, chances are you created one that will underperform.

The only way to find the 20% of ads that get 80% of the results is to create at least five versions of your ad.

advariations

SOLUTION: You need to test different objectives, headlines, images and targeting. For every ad idea you have, you need to create five versions.

So, for just one headline and copy idea, you could test five images, and two or three ad objectives- right there that’s 15 ads (1 headline x 1 body copy x 5 images x 3 objectives)

Mistake #3 Putting Everything in One Ad Set

An ad group is where you get to choose your budget, and you can put a ton of ads in each ad group, but Facebook is probably going to give most of the reach in an ad set to just one of your ads. So, you’ve got to “keep them separated”.

If you put 20 ads in an ad set, most of them will not be shown to enough people for you to know if they would work or not.

SOLUTION: Create a different ad set for each test- no more than five ads per ad set.

You can organize ad sets however you want- here are some options:

  • Based on your targeting
  • Based on your goal
  • Based on your creative
  • Based on a combo, e.g. one type of targeting for one goal, vs. another type of targeting for another goal

Watch how much reach each ad gets. If one hasn’t reached more than a few hundred, it probably hasn’t been adequately tested and could be put in its own ad set:

  1. Click on it to expand
  2. Click on “create a similar ad”
  3. Change the ad set to a new ad set
  4. Submit it

Mistake #4 Not Testing Targeting

There are many ways to cut an onion, and there’s more than one way to target the people you want to reach.

Rookies tend to create one ad with a ton of interests in them, which may work, but you also need to test more granularly- just a few interests per ad.

You can also slice and dice by age, gender, workplace and more, so if you want to see how people 25-34 respond vs. 35-44, you need at least two ads for that; maybe two ad sets if you’re also testing different images.

SOLUTION: Test the same creative (image, headline, body) against multiple targets by creating several ads. See which gets you the best results, then test more creative against the best targeting criteria.

For example: Want to reach journalists? You could target

  • The interest of journalism
  • Their educational field of study, or
  • The workplace of specific newspapers and TV stations.

Mistake #5 Crappy Landing Pages

If you don’t know what a “squeeze page is”, we need to talk.

People are more likely to respond if you ask them to do just one thing- This is called a “call to action”. Make sure there’s only one thing they can do on the landing page.

There is only one option on a squeeze page, and we’re trying to “squeeze” most of its visitors through that action into the next segment in the marketing funnel. You get more results when you ask for just one specific thing.

What happens when you don’t squeeze them? Let’s say you send them to your website’s contact page and there are 20 other thing they could click on. Chances are:

  • Fewer people will do what you want (conversion rate goes down)
  • Cost per lead goes up (CPL = CPC/CR).

That’s bad. Our goal is always to lower clients’ cost per sale and cost per lead.

SOLUTION: Optimize your landing pages. Try a service like LeadPages. Do split-tests to see what makes people convert at a higher rate.

Bonus: Mistake #6 Neglect

Apathy David Bowie animated GIFIf you create ads but never check them, you won’t do well. The bad ones may take up all your reach. The good ones will stop working once the finite audience you chose tires of them. Your spend won’t be efficient. You’ll waste money and miss out on profits.

SOLUTION: You must check how your ads are performing at least weekly. If you’re spending more than $500 a day, you might need to check every other day. Create new ads to replace those that burn out.

Business Owners: How To Get More Sales While You’re On Vacation

Working-on-VacaDisclaimer: 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.lawrenceready

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

coffeeYou 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. matrixorigami

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.

Kaboom.

Tip #4: Focus on Facebook Ad Sales

leoWe’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. failgoodbye

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.

matrixblocks 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. learning fall

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

catstudystrategyThe 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.

Business Owners: How To Get More Sales While You're On Vacation

Working-on-VacaDisclaimer: 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.lawrenceready

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

coffeeYou 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. matrixorigami

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.

Kaboom.

Tip #4: Focus on Facebook Ad Sales

leoWe’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. failgoodbye

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.

matrixblocks 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. learning fall

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

catstudystrategyThe 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.

QUIZ: Which Online Advertising Network Is Right For Your Next Campaign?

Take this quiz and find out!

Brand Managers and CMO’s: Does Your Ad Agency Measure Up?

digital-marketing-benchmarks-1The idea is to get the best possible results on your ad spend.

The enemy right now is media buyers. They want to control all the ad spend even though they don’t know how to optimize digital ads. They are still stuck in a 1990’s paradigm. If they won’t share details about your results, you shouldn’t trust them. Ask them how they’re optimizing your ads to get the most out of your spend, and see if they measure up to the benchmarks on the right.

On a daily basis, we at The Carter Group are pretty nerdy about doing everything we can to get better results for our clients.

Month to month we always want to show you improvements in your cost per engagement, cost per fan, cost per lead, ROI, revenue, percentage of fans who engage with your posts and so on.

Sometimes we show a client amazing results and they ask, “Is that good?” Fair question. Here are some performance benchmarks. How can you use them?

  • Look at your results and compare. Are your current results good enough?
  • Considering hiring us. What kind of results can you expect from the Carter Group?
  • Have us train your internal staff. What kind of results could they be getting you?

Companies often start with consultants and then hire their own internal staff. We serve both as consultants who do the work and later as trainers to internal staff. If you’ve hired internal staff and they’re not hitting these benchmarks, they may need training. Digital marketing is the Wild West- you don’t get this kind of training in college. Most conferences won’t give you the step-by-step how-to and be available to your rock stars for day-to-day questions and answers. You have to get it from industry leaders like us.

Want to know more? Take this quiz. And yes, you should know the answers to these questions, or someone should be reporting the numbers to you :-)

Brand Managers and CMO's: Does Your Ad Agency Measure Up?

digital-marketing-benchmarks-1The idea is to get the best possible results on your ad spend.

The enemy right now is media buyers. They want to control all the ad spend even though they don’t know how to optimize digital ads. They are still stuck in a 1990’s paradigm. If they won’t share details about your results, you shouldn’t trust them. Ask them how they’re optimizing your ads to get the most out of your spend, and see if they measure up to the benchmarks on the right.

On a daily basis, we at The Carter Group are pretty nerdy about doing everything we can to get better results for our clients.

Month to month we always want to show you improvements in your cost per engagement, cost per fan, cost per lead, ROI, revenue, percentage of fans who engage with your posts and so on.

Sometimes we show a client amazing results and they ask, “Is that good?” Fair question. Here are some performance benchmarks. How can you use them?

  • Look at your results and compare. Are your current results good enough?
  • Considering hiring us. What kind of results can you expect from the Carter Group?
  • Have us train your internal staff. What kind of results could they be getting you?

Companies often start with consultants and then hire their own internal staff. We serve both as consultants who do the work and later as trainers to internal staff. If you’ve hired internal staff and they’re not hitting these benchmarks, they may need training. Digital marketing is the Wild West- you don’t get this kind of training in college. Most conferences won’t give you the step-by-step how-to and be available to your rock stars for day-to-day questions and answers. You have to get it from industry leaders like us.

Want to know more? Take this quiz. And yes, you should know the answers to these questions, or someone should be reporting the numbers to you :-)

5 Best Practices That Drive Profits For Hosting Companies

ms-digital-marketing-whitepaperIt’s been an interesting and successful 12 months working with Microsoft and its hosting partners!

  • Thanks to the amazing Derrick Wheeler, I was honored to be the social media keynote speaker at Microsoft’s Internal SEO conference last year.
  • Since then I’ve create an ebook (see image on the right- available only within the Microsoft Partner Network) and a video with assessment for the Microsoft Partner Network.
  • And then we embarked on a six company pilot program for our Digital Marketing in a Box launch program. The most successful have been those for whom we created an explainer video or whitepaper. We’ve been able to drive affordable targeted lead with a combination of advertising and content marketing, as well as dramatically increase these companies’ visibility.

intellisuite-whitepaperHosting is one of those categories where leaders like RackSpace do all the best practices like:

  • Creating content (whitepapers, ebooks, videos, blog posts) that solves problems for your customer
  • Advertising through search engines (targeting people looking to buy now) and social advertising opportunities (targeting people by their job title)
  • Growing owned media lists (email, fans, followers et al) and leveraging them to communicate new services and offers
  • Landing page optimization, especially split-tests to decrease their cost per lead and cost per sale
  • Integrating CRM into their marketing and sales process, especially to granularly track the success of marketing campaigns

When you have most or all of those in place, it’s feasible for us to create 50% – 400% improvements in your cost per lead or sale. Contact us about doing that for your company.

But many hosting companies are missing one or more of the above best practices. The task there is to audit what they have and find the gaps, custom-prioritize strategies and then execute a launch of best practice strategies. Then we can go back and increase efficiency and profitability.

If you’re interested in taking your marketing and sales results to the next level, contact us!