5 Ways Facebook Can Save An Entrepreneur From Business Failure

invisible400The Top 2 Causes of Failure for Entrepreneurs Are…

  1. Lack Of Funding: If you don’t have enough running capital for 3-6 months of startup, you’ll probably go out of business before you’re profitable.
  2. Lack Of Sales: If not enough people are buying from you to keep going, you’ll have to shut down.

You need money, honey. A Lack of Sales typically is caused by one of two problems:

  1. No One Knows You Exist: A lot of businesses feel invisible. You can’t sell if you’re invisible. You need more awareness- more publicity- more buzz! And of course, maybe we’re exaggerating. Some people know about you, but not enough.
  2. Product/Service No One Wants: You can’t put lipstick on a pig. No way to fix this except move on to a better idea. It’s better to test the market before committing a ton of time and money to what could be a BIG OL’ DUD.

A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of selling something people don’t want. They’re selling [what they think people need], not [what people want]. Don’t do that! Experts make that mistake a lot. I’ve been guilty of it myself! We do it because we think as experts we know exactly what these poor people need… But they don’t care. They want what they want. Even if we’re right, people don’t want to eat their vegetables. Don’t treat your customers like you’re their mom and they’re bratty kids. Do this instead: SELL people what they WANT… GIVE them what they want AND what they need. This makes it easy to over-deliver, which is a good way to keep customers happy. “Wow, they gave me a ton!” For example, Flintstone Vitamins: Kids want cartoons and sweets. Moms want kids to take vitamins. They each delicious-tasting Flintstones vitamins, and everybody wins. FREEDOMVITAMINS

How To Use Facebook To Ensure Entrepreneurial Success

There are five things you can do that will help a great deal- not only to avoid a lemon but to help you succeed with your marketing from the start.

  1. Identify Your Potential Buyers
  2. Research & Understand Them With Facebook Audience Insights (you need a Facebook ad account for that)
  3. Test Your Product/Service Ideas And Throw Out The Bad Ideas
  4. Test Your Slogans And Find Most Effective Ones
  5. Test Your Unique Selling Proposition

testbusinessideas

You’ll Live Or Die According To Your U.S.P.

Do you have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your new company or service? Here’s how to create one. Tell us in 20 words, how is your company, product or service different from and better than the competition? What does it do for me? What’s the primary benefit? Is it for me or someone else? Here’s the formula: “[Company] is the [superlative:only/first/premier/best/fastest/biggest] [what] that delivers [what benefit] to [which people]?” For example, Brian Carter is the only social media speaker who delivers practical digital marketing takeaways, comedy-club level entertainment and inspiring motivation to marketers and business owners. Isn’t he amazing?

3 Things To Test With Facebook Ads BEFORE Going To Market

  • Test Your Product/Service Ideas: Do people really want it, not just need it? The ultimate test is to sell it, but if you can get clicks on an ad, that’s a good indicator. If you can get them to opt into something (to qualify for the beta when it’s ready, for example) that’s even better. And my favorite is Kickstarter, because you get paid for something before you’re ready to sell it.
  • Test Your Slogans: Which ones really resonate with your market? Finding out what works here will help you write your marketing copy later, and may help you prioritize how your develop your product or service now. What features or options do people care about? Getting verification on this increases your chance of success.
  • Test Your Unique Selling Proposition: Is your USP working as well as you expected? Try three different versions.

You can also survey your market with surveymonkey. Here’s one I did while working on new online course ideas: survey1 Good thing I did it, because some of the things I thought would be number one weren’t at the top of anyone’s priority list. survey2 I used the results to come up with some course ideas, and then I tested some potential course names with Facebook ads. I’m not going to show you the best ones, because I don’t want anybody creating a similar idea until mine’s ready! But I’ll show you some of the worst results: fbad2

Find Out The Demographics Of The Most Interested People

You can even use Facebook ad tests like this to find out which demographics respond best to your ideas. Whether you use that targeting later on, or just use that intel in developing your product or service, it’s supervaluable to know the age, gender and location of your best potential buyers. For example, from a tests we did a couple years ago for a financial-niche Facebook app: demographics What could you have tested about your current company? What can you test about your next project to avoid wasting time and money and start off on a stronger footing? Ok, so go do it!

How To Get More Customer Referrals With Facebook

liketagsHere’s a clever way to boost your sales by getting more recommendations to prospects from your current customers…

The research tells us that recommendations from friends are one of the most persuasive sales strategies out there.

Think about it in your own life: are you more likely to check out a new make of car because some Brian Carter dude recommended it, or because your best friend recommended it? Hopefully you answered “my best friend” even though the research tells us that Brian Carter is ridiculously influential :-)

How To Make Friend Referrals More Effective And Palatable

All you need is:

  • An email list of customers
  • A Facebook Page
  • A Facebook Ad Account

Here’s How You Do it

On Facebook…

  1. Create a post asking people to think about a friend that would benefit from your business, and ask them to tag a friend in the comments.
  2. You can incentivize with a sweepstakes this by saying one recommender + recommendee pair will each win a prize.
  3. Take your customer email list, create a custom audience in Facebook Ads, create a lookalike audience from that, then
  4. Promote that Facebook post to these two audiences (one ad per audience)

Now, you’ve just reached out to your customers and people like them on Facebook with a giveaway that will drive action.

improvpromoI use this technique to promote my local improv comedy group’s performances (Andrea Vahl suggested it when Facebook changed their contest guidelines, I tried it, and it has worked for us a dozen times).

But it doesn’t have to be used for just events.

Speaking of events though, it could be used for paid webinars- what if you offered a $7 webinar and offer free access to five winners?

Adding a giveaway to it makes it less spammy- now people are giving their friends the opportunity to win something for free– and that makes the referrer look good, which is one of the keys to driving viral marketing activity.

Not everyone will refer, so have a backup option. Give the customer two options- if they don’t feel comfortable referring, or can’t think of someone, let them know they can also

  • Recommend you on LinkedIn, if you’re a solo entrepreneur, or
  • Positively rate your business on Yelp or Google Local.

Thar you go.

Now go do it!

Podcast: The Shocking Truth About B2B Facebook Marketing

7Always alotta (I say that’s a word) FUN to be on Kathy’s podcast! Because she’s another business mind who loves to do improv. Therefore, this will both fill your cranium with small explosions of insight AND entertain your limbic system- let’s just say it’ll make your limbic system do “the limbo”.

  1. Why Is Facebook A No-Brainer For B2B Marketing?
  2. Why Do Facebook Ads Beat The Freaking Pants Off Linkedin Ads?
  3. What Are The No Brainer Lead Gen Strategies To Combine With Facebook?
  4. How Do You Use Facebook To Crowd-Source Product And Service Ideas- To Save A Ton Of Money And Heartache?
  5. What The Heck Does More Cowbell Have To Do With Making More Money?

I sure hope this podcast leverages your synergy to paradigmitize your cashflow!

67 Reasons Upworthy Is More Viral Than Your Site Will Ever Be

Hey bucko, you need to care why people share stuff online. What they share, they definitely like. What they like, they don’t necessarily share. Find out what about your business is most viral, and you’re building the infrastructure for word of mouth marketing, and thus mega growth. Everyone needs a competitive advantage to survive and thrive- isn’t being more shareable one of the best competitive advantages?

You need to read this deck if you want to suck less at viral marketing. It’s so good I hesitate to share it.

But I know that most people don’t implement what they learn, so you probably won’t beat me today, superman. Did you write 25 headlines today? Me neither but I did write four for this post.

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.

7 Lessons Dogs Taught Me About Social Media & Internet Marketing

briconeI don’t think people are dogs. But we do share some similar cognitive patterns. So, yes you can learn to be a better marketer from your dog. And hey, maybe just maybe if your business relationships are crazy, you should get a dog and learn something!

1. Watch & Adjust

Dogs have a ten-second long memory. To train them, you have to watch constantly so you can respond to what they do right away- or they have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, you need to keep an eye on your analytics.

  • What does your heat map look like?
  • What parts of your website are working?
  • What are people doing after hitting various landing pages?

And you can’t just post in social and then forget about those posts. Tweets are available in the average stream for maybe five minutes max. Most Facebook post interaction happens within 30 minutes. So you can look almost immediately and find out whether it’s working or not. That how we do it when we create Facebook posts for companies.

  • What social posts do they like and share?
  • Which ones do they dislike and ignore?

Pay attention and change course as needed. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

This guy figured out how to cuddle with lions by watching and adjusting!

2. Do Something Exciting

enhanced-29522-1403890053-13I used to be super shy and boring. I grew up speaking monotone. I identified with my basset hound and Eeyore was my spirit animal. But learning improv, you have to sometimes pretend to be more excited than you actually are. Turns out, people respond to that whether it’s fake or not! Sometimes I would practice my stand up comedy bits around my dogs, and when I was more enthusiastic, they got into it, getting up, wagging their tails, jumping on me. And they don’t understand that many words, so it wasn’t my wit. Happy tone of voice, high volume, and positive emotion stimulate us on an unconscious level. Facebook is positive because there’s no dislike button. You should be positive, too! People pay for solutions not problems. Sometimes they pay for hope. Also, EVENTS are exciting- even online- event trumps evergreen. More people will give you their email for a webinar they might not attend than for an ebook they might not read. Think about it! If your business needs more leads or an ebook- check us out.

3. Watch What You Do In Their Eyes

dog-watching-tv-o1Dogs are always watching. They try to follow a command because you moved your arms a certain way that goes with that command- even though you weren’t thinking about it. They do the thing they think you wanted and get no reward and that leads to “extinction”- they stop doing it. People may stop doing what you’ve trained them to do if the reward disappears. People always see what you’re doing. That time you ranted political on Facebook? That affected their perception of you. The time you make that off-color joke? That may have turned a bunch of people off. In social media you are always on stage. You may want to think about your persona- if it’s not effective, it might not be intentional and consistent enough.

4. Give And Receive Affection

10557344_10203376617311037_214472521835534640_nI work upstairs. The dogs live downstairs. I go downstairs several times a day, and every time I go down, it’s like Christmas for them. They want to lick my face. They want to jump on me. Dang, I’m a pretty awesome dude then, huh? Especially in social media, telling people you like them is powerful. Show them that you see them by reflecting their interests and values. We all want to be seen and to be loved. Be genuine, be grateful, and express it.

5. Always Reward Them

XlEBLgwYou have to give dogs treats to reward their behavior- then they do those things more often. When we’re inside the house, a piece of dog food is enough, but when we’re outside walking, there are too many distractions and we have to give them the tastier treats. Similarly, when there are more distractions online, you have to be more compelling. Where might that happen? Say in the… Facebook newsfeed? What are some rewards we give people online?

  • Useful, clear, succinct info that helps them achieve a goal – You give them value by telling them how to achieve something
  • Likes on comments – Why do I often like every comment on my posts? I’m happy that they’re participating. I don’t want to play favorites.
  • Favorites on retweets of my tweets – that’s a way to say thanks!

Once customers have already opted into your email or social, they’ll respond okay to weak positive feedback- but to get attention or opt-in initially, you have to give higher value rewards. For example:

  • 10Strangers need high value rewards: People who don’t really know you- they’re distracted, like dogs outside- to get their Facebook page like or their email, promise them something valuable for free, like a useful blog post or a free lead magnet
  • List members and fans will like for a lower value reward: People who follow you in social media- a like doesn’t cost them much, so you can get that by just creating a post that echos their values or beliefs.
  • Fans and followers need high value items if you want a share: Shares are more expensive, because it has to fit their sense of identity and make them look good and be valuable to their friends or followers.
  • To get people to buy, you have to give them something worth at least as much as the cost of the item. In business, it helps if the value seems to be 10-20 times the cost. For example, if I sell you something you really believe could make you or your business $10,000 in revenue, you are more likely to pay $500 to $1,000 for it. Don’t forget too that what they have to do (e.g. installing a CRM or learning and executing your teaching) is also a cost to them which will affect their perception of whether the buy looks like a deal.
  • Buyers need bonuses and they need you to over-deliver if you want to be sure they’re satisfied and will be loyal. Social media itself can serve as a bonus to your customers if you’re giving them value for free.

A lot of what we do for clients, whether with Facebook or Google ads, is make sure the action point is there, and sometimes create more reasons for prospects to contact you and buy.

6. Ask For What You Want

21I was very tentative when learning to command our last set of dogs- “Hey, Brad, listen buddy, hey, if you want to maybe think about coming over here, then that might be really cool…” Obviously they don’t respond well to that. Dogs need short, clear and consistent commands. And people like that kind of clarity, too. In online marketing, you should always know what you want people to do at every step. Ask them to do one thing. Be clear. This is called a “call to action”. Ask for only one thing, because the more things you ask for, the more likely it is they’ll do nothing. That’s why we use “squeeze pages” for lead generation. 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. Cost per lead goes up. That’s bad. Our goal is always to lower clients’ cost per sale and cost per lead.

7. Have Clear Boundaries

Some of your dog’s behaviors are ok and some aren’t. Most likely, you want to potty train them- but other behaviors (like should they be allowed on the couches or to sleep in your bed) are personal decisions. Whatever you decide, be consistent- encourage what you like and discourage the rest. We train people how to treat us, whether we intend to or not. For example, a lot of new consultants will complain that people don’t value their time. When someone asks them to lunch to “pick their brain”, they say yes. Then, for free 29(or for a meal that’s nowhere near expensive as their fee), they answer questions they should be paid to answer. By doing that, you’re training people not to value your feedback very much. Say no. Set a boundary. Here’s how I do it: I don’t phone with any prospective client for more than 15 minutes for free. After that, they’ve seen our services and fees, and they either pay for consulting time or invest in one of our services. Those are the only options. If they don’t like that, they can go try to pick another consultant’s brain for free :-)

Finally…

7Never forget: I don’t think it’s cool to teach dogs to shake hands… because they have no idea what they’re agreeing to. Like, my dog’s car payment is RIDICULOUS.

Why Your Dog Can Teach You Marketing

briconeI don’t think people are dogs. But we do share some similar cognitive patterns. So, yes you can learn to be a better marketer from your dog. And hey, maybe just maybe if your business relationships are crazy, you should get a dog and learn something!

1. Watch & Adjust

Dogs have a ten-second long memory. To train them, you have to watch constantly so you can respond to what they do right away- or they have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, you need to keep an eye on your analytics.

  • What does your heat map look like?
  • What parts of your website are working?
  • What are people doing after hitting various landing pages?

And you can’t just post in social and then forget about those posts. Tweets are available in the average stream for maybe five minutes max. Most Facebook post interaction happens within 30 minutes. So you can look almost immediately and find out whether it’s working or not. That how we do it when we create Facebook posts for companies.

  • What social posts do they like and share?
  • Which ones do they dislike and ignore?

Pay attention and change course as needed. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

This guy figured out how to cuddle with lions by watching and adjusting!

2. Do Something Exciting

enhanced-29522-1403890053-13I used to be super shy and boring. I grew up speaking monotone. I identified with my basset hound and Eeyore was my spirit animal. But learning improv, you have to sometimes pretend to be more excited than you actually are. Turns out, people respond to that whether it’s fake or not! Sometimes I would practice my stand up comedy bits around my dogs, and when I was more enthusiastic, they got into it, getting up, wagging their tails, jumping on me. And they don’t understand that many words, so it wasn’t my wit. Happy tone of voice, high volume, and positive emotion stimulate us on an unconscious level. Facebook is positive because there’s no dislike button. You should be positive, too! People pay for solutions not problems. Sometimes they pay for hope. Also, EVENTS are exciting- even online- event trumps evergreen. More people will give you their email for a webinar they might not attend than for an ebook they might not read. Think about it! If your business needs more leads or an ebook- check us out.

3. Watch What You Do In Their Eyes

dog-watching-tv-o1Dogs are always watching. They try to follow a command because you moved your arms a certain way that goes with that command- even though you weren’t thinking about it. They do the thing they think you wanted and get no reward and that leads to “extinction”- they stop doing it. People may stop doing what you’ve trained them to do if the reward disappears. People always see what you’re doing. That time you ranted political on Facebook? That affected their perception of you. The time you make that off-color joke? That may have turned a bunch of people off. In social media you are always on stage. You may want to think about your persona- if it’s not effective, it might not be intentional and consistent enough.

4. Give And Receive Affection

10557344_10203376617311037_214472521835534640_nI work upstairs. The dogs live downstairs. I go downstairs several times a day, and every time I go down, it’s like Christmas for them. They want to lick my face. They want to jump on me. Dang, I’m a pretty awesome dude then, huh? Especially in social media, telling people you like them is powerful. Show them that you see them by reflecting their interests and values. We all want to be seen and to be loved. Be genuine, be grateful, and express it.

5. Always Reward Them

XlEBLgwYou have to give dogs treats to reward their behavior- then they do those things more often. When we’re inside the house, a piece of dog food is enough, but when we’re outside walking, there are too many distractions and we have to give them the tastier treats. Similarly, when there are more distractions online, you have to be more compelling. Where might that happen? Say in the… Facebook newsfeed? What are some rewards we give people online?

  • Useful, clear, succinct info that helps them achieve a goal – You give them value by telling them how to achieve something
  • Likes on comments – Why do I often like every comment on my posts? I’m happy that they’re participating. I don’t want to play favorites.
  • Favorites on retweets of my tweets – that’s a way to say thanks!

Once customers have already opted into your email or social, they’ll respond okay to weak positive feedback- but to get attention or opt-in initially, you have to give higher value rewards. For example:

  • 10Strangers need high value rewards: People who don’t really know you- they’re distracted, like dogs outside- to get their Facebook page like or their email, promise them something valuable for free, like a useful blog post or a free lead magnet
  • List members and fans will like for a lower value reward: People who follow you in social media- a like doesn’t cost them much, so you can get that by just creating a post that echos their values or beliefs.
  • Fans and followers need high value items if you want a share: Shares are more expensive, because it has to fit their sense of identity and make them look good and be valuable to their friends or followers.
  • To get people to buy, you have to give them something worth at least as much as the cost of the item. In business, it helps if the value seems to be 10-20 times the cost. For example, if I sell you something you really believe could make you or your business $10,000 in revenue, you are more likely to pay $500 to $1,000 for it. Don’t forget too that what they have to do (e.g. installing a CRM or learning and executing your teaching) is also a cost to them which will affect their perception of whether the buy looks like a deal.
  • Buyers need bonuses and they need you to over-deliver if you want to be sure they’re satisfied and will be loyal. Social media itself can serve as a bonus to your customers if you’re giving them value for free.

A lot of what we do for clients, whether with Facebook or Google ads, is make sure the action point is there, and sometimes create more reasons for prospects to contact you and buy.

6. Ask For What You Want

21I was very tentative when learning to command our last set of dogs- “Hey, Brad, listen buddy, hey, if you want to maybe think about coming over here, then that might be really cool…” Obviously they don’t respond well to that. Dogs need short, clear and consistent commands. And people like that kind of clarity, too. In online marketing, you should always know what you want people to do at every step. Ask them to do one thing. Be clear. This is called a “call to action”. Ask for only one thing, because the more things you ask for, the more likely it is they’ll do nothing. That’s why we use “squeeze pages” for lead generation. 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. Cost per lead goes up. That’s bad. Our goal is always to lower clients’ cost per sale and cost per lead.

7. Have Clear Boundaries

Some of your dog’s behaviors are ok and some aren’t. Most likely, you want to potty train them- but other behaviors (like should they be allowed on the couches or to sleep in your bed) are personal decisions. Whatever you decide, be consistent- encourage what you like and discourage the rest. We train people how to treat us, whether we intend to or not. For example, a lot of new consultants will complain that people don’t value their time. When someone asks them to lunch to “pick their brain”, they say yes. Then, for free 29(or for a meal that’s nowhere near expensive as their fee), they answer questions they should be paid to answer. By doing that, you’re training people not to value your feedback very much. Say no. Set a boundary. Here’s how I do it: I don’t phone with any prospective client for more than 15 minutes for free. After that, they’ve seen our services and fees, and they either pay for consulting time or invest in one of our services. Those are the only options. If they don’t like that, they can go try to pick another consultant’s brain for free :-)

Finally…

7Never forget: I don’t think it’s cool to teach dogs to shake hands… because they have no idea what they’re agreeing to. Like, my dog’s car payment is RIDICULOUS.

The 5 Reasons Your Social Media Has No ROI [Infographic]

10408988_535991109860405_5084652414379756989_nThere are several failure points you need to watch out for:

1. You Have Lame Goals. Choose Better Ones.

Without a clear goal, you won’t know what to measure or if you’re successful.

Sometimes your social media goal doesn’t relate directly to bottom line revenue or profits, so you aren’t able to tie social success to a bottom line number. Because of theat, we recommend making your goal something closer to the bottom line, like lead gen or sales. Go beyond engagement and get them to your website.

Also, we recommend getting emails rather than more fans or followers. Emails are portable and cost less later on, given the need in Facebook to pay to promote your posts to your fans.

2. You’re Using The Wrong Metrics. Choose The Right Ones.

Without a key metric, you’ll get caught up in looking at the wrong numbers.

If you follow my goal-related advice above, your metric is going to be closer to the bottom line than reach or fan growth or post likes.

I’d like to see you use cost per lead or lead per impression or revenue or ROI.

3. Your Tracking Is Inaccurate. Go The Extra Mile To Track Accurately.

This is a problem everywhere. Almost always, you have to do something custom to track social media accurately. That can be as simple as adding URL Builder parameters to your URLs. It’s an extra step, but it makes a huge difference when you look at your analytics.

Otherwise, you’re probably only seeing 20% of your actual social traffic come up as “social”. It gets stuck in that “direct” category instead. That means 80% of your social traffic may not be visible in your analytics as “social”. That makes everything you do look bad.

It’s frustrating. Use the URL Builder tool.

Another option is to post to social with tools that track your results, such as Buffer, HootSuite or Rignite.

4. You’re Stuck In The Old “Big Idea” Mindset. Switch To Scientific Testing.

You need to have a scientific mindset, and rather than launching one campaign, test a bunch of smaller ideas. If you put all your eggs in one basket and fail, you have nothing else to rely on.

You wouldn’t put all your investments into one stock, you’d diversify. Do the same thing with your marketing.

5. You’re Ignoring Your Analytics. Evaluate and Adjust Your Direction Regularly.

Nothing you do matters much if you don’t review what works and doesn’t. If you never improve, your competition is going to crush you. The data you’re accumulating every day is a goldmine.

Once per week or month, go back and see which ads and posts and tweets and blog posts are working (in terms of your key metric), and which aren’t. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Also, make sure you’ve Facebookized Your Marketing.

Here’s an awesome infographic from Quick Sprout.

How to Calculate the ROI of Your Social Media Campaigns
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout