Why Sending Cold Emails For New Business Actually Works

Not many things are more controversial in the marketing world than cold email.

"You mean SPAM?!"

“You mean SPAM?!”

No, actually, we have laws like CAN-SPAM, CCPA, CASL and GDPR that are very specific about when and where and how you can email new contacts without it being spam or illegal. In most of the U.S., you can email anyone as long as you include a street address and an unsubscribe option.

"But have they opted in?"

“But have they opted in?”

Right, if it’s an opt-in list, those are people you’ve already done some marketing to (even if they just viewed your website), so that’s not a cold list. Those aren’t net new contacts. And opt-in is not required by law everywhere for every purpose. Including an opt-out method is all you need to do for this in most of the U.S.

"But isn't it just wrong to send email to people who haven't opted in?"

“But isn’t it just wrong to send email to people who haven’t opted in?”

Well, morality is a bigger question… but if it’s not wrong to show ads to people who didn’t ask for ads, then cold emailing isn’t any different. If you do believe advertising is wrong, well, you’re in the minority of business people, and most successful businesses do some kind of advertising somewhere. Some companies rely on door-to-door sales, and you don’t get to opt-in before they knock on your door.

"But don't people just ignore spam anyway?"

“But don’t people just ignore spam anyway?”

Well, again, spam is really just two things: illegal email, and/or email that your email server thinks is spam. Let’s just call it unrequested email. We call a lot of snail mail “junk mail,” but it’s suddenly not junk mail if you decide to use the pizza delivery discount your mailbox got “spammed” with, is it? And this is the most important point:

It’s not spam if it has value to the receiver.

"WHAT?! How can SPAM be valuable?"

“WHAT?! How can SPAM be valuable?”

As in the pizza coupon example, if I send you info about a problem you need solved, and you reply and we get it fixed, then I’ve created value. We’re more likely to call it “spam” if we receive something irrelevant to us. So again, as in much of marketing, relevance is key, and creating value is how we prove relevance.

"How do you write relevant cold emails?"

“How do you write relevant cold emails?”

As with all marketing, you start with the targeting- who fits what you offer, and what are the problems you solve? The more accurately you can target those people, and the more compelling your value message is, the more response you’ll get, and you can do so well that you don’t get ANY spam reports. We have cold email campaigns for ourselves and clients that are getting 44-75% open rates due to high degrees of targeting and deliverability, plus really compelling messaging. Most companies don’t do that well with their warm, opt-in emails.

"But does it really work?"

“But does it really work?”

One company we worked with during COVID-19 got 353 leads (responses to cold emails), setting over 150 sales appointments and capturing 3 new sales. I’m certain we would have had many more sales in normal times, but unfortunately COVID really slashed most people’s budgets. Point being, this process does work very well, and even in difficult times.

"How do you get it to work so well?"

“How do you get it to work so well?”

I can’t reveal all our strategies and tactics here, because we need to keep a competitive advantage! But the keys are targeting (quality list acquisition), ensuring high levels of deliverability, and staying in the inbox (of course staying out of the spam box, but also staying out of Gmail’s categories like updates, social, and promotions. Your cold emails are wasted if most people don’t see them.

And then there are the messaging strategies- most people aren’t great at getting a response with their marketing, and cold emails are even more difficult. Not only “why should I open this?” but also, “who the heck are you?” and “why should I care?” If people’s response to your cold email is, “Not opening that- looks like spam!” or “Some rando salesperson with a lame message not relevant to me,” then you’re not going to get any traction with them.

"Don't some salespeople send cold emails all the time?"

“Don’t some salespeople send cold email all the time?”

Typically, salespeople write bad emails that don’t work. Getting sales appointments is a marketing job and salespeople usually suck at marketing. But salespeople THINK they’re great at marketing. If that’s true why do they have so much trouble getting leads?

Sales and marketing go together like PB&J. We understand sales (because we do it, too), but we’re brilliant at marketing. We’ll get you the leads. You close them. But don’t make us send some salesperson’s crappy emails, because they won’t work.

And most of the decision-makers in sales know about these problems.

"So how do you acquire good emails?"

“So how do you acquire good emails?”

Hopefully it’s not by scraping or guessing! A lot of services out there do scrape, but not everyone’s email is online, obviously, so that won’t work very well, or in every industry, or for every job title. 

Or they guess people’s emails by knowing what formula a company uses for its email addresses. But this isn’t the best way. 

Having a good email database requires a lot of data input, and it needs to be updated regularly, especially in a time like COVID-19 where many people are changing jobs or being fired or furloughed. So, it’s best to get your emails from a really big source, a company that mainly does that, because it’s a big effort with lots of government compliance issues to consider. We work with a partner, Brothers Data, with a database of over 140 million people just in the U.S. 

“How do you maximize deliverability?”

“How do you maximize deliverability?”

There are some key things to avoid doing, like sending way too many cold emails at once from a new account, sending lots of emails to low quality email lists, not validating emails ahead of time, certain keywords you need to avoid putting in your messaging, and of course, sending boring, long, hard to read, or irrelevant emails that people will get annoyed with and mark as spam. 

There are more than blacklists out there you want to avoid getting put on – there’s also sender reputation on various servers. Big email-sending providers like Gmail and Outlook pool all their info together to prevent spam and phishing. If you do it wrong, your email account will get shut down, or, at best, everything you send will go into spam mailboxes that no one reads.

So you can maximize deliverability with good email lists, good sending practices, and good messaging. Again, we have some campaigns where emails are opened at over 70% open rates, and that’s partly because we maintain great deliverability. Without deliverability, you won’t get opens, because people won’t even see the emails.

“Wow, Brian, how can we hire you to do all this?”

“Wow, Brian, how can we hire you to do all this?”

Just reach out.

How People Are Creating Social Media Sales & Profits

Are you ready to get more from your social media than just awareness and engagement?

Are you dissatisfied with not knowing social media’s impact on your organization’s bottom line?

Do you want to join the organizations and marketers who are developing business with social media marketing?

Then you’ll love this article, which covers how top marketers are driving and tracking sales and profits with social media marketing in 2018.

The State of Social Media Results

Recent surveys of marketers and CMO’s tell us that many companies have not yet solved many basic social media marketing problems:

  • Marketing executives rate their integration of social media with their marketing strategy just 4.1 on a scale of 7 (CMO Survey, 2018, page 48). How can you expect great social marketing results, if your social strategy is out of alignment with your marketing strategy?
  • 56% of 5,700 social marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner in 2018 are uncertain about their social media profits or were unable to measure it. Only 10% (570 social marketers) strongly agreed they were able to measure their social media profits. 
    These are the professional social marketers- the top of their field. Imagine how difficult and uncertain it is for small business owners who aren’t caught up on the latest tactics and who have to wear seven hats in their businesses. And consider that there are over 2 million small businesses in the U.S., 500 Fortune 500 companies, 5,000 companies in the Inc 5000…. If only 570 social marketers have strong confidence in their ROI measurement, then most companies don’t have someone who’s confident about it.
  • Although marketing executives’ #1 overall goal was customer acquisition, their #1 use of social media was not customer acquisition- it was brand awareness and brand building. Customer acquisition was their #2 purpose for social media (CMO Survey 2018, page 51). This odd priority echoes the above misalignment with their overall marketing strategy. It may be due to a misunderstanding or underestimation of the capabilities of social media marketing, or it may be reflective of the social media freelancers, agencies or employees they’ve had up to this point. When you work with social media personnel whose background is only in PR or branding, their orientation can affect your approach.
  • When marketing executives were asked to what degree social media contributed to their company’s performance (a vague question to be sure, but corporate performance typically is heavily based on revenue and profits), they answered with an average of 3.3 on a scale of 7. That’s not an overwhelming vote.
  • There are older surveys and stats that talk about the challenges of measuring social media, but I’ll stick to recent ones.

Does it surprise to you that marketers are having trouble improving social media profits if they aren’t measuring it well?

It shouldn’t, because as Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

In digital and social marketing, you can’t improve what you can’t measure.

And when your social marketing strategies are not aligned with your overall marketing priorities, you have a recipe for social mediocrity.

The solutions to the problems that marketers and executives are surfacing are:

  1. Prioritize the use of social media for business development: customer acquisition, sales and profits. Ask for more from your social marketing. It’s capable of it.
  2. Hold social media accountable for achieving these goals.
  3. Make it a priority to measure social media accurately. Choose KPI’s, sales goals and start to measure profitability tied to your resources, labor, time and costs.
  4. Budget for social advertising, because it’s the most certain way to drive these results in social media.
  5. Get the people, resources, talent, training and tools you need to make this happen.

Easier said than done, right?

But you can do it. Many companies have.

So, let’s dive in!

How Today’s Marketers Are Making Social Media Profitable

How do leading marketers prove the impact of social on their bottom line?

The best marketers have social sales and profits analytics at their fingertips.

Many companies don’t realize their analytics are set up wrong and are inaccurate.

Do you have the tracking, the data and the insights you need to prove how social is driving customer and profits for your business? And to measure and improve it?

What does that look like? In our experience, these are the kinds of things you need:

  • Expertise, or at least competence, at understanding, exporting and analyzing data from the social platforms: Facebook Page Insights, Facebook Ad Manager, Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Ads, Twitter Insights, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.
  • Professional implementation of social ad tracking pixels: If you are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or similar ads that use conversion code, make sure you either have a professional install and check the code, or hire one to check it. Not only is that code critical and indispensable for tracking, it also it essential to how the ads run. You need it for retargeting and in some networks, it also affects how well or poorly the ads are targeted within your targeting selections. It’s not optional. We’ve heard many IT and programming people who were not professional digital marketers assume that these pixels were only for tracking and that web analytics or a CRM would be enough. They are not. The tracking from the ad platforms must be installed also. If your web or ecommerce platforms are not compatible with the common ad platforms, they need to “get with it”, you need to switch to another platform that is compatible, or you will have to hire programmers to fix it. Or you will be seriously hampered against your competitors in the marketplace. We’ve worked with clients who had to stop marketing socially for 4 months while they had programmers white-label and make their third party scheduling software compatible with Facebook ads. It’s a problem of ignorance in the SaaS industry that will eventually fix itself, but it may take another five years.
  • Google Analytics (or the like) with UTM parameters: you must manually help GA track the source/medium of all website traffic from social, or some will be undercounted. For example, without this, Facebook traffic will be undercounted by as much as 40% and will be placed in the “Direct” category.
  • Google Analytics conversion assist reports: you need to consider both first click and last click, because once you graduate from the search marketing last-click only mentality, you will drive a greater volume of traffic and sales, but without first-click reports, you may cut out some of the first-click sources that ultimately drive your sales. Often, retargeting ads from various networks, and search sources close the sale with a last-click, but they may never have happened without the first click. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn ads can increase your organic search volume dramatically, but you’ll never have evidence of this and you’ll spend in the wrong places without these reports.
  • Professional CRM, and any additional add-ons required to track accurately: You need something like Salesforce, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Zoho or the like if you are driving leads for salespeople. Your email account isn’t good enough. You need to track the leads in a professional system, and you need marketing attribution. Also, beware of conflicts in attribution reporting. Just as GA can misattribute social traffic, so can CRM’s. For example, if you use Hubspot free, or even paid without buying the Ads Add-on, Hubspot will not track Facebook ad traffic accurately. They admit this in their help screens.

Branding Alone Doesn’t Drive Sales

How do top marketers do social branding in a way that drives new customers?

Savvy marketers drive engagement, sales and profits while leading their categories.

The painful truth many companies discover is that branding alone doesn’t create sales. Just putting your brand out there doesn’t create sales. Just creating engaging posts doesn’t get you new customers. It might drive a few, but not enough to sustain a business. Not enough to call social media a viable business development channel that you’d want to dump more cash into and scale.

Do you have the tracking, ads, posts and optimization strategies in place to cash in on social?

First I’ll give you a list of the things that don’t drive customer growth and sales in social media- and then I’ll give you a list of the things that do drive them:

What doesn’t drive social media many sales and profits, if any:

  • Tweetchats: they’re usually measure in terms of reach, which is not unique reach, so it’s deceptively high. There often aren’t a lot of links included in the chat’s tweets, so you may not even get much website traffic, let alone sales.
  • Facebook posting without ads: Most pages don’t reach very many people when they post, unless they advertise to promote that post. Without reach, you have very little chance of anything else happening… like traffic, leads or sales.
  • Facebook posts boosted on the page: This is the poor cousin of the engagement ad you can create in the Ad Manager, and it doesn’t work as well. It’s often created by someone who’s not really a Facebook ad professional, the targeting isn’t good, and the post itself may not have a high engagement rate. If it doesn’t have a link in it, there’s little chance of traffic, leads or sales. Even with a link, this is one of the worst ad types to try to try traffic, leads or sales with. You’ll probably just gets some engagement, and that’s it. But your costs will be high and your money won’t go as far as with an engagement ad in the Ad Manager.
  • Instagram posts: you can’t add a link- they have to go to your bio link, and you only get one- it’s an extra step, and you may not have that many followers… so you probably won’t get very much traffic, if any… and even less leads or sales. You can promote these posts within the app, but again, these are not as good as creating Instagram as from within the Facebook ad manager.

What drives more social media sales and profits? Let’s move to the next section…

Social Ads Help Drive and Measure Sales & Profits

Why are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn ads the most effective and trackable form of social media marketing?

Why are these ads the main drivers in social media sales and profits?

Because social ads drive not just engagement but also traffic, sales and profits… from 300% to 700% and higher.

Here are a few very short results from some case studies using social ads:

Lead Generation Case Studies

  • HOME GOODS: We helped a home goods company lowered their cost per lead by 84%, getting them 7x the leads. We also more than doubled their new customer acquisition speed across their entire company. They were using an omnichannel approach, and the social ads, used as a swiss army knife for awareness, engagement and lead generation also directly drove some sales. We commissioned a third-party impact study and discovered that the social campaigns had stimulated an increase in organic searches in Google for their brand name. It was a shot in the arm for their entire company. Most of these effects happened within 4 months. The first month wasn’t brilliant, but soon after our measurement abilities enabled us to drop costs and drive performance.
  • IT/CLOUD: We worked with a number of Microsoft’s partners in the cloud hosting business. For one, we created a new whitepaper. They wanted to experiment with Facebook ads rather than LinkedIn ads. We targeted CIO’s, sys admins and IT people. The most affordable leads were $29 each. According to industry stats, average lead in IT costs $370. Our cost was 92% more affordable than that. Facebook’s ad costs are quite low, and its ability to target job titles makes it both powerful and affordable. Sometimes LinkedIn is better, but LinkedIn can also be expensive and lower volume, since people spend an average of 2 minutes a day on LinkedIn and 35 minutes a day on Facebook. This, of course, varies with the audience.
  • RECRUITING/STAFFING: We’ve worked with a number of companies to fill staffing and recruiting gaps applicants. We’ve been able to drive job applicants at 75% lower costs than CareerBuilder. Our social advertising for job candidates drives more traffic for these companies than any other source including Indeed.com.
  • MARKETING: We created a lead-quiz for a marketing agency and drove thousands of leads for just $1.74 each. The average lead cost in this industry is $173. Our cost was 99% more affordable.
  • SAAS: A SaaS company wanted to reach only people who worked at Fortune 1000 companies. We drove traffic to their whitepaper and got them new demos for $26 each. Again, the standard here is $370, and this was similarly about 93% more affordable than average.
  • EDUCATION: We teamed up with an educational bookstore to run multiple lead gen contests. The average email acquisition cost has been around $0.60 apiece. The average lead cost in the Education industry is $60. Our leads were roughly 99% more affordable than average.

Why is the average lead cost so high and were ours so affordable? In part, the average costs are high because they include many traditional offline lead gen sources, which are more expensive. They also may include mark-ups for retail selling of leads. And we always see drastic reduction in costs when we do a lot of testing and discovery online. In traditional marketing, you can’t test a lot of things to find the most effective, compelling offer, wording, video or picture. Online we discover huge advantages through testing, and it saves companies lots of money and increases profits dramatically.

Again, when you can measure it, you can improve it. And we can measure a lot more things a lot more finely online.

When you explore the best in each of these categories, your improvements multiply:

  • Targeting and customer psychology
  • Creative, video, ads, copywriting and persuasion tactics
  • Landing Pages and conversion optimization
  • Lead Magnets, ebooks, whitepapers, quizzes, etc.

Make sure you aren’t lazy about your creative and testing/discovery processes. If you are, you’ll pay more than you need to, and you won’t get the kind of results we’re talking about here.

Ecommerce Case Studies

  • HOME GOODS: With the home goods client above, we achieved a 60% reduction in cost per new customer. We saw over 900% ROI on the social video ad campaigns. 1,000% ROI on post engagement. And overall a 274% ROI on customer acquisition.
  • TRAVEL: We’ve worked for years with a specialty cruise company drive customer bookings for as low as $30 apiece.
  • FOOD & BEV: We drove 22x in revenue for a small pizza chain in Scotland of all places. I’ve been told not to talk about this one because the ROI sounds so high that it’s unbelievable. Oh well… those were the real numbers. Believe what you want. It’s true!
  • HEALTH: We opened up a new revenue channel for a health products business. It was 700% ROI and the first year we drove 6 figures in revenue monthly.
  • FITNESS: We helped a franchise personal training business open up a new marketing channel. Their goal was $700 per customer. We drove new customers at $415 apiece.

Social media driven ecommerce is the most challenging thing we’ve seen in digital marketing, but with enough time, investment and the right people and tools, profits can be found.

Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s difficult, and there are technical, branding and budget challenges. Every situation is different.

How Do Businesses Make This Happen?

These kinds of successes don’t happen instantly. There’s no magical CASH button in digital marketing. There are plenty of people trying to sell short-lived or fantastic tricks and short-cuts. As in many areas of life, those who can only tolerate easy answers tend to fall for get-rich-quick schemes and lose their shirts.

If you’re smart, responsible and realistic, you have much better chances of success.

Creating profitable social marketing is a process that takes 3-6-12 months. Businesses need to commit $5k in ad spend or more per month. It’s an investment. You’ll see a return on it, but not instantly.

  • Month one is all about set-up. Ads may start running, but you have to get all the pixels and analytics in place, have the right targeting, all the right creative, etc.
  • The first three months tells you what’s going to be profitable and what isn’t. You should have some really effective targeting and ads by the end of month three. That means affordable, high-quality leads if lead-gen, or profitable ads if ecommerce.
  • By the six month mark your entire social campaign should reliably drive efficient results to the extent that it has made up for the costs of the first three months.
  • By 12 months you should have learned so much and be getting such great results that you won’t even recognize your social program. It may have revolutionized your entire marketing program with the insights you’ve gathered.

Who Can Help You Accomplish All This?

We’re not born with kinds of skills you need to do the social advertising and analytics that drive social media profits. Digital natives don’t have them just because they know how to use Snapchat. Experts need business skills, copywriting skills, technical ad platform experience, analytics talents, and marketing experience.

You’re going to need:

  • Social ad expertise: Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads. Do you want to have all those options? Do you already have someone who does Google ads for you? You may get some social strategy expertise when you get someone who can do the social ads, but you probably want to ask them about it.
  • Analytics expertise: Website analytics like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture expertise, CRM analysis, marketing automation analytics if you use Infusionsoft or Marketo or the like.

So how do you add that to your company? These are your real-life choices:

  1. If you’re a small business owner, you may want to do it yourself… sacrifice your own hobbies, free time and families to spend 20-40 hours a week learning for 3 years (why do you think all the job listings for this stuff ask for a minimum amount of experience?)
  2. Hire someone with no experience and wait 3 years for them to have significant experience and expertise. Are they taking online courses to learn? Are you paying for that?
  3. Outsource to someone freelance and part-time via a platform like Upwork. They’ll cost anywhere from $30-$60 per hour.
  4. Hire expert employees, experienced at ad platforms or analytics: $50-80K per year each – you’re going to need several to cover all the areas of expertise you need.
  5. Hire an expert agency: $30-60K per year (we find that the costs our agency are lower than in-house employees because we have multiple experts on staff who can more efficiently cover our various clients)
  6. Do nothing. Keep your social media status quo. Risk falling behind the competition.

Notice- what is not an option is: Do a whole bunch of random things you read on social media blogs… with no experience, no analytics, no skills… You CAN do that, if you don’t want to create any real impact. But if you want to drive new customers, sales and profits, you need expertise.

Conclusion

So, if you want your social to be as profitable as it is for these businesses:

  • Make a commitment to build the program for 6-12 months.
  • Set your goals.
  • Create a budget.
  • Hire the people or the agency.
  • Start using social ads and all the analytics I talked about above.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to measure your social media results.

Now go improve them!

How to Go Viral and Sell More with Memes

[Originally posted on Amazing.com]

Many companies go after engagement in social media. Others go directly for sales. If you can get both engagement and sales at the same time, that’s the holy grail. In this post, we’ll talk about both, using a type of post that not everyone has already worn out.

Engagement itself is valuable because it:

  • Grabs Customer Attention: Many companies spend millions just on reach and exposure, but it’s hard these days to grab and hold attention, and the competition just for attention is fierce.
  • Starts a Conversation: Engagement proves you not only got customer attention, but interest, which is one level better. You can get valuable information from customer interaction that can help you sell better.
  • Creates an Emotional Relationship between your customer and your brand, which increases the chance you’ll get the sale and increases the chance they’ll become loyal to your brand and stay loyal to you. It’s not just about sales, but about long-term customer loyalty.

There are many types of Facebook posts that create engagement. But few companies have taken full advantage of memes, which is crazy because we want Facebook posts that get shares, and…

A meme (/?mi?m/ meem) is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.

You can take any of your own images and turn them into memes with this tool: https://makeameme.org/upload

For example:

Or use one of the standard memes: https://makeameme.org/. This is a much better way to go, because you’re going to hit things that people recognize and that are relatable. The dangerous of creating your own new meme is: if no one understands it, it won’t succeed.

So the blueprint is:

  1. Understand the formula of the meme.
    For “The Most Interesting Man in the World” it’s “I don’t always [do some action] but when I do, I choose [product].”
  2. Put your sales message into that meme’s format.
  3. Post it and advertise it!

Make sure you choose a meme that is either:

  • Well known to most people…
    – OR –
  • Easily understandable if they’ve never seen it before.

Some of the best memes to use are:

  1. “One Does Not Simply… [something complex]”
    This meme features the character Boromir from The Lord of the Rings… he originally said, “One does not simply WALK into Mordor…” to emphasize how serious and dangerous it is, and how you need a plan. And if you get that, and like Monty Python, you’ll love this.
  2. “That Would Be Great.”
    Manager Bill Lundbergh from OfficeSpace “If you could just [do whatever] that would be great…” If you don’t get this meme because haven’t seen this movie, you’re probably also not a real American.
  3. Skeptical Third World Kid:
    “So you’re telling me…[something unbelievable about America]”
    Now, this one could be a sensitive topic for some people. In my opinion, it’s ok because this joke usually makes the first world lady the victim (who we guess is some kind of missionary), but the whole issue of third world poverty may be too disturbing in certain contexts.
  4. First World Problems:
    Something she‘s crying about that isn’t a problem for people in the third world.
  5. Success Kid: all this cute kid needs is some statement of success.
  6. Dumbstruck Dog: this one is about something shocking or confusing.
  7. Annoyed Picard: This is for pretty much any kind of frustration or “what the heck?” kind of sentiment.
  8. Grumpy Cat: This could be used for any complaint you want to make, or pain point your customers have.
  9. Matrix “What If I Told You”: This can reveal any important insight, or for a humorous spin, something obvious.
  10. Condescending Willie Wonka: “Oh you… Tell me more about…” This one is best used for sarcasm. Anything you want to make fun of or belittle.

If any of the above memes don’t make sense to you, don’t use them! I’ve been looking at memes for about eight years, so if this is new to you, you”ll actually have a better idea which ones make sense to the general audience (who doesn’t know all the memes like I do).

Always put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Will they think any one particular meme is weird or great? For example: is your customer the type to watch Star Trek? If not, maybe don’t use the Annoyed Picard meme. But if they’re big nerds, Annoyed Picard could be perfect.

Here’s the That Would Be Great Meme, for example…

Do you see how you can use a character’s voice as the excuse to say something you wouldn’t normally be able to? Or in a way you wouldn’t be able to? It frees you to be able to sell better.

And don’t forget about the 20% text rule! Put your captions all on top or all on the bottom if you want to be sure you can advertise them.

Then combine your new meme image with a call-to-action and a link in your post (to a site where they can take action, like buy something or sign up for your emails)… then promote the post with ads to your best customers!

What Kind of Results Should You Get?

I’ve written elsewhere about Facebook Benchmarks, but the short version is:

  • Check your Facebook Page Insights, click over to Engagement Rate, and try to get your posts up to 3-5%, and then to 5-8%. Our best clients get 8-12% regularly.
  • Your cost per post engagement in the U.S. should be under $0.20, and under $0.05 is quite reasonable if you’re creating great memes. If you get down to $0.01, you’re a rock star!
  • Cost per link click can be higher when you’re running post promotion ads, but you can get them down to $0.10-0.20.
  • For leads and sales, make sure you’ve installed conversion tracking… lead gen costs depend on the niche, but we’ve seen B2C as low as $0.10-0.50 per lead and B2B $2.50-30.00 (again very niche- dependent). Cost per sale also varies a LOT but can be as low as $2-3 in B2C and $5-10 in B2B. It’s all over the map here- if you’re selling a $20,000 computer system, you might spend $3,000 on a sale and call it a success…

How to Get Great Meme Post Results Over Time

Try 5 or 10 of these over a few weeks. And it’s ok to try different versions of the same meme- it’s not like you can only use them once- I would rotate through them initially. But after a month or two you could go back and say something different with a meme you’ve used before.

As with all of Facebook, continuous testing to find the best creative is the name of the game.

Over time, you’ll see which of them get the best engagement rates and the lowest cost per engagement, and which ones get sales and which ones don’t, just like any posts or ads.

Keep creating and keep testing. That’s how the best Facebook marketers do it!

Facebookize: 7 Ways REALLY Adapting To Facebook Will Revolutionize Your Organization

Most companies have not fully adapted to Facebook. That’s one reason why it frustrates them so much. But also, they miss out on a lot of benefits. What can Facebook marketing teach you about more effective marketing, sales and product and service creation? A lot!

The Promise of This Post: I guarantee you that if you are thorough with the Facebookize process I describe below:

  • It will dramatically improve your Facebook marketing results (I’ve seen it triple post interactions and website clicks)
  • It will revolutionize how you think about your customers.
  • It will lead to improved ideas for products, services and marketing.
  • It will filter down to customer service and strengthen your customer loyalty.

I’ve been teaching my Facebookize process to companies for more than a year. It’s a fundamental part of how we help our clients get better results.

The Problem With Facebook: Facebook, like any marketing channel, is different. People use it differently than Twitter or LinkedIn or Email or TV. The specific goals and tactics that work best on Facebook are different.

The targeting and tactics we use may be completely new to your company. You may not yet have a complete enough picture of (or data) your customers to succeed with Facebook marketing.

360degreecustomer2

The Opportunity For Your Whole Business: What have to do just to get visibility on Facebook (like getting post interactions) are also powerful adaptations that help you get more results across all marketing platforms.

Why? Because if you can get likes or shares, now you know how to get an emotional response to your marketing.

People buy emotionally, so the value of learning this goes beyond Facebook.

Here’s the 7-Step Facebookize process:

1. What does your company sell?

2. Who buys it?

3. What’s unique about them?

4. What’s their lifestyle?

5. What else do these people like?

6. What dreams are you empowering?

7. Put all of that into images and copy.

Download a free PDF of the Facebookize Worksheet.

Let’s get into it.

1. What Do You Sell?

This should be the easiest one for you to answer- especially if you’ve already thought about this in terms of search engine keywords (via the Keyword Search tool in your Google Advertising account or by using a service such as SEMRush). You know what your category is and that people want it. You know what words they use to describe it.

If not, you may need a more basic article or my forthcoming book The Cowbell Principle.

2. Who Buys From You? Using Demographics and Psychographics to Understand Your Customer

demogoodreads

 Demographics for GoodReads from Quantcast

Who are your customers? Your perception may already be accurate if you spend a lot of time talking to them and that information been passed throughout your organization. Sometimes companies’ sales departments have a deeper understanding of the customers and prospects than marketing. Over time, your organization should understand and focus on what signals a good or bad customer (this is a big part of designing a content marketing system). You may or may not be able to flex to accommodate all the types of people who inquire of your brand.

Who is and is not a good customer for you? The most basic and traditional marketing terms for answering this are demographics: age, gender, location. If you don’t have demographics for your website, consider adding Quantcast’s tag and get specific data from them.

Psychological tools help us try to understand who the customer is from a personal and emotional standpoint.

mbtiAn example is the Meyer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which distinguishes extroversion vs introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling and judging vs. perceiving. It’s a fascinating system- but the problem is that there are 16 different types- are you going to have 16 different websites or Facebook pages? The question is how to apply it practically. And how do you get your customers to take the test? Also, some of the 16 types are more common than others. Are you going to compare to the population baseline to figure out which types your customers are and aren’t? The complexities are overwhelming.

There are more obvious applications of the MBTI though. There’s a good chance that if you’re marketing to IT professionals, they’re more dominant in thinking than feeling. No offense!

Personas are another approach. This means you create several fictional customer personas. You name them, put a face to them, and you keep them in mind when marketing. It sounds completely reasonable, but it’s important that your personas come from your customer data or experiences your organization has had with customers. Another criticism is that you can become irrationally attached to the personas you’ve created so much that you ignore real customer interactions. And of course, if your internal team doesn’t believe the personas are accurate, acceptance hampers utility.

If you don’t like any of these approaches, just hang on until we get to #5!

3. What’s Unique About Your Customers?

It’s more profitable to reach only people likely to buy. That’s one reason many brands don’t use mass media like radio and TV (apart from the cost!).

Now Facebook advertising offers a way to reach that size of audience but with better targeting (and much more affordably). If you’re not sure about this, read Why Every Business Should Spend At Least $1 on Facebook Ads A Day.

You can target potential customers with Facebook ads with demographics AND psychographics. You can’t use the MBTI to target them, but you may be able to use aspects of your personas (and hopefully they’re accurate). Facebook ads offer tons more targeting options including workplace, job titles, consumer behavior, educational level and college attended.

unique

How are your customers different from other companies’ customers?

But do you know these things about your customers?

This is where Facebook requires us to go back and get new market research. How do we do that? We can, to a degree do it in Facebook itself.

Before we do that, we have to ask if your Facebook fan page is representative of your customer base? It may not be if you’ve bought fake fans or used other tactics to get a bunch of prospects you’re not sure will buy from you. Or your fanbase may be representative of your customer base if you had a strong email list and sent those people to your Facebook fan page to like it.

If your fans are representative of your customers, then you can use the Facebook ad interface to first target your fans, then subtarget it and watch how the numbers change. This will help you find out what is predominant among your customers.

targetfans

Let’s say you have 10,000 fans. You can select male and see how many are male. You can select age ranges to see what ages they are. You can select categories like “parents” to see how many are parents. Get it? Write down what you find.

interests

Now ask yourself, does what we know about our customers match this? Sometimes it doesn’t because the fans aren’t representative of your customers- but other times it’s because you had the wrong idea about your customers and didn’t realize it!

Now, back to the uniqueness of your customers- when you target potential customers with Facebook ads, you don’t want to spend money on bad prospects. So using the most unique targets is best.

Just an example: As you’ll see in #5, you may find that your customers prefer country music over rap- well, then, targeting people who like country music is going to get you more customers.

4. What’s Their Lifestyle?

There are tons of subcultures in every country. The best way to find this information is via graph search- so let’s move to #5!

5. What Else Do Your Customers Like on Facebook? Diving into Graph Search

We have to think about what our customers like on Facebook- and not just that they’ve liked our FB pages, but that they like other pages and interests.

Your customers will have other likes in common that they don’t have in common with the customers of another company- kind of a revolutionary concept- but before Facebook we never had access to this kind of information. Is your customer more of a Mac or a PC? Are they a CNN or Fox News watcher? Are they more into country music or something else?

You will certainly have variety across your customers- and you don’t want to alienate any of them- but you may find some powerful synergistic likes you can use in Facebook ad targeting and for post ideas.

Facebook lets you search for some really cool things.

They have all this data from what they call the Open Graph. That’s really just a way to visualize how all the people are connected to their friends and what they and their friends like. In a way, we are all in different tribes based on what we like. But we all have overlapping likes. And what’s funny is that often the people we are friends with only share two or three major likes with us. A lot of people like very particular things that they never really share in community with others.

catdogother

Graph search is a cool way to learn about your audience or your target market- you know, the people who you want to pay for what you offer.

Try this out- think of one of your favorite Facebook pages- and if you can’t think of one, let’s try CNN or Fox News.

Go to the facebook search box and type in “Pages liked by people who like” and then add the Facebook page.

It will return a whole bunch of other things that fans of that thing like.

For example, let’s compare what the Fox News fans like with what the CNN fans like.

  • Fox News fans like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, CNN, George Strait, Jesus Christ, Brad Paisley, The Bible, Macy’s, The Hangover, Disney, Zac Brown Band, Jesus Loves You, Jeff Dunham, Blake Shelton, Mark Wahlberg – so country music is a pretty unique thing- and the Republican candidates aren’t a surprise.
  • CNN fans like App Center, Bill Gates, Facebook Security, Michael Phelps, Twitter, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Google, Facebook Studio, Steve Jobs, Snowboarding, Funny or Die, Breaking Bad, The Official Grumpy Cat- a lot more technology and comedy high in the list.
  • They both like The New York Times, BBC News, Barack Obama, Upworthy, George Takei, CNN, Fox News, Amazon.com, Target, Facebook, YouTube, NFL, ESPN, History Network, Photography, Will Ferrell, National Geographic, Camping, Subway, Music, Moody Blues, Cars (movie), Johnny Cash – these are things we can consider to be pretty popular with a lot of Americans on Facebook.

favpageswalmartInteresting, isn’t it?

What if we looked at what Apple fans like vs. what Microsoft fans like? Or cat people vs. dog people?

There’s a lot to be learned about your potential audience.

Here are a few guidelines to get the best results:

  • Graph search results aren’t returned in any special order. We can assume it’s by popularity.
  • Create a new Facebook account with no friends or likes, and you’ll get more objective search results. Otherwise, you’re more likely to see things that you and your friends like
  • It’s always best to compare two or three things at once so that you can find the things all three audiences like, and remove those. The ones that don’t overlap will teach you more about your audience.

You can search for other things with graph search. Here are some example searches, with a few example results (there are tons more results for each of these):

  • Interests liked by fans of George Takei – Burning Man is an interesting result
  • Pages liked by people who work at Walmart – lots of country music!
  • Interests liked by people who work at Sony – Star Wars & Soul Music??? Weird!
  • Pages liked by people who majored in Accounting – Cairo, Egypt? Weird.
  • Pages liked by people who majored in Accounting and live in United States – The Moody Blues, Fox New & Journey?
  • Pages liked by people who are my age (I’m 40) – Dave Ramsey & Lifehacker are some interesting results
  • Pages liked by people who are over 40 years old – Def Leppard & Journey!
  • Pages liked by people who are under 40 years old – Tough Mudder & Daily Show
  • Pages liked by people who are married – Tough Mudder & Gardening
  • Pages liked by people who are single – Tosh.0 and GoPro
  • Pages liked by people who have been to Lincoln Memorial – Maya Angelou & Oprah Winfrey
  • Pages liked by people who have been to Empire State Building – Moscow, Russia & Daily Show
  • Pages liked by people who were born in Dayton, Ohio (that’s me!) – Kevin Hart & Tyler Perry
  • Pages liked by people who live in Charleston, South Carolina (also me) – Trina & Gucci Mane

Don’t forget to narrow your search. In any search results, look to the right and you’ll see you can narrow the results with a variety of factors.

6. What Dreams Are You Empowering?

Here’s something I’ve been teaching since 2011.

Most marketers & sales people learn early on to talk about benefits rather than features. Benefits are how it will improve the buyer’s daily life- these have greater emotional impact. Features can be technical and have less impact.

But how boring would 50 Facebook posts about your product’s benefits be?

The kinds of posts that work better are inspirational and aspirational.

So we want to talk about your customers’ dreams: the bigger goals in their life or career.

What are the dreams they’re trying to fulfill with your product?

Example #1 – iPhone

  • FEATURE: “The iPhone can run some apps simultaneously.”
  • BENEFIT: “You can listen to music while responding to emails.”
  • DREAM: “Be productive and have great quality of life no matter where you are- even in a noisy airport.”

Example #2 – InfiniGraph

  • FEATURE: “InfiniGraph offers data, charts and content aggregation for social content marketing. You can put a widget hub on your own site.”
  • BENEFIT: “Surface your successful older content to increase its ROI.”
  • DREAM: “I want to be more profitable with my time and outsourcing so that I have more money and time for vacations.”

Example #3 – Brian Carter Group (two of our services)

  • FEATURE: “We offer Facebook ad creation and optimization.”
  • BENEFIT: “We’ll lower your ad costs and increase your ROI.”
  • DREAM: “We’ll rocket you past the competition so that you can stop worrying about competitors and start being a leading company in your niche.”

7. Put All of that into Images and Copy

Now, how can you create images and copy for Facebook posts and ads?

Exemplify your audience’s identity, concepts and dreams.

The two analogies I use for this are cheerleading and coaching.

You can cheer lead for their values, beliefs and likes:

cheerleading

You can coach them to inspire them to reach their dreams:

coaching

Give it a shot, and let me know what your results are like!

The 5 Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes

Do you want to grow your business by marketing and selling more effectively?

Lead generation is a great way to succeed at online marketing by establishing authority, activating reciprocity, growing a list of prospects and ultimately creating sales.

In this article I’m going to talk about 5 major lead generation mistakes that industry leaders don’t make…

  1. Sour Milk Content: Almost no content can be evergreen forever. Most content has an expiry date. You need fresh new content, so let me teach you how to innovate it.
  2. The Nobody Syndrome: Are you just another voice, or are you special? Showing off your expertise, results and leadership is key not just to getting leads but to sourcing hot leads that easily convert to sales.
  3. Wrong Audience: Who should you be marketing to? Most businesses fail or barely survive because they don’t reach their prospects- or don’t reach enough of them. If you want to grow your influence, you need to expand your reach and market to your ideal prospects.
  4. Lazy Landing Page: Do your landing pages convert at an industry-standard rate? Having only one landing page is a major mistake. Our tests show that split-testing multiple versions of your landing pages creates, on average, FIVE TIMES as many leads.
  5. Cotton Candy Leads: Do you care about the ultimate sale? Focus only on marketing-quality leads but not lead quality and you may not get sales.

Why listen to us about lead generation? The Brian Carter Group has a ton of experience:

  • We’ve managed millions of dollars in spend generating leads for companies over the last decade.
  • We’ve generated tens of thousands of leads.
  • We’ve done it in many industries.
  • We’ve done it with and without advertising.
  • We’ve innovated lead gen tactics via search, social, organic and more.

I’ve been doing lead generation for my own business since 2004 when I started doing Google AdWords.

  • I was driving leads for new business to manage Google AdWords accounts.
  • In the beginning I was not good enough. I actually had to take a regular job twice (in 2006 and again in 2008) because I driving enough leads to build my own business.
  • But eventually I got good enough at lead gen to sustain a freelance business.
  • Then I got so good that we’ve built an agency of multiple practitioners on the strength of these lead gen strategies.

I’m going to teach you these powerful lead gen strategies that are powering our business and our clients’ businesses.

I’ve also created a great free download for you: it’s a cheat-sheet with 8 tips for lead magnets that don’t just get leads but will get you leads that turn into sales. Not only does it give tell you the goals you need to achieve and the 8 tips, but it shows you an example type of lead magnet that’s perfect for this (the 5 mistakes/myths/lies ebook) and two examples of how you’d create them. Get it here.

There are a number of factors that are important to being able to succeed at driving leads and converting them into new business, whether you are a solo service professional, whether you do marketing or advertising or plumbing- no matter what you do.

Shared Lead Services Aren’t Ideal

For certain types of professionals there appear to be shortcuts where you can get access to shared leads. But they’re actually horrible.

What are they?

Let’s say you’re a contractor and somebody wants a quote on roofing… and as soon as a homeowner submits the lead, if you signed up for this service, they’ll send you the lead.

Next you try to call them right away.

But five other roofing people have already called this person!

You don’t get an exclusive shot at the deal. You’re fighting over scraps with ten competitors.

That’s not ideal, because…

You Want To Get YOUR OWN Leads

What you want is for a lead to have contacted you specifically because they want to talk to you.

In our ideal world, they don’t want to just talk to just any roofer or contractor or marketing professional or coach or piano teacher or whatever the heck you are. Why?

The prospects who are talking to tons of your competitors are more likely to price compare you and negotiate your price down until you have no profit leftover. That sucks.

You want leads that want to talk to you. These are great leads. The reason they’re reaching out to you is because they want you specifically. That’s the goal.

That’s a much warmer lead that’s easier to turn into business than someone who thinks, “I just want one of whatever you are.”

Get Your Leads to Want YOU

Many of my lead gen (and sales) successes come from convincing people before they ever contact me that I am or my agency is really amazing. I know that sounds narcissistic but that’s the thought-leader portion of what I do:

  • “Oh, Brian’s best-selling author.”
  • “Hey, Brian’s an amazing speaker.”
  • “Wow, Brian’s been on TV.”
  • “Huh, Brian has worked with Microsoft and NBC.”
  • “Look, all these people say great things about Brian’s speaking and agency and course.”

All those little things that are in my bio separate me from the competition, whether I’m a Facebook ads guy, or I’m the guy that’s going to split test your landing pages or I’m going to do your keynote speech.

If you think thought-leader is a weird term, just think “being an authority in your field.” It makes a huge difference in your leads and sales.

“Oh, Brian has a stand-up comedy background- he’s funny and our people are not going to go to sleep. They’re going to eat their food and then we’re going to have the keynote speaker and if it’s not Brian they might fall asleep! Shoot, we better get Brian because he’s funny. We can get this other speaker to talk about marketing or social media sales or how to lead through digital media, how to write emails and how to remote manage your workers but these other speakers may put our people to sleep after they’ve eaten the chicken. We better get Brian. He’s going to keep people awake, he’s going to get the laughs, he’s got the great takeaways and all that stuff.”

That’s why I get a bunch of the keynote speaking deals I get.

So…

Make Them YOUR Leads

You want to get leads that are your leads right?

They’re not just anybody’s leads- they’re your leads.

That makes those leads not just hot to get what you provide- they’re hot for you. 

That’s very important.

But something else…

Get Your Leads Ready to BUY

When I talk to salespeople or even chief marketing officers about lead generation, inevitably we talk about the sales department being unhappy with the lead quality. Why?

Because there is more than one type of leads

  • Unqualified Leads: Somebody says, “Yay we got a lead!”
  • Marketing Qualified Leads: Marketing says, “This person fits our target/persona.”
  • Sales Qualified Leads: Sales says, “I think we can sell to this person.”

Obviously there are a lot more leads that come in that are unqualified, and there are more marketing qualified leads than ones that the sales department says are qualified.

One of the reasons some companies have a lot of leads that the marketing department is excited about but the sales department is not excited about is because…

…when the marketing department creates their lead gen program- their marketing materials, their ebook, their quiz, the content, lead magnet, or their advertising- the marketing people aren’t thinking in terms of the sale.

At worst, marketing can get all excited about crazy weird lead gen content pieces that may not bring in people who are ready to buy. The leads might be qualified in the sense that they’re part of the prospect audience but they’re not ready to buy. They’re nowhere near persuaded.

To improve, they need to talk to the salespeople. Interview them and ask them key questions like:

  • What gets the prospect to convert?
  • What phrases or words convince them?
  • What objections do they usually have?
  • Who are the worst prospects you talk to?

With this blog post, I’m writing and speaking a bunch of mistakes as my content mode because I want you to know that I have enough authority to talk about mistakes and that makes me an expert.

Why would I do that?

It tells you:

  • I can help you.
  • I’m experienced.
  • I’ve gotten results.
  • I’ve tried things that didn’t work and
  • I’ve tried things that do work.

Telling prospects about mistakes they should avoid doesn’t just get you leads… it gets you leads that turn into sales.

Why?

Because if the customer wants someone to lead them through the jungle without you falling into a pit… get past the crocodiles, kill the snakes, get you safely through the jungle and find the treasure, get back to civilization safely so they can have a beer in the tiki hut, well that’s me because I’ve been through the jungle of marketing, sales, social media and communication.

I know the territory. I’ve been there. I’ve made the mistakes myself. I’ve seen my clients and other people make mistakes. I know what works and what doesn’t that.

All of that is implicit when I do a piece of content that tells prospects what mistakes not to make, right?

So with a mistakes piece of content, I’m demonstrating leadership and building trust and credibility.

They don’t want to make those mistakes right? Nobody wants to make mistakes. That’s why people read these blog posts and lead magnets. That’s why this is such an important approach in lead gen.

Other lead gen approaches may get leads but not leads as likely to turn into sales.

Now let’s talk about some specific lead generation mistakes… (that was a long intro!)

Lead Generation Mistake #1: Sour Milk Content

Content has an expiration date.

You need to create new content.

Even if you have lead gen content pieces like eBooks, quizzes and checklists that are already getting you leads, over time they will become less effective. Just like advertisements do, if you go to the same audience, they get burnt out on what you’re showing them.

If you go fish in the same pond too many times, you’re either gonna

  • Catch all the fish (run out of prospects)
    – or –
  • The fish are going to get wise to your lures and start ignoring them (change in prospect perception)

Have you seen this happen yet?

So you need to create new content. You need to do it now before your great content burns out and your stuck with a lull in performance.

Think ahead like a squirrel before Winter.

Or a Game of Thrones fan:

You can’t rest on your laurels, or leads and new business can dry up. You may still get some leads but it can become a trickle.

If you want a healthy new business pipeline, it’s important at least every quarter at least every three months to come up with some new type of lead gen magnet, whether that’s an e-book or a quiz or a video, a checklist…

There’s a whole bunch of different types of content you can use as lead magnets, and we have a list of the types that get shared the most in different social media outlets. That will help you as well to get a little bit of free shares, although in other mistakes I will explain you are going to have to advertise if you want to reach enough people but shares help.

Quizzes are great on Facebook. Whitepapers are great for LinkedIn but not Facebook. Checklists are pretty good on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.=

Altogether those three content types are pretty good. A whitepaper may not make sense for every type of business- it’s good for b2b but may not make sense for a B2C company like Nike for example.

And there’s all kinds of outside the box stuff you could do- crazy pieces of the content like the Marketo Thought Leader coloring book that Chris Beuhler of Scorch and Jason Miller (now with LinkedIn) did a few years back- you can get really creative too.

So you need to have a new lead magnet every quarter. Don’t rest on your laurels.

Keep pushing, because not only can you get better results, but the results from even your really good lead gen pieces right now will eventually taper off.

Lead Generation Mistake #2: The Nobody Syndrome

Are you just another voice, or are you special?

How are you special? Are you communicating that?

I talked before about demonstrating not just expertise but also results.

I can list off a whole bunch of results we’ve gotten

  • 10-cent B2C leads for cruise company…
  • $1.82 B2B leads for a marketing agency…
  • $29 B2B leads for a Microsoft cloud hosting partner…
  • Job apps for a staffing company 90% cheaper than Careerbuilder…
  • $5.28 leads for a home furnishing buying club…

We’ve been able to take the initial cost per lead for all those clients and cut it down quite a bit.

Usually we can cut the cost at least fifty percent if not ninety percent. How?

It’s all about testing…

  • Testing multiple lead gen content pieces as bait and
  • Testing multiple audiences – even if you only have one target prospect persona there’s still multiple ways to target them with different ad platforms
  • Test different ad platforms as well, if you want to get great results, because you never know where it’s going to come from. Sometimes it’s AdWords, sometimes LinkedIn, somtimes Facebook. It depends on the client and campaign. Sometimes B2B Facebook ads are best. Sometimes it surprises you, you really need to have an open mind and test a lot of platforms.
  • Test a lot of ad creative and
  • Test a lot of targeting if you want to find the best results

So we get a lot of results through testing. That’s one way we’re special.

Do you get results? Are you talking about it?

What other things make you special that you could talk about?

Lead Generation Mistake #3: Wrong Audience

The third biggest mistake is not reaching enough the right people.

Who should you be marketing to?

There are two things you need to do:

  • You need to reach the right people and
  • You have to reach enough of them.

Now I think one of the biggest problems that most businesses have is they don’t reach enough potential customers- period.

Their business is not growing at the rate they want because they simply are not in front of enough people often enough.

As humans, we make this mistake because we see our business and think about it all the time and we assume that other people have seen it, too, right? But they haven’t.

I think you’ve probably experienced this: you’ve been probably talked to a friend and you’re surprised that they haven’t seen what you’re up to lately because you showed it on Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere, but they didn’t see it.

The fact is people are pretty busy, and they’re focused on their own stuff.

So unless you get in front of them somehow, unless you put yourself in front of them on purpose, they’re not going to see it.

And you have to put yourself in front of people in an attention-grabbing way, right?

Your ad or marketing or social or communication needs to get them to think or say, “Oh gosh, the way you put that, that really speaks to my problems and my pains, where I want to go, my goals…”

“Oh, you really showed me a picture or a thing that I really like, that really grabbed my attention!”

Unless you’re doing that…

It’s one thing to put your brand in front of people, but if you haven’t connected your brand to people’s what they care about, then you’re not really going to grab them and hold them, ok?

So you’ve got to:

  • Reach out to the right people
  • Reach enough of them and
  • Reach into their minds and hearts

Very important.

There are a lot of tools for that… a lot of data out there.

So make sure you’re analyzing your audience’s using the insights available through Twitter and through Facebook audience insights.

Facebook audience insights doesn’t just contain what people have told Facebook about them. It also contains billions of data points from three of the biggest consumer data companies in the U.S.:

  • Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide.More than 23,000 servers collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year. pigeonhole people into one of 70 very specific socioeconomic clusters (personas) in an attempt to predict how they’ll act, what they’ll buy, and how companies can persuade them to buy their products.It gathers its data trove from public records, surveys you’ve filled out, your online behavior, and other disparate sources of information, then sells it to banks, retailers, and other buyers.
  • Epsilon has the world’s largest cooperative database (over 1 Petabyte of data across global data centers) with over 8.6 billion consumer transactions and 4.8 billion business transactions. The different data Epsilon sells includes age, profession, residence, ethnic information and political affiliation.
  • Datalogix, acquired by Oracle in 2015, now called “the Oracle Data Cloud,” it helps Facebook advertisers find customers on Facebook by onboarding first-party data, target customers through relevant audiences, measure campaign effectiveness based on offline purchases; their expertise spans across all industries including; CPG, Retail, Auto, Travel, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Technology and more.Datalogix aggregates and provides insights on over $3 trillion in consumer spending from 1,500 data partners across 110 million US households… across Auto, CPG and Retail Industries;DLX Auto: 99% of all U.S. Sales Captured, 20+ years of ownership data;DLX CPG: 50+ Grocery Chains; 7,000 brands; 300+ categories;DLX Retail: 10 billion transactions; 1,400 retailers; 1,000+ categories.

Make sure you’re analyzing your fans and email lists.

Upload your email list to Facebook ads as a custom audience and analyze it using Facebook Audience Insights to find out who they are:

  • What they like
  • How much money they make
  • What they buy
  • What they don’t buy

…so that you know who they are.

Then you have a better chance of grabbing and holding their attention.

Lead Generation Mistake #4: Lazy Landing Pages

Do your landing pages convert at an industry-standard rate? Having only one landing page is a major mistake.

There are a lot of people that do a great job testing a lot of ads and audiences with their advertising but they still don’t test landing pages.

It’s one thing you’re doing e-commerce. It’s harder to split-test that. I understand that.

But…

Unfortunately some companies have policies – but even if you have to send the traffic to your website, there are solutions.

  • If you use WordPress some of the great split testing platforms like Unbounce, ClickFunnels and LeadPages have WordPress plugins that will allow you to make the landing pages appear to be on your website domain.
  • Even ClickFunnels will give you an HTML page that works as an iframe that can keep appear to be on your website even if it’s not WordPress

…so there are workarounds for this. And you should do this anyway, because Facebook has changed their policies so that your destination URL and your display URL and the URL associated with your Facebook account need to be the same. So you want to do this anyway.

But there’s no excuse not to split-testing landing pages and let me tell you why…

Because in our experience with testing even just two alternates to your initial idea so you have three total variation your landing page meaning

  • I’m going to try a different headline a different image maybe a video versus an image different call to action or
  • a different layout to the landing page

…just doing that on average gives us five times more leads.

Across all of the lead and campaigns we’ve done… when I did the presentation on this for Content Marketing World I listed out all of our lead gen campaigns for all our clients over the last four years, and how many tests we’ve done and the difference in the cost per lead for the best and the worst…

And the average difference we saw was that if you split-test your landing pages you get five times as many leads.

What does that mean?

Your leads are five times cheaper.

Why is that?

Because your conversion rate is five times higher.

That’s insane. Insane. Why?

Because you’re sending the same people to the same lead magnet, whether it’s an e-book or quiz or whatever but you’re getting five times as many leads.

Why wouldn’t you want that?

So yes it’s a little bit harder. YSu have to figure out how to do landing pages, or you hire somebody like us to do them and it’s not that expensive, right? It’s not that expensive. How much more money are you going to make by having five times as many leads? Let me ask you that- because you’re going to have five times as many prospects… you should have time times many sales or your salespeople are going to be able to be more selective with who they pursue and they’ll be able to call better prospects, ok?

Which means your lead quality just went up, right?

So you have to split-test landing pages, whether it’s leadpages or unbounce or clickfunnels- there are 17 other split testing platform out there- I don’t know anybody who knows how to use all of them- those are the three that we use, and they all have pros and cons.

LeadPages is pretty strict and that you can’t even change an image size on the page of a template. However if you’re new to split testing it is an easier way to start because you don’t have to do an entire design thing.

But if you have brand guidelines that you need to follow I would recommend something like unbounce or clickfunnels because it’s a little bit easier to use the WYSIWYG interface what-you-see-is-what-you-get to make it look like your brand.

It only should the average web savvy person three to five hours to be able to design well enough- maybe eight hours or you hire someone to do it, but it’s worth it if you want five times as many leads for the same ad spend right?

Who doesn’t want five times many leads? That’s ridiculous.

Lead Generation Mistake #5: Cotton Candy Leads

Do you care about the ultimate sale? Not just the leads?

if you focus only on marketing-quality leads but not lead quality and you may not get sales.

If you get 1,000 leads and no sales, who cares? That’s like cotton-candy; sweet but no substance.

If you don’t have any customers at the end of the process, who cares about the lead gen?

So lead quality is critical and you can’t afford to ignore whether they’ll ultimately buy.

The quality of the lead is affected by every step in the process:

  • Your understanding of who to target affects that. If you target the wrong people, you’re not going to get sales in the end.
  • If you don’t know why they want to buy, then the way you write your ad copy and the content you create (the e-book or the quiz or whatever) will be off… it might be exciting or engaging, but it might not grab the people who are most likely to buy.

Something I learned a long time ago with Google ads, and it’s true of every type of ad is that a high click-through rate ad is not necessarily a high conversion rate ad.

Interest does not equal buying intent.

Some people are window-shoppers. Looky-loo’s.

Just because some people love to click on something doesn’t mean that they’re going to want to buy anything.

It’s like window shopper- some peole love to walk around all the stores but not necessarily buy anything

Now, my typical behavior is, “I need these five things and I’m gonna get in and out as fast as I can!”

Just because someone loves to look at the stuff doesn’t mean they’re going to buy it.

It’s the same with Facebook post interaction: just because you get a fan on your page and they interact with the post does not mean they’re going to buy.

When we’ve done audits of a bunch of different companies’ customers, we’ll upload their email list and analyze them and we’ll look for overlap between the email lists- the difference between loyal buyers and non-loyal buyers, then we look for the overlap between the buyers and the fans and at first we were surprised: “Wow, like only 1% of the fans are buyers! Why is that? Did the buyers not go to the page and like it? Did the fans never go buy?”

So it’s a it’s a myth, a mistaken assumption that just because you like a brand on social media that you are their customer or that because you’re a customer you’re going to like their Facebook page.

Just because you’re walking through the mall doesn’t mean you’re going to buy anything, and just because you fill out a form to buy an e-book does not make you customer.

So marketing departments have to be very careful- and if you are a solo service professional you have to be very careful, because this is your livelihood- don’t create a lead gen campaign that is so exciting that it gets tons and tons of cheap leads but no sales.

You gotta avoid that.

It’s great if they’re excited, but you want to make sure they’re excited about something that is qualifying them as a buyer. And that’s why you have to talk to the sales people here to find out what separates a good prospect from a bad one in the salesperson’s eyes.

How can you work that into your content marketing design?

Get with your sales team talk to them about what makes a quality prospect and then see if you can work that in to your concept for your content… or at least make sure that the direction you’re going with your content doesn’t conflict with what they know about good prospects.

Is it a good prospect if they make more money?

What do you know about them?

Can you analyze the difference between buyers and non-buyers?

What you learn may change the way that you design your content. Your content may call out to them.

Conclusion: Thought Leadership and Authority

Those are the five biggest lead gen mistakes people make and if you don’t make those mistakes and you do what I recommend it to you you’re going to do a lot better.

The only other thing I can say to you is it’s a good idea to establish credibility the way that I have.

Look at your bio. Build an impressive bio or company profile. It takes time to do that and it sounds a little narcissistic but more things you have that I call credibility points, credibility factors or credibility markers… the more of those you have the better and they are things like:

  • Who you’ve worked with or for
  • Media mentions
  • Recommendations
  • Awards
  • How many years you’ve been in business
  • Achievements
  • Book bestseller status
  • Anything where third-party endorses you
  • Trust logos in ecommerce
  • Testimonials

Those are the kind of things you want to be able to add to you or your company’s description on the website, on the landing pages.

All those credibility markers can help quite a bit. As I said in the beginning, you want to make sure that the leads are interested not just in what you offer but in you specifically doing it for them.

This is your lead, not anybody’s lead.

And the way that you do that is by establishing how you are better and different than the other people or companies who offer what you offer, ok?

Credibility markers are very important.

And that is how we get big results with lead gen, and you can too!

Why Women Are Critical To Every Social Media Campaign

It was interesting that even in the Facebook discussion of the Superbowl, the top three gender-age demographics were female.

The Facebook campaign with the least commenting we’ve ever seen was for an action-sports-oriented page with 95% male fans. We had focused on building a completely male fanbase, since the client’s experience was that few women purchased their product. But we found out that the result was no discussion at all!

Women converse more than men? It depends. Some guys are more chatty. Some guys act like that cliched “strong, silent type.”

Even when you’re marketing in a male-dominated niche, we recommend you also advertise to women. They can be like the “glue players” that hold the team together. Most of us would rather interact in a mixed group, anyway. Some guys don’t want to talk only to guys.

Much as marketers look at 25-55 year old women as the household and healthcare decision-makers, we may want to look at them as central to social media conversations.

There may be a few exceptions- do you want women in your “low T” discussion? Well, maybe you don’t want to discuss that publicly anyway!

And sure, conversation isn’t always critical to social media profits. Too much talk may even get in the way at times. But if it’s important to you, don’t exclude women.

Airport Revenue Digital Marketing & Social Media Keynote Interview with Brian Carter

In March, Brian will be speaking about how to drive more visits and revenue with digital marketing and social media to airport operators and concessionaires like Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and TGI Friday’s at the annual Airport Revenue News conference in Orlando. Here’s an excerpt of his interview with ARN!

Ward: What are some key mistakes that you see companies making?

Carter: I think one of the biggest mistakes is opinion versus facts. We now have data – we can test whether the customer likes our branding. If you listen to the wrong information, or your information is out of date or you make decisions that are based on opinion rather than fact, eventually you’re headed for disaster. The companies that are winning today, that are disrupting categories and established companies, are using technology to make customers happier than they ever were before. When your opinion is wrong and out of whack with the facts, you’re not going to be able to make your customers happy.

Read more of Brian Carter’s interview on airports and digital marketing more here…

5 Things Your Startup Needs To Know Before Facebook Advertising

Nobody wants to learn the hard way.

You want to get customers and prospects. Facebook ads is a very affordable, targeted, powerful way to do that.

But you don’t want to waste your ad budget, right?

Here are 5 things I’ve learned that most start-ups don’t understand before they starting Facebook advertising… 5 things that can waste your money.

#1 Great Ad Performance Requires Testing. And Testing Costs Money

It takes money to test ads to find the profitable ads. You have to spend money to make money.

The simple fact of digital advertising is that there are a lot of ad settings and a ton of ways to write an ad. That’s true whether it’s AdWords or Facebook or whatever.

And only about 5% of the ad ideas you come up with will be profitable. That’s true even for advertising experts with a decade of experience. Research bears that out.

You must write 10-20 ads to find one outstanding ad. And outstanding ads are what we need to win this game.

Here are some of the decisions you have to make, and each variation costs money to test:

  • What image will you use? Positive or negative? People or objects? Problem or solution?
  • What will headline be? Calling out who they are? Asking a question? Making a bold statement?
  • What will the ad copy say? Gosh there are so many things we could say…
  • Who will you target and how? You can often target the same people with several different targeting options. We won’t know which targeting method is cheapest until we test it.

At the beginning of the testing process, we know the least. The more winning ads we find, the smarter our following tests are. But the first month is the worst. As we learn from those ad test results, profitability increases. But that learning process involves spending money on ads.

#2 Successful Companies INVEST in Their First Three Months with Facebook Ads

We’ve managed Facebook ads for dozens of clients- over $2 million spent on ads. They’ve spent anywhere from $33 a day to $1,000 a day; that’s from $1,000 a month to $30,000 a month.

That budget fuels testing and leads to profitability. We often find the first couple weeks is all learning. We start to see promising ads. By the end of month two, we should have some strong ads that reliably get leads or sales. By the end of month three, we’ve reached. Our goal is to cut the initial cost per lead or cost per sale by 50%.

How much does $1,000 spend in a month, for example, get you? Let’s do some math:

  • If you’re looking for leads, hopefully your opt-in page converts at 20%; if your cost per click is $0.50, then a lead is $2.50. If your lead gen page is not very effective and converts at 5%, that lead would cost $10. If the niche is competitive and the cost per click is more like $1.50, then that 5% conversion page makes your leads $30 each. That’s how the math works. We’ve seen lead gen costs as low as 12 cents and as high as $78. It depends on the niche, the competition, and how efficiently the lead gen page converts. That’s why we need to split-test landing pages and find out which one converts best.If you can split-test and take your conversion rate from 10% to 20%, you cut your lead gen cost in half. You double how many leads you can get from the same spend.At the same time, we’re testing ad creative and targeting to multiply that improvement.
    Doing a little math ahead of time helps you have more realistic expectations and be prepared to implement the strategies that work. Going in blind usually results in wasted money and unsatisfactory results.
  • If you’re doing e-commerce, the baseline is a site that converts at at least 1%. Sometimes a new site has problems and only converts at 0.5%. Amazing sites can do 2-4%, but that can take years of evolution to reach.If your cost per click is $0.50, a passable 1% converting ecommerce site has a cost per sale of $50.What is your profit margin? Is it more than that?Some products will kill your business, because their profit margin is too low for digital advertising.If your cost per click is $1 and you have a conversion problem and only get 0.5%, then each sale costs $200.

We’ve seen e-commerce cost per sales of $5 to $500. Again, it varies with the niche, competition, and your website’s conversion efficiency.

This is just the math of pay-per-click profitability.

#3 WHY Would People Want to Buy What You’re Selling? 

This is the most basic lesson of marketing.

And it’s critical to ask if no one ever has bought what you’re selling yet. Or if no one has ever bought it online.

If you have no marketing experience, 99% of the things you think are awesome about what you’re selling are likely features, not benefits:

  • Plush seats.
  • Moon roof.
  • 24-hour customer service.

Those are features.

The customer says, “Who cares? Why should I care? What’s in it for me?” So, yeah, really, you have to spell out what the benefit is to them.

  • Plush seats? “Experience luxury driving.” That’s a benefit. And, bonus: we get them to imagine having it, which makes them more likely to buy. But let’s be honest… plush seat luxury is only appealing to people who love 1984 IROC-Z Camaros. Look at this fine specimen:
  • Moon roof? Great for werewolves. Ability to look up when you should be looking at the road. Just kidding. “Your passenger can look out your moon roof and (s)he will be impressed. With YOU.” That’s a benefit that makes them visualize the experience of the solution. By the way, your 1985 Camaro is awesome. IROC you say? Yes, U really do ROC.
  • 24-hour customer service? “We’re there to help you fix it when everything goes wrong at 3:00AM. We’ll save the day, any time of day. If you have a huge everything-grinds-to-a-halt problem, you won’t have to wait. We’ll fix it now. Relax, you can rely on us.”  That’s a benefit that makes them visualize the experience of the solution.

Those are the benefits of your features. That’s the most BASIC level of copywriting you need to be able to do. They sell much more effectively than features.

Getting them to imagine experiencing the benefit will get you even bigger results. So do both.

#4 You need to know WHO would want to buy from you.

It’s easy to have the wrong idea of who your customers are, or a very vague idea. Some companies even achieve a level of success without an accurate picture of who their best customers are.

Digital marketing teaches you about them. Many of our clients find out their customers are only SORT OF who they thought. But there’s often something surprising…

  • “Oh, wow, people over 50 years old DO buy this. Interesting…”
  • “Our customers are mostly single? Weird!”
  • “Our customers like George Takei? Who the heck is is George Takei?”

That kind of stuff- which by the way, can dramatically lower your Facebook ad costs- can also be applied to all your other marketing. When you discover who they are, you may look at your email marketing or your print ads or radio or TV ads and realize you’ve pitched them to the wrong person. Changing that will improve your results. And since many types of offline marketing can’t be tracked- what worked or didn’t- this information from digital marketing is super valuable if you’re doing offline marketing.

And, by the way, there’s a ton of free market research inside the Facebook ad interface. Enough to put some market research companies out of business. It’s called Facebook Audience Insights.

#5 Your website has to be really efficient at converting your Facebook ad visitors.

You saw it in the math. If you can double your conversion rate, you cut your costs in half.

That sounds like a bonus. But if your conversion rate is sub-standard, your costs can be through the roof. So you might need to improve your website, or take the more modern approach of using squeeze page platforms that can split-test.

The most vulnerable people to mistakes here are web designers. Anyone who thinks they have a new way to design your website. A more aesthetic way. Lots of ideas about impressive designs.

If that gets in the way of usability, you’re done.

  • Sure, your web visitor may think it’s a beautiful website, but it’s so beautiful that they forget to buy.
  • Or can’t figure out how to buy because the navigation elements were too ugly for your web designer.

If you’re interviewing web designers, ask them what they do for split-testing and conversion optimization. The ones that trip over the answer? Move on  to another. The next evolution is using services like unbounce, clickfunnels, leadpages and optimizely.

If you want to run a profitable business, you need to strike a balance between form and function- between branding and conversion optimization.

That’s it- if you’ve grappled with these five issues, then relax- you can advertise on Facebook confidently, and look forward to great results!

If not, we can help with services or my online course, Social Marketing Profit System.

How To Bridge The Offline/Online Customer Experience Successfully

Nowadays, the average customer journey can be rather complicated. Consumers expect retail experiences that are smooth, seamless, and most importantly, omnichannel. As a result, retailers must look at how they can optimize their strategies to offer a holistic presence – bringing together both online and offline operations.

Econsultancy tells us that “nearly 40% of online searchers make a purchase after being influenced by an offline channel”. In maintaining an online and offline presence, it can sometimes prove challenging trying to connect the two. With that in mind, here are some tips for bridging the offline/online customer experience successfully.

Keeping things consistent

This first point is perhaps an obvious one, but it bears reinforcing. A big part of connecting the online and offline experience is consistency: in design, branding, and messaging. It’s often the case that a customer may see your advertising out in the real world before searching online to find out more. If your branding doesn’t match up, your credibility will take a hit.

Consumers expect consistency each time they encounter your business. Even if selling online doesn’t form a big part of what you do, a professional-looking ecommerce website that fits with the rest of your communications is essential. It doesn’t have to be a big endeavor, these days. On-brand imagery, language and ease of use are the most important factors.

Cosmetics retailer Lush is a good example. Observe the visual similarities in their online and offline branding below – font choices, color scheme, etc.

There’s something about mobile

As we’ve discussed, modern consumers use a variety of channels to make their purchases today. But one of the biggest things that can get in the way of this is mobile experience. More than half of us still find it cumbersome to complete a transaction on a mobile device, and around the same percentage of retailers fail to optimize their websites for tablets.

On top of that, a growing number of people are keen to take advantage of the opportunity to use their mobile phones while visiting a store, whether that’s to check if what they want is in stock, save money with real-time promotions, or earn extra loyalty points. As yet, most retailers don’t offer this service, so those that do have a distinct competitive advantage.

Shopify users will find that exploring functionality like geo targeting is not as complicated as you might think. For $10 a month, the Geo Targeting app integrates with your store to target offers, news and coupon codes at certain locations. The more visual and eye-catching you can make these notifications, the better.

The case for vanity URLs

A vanity URL is a shortened version of your web address that’s easier for customers to remember. They’re mostly used for offline advertisements, such as billboards and posters, so people won’t struggle to recall the website at a later date. What’s more, you can track this URL to judge the effectiveness of your offline advertising efforts.

Once someone has landed on your vanity URL page, you can then look to retarget those users digitally if they failed to convert the first time around. Vanity URLs are also easier to share and perceived as more trustworthy.

Below are some examples of what a vanity URL might look like. You can find out how to set one up for your landing page here.

  • fashionwebsite.com/categories/womens/dresses/party-dresses becomes www.fashionwebsite.com/party-dresses
  • mymusicwebsite.com/events/live-gigs/chicago-street-party-2018 becomes www.mymusicwebsite.com/street-party
  • welovecats.com/cat-breeds/maine-coon/how-to-care-for-your-maine-coon becomes www.welovecats.com/maine-coon-care

Why you should be collecting data regularly

Whether offline or online, it’s important to know the best way to contact your customers. While it’s always recommended to collect a name and email when people buy from you online, asking for too much personal information in one go can be offputting – potentially enough to risk an abandoned shopping cart.

So make creating an account optional, and make use of those email addresses to send each new customer a thank you email, along with an incentive to complete a short survey about their shopping experience. That initial contact could lead to a series of feedback requests that help you improve your customer experience, both online and off. Good retailers understand the importance of reputation management – and if you wanted to bring the same ethos in-store, you might want to consider targeted smartphone notifications, surveys that can be filled out via tablet as customers exit the store, or comment cards.

Creating engagement through social media

Finally, your social media strategy can play a big role in engaging customers, whether they shop online or in-store. Even if they don’t visit your website, chances are if they shop with you regularly, they at least follow your social media channels. It’s a great way to remind them about offers, events, new releases, and your company ethos. Never underestimate the power of a good UGC campaign – the ultimate way to bring offline experiences into the online world.

In summary, keep in mind that today’s consumers do not see distinct shopping channels. Rather, they will have an overall view of your brand that’s informed by their experiences across multiple touchpoints. A unified approach is key, as the online/offline worlds will only continue to merge.

Without This, Your Content Marketing Is Worthless

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

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

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

But they forget about that pesky distribution and visibility thing!

I ask them:

HOW are enough people going to SEE your new content?

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

“We email our content out.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We have good SEO.”

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

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

[SOURCES: A great 2014 study of search result CTR by position and another 2014 study.]

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

If your findings above aren’t satisfactory, then…

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

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

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

So, combine content creation with Facebook ads!