7 Keys to Adapting Your Business to What’s Happening Right Now

Hi, I hope you and yours are safe and well during this COVID-19 crisis. And that this post helps you!

These are difficult times. While many people are literally risking their lives as front-line medical workers, grocery store employees, first responders and more, many others are out of work, and still others are able to continue work, but have to quickly come to terms with remote work, focusing despite increased distraction, and adapting to a quickly changing market and economy.

It’s the definition of change management. It touches on so many topics I’ve been concerned with the last few years, like safety, teamwork and leadership). And we’ve experienced many changes in our digital advertising clients who are adjusting to changing conditions.

Here are some things we see that are changing:

  • EVENTS: Many live events are postponed or going virtual rather than in-person, at least until June, and possibly longer. Virtual events are a way to bring together a suddenly virtual team, get them focused and increase inspiration and productivity. They might help your employees adjust quicker.
  • FOOD: Restaurants are either closing or switching to take-out and delivery. We’ve seen very good results driving carryout and delivery orders with digital ads, so that’s something to consider. Groceries are the biggest talked about essential other than medical care, and groceries need employees right now.
  • CONSUMER SPENDING: People are spending money mainly on essentials. People are refinancing their mortgages. Unemployment, layoff and furloughs mean that people will be prioritizing survival, not discretionary spending. A lot of companies are offering discounts as a way to both help the economy and induce people to try something new while purse-strings are tight.
  • ESSENTIAL INDUSTRIES: Essential industries that are dealing with COVID-19 are staffing and recruiting more. It’s a good time to be in food, medical, logistics, transportation, and manufacturing. These companies can help us all get through this crisis and they need more people to make it happen.
  • EMPLOYMENT: There are big changes here, obviously. We’ve been helping with digital ads to driving staffing and recruiting for years, and the focus of the jobs needed has definitely shifted. Safety is a big deal for people that have to work in-person right now, and how to be efficient and effective at remote work is important to the rest.
  • MARKETING & SALES: How do you market and sell during COVID-19? Should you? I have struggled with this topic myself, because it can feel especially self-centered right now to try to market or sell anything in such a dire time. However, I just go back to the basics, which are that marketing and sales are just a way to help people get what they need. In a way, they are just communication. If you are helping to make people aware of something that will help them right now, then you’re helping. The only thing you need to watch out for is advertising, marketing or selling something not so essential- I think any company can make the argument that what they offer is essential, but we need to be especially sensitive right now and make sure we are not being selfish, and don’t come off that way.
  • DEMAND GENERATION: It’s a good idea to look at where demand has shifted. Trying to create demand for something not essential right now is especially tough. There are other key industries like web conferencing and entertainment that need to make sure that all their prospects have them top of mind. Companies like Zoom, Webex, and others are going to be fighting (with advertising and marketing) for a larger market right now. The same is true for channels like STAR that are offering bigger discounts than normal right now- but how many people know that? Just because you have something people want does not mean everyone knows it!

That’s just a short brief on some of the changes we’re seeing. What else are you seeing?

It’s a time for major change and adaptation. We need to stay informed and stay healthy. And we can’t neglect our psychological health at this time, either. Constant news and adaptation can be stressful and stress can lower immune resistance- so be nice to yourself and those around you!

I’m confident that we will get through this. We will adapt and create solutions. And things will get better.

10 Critical Items for Your Next Marketing Plan Audit

When’s the last time you had your marketing plan audited by an outside expert?

You do have a marketing plan, right?

Why would you need an audit?

  • Sometimes an organization’s ideas can get a bit stale, over time
  • A company can develop an echo chamber in their own culture, and convince themselves of things that may or may not be true
  • Not everybody has heard of all the latest greatest best practices

And when you’re out of touch, that’s a recipe for

  • Losing business to the competition
  • Losing the interest of your customers
  • People starting to think you’re no longer relevant

Unfortunately, if you aren’t current, people may question everything else about your business.

“If they’re not doing THIS great idea, what other good things are they not doing?”

The marketing plan audit we did for The Perfect Workout led to them discovering a new source of leads and sales, and a 400% ROI.

So, in the spirit of making sure that your marketing plan is up-to-date, here are 10 things you need to have SOMEBODY from the outside take a look at:

  1. Are you 100% sure that your pixels and tracking are installed correctly and that your data is accurate?
  2. According to your website analytics, what marketing source is driving the most conversions? What landing pages drive the most conversions? Is your organic traffic increasing over time?
  3. Are you aware of all the third party performance benchmark reports (on things like advertising, email and landing pages) out there, and is your performance at least average, if not better?
  4. Are you on the most important social platforms for your target customers? Are you advertising there? In your social advertising, are you creating new ad ideas each month? Have you tested new targeting this quarter?
  5. Are your email open rates hitting industry standard levels? Are you split-testing new subject lines? Have you checked on deliverability and blacklist issues to be sure you’re OK?
  6. Do you have someone who loves writing creative copy and is constantly testing new ideas on your audience through ads, emails, and landing pages?
  7. How many people do you need to reach to achieve your lead gen or sales goals, and are you actually reaching that many people?
  8. Are you using all the advanced Google ad technologies that make sense, like responsive ads, site links and other extensions, and call tracking?
  9. Does your website look and function equally well on every mobile device as it does on desktop, and do your analytics support that answer?
  10. Do you have a content plan that fits your platforms and goals? Is your brand flexible enough to allow the creation of diverse and compelling content? Is your content plan informed by SEO research? If you have a content calendar, is it flexible enough to change based on what your analytics insights tell you? Have you found a way to create at least some kind of new video with some frequency for use in social media and ads?

These are a few of the questions that a good marketing plan audit will answer.

And from there, you can revise and improve your marketing plan, and get better results for your business!

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting More Business

Do you want more new business?

Let’s face it- if you’re not getting new business, you’re at risk. The existing customers could dry up. A recession could hit. Who knows what could happen!

So, if your new business growth is not where you’d like it to be, what’s wrong?

Here are 10 things that could be blocking your organization’s customer growth.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #1: You’re not getting enough attention

If not enough people are giving you money, or buying from you, or inquiring, or coming into your store… do they even know you exist? Do they remember you exist?

You need to get people’s attention, then interest, then desire, and only then will they take action.

How many people’s attention does your business have right now?

  • How many ad impressions do you get a month? How many people do you reach?
  • How many emails from you do people open?
  • How many outbound sales calls does your org make?
  • How many leads do you get?

Even more importantly- how much is enough?

A simple rule is that you need to reach 1,000x as many people as you want customers, and you need to get their attention 5x before you can expect anything from them.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #2: You’re not getting enough traffic

Most businesses rely on website, store or phone activity to get new business.

  • How much website traffic are you getting per day?
  • How many people call a day?
  • How many people are visiting your store daily?

You need 100x as much traffic as however many customers you want.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #3: Your website doesn’t convert people to leads or sales

A lot of people have nice looking but ineffective websites. They don’t even know what their website conversion rate is. That’s like driving without knowing how fast you’re going.

And even worse, if you don’t generate enough traffic, you can’t find out if your website is the problem.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #4: Nobody wants what you offer

For newer businesses, if they’ve never sold at volume, they have an unproven product or service.

The first question to answer is- does anybody want this? Will they pay for it?

Then you can answer WHO will pay for it.

And in order to find out if they want it you have to get in front of them or get people to it.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #5: You’re not aggressive enough about promotion

If you build it, and that’s all, they won’t come.

Marketing and sales are about driving attention, interest and desire.

Some people aren’t aggressive enough- they choose only passive strategies like SEO or content creation.

If you’re not doing something outbound like advertising, networking, or outbound SDR, you’re going nowhere fast.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #6: You’re afraid to spend money

You have to spend money to make money. Why do you think all these new businesses want funding? Making money is expensive.

Attention, traffic and leads cost money. You have to spend it.

That can be hardest at the beginning, but even when times are tight, you have to keep investing. Businesses that pull back on promotion when things are down just end up going down even faster.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #7: You don’t have a creative solution

Content marketing is important for a lot of reasons, but it requires creating that content.

Ads and emails are powerful ways to get attention and traffic, but they require creative copywriting.

Ads, websites and landing pages are compelling ways to get new business, but you need to have an eye for graphic art, and an understanding of how creative affects customer psychology.

Creative skills and resources are critical. And they are often missing from many marketing plans and departments.

As a result, organizations show up in the marketplace looking and sounding mediocre, and fail to impress.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #8: You don’t have a scientific mindset

Business used to be a guessing game. But now we have data, especially online.

We get insights and reports that tell us what works and what doesn’t so that we waste less money and get a bigger response from customers.

If you’re not trying a lot of creative, copy, and new ideas, and learning from what the data says about the customer response, you’re stuck in the old paradigm, you won’t be able to be competitive, and eventually you’ll be replaced by newer companies and people.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #9: You don’t put enough time in

Sometimes we don’t have enough resources to do what needs to be done with sales and marketing.

Sometimes things are going well, so we coast.

The most talented people have drive. The best companies have lots of people who have drive. They are internally motivated to keep doing more and getting better everyday.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #10: You’re not continuously learning

The only constant is change.

Even when digital marketing and sales were young 10 years ago, there was a ton to learn in this space. But it doesn’t stop. Things continue to advance and get more complicated.

What worked 10 years ago may not work now- for example, SEO is much, much harder for new companies as a viable traffic source.

And what wasn’t a good idea 10 years ago might be now- for example, so many companies have gone online with lead gen, that fewer people are cold calling, and sometimes it works better than it did in 2000 or 2010.

You and your marketing and sales people must keep learning- must keep getting training, must keep reading, getting mentored, and going to conferences…

But only if you want to get and stay on top.

5 Signs You Need A Digital Marketing Plan Refresh

I hope you have a digital marketing plan.

If you don’t, it’s time….

Even if you do have a digital marketing plan:

  • Is it complete?
  • Is it up-to-date?
  • Is it on par with what your competitors are planning?
  • Have you had any new, outside ideas recently?
  • What are you missing?

Here are 5 signs you might need a refresh on your digital marketing plan:

WARNING SIGN #1: You Haven’t Done Anything Majorly New In Over A Year

Is it business as usual, or do you have new ideas?

Even if your ideas last year hit the ball out of the park, chances are, your competitors are aware and are catching up.

How are you going to stay ahead?

Business is like walking up an escalator the wrong way. When you stop moving, you’re going down.

When was the last time you analyzed all your data for insights?

When’s the last time you tried something new and big?

WARNING SIGN #2: You Aren’t Getting Significant Impact From One Of The Following: Facebook, Google, Email Newsletters, Outbound Email or Retargeting

These are all fundamental strategies for most companies today:

  • Facebook Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Email Newsletters
  • Outbound Email
  • Outbound Phone
  • Retargeting Ads

Every company uses each differently, and to different extents.

But for every one of these strategies, there’s a company that utterly relies on it.

So even if you’re checking the box by doing all of these, it’s time to ask about each one, “What more we could do? What might we be missing?”

For example:

  • Facebook Ads: Are you using them for leads? For online sales? For increased awareness? To get a video message about your brand out? How are you advertising on Instagram? Do you have the right sized images and length of videos to take advantage of all 12 placements?
  • Google Ads: Are you doing responsive ads? Gmail ads? Do you have phone number extensions in place? Sitelinks? Are you using YouTube for Action ads?
  • Email Newsletters: Are you split-testing subject lines? Have you tested text vs. graphic emails for deliverability? Are your open rates beating industry benchmarks? Are you segmenting and personalizing?
  • Outbound Email: How’s your deliverability? Are your lists good enough? Have you optimized send rates and pacing?
  • Outbound Phone: Are you using a web dashboard? Can you listen in to calls easily? Are you optimizing your script based on the calls you review?
  • Retargeting Ads: Are you using them? Are you using video reach ads to grow another type of retargeting audience? Have you analyzed the difference between your most effective retargeting and cold ads for insights? Do you have a full-funnel ad strategy with different creative for each segment?

WARNING SIGN #3: Your Results Are Below Industry Benchmarks

Every year, a bunch of great organizations post benchmarks for advertising, email and outbound sales.

Do you have those benchmarks at your fingertips?

Are you beating them, or falling behind?

WARNING SIGN #4: You’re Doing Well But You Want To Raise The Bar

Everyone gets comfortable.

The bigger your company gets, the more that seems to happen.

But every good organization also has drivers who push everyone to stay current and get further ahead.

If you’re a driver, you may be hearing from within your company, “Things are good!”

But you want them to be great.

You might be told, “Our marketing is competitive,” but you want to destroy the competition.

In cases like this, you sometimes have to go outside your organization for new viewpoints to shake things up.

WARNING SIGN #5: Big Changes Are Happening In Your Industry, Niche Or Area

Life is a story of never-ending adaptation. Change is constant.

We have to keep up, and get ahead.

At any one time, certain industries are going through big changes. Some companies are quicker to respond. Some are slower. Those that are too slow may not survive.

Changes come from many things:

  • Government
  • Economy
  • Culture
  • Technology
  • And more…

Sometimes the change is regulatory. Sometimes it’s globalization or culture. Sometimes tech outsiders disrupt the status quo and change how business is done. It might be something else entirely.

Regardless of the source, we have to adapt, and our marketing, advertising and sales has to adapt with it.

Refresh Your Plan

These are just a few of the reasons that a digital marketing plan can fall out-of-date.

When the plan is wrong, so is execution, and you may end up in the wrong place.

Check on your marketing plan today, and give it a refresh!

go-to market strategy + rocket launching graphic

5 Steps to Create a Killer Go-To-Market Brand For Big Customer Response

I recently walked a small company through creating a new Go-To-Market (GTM) plan. They had struggled for years with multiple marketers and salespeople and had struggled to develop their own pipeline.

They were getting a ho-hum response from prospects because:

  • They hadn’t committed to who they were,
  • Prospects didn’t understand what they did, and
  • They hadn’t proven that there was a market that fit their product!

That’s a pretty serious situation. Fortunately, they had a good revenue source for other reasons.

But the priority was to establish a new pipeline so that they could be more secure and independent, and that all the development work they’d done on their unique offering would pay off. 

The cool thing was that they were a Google Partner and we got to work with some Stanford M.B.A.’s who worked at Google on this new GTM plan.

And, look, I’m no noob…

I’ve helped a lot of new businesses and created a lot of marketing plans before, but this experience helped me hone my process and finally figure out something that had been vexing me for years…

The Problem With Old Ways of Branding

As a digital marketer focused on driving leads and sales (they call that a direct marketing or direct response marketer) I’ve had several run-ins with traditional branding folks that had bugged the hell out of me!

Their brand definitions were too narrow and didn’t allow us to fully leverage modern marketing, social media and advertising. It seemed like such a missed opportunity, and “branding” seemed like this holy priesthood based in who-knows-what. I couldn’t figure out why they had so much power and why they hadn’t gotten in step with digital marketing.

I’d even been through a number of branding exercises with different facilitators that left me feeling confused, like, “OK, but what about the rest of the info and clarity I need to do real, current digital marketing? There’s so much undefined and we have no foundation!”

The Solution

Now, I’ve finally figured out how to create a brand definition that works for digital and social and isn’t stuck in 1995.

Here are my top 5 steps for how to create a digital brand that drives a big customer response.

STEP 1: Start Either With Your Strengths or Your Ideal Customer

You can start one of two places. I’m not going to tell you which. I’ve seen both situations. You may be more certain: 

  1. Who you are as a company and what you do well, what makes you exceptionally valuable to customers, or
  2. Who your customer is. Who do you want to serve?

You’ll notice I don’t talk about “Starting with why,” but if you have a “why,” that’s great! Use it to clarify your strengths and your ideal customer.

STEP 2: Look At The Other Thing From Step 1 That You Didn’t Do Yet

Given what you clarified in the first step, let’s look at the other!

If you have a very clear strength, you need to look at who has the biggest need for that, and who doesn’t.  Who really wants what you have?

Or, as my friend Garrison Wynn likes to say, “Go where people suck.” Who sucks at what you’re great at?  

If you know exactly who you want to serve, what is their biggest pain point? Let’s talk shark bites- what is causing them to bleed in a mortally wounded way? Don’t try to solve mosquito bites. For example, in our business, clients are more motivated to go from no exposure to awareness than to lower their post promotion costs. And many companies are more motivated to improve their revenue than to improve their breakroom. What is keeping your ideal customer up at night?

Or, what is your ideal customer’s biggest goal? What do they want to achieve? Whatever that is, you need to have the ability or strength to make that valuable thing happen for them.

STEP 3: Figure Out Your UNIQUE Value To That Ideal Target Customer

Make sure you got the foregoing down in writing: Who’s your ideal customer? What are your unique strengths that provide a tourniquet to their shark bites or will rocket them to their goals? These absolutely have to match and make sense.

Now, put all of this into a value proposition that’s no more than 2-3 sentences. If you have trouble, use this formula:


STEP 4: Turn Your UNIQUE Strengths Into 5 Brand Words

Now you want to make sure that you have good words for who you are and what you do. You’re not quite writing copy yet with this, but you’re getting close.

What 5 words best describe your company’s strengths? These are things like: professional, bold, agile, creative, plucky, systematic… et cetera. If you have trouble coming up with them, there are many lists of strengths and values online you can start from.

Next, take a look at your competitors and see what words and value propositions they’re using on their websites. By now you should know what keywords people might be searching for what you offer. Google them. When you check out 5 competitors websites, what words do they use to describe themselves? If you’re seeing the same words you just wrote, then chances are, you haven’t found a unique position or strength. You’ll need to go deeper or get more specific or make some tough choices.

It’s OK if 1 or 2 of your words are used by competitors, but try to get 3 that are unique. Use thesaurus.com and see if you can find variations that seem to apply to you even more. The synonyms you see should make a difference- some will look wrong and others right. If they all seem the same to you, you may have the wrong word, or you may not have a clear enough idea of who your are and how you’re unique.

STEP 5: Choose Fonts, Colors, Images, etc. According To Your 5 Brand Words

Take your five brand words:

  1. Check out Google’s fonts, and look for fonts that fit your 5 brand words. You can choose your sample text for the fonts, so I like to type in the 5 words. First choose a possibility list of 10 fonts or so, and then narrow it down – if you used your 5 words as the text, you should see if the font is consistent with them or not. Does each font fit all of the brand words? Keep eliminating fonts until you have the best one.
  2. Use this color-generating website to look for colors that fit your brand words. Keep in mind that even if you have 5 colors, you may mainly use 2 or 3 and the others may just be accents.
  3. Use Google’s image search to find images that fit your brand words. Start putting them into a Powerpoint / Google Slide deck / Keynote deck as examples of what you like.

Relax, Now You Have a Killer Brand

Now you have come a long way. You have:

  • Uniqueness that sets you apart in the marketplace and provides a competitive advantage.
  • A brand core that is directly tied to what your customers need and what will drive you revenue.
  • Basic fonts, colors and images that will make your website and ads more powerful and more aligned with your brand.

You can use this core to hire designers to come up with a new logo, new website, and whatever else you want. And now your brand can be extended in all the ways we need to today with 100’s of social media posts and ads and emails and content pieces.

As long as you keep asking these questions about what you have created, you’ll be fine:

  • Does this fit our brand words?
  • Does this fit our value prop?
  • Does it fit out font and colors?

Rock on!

Facebook ads experts graphic

What Makes a Facebook Ads Expert? Digital Marketing Happy Hour #1

I’m so thrilled to debut a new podcast and youtube channel to you all today!

And that I finally got my wife and partner in our digital marketing agency, Lynda Harvey-Carter, into some content where you can see the kind of thinking and work we do every day for our clients and partner agencies. We have a lot of fun doing the work and getting results- and we just have a lot of fun. Look forward to hearing what you think about it. Hope you enjoy!

We’re calling it The Digital Marketing Happy Hour. It’s fun AND practical.

In this first episode, we talk about what makes a Facebook ads EXPERT vs. someone who’s only been doing it a few years. What’s the difference? We give examples of some of the most critical issues and activities to success and failure.

Here are some of the things we discussed:

  • Facebook ad targeting
  • Facebook ad types
  • Facebook ad metrics and benchmarks
  • Creative assets, design and testing
  • Customer behavior and why it’s often so surprising
  • Mobile (smartphones and tablets) and why it’s the most important thing

Please go subscribe to the channel, and hit that notification bell so you hear about all our future episodes.

For now it’s just the YouTube series, but soon we’ll add the audio podcast as well!


10 Keys to Retail Franchise Success Based On 7 Years Working With 21 Franchises

Working with, marketing for and keynote speaking to 21 retail franchises for the last seven years, I’ve had access to executives, franchisees, agencies and others in the industry. I’ve interviewed them, brainstormed with them and helped solve their problems. We’ve worked on marketing, sales, management and leadership, generational issues and more.

These franchises include McDonald’s, Hand and Stone Massage, The Floor Trader, Atlantic Bedding & Furniture, PrideStaff, Retrofitness and more. Based on that experience, I’ve created a list of some of the most important keys to success I’ve heard and seen work in the franchise space.

I’ve divided them by audience- if you’re on the corporate side (franchisor) or if you’re a franchisee.

5 Keys to Franchise Success for CORPORATE

#1 Get your franchisees to follow your franchise model (your business plan and best practices). This is often one of the biggest obstacles to franchise success: when franchisees want to go rogue to one degree or another, or don’t invest adequate time or money. It’s important to screen franchisees well, set the right expectations, and have clear requirements and policies. The arts of motivation, leadership and influence are also indispensable, and it’s critical for corporate leaders who interact with franchisees to have these skills and continue to develop them.

Social media can be an area where franchisees want to do their own thing, and you need to have very clear parameters on how that can happen. We’ve helped franchisees, for example, deal with 100’s of Facebook pages and getting those under the brand, and then with issues that come up if a franchisee violates policies and has their page taken down.

#2 Base your franchise model on clear values. Make sure when you interview new franchisees that they hold these values. And then in the training and all communications, make sure to repeat those values often. For example, McDonald’s tells leaders three major things: be obsessed with customers, we’re better together and commit to leadership.

#3 Hold conferences, meetings and get-togethers for training and motivation. Meet at least annually. Some groups have quarterly meetings. Franchise owners need to get together to share what works and doesn’t, and for camaraderie. Managers need training and motivation. If salespeople are a big part of your model, annual sales kickoffs and quarterly sales meetings are best practices to ensure you’re hitting targets and raising the bar.

Almost all the franchises I’ve keynoted for are in either the Franchise 500 or the Fastest Growing Franchises categories. And you can tell from the ones that hire speakers and trainers that they really care about their franchisees and their success.

#4 Have a clear marketing (including social media) and sales plan, differentiating what HQ does and what franchisees should and can and can’t do. Some franchises are very corporate-driven, and some rely almost entirely on the franchisees to do their own marketing and sales. A balance of shared responsibility for marketing is best, and consistency is critical. You want customers to have a consistent experience, and you want your customer acquisition and loyalty to be predictable. Corporate-controlled or mediated marketing (including social media) is better for the brand.

#5 Stay up-to-date on the latest techniques, technologies and best-practices for leadership, sales, marketing and analytics. Things change. Stay on top of the trends in areas like intergenerational communication, teamwork, analytics, digital marketing, CRM’s and social media. It’s  a good idea to have a continuous training mindset. You can’t keep up without some kind of training, whether it’s online or at live events.

5 Keys to Franchise Success for FRANCHISEES

#1 Have or GET enough funding. It’s so important to be able to invest in your franchise, and there are so many costs. We’ve seen some franchisees skimp on hiring or marketing, for example, and both can be real bottlenecks for growth. For financing, don’t neglect looking at an SBA loan with a Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS), where you can invest your 401(k) without penalties or paying taxes on a distribution. Even if you have adequate funding, make sure you have a backup funding plan in case anything goes wrong!

#2 Follow the franchise model. The corporate branch of your franchise usually has a very good idea of what works and what doesn’t. There may be some regional/localization for you to customize, but what corporate suggests is often the best practice gathered from seeing the biggest successes, and the biggest failures. Keep in mind that some franchisees fail, and corporate usually knows what they did or didn’t do. If you want to succeed, both corporate and the most successful franchisees can tell you what to do! And make sure you follow every part of the system: if you just pick and choose parts, you may only experience partial success- at best. At worst, it won’t be enough.

#3 Talk to Corporate. If you’re just starting, make sure you’ve asked about their support for your Grand Opening. Tell them what you need and where you’re struggling. If you’re doing well, tell them your growth plans. It’s important not just to learn from them, but also to show them where they need to go. If 50% of all their franchisees are struggling with the same issue, but only 10% of them say it, Corporate can’t see how important it is to help you solve it.

#4 Be aggressive. Regardless of how much support your franchisor does or doesn’t give you, at the end of the day, you are responsible for your success or failure. Have a plan. Have goals. Know your metrics. Get data. Watch everything closely. Drive sales and new customers. Make sure all this is happening. You are the #1 person who should care about it, worry about it and make it happen. Your franchise’s destiny is in your hands. Never stop planning, executing and growing. Continually succeeding at business is like trying to walk up an escalator that’s going down. If you stop moving forward, you go backward.

#5 Stay humble and teachable. Success in life and business requires adaptation and learning. A few people tune everyone out, think they know best, and actually succeed. But most successful people are constantly adapting to the environment, even when pursuing an aggressive vision. Keep learning, take training, and keep and open mind.

Get it Done

When the franchisee and franchisor are on the same page, and both execute, success happens!

Take a look at the keys above and see where you need the most work. You can’t do everything at once, but if you prioritize the most important AND urgent things, if you follow a plan and you delegate to others, together, your franchise will succeed.


5 Recruiting Tips for 2019: How Find and Hire More Candidates and Employees

For the first time in history, there are more jobs than people to fill those jobs!

Recruiters and HR are struggling because traditional approaches aren’t driving in enough job applicants, or the right job candidates, to solve the problem.

Our marketing agency (BCG) has been working with a variety of brands for the last five years to help them reach and attract more ideal job applicants, and I do keynote speeches on recruiting, corporate culture and generational differences.

The good news is: whether you’re a human resources professional or you’re a recruiter, the latest Internet tools and strategies can help you attract more ideal job candidates and get them to apply.

There are search and social tools that can increase your effectiveness at getting more candidates into the right jobs.

There are also some lessons and takeaways we’ve learned that will help you in HOW you approach sourcing and placing job candidates.

In this article, we’ll give you 5 simple tips to get you bigger results.

#1. Become More Likable and Attract More Candidates

I know, you’re already pretty likable!

But how can you make hiring managers and candidates like you more?

If you’re more likable while working with candidates:

  • More people will respond to you
  • They’ll give you more info
  • That info will be more accurate
  • They’ll be less likely to “ghost” you (ghosting is when they suddenly stop contacting you without explanation)
  • You’ll place more of them in the right jobs that will make them happier long-term

That’s why when you’re networking and phoning, you need to be likable.

So how can you be more likable?

Here are a few of the most important things:

  • Smile and be warm
  • Be positive
  • Be interested in others
  • Be reliable
  • Be generous

Likability improves all your relationships. Some people are naturally likable…

The rest of us find our attractiveness increases when we continuously work on it.

Increase your likability every day and you’ll attract more people!

Are you showing how likable your corporate culture is?

Why should people work there? Strive to answer these questions with text and images of your workplace:

  • What are the teams like? How do people work together? Will they include me?
  • Who works there? Are they like me? Will they like me? Will I like them? How diverse is the workforce?
  • How formal or casual is it? How do they dress? Does it fit my personality and lifestyle?
  • What is the leadership like? How do they manage? Do people like them? How do people feel working for them?
  • What are the mission and values of the organization? Are they for real, or just words? How does that play out in everyday work?
  • How are customers treated? How do employees feel about that?
  • What are the hours, flex time, remote work, vacation and benefits like?

Make your company culture visible and you’ll attract the right people to it!

#2. Grab More Attention With Better Content

If can’t get people’s attention, you can’t get anything done!

If you can’t grab candidates’s attention, you have no chance of them getting interested enough in your opportunity for them to desire to work there.

Hiring managers are busy, too… just like everybody.

We all have all kinds of things pulling at our attention all the time.

There’s a global attention deficit.

If you don’t stand out, you don’t stand a chance.

Boring people and companies get ignored.

So, how do you break through the noise and get the attention of hiring managers and candidates?

Depending on how you get in front of people- phone, in person, LinkedIn, Facebook, advertising, search marketing, email- you have different options.

  • If you can use images, use faces, because they attract the eye like a magnet.
  • If you’re fun, that can a nice change of pace. Fun in the right context is a real differentiator.
  • Use the likability techniques mentioned above.
  • Create authority by developing and displaying: education, degrees, experience, testimonials and references, popularity, media mentions and association or work with famous brands or people. The more your “credibility markers” come from the industry of your target person, the more authority you’ll appear to have.
  • Create content that’s helpful and easy to digest. The most popular format are: blogs, videos and whitepapers.

Do something to stand out more today, and you’ll attract more candidates.

#3. Reach More Candidates With Search Marketing

How do you get in front of more candidates?

There are two major ways to reach people online: search engines and social media. In this tip, we’ll talk about search, and we’ll talk about social in the next one.

Many people automatically SEARCH Google or Bing or Yahoo when looking for things. That includes searching for jobs, recruiters and employment.

Are you showing up in the search engine results when they search for that stuff?

If you’re not, you need SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or you should be placing search engine ads via Google and Bing.

Search engine optimization can be a long, challenging adventure. You should definitely work on it, but it’s a long-term investment. Expect for it to take years to pay off big, even if you’re a rock star at it. Here are some of the things you need to think about for SEO:

  • What keywords are job candidates searching for? Are they on your website? Research the keywords with Google Ads’s Keyword Planner tool.
  • Do you create new, useful content frequently? Do you have a blog? Create one and blog at least weekly.
  • Are authoritative websites linking to your website and increasing your authority in Google’s eyes? Share your blog posts via your social networks, and use HARO to get your opinions in blogs and the media, which will get you new links frequently.

If you can afford to spend money on Google Ads, you should.

Showing up for the keywords your candidates are already searching for is critical.

Google Ads are complicated, and you will need training or you should hire an expert freelancer or agency. Try a site like Upwork if you want to find a freelance advertising expert.

Show up when people search for keywords and you’ll attract more candidates!

#4. Reach More Candidates With Social Recruiting Ads

Not all of your ideal candidates are searching the search engines.

To reach many of them, you’ll need to get in front of them even when they’re not looking.

I think of this as interruptive marketing. You’re showing up for the right people with an important message they need to hear.

Maybe it’s a message that will really help them, but they didn’t think to search for it. You’re helping them out by interrupting them.

Interrupting may sound bad, but it’s ok to interrupt if your message is relevant and helpful. It’s being interrupted by irrelevant things that we really dislike. If you’re solving a career or life problem for them, they may love your ad! They’ll be grateful for it.

One of the best ways to do this is to run ads on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook that can target people by job titles, education, seniority and industry.

Business-to-business social advertising targeting of this sort is very powerful… because you’re getting in front of your ideal job candidate.

Naturally, you need to interrupt them with a compelling message: what’s so great about your job or your corporate culture? Convince them. Use video if you have to.

When you interrupt the ideal candidates with compelling social ads, you attract more ideal employees! 

#5. Learn and Improve Your Approach By Listening To The Data

We’ve all heard about big data and algorithms. You probably have access to some data.

But are you using data to improve your business results?

These days, data is a powerful way to listen to people’s behavior and preferences.

We can look at data to see if people are responding, and how much.

We can find out if our approaches are good enough and if they need to change.

So, ask yourself: What data do you have? Are you using it?

It’s different for everybody…

In recruiting, we frequently find data insights like:

  • How to get more job applications: Website analytics can tell us which web pages and blog posts drive more job applications, and which ones don’t.
  • How to make your workplace sound more compelling to candidates: Advertising analytics can tell us which things about our workplace culture are more attractive to candidates than others.
  • How to understand your candidates and influence them: Social engagement data that tells us which feelings and problems and desires have the biggest emotional charge for candidates.
  • How to know which recruiters are most effective so you can increase your organizational effectiveness: HR CRM data that tells us which recruiters convert the highest percentage of candidates into placed employees.

When you find insights in the data, you increase your power to attract more candidates and employees!

Wrap Up

We’ve covered the five most important things you can do to solve your workforce resource problems. If you:

  1. Increase your likability to attract more candidates
  2. Grab more attention with better content
  3. Reach more candidates with search marketing
  4. Reach more candidates with social recruiting ads
  5. Learn and improve by listening to the data…

Then you’ll attract more job applicants, more ideal candidates and more people who already like the organizational culture. They’ll come in excited and ready to grow it. And that will empower the entire company achieve its mission and goals.

Retailers: The Top 10 Digital Strategies for Store Visits & Sales in 2020

Are you a retail store owner, manager or marketer?

As you know, retail can be very challenging right now, because you’re competing against:

  • Big Box money, scale and technology in the bricks and mortar world
  • Ecommerce convenience, pricing, ubiquity, data and ad budgets from Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Wayfair and others.

I’ve spoken to thousands of franchisees and independent retail store owners over the last several years. In preparing for those keynotes and trainings, I’ve personally met to discuss their problems and solutions with them.

Here are some of the solutions that have worked for them, and we’ll cover each one:

  1. Drive more store visits with Google’s “My Business”
  2. Drive more store visits with Facebook
  3. Drive more store visits with Twitter.
  4. Leverage influencers to find new enthusiastic buyers.
  5. Humanize your store with video content.
  6. Stay top-of-mind with shoppers via Retargeting Ads.
  7. Drive more store visits with retail strategies.
  8. Increase sales and profits per square foot.
  9. Get more sales from your Shopify or other ecommerce store.
  10. Increase sales and profits by selling on Amazon.

Here we go!

Drive more store visits with Google’s “My Business”

There are two major marketing methods online: search and social.

Search strategies on Google and Bing attract customers who are already looking for you, or for what you sell.

Your first job is to make sure you get your free listing on Google My Business. Then you’ll show up on those local map searches with accurate business info, phone number, store hours and website.

  • Google searches with “near me” have grown 2.4X year-over-year (Google).
  • 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day (Google).
  • One in three shoppers has purchased from a company or brand other than the one he or she intended to because of information received in the moment (Google).
  • Google Maps has a market reach of more than 90% amongst Android users worldwide (Statista).
  • Mobile searches for ‘where to buy’ have grown 85 % since 2015 (Geo Marketing).

Be careful and make sure you monitor your listing. Over the years, I’ve seen competitors steal people’s local listings, so you need to be aware of how you’re showing up for local searches and get control of your listing.

These days, people look at store listings for hours and they can even tell (because of the data constantly being collected about consumers by their phones and Internet activity) which hours your store is most and least busy.

Here is more about:

You may also want to consider a paid service that will help you manage your local presence on multiple sites. Such services include Brandify and Synup.

Drive more store visits with Facebook.

Social advertising options like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others help you interrupt the right potential customers and tell them why they should come in.

This is a huge opportunity, because after you nail down all your “search-related” strategies on Google and Bing, you have now maxed out on the people already looking for you.

How do you attract more people who don’t even know to look for you?

Interrupting the right potential buyer is the key to social media marketing.

Of course, you want to interrupt them in a relevant and pleasing way, so that they’re happy you told them. Being annoying, insensitive or boring won’t work.

What makes social advertising platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so powerful is their targeting abilities. You can target people by demographics, interests and even buying habits. You can’t get the right people to come into your store if you never reach them.

Without ads, people don’t get any results from Facebook, because they don’t reach anybody.

A really basic thing to do with your social media- which many people neglect- is just to check how many people it’s reaching.

It doesn’t matter how many fans you have- it matters how many people see your posts and ads. Check the numbers. Without ads, they’re too low.

You need to reach thousands of people just to get hundreds of visitors. That’s how the math works. You have to advertise to get bottom-line results with social media.

One thing you’ll like about Facebook ads, if you’ve already advertised on Google or Bing, is that Facebook can be much more affordable.

And we’ll talk about retargeting separately, which is super powerful for staying in front of your future and past buyers.

Drive more store visits with Twitter.

Twitter is a different animal for retail, because Twitter is nichier than Facebook, for example. Twitter’s users tend to be smarter, geekier bookworms with more money. They’re more likely to be readers than TV viewers. A lot of news and sports outlets use Twitter, so there are definitely some mainstream users, but there are many more mainstream TV viewers and Facebook users who will tell you they “don’t get Twitter.” However, if you’re a tech or computer parts retailer, for example, Twitter could be a great option for your store.

Still, Facebook has six times as many users as Twitter, and people spend 35 minutes a day on Facebook and 15 minutes a day on Instagram, but only 2 minutes a day on Twitter.

To be effective doing retail marketing on Twitter, you have to

  • TARGET: Reach the right potential shoppers on Twitter. For that you need targeting and relevant messaging. Targeting only comes with advertising.
  • ADVERTISING: If you don’t have a lot of Twitter followers, you should use Twitter ads- and even if you do have thousands of followers, Twitter ads can help you target your exact customers, whether that’s geographically, or by their interests, or by whether they’ve visited your website before. Without ads, you may not reach enough people to make much difference, especially if you want to reach a lot of people at once before or during a sale event. Plan to spend $500 or more on Twitter ads during the days of your sale- and do the same with Facebook ads, and this will spike any TV or other media you’re already planning.
  • ADAPT: Make sure you’ve adapted your campaign to the segment of your customers that’s on Twitter, and be quick and get straight to the point. Tweets are short, and people only spend about 2 minutes a day on Twitter on average.

Leverage influencers to find new enthusiastic buyers.

There are bloggers, YouTubers and other social media influencers out there who already have big influence with audiences of people that include your future customers.

Brendan Bauer of Grand Fusion Housewares told me how lucky he was to have found an influencer that has boosted their sales. This blogger had access to 40,000 of his potential customers. They simply donated a product (12 of the same product) as a giveaway and paid the blogger $150, and their Amazon sales went crazy.

If an influencer links to your website, this can help your Google and Bing search rankings.

You can use search tools to find influencers, or use a website like Tomoson that has an influencer marketplace of over 100,000 influencers.

Influencer search tools include:

Humanize your store with video content.

If you create video of the inside of your store, you eliminate some of the unknowns that may keep people from visiting.

They’re thinking:

  • What is this store?
  • Will I like it?
  • Are the prices good?

If you’re an unknown, independent store, one of the biggest obstacles you have is that people know what to expect when they go into a chain store.

They don’t know what to expect from you.

If you create appealing videos of your entrance, displays, employees, you can create familiarity and likability that lead to more store visits.

This a huge opportunity most stores fail to act on. Or they create videos that are unappealing. The videos aren’t good enough to have an effect. Or no one sees the videos, because they have no social reach and they fail to advertise.

I get it- video isn’t easy for a lot of people. If you don’t have video talent or skills in your business, and if you don’t set the mood right and get people involved, you won’t be able to pull it off.

So you can either hire someone, or you can learn.

Regardless, you may have to make a mental shift: this is all about connecting with shoppers’ emotions, and it’s not just about the latest sale.

YouTube is so popular now, that many people expect you to be able to put your store manager and salespeople onto video, and see happy, interesting people. Your people are an asset, but if you can’t get that across in video, you may not be as competitive.

Don’t worry about live video. It is rarely useful and helpful. Most people only watch about 15 seconds OR LESS of any video on Facebook. People watch longer videos on YouTube, but they’re not live videos.

Just create good 15 – 60 second videos.

Create at least one video a week.

If you can’t do that, you may need to hire someone to do it for you or to help you get into the swing of things.

Stay top-of-mind with shoppers via Retargeting Ads.

Most people don’t buy the first time they hear about you. Sometimes they don’t even buy the first time they visit your retail store.

Even if you get people’s emails, 80% of people don’t open business emails!

Most ecommerce conversion rates are so low, that 99% of people don’t buy when they visit the online store.

How are you going to stay in front of those people if they’re not buying and not opening emails?

And if you don’t stay in front of them, they might forget about you. People are busy, distracted and have powerful “forgetters.”

Retargeting ads keep you in front of potential buyers so they don’t forget about you and you can continue to market to them with new messages until they’re ready to buy.

Using just Facebook and Google ads, we can stay in front of people who’ve given you their emails, visited your website, interacted with social posts or even watched your videos.

Because of the size of their ad networks, with retargeting, you can show up to these people on Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, thousands of other websites, and even in thousands of smartphone apps.

Retargeting is a best practice.

You should be running it with the Facebook and Google ad platforms at the very least, and it will achieve all of that, and usually with a relatively small ad budget.

Drive more store visits with retail strategies.

You have to give customers a reason to come into your store.

Why shouldn’t they just buy from Amazon, eBay or some other Internet retailer?

Retail strategies that work have changed.

Here are some ideas that work:

  • Limited time sales, like Memorial Day, are one of the first things we think of. Don’t neglect them. But they aren’t the only way.
  • Discounts.
  • Contests.
  • Events- are there are other nearby stores you can partner with who might help? What if you teamed up with a local microbrewery to create a community meet-and-greet?
  • Creating content like videos answering common questions to help people get to know you and your store.
  • Improving signage and window displays.
  • Making shoppers feel welcome. Do something interesting at the entrance: for example, a welcome mat, balloons or a human greeter.
  • Putting signs in your parking lots, on roadways and sandwich signs out front.
  • Impressing shoppers with better landscaping.
  • Offering free smartphone charging stations.
  • Offering free wifi.
  • Setting up areas where shoppers can sit down and relax when tired.

Which of these strategies haven’t you tried yet?

Do something new!

Increase your sales-per-square-foot.

Are you meeting or exceeding the average of $325 per square foot?

How do these brands get such high sales per square foot?

First, make sure shoppers stay in your store long enough to buy!

Here is your biggest vulnerability in bricks and mortar: consumers can easily walk out and just buy it online.

Are your prices competitive with Amazon, Walmart, Wayfair, or the big ecomm site in your niche?

Shoppers can get on their smartphone while in your store and find the reviews for the product and the price from a competitor.

Eighty-two percent of shoppers say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store (Google).

This was a problem even for Home Depot until they started putting signs next to their products with info about their website to cue you to go online and look for reviews on homedepot.com… not on Amazon.com.

Dana Hunt of Masterpiece Lighting in Atlanta told me his solution… Before becoming a lighting retailer with Lighting One, Dana had an IT background, which he decided to apply to his new business. He put a QR code on every tag of every product in his showroom. Any customer in his store can connect to his store wifi using their email address (which can be a smart way to build a customer list, if you ask for an opt-in, so that you can continue to market to them!), then find out about size, cost, in-stock info, and price comparisons on Google. This is the kind of info you want to supply your customer with if you want to ensure they buy from your store. Customers are savvy and connected these days, and if you ignore that fact, you will lose business.

If you give customers the info they need to confidently buy from you, you will increase your sales per square foot. But if you continue to operate your store like it’s 1995, you will go out of business.

More great ways to increase sales per square foot include:

  • Improving your store layout, end-caps, orderliness and appeal. Also, consider moving sale items and other high demand items toward the back of the store to increase the number of products shoppers see. This definitely increases sales.
  • Optimize your product assortment. Remove products that don’t sell and try new ones. Keep good data on everything so it’s easy for you to analyze this frequently.
  • Monitor your salespeople’s successes and failures, ask customers about their experience with sales associates in the store (Do customers need more help? What kind? Or do they think your salespeople are too aggressive?) and invest in sales training. Even if you’re only investing time in your sales training, make sure you meet with your sales associates monthly- or at least quarterly- to discuss methods and success rates.
  • Test your pricing: higher or lower, ending in a 9 or a 5. What gets more sales for your store?
  • Cross-sell. Put related items next to each other. Consider creating displays that combine products and help the shopper realize why they need more than one thing.
  • Create a loyalty program.
  • Offer more payment options and terms.

Just implementing one of the seven suggestions in this tip could help boost your sales per square foot.

See how many of these areas you can improve this quarter.

Most retailers know that they have limited space, so they need to maximize their profit per square foot.

You won’t win if you’re using up display space on bulky, low-profit items. You might be tempted to boost the price to make up for it, and consumers will just go find better deals online, and your inventory won’t move.

So, if you’re selling with your own online store or on sites like Amazon, reserve your bulkier, low profit-per-square-foot items for ecommerce. Your storage costs will be a lot lower than retail store rent, so this boosts your profitability.

If you’re not selling online already, you need to seriously consider doing it.

Other ideas include:

  • Ship goods to customers from your store (and manage returns there, as well).
  • Allow pick-ups of online orders.
  • Get a platform or system so that your analytics don’t just show you sales or profits, but correlate it with your current display set-up square footage.
  • Instead of stocking many of the same item in your retail store, make your retail store a showcase so you can show a larger number of different items. Actual delivery comes from your warehouse.

Get more sales from your Shopify or other ecommerce store.

Both in our agency work (directly for retailers) and in my keynote speaking to retail associations (interviewing and speaking with retailers from the audiences), we see some common patterns with their ecommerce websites.

What was initially astounding to me was that:

Most retailers say their own ecommerce website doesn’t do much sales volume and is not a big priority for them.

Many retailers get more sales volume from their bricks and mortar stores or selling through sites like Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond.

Amazon is obviously the 500-pound gorilla and many have been forced to join ’em because they can’t beat ’em. Traditional B&M retailers struggle to adapt to what’s necessary to win with their own ecommerce websites.

When you compare your ecommerce site to what you can do selling through Amazon, you’re forced to ask yourself if you can create the level of usability, if you can get enough user data to customize and if you can achieve the conversion rates that Amazon product pages get.

What I hear from retailers is that they can get 12% – 22% conversion rates on Amazon. With Shopify, you’re a rock star if you get a 5% conversion rate, and many struggle to get to 2%. That means your cost per sale is 4-6x higher with a Shopify site than as an Amazon seller.

If you are profiting a lot more doing it yourself, or you can get a higher conversion rate, then investing more into your own ecommerce site makes sense. And even if you don’t do most of your ecommerce volume through your own site, you can still use it as an opportunity to brand yourself and sell to people who can’t or won’t use Amazon and other retailers.

If you want to succeed with your own ecommerce website, you need:

  • To invest in design, usability, copywriting, analysis and optimization. If you don’t have copywriting training, hire someone to write good product text.
  • Get professional photos- they’ll make or break your conversion rate, which makes or breaks your profits.
  • Constantly look at your numbers for places you can improve and try new images and product text. It’s not fire and forget. It’s constantly improve.
  • You need an analyst with a passion for driving better results
  • You need writers and photographers who will get you better and better creative over time, based on what you’re learning from your analytics.
  • If you run ads to your ecommerce website, you need to make sure you’ve properly installed your ad platform pixels. These not only help you measure, but in some cases like Facebook and Google Ads, help the platform itself optimize your targeting for bigger profits. Without these pixels, your ads will cost too much and you may not profit. If your platform doesn’t allow you to place a Facebook pixel, then your vendor is out-of-date and you should switch platforms.

That’s all… and isn’t that enough?

Get to work!

Increase sales and profits by selling on Amazon.

Over 55% of all product searches begin on Amazon. If you aren’t leveraging Amazon, you’re cutting your potential ecommerce sales in half, at least.

Amazon selling is a huge topic, so I’ll just cover the high points.

Whether you go through Amazon vendor central or seller central is the first question, and though vendor central wholesaling may be more convenient for you, you do have more control and options with seller central.

  • Optimize your product listings and use professional photos. Write product descriptions of 1,000 words that contain relevant and appropriate keywords.
  • Use FBA and show up as a Prime option, stop managing customer service and returns on Amazon orders.
  • Get as many reviews as you can. But follow the rules.
  • Your products need to have at least 4 stars. 4.5 and 5 is ideal. If you aren’t doing a good job with meeting shopper expectations with product quality or delivery, they’ll tell you through your star ratings. If you don’t have 4 stars, you won’t sell much.
  • Send follow-up messages to buyers, but not annoying ones! Ask for an honest review (you’re not allowed to ask for a positive one!) several weeks after the purchase.
  • Use Amazon ads (Amazon Marketing Services). The ads that Amazon offers are more effective than anything else, including Facebook or Google ads, for increasing your visibility and sales on Amazon. Max these out first before you consider any other advertising that you might send to Amazon.
  • Watch out for counterfeit products copying yours and get them shut down ASAP.
  • Get a data analyst who looks at all of your ecommerce (your own ecomm site, Amazon, Walmart, etc.) for problems and opportunities.

If that’s not enough, here are more Amazon selling tips.

So, as you can tell, there are more than 10 tips here- there are dozens!

Put some into practice now.

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out About What Teenagers Are Doing On Social Media

When we hear that teens are leaving Facebook for Snapchat and Instagram, we tend to jump to conclusions.

We know that children are the future.

We are the world…

But, does that mean that ALL of their habits will become NORMS later on?

Is everyone going to leave Facebook?!

Will middle aged people try to act like teenagers?

Or will teens grow up one day and act more like adults?

Maybe some of both…

Well, here are the facts: recently, Facebook had dominated the social media landscape among America’s youth – but it is no longer the most popular online platform among teens, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Today, roughly half (51%) of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

As online marketers, what does that mean for us?

Should we be freaking out??

Should we all leave Facebook in a mad rush to stay hip with the teenage trends?


And here’s why:

10 Reasons Not To Freak Out About What Teenagers Do On Social Media

1. Email survived millennials.

Remember when everyone thought millennials would stop using email?

Well, they didn’t. 

As soon as teens entered college or the workforce, they inevitably began using email.

Same theory may be applied to social media.

The online behavior of today’s teens will change as they adapt to:

– other generations
– the workforce
– mainstream society

Teens become adults in 5-10 years, so don’t stress about the current youth’s habits too much.

(via 99Designs)

2. There are still more teenagers on Facebook than Instagram.

Our data below comes from Facebook Audience Insights and Facebook Ad Manager.

This is freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users. At should be noted that this data comes from actual online activity, not from a survey with all the usual flaws of market research.

The Facebook Ad Manager data also includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.

If we look at ages 13-21, there are:

– 22 million users on Facebook
– 20 million users on Instagram

And ages 18-24:

– 35 million users on Facebook
– 29 million users on Instagram.

This gap continues to widen with age.

Young people may be using Instagram and Snapchat more, but there are still a huge number of teens on Facebook.

If you market to youth segments, you should market and advertise on all three of these platforms.

3. Instagram is awesome!

The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with teens.

According to PEW, 72% of teens say they use Instagram, which is great.

If teenagers go to Instagram, as a marketer, it’s no problem. We can still market to them on Instagram itself and via Facebook Ad Manager.

4. Snapchat could become a great place to market in the future.

Snapchat’s disappearing messages have become a primary means of communication for teens.

It was built on the appeal that photos and messages expire and disappear. 

Are these viable places to market? Yes.

Currently, marketing on Snapchat is more expensive than Facebook or Instagram, but it may become a great place to advertise in the future.

(via Business insider)

5. Teens also love online gaming.

A large majority of teens – both boys and girls – play video games.

This creates loads of potential online marketing opportunities.

There’s a whole world of online gaming out there.

It may also become a great place to advertise in the future!

6 Stay in the present. Market now.

Everyone knows the future is imminent and inevitable.

What we know to be true today may not be the case tomorrow because our world is constantly changing.

Instead of worrying every day about the landscape of online behavior, (“What’s going to happen?!”) just be aware of trends.

Stay in the now.

7. Remember, 13-17 year olds don’t live in the real world.

Spend less time worrying about the affairs of teens.

They’re in high school.

They live in a bubble at their parents’ house.

Their lives haven’t been overtaken by jobs, paying bills and responsibilities just yet.

Their habits will change as they begin to interact with other generations.

8. Teens are online all the time.

When did you get your first smartphone? Probably not when you were 13.

According to a the Pew Research Center survey, fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’.

That percentage has nearly doubled in just a few years! In 2014-2015, only 24% of teens said the same.

Kind of scary, but times are changing.

Are teens part of your target audience?

If so, they’re always connected.

9. Are you even marketing to teenagers?

Are teens a major part of your target audience?

If not, then you REALLY shouldn’t be freaking out.

Give them a decade and they’ll become part of your audience.

Both sides will have adjusted to trends, new technologies, other generations, and best/new marketing practices by then.

Which leads me to my final reason not to freak out…

10. We’ll adapt!

As marketers and humans, we’ll adapt. That’s what we do.

Through print, radio, TV, and now online, we’ve adapted.

So stop stressing! We’ll figure it out together. 🙂

It’s going to be okay!